Woyome in USA: Petition to Obama
by Rev Cephas Amartey
At a time when most Ghanaians thought the controversy surrounding the infamous Alfred Agbesi Woyome judgment debt scandal was dying, a group of angry Ghanaians – both home and abroad- have petitioned the Obama administration and the White House to help retrieve the monies involved.
The group has launched a signature collection to enable them to present a strong case for the US President’s intervention in the retrieval of the Woyome cash.
The Ghanaian lobbyists are of the opinion that Ghana has no basis to seek foreign support, especially from the US, if Woyome does not give back the GH¢51.2million.
Early this year, a self-confessed financier of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Alfred Woyome, was arrested for allegedly defrauding the state of well over GH¢51.2million, clothed as judgment debts.
The case, which is still pending, has attracted a lot of attention not only due to the huge amount involved but the bizarre circumstance under which the payments were made, especially with the confession from Woyome that he had no contract with the state.
This was what compelled a Ghanaian resident in Darby, Pennsylvania – whose name was given only as Yaa K. – to petition the US government over what she considers to be the foot dragging on the part of the Mills government and its officials to retrieve the money from Woyome.
The petition has been posted on the official website of the White House on its “We the People” page.
It was filed on April 9, 2012 and is asking the Obama administration to “use the MCA account to pressure Ghana’s President to prosecute corrupt officials”.
In three years, government has paid out about $500million in judgment debts – almost equal to the $547million Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) grant Ghana won in 2006.
The petitioner believes that “a country that gives out $500m in judgment debts without due diligence does not deserve the sympathy of the world and particularly the MCA account” and “therefore call on Obama to pressurize the government so Ghanaians can get their monies back and put it to good use.”
Consequently, she does not only want the US government to freeze Ghana’s second tranche of the MCA until the monies are finally retrieved from Woyome, but the prosecution of officials who are neck deep in the scandal.
As at yesterday, May 6, 2012, 145 people had signed the petition which needs a total of 25,000 signatures to receive the needed attention from the US government before it finally elapses on Wednesday May 9, 2012. In the meantime, the petitioners need 150 signatures in order to make their petition publicly searchable on www.whitehouse.gov.
Four people are already in court for fraudulent payments of the money to the self-confessed NDC financier: Alfred Woyome, Samuel Nerquaye-Tetteh, the Chief State Attorney, his wife Gifty Nerquaye-Tetteh, and Paul Asimenu, Legal Director at the Ministry of Finance. They are being tried for the GH¢51.2 million fraud allegedly perpetrated against the state.
They have denied any wrongdoing.
The White House receives several other petitions on its website usually on the economy, government reforms and poverty.
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