Woyome Stops AFAG Demo
Alfred Agbesi Woyome
The contempt application hearing against the Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), a pressure group, and some media houses for their comments on the trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, began yesterday at an Accra High Court.
The case was however adjourned after it came to the notice of the court that none of the respondents had been served.
The trial judge, Justice J.K. Mensah, consequently had the case adjourned to July 31, 2012.
David Annan represented the plaintiff while four AFAG members, Abu Ramadan, Davis Opoku, Bright Acheampong and Henry Asante were in court with their lawyer, Egbert Faibille, Jnr.
The contempt case is seen by many as an attempt to silence media houses as well as some political party personalities from discussing the GH¢51.2million fraudulently paid to Alfred Woyome, an NDC financier.
The contempt case has prompted the suspension of an AFAG demonstration scheduled for July 31, 2012 in Takoradi dubbed ‘Wonkyendi’ Demo.
“Today is a sad day for AFAG and perhaps the darkest in the political history for the people of Ghana’s Western Region. AFAG was confronted by the challenge of NDC’s lawyer David Annan at an Accra High court today the 20th of July that, the press conference held two weeks ago by AFAG to announce the ‘wonkyendi’ demo in Takoradi on Tuesday the 31st of July was contemptuous.
“It is however unthinkable that, although our wise counsel (Egbert Faibelle Jnr) was available for Thursday the 26th of July for the next court hearing, David Annan, the applicant in this regard, was comfortable with Tuesday the 31st of July. This date has been granted as the next hearing of the court,” a statement issued by AFAG after the court hearing, yesterday, said.
Some leading members of AFAG addressing the media
Daniel Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover of the Young Patriots is also linked to the contempt case.
The media personalities cited are Multimedia Group Limited and its proprietor, Kwesi Twum, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah of Joy FM and Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Managing Editor of the News Crusading Guide .
In his 51-point affidavit, Mr. Annan averred on behalf of Woyome that he was the additional counsel for Woyome, aside Chris Akummey, another member of the NDC legal team, in the suits of ‘The Attorney-General vrs Alfred Agbesi Woyome’ and ‘Chris Achmann Ackummey vrs Mr. J.A. Kufuor and two others.’
According to him, Woyome, Ramadan, Asante, Acheampong and Opoku “had consistently and persistently been intruding in the court cases, making unsavoury and prejudicial comments”.
He said, “The statements connote that it is wrong to pay judgment debt or to prioritise their payment and therefore a government that is paying court mandated debts is wantonly abusing state loans grants and taxpayers’ monies.”
He stated that the AFAG leaders held a news conference on July 10, 2012 and “brazenly and blatantly passed judgment in pending or filed court cases with deliberate or careless abandon and notified the public of their rulings and judgments.”
The applicant said, “The clear and open invitation to the general public is that valid binding court judgment findings and orders should be defied and cast aside on the instructions of the respondents because they have decreed the court orders and judgment debts are tainted with corruption.”
In the case of Multimedia, Kwasi Twum and Oppong Nkrumah, the applicant said they published on their website (Joy FM) the statement read at the news conference and also published a police caution statement of Woyome.
Woyome averred that Nkrumah aided and abetted Kweku Baako by reading aloud extracts of the police caution statement of Woyome and therefore they “actively facilitated the commission of the interference with legal proceedings”.
He said Multimedia and Nkrumah “actively and intentionally” facilitated the commission of the interference with legal proceedings by Baako when he (Baako) allegedly read out the police caution statement even before it was used in the Woyome’s criminal trial.
He said Baako should be committed for publishing and reading aloud the extract of the police caution statement of Woyome.
“That not content with this contumacious conduct, the 8th respondent flippantly passed comments on the statement of accused he had read,” it explained.
On Titus-Glover, Woyome said he presented a petition to the Ghana High Commissioner in London, UK, titled ‘Retrieval of Unlawful Judgment Debt Paid’.
“Without any criminal finding against Alfred Woyome of fraud or unprecedented corruption, the 9th respondent made statements in the petition.”
He said, “All respondents have made statements or caused or permitted statements that by their construction, meaning, purpose and intent have or are likely to interfere with the course of justice.
“By inciting public opinion against a party so as to affect his conduct of his case or the assertion of his rights, the respondents have put at risk the accused’s right to fair trial.”
By Fidelia Achama