The Tanzania-based African Court on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) has ordered Ghana to suspend all efforts to retrieve the GH¢51.2 million judgement debt paid to the businessman, Mr Alfred Agbesi Woyome, until the court determines an appeal filed by the businessman.
In a unanimous ruling on November 24, 2017, the 11-member panel ordered Ghana to suspend the seizure of any property belonging to the businessman, “take all appropriate measures to maintain the status quo and avoid the property being sold’’ until the case was determined.
The ACHPR further ordered Ghana to report to it within 15 days “from the date of receipt of this order on measures taken to implement this order’’.
On January 16, 2017, Mr Woyome filed an application at the ACHPR in response to the Supreme Court’s judgement on July 29, 2014 that ordered him to pay the GH¢51.2 million on the grounds that he got the money out of unconstitutional and invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in 2006 for the construction of stadia for CAN 2008.
He alleged in his application that Ghana did not respect the terms of the agreement that governed the financial engineering role he played in the transaction and as such his rights and freedoms recognised under the ACHPR Charter had been violated.
He followed the substantive application with another application on July 4, 2017, praying the ACHPR to halt all processes seeking to execute the Supreme Court’s July 29, 2014 judgement until his case was determined by the ACHPR.
The ACHPR, in its ruling, held that Mr Woyome would suffer “irreparable harm” if Ghana was allowed to seize his properties and sell them until the determination of the case.
“The court finds that the circumstances require that an order of provisional measure be issued in accordance with Article 27 (2) of the protocol and Rule 51 of the rules to preserve the status quo, pending the determination of the main application,’’ it held.
The ACHPR, however, held that the ruling would not in any way “prejudice any finding the court shall make regarding its jurisdiction, the admissibility and merits of the application’’.
Clash with Supreme Court of Ghana?
The ruling of the ACHPR comes barely a week after the Supreme Court had fixed today, November 28, 2017, to give a ruling on whether or not to stay all proceedings relating to the Woyome case until the APHPR determined his application.
In that case, a Deputy Attorney-General (A-G), Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, had argued that the case filed by Mr Woyome at the ACHPR was an affront to the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
According to him, the judgement that ordered Mr Woyome to pay the money was a constitutional matter and, therefore, its enforcement could not be subject to a review before any international tribunal or court.
In an interview in relation to the ACHPR ruling, Mr Dame revealed that the A-G had not received copies of the ruling and that when it did, it would come out with its response.
Meanwhile, he intimated that the A-G was keenly looking forward to the Supreme Court’s decision today.