The African Human Rights Court has ordered the government to halt steps to retrieve an amount of ¢51 million said to have been wrongfully paid to businessman Alfred Woyome.
In a decision that will come as a huge relief for the applicant, the court said the attempt by the government to sell the properties of the businessman is likely to prejudice the case brought before it by Mr Woyome.
In a November 24 ruling, a copy of which has been intercepted by Myjoyonline.com, the 11-member panel presided over by Sylvain ORE said the African Human Rights Court has jurisdiction over the matter and will take steps to preside over same.
The Court said it took the decision to grant the request for interim measures because a substantial injustice would be done to Mr Woyome if the state of Ghana is allowed to auction his properties and the court later decides in his favour.
“The court finds that the situation raised in the present application is of extreme gravity and urgency on the basis that should the applicant’s property be attached and sold to recover the 51, 283, 480.59 the applicant would suffer irreparable harm if the application on the merits is decided in his favour…” the court said.
Alfred Agbesie Woyome proceeded to the African Human Rights Court in January this year when government decided to sell his properties as a way of retrieving monies paid to him in the name of judgement debt.
According to Woyome, the state breached the financial engineering agreement he signed with the government of Ghana for the construction of the Accra and Kumasi Sports Stadia ahead of the CAN 2008 tournament.
By not respecting that agreement the business man noted his rights and freedoms enshrined under the African Rights Charter which Ghana is a signatory to, have been violated.
Even though there was no representation by the government in the main suit, the government responded to the applicant’s request for provisional measures and a stay of execution.
It said the country has every right to recover its debt owed by the applicant.
For a case that has suffered jurisdictional relapse at the International Chamber of Commerce, the African Court said it had to ensure whether it had power and jurisdiction to look into it.
Citing Article 3(1) the court said “the jurisdiction of the court shall extend to all cases and disputes submitted to it concerning the interpretation and application of the charter, this protocol and any other relevant human rights instruments ratified by the states concerned.”
“The court notes the rights alleged to have been violated are guaranteed under Articles 2, 3 and 7 of the Charter.”
The court in a unanimous decision ruled that there must be a stay of the attachment of the property of the applicant and maintain the status quo to avoid the properties being sold until this application is heard and determined.
The court has also ordered the government of Ghana to report within 15 days from the date of receipt of this order.