Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Monday July 30, 2018
Former Attorney General, Betty Mould-Iddrisu, has insisted that she did not err in authorising the payment of GH¢51.2 million to National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, which the Supreme Court later found to have been fraudulently procured.
It was the payment of the controversial judgement debt during the Mills-Mahama NDC administration in 2010 which has earned the current opposition party the perpetual mantra of ‘create, loot and share’ in Ghana’s political lexicon.
Betty Mould-Iddrisu, who is seeking to become the next National Chairman of the main opposition party, the NDC, said even though the NDC government acted ‘erroneously wrong’ and made mistakes in the manner it handled the issue, which is still being battled in court, she had been cleared by the court of any wrongdoing for dubiously paying the GH¢51.2 million to the NDC businessman.
The Supreme Court in July 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the huge amount to the government following a suit filed by Betty’s successor, Martin Amidu, now the Special Prosecutor, but the order fell on deaf ears during the tenure of former President John Mahama.
Mrs. Mould-Iddrisu, who is currently a Vice Chairperson of the opposition NDC, told ‘21 Minutes’ hosted by Ghanaweb’s Kwabena Kyenkyenhene Boateng, aka KKB, that the Court of Appeal even gave her a clean bill of health when it held that she acted ‘professionally’ as AG in the circumstances leading to the authorization that got Mr. Woyome the money, which continues to spark heated political debate anytime the subject is raised.
“I don’t think my actions were triable but in the end, the Court of Appeal - three Appeal Court judges - gave a verdict on whether this money was procured fraudulently and my role in the matter came up and they all insisted Betty Mould-Iddrisu, as AG, acted professionally, she acted competently, she followed due diligence,” she said.
Interestingly, it was the same Betty who first filed the process to retrieve the money in court, claiming that she was misinformed in paying the dubious claims to Woyome.
She was subsequently yanked off to the Education Ministry before being booted out because of the embarrassing scandal.
She said the court also held that “she executed her official actions as a lawyer and as an AG. That was what you need. That was the kind of validation that quite frankly some of your media folks were making; making me even doubt myself. When you do the right thing you shouldn’t doubt yourself and I have managed to keep my sanity in the most difficult periods by knowing that at least I have done the right thing or tried to.”
She said even though her reputation was battered in the Woyome saga, she had “extreme loyalty” from her party, NDC.
"It is rather one of the hazards of politics; it's one of the hazards of putting yourself out there . . . Sometimes you can't see that they are sharpening the knives for you; sometimes also we were wrong in some of our actions, erroneously wrong not criminally wrong or fraudulently wrong but erroneously wrong. We are humans, we make mistakes," she said.
When the host asked her whether they usually discuss the matter when they meet, the former AG said, “Occasionally we meet. Occasionally we sit and talk and I would think so.”
The NDC Vice Chairperson said, “I wasn’t AG when he (Woyome) was paid the bulk of the money. For me, it wasn’t about money though it may seem in people’s eyes; it was about the principle of doing the right thing.”
“I am always glad. I always tell people that there is a God and He is a just God, especially if when you are a lawyer you can be cleared through the court system. I was not on trial. I was never put on trial.
Betty was said to have mounted pressure on the then Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor ,to pay the money to Woyome even though he had raised concerns about the payment, claiming the NDC financier had threatened to go to court.
She said she has no regrets in paying the money because she acted professionally.
Mrs Mould-Iddrisu admitted that “we (NDC gov’t) were wrong in some of our actions but erroneously wrong and not criminally wrong. We are humans we make mistakes.”
“At a point I resigned as Education Minister because there was mesh of sagas engulfing some of my actions when I was AG. They made it untenable for me to continue.”
Asked whether she was asked to resign she said “I was not asked to resign” but later said “I won’t say yes or no.”
“It was agreed that I should step aside to enable me see the way forward in clearing out some of the sagas and I think I did that.”
“I am competent enough to take responsibility for my own action in certain context,” she added.