Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, March 18, 2015
A controversial document yesterday truncated the trial of Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) now GYEEDA and Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG) who are charged for their roles in the infamous GYEEDA scandal.
It also emerged at the trial that investigations found that over $2million were first paid for supposed service rendered by Assibi’t GIG and another over GH¢8 million also paid for oil and gas training run by GIG.
The Attorney General’s Department was trying to tender in evidence a document titled: Terms of work, which they said Assibit had presented to the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) during investigations to justify the payment of huge sums to the accused.
The defense teams took turns to raise vehement objection to the tendering of the document and Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, trying the case, said she needed to give a long ruling on whether or not to accept the prosecution’s document and subsequently adjourned proceedings until today.
Mrs Diana Adu Anane, a deputy investigator at EOCO had mounted the witness’ box as the seventh Prosecution Witness (PW7) and was being led in evidence by Mrs. Evelyn Keelson, a Chief State Attorney when the authenticity of the document halted the trial.
According to the witness, Assibit had presented to EOCO a photocopy of the Terms of work document which she said was supposed to be the working document of the MoU signed between NYEP and Assibit’s GIG but added that “we concluded that it was an after-thought.”
She told the packed court that the document was found to be a creation of Assibit’s and said the MoU was just to make GIG strategic partners.
“The terms on his document contradicted what was on the original MoU between the NYEP and GIG with West Capital Limited,” the witness said.
When the prosecutor sought to tender Assibit’s document in evidence, the accused counsel Raymond Bagnabu objected saying “this is not the document A1 (Assibit) submitted to EOCO.”
“It is a creation of witness who has simply removed the signature page of the MoU and attached to this (Terms of work) document,” counsel claimed, adding that once EOCO is an institution of record. Assibit would have been made to initial the document as coming from the accused.
Karl Adongo, representing Abuga Pele also objected saying “the last page of the document belongs to a different distinct document.”
He said that all the documents tendered by the prosecution had been signed but the instant document was not endorsed saying “this page is contrived with the ultimate aim to do our clients in and we will resist it with our might and strength.”
He said Abuga Pele had denied ever signing any document at EOCO and added that “the last page before the signature page is 11 and logically it should follow with 12 but the signature page as we have it is 5.”
Replying, the prosecutor said “nobody said his client signed any document. The investigator testified and laid enough foundation as to how they came by the document.”
She said it was Assibit himself who made a reference to the Terms of work in his demand letter and when EOCO asked him to submit it, he brought the document in contention.
“The signature page which is the MoU has been detached and attached to the document A1 brought as Terms of Work. It is the duty of the investigator to make this known to the court and it should be admitted so that if counsel have anything, they can ask during cross-examination,” she told the court.
Assibit and Abuga Pele roles
Commencing her evidence-in-chief, Mrs. Adu Anane told the court that it was a joint team of police and EOCO officers that investigated the matter and found out that the two payments were made to Assibit’s GIG, saying “they were distinct and separate payments.”
She said they found a letter written by Assibit on Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) letterhead and the accused had described himself as a Managing Consultant but when they investigated, they realised it was a false representation.
She said Assibit’s letter had stated that the supposed service was rendered with MDPI and that the work was 70 percent complete and that he (Assibit) had pre-financed it.
The investigator also told the court that Abuga Pele wrote to then Minister of Youth and Sports Clement Kofi Humado to justify the terms and recommended payment for work done by Assibit.
She also said that there was no consultancy agreement between GIG and MDPI in July, 2009 for which Abuga Pele recommended payment and said rather the agreement was between MDPI and Goodwill Solutions Associates Africa represented by Assibit.
The witness further said the 2010 agreement was between GIG and MDPI and another agreement in 2011 with GIG for Exit Strategies for GYEEDA beneficiaries which was duly signed but said it was never operational because it was dependent on the $65million World Bank loan which is yet to arrive.