Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, April 16, 2015
A lawyer in the infamous Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) scandal trial has accused the Attorney General of mounting a prosecution driven by ethnocentricity.
According to Joseph Kpemka the prosecution of Former Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme now GYEEDA Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG) was ethnically motivated.
Concluding the cross-examination of Mrs Diana Adu Anane who is an investigator at Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO), Mr. Kpemka a former DCE in the Mills administration told Justice Afia Serwaa Asare Botwe trying the case that the team composed by the government to investigate the GYEEDA issues were all from the Volta Region and the team had targeted his client Assibit who is of northern extraction.
Abuga Pele who is the current NDC MP for Chiana Paga in the Upper West Region with Assibit are in court for the various roles they played at GYEEDA, which the Attorney General’s Department said caused huge financial loss to the state.
The MP is accused of wilfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.53 while Assibit is being tried for defrauding the state of an amount equivalent to $1,948,626.68.
“This was a grand ethnic conspiracy by top EOCO officials to witchunt Assibit,” Mr Kpemka said at the trial which took virtually the whole day.
He started by asking the investigator to mention the names of the members of the investigative team and when the judge asked counsel what he sought to achieve with that, Mr. Kpemka said “I am trying to build a foundation to make a case.”
The investigator then mentioned all the names of all the members and some of the witnesses including Clement Kofi Humado, then Minister of Youth and Sports who was used as witness and it turned out that all the investigators apart from Mrs Adu Anane who is from the Ashanti Region all hailed from the Volta Region.
Chief State Attorney Marina Appiah Opare, who was prosecuting the case objected vehemently to the line of questioning by the defence counsel and said it had no relevance to the instant case but Mr. Kpemka insisted that it was a grand conspiracy against some people from the north including his client.
The judge was initially uncomfortable with the line of questioning but later said “I’ll allow it for what it is worth. I don’t want you to say I gagged you.”
According to Mr. Kpemka it was clear from the evidence adduced that some officers from the Volta Region including Mr. Humado who should have been on trial for their roles in the whole GYEEDA scandal were left ‘off the hook’ and Assibit and Abuga Pele who are not from the Volta Region targeted.
The investigator dismissed the ethnicity claim and told the court that after a thorough investigation the AG advised that the two be charged and that was what they had done.
Counsel also told the court the investigator herself benefitted from the government’s oil and gas training programme for which Assibit’s GIG organized and she admitted but insisted that the oil and gas issue was not the subject-matter of the instant case.
Earlier, the investigator told the court that she doubted President John Mahama’s statement that the government had secured $65million facility from the World Bank for Youth Entrepreneurship and Skills Development to be facilitated by GYEEDA.
According to the witness, the World Bank wrote on the request of the EOCO to tell them that Ghana had not even completed the first (out of four) preparatory stage needed to access the facility.
Then Vice President now President Mahama reportedly told announced that the government secured the facility and it is the prosecution’s case that Abuga Pele sent a memo to Mr. Humado asking for approval of payment for work supposedly done by Assibit’s GIG on the World Bank facility which had been ‘secured’.
As a result, the prosecution said Assibit was paid $2million which represented 3% of the $65million (after initially asking for 15%) but the facility is yet to be accessed and that Assibit never did any work.
Later, Karl Adongo representing Abuga Pele also cross-examined the witness who admitted that some of the things counsel asked for were not in the investigator’s diary of action but added that she had all the statements they took from witnesses were available.