Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, April 21, 2015
After about a year of proceedings, the prosecution in the trial of Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) now Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) has finally closed its case.
It is now left with Abuga Pele who doubles as NDC MP for Chiana Paga in the Upper East Region and his co-accused Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG) to open their defense.
However, both defense counsel indicated their intentions to file a submission of no case immediately Mrs Evelyn Keelson a Chief State Attorney announced at the Accra Financial Court yesterday that the prosecution had concluded its case.
Raymond Bagnabu, representing Assibit told Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe trying the case that “we are desirous of putting in a ‘submission of no case’ for Mr. Assibit.”
Karl Adongo who is counsel for Abuga Pele also added “It is the same with us. We believe no case has been established by the prosecution so far.”
The court then set the timelines for both teams to file the necessary processes by May 15 for the defense and June 5 for the prosecution before adjourning the case until June 19 for ruling.
The prosecution was able to call a total of 7 witnesses including Mrs Diana Adu Anane, an investigator at Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) who was the last witness to be cross-examined.
Nuru Hamidan former NYEP Deputy National Coordinator in charge of Operations and now MCE for Asokore Mampong, Gladys Ghartey current Head of United Nations Systems at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Mohammed Pelpuo, Head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP as well as Clement Kofi Humado, former Minister of Youth and Sports whom the defense team insisted should have also been on trial, have since testified and cross-examined.
Dr. Shaibu Ahmed Gariba, who until September 2014 was the Director General of Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) as Eric Sunu, an Accountant attached to the GYEEDA have also testified and cross-examined.
Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit are standing trial for the various roles they played, 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.
The two have pleaded not guilty and are currently on bail. They were present in court yesterday.
The NDC MP is facing six counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state under Section 179A (3) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29, two counts of abetment under Sections 20(1) and 131(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and one count of intentionally misapplying public property, contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.
Mr. Assibit, who is the first accused person on the other hand, is facing six counts of defrauding by false pretences, contrary to Section 131(1) of the Criminal and Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property contrary to Section 2(1) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.
Mrs Adu Anane before exiting the witness’ box told the court under cross-examination by Mr. Adongo that the GYEEDA investigations were ongoing but the aspect involving the NDC MP and Assibit was completed.
She said Mr. Humado approved the payment based on the justification memo sent by Abuga Pele after the demand letter by Assibit’s GIG.
She admitted that Abuga Pele did not have the responsibility to approve payment beyond GH¢20,000 and said that responsibility rested on the sector ministry and the directors but insisted that “the minister approved the payment based on the justification by Abuga Pele.”
The investigator also said GYEEDA did not have internal audit office and that it used the ministry’s outfit for the pre-auditing of authority’s finances and said it was because Mr. Humado was not sure about the work done by Assibit that he recommended payment to be made into the accounts of MDPI instead of GIG.
When counsel put it to her that it was wrong for Mr. Humado to recommend payment to MDPI which the prosecution said had no contract with GYEEDA and had not done any work instead of GIG, she said the recommendation letters had said the work was done by MDPI/GIG consortium.