A prosecution witness in the GYEEDA trial yesterday told the Financial Division of the High Court that GH¢53,000 was paid to one of the accused persons for consultancy services.
According to the witness, the money was released from the account of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), currently known as GYEEDA, and paid to Philip Akpeena Assibit.
Mr Mohammed Pelpuo, a former Deputy National Co-ordinator of the NYEP, said the amount was part of a GH¢59,000 budget approved for the collection of data for an operational manual, including a tracer report requested by the World Bank.
He said the management of the NYEP paid the money to Assibit, the Chief Executive of Goodwill International Group, after “he had told us that he had already pre-financed the survey and had collected some of the data meant for the survey”.
Witness told the court, presided over by Mrs Justice Afia Asare Botwe, that he and some 250 personnel of the NYEP who were engaged for the study also collected a little over GH¢6,000.
Assibit is standing trial with Abuga Pele, a former National Coordinator of the NYEP.
The two are accused of willfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.
They have both pleaded not guilty and are currently on bail.
Abuga Pele, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiana-Paga, is facing six counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment and intentionally misapplying public property.
Assibit, on the other hand, is answering 11 counts of defrauding by false pretences and dishonestly causing loss to public property.
Led in evidence by Mrs Marina Appiah-Opare, a Principal State Attorney, Mr Pelpuo said the management of the NYEP, at one of its meetings to plan for the feasibility study requested by the World Bank, recommended that a budget of GH¢104,000 be allocated for the project.
“However, the auditor of the organisation approved only GH¢59,000, for which I signed the payment voucher prepared in my name in the presence of Mr Assibit,” he said.
He added that his boss, Mr Pele, had, in 2010, introduced Assibit as a consultant who would help the NYEP to develop sustainable job plans and outsource for funding.
“The project was to target young graduates to take up entrepreneurship, instead of seeking job placement,” he said.
He said Mr Pele directed him to work with Assibit, with whom the management of the NYEP subsequently signed a memorandum of understanding.
“We, however, later had to abandon the agreement when Abuga Pele, in a meeting, informed us that the government had intimated that it was in the process of securing a $64-million World Bank facility to accomplish the same purpose,” he said.
The court adjourned the case to today to allow defence counsel to cross-examine Pelpuo.