Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit
The much touted trial of the former National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and Philip Akpeena Assibit has been adjourned until October 6, 2014.
The case could not proceed as scheduled yesterday because the prosecution failed to produce a witness in court.
This is not the first time the prosecution had asked for more time in the case; a similar thing happened even before the cross-examination of Mohammed Pelpuo, head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP who is the PW3, was concluded.
Principal State Attorney Evelyn Keelson told the packed Financial Court presided over by Justice Afia Asare-Botwe that the intended witness was engaged in another assignment.
‘We were supposed to call our next witness but unfortunately, he is engaged in another assignment,’ she explained.
She said the witness’ notice to the AG’s Department was ‘so short’ that the prosecution was unable to get a replacement.
Uncharacteristic of a criminal trial, the court had no option than to grant a long adjournment, taking into consideration the impending legal vacation which commences in August and ends in October.
Incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiana-Paga, Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Goodwill International Group (GIG) are standing trial for the various roles they played, which the Attorney General’s Department said caused huge financial loss to the state.
Until last year, Abuga Pele was the National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), now GYEEDA.
He 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.
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.
Immediately the case was adjourned, Raymond Bagnabu, counsel for Assibit asked the court to order the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to release his client’s vehicles.
‘Even though we have satisfied the bail conditions, EOCO is keeping my client’s vehicles. We have complained severally but they don’t seem to hear our case.’
The judge asked counsel to do the formal thing by filing an application saying ‘you know what to dodon’t come with an oral application.’
By William Yaw Owusu
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