Abega Pele and Assibit
A Witness in the ongoing national youth employment Programme (NYEP) trial has admitted that its former national Coordinator, Abuga Pele, did not sign for money used to conduct feasibility studies.
The Accra Financial Court, presided over by Justice Afia Asare- Botwe, heard on Thursday how a whopping GH¢59,000 was spent on feasibility studies at the NYEP and how Abuga Pele’s co-accused, Phillip Akpeena Assibit, collected GH¢53,000 out of the amount for the study as consultant.
Abuga Pele, who is the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiana-Paga and Mr. Assibit, Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group (GIG), are standing trial for their various roles, which the Attorney General’s Department says, had cost huge financial loss to the state.
The MP is accused of willfully 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 willfully 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, is also 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).
The witness, Mohammed Pelpuo, Head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP – now Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) – told the court under cross-examination by Nuella Seidu, counsel for Abuga Pele, that the decision to conduct the feasibility studies was a collective one from the management of NYEP.
Even though he said he was not part of the meeting that had asked for the feasibility studies, the minutes of the meeting clearly showed that Abuga Pele as the Coordinator, could not have taken the decision alone.
He agreed with counsel that ‘it was not a personal decision of A2 (Abuga Pele) to conduct the feasibility studies,’ and also agreed with counsel that ‘it was a collective decision at the management level.’
He said Abuga Pele did not sign any portion of the documents used to collect the money from the NYEP accounts and also agreed with counsel that the MP did not collect any of the amount.
Mohammed Pelpuo pointed out that it was Abuga Pele who handed him (witness) some documents including the minutes, and was asked to prepare a voucher for the amount to be released.
Earlier, Raymond Bagnabu, counsel for Assibit, had concluded the cross-examination of Mr. Pelpuo where he (Pelpuo) had admitted that all tasks assigned Assibit by the NYEP were performed.
He said the NYEP opened an office for Project Resource Mobilization and Assibit at Labone, Accra and his GIG were given an office over there.
By William yaw Owusu
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