New Dimension In GYEEDA Trial

An interesting dimension to the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA rot trial emerged Wednesday when, Mr Raymond Bagnabu, counsel for one of the accused persons, produced documents that sought to absolve his client from any wrongdoing.

The state has accused a representative of Goodwill International Ghana (GIG), Philip Akpeena Assibit, of putting in false claims that he had secured a $65-million World Bank funding for the creation of one million jobs for the youth, that claim resulting in the government parting with GH¢4.1 million.

But at the sitting of the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court in Accra, counsel for Assibit, Mr Bagnabu, brought out documents which revealed that two government officials had, indeed, publicly acknowledged that the World Bank had given $65-million support to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) to create employment for the youth.

Counsel specifically cited a former Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Clement Humado, as holding a press conference in 2011, to announce the said $65-million support from the World Bank.

He also brought out documents which he said proved that a former Greater Accra Regional Co-ordinator of GYEEDA, Mr Solomon Nii Afutu-Quartey, had informed the Ghana News Agency (GNA) that the $65-million World Bank facility was available.

Mr Bagnabu questioned the first prosecution witness, Mr Nuru Hamidan, as to whether or not he was aware of the declarations by the two officials, but witness said he was not.

Assibit and a former National Co-ordinator of GYEEDA, Abuga Pele, have been accused of committing acts that led to the loss of GH¢4.1 million to the state.

Pele is alleged to have entered into a contract with Assibit to engage in activities which have injured the state financially.

Pele has pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property and five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

Assibit, on the other hand, has also pleaded not guilty to six counts of defrauding by false pretences and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property.

Answering questions under cross-examination from Mr Bagnabu, the witness, who is also the Municipal Chief Executive for Asokore Mampong in the Ashanti Region, denied being the signatory to one of the documents on the one-million job creation project which had the title, “Terms of Work”.

Counsel: You actually signed for the NYEP.

Witness: My Lord, it is not correct.

Counsel: Pursuant to the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU), the terms and reference were signed by you.

Witness: My Lord, that is absolutely incorrect.

Counsel then asked the witness if he was aware that Assibit facilitated the sending of a proposal to the World Bank, but he replied in the negative.

Asked in what capacity did he and others meet the then Vice-President John Dramani Mahama, over the project, the witness said he had been present at the meeting because of an invitation extended to him by Pele.

He said he was not aware that Assibit was engaged by GYEEDA after he had submitted proposals to that effect and added that all he was aware of was a bulky document on the project which was sent to now President Mahama.

Questioned if he knew Assibit’s proposal contained a concept paper and a budget, witness explained that he was not present when those documents were submitted.
World Bank requirements

According to Mr Hamidan, the World Bank said a legal framework, a new tracer study and an operational manual needed to be put in place, among others, before it could give out the facility.

He said he was unaware GIG and the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) facilitated the $65-million World Bank facility.

Earlier in his evidence-in-chief, Mr Hamidan had indicated that the World Bank had requested for appraisal studies on the project and later requested for a tracer study after it had emerged that Assibit had not included an exit plan for potential beneficiaries of the project.

The witness further indicated that he had not been involved in the screening, selection and award of contract for the project but nonetheless witnessed the signing of the MoU between GIG and GYEEDA.

He said a proposal to use Wescap as the firm to raise funds for the project was shelved because of expectations for the World Bank facility.

Hearing continues today.