The trial of Abuga Pele, NDC MP for Chiana Paga and his co-accused, Philip Akpeena Assibit, in the infamous GYEEDA scandal, could not be heard yesterday due to the ongoing strike by state attorneys at the Attorney General’s (AG’s) Department.
Assibit, the CEO of Goodwill International Ghana (GIG), was supposed to open his defence after their respective submission of no case applications were dismissed by the court, but the case had to be adjourned until July 31.
When the case was called yesterday, Raymond Bagnabu, counsel for Assibit, indicated to the court that he had filed a motion on notice for stay pending appeal against the court’s decision to ask his client to open his defence; and as a result, wanted the court to stay proceedings to enable them go to the Court of Appeal.
Justice Afia Serwah Asare Botwe, presiding, said she did not have the jurisdiction to stay proceedings since it was the responsibility of a higher court to make such pronouncement.
The judge then asked counsel for the accused to return to court on July 31 for a new date, and Mr. Bagnabu later said the notice of appeal had been fixed for July 29 at the Court of Appeal, Criminal Division.
Assibit is averring that the trial judge erred in holding that he should proceed to open his defence because the ruling did not support the evidence adduced at the close of the prosecution’s case.
‘The trial judge erred in law when she applied wrong particulars of fact in coming to her conclusion as regard to count seven,’ he averred adding, ‘The trial judge erred in law when she made certain definite findings of fact even before I had opened my defence.’
He said the testimonies of the prosecution witnesses had been ‘so discredited’ in cross-examination that he could not be asked to open his defence.
Abuga Pele, who was the former National Coordinator of the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) now GYEEDA, is also said to have filed for a stay of proceedings but it was not clear if his notice of appeal was ready.
On the charge sheet presented by the Attorney General’s Department, the two men are facing a total of 19 counts ranging from defrauding by false pretences to willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Assibit alone is charged with six counts of defrauding by false pretences to the tune of $2,028,605.20 and another five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property to the tune of GH¢3,305,568.53.
Abuga Pele, the second accused on the other hand, is charged with two counts of abetment, one count of intentionally misapplying public property and five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, all to the tune of GH¢3,305,568.53.
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