abuga assibit

Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit

Nuru Hamidan, the first Prosecution Witness (PW1) in the infamous Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) trial, yesterday, ended his evidence at a Financial Court in Accra.

Incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiana-Paga, Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit, Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group (GIG), are currently on trial for their various roles which the Attorney General?s Department says had caused huge financial loss to the state.

Until last year, Abuga Pele was the National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), now the GYEEDA and 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.

Long Adjournment

At the last adjourned date, the court presided over by Justice Afia Asare-Botwe had agreed with the prosecution and defence teams to use two days to conclude evidence from Alhaji Hamidan who was once GYEEDA Deputy Coordinator in charge of Operations and later Administration and currently the Municipal Chief Executive at Asokore Mampong Assembly in the Ashanti Region before the Easter break.

However, the swiftness with which Thaddeus Sory representing Abuga Pele concluded the cross-examination of Alhaji Hamidan, coupled with the fact that the next witness was not readily available to the prosecution, compelled the court to adjourn proceedings until May 5 through to May 9, 2014 to enable both camps to prepare adequately.

Cross-Examination

In the cross-examination, Alhaji Hamidan admitted he was once in charge of modules implementation at GYEEDA but insisted that there was a team of monitors who reported the progress of work to the National Coordinator.

He told the court that when Assibit presented a document containing how the GIG was going to help to create more jobs for the youth, they were all impressed.

?We all said ?wow! This is a brilliant idea?,? he told the court.

He said proposals from service providers were always addressed to the sector minister copied to GYYEDA and until the minister approved it GYEEDA could not put it into effect.

?It cannot be accepted unless the minister certifies it. If the minister is satisfied, it is then minuted to GYEEDA,? he added.

Alhaji Hamidan insisted that the idea that the World Bank  was going to support GYEEDA projects did not come from Assibit and his GIG, saying that ?in the MoU NYEP signed with them, West Cap was to provide the funds.?

He also said he was not in charge of documentation of the World Bank project and added that there was a desk specifically set up for that job.

He said he became associated with the case when the Economic and Organized Crime Organization (EOCO) first invited him and later asked him to write a statement, which he did.

Charges

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.

 By William Yaw Owusu

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