General News of Saturday, 25 January 2014
The Presidency has denied claims that former National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) Coordinator, Abuga Pele, is being used as a scapegoat in the corruption controversy that has bedeviled the programme.
Mr Pele and the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group Philip Akpeena Assibit are standing trial at the fast track high court on 19 criminal charges related to fraudulent contracts awarded to some private firms by the programme.
Now christened Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), the NYEP, which was designed to absorb teeming unemployment youth with temporary jobs, has been fraught with unbridled corruption.
Most of the contracts signed between GYEEDA and some private firms were recently cancelled by the Government.
Some of the firms have also been ordered to refund Ghc55 million to the state.
The Chairman of the main opposition New Patriotic Party, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey has applauded the move to prosecute the former NYEP Coordinator but said Mr Pele must not be used as a scapegoat.
Presidential Staffer Dr Clement Apaak told Strict Proof on Radio XYZ that: “…To say that Abuga Pele and co are being used as sacrificial lambs quite clearly can’t be given any authenticity until they come forward with information to suggest and support why such claims are being made”.
He said: “Quite clearly the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) and the Attorney General’s Department have together looked at this and identified the individuals that they feel and believe that based on the evidence, should be brought forward for querying including prosecution; and Abuga Pele and others who are now before court, quite clearly will have the opportunity to present their side of the story”.