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General News of Thursday, 1 March 2018


Jailing of Abuga Pele, Assibit: There are ‘bigger fishes’ - YEA Director

The Director of Gender and Disability at the Youth Employment Agency (YEA), Mr Jacob Atule Adongo has said jailed Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit were sacrificed at the expense of other bigger fishes.

Addressing a press conference in Accra yesterday, Mr Adongo, who was one of the key defense witnesses for Assibit, said the two convicts were persecuted instead of being prosecuted.

He said there were bigger fishes like Zoomlion Ghana Limited, AGAMS group and Better Ghana Management Service Limited who have all led the state into incurring more financial loss and have been left off.

He said, “you will see some grand schemes of powers network that created these lies on Philip and Pele and used a dishonest fraudulent judicial process to convict them. If the Appeal does not succeed, I will by then confirm that we don’t have justice in Ghana and no one could depend on the judiciary for justice any longer.

“The ruling was just a delivery of gross injustice to punish innocent people even after proceedings proofed them innocent.”

Mr Pele, a former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Authority and the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group (GIG), Mr Assibit were both sentenced to a total of 18 years for causing financial loss to the State to the tune of GH¢ 3.3 million.

Reacting to the sentence, Mr Adongo said, “the trial judge failed to evaluate the compelling evidence presented by the defense team before arriving at such damming conclusions leading to the conviction.

“If the judge was minded of the evidence before her, she would have noticed that US$ 5 million was being expended on preparatory activities including the trip to Latin American which had government officials travel there to understudy a similar project sponsored by the World Bank to replicate same in Ghana while the US$ 60 million was to be used for the main project implementation as has been captured in the project appraisal document presented in evidence to the court.”

Undisputed facts

The Director of Gender and Disability said, “all these facts were not disputed during cross-examinations.

“What is fascinating about the judgement is the fact that the judge in her ruling stated that Hon Abuga Pele claimed to have followed Hon Barton Oduro to secure an agreement from the Attorney Generals Department on the contract between NYEP and GIG.

He said, “per the evidence on record, it was Mr Adongo Atule Jacob and one Gloria Adusei who made various follow ups to the office of the then Deputy Attorney General, Honorable Barton Oduro till the agreement was released and signed in the office of the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Kofi Humidor.”

Judge misrepresents a witness

Mr Adongo stated that, for the learned judge to prefer an opinion to the effect that no work was done by GIG is not only misleading, but a total fabrication of the facts that were presented before her by various witnesses.

“I, Mr Adongo Atule Jacob under oath without being challenged by the prosecution team stated that, I took part in supervising the training of 250 beneficiaries to assist us conduct tracer studies upon request from the World Bank. I was in Northern Ghana for the supervision.

“The fact that the judge concluded that the GIG did not produce any exit plan for the NYEP cannot be the case per the evidence before her. Indeed, GIG developed an exit plan that was launched at Alisa Hotel and could not be refuted by the prosecution team.

“The honourable Akua Sena Dansoa then Minister of Youth and Sports attended and spoke on behalf of the Vice President. Why didn’t the prosecution team confront me during cross-examination, only for the judge to come to such conclusions that there was no exit plan developed by GIG?”

Deal with GIG

He said, that “per the evidence adduced and the facts I presented to the court, the transactions were between GIG and NYEP, so Assibit can’t be held for anything,” adding that, “If GIG thinks their farms were properly used, then GIG can hold Assibit.”