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General News of Saturday, 24 February 2018


TRENDING GH: 'It's too lenient' - Ghanaians react to Abuga Pele, Assibit's jail sentence

A Financial Division of Accra High Court on Friday, February, 23, 2018, sentenced former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Abuga Pele, and Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group (GIG, Philip Assibit, to a total of 18 years in prison.

Twenty-four hours later, Ghana Web TV hit the streets to find out the take of Ghanaians on the sentence. Majority described the sentence as too soft therefore called for a harsher sentence for the two.

One Mallam who intimated about corruption said, “Nobody should allow corruption to dominate our system. We are the masses who pay tax so we should not allow ourselves to be taken advantage of.”

According to one blogger, he was hurt and disappointed in those convicted. He therefore appealed for a harder jail term saying : “They should be brought back to court for a hundred-year jail term in order for them not to repeat such acts…Because some think they are educated, they can forge things with pen and paper. Since they did not like their freedom, they should stay in jail.”

Angry at Aguba for appealing, one food vendor chided: “He knew he had children yet he went ahead to steal the money. You have children and so what? The court must even count the number of children he has and multiply it by the sentence.”

She also cautioned young politicians who involve themselves in such acts to be watchful of their ways else the same will happen to them.

Meanwhile a civil servant commended the government for such a ruling and advised newly-appointed Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu to jail all corrupt officials despite their party affiliations. He added that, “Even if that person is his father or mother, he should jail them….They should be given twenty years each. They disrespect us. If they think about us, they would not do what they did.”

“It serves them right. This will serve as a deterrent for the rest. Next time, they will think twice before committing such crimes,” a taxi-driver added.

GYEEDA scandal

Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit, stood trial for committing acts that led to the loss of GH¢4.1 million to the state.

Assibit pleaded not guilty to six counts of defrauding by false pretence and six counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property, while Pele also pleaded not guilty to five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state, abetment of crime and intentionally misapplying public property.

The prosecution claimed that Pele, who was the National Coordinator of the agency when it was known as National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), entered into a contract with Assibit to engage in activities which did not inure to the benefit of the state.

The facts of the case, per the prosecution, are that in 2010, Pele entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the GIG, represented by Assibit, without any “recourse to the then sector Minister of Youth and Sports, Akua Sena Dansua, or the Attorney General’’.

Between May 2011 and May 2012, the prosecution said, Assibit made a number of payment claims for consultancy services ranging from “the provision of exit programmes for the NYEP to the provision of financial engineering services’’.

Assibit, the prosecution said, claimed his services led to the NYEP securing a World Bank facility of $65 million and also helped the agency to recruit 250 youth to support the implementation of what was known as the Youth Enterprises Development Programme.

The prosecution added that in August 2012, investigations revealed that Assibit was paid an additional “GH¢835,000 under the guise of what was referred to as tracer studies for the World Bank.”

Abuga Pele, a former Member of Parliament for Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region, had always stated that he was only used as scapegoat by the previous NDC government, whiles the real culprits were made to walk free.