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General News of Friday, 23 February 2018


We’re ready to file appeal against court judgment - Lawyer for Phillip Assibit

Counsel for Philip Assibit has hinted of filling an appeal against the conviction of the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group, Philip Assibit.

According to him, the court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaah Asare Botwe did not give his client, Philip Assibit enough time to confer with his counsel to negotiate payment of the embezzled monies.

Counsel Kwaku Paintsil added that the reason they asked the court to use their discretion in negotiating payment of the embezzled monies was that the five-minute opportunity given to both parties was not enough to have made them come out with a reasonable decision.

He said “the judge herself had indicated that elsewhere time is given to people but only she was not willing to adjourn proceedings. You cannot ask a lawyer to confer with the client in a glare of the court in five minutes and expect us to come out with something reasonable.

With this situation, we found ourselves even if we decided that they were going to refund the entire amount the judge will still go ahead and sentence them”.

In an interview with the press, he stated that they are ready to file an appeal against the conviction of his client as soon as possible.

“I’m acting on my client’s instruction anytime next week the appeal will come up and I can also assure you that it will be coupled with an application for bail pending the determination of the substantive appeal,” he said.

On Friday, February 23, 2018, an Accra High Court presided over by Justice Afia Serwaah Asare Botwe sentenced the former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency [GYEEDA], Abuga Pele, and the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group, Philip Assibit, to a combined jail-term of eighteen years on various counts, including willfully causing financial loss to the state.

Delivering her judgment, Justice Efia Serwaa Botwe said the prosecution provided enough evidence in proving their case. According to the judge the defence and the accused person, on whom a lot burden of proof was laid, failed to prove their innocence in the matter.

Originally, the two were handed jail terms of ten (10) and sixteen (16) respectively. But per the breakdown, Abuga Pele, who was handed a four and six-year sentence on different counts, will have his sentence running concurrently, meaning he will serve six years behind bars.

Assibit, on the other hand, got a sentence of twelve and four years on different counts, but the two will run concurrently, which means he will also serve a jail term of twelve years.


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.