An Accra High Court has convicted the former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency [GYEEDA], Abuga Pele, for willfully causing financial loss to the state.
His accomplice, Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group, Philip Assibit, has also been convicted of defrauding by false pretence and dishonestly causing financial loss.
The duration and other details of the sentence are yet to be announced by the Judge.
This follows years of legal battle where state prosecutors and defense lawyers have been putting forward evidence before the court to advance their claims.
While Abuga Pele had been charged with abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property and willfully causing financial loss to the state, Philip Assibit was facing charges of defrauding by false pretense and dishonestly causing financial loss.
The two men were alleged to have connived to defraud the state of some 4.1 million cedis.
They had pleaded not guilty to the charges leveled against them.
In the case scandal that hit the now Youth Employment Agency (YEA), some companies including Zoomlion Ghana Limited, RLG, Asongtaba Cottage Industry Limited and Better Ghana Management Services Limited among others, were contracted to render services under various modules for the GYEEDA programme.
Following reports of the siphoning of state funds under GYEEDA, the government in 2012 ordered an investigation into its activities and subsequently terminated the contracts with the various companies.
The former GYEEDA National Coordinator, Abuga Pele was also hauled before a court to answer for the reported malfeasance under his tenure.
Abuga Pele has since pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime, intentionally misapplying public property, and five counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state in the ongoing trial.
Mr. Pele, the MP for Chiana Paga in the Upper East Region at the time, said there was a conspiracy to use him as a ‘sacrificial lamb’ for the multi-million cedi corruption scandal, whiles those supposed to have been charged are walking free.
Gov’t blacklists RLG, others
In December 2015, the NDC Government supposedly blacklisted companies indicted in the corruption scandal that hit GYEEDA, which included big names like Zoomlion and RLG.
The announcement was made by the then Minister of Employment and Labour Relations, Haruna Iddrisu. However, the companies said there was no such blacklisting by government.
For many observers, the slow pace of the trial was an indication that the government was not genuinely interested in prosecuting the case, and that they were doing so to protect their people.
Marian Efe Ansah