No Witness At Abuga Pele Trial


Abuga Pele
The much-touted trial of Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), now GYEEDA, and Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG), could not proceed as scheduled yesterday because the prosecution failed to bring a witness to the court.

As a result, the trial judge, Justice Afia Asare-Botwe, had to adjourn proceedings to Tuesday November 18 and Wednesday November 19, for the fifth prosecution witness (PW5) to testify.

It was about the sixth time the trial of the former NYEP Coordinator, who is also the incumbent NDC MP for Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region, and his co-accused, Assibit, had been adjourned.

So far Nuru Hamidan, former NYEP Deputy National Coordinator in charge of Operations and now MCE for Asokore Mampong; Gladys Ghartey, current Head of United Nations Systems at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Mohammed Pelpuo, Head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP as well as Clement Kofi Humado, former Minister of Youth and Sports, have testified and cross-examined.

Apart from occasions when the prosecution could not produce witnesses in court, forcing adjournments, it either there were faulty recording gadgets in the courtroom or one of the lead defence lawyers was said to be indisposed.

 
Prosecution’s request
When the case was called yesterday, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisah a Chief State Attorney assisted by her colleagues Evelyn Keelson and Marina Appiah Opare told the judge that the next witness was sitting for exams.

‘Our next witness at the last minute informed us that he had an exam and could not make it,’ she said before asking for an adjournment.

‘Must you call your case in a particular way? Don’t you have back-up?’ the judge enquired and the prosecutor replied ‘We normally have a back-up but in this particular case the back-up was also unavailable.’

 
Accused persons
Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit are standing trial for the various roles they played, which the Attorney General’s Department said caused huge financial loss to the state.

The MP is accused of wilfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.53 while Assibit is being tried for defrauding the state of an amount equivalent to $1,948,626.68.

The two have pleaded not guilty and are currently on bail. They were present in court yesterday.

 
Charges      
The NDC MP is facing six counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state under Section 179A (3) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 Act 29, two counts of abetment under Sections 20(1) and 131(1) of the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) and one count of intentionally misapplying public property, contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.

Mr. Assibit, who is the first accused person on the other hand, is facing six counts of defrauding by false pretences, contrary to Section 131(1) of the Criminal and Offences Act 1960 (Act 29) and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property contrary to Section 2(1) of the Public Property Protection Act, 1977 (SMCD) 140.

 
By William Yaw Owusu
 
 
 

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