Pele, Assibit conviction ‘injustice’ – Witness
Jacob Adongo, the Director for Gender and Disability at the Youth Employment Agency (YEA) has accused the trial judge who convicted Abuga Pele, a former National Coordinator of the defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) of failing “to evaluate the compelling evidence presented by the defense team before arriving at such damning conclusions leading to the conviction”.
Mr Pele, together with Mr Philip Akpeena Assibit, a representative of the Goodwill International Group (GIG) were cited for certain infractions in relation to the GHS4.1 million GYEEDA scandal.
The two were sentenced to a combined 18-year prison sentence after being found guilty of willfully causing financial loss.
However, Mr Adongo, a principal witness to the case, has described the ruling by the Accra High Court as misleading.
He said he took part in the supervision and training of the 250 beneficiaries to conduct a tracer studies upon request from the World Bank and therefore, the conclusion of the trial judge that, GIG did not produce any exit plan for the defunct NYEP cannot hold.
He stated that GIG developed an exit plan and subsequently launched it at the Alisa Hotel.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on 28 February 2018, Mr Adongo stressed that what baffles him is the unwillingness of the prosecution team to call certain people who played crucial roles in the approval of the expenditure that was disbursed by the NYEP for a period of 3 years.
Below is the full statement:
My attention has been drawn to the judgement delivered by Justice Afia Asare -Botwe of the Accra Fast Track High Court convicting the CEO of Goodwill International Group and the Formal National Coordinator of the NYEP Hon Abuga Pele in the GYEEDA scandal. For purposes of the record, the trial judge failed to evaluate the compelling evidence presented by the defense team before arriving at such damning conclusions leading to the conviction.
If the judge was minded of the evidence before her, she would have noticed that US$5million was being expended on preparatory activities including the trip to Latin American which had government officials travel there to under study 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.
This delegation was led by Hon. Elvis Afriyie Ankrah then Deputy Minister for Local Government and Rural Development. There were several mission meetings between the World Bank and the NYEP and a tracer study conducted by GIG upon request by the World Bank. All these facts were not disputed during cross examinations. What is most 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. Per the evidence on record, it was Mr Adongo Atule Jecob and one Gloria Adusei that made various follow ups to the office of the then Deputy Attorney Generals, Honorable Barton Oduro till the agreement was released and signed in the office of the then Minister of Youth and Sport Kofi Humidor. So how can a seating judge misrepresent a witness in the way she did.
For the learned judge to prefer an opinion to the effect that no work was done by GIG is not only miss leading but a total fabrication of the facts that were presented before her by various witnesses.
I, Mr. Adongo Atule Jecob 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 a 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 lunched at Alisa Hotel and could not be refuted by the prosecution team.
Honorable Akua Sena Dansoa then Minister of Youth and Sport attended and spoke on behalf of the Vice President. Why didn’t the prosecution team confront me during crossed examinations, only for the judge to come to such conclusions that there was no exit plan developed by GIG.
What beats my imagination is why the prosecution team didn’t bring certain persons who played crucial roles in the approval of the expenditure that was disbursed by the NYEP over a period of 3 years for work done by the GIG for the NYEP. How the Internal Auditor of the Ministry of Youth and Sport who at all material times audited all the payment to GIG was not hauled before the court to explain why he approved the payment and why the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sport was also not brought before the judge is certainly unexplainable , therefore the learned judge should have taken into consideration the ruling of justices Ajet Nasam who contended that in the case of Woyome verses the State, certain crucial witnesses should have been brought before the court for various roles they played in the payment of the money to Woyome.
In conclusion, I particularly want everyone who believe in justice to look at the following:
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.
If GIG thinks their farms were not properly used, then GIG can hold Assibit. Again, If MDPI thinks they were not paid for the support they gave GIG in the work, they can hold GIG.
Evidence in court is clear that Gariba as well as his predecessors were fully part of GIG work on the consultancy to NYEP. It is therefore shocking to hear the judge making reference to mere lies by Gariba that he and MDPI were not part, when documents and witnessed testimonies show that he was part of GIG/ MDPI team at the exit plan launch and he was the YEDP steering committee member among others.
Before anyone makes any comment, he/she must go for the proceedings and submissions by all parties on this matter to read before wrongly and falsely saying anything against the working young man, Assibit.
I am surprised by some lies and blackmailing comments by some communicators. Those communicators including others who claim to be off anti-corruption outfits pretend to be pushing anti-corruption gender.
If you read the submission of Philip Assibit’s lawyers, you will find all the facts referenced to the facts and the proceedings.
But check the issues used by the prosecution and not facts from proceedings. They are not reflecting the testimonies and submissions by any of their seven witnesses in this case. They are not also any of the facts in the defense witnesses’ case.
And generally, the prosecution had completely moved out of the charges.
Please before any politician go on TV to talk anyhow about this matter they need to get the ruling checked with the proceedings including submissions by all parties and charges they prosecuted. You will see that some grant scheme of powers network that created these lies on Philips and Pele and use a dishonestly 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.
This ruling was just a delivery of gross injustice to punish innocent people even after proceedings proofed them innocent.
Adongo Atule Jacob
Youth Employment Agency
Director, Gender and Disability