Following the six-year jail term handed out to former National Democratic Congress MP, Abuga Pele, the Bawku Central MP, Mahama Ayariga, has extended his sympathies to his former colleague.
Mr. Ayariga acknowledged his friendship with Abuga Pele, a former MP for Chiana Paga, but said he “respected the conclusions of the court.”
“He is a friend, a colleague. I have known him very well and we have worked together in this house for many years… As a person, I sympathize with him. I sympathize with his family.”
“I wish there was anything I could do alleviate the pain that he would suffer as a result of his conviction and sentence, but I think that as a country, we have to respect the rule of law and uphold the decisions of our courts in matters like this,” Mr. Ayariga added.
NPP must start chasing their own
The Adaklu MP, Kwame Agbodza, also said he supported the rule of law, stressing that “the laws of this country must work.
“We can fight corruption whichever way; whether within or without. I am encouraging the government to also take similar steps to actually arraign their own people that we are accusing of corruption in court. We are challenging them to do same. We have done that,” Mr. Agbodza told Citi News.
Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA), was sentenced alongside the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group, Philip Assibit, to a combined jail-term of 18 years on various counts, including willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Abuga Pele was handed a four and six-year sentence which will run concurrently, meaning he will spend six years behind bars.
Assibit, on the other hand, got sentences of 12 and four years on different counts, also to run concurrently, meaning he will be in jail for twelve years.
The court also ordered the state to recover all assets and money belonging to the state from the convicts.
Delivering her judgment, Justice Efia Serwaa Botwe said the prosecution succeeded in proving their case by producing enough evidence.
She also added that the defence and the accused person, on whom a lot burden of proof was laid, failed to prove their innocence in the matter.
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.