Minister sanctioned GYEEDA’s payments to GIG— Witness

HUMADO SPORT MINISTER (2)Mr. Eric Sunu, an Accountant at the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department yesterday, told the Accra Finance and Tax High Court that payment of monies to Goodwill International Group (GIG), and the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI), under the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), were sanctioned by the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Clement Kofi Humado.

He said a total of GH¢4.2 million was paid into the account of MDPI and GIG as work done for the Agency between 2011 and 2012, all of which were approved by the minister.

Answering questions under cross examination by Raymond Bagnabu, counsel for Phillip Assibit, Managing Director of GIG, witness admitted that monies paid to MDPI and GIG were based on work done by the two groups.

He said he and Abuga Pele, then National Co-ordinator of the Agency, signed invoices above GH¢20,000, and forwarded same to the minister for approval.

He also agreed to the assertion by Bagnabu that a pre-auditing department of the Agency was tasked to ensure value for money hence, monies paid to the beneficiaries were on the basis of merit.

Led in evidence by Mrs. Comfort Tasima, a Principal State Attorney, the witness said during his engagement with the Agency in 2009, he prepared payment vouchers and issued cheques to MDPI and GIG.

He told the court presided by Mrs. Efia Asare-Botwe, that GYEEDA operated three different accounts at the Bank of Ghana, Agricultural Development Bank and GT-Bank.

He said Communications Services Tax, Ghana Education Trust Fund, National Health Insurance Levy and the Ministry of Finance were the sources of funding for the Agency.

Asked whether he knew Abuga Pele and Phillip Assibit, Mr. Sunu responded in the affirmative and said, “My Lord, Abuga Pele was my boss but I got to know Assibit when he presented a request for payment of consultancy fees and later made a follow-up with another invoice totalling US$ 2 million”.

The invoice, according to witness, was paid in installments between 2011 and 2012 to the MDPI and GIG.

Asked as to how he prepared the document for Assibit he said: “I was instructed to do payment of invoices submitted with the MDPI letterhead, attached with a memo which instructed that we should pay the money to MDPI”.

Mr. Sunu added that in the course of the processing, Assibit asked that the payment be made to MDPI/GIG.

He submitted that checks by the Agency to ascertain the authenticity of the claim, revealed that both MDPI and GIG did the work together for the invoice presented for payment.

He said in the last quarter of 2014, he was summoned by the Economic and Organised Crime Office to assign reasons for paying monies into a private account meant for Assibit.

“My Lord, that beats my imagination because I knew the monies were paid into the accounts of MDPI and GIG and not a private account,” he said.

On payment and issuance of cheques to beneficiaries, he said, his department received invoices from service providers, and thereafter, forwarded them to the National Co-ordinator before they got to the minister for approval.

He said the work of the Co-ordinator was to write a memo to the minister for approval of monies above GH¢20,000.

Meanwhile, the presiding judge, Mrs. Asare-Botwe, has asked the prosecutors to close their submission by April 3, 2015.

However, the prosecutors have indicated that they would invite two more witnesses to testify before the said date.

The case was adjourned to March 11.

By Malik Sullemana 

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