Pele implicated in $2m payment to Assibit

Abuga Pele at the court premises (14)The investigator in the GhanaYouth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency scandal has made a case of complicity against Mr. Abuga Pele, the then Co-ordinator of the Agency, for justifying the payment of over US$2 million to Mr. Philip Akpeena Assibit, one of the accused, for services not rendered to the state.

Mrs. Dina Adu Anane, a Deputy Staff of the Economic and Organised Crime Office, said Mr. Pele rationalised the payment of the amount to the accused, indicating that the payment represented only three per cent which was four folds lesser than the 15 per cent then being demanded by Assibit as fee for securing 65 million dollars from the World Bank for GYEEDA programmes.

“My Lord, Mr. Pele said in a letter to the then minister of sports that the payment of US$2 million was moderate and reasonable and four times lesser than the 15 per cent as demanded by Assibit,” she stated.

Mrs. Anane said contrary to Assibit’s claim of securing the fund from the World Bank in 2011, EOCO’s investigations in November 2012, revealed that Ghana was then still at the preparatory stages and that no such amount was secured from the Bank by the accused.

“My Lord, the Executive Director of the World Bank, in response to an EOCO letter said the Bank had not released any money and that Ghana was at the preparatory stages,” she emphasised.

She said it was on record that the World Bank did not take kindly to Assibit’s participation in one of its meetings in Accra for the reason that he was the Managing Director of Good International Group, and not a consultant to the World Bank.

She said the Bank rejected an Action Plan Document from Assibit and subsequently re-directed him to its Country Representative at the Ministry of Finance in Accra.

It further emerged during investigations, that Assibit also received GH¢835,000 as payment for tracer studies.

He received another GH¢826,000 in his Zenith and UT Bank accounts, for no service rendered.

She also alleged that Assibit received additional payment for training and recruiting 250 youths for one of the modules although he had earlier been paid for the service.

On the designing of GYEEDA modules, Mrs. Anane said EOCO’s investigations on the claims proved otherwise, stressing that modules like Ghally Wood, ZEERA and others had already been engaged by GYEEDA before Assibit’s deal.

She said further interviews with the service providers revealed that most of them never worked with Assibit.

“My Lord, it was therefore, strange for Philip to claim to be the originator of the strategy. We spoke to the service providers and they responded in the negative”.

Assibit is standing trial for putting in false claims that he had secured a US$65 million World Bank funding for the creation of one million jobs for the youth, resulting in the government parting with GH¢4.1 million for him.

Pele, who is alleged to have acted in a manner resulting in the loss of the amount to the state, has pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime and intentionally misapplying public property and five counts of wilfully causing financial loss to the state.

Assibit has also pleaded not guilty to six counts of defrauding by false pretence and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property.

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