Wednesday, February 25, 2015

‘I was surprised cheques were paid to Assibit’

Mr. Abuga Pele
An Accounts Officer attached to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) office yesterday told the Financial Division of the High Court that he processed six different cheques totalling GH¢4.1 million for payment to two entities and an individual.

Mr Eric Sunu, a staff member of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department (CAGD), told the court that he processed the cheques for payment to the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) and Goodwill International Group (GIG) after his bosses had given their approval.
He was testifying as the fourth prosecution witness in the GH¢4.1 million GYEEDA trial, in which a former National Co-ordinator of the agency, Abuga Pele, and a representative of the GIG, Philip Akpeena Assibit, are facing various charges of causing financial loss of GH¢4.1 million to the state.
Mr Sunu gave a breakdown of the payment as follows: May 10, 2011 – GH¢826,153.64; December 12, 2011 – GH¢804,000; February 14, 2012 – GH¢760,500; May 14, 201 2 – GH¢451,957.44; May 16, 2012, GH¢451,957.45 and September 10, 2012 – GH¢835,000.
The witness explained that five of the cheques were issued in the name of MDPI/GIG, while the sixth cheque for GH¢835,000 was issued in the name of Assibit for conducting tracer studies.
Led by a Principal State Attorney, Ms Comfort Tasiameh to give his evidence-in-chief at the court’s sitting in Accra, the witness said he was queried during investigations as to why payments were made to Mr Assibit’s personal account.
He expressed surprise at the turn of events and told investigators the cheques were issued in the name of MDPI/GIG.

Pele’s threshold

The witness said he and Mr Pele signed the cheques after the then Minister of Youth and Sports, Mr Clement Humado, had given approval for payment.
He explained that Mr Pele could not sign a cheque worth more than GH¢20,000 without seeking approval from the minister.
Mr Sunu said Mr Assibit usually picked up the cheques on behalf of the MDPI/GIG after they had been issued.
According to the witness, the memos attached to invoices submitted by MDPI/GIG instructed that the money should be paid to MDPI, but Mr Assibit later explained the work had been performed by MDPI/GIG.
He said after the clarification, the ministry reverted and said the work had been performed by the two bodies resulting in the issuance of the cheques in their names.
The witness has since been discharged. Hearing continues on March 11, 2015.

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