A High Court has convicted a former top government official, Abuga Pele and a private service provider, Philip Assibit, after they were found guilty of 19 counts including dishonestly causing financial loss to the state.
The Court was satisfied that the prosecution had proved 13 of the 19 counts Abuga Pele faced ranging from aiding and abetting crime to willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Some of the counts included intentionally misapplying public property and dishonestly causing loss to public property.
The two have since 2014 been before the court. Mr. Assibit is accused of putting in a false claim for payments to the tune of 3.3million cedis as services provided the then NYEP.
This included developing an exit program and securing a grant of 65million cedis from the World Bank.
Mr Pele is alleged to have entered into the agreement with Mr Assibit and prevailed upon the state to make payments when no work has been done.
Photo: Philip Assibit
Before sentencing, the lawyers pleaded the presiding judge Justice Afia Serwaah Asare Botwe for lenient sentences.
The legal counsel for Phillip Assibit asked for not more than six months. The lawyer, Kwaku Paintsil, explained the prisons are full and his client is a chief and an entrepreneur who has an “unnumbered children”
On his part, Abuga Pele’s legal counsel Abu Juan also asked for not more than six months explaining his client is a former Member of Parliament and was actually an MP when the trial started.
They believe he lost his Chiana Paga seat in the Upper East Regional parliamentary primaries as a result of this case and that he has a family.
State Attorney Evelyn Keelson asking for a sentence within limit. She also wants asset recovery. Delivering her sentence inside a locked courtroom, Justice Afia Serwaah handed down a combined jail term of
Abuga Pele goes in for six years while Philip Assibit was jailed 12 years.
The judge explained the convicted persons are first-time offenders but also adults who are “men of the world” and therefore have no lessons to learn.
She was particularly disappointed that Philip Assibit had shown little remorse while there were negotiations in court for a refund of the loot.
He offered no suggestions on how much he was willing to refund asking that the court determines as it deemed fit. The unrepentant attitude of the first accused led the judge to go in for the jugular, Joy News court reporter Joseph Ackah-Blay said.
The judge also expressed disappointment in Abuga Pele who as an MP was supposed to uphold public trust and set an example for the youth.
He kept a straight face and sat quietly throughout the court proceedings. But he was seen wiping a few tears as he exited the court surrounded by police officers.
Together with his accomplice, the two were immediately whisked away to serve their sentences at the Nsawam prisons…Story: Myjoynews