One-time Member of Parliament for the Chiana Paga Constituency in the Upper East Region, and a former National Coordinator of the now-defunct Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA), Abuga Pele, has been pardoned by President Akufo-Addo on health grounds.
A source at the Jubilee House said the President communicated the decision on July 1, 2021, to the prisons authorities, who also relaid the information to his family.
The family is believed to have made several appeals to the President due to Mr Pele’s deteriorating health condition.
Reports indicate that Abuga Pele was recently admitted at the Nsawam Prisons Hospital, and later at the Greater Accra Regional Hospital, Ridge.
Mr Pele 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 in February 2018.
Pele was handed a four and six-year sentence which was expected to run concurrently, whilst Assibit got concurrent sentences of 12 and four years on different counts.
The court also ordered the state to recover all assets and money belonging to the state from the convicts.
Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit, from 2014, 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 the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), entered into a contract with Assibit to engage in activities that 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 had always stated that he was only used as a scapegoat by the previous NDC government, whiles the real culprits were made to walk free.
The former MP was slapped with a lower sentence because the court held that there “was no evidence that he benefited from the proceeds of the crime.”
This was after Pele’s lawyers pleaded for leniency.