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Why $65million World Bank Loan Was Fiasco - Humado   
 
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09-Oct-2014  
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Former Minister of Youth and Sports Clement Kofi Humado yesterday told the Financial Division of the High Court that it was because the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) now GYEEDA had remained a political establishment without a legal framework that it failed to access a $65-million World Bank funding.

He said when he left his former ministry in March 2013, the NYEP had not met the criteria required by the Bank to secure the funding.

According to him, all attempts to put the NYEP bill before Parliament to be passed failed.

It, therefore, had to depend on funds from other statutory bodies such as the GETFund for its operations, he stated.

Testifying

Testifying as the third prosecution witness in the GH4.1 million GYEEDA trial, Mr Humado said it was due to the lack of the legal framework for the programme that the late President, Professor John Evan Atta Mills, asked him to reform the NYEP to ensure proper financial administration and due financial diligence.

I proceeded to submit a proposal to Cabinet to request for approval of the NYEP reform but Cabinet requested that the programme be rebranded to GYEEDA, he told the court.

Mr Humado said to reform NYEP, he had to collaborate with the then National Coordinator, Abuga Pele, but it still failed to obtain a parliamentary backing to source the World Bank funding.

He was being cross-examined by Mr Raymond Bagnabu, lead counsel of the first accused person, Philip Assibit, the Chief Executive of Goodwill International Group (GIG), who was a consultant for the NYEP.

Reimbursement

Mr Humado told the court that when he was appointed the Minister of Youth and Sports, Pele briefed him that he had already entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with a consortium, made up of the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI) and GIG to prepare the proposal for the World Bank.

He stated that Pele told him that the consortium was waiting to be reimbursed for the work it had done and presented him a memo and an invoice on April 20, 2011 for the payment of $528,802 as staff allowances and other models under the NYEP.

He stated that he enquired from Pele if payment plan had received Cabinet approval. Upon enquiries, I realised that no approval had been made by Cabinet and I thought it wise to write to inform Cabinet about the development.

In April 2011, I received a letter and an invoice from Assibit requesting for $500,000 out of the total $2 million requested for the pre-financing work, he stated.

The invoice, he said, was addressed to him but he directed it to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mr Abdullai Yakubu.

As I had agreed with the Chief Director that all payment be made to the account of the MDPI, I minuted the letter to the Chief Director, who instructed Pele to pay every money into the account of the MDPI.

He stated that later Pele submitted to him a different letterhead.

More claims

On September 3, 2012, Mr Humado added that Pele forwarded a memo to him to ask for the release of GH835,000 being the claims submitted by GIG for conducting tracer studies.

He stated that he left the Ministry of Youth and Sports in March 2013 when he was appointed as the Minister of Food and Agriculture. Up until the time I left the Sports Ministry, the NYEP did not receive the $65-million we were pursuing.

EOCO summon

He told the court that he did not hear any information about the World Bank funding until in March this year when he was summoned by the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) to go and explain issues pertaining to GYEEDA.

When I approached EOCO, they confronted me on issues such as the payment made and memo submitted by Pele. It was at this point that I learnt to my shock that the instructions to Pele to pay money into the account of MDPI had not been carried out.

Pele, who managed the account of the NYEP, had rather caused that money to be paid into the account of a private company belonging to Assibit, he said.

Mr Humado is to continue to testify at the court today.

Background

The state has accused Assibit of putting in false claims that he had secured a $65-million World Bank funding for the creation of one million jobs for the youth, a claim that caused the government to part with GH4.1 million.

Pele is alleged to have entered into a contract with Assibit to engage in activities which have caused financial loss to the state.

Pele has pleaded not guilty to two counts of abetment of crime, 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 pretences and five counts of dishonestly causing loss to public property.
 
 
Source: Daily Graphic
 
 

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