Abuga Pele, the former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency(GYEEDA), formerly known as National Youth Employment Programme(NYEP), has hinted at a conspiracy to use him as a 'sacrificial lamb' for the multi-million cedi corruption scandal at the youth employment programme.
Mr. Pele, the incumbent MP for Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region who is facing an imminent prosecution for the 'rot' at GYEEDA, is worried that those who are supposed to have been charged are walking free.
"l have heard that they want to use me to cleanse the systems, so if they sacrifice me, everybody would believe that the government is indeed fighting corruption," he told Accra-based Adom FM.
He said the government was desperate to use him to whitewash its image and allow the real culprits to walk freely.
The Mahama-led National Democratic Congress( NDC) administration has been at the receiving end of intense condemnation about its lack of commitment in prosecuting cases of gross corruption by its appointees specially.
The former GYEEDA boss is said to have paid over $2 million to a local consultant whose proof of work done could not be traced. But Mr Pele stated that as the head of GYEEDA, his mandate only allowed him to authorise payments not exceeding GH20,000.
According to him, amounts exceeding that ceiling were referred to the Ministry of Youth and Sports which had oversight responsibility to authorise the payments.
"People have said all sorts of things in an attempt to make me look like I was the villain, I was corrupt. I have signed money, I authorised money to be given to people without a basis. They prejudged me and condemned but I kept quiet because an investigation was going on.
The report somewhat exonerated me from what they were alleging." he lamented. He believe he exercise his stewardship at GYEEDA judiciously and does not deserve the vilification.
"lf you work very hard and you rather fight corruption are you the one to be sacrificed?"
A ministerial committee tasked to investigate alleged misappropriation of funds at GYEEDA, among other things, found that Pele allegedly ordered payment to the tune of $2.3 million to the company for no work done.
“I never authorised payment of a cedi let alone $2.3 million to a company,” he fired back, saying if the committee had done a little more” painstaking investigations,” it would have known that the $2.3 million allegation was untrue.
The report of the ministerial committee, constituted by the current Minister of Youth and Sports Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, recommended that the culprits should be processed by the Attorney General for prosecution.
The report indicted Mr. Pele for approving contracts at a time when he had resigned as National Coordinator of GYEEDA to contest the parliamentary seat.
But he stated that those approvals were done during his resignation because President Mahama had asked exiting heads of institutions and government agencies to remain at post until the arrival of their replacements.
Meanwhile, a former Minister of Youth and Sports. Kofi Humado and his predecessor, Akua Sena Danua, among other executives of GYEEDA, have all been hauled before the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) and statements taken from them
Daily Guide has learnt that of the suspected culprits in the scandal were at the EOCO Offices yesterday to submit their last statements before a possible prosecution.
Six other officials of GYEEDA cited for corruption and fraud and recommended for prosecution are Alhassan Tapsoba National Deputy Coordinator in charge of operations, who was said to have forged his certificate; Omar Ibrahim, the Ashanti Regional Coordinator as well as Joseph Osborn Djeni, a former National Deputy Coordinator for resigned from GYEEDA to take up a new post as the Community Relations Manager of the Ghana Gas Company Limited.
The rest are King George Fokuo, Bismark Adu-Ansere and Abdulai Badara, two district coordinators and a deputy. Interestingly all these people appear to have been let off the hook.
GYEEDA has become an unwanted albatross around the neck of the Mahama government, as the report cites several government appointees for corruption. The investigating committee was commissioned in April 2013 to investigate the financial malfeasance at GYEEDA.
When the report was completed, the Mahama-led administration initially wanted to sweep it under the carpet by refusing
to make Public its content, until it was leaked.
Eventually, the completed report was made Public after intense pressure from the Public. President Mahama vowed to prosecute those fingered in the report, but quickly constituted a committee to review the findings of the first commlttee that issued the damning handiness.
Critics think it was a ploy to hide the President's apparent lack of courage to prosecute those named in the report.
On l2 April 2013, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah, appointed a five member Impact Assessment and Review Committee to investigate alleged maladministration and financial indiscipline at the NYEB which has been renamed GYEEDA
The committee was headed by Ferdinand Gunn and had Tuinese Edward Amuzu, Randolph Nsor-Ambala,Kwami Edem Senanu and Mike K.Gabah as members.
Their eventual report sent uneasy ripples through the NDC government as some of its appointees and companies dealing with the government were cited for bribery, corruption and circumvention of due processes.
According to the controversial report, the Parties, cited in the report, unduly took advantage of the GYEEDA programme to enrich themselves.
The leaked report stated that the companies contracted to provide services under GYEEDA pre-financed their services and charged interests of approximately 100 Per cent a month from the government of Ghana.
On an annual basis, the government was paying interest of over 1,200 per cent to these companies, which were contracted without the requisite bidding processes.
The bemused committee thought the same services could have been contracted at less than 50 Per cent interest annually.
"A fair estimates shows that given the pre-financing nature of the arrangement with Better Ghana Management Services (BGMS), GYEEDA is paying financing cost of about 1 00 percent per month or 1,200 percent per annum.
The Committee observed with concern that Government with all its spending power should be borrowing at such high “interest” rate.
The Committee believes that with the right level of financial planning, "GYEEDA should be able to borrow at 50 percent per annum at worst'.
Source: Raphael Ofori-Adeniran/D-Guide
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