Dumsor Stops GYEEDA Trial
Ghana's perennial energy crisis made it impossible for the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) trial to proceed as scheduled because there was no electricity in the court's premises in Accra yesterday.
The Financial Court was scheduled to hear the continuation of the cross-examination of Dr Shaibu Ahmed Gariba, former Director General of Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI), the fifth prosecution witness (PW5), but had to adjourn proceedings because the gadgets in the courtroom are powered by electricity.
As a result, Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe had to adjourn the proceedings to November 25.
In fact, the judge tried her best to get the case heard when she abandoned her own courtroom and tried to use another courtroom in the Commercial Court building where there was electricity.
However, before the court could commence proceedings, power supply to that building was cut as well.
The judge promised that on the next adjourned date, with or without electricity, the case would proceed as scheduled, adding, 'even if there is no power, I'll get a small recorder.'
It was about the seventh time the trial of Abuga Pele, the former NYEP Coordinator, who is also the incumbent MP for NDC Chiana-Paga in the Upper East Region, and his co-accused, Philip Akpeena Assibit, CEO of Goodwill International Group (GIG), was adjourned.
So far, Nuru Hamidan, former NYEP Deputy National Coordinator in charge of Operations and now MCE for Asokore Mampong; Gladys Ghartey, current Head of United Nations Systems at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning; Mohammed Pelpuo, Head of the Business Development Unit at NYEP as well as Clement Kofi Humado, former Minister of Youth and Sports, have testified and gone through cross-examination.
Apart from occasions when the prosecution could not produce witnesses in court, forcing adjournments, the problem has either been faulty recording gadgets in the courtroom or the absence of a lead defence lawyer.
When the case was called yesterday, Yvonne Atakora Obuobisah, a Chief State Attorney, assisted by her colleagues Evelyn Keelson and Marina Appiah Opare, told the judge that the next witness was sitting for exams.
'Our next witness at the last minute informed us that he had an exam and could not make it,' she said before asking for an adjournment.
'Must you call your case in a particular way? Don't you have back-up?' the judge enquired and the prosecutor replied, 'We normally have a back-up but in this particular case the back-up was also unavailable.'
Abuga Pele and Philip Akpeena Assibit are standing trial for the various roles they played, which the Attorney General's Department said caused huge financial losses to the state.
The MP is accused of wilfully causing financial loss to the state to the tune of GH¢3,330,568.53 while Assibit is being tried for defrauding the state of an amount equivalent to $1,948,626.68.
The two have pleaded not guilty and are currently on bail. They were present in court yesterday.
By William Yaw Owusu