I Didn’t Secure $65m World Bank Deal – Assibit

Philip Akpeena Assibit, Managing Consultant of Goodwill International Group (GIG), who is standing trial for the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) scandal, has told the court that he did not secure $65 million from the World Bank.

According to him, he only got to know about the money after a meeting he attended at the Ministry of Youth and Sport where he was briefed by the staff of the Ministry and National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).

He cited a 2011 press release by the Sports Ministry which indicated that it had secured funds from the World Bank to undertake projects which will eventually benefit the youth, including persons with disability.

Mr. Assibit is before the court for putting in false claims that he had secured $65 million World Bank funding for the creation of one million jobs for the youth, which led government to part with GH¢ 41.1 million.

He is in the dock with the former National Coordinator of GYEEDA, a former National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Chiana Paga, Abuga Pele, for the various roles they allegedly played in the GYEEDA scam.

The Attorney General’s Department claims the accused persons caused huge financial loss to the state.

Mr. Assibit, in his defence yesterday, told the court that the then Minister of Sports, Kofi Humado, who was ‘responsible for everything under the project,’ is an experienced consultant who had carried out many consultancies both home and abroad.

The accused said there was no way he (Assibit) could have deceived the Ministry.

“Kofi Humado is a more senior and much exposed consultant who has dealt with international organisations and financial institutions, including the World Bank in the past and we should in all fairness agree that he understands the World Bank system very well”.

“As an expert of his standing, he (Kofi Humado) knows that an individual cannot come to him that the World Bank, through the individual’s efforts, has given so, so and so amount for a project and he will believe that individual without any checks to confirm same,” Mr. Assibit argued.

The accused said he was baffled by the impressions being created that the NYEP was treated like ‘personal property’ of Mr Abuga Pele, which he shared with him (Assibit), arguing that it was a contract between NYEP and Goodwill International Group (GGI).

Mr Assibit also stated that Kofi Humado’s testimony to the court that he instructed NYEP to pay MDPI was highly questionable because the NYEP does not have any contract with MDPI but rather GIG.

The case continues today.