Despite the fact that investigative reports from Mannaseh Azure landed the embattled former boss of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency [GYEEDA] in prison, Abuga Pele says he still has admiration for the work of the ace investigative journalist, Manasseh Awuni Azure.
In 2013, Manasseh Azure conducted some reports into the work of GYEEDA that resulted in the imprisonment of Abuga Pele and Philip Asibit.
But speaking on A1 Radio the former Chiana-Paga MP said regardless of the report that landed him in jail, he still has admiration for the works of Manasseh Azure Awuni.
“Everything was going on well. To my amazement, they said there was an investigation set up. I cooperated very well with Manasseh and I still admire him as a journalist. He came, and I gave him all the cooperation because by then, I was also doing my private investigation on some of my deputies who had forged signatures and withdrawn monies. I had done my investigations and recommended that they should be prosecuted and sacked. So, I antagonized a lot of people both at the ministry and at my level. I even invited the audit service to audit all the offices in the country. So, I was surprised that they said they had set up a committee to investigate GYEEDA scandal.”
Abuga Pele who cannot understand why he was prosecuted suspected a ploy played on him on the part of the people he was working with.
“The memo was not crafted by me; it was crafted by my finance officer who was employed by the ministry because they say he is qualified. All the senior officers I was dumped on them, I didn’t recruit them. So why would I be holding in doubt the work they do and submit to me.”
“So, I would look through if it sounds reasonable am not a finance man even though I was a tax man but it is not enough. The Finance Officer wrote the memo and said it was okay. I minuted for your attention and he took it to the ministry. He read through, gave it to his Chief Director, gave it to his Auditor, they approved and he said pay him; we paid. So am still to come to terms with why I was prosecuted.”
An Accra High Court on February 23, 2018, sentenced Abuga Pele while the Chief Executive Officer of Goodwill International Group, Philip Assibit was jailed for twelve years on various counts, including willfully causing financial loss to the state.
Manasseh’s report resulted in the retrieval of Ghc60 million from the AGAMS Group of Companies. Some other contracts under GYEEDA were also abrogated, a move that help Ghana save not less than Ghc500 million.
On July 1st, 2021, president Akufo-Addo granted Abuga Pele a presidential pardon on health grounds after he had served 3 years behind the bars.
Souce: A1Radioonline.com|101.1Mhz|Joshua Asaah|Bolgatanga|Ghana