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The Electoral Commission has been indicted in the 2015 Auditor General’s report for its inability to properly account for auctioned vehicles disposed off and the payment of over Gh¢18,000 with the support of adequate documents. The EC auctioned 40 vehicles to staff after a valuation. Former EC Chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan who was among the beneficiaries purchased a Nissan mini bus 2008 model for about Gh¢2,675 in a 2013 auction. The car was purchased for the EC in 2007. It was among several vehicles auctioned to staff of the EC and the public in 2013 after six years of use following their valuation by the State Transport Compny (STC). The current EC Chair, Mrs Charlotte Osei told the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament on Friday that Dr Afari Gyan as well as all those who benefited from the auction, paid for the vehicles. Mrs Osei could, however, not readily tell the committee how much the EC paid the auctioneer for the auction. According to Deputy EC Chair, Mr Amadu Sulley, the auction process was opened to all staff of the election management body as well as the public. The EC had estimated the cost of the cars to be GH¢402,328 but the actual amount realised after the auction was GH¢83,000, a situation that caused the PAC to wonder why the huge "discrepancy". But the EC Chair explained to the committee that the fair value estimate of GH¢402,328 was given by officials within the commission who were not experts at valuing vehicles.   Source: Graphiconline
Second Lady Samira Bawumia, has charged filmmakers to tell original Ghanaian and African stories since foreign ones are not the true reflection of Africa. She urged them to be strong and do their best in making the industry grow. Filmmakers she stated have the power and in their hand but that power, comes with responsibilities, she added. She made the remarks as the guest speaker at the opening ceremony of the Blackstar International Film Festival held in Accra. Film making and the role of industry players she said informs, educates and entertains. She said, she found it heartwarming that Ghana now has an International Film Festival and commended the organizers. The festival she opined must be the star of Africa that draws people to the continent by connecting the world to African cinemas showing the world the great things the continent have to offer.   She said, ‘’Ghanaians need to tell the story of Ghana. We need to show the rich unique cultural heritage we have, the beauty of the places we live…We see images all the time from the foreign media that does not paint the true picture of Africa and who we really are. This is because we do not have enough stories told by Africans. The importance of branding come not be over emphasized,’’ she added. ‘’We need to put a narrative out there that will not only tell who we are but who we aspire to be. It is time to take up the challenge and tell our stories and paint a holistic picture of who we are and where we are going. She added, filmmakers, journalists, authors and creative arts persons have the power to change the narrative of Africa. She commended the organizers saying, ‘’I commend the organizers for successfully organizing the event two years in a row. It could not have been easy but the determination you have demonstrated, speaks to all of us that we have the capacity to make every dream materialized despite the challenges we may face along the way.’’ On her part, founder and president of the festival, Juliet Asante said, Ghana needs to go beyond the occasional co-production and follow the examples of other African countries like South Africa that have signed treaties with over forty (40) countries and Nigeria that has grown Nollywood to become the second largest  employer in the economy. She admonished government of Ghana to use our embassies around the world, to show visitors the beautiful images from Ghana. ‘’’The embassies can display feature films and documentaries on their screens...Let us learn from the example of Germany and the British Council,’’ she said. Film can be used to champion the national agenda, she opined. Government she concluded should recognize the role of film and help the industry. ABOUT BSIFF     The Black Star International Film Festival is festival focused on the business of film; creating connections through film, bridging the gap between African Cinema and the world. It is a subsidiary of the Black Star International Film Institute, a non-for-profit aimed at film advocacy, creation of global connections through film, and bridging the divide with Africa cinema and the world. The Festival is an annual film festival held in Ghana in its second year. In its maiden year, 2016, it featured 40 films, shortlisted from 3400 films from across the world. 70 countries participated. 2017 will feature a bouquet of 30 films from major film markets including Academy award winning film, “Moonlight by Barry Jenkins as the opening film as well as the highly – acclaimed “A United Kingdom” by Amma Asante as our closing film. The theme for this year is ‘’For the young at heart’’.                        
Private legal practitioner, lawyer Maurice Ampaw, has admonished President Nana Addo Dankwa-Akufo Addo to act swiftly following the petition sent to him by Indian businessman Ashok Sivram, who has accused the Interior Minister Ambrose Dery of harassing him. According to the maverick lawyer, the president is aware of the matter hence the need to make a definite statement on it. Speaking to Rainbow Radio’s Kwame Tutu, lawyer Ampaw argued that what is happening borders on Ghana’s foreign and investment policies. The situation if not checked will have serious effect on our bilateral relations with Indian as well as scare other investors away from the country. He admonished the president to take the petition from the Indian national serious and probe the issue further. He also sent a note of caution to the Interior Minister that he is not above the law so should not breach the law but act in circumspect. ‘’The president must intervene because this issue is about our foreign policy and how to manage our relationship with our foreign partners. The president should step in because I believe that he [President] is aware of what his Interior Minister is doing. He should probe the matter and sanction all his appointees who may have been bribed to frustrate the Indian businessman.’’ ‘’Interior Minister is not above the law. He should not undermine the ruling of the court…He should respect the orders of the court…What has the other Indian businessman given to the Interior Minister to warrant his action? Indian businessman whose deportation by the Interior Ministry was quashed by an Accra High Court some few weeks ago has petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to call Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior and the Director of Immigration to order. In the petition, he accused the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, Director/Comptroller of the Immigration Service, Kwame Takyi and Deputy Comptroller General in-charge of Operations, Laud Afrifa of plotting to illegally deport him and take over his company. Ashok Kumar Sivaram said he is constantly being harassed by officials of the Ghana Immigration Service and he believes his frustrations are part of a grand scheme to transfer his interest in his company, Jai Mai Communications Limited, to his business partner.  Excerpts of the petition read: ‘’ “Mr. President, the action of the respondents is a deliberate ploy to render my status in the country without a valid permit in order to easily facilitate my removal from the jurisdiction. This action by the respondents is also a clear attempt to undermine the order for valuation of the company the by high court dated 5th May, 2017.  Mr. President, I implore you as the father of the nation to graciously step in to resolve the matters raised in my petition. I shall forever be grateful to you for your prompt action on this matter,” he added in the petition. An Accra High Court on July 31, 2017 quashed the deportation of Mr. Ashok by Ambrose Derry. According to the court by presided over by Justice Kwaku Ackah Boafo, the Interior Minister exceeded his jurisdiction by determining fraud against the Ashok without recourse to the court. The court also indicated that the Interior Minister breached the rule of natural justice by not giving the plaintiff a hearing after he had accused him of allegedly committing fraud. The Interior Minister and the Comptroller General of Immigration are said to have approved the deportation of Mr Sivaram on grounds that he obtained a fake marriage certificate to enable his stay in Ghana; a claim Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram who had lived in the country for close to a decade rejected. “Mr. President, whilst the respondents are failing to conduct their statutory work, they keep sending Immigration Officials after me ostensibly to arrest and repatriate me so to lock my huge investments in Ghana in order to aid my business partner to take over my business interest.  Mr. President the respondents are refusing to restore my residence/work permit even though the deportation order based on which my residence/work permit was cancelled by them has been quashed by the High Court in a ruling delivered on 31st July 2017.”        
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has commended the Bank of Ghana for playing a pivotal role in promoting the country’s socio-economic development. According to President Akufo-Addo, through the Bank’s diligence and commitment, it has attempted to fulfill its mandate to ensure price stability and to create an enabling environment for sustainable growth. The President, thus, expressed his profound gratitude to all who have contributed in various ways to bring the Bank to where it is today. “You are a unique institution with a broad mandate. You are not just distinguished technocrats. You are the banker to the government, and the custodian of the nation’s precious asset – money. You are the currency manager, the source and regulator of liquidity, and, above all, the lender of last resort to the banking sector. How you fulfil these multiple roles is what makes you a unique institution,” he said. President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 18th August, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Bank, at an event held at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra. Whilst saluting all the governors, boards of directors, top management, Monetary Policy Committee members, and staff, both past and present, for their dedication and service to the Bank, President indicated that it was auspicious that on the occasion of its 60th birthday, “one of your own should be occupying the high office of Vice President of the Republic, an office whose functions he is discharging with commendable brilliance and high sense of responsibility, as befits a central banker of quality.” Whilst acknowledging the challenges that confront the Bank, such as lowering the cost of funds to ensure increased investment, weeding out unlicensed institutions, protecting the integrity of the country’s payment system, protecting the safety of deposits, and broadening and deepening access to banking to many of our rural population, President Akufo-Addo urged the Bank to continue be at the forefront of developing and deepening the financial market in Ghana. “The need to entrench reputation and credibility in the financial system is crucial. A weak banking system undermines growth, and, on this basis, the current weaknesses in our banking sector need to be addressed forcefully to minimize any adverse financial consequences to unsuspecting savers, and their spill-over effects on the economy,” he said. Partnership between the Bank and the Government In order to sustain macroeconomic stability and rapid growth in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo advocated for partnership and co-operation between the central bank and government, as captured in the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612), and as amended by Act 918 of 2016. “While the President appoints the Governor and his deputies as well as members of the Board of Directors, the Bank is guaranteed its operational independence in order to deliver on its multiple mandate. Full autonomy for the Bank, however, does not mean that the Bank’s monetary policies should be at variance with Government’s overall macroeconomic policies,” he said. The President continued, “With 60 years of experience behind us, I believe we should have learnt great lessons both from our own history and from the experiences of other countries about how this partnership should work. History has taught us well that monetary policy must complement fiscal policy to create an enabling macroeconomic environment to promote growth and development of the Ghanaian economy.” President Akufo-Addo further encouraged the Bank of Ghana, “whether it is in the control of the quantity of money, in managing interest rates, in safeguarding the domestic and external value of the cedi, or in ensuring the soundness of the financial system”,  to reflect soberly on its experiences, the good times and the hard times, take  lessons from the challenging times, and focus on working to promote confidence in the economy, and instil discipline in the oversight responsibilities of the financial sector. He also urged the Bank, and by extension the Ministry of Finance, to put in place policies that are both internally and externally consistent. “Under my leadership and watch, I insist that there must be greater fiscal and monetary policy coordination to promote and sustain macroeconomic stability. This is the only way by which we will enable the private sector to flourish and create the needed jobs within the economy,” he added. Lessons from the recent global financial crisis, the President stressed, indicate that central banks can be relied upon to steer any crisis-ridden economy, when there is collaboration between the fiscal and monetary authorities. “We, that is the Government and the people of Ghana, have high hopes that the Bank of Ghana, given its expertise and experience, will roll out coherent monetary policies that would create the enabling environment for the rapid transformation of the Ghanaian economy. This is what we expect of the Central Bank,” the President noted.  
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has revealed that a road-map for addressing the weaknesses in the banking sector is being implemented. According to President Akufo-Addo, the need to entrench reputation and credibility in the financial system is crucial, explaining that a weak banking system undermines growth. On this basis, the President stressed that the current weaknesses in the country’s banking sector need to be addressed forcefully to minimize any adverse financial consequences to unsuspecting savers, and their spill-over effects on the economy. “My understanding is that a road-map for addressing banking sector weaknesses is being implemented. I urge you, as the nation’s central bank, to remain committed to the process and to address the challenges confronting the banking sector. This will not only guarantee financial stability, but also promote greater confidence in that sector”, he said. The President continued, “Your most recent measures, in intervening decisively over the matters of UT Bank and Capital Bank, demonstrate your preparedness to act in a manner worthy of a responsible central bank, of a praiseworthy regulator. I am confident that you have the support of the nation.” President Akufo-Addo made this known on Friday, 18th August, 2017, when he delivered a speech at the 60th anniversary celebration of the Bank, at an event held at the Kempinski Hotel, in Accra. Government’s Supportive Role Touching on the maintenance of stability, a role not reserved for the Bank of Ghana only, President Akufo-Addo indicated that his government also has a role to play. “We are committed to the path of fiscal consolidation. We must do this so that the Bank of Ghana can concentrate on what it was set up to do. Persistent and excessive fiscal deficits get in the way of the Bank’s core mandate,” he said. To this end, the President noted that his government is committing by statute to ensure that the overall government fiscal deficit remains within a reasonable band of between 3-5 percent, beginning in 2018. President Akufo-Addo revealed that his government is also working hard to find a solution to the huge energy sector-related debt exposures that threaten the stability of the country’s banking system. “To offset the legacy debts in the energy sector, government will shortly issue a $2.5 billion energy bond. It will provide much needed liquidity to the banking sector, and also create space for increased investment in the sector by improving the balance sheets of companies such as VRA, GRIDCO and ECG. The bond will be collateralised with proceeds from the Energy Sector Levy,” he said. Government, the President assured, will continue to pursue vigorously policies that would complement the Bank’s effort of bringing down the cost of borrowing for the benefit of households, and especially of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, who provide most of the jobs. “Government will, thus, continue to improve the supply of electricity in a bid to reduce the risks inherent in the economy, and lower the risk premium that feeds into cost of funds,” he added. President Akufo-Addo reiterated his call for stronger partnership, as well as greater degree of policy coordination, between the Bank of Ghana and the Ministry of Finance, urging the Bank of Ghana also, within its remit of operational independence, to play a pivotal role in formulating and implementing policies that will enable the economic transformation of our nation that we all desire.  
A 52 year-old hunter and farmer, Opanyin Agya Appiah has allegedly shot his wife dead at Manso Afraso in the Ashanti region. Nyankonton Mu Nsem’s reporter, Abdul Malik Anokye narrating the incident on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the suspect had consistently exchanged heated words with the wife at the least provocation. He blamed the deceased for his inability to catch or kill trapping animals. According to him, the hunter upon returning from his usual routine Thursday, picked a fight with the wife. The wife whose name was given as Ama Sewaa, 42 rushed into a neighbour’s room for cover but the hunter fired his gun through the neighbour’s door, and the wife was hit in the tummy leading to her death. He later attempted suicide after realizing that the wife was dead but was unsuccessful and is currently on admission at the hospital receiving treatment. Abdul Malik Anokye said Agya Appiah after his action went to a dumping site where he attempted the suicide but had his hand chopped off.    
The Deputy Director General in charge of Finance and Administration at the Social Security and Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Mr. Michael Addo has revealed that, the number of pensioners increase on the average is about 1,500 a month. Mr. Addo delivering a message at the launch of the 25th Anniversary celebration (Silver Jubilee) of the National Pensioners Association, reiterated that SSNIT shall process and pay benefits to eligible pensioners and declared dependants. SSNIT shall pay old age pensions, invalidity pension and death and survivors lump sum benefits, he added. He said, SSNIT holds that mandate sacred and will not relent in doing so. Mr. Michael Addo indicated that SSNIT has since 1991, been increasing and paying the monthly pensions of pensioners promptly to improve their living conditions. ‘’We have never defaulted in paying your monthly pension,’’ he said. SSNIT in July 2017 paid a total of GHc184 million to over 182,000 pensioners adding, SSNIT from January to July 2017 paid 1.2 billion as pension benefits and lump sum to deserving pensioners. He said, despite all these no pensioner would be left behind and the lowest pensioner receives GHc 270 a month as benefit. The welfare of pensioners he said ‘’is paramount to SSNIT and that is why we have a listening ear.’’ The request by pensioners to be given special attention has been granted and some measures has been taken to ensure that, speed and convenience are key in service delivery, he assured. On his part, General Secretary of the Pensioners Association Edward Ameyibor said, as part of the celebration, the association will bring to the attention of the public and particularly government, issues of ageing and the support they [petitioners] need. He said there was an urgent need for better post retirement health care and National Endowment Fund ‘’to support all ages in case of catastrophic diseases. This is important to reduce the humiliation suffered by families through frequent public appeals for help.’’   The association he announced will intend to hook up with pensioners groups outside Ghana for their mutual benefit and to work more closely with SSNIT to improve the welfare of pensioners.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has urged Christian lawyers, in their work and advocacy, to be at the forefront of championing government’s commitment to build a modern, developed, prosperous and progressive Ghana, and free her from a mindset of dependence, aid, charity and handouts. President Akufo-Addo noted that with their help, “we will build a new Ghanaian civilization, where there is fair opportunity for all in education and health, where hard work, enterprise and creativity are rewarded, where there is an abundance of decent jobs with good pay, where there is a dignified retirement for the elderly, and where there is a social safety net for the vulnerable and disadvantaged.” He made this known on Thursday, August 17, 2017, when he delivered the keynote speech at the Advocates Africa convocation on the theme “Awake, awake, O Zion (Africa), put on your strength and beautiful garments.” President Akufo-Addo indicated that he was elected into office because the Ghanaian people were dissatisfied with their living conditions and the direction in which the economy, and, indeed, the country was headed. “I pledged to help build a prosperous society, which creates opportunities for all its citizens, a society where there is discipline and fairness, where people go about their lives in a free and responsible manner, a society where there are safety nets for the vulnerable and decent retirement for the elderly, an open society protected by well-resourced and motivated security services, and where the rule of law works,” he said. To this end, the President stated that his government has set about this task, firstly, by seeking to build a business-friendly economy that will enable the country get to the stage where the opportunities that are available will help it build an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation – A Ghana Beyond Aid. Fundamental to this, he added, will be maintaining a stable macroeconomic environment in the context of a growing economy, and, thereby, attracting private sector investment. Reiterating his commitment to enhancing accountability in the nation’s public life, President Akufo-Addo bemoaned that corruption has become the bane of Ghana’s progress. “The Office of Special Prosecutor, which will be enacted in the next Session of Parliament, will work independently of the Executive, and will have the responsibility to investigate and prosecute acts of corruption, free from predictable claims of witch-hunting. Words can no longer defeat the canker of corruption. Concrete actions must,” the President said. He continued, “Our industrial regeneration, through our policy of 1-District-1-Factory, our agricultural revival, through the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs, targeted infrastructural development, especially of our roads and railways, and promoting access to digital technology are going to be the main avenues for job creation.” In September, President Akufo-Addo noted that his government will redeem its pledge of providing free Senior High School Education in our public schools, stressing that it is an important tool for the development of our country. “We have begun to clear the arrears of debt that were strangling the National Health Insurance Scheme, Kufuor’s great legacy to our nation, so that we will have, again, a buoyant health delivery system to which even the poorest in our society can have ready access,” he added. The modern, prosperous society that his government aims to build, he said, however, is hinged on a foundation of good governance and the rule of law, and “that is where you come in, firstly, as Christians, and, secondly, as Christian lawyers. Together, let us also promote a spirit of reconciliation amongst all of us for the sake of our beloved Ghana and Africa, her progress and prosperity.”  
Indian businessman whose deportation by the Interior Ministry was quashed by an Accra High Court some few weeks ago has petitioned President Nana Akufo-Addo to call Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior and the Director of Immigration to order. In the petition, he accused the Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, Director/Comptroller of the Immigration Service, Kwame Takyi and Deputy Comptroller General in-charge of Operations, Laud Afrifa of plotting to illegally deport him and take over his company. Ashok Kumar Sivaram said he is constantly being harassed by officials of the Ghana Immigration Service and he believes his frustrations are part of a grand scheme to transfer his interest in his company, Jai Mai Communications Limited, to his business partner.   Excerpts of the petition read: ‘’ “Mr. President, the action of the respondents is a deliberate ploy to render my status in the country without a valid permit in order to easily facilitate my removal from the jurisdiction. This action by the respondents is also a clear attempt to undermine the order for valuation of the company the by high court dated 5th May, 2017.  Mr. President, I implore you as the father of the nation to graciously step in to resolve the matters raised in my petition. I shall forever be grateful to you for your prompt action on this matter,” he added in the petition. An Accra High Court on July 31, 2017 quashed the deportation of Mr. Ashok by Ambrose Derry. According to the court by presided over by Justice Kwaku Ackah Boafo, the Interior Minister exceeded his jurisdiction by determining fraud against the Ashok without recourse to the court. The court also indicated that the Interior Minister breached the rule of natural justice by not giving the plaintiff a hearing after he had accused him of allegedly committing fraud. The Interior Minister and the Comptroller General of Immigration are said to have approved the deportation of Mr Sivaram on grounds that he obtained a fake marriage certificate to enable his stay in Ghana; a claim Mr Ashok Kumar Sivaram who had lived in the country for close to a decade rejected. “Mr. President, whilst the respondents are failing to conduct their statutory work, they keep sending Immigration Officials after me ostensibly to arrest and repatriate me so to lock my huge investments in Ghana in order to aid my business partner to take over my business interest.  Mr. President the respondents are refusing to restore my residence/work permit even though the deportation order based on which my residence/work permit was cancelled by them has been quashed by the High Court in a ruling delivered on 31st July 2017.”    The full petition is attached.
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