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Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner, Mrs. Charlotte Osei has been awarded the United States Department of State’s Woman of Courage Award for 2017. She was honoured for the reforms that she brought to the Electoral Management Body leading to a “credible election 2016.” The US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson described her as someone who “epitomizes the phrase, woman of courage.” The Commissioner in her acceptance speech said, ‘’ This is indeed a great honour and I am totally overwhelmed and humbled by this recognition. I would like to sincerely thank the government of the United States of America, through the Embassy in Ghana, for this honour. I take this opportunity to firmly place on the record, that the success of the 2016 elections were not and could not be the results of one person’s efforts. Numerous people contributed in diverse ways to our successful elections and the national peace and stability we continue to enjoy. Let me begin by first acknowledging the truly invaluable guidance and support I received and continue to receive from my predecessor, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, the support of my colleague Commissioners (some of who are present here), Directors and staff of the EC, who from the first day I stepped into office at the Commission and even in our most trying times, continue support me and help deliver on the constitutional mandate of the Commission. This award is for all of us.   There were many days in the last two years when I felt very heavily, the burden of leadership. The weight of, as it seemed, carrying the entire peace and stability of the nation on my shoulders. But through it all, I could always count on the love and support of my husband, my children and my friends. I lost a lot of acquaintances, but I gained a lot of true friends. And for that, I recognize that I am a very blessed person. I just want to take a minute to thank them: my husband, my children, my dad, my siblings and my very, few and supportive special friends: their unwavering love and support- bearing the brunt of falsehoods and insults, and many provocations- has kept me steady and given me the strength to go on.’’
A Deputy Communication Officer for the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kwaku Boahen has asked Ghaians to stop associating Ibrahim Mahama to the party because he is not a member.   According to him, Ibrahim Mahama only worked for his brother former President John Dramani Mahama.   He was making a comment over the seizure of Exton Cubic Mining equipment by the Ashanti regional, Simon Osei Mensah. According to him, he will only release the equipment if the company belonging to Ibrahim Mahama, brother of former President John Mahama is able to provide him with documents granting them permission to work at a bauxite concession at Nyinahim in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region. Commenting on the issue, Kwaku Boahen commended the regional minister for taking such an action especially when government has resolved to clamp down on illegal mining activities popularly referred to as galamsey. He added that, ‘’If the Minister had not seized the equipment and I am the president, I will sack him. He did well by seizing the machines and demanding for documentation. That was the proper thing to do. He did no wrong and if anyone is aggrieved, he or she should provide the necessary documentation. He said leave the NDC out of this. We do not engage in galamsey. We do not operate an illegal mining site. Leave the NDC out of this because Ibrahim Mahama is not a member of the NDC, he has never been to our party office before. He is not a member of the NDC and has never participated in any activity of the party. He is not NDC and his brother only become a president of Ghana. He is not above the law and should be dealt with if he has breached any,’’ he said.   The erstwhile Mahama government, acting through then Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Nii Osah Mills, on December 29, 2016, entered into and granted Exton Cubic Group Limited mining leases to mine bauxite in different concessions for 21 and 18 years respectively. The company then outsource the prospecting of the site to Mr. Ibrahim Mahama’s company but the Regional Minister prevented the drivers of the vehicles from entering the area.    
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Atwima Mponua, William Darko has said the people of Atwima Mponua are not against Exon Cubic mining of bauxite in their forest but the concerns raised by the youth, has to do with due process.   Speaking on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm he said, they have been praying for the mining of bauxite for many years. However, our only problem is documentation.   He told Kwame Tutu that no one can work in the district without proper documentation and the district had no proof of any documentation allowing the company to operate. ‘’The district and regional coordinating council had no documentation to support the claims by the company. That was not the best because as a district, we need to have proper documentation to ensure that they hold the company accountable should they breach the laid down rules,’’ he said. He stressed that the residents are not against the bauxite mining but only demanded for documentation adding, ‘’the documentation will serve as an evidence for anyone who will take over from me.’’ Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has said operations by Exton Cubic Mining Company are legal. He confirmed that the ministry granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for Bauxite. Equipment belonging to the company was seized by the Ashanti regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah who demanded for documentation before releasing the seized equipment.   It was reported in some media circles that Exton Cubic and E&P were operating illegally in the forest but the mining company refuted the claims noting that it had legally acquired the Nyinahini Bauxite concession as far back as August 14, 2013.      
Is been revealed that climate change has woefully affected the country in both its health and education and thus leading to low academic performance and the outbreak of diseases.     This revelation was made by Prof. Chris Gorden, the director of the institute for environment and sanitation studies at the University of Ghana-Legon during a presentation at the 2nd Ghana Youth Conference on Climate Change and Sustainable Development (GYCCC-SD) held at the British Council in Accra on Tuesday 22nd August,  2017.     He explained that whenever there is rainstorm that rip-off school buildings, learning activities are usually brought to a halt which affects the performance of the school children in their examinations.     He further explained that health on the other hand has been affected negatively by climate change considering the rampant floods and the unbearable sunshine.   Prof Gorden lamented that, women, children, the aged and the people living with disabilities are the most vulnerable who suffer the consequences these challenges come with.     Notwithstanding, the senior lecturer implored the youth to protest all inhuman activities such as deforestation, indiscriminate bush fires, sand quarrying among others to sustain the environment and contribute to the reduction of the undesirable effects of climate change.     “As youth, you must protest all heartless activities in all forms to save the environment. This is because you are the very people who would face all the repercussions that accompany it’’, he entreated.   The program which commenced yesterday [Tuesday] is expected to end on Thursday August 24, 2017 and is under the theme: Integrating youth into the implementation of Ghana’s nationally determined contributions and sustainable development.      By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe 
The Editor-In-Chief of the Informer newspaper, Andy Kankam, has lambasted the Lands and Natural Resources Minister over what he has described as double standards in the fight against galamsey. John Peter Amewu he stated has stabbed President Akufo Addo in the back for granting Exon mining group the prospecting license.   Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he said the Minister has undermined the powers of the Ashanti regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah for making such a statement.   Equipment belonging to the company was seized by the Ashanti regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah who demanded for documentation before releasing the seized equipment.   It was reported in some media circles that Exton Cubic and E&P were operating illegally in the forest but the mining company refuted the claims noting that it had legally acquired the Nyinahini Bauxite concession as far back as August 14, 2013.   The Lands Minister confirmed that the company was operating legally. He confirmed that the ministry granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for Bauxite. According to the Minister, Exton Cubic was still within the exploration framework which is to end in December 2017, “but the mining lease has been granted in December.” “What that mining lease does is for him to go back and start the whole processes again; going through the application for forest entry permit, the EPA processes and a lot of things that will need to be done.” “As it stands now, he has the mining lease, he has the entry permit to enter the forest but the EPA and other things that are very important have not yet been granted and he has also not been granted an operating permit which will finally mandate him to do the production.” However, Andy Kankam has described the statement from the Minister as a cock and bull story meant to undermine the intelligence and respect of Ghanaians.   According to him, it is surprising that the Lands Minister who some few months ago, announced the suspension of mining licence will justify the procurement of licensing for Exton Cubic. He said, Ghanaians have resolved to deal with galamsey and has since sent Operation Vanguard to go out and deal with galamsey operators hence that fight should not be thwarted. The Ashanti regional minister he said did well by seizing the equipment however, the Lands Minister undermined his authority by failing to inform him [Simon Osei Mensah] of the operation of Exton Cubic Mining Company. He lamented Ghana’s depleted forest reserve due to galamsey activities and charged Ghanaians not to give up the fight in the quest to ensure that we regain our natural resources. ‘’The Ashanti regional minister has proven that he cannot be taken for granted. He requested for documentation so he can exonerate himself when there is a problem. That was a bold a decision he took,’’ he said.   He was of the view that government should have prepared an alternative livelihood programme before clamping down on galamsey.
Founder and leader of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP), Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom who contested the 2016 presidential election, has said, politics is not for hungry people but achievers. Speaking to Accra based Joy Fm, the business mogul said,  the crave to occupy a political office in the country has become for many, the plain sailing for acquiring wealth and making a good living.   In the view of Dr. Nduom, politics is about public service. Politics he stressed cannot make one pesewa for him and business for him is the top priority. He indicated that politics allows politicians to make contribution towards national development and don't take from there. ‘’Is a matter of serving your country. So when my priorities are set that way, there can’t be any difficulty in my mind, in my attitude or in my way of life. We take care of business first and then it allows me the opportunity and the privilege of spending some time to figure out how is it that I can serve my people, my country and make a contribution. That is how I balance it. It can never be politics first.’’ He said politics can make people go hungry and become desperate in this country. ‘’I don’t want to be a hungry and desperate person,’’ he said. Some people who are referred to as honourables in the past are now referred to as venerable because they had nothing to fall on after their political career.   In my view, politics is something you do when you’ve accomplished something.
Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu has said operations by Exton Cubic Mining Company are legal. He confirmed that the ministry granted Exton Cubic Group Limited an entry permit into the Nyinahin bauxite concession in the Tano Offin Forest reserve to prospect for Bauxite. Equipments belonging to the company were seized by the Ashanti regional Minister Simon Osei Mensah who demanded for documentation before releasing the seized equipment.   It was reported in some media circles that Exton Cubic and E&P were operating illegally in the forest but the mining company refuted the claims noting that it had legally acquired the Nyinahini Bauxite concession as far back as August 14, 2013.   “This project commenced somewhere in 2013. They began the due diligence processes through which they were granted the prospective lease around 2015. They have the entry permit from the Forestry Commission and the necessary EPA was done during the exploration period.”     According to the Minister, Exton Cubic was still within the exploration framework which is to end in December 2017, “but the mining lease has been granted in December.” “What that mining lease does is for him to go back and start the whole processes again; going through the application for forest entry permit, the EPA processes and a lot of things that will need to be done.” “As it stands now, he has the mining lease, he has the entry permit to enter the forest but the EPA and other things that are very important have not yet been granted and he has also not been granted an operating permit which will finally mandate him to do the production.”     Meanwhile, the company hhas threatened a legal actions against the police and some authorities in the Ashanti Region for what it called the unlawful seizure of Ibrahim Mahama’s Engineers and Planners (E&P) vehicles and mining equipment.     The company says they have acquired all the necessary documentation and permits to operate at Nyinahini.
The District Chief Executive for Zabzugu in the Northern Region, Hon Ahmed Iddrisu Abukari also known as Adakwa, has demystified claims by the Member of Parliament for the Zabzugu constituency, Hon Alhassan Umar that the “planting for food and jobs” fertilizers and seeds are being sold to only card bearing NPP members.   Hon Alhassan Umar the NDC MP for the area in an interview with TV3 a few weeks back alleged that the DCE has stockpiled the fertilizers and selling them to only NPP card bearing members.     The DCE in an exclusive interview with Rainbow radio’s Prince Kwame Tamakloe, denied the allegation saying that, the MP is not well informed about happenings in his district since he does not visit the district.       Hon Ahmed further revealed that most NPP members in the area do not have NPP membership cards thus, only two out of every ten NPP members in Zabzugu are card bearers.     “Our NPP members here do not have membership cards only two out of every ten NPP members you will assemble, are card bearers hence it is not possible to sell all the fertilizers to such a small number of people.”   The DCE reiterated his point by saying that the fertilizers are sold to all farmers in the district regardless of their party affiliations, adding, even some of the fertilizers were sold to a brother of the MP who is a known NDC member.     Nonetheless, he has challenged anyone to come to Zabzugu to verify the claims by the MP, Hon,Umar if they have any doubt towards the issue.   However, Rainbow Radio’s visit and interaction with some residents of Zabzugu revealed that, the claims made by the MP, Alhassan Umar against the DCE, Hon Ahmed, are fallacious and the residents expressed their displeasure in the claims by the MP calling it unfortunate. Meanwhile the DCE has expressed his disappointment in the MP for making up such allegation about him, and more so in TV3 for refusing him his response towards the allegations made against him.   “Prince, from day one of my swearing in, I have always committed myself in serving the people of Zabzugu not considering their religion, level of education, political affiliation among others. I think my Hon MP did not behave honorably”     By: Prince Kwame Taamakloe
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says his 3-day visit to Equatorial Guinea is to strengthen the bilateral ties that exist between the two countries, as well as explore areas of co-operation to the mutual benefit of their respective peoples. According to President Akufo-Addo, at the diplomatic level, the two countries have maintained strong relations for several decades, adding that he is following in the footsteps of three of his predecessors in the 4th Republic, who also paid official visits to Equatorial Guinea. “They have laid a solid foundation for the relations between our two countries, on which, with God’s help, I am hoping to help build a bright future of co-operation,” he said.  President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, August 21, 2017, at a State Dinner held in honour by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, at the commencement of his 3-day official visit to that country. With the last meeting of the Permanent Joint Commission of Co-operation between the two countries held in Accra in 2010, President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that his visit to Malabo will kick-start the re-commencement of formal sessions of the Commission, the last one of which was held in Accra. The President was, therefore, keen to revive the Air Services Agreement, and re-establish direct flights between Accra and Malabo. His government, he added, has also committed itself to expanding the Tema Port into a trans-shipment hub, to improve sea trade within Africa. Ghana’s energy security As part of the measures put in place by the Akufo-Addo government to guarantee Ghana’s energy security, President Akufo-Addo noted that Equatorial Guinea’s proximity to Ghana makes her one of the excellent sources for procuring reliable and sustainable LNG to augment Ghana’s domestic supply. In June 2017, the Ministers for Energy of the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in relation to the supply of LNG from Equatorial Guinea to Ghana. “My presence here is a consummation of this bilateral agreement, and represents a significant step towards matching Equatorial Guinea’s excess gas supply to Ghana’s ever growing demand,” he said. President Akufo-Addo continued, “It is my expectation that during this visit, we shall sign a government-to-government Heads of Agreement for the supply to Ghana of LNG from Equatorial Guinea, for a period of fifteen years, reviewable every five years. If cocoa was the first seed to nourish the relationship between our two countries, gas is going to be the second.” The Memorandum of Understanding provides that Equatorial Guinea will supply the equivalent of 150 million standard cubic feet of natural gas per day to Ghana. The MoU also provides for the building and operation of an LNG regasification terminal in Takoradi.        Continental Integration With Ghana and Equatorial Guinea being are two important members of the African Union (AU), President Akufo-Addo stressed that he is willing to do whatever he can to strengthen the AU. “I believe it is extremely important for the welfare of the 1.2 billion people of the continent that we, the leaders, demonstrate strong political will to make the AU an economic and political success, and to make the project of integration real. I am fully committed, and I know President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is, too,” he said. With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years time, an African Common Market, President Akufo-Addo noted, presents immense opportunities to Africa, with hardwork, enterprise and creativity.   “The time for African integration is now. Ghana and Equatorial Guinea should be at the forefront of the process that will convert the AU into a true continental market. Hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area. A working, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent,” he added.
Lawyer Gary Nimako Marfo, counsel for Indian businessman Ashok Sivaram has requested for an immediate retraction and apology for defamatory publication against him. He has asked DSI Michael Amoako-Atta the Head of Immigration Service to retract and apologise for a release under his signature that made direct defamatory references to him [Gary] ‘’for which I demand an immediate retraction and unqualified apology’’. The lawyer in a letter to the Head of Public Affairs said he [DSI Amoako-Atta] may have issued the statement because he was not properly briefed. ‘’First of all, the sequence of events in the manner you have sought to narrate in the said Press Release shows that you were either not properly briefed by your superiors or that you have churned out malicious falsehood to the public carefully calculated to dent my hard won reputation,’’ he said. The statement added, ‘’as you are already aware, I have never personally dealt with you since my client was deported from Ghana on 1st June, 2017. The persons I have engaged are the Minister of Interior, Hon Ambrose Dery, Controller of Immigration, Mr. Kwame Takyi, Deputy Controller-General/Operations, Mr. Laud Affrifa and the Head of Legal at Immigration Headquarters.’’   Lawyer Nimako stressed in the letter that he has acted professionally and if his engagements with superiors of Immigration to reverse the deportation of his client was adhered to during the seven (7) week deliberations, this case would not have travelled up to this stage.   Lawyer Gary Nimako  added that ‘’In general response to the entire Press Release, I wish to respectfully inform you that it is proper to give a correct narrative of the sequence of events to the public in the interest of the image of the Ghana Immigration Service. ‘’I therefore respectfully implore you to immediately retract the inaccurate and defamatory attributions made to me in your press release forthwith,’’ he concluded.   You can read the full letter attached to the story.
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