The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated his belief in the fact that the noblest chapters in the modern history of the Ghanaian people, so far, have been written by lawyers.
According to President Akufo-Addo, the writing was begun by Ghana’s first lawyer, “the immortal John Mensah Sarbah”, who, together with Joseph Casely-Hayford, another lawyer, and their other colleagues in the Aborigines Rights Protection Society (ARPS), warded off “the greedy hands of British imperialism”, and kept control of the country’s lands.
This, he said, was the first monumental step towards the making of modern Ghana.
President Akufo-Addo noted further that one has only to reflect on the complicated land inheritance that the countries of Southern and Eastern Africa endured to acknowledge the importance of the ARPS’ contribution to the growth of Ghana.
The President made this known on Monday, September, 11, 2017, when he delivered his remarks at the National Conference of the Ghana Bar Association, in Sunyani
Further chapters, the President indicated, were written by the likes of Thomas Hutton-Mills, Kobbina Sekyi, Kojo Thompson, Akilakpa Sawyerr, all lawyers, who maintained the momentum of nationalist agitation initiated by the ARPS.
In 1948, when that agitation reached new, unprecedented heights, with the killings by the colonial police of the three ex-servicemen, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, and Private Odartey Lamptey, President Akufo-Addo noted that of the six persons, “Big Six”, who were arrested and fixed with responsibility by the colonial power for that development, four of them – Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi Lamptey, Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Edward Akufo-Addo – were lawyers.
“One, William Ofori-Atta, a decade later, subsequently became a lawyer; and the sixth, Kwame Nkrumah, Osagyefo, was apparently prevented by the arcane mysteries of Roman law from becoming a lawyer. So, as you can see, the responsibility of lawyers for setting our country on the road to freedom and national independence was great,” he added.
Succeeding generations of lawyers, the President stressed, have remained committed to the goal of securing not only the independence of Ghana, but also the establishment of the body politic of the country on the foundation of respect for the rule of law, individual liberties and human rights, and the principles of democratic accountability, values whose promotion are at the core of the Bar Association’s historic mission.
“I refer here to the work of lawyers like Kuranchi Taylor, Akua Asabea, Joe Appiah, Victor Owusu, B.J. da Rocha, J.E. Jantuah, F.A. Jantuah, Johnny Hansen, Obed Asamoah, Ray Kakraba Quarshie, Anthony Mmieh and Obeng Manu Snr. In more immediate times, lawyers have been at the forefront of the struggle against authoritarian rule. Peter Ala Adjetey, Sam Okudzeto, Nutifafa Kuenyehia, Akoto Ampaw, all members of this Association, were prepared to suffer the deprivation of preventive detention in defence of liberty and accountability in our nation,” he said.
The President continued, “They join the others in the pantheon of Ghanaian patriots who devoted themselves, in the face of great odds, to freedom and justice. And who can forget the collective, heroic determination of the Bar in the 1970s and 1980s to bring an end to the era of military rule and help engineer the restoration of democratic, constitutional governance to our country. Future historians will look kindly on the activities of the Bar, and speak of them with commendation.”
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has appealed for the support of Members of the Ghana Bar Association to help guarantee the success of the “battles” against corruption and the galamsey phenomenon, which he described as two of the most important challenges of our national governance.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “if we do not get a handle on corruption, we will not be able to develop our nation. By the same token, if we do not win the fight against environmental hazards, especially the battle against the galamsey phenomenon, we will have no nation to speak of.”
The President made this known on Monday, September, 11, 2017, when he delivered his remarks at the National Conference of the Ghana Bar Association, in Sunyani, which is being held on the theme “Saving the Future Generation from the Scourge of Corruption and Environmental Hazards – The Role of the Legal Profession”.
With the Office of Special Prosecutor is in the offing, President Akufo-Addo noted that the Office is an attempt to take the politics out of prosecutions of past and present public officers, (i.e. echoes of so-called witch-hunting), and, thus, needs the active support of the Bar to realise its goals.
Whilst expressing his satisfaction about the constitutionality of the creation of the Office, he noted that “I do not have the last word when it comes to pronouncements on matters constitutional. But it would certainly be remiss of me if I did not satisfy myself on the constitutional aspect, before I put it before the Ghanaian people.”
President Akufo-Addo further added that it will be members of the Bar who will provide the personnel for the Office, stressing that much of its success will depend on their integrity and genuine commitment to the fight against corruption.
In the same vein, the President appealed for the co-operation of the Bench and Bar to ensure speedy prosecutions of those allegedly involved in illegal galamsey activities.
“It is important that deterrents are quickly dispensed to reinforce the abhorrence of the Ghanaian nation about the illegal galamsey activities, which threaten our very survival and future,” he added.
The President concluded, “Mindful of each other’s prerogatives and duties, I am calling for us, the Bench, the Bar and the Executive, to enter into a grand alliance to fight and defeat the twin scourges in the supreme interest of the Ghanaian people, and in the fight against corruption, for my part, I shall lead by example.”
President Akufo-Addo also assured Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo and the State’s lawyers in the Ministry of Justice, that his government, within the constraints of our public finances, will do its very best to address issues of remuneration, conditions of service and the logistical needs of the Judiciary and the Ministry of Justice. `
“We are in it together – the great, noble adventure of self-government, popular government, free government. Let us put our shoulders to the wheel so that future generations will appreciate our contribution to the making of a successful, democratic Ghana, which guarantees the liberties of our people, the institutions of good governance, the cohesion of our society, the wellbeing of the masses, and the peace and prosperity of our nation. The Black Star has a tryst with destiny. Let us work together to make it happen,” he said.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the Ghana Education Service (GES), Rev. Jonathan Bettey says an investigation would be conducted into allegations that, Odorgonno Senior High School charged fresh students GH¢ 30 as developmental levy. The headmistress of the school was quoted as saying the amount had been agreed on in consultation with the PTA board of the school and the said amount is to help complete an uncomplicated library project which is at the roofing level.
Responding to the story on Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Rev. Bettey said it has not come to his notice but gave an hint that an investigation would conducted into the matter.
‘’Developmental levy collected from continuing students or fresh students? I would have to investigate and get back to you. We can’t just receive any statement or any allegation and take it as the fact. We have to investigate and get the facts right,’’ he said.
Female musician Mzbel, originally known as Belinda Nana Ekua Amoah, has disclosed on GH Entertainment hosted by Agyemang Prempeh on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, she settled on Fred Kyei Mensah as her new manager based on his competence and aptness.
Ghanaian music producer Fred Kyei Mensah popularly called Fredyma now manages Mzbel.
The musician indicated that they have been working for the past four months.
The ’16 Years’ singer continued that she has seen improvement in her career after she started working with Fredyma.
“Fred Kyei Mensah is my new manager and he is very good. So far he’s proven that he can help me improve upon my career.
She further stated that she has decided to do matured songs and after recording a recent track; she sent a copy to the renowned producer to review it. He did and gave me some guidelines and so I realized I needed him to help me do much better. I asked if he would be available and he agreed to manage me. He is managing my career as a musician and since he started managing me, I have seen much improvement.’’
She further disclosed that his manager is not someone who is money conscious rather he is a dedicated and experienced person who asked that we focus on my rebranding instead of the money.
Hoowever, ‘’I told him that we should invest money into what we doing so I would be able to express myself when something should go wrong,’’ she said.
When asked how much she pays her new manager, she declined to mention but stressed that the man has shown enough dedication to making her succeed.
The Deputy Minister of Education in charge of secondary, technical and vocational education, Dr. Osei Adutwum has slammed a former deputy minister of education under the Mahama led administration for ‘’misinforming’’ the public on the cost for the free education policy.
The former deputy education minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has maintained that, the free SHS being implemented by the NPP will not stand the test of time.
Samuel Okdujeto Ablakwa says the Akuffo Addo government cannot find the money to continue supporting the programme which makes it unsustainable.
According to him, the government got the budgetary calculations wrong and quoted a different figure of what the actual cost of the policy will be.
“The policy is not sustainable especially under the current circumstances; if they want to do so because of political expediency, quality will suffer.
"Government will not be able to sustain the Science Resource Centers as well as the renovation programme which was started by the John Mahama government, which ensured that teachers are recruited,”
But responding to the claims by the former deputy minister, Dr. Adutwum rubbished it and insisted that, government is poised to make the policy implementation successive and the needed financial allocation was already in place.
According to him, they engaged CHASS and came up with the cost hence it would be improper for the former deputy minister to make such claims.
He noted, the calculations done by Mr. Ablakwa were purely political and untrue.
A tax and finance expert Kudzo Akpabey, has petitioned President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expressing his displeasure at the appointment of PricewaterHouseCoopers (PWC) to review and audit the $72million Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) software contract.
The tax expert in his petition to the president gave details on why he expressed his displeasure at the appoint of the company who are chartered accountants and paid an amount of $500,000 to audit SSNIT over the brouhahaha.
The company has been contracted conduct a review that will cover an audit of the Trust’s Information Technology (IT) systems in use to identify and document gaps in the system, in view of the large expenditure on a new operating system.
According to him, the company lacks the competence to audit SSNIT considering their background and expertise.
Excerpts of the petition read: ‘’PWC’s appointment is thus primarily, to review the financial records of SSNIT, even though it also to cover an audit of SSNIT’s ICT system in use to identify and document gaps in the system per requirements and if not, why it is not operating. The main concern of the people of Ghana is however, the alleged $72million (still counting) SSNIT ICT fraud with respect to its suspicious contract award, whether or not the software is operating per requirements and if not, why it is still not operating.
‘’PWC is however, a firm of chartered accountants whose core business is even not accountancy but rather, statutory external auditing. The taxation services that such firms also usually provide are not even statutory or mandatory; the client determines whether such firms should include taxation as part of its services, explaining why taxation attracts separate consultancy fees. Thus, PWC is not technically and professionally competent to deal with this SSNIT alleged ICT fraud issue.’’
‘’Sir, please not that a review, per the dictionary definition, is for what one has already done for another persons (whether internally or externally) to review for whatever reason, including that of quality control and thus, PWC could justifiably, review the financial records of SSNIT and to, report on its Statement of Affairs (Balance Sheet audit) at March 31, 2017.’’
He stressed that PWC’s training and experience and focus are on statutory audits, taxation and investment consultancy and is therefore not a firm of forensic auditors and or fraud investigators to deal with the alleged $72million ICT fraud.
‘’This calls for an ad hoc forensic audit and investigation team of varied background to effectively, deal with the alleged ICT fraud, as PWC is not a firm of systems analysts and software engineers…’’
Mr. Akapbey has therefore proposed that PWC should review the financial records and state of affairs of the Trust as of March 31, 2017, financial irregularities, financial improper management practices, high management cost and imprudent investments, draining the resources of the Trust.
A Forensic Audit Team to investigate the alleged $72million ICT fraud.
He has also proposed two specialists from two different ICT-firms and added that the audit team must invite PERSOL to prove its lowest ICT bid stressing that ‘’PWC is technically incompetent to deal with the issue.’’
The team membership should be as follows: IT (Information Technology) two but not from the same IT firm; Two Experienced Qualified Accountants but not from the same firm; Experienced Lawyer (Unrelated to any team member); Economist (Unrelated to any team member); other EOCO representatives (Representing the state).
The proposed Forensic Audit Terms of Reference (Not Exhaustive)
Whether or not SSNIT’s Procurement Department followed its internal procedures in the ICT software bidding process and procurement.
Whether or not the SSNIT ICT Department has the professional or the technical competence to determine whether or not SSNIT needed a replacement software
Whether or not SSNIT Executive Management and Legislative Board did their duties before approving of the ICT Department’s request for the new ICT software
Whether or not SSNIT’s Executive Management reviewed its procurement Department of the Malaysian ICT company, as the procurement Department is always under the SSNIT Executive Management
Whether or not SSNIT’s Board reviewed the Executive Management’s approval of the ICT contract award, as the SSNIT Executive is always under the SSNIT Executive Board(Corporate Legislature)
Whether or not the SSNIT Procurement Department stated plausible reasons for rejecting each other bid, especially that of PERSOL, which bid is the lowest
Whether or not the SSNIT contract award, irrespective of its quantum, indeed met SSNIT’s specification
Whether or not PERSOL’s $3.8m bid that happened to be the lowest , met all SSNIT specifications
Whether or not PERSOL’s $3.8m bid, was better than the $34m original software supply
Whether or not PERSOL’s $3.8m bid, even if it did not fully meet all SSNIT’s specification, could nonetheless still have been accepted with an increased contract price of even 100% ( making it $7.6m) to meet all SSNIT’s specifications
Whether or not other bids satisfactorily, met SSNIT’s specifications
Whether or not there was fraudulence with respect to the supply of the original $34m software that did not work ( meaning a deliberate wrong supply of software ) whereas that software won the bid
Whether or not after the wasteful $34m Malaysian ICT, PERSOL’s product could have done a better job than the replacement software from the same Malaysian company that has so far, cost additional $38m ($72m-$34m) which is still not working satisfactorily
Whether or not there are any other related matters the SSNIT Board should know about.
Some parents have hinted that they would rather pay their wards fees to allow them entry into senior high school as boarders than to see them enter as day students.
Rainbow Radio visited some selected senior high schools where students have arrived to begin the enrollment processes.
However, a visit to some of the schools saw parents expressing their displeasure at how their wards have been treated.
Rainbow Radio’s Worlanyo Wallace was at the Accra Girls Senior High School where some parents have refused to allow their wards enroll as day students.
‘’We are ready to pay our wards fees so they will be enrolled as boarders. We had information that our wards would have to attend day school whether they like it or not. This is not the best. If they cannot afford the boarding, they should allow us to pay because some of us are ready to pay,’’ a parent said.
Reporting from the Achimota Senior High School, Nhyiraba Kwabena Asirifi said majority of the parents expressed gratitude to government for rolling out the free education policy.
According to him, some of the parents told him that if not for the policy, their wards would not have enrolled in school.
The names of beneficiaries at the time of his visit was on a notice board with details of what government was offering students and what parents would also offer them.
A parent said, ‘’I am extremely grateful; to the president. I am going to save a lot of money due to the free SHS.
Another said, ‘’I am very happy and I pray Nana Addo wins in 2020 so the free SHS policy will continue so our children will benefit. We are extremely happy because nobody has paid a penny. The only thing you will do is to check and see if your ward's name is part of the list, that’s all. The free SHS has really helped me and I am really grateful to the president.’’
In his report from the Accra Academy Senior High School, Daniel Asuku said, the situation was not different from the other schools as parents have brought their wards to the school to go through the enrollment processes.
A Deputy Minister for Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum has assured Ghanaians the free SHS will be successfully and allow candidates benefit fully.
“Many people are casting doubts about the new scholarship program but come what may, the government of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will surely succeed.”
“One of the best things that could ever happen to many Ghanaians especially parents is the fact that they will no longer be burdened with huge school fees to pay for their wards to access senior high school education,” he said in at a meeting of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) as well as the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) communication members and some selected journalists from the three regions of the north in Tamale.
A Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho has said, people can around and tell their own stories however, the party will decide who will represent it as presidential candidate in 2020.
The maverick politician stated emphatically that no one can impose a candidate on the party.
He was responding to reasons why he failed to attend the peace walk organized by the former President John Dramani over the weekend.
When asked whether it has come to his notice that some persons have inferred that, the peace walk was not a main event by the party and that he [Mahama] organized it to launch his come back in 2020 said, ‘’ the party has a constitution. Nobody can usurp the party’s constitution. If I [Koku Anyidoho] travel to the Volta every single day, it is the party’s constitution that would be supreme. So I want to believe that the party’s constitution is supreme. Let’s not belittle the intelligence of anybody because the party’s constitution is supreme. We will use the party’s structures and conduct elections at all levels to the national level and at the end of the day, the multitude of supporters will decide. The party supporters will decide. They own the party and so let nobody get excited before time. The party will decide who will lead the party into the next election. I can organize a walk, anybody else can organize a walk but at the end of the day, we will vote at the various branches, constituencies, regions and national and when all is said and done, the party will decide who will lead us into the next election.’’
The structures he stressed will decide who will lead us but for now, we are all party supporters.
When asked to confirm if the event was a party event said the walk was not an unconstitutional event and so we will applaud those who participated in the event.
President Nana Akufo-Addo secured the presidency after the third time of asking, beating the incumbent, President John Mahama.
Nana Akufo-Addo rode on the back 53.85 percent of the valid votes cast to become Ghana’s fifth president under the fourth Republic.
President Mahama, who ran on the ticket of the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC), secured 44.40 of valid votes cast.
President Mahama’s defeat makes him the first incumbent to lose an election since Ghana returned to multi-party democracy in 1992.
Professor Ransford Gyampo has slammed publications coming from his recent Facebook post about patriotism and claims that, the post was directed at former President John Dramani Mahama.
He wondered why some media houses enjoy sensationalizing stories and twisting statements or comments made by people.
Speaking at the inauguration of the first intake of students at the party’s ideological school, Ghana Institute of Social Democracy, Mr Mahama said people are no longer interested in how they can work to better the lives of Ghanaians but, rather, that of their own. “Nationalism and patriotism have become very deficient in Ghana today,” he said. “We all think about ourselves first, our families second, our parties third maybe our communities fourth and Ghana comes a fifth or even 10th." The political science lecturer was quoted as slamming the former president for his comments and insisting that he [Mahama] cannot escape from blame over his own patriotism comments.
However, speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Professor Gyampo said, his post was not only directed at the former president alone but all other politicians.
The lecturer stated further that, the way and manner some media houses twist and sensationalize stories are not the best adding, ‘’sometimes media house goof with their reportage. They generate unnecessary sensationalism. I did not write the post to slam only Mahama but politicians. It was meant for all politicians. The focus on Mahama was not the best and would not allow us to deliberate on the core issues.’’
He said politicians should be selfless and serve in the interest of those who voted them into office. They should not milk the state by their selfish desires but they should serve the people with integrity.
‘’Patriotic politicians are those who are dedicated and selfless. They are the ones who are truthful and not selfish,’’ he posited.
Politics he lamented has become an avenue where people come in to amass wealth for themselves.
Some politicians in other jurisdictions come in with wealth to serve the people and go out improvished. However, Ghanaian politicians come in rather to milk the state.
Ghanaian applicants for United Kingdom (UK) visas have accused the British High Commission of demanding multiple fees and charges for information on the status of their applications.
The applicants expressed worry over the extra fees that they were required to pay when they followed up on the status of their applications.
An applicant with a standard application form is expected to receive information on the status of his or her application within 15 working days, and when such verification delays in reaching the applicant, the only resort is to contact the Visa Application Centre for explanations. However, these explanations, which are supposed to be given to applicants as part of visa processing services, are sold to them.
Applicants are asked to pay an additional £1.37 per minute to standard network charges to be connected to a system operator who provides no explanations for the delay.
The centre’s email address, which can be accessed via www. gov. uk/ contact ukvi-insideoutside-uk/y/outside-the-uk, also attracts a charge of £5.48 per email sent.
Even priority applicants who pay premium charges to fast-track their application process within seven days are unduly delayed for more than two months without communication from the UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) Office, only for them to resort to contacting the office at additional cost thereby disrupting their travel plans.
Some of the applicants told the Daily Grapb1c on condition of anonymity that ‘ they applied for visas on different days 9 in July this year and paid processing fees ranging between £119 and £199 (GH¢1,138) for ordinary or standard processing, while priority applicants ' coughed out about GH¢1,900.
In an email response to questions sent to the Communications Manager at the British High Commission in Accra, Ms. Estelle Sackey, she said, “We are aware of the reported delays in processing UKVI applications. We apologise for the delays and the inconvenience this has caused.”
According to her, the UKVI Office in the UK was working to address the delays by putting in place a process to consider each case as soon as possible.
“If customers want further information, they can contact the International Customer Enquiry Service by phone or email, although there is a cost to this that covers the service,” she said.
She, however, said the visa application fees were payable for every aspect of processing an application and not just the decision to award a visa.
“We are not able to reimburse customers, except in very few cases where priority fees will be reimbursed where we fail to meet our published longest service standard of 12 weeks for a non-settlement and 24 weeks for a settlement visa,” she said.
Meanwhile, a Kumasi-based applicant whose application has been pending for eight weeks without a word from the UKVI said she went back to the office in Accra to complain about the delay but got no explanation.
On her visit to the office, a security guard at post gave her a piece of paper with telephone numbers and an email address on it to contact the UKV I Office in London.
When she called one of the telephone numbers, she was charged an additional £1.37 UK per minute to her standard network charges, only to be connected to an operator who gave no explanations for the undue delay, neither was she assured of a refund.
“You will only be connected to an operator who tells you nothing you don’t know already,” she said.
She also sent an email, which attracted a charge £5.48, but this time she was warned to desist from contacting the centre until she had been contacted by the UKVI Office.
Another applicant who applied for a Visa for himself and other family members encountered similar frustrations.
He said his application, which was to be processed within two weeks, was unduly delayed without any explanation and he was even charged for extra services which were never rendered.
“I applied on July 5 and got my passport at the end of August. But for me it was not the issue of the visa but the fact that I met people at the office who had applied for months without any explanation but who were being charged for extra services which were no guarantee that their issues would be resolved,” he said.
Some applicants recounted that on their appointment dates for visa processing, they were asked to pay the cedi equivalent of $79 (GH¢355) as additional cost for arriving for the appointment at 8 a.m., 30 minutes earlier than the official time of commencing work at the visa processing centre.
Applicants who reside outside Accra said the UKVI Office ripped them off after charging them the cedi equivalent of £15 for courier services which were not delivered.