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General News (7498)

The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, together with eight other African Heads of State, on Wednesday, 20th September, 2017, at the side-lines of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, held talks with the President of the United States of America, Donald Trump, on US-African relations. The 8 Heads of State present at the meeting were President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, President Alasanne Ouattara of Côte d’Ivoire, President Jacob Zuma of South Africa, President Macky Sall of Senegal, President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also Chairperson of the African Union, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, and President Hage Geingob of Namibia. In his remarks, President Trump noted that in the 8 African leaders gathered at the meeting, “I see partners for promoting prosperity and peace on a range of economic, humanitarian, and security issues”. The US President indicated further that his administration is committed to extending partnerships with the 9 countries, because they “are committed to self-reliance and to fostering opportunities for job creation in both Africa and the United States.” Of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies, President Trump noted that six are in Africa, and, thus, increasing American trade and investment across diverse industries — including agriculture, energy, transportation, healthcare, travel, and tourism — will further transform lives throughout Africa. He reiterated the commitment of the United States to partner with countries and organizations, like the African Union, that lead successful efforts to end violence, to prevent the spread of terrorism, and to respond to humanitarian crises. “Terrorist groups, such as ISIS, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, and al Qaeda also threaten African peace. The United States is proud to work with you to eradicate terrorist safe havens, to cut off their finances, and to discredit their depraved ideology,” he added. On the issue of North Korea, President Trump stated that the world faces an enormous security threat from the North Korean regime, and urged all nations to “stand together and be accountable in implementing United Nations sanctions and resolutions in response to North Korea’s hostile and menacing actions.” A free, independent, and democratic nation, he stressed, “in all cases, is the best vehicle for human happiness and success.” Present also at the meeting were Foreign Ministers of the 8 African countries present; US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson; Chief of Staff, Gen. John Kelly; the Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Nikki Haley; and other representatives of the US government. On behalf of the African Presidents gathered, and on behalf of the African Union, President Alpha Conde thanked President Trump for the courtesy of the invitation to discuss issues bordering on the strengthening of US-Africa relations. He noted that the 21st century will see Africa take its rightful place on the world stage, and will without doubt be a century in which Africans are going to are going to count for more and in a decisive way, because there is an ever-greater determination among Africa’s leaders and youth that the hour of renewal has arrived.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has drawn attention to the urgent need to reform the United Nations. According to President Akufo-Addo, UN reforms have been talked about and scheduled for a long time; but somehow the courage and the will have never been found to reform the United Nations. “Ghana supports the process of UN Reform, especially of the UN Security Council, as set out in Africa’s Common Position on UN Reform, based on the Ezulwini Consensus. The time is long overdue to correct the longstanding injustice that the current structure and composition of the UN Security Council represent for the nations of Africa,” the President said. He continued, “We cannot continue to preach democracy and fairness around the world, we cannot insist on peace and justice around the world, when our global organisation is not seen by the majority of its members as having a structure that is just and fair. It is, indeed, seen by many as helping to perpetuate an unfair world order.” The UN, President Akufo-Addo stressed, provides the best vehicle for the world to manage its many varied problems, adding that “we would undermine its credibility and fail in our duty if we do not reform the United Nations. We dare not let ourselves and future generations down. The time for reform has come.” President Akufo-Addo made this known on Thursday, 21st September, 2017, when he delivered his address at the 72nd Session of the United General Assembly, currently ongoing at New York. In talking about sustainable relations, the President noted that Africa, and, indeed, Ghana, remains committed to remaining a nuclear weapon-free continent. It is for this reason, he said, that three weeks ago, highly-enriched uranium was flown out of Ghana back to China, signalling the end of the removal of all such material from the country. “Our nuclear reactor has, subsequently, been converted to use low-enriched fuel for power generation. A world, free of nuclear weapons, must be in all our collective interest,” he added. President Akufo-Addo reaffirmed Ghana’s commitment to maintaining friendly and cordial relations with all the countries and peoples of the world. “The full engagement of Ghana, through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in the process of West African integration, and through the African Union (AU), in the process of African integration, remains a goal of my government. Regional and continental integration are in Ghana’s interest, as they represent one of the surest ways towards establishing the conditions for prosperity in our region and on the continent in the decades ahead, as well as helping to ensure peace and security and combating the scourges of terrorism, extremism and intolerance,” he noted. The conflicts that continue to plague our continent in Libya, South Sudan, Congo DRC, and Mali, the President said, would be more effectively resolved if the international community was to support, not undermine, the efforts of our regional and continental organisations to deal with them. President Akufo-Addo assured further that “Ghana will also continue to be active in the multilateral organisations to which we belong, such as La Francophonie, the Commonwealth of Nations, and this United Nations, because we believe multilateral action and international co-operation are in the interest of all of us.”
The Minority in Parliament has served notice that it will boycott deliberations on the controversial AMERI deal. Members of the Mines and Energy Committee in Parliament led by Hon. Adam Mutawakilu the spokesperson for Mines and Energy in a statement said: ‘’ We, the Minority Members of the Mines and Energy Committee, have decided upon careful consideration of the relevant facts, not to take part in the deliberations of the Committee in respect of the urgent motion filed by Hon. K.T Hammond requesting that the House rescinds the decision it gave in approving the Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) agreement between the Government of Ghana and Africa and Middle East Resources Investment Group LLC (AMERI Energy) on grounds of gross misrepresentation. The statement added, ‘’ The Minority does not want to be part of any bad precedent as far as parliamentary practice is concerned. Parliament as an arm of Government conducts its business on the dictates of the standing orders as stipulated under Article 110 (1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana. In other words, any action or move taken by any Member of the House has to be witnin the remit of the Constitution and the Standing Orders. It is worthy to note that there is no part, section or rule of the Standing Orders that allows for a motion to be referred to a committee after it has been moved and seconded to without any deliberations by the House. This cannot be found in the current Standing Orders or any Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana since Independence. Secondly, it is strange that Hon. K.T Hammond, who was/is not a party to the agreement, is requesting Parliament to rescind its decision on the basis of gross misrepresentation. Hon. K.T Hammond has NO LOCUS STANDI in this matter. Though we in the Minority respect the concerns and Standing of Hon K.T Hammond as a member of the Committee on Mines and Energy to take up matters pertaining to the sector, in the overall circumstances of this matter, we think his request should not be honored. In all these developments, it is surprising that the Government of Ghana which is a party to this agreement has remained silent on its position. We therefore call on the government to come clear on its position with regards to the agreement. It must be noted that, though Parliament has a constitutional role in the approval of International Economic or Financial Agreements to which the Government is a party, Parliament becomes FUNCTUS OFFICIO after approving such agreements. Once approved, the agreements are now in the domain of the parties thereto which, in this case, the Executive Arm of Government and AMERI Energy. If there is anything untoward about the agreement, it is for the parties to say so and take the necessary action within the framework of the agreement to vindicate their rights and not for any other person. Indeed, in the Supreme Court case of NDEBUGRE v ATTORNEY-GENERAL & ANOR, Suit Number J1/5/2013 (unreported), the Supreme Court held that where Parliament exercised its constitutional function of approving an agreement without indicating that it has a future role in the termination or variation of the terms of the agreement, Parliament cannot subsequently purport to partake in termination or varying such terms. In the specific instance of AMERI BOOT agreement, Parliament failed and/or neglected to indicate in the approval decision that it retained a future role in the termination of the agreement. Therefore, the attempt to do so using the motion filed by Hon. K.T Hammond is, in our considered opinion, ultra vires the powers of Parliament and hence unconstitutional. Finally, we must make it abundantly clear that the terms of the agreement contain dispute resolution mechanisms including resort to court action. We want to urge Hon. K.T Hammond to make his evidence of gross misrepresentation available to the Government which is a party to the agreement for the appropriate action to be taken. Government has every right to review past contracts and to correct every wrong therein in the interest of the people of Ghana; we take the view that this must be done in the right way and through the right means and not through the subterfuge of a motion for rescission. The Minority Members of the Committee are ever ready and willing to listen to, enquire into and deliberate on any issue appropriately brought before the Committee. The Committee is accordingly advised to take note of the decision of Members of the Minority.
The IT Company contracted by the previous Mahama led administration to provide services for the National Single Window and Risk Management System in Ghana has been taken over by a Dubai company. In a statement, the IT Company said an agreement was reached by the two companies for the takeover. The statement said: “Customs World, a subsidiary of Ports Customs and Free Zones Corporation (PCFC) Dubai, has signed an agreement to take over West Blue Ghana Limited, the company engaged for the provision of the National Single Window and Risk Management System in Ghana. This agreement formalizes the establishment of ‘Ports & Customs World Ghana Limited.’’ The statement added: ‘’Customs World International is committed to “investing significant resources including capital, world-class technologies and human expertise in Ghana as they have done in Dubai and other countries.” “The implementation of these new systems will be based on a robust risk engine that will improve efficiency in Ghana’s ports and customs operations thus, increasing revenue to the Government of Ghana and at the same time significantly reducing the cost of doing business in Ghana’s ports. The takeover by Ports and Customs World Ghana will automate Customs, Free Zones and Port processes in Ghana and also build Ghana’s capacities through the application of technology and services that will mirror the operational model in Dubai. This solution will be implemented through segments like the Risk Engine, Mirsal 2, the Client Management System, Smart Applications and the management of free zones and customs warehouses,” the statement added.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has received the Africa-America Institute’s (AAI) National Achievement Award, on behalf of the people of Ghana, at a ceremony on Tuesday, September 19, 2017, at the New York Public Library. According to President Akufo-Addo, the award, which recognises Ghana’s status as a free, democratic and stable country in Africa, is as a result of the contributions of successive generations of Ghanaian patriots who played invaluable roles in establishing the free, sovereign and democratic Ghana that has been honoured by the AAI. Delivering his acceptance speech, the President noted that over the course of Ghana’s long, tortuous history it has emerged that ”the spirit of the Ghanaian, in his or her quest for peace, progress and prosperity, cannot be quenched. We are a determined lot, who cannot be deterred.” Despite taking a while to reach a consensus on the establishment of multi-party constitutional, democratic rule in Ghana, he added that “today, after quite some time, we are recognised as a beacon of democracy and stability on the African continent. We are a country governed by the principles of democratic accountability, respect for individual liberties and human rights, and the rule of law, an aspiring modern nation.” It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo indicated that, in the aftermath of the disputed elections of 2012, “we demonstrated clearly that it was not the ambitions of Akufo-Addo, or the fortunes of the New Patriotic Party, that we sought to promote. The stability and progress of Ghana, and the enhancement of her democracy were the paramount considerations that guided our every action in those difficult days.” Ghana’s future President Akufo-Addo told the packed gathering that the time has now come for Ghana to move on even further to deepen her democracy. “It is time to make sure that we have a genuine separation of powers between the various arms of government. Our Parliament, the legislative arm of government, must grow into its proper role as an effective machinery for accountability and oversight of the Executive. Our Judiciary must inspire confidence in the citizens, so we can all see the courts as the ultimate, impartial arbiters when disputes arise, as they would,” he stressed. Additionally, he noted that Ghana must also decentralise more, and devolve more power with corresponding resources to the base of her political system and to her people, in the regions and communities. “We must trust the individual and collective wisdom and good sense of our people. We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have a powerful private sector, with a strong sense of enterprise, innovation and creativity, and an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy,” President Akufo-Addo added. It is for this reason that his government, he told the gathering, is insisting on making basic education, i.e. kindergarten through primary school to junior high school to senior high school, free in all the country’s public schools, to guarantee access to quality basic education to all of Ghana’s children, irrespective of the circumstances of their birth. “In doing so, we must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development. We want to create a society of opportunities and incentives. We have to build a confident Ghana which is united, at peace with itself and takes pride in its diversity, and which continues to pursue its pan-African vocation,” he added. Tribute to successive generations President Akufo-Addo paid tribute to a tall list of Ghanaians who made the receipt of the award possible. This list included the members of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society; the great nationalists who gathered at Saltpond to inaugurate the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC); Ghana’s first President, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, and leading stalwarts of the government of the Conventions Peoples Party. The President also paid tribute to some others, who are not listed among the forefront fighters for political freedom, but who fought equally hard for our cultural integrity and identity of who we are as Ghanaians, such as Philip Gbeho, Ephraim Amu, Theodosia Okoh, Amon Kotei, Kofi Antubam, Ayi Kwei Armah and Ama Ata Aidoo, Esther Ocloo, Dede Asikisham, Akua Shorshorshor, and other pioneer entrepreneurs. He also paid tribute to his predecessor Presidents of the country, ”all of whom contributed in their diverse ways, during their respective tenures of office, variously to the Ghana we are celebrating tonight, the Ghana of Freedom and Justice, the stirring words of our national motto.”
Embattled businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome has maintained that he’s been consistent with his narrative on the GHc51 million judgement debt paid him whereas government has been inconsistent. According to him, his documentary evidence since the case started has remained the same. ‘’The narratives from the accuser; those who represent the state has always changed. You and I know that the narratives from the beginning, discussions have always changed by them and I have never fought my case in the media because the case is in court…’’ He was responding to the storming of his Trassaco residence by armed military men with officials from the Land Valuation to value his property. He wondered why the military should be dragged into civilian court matters and questioned whether he was operating illegal structure and described it as criminal. Some armed men stormed their Trasacco residence in Accra, to value Mr Woyome’s home as part of steps being taken by the State to recover GHC51.2-million controversially paid him as judgment debt. Mr. Woyome said he questioned the authenticity of a court warrant granting access to the house for valuation in view of the fact that the country’s courts were on legal vacation. He disclosed in an interview with Rainbow Radio that the armed clocked a gun at his wife and in his view, an attempt was made to get him to react so they assassinate him and report later that he was inferring with the work of the team. ‘’This thing is truly criminal and how they are dragging the military into civilian court matters, I don’t understand,’’ he said.
The chairperson for the Volta River Authority Division of Public Service Worker Union, Madam Esther Agyemang Asafo has indicated that due to the bad off-taker arrangement with AMERI, VRA is losing an amount of $11 million every month. She told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that the monthly figure has accumulated to a total of $218 million within the first 19 months of operations. She said the period spanned between January 2016 and July 2017. Madam Asafo said VRA is supporting four thermal business entities in addition to running its own operations. She also revealed that when the operation started, they had no idea and before they got to know about the AMERI deal, it has been signed into agreement. She was emphatic that the AMERI deal is incurring more debt and by the end of the five year agreement, we would have incurred more debt. ‘’The with the deal is for the next five years, workers and we believ the future of the Authority is bleak,’’ and so we are calling for urgent measures by government to reverse any serious implications. In 2015, the John Mahama administration signed a $510 million Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Agreement with AMERI Energy to help solve power crisis the country was enduring at the time. The then opposition NPP, raised questions over the deal. There were claims the deal had been inflated by about $150 million, an allegation officials of the former administration have rejected.
The Ghana Police Service at the Upper West region is facing serious logistical constraints. An informant who pleaded anonymity stated that, the force lacks major accoutrements such as guns, vehicles and most importantly, fuel to help them in enhancing their work. Information we gathered as indicated that the situation has adversely affected operations as the police are unable to attend to emergency cases. The source also told Nyankonton Mu Nsem that some officers due for promotion have not been promoted. According to the person, the affected police officers feel cheated because even though they have served the minimum years that qualifies them for promotion. The police administration is clearly violating and is being inconsistent with respect to the provisions in the Policy Guidelines of the Service. According to the person, though the Policy Guidelines of the Service on promotions mandated the hierarchy of GPS to promote officers who had served a four-year term in their respective rank without any charges, the Policy Guideline had now being flouted.
A Deputy National Organizer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Joshua Hamidu Akamba has disputed a publication by the Daily Guide Newspaper that former President Mahama per the Kwesi Botchwey report lost the elections because he rejected a strategy the party adopted in Akuse in 2016. According to the publication, the Kwesi Botchwey Committee made a damming conclusion against Mr. Mahama. The paper said, the report indicated that Mahama’s movie star lifestyle contributed to their defeat. According to the 65-page Executive Summary of the report, “President Mahama lives a life of a movie star,” getting to the election in which the NDC performed abysmally. “President Mahama ignored the Akuse strategy. It included no flamboyant campaign, no amorphous group, etc,” it said. However, Mr. Akamba slammed the publication stressing that it lacks the merit and credibility to make such false representation of the report. Although he confirmed a meeting by the NDC at Akuse to strategize in 2016, he rubbished the other claims made by the paper. ‘’Yes we went to Akuse to plan how the campaign would be run. But is that what was in the report? The owners of Daily Guide are NPP stalwarts and so why should I trust what they publish? He wondered why the paper will concentrate on focusing on a party in opposition when ‘’the current administration is failing in their promises. Have they not seen that? When asked if indeed former President Mahama rejected the party’s strategy for 2016 he said, ‘’If I wanted you to know about that one, I would have organized a press conference. If I wanted you to know the inner problems of the NDC, I would have organized a press conference…We are not going to disclose these things to you.’’ He said, I can tell you with all confidence that this publication is not coming from the report
Embattled businessman says he is being dabbled in Ghanaian politics although he is not a politician due to the GHc51 million paid him. He was responding to the invasion of his residence by military personnel on Tuesday with the aim of valuing his property. A combined team of armed police and military personnel on Tuesday, September 19, 2017 in a Rambo style stormed the Trassaco residence of the NDC financier, a move he said appeared like a coup d’etat. Speaking exclusively to Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Mr. Woyome said his companies have been destroyed in the process of the frustration he is going through. He said, ‘’I am not a politician but they’ve tried to dabble me in all these. I am a member of the NDC because of social democratic principle and that principle is equal to my religious belief, Christianity.’’ President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo he said promised to retrievedthe money paid him however after winning power, he [President] has putting the whole issue in a legal context. ‘’The other time I heard the president talking to you the press that he will use the court processes and I knew that should be typical of a president who has been a seasoned lawyer. And so when he said so, he has now put the whole promise in the context of legality because that time in the campaign platform you can say anything,’’ he stated. He asked Nana Addo to allow his appointees to use the normal legal processes because he feels they are misusing the powers granted them by the state. Background to saga Mr. Woyome was paid the GH¢ 51 million after claiming he helped Ghana raise funds to construct stadia for the hosting of the 2008 African Cup of Nations. However, an Auditor General’s report released in 2010, held that the amount was paid illegally to him. Subsequently, the Supreme Court in 2014 ordered Mr. Woyome to pay back the money, after Martin Amidu, challenged the legality of the payments. Following delays in retrieving the money, Supreme Court judges unanimously granted the Attorney General clearance to execute the court’s judgment, ordering Mr. Woyome to refund the cash to the state. There had been previous attempts to orally examine Mr. Woyome, with Mr. Amidu himself, in 2016, filing an application at the Supreme Court to find out how the businessman was going to pay back the money. This came after the Attorney General’s office under the Mahama Administration, led by the former Minister for Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, discontinued a similar application. In February 2017 however, Mr. Amidu withdrew his suit seeking an oral examination, explaining that the change of government and the assurance by the new Attorney General to retrieve all judgment debts wrongfully paid to individuals, had given him renewed confidence in the system.
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