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Electoral Commission of Ghana (EC) has in a detailed response to the various allegations of the opposition New Patriotic Party denied the claims by the elephant family. The NPP in August and September last year wrote to the EC among other allegations that the current voter register was bloated with 76, 000 Togolese making the register flawed. However the EC in their response to the NPP on the allegation of Togolese on our register noted: ‘’The Commission was also unable to confirm the authenticity of the Togolese Register used by the NPP in their analysis as the Electoral Commission of Togo declined to provide the EC with a copy of its register or confirm the authenticity of the soft copy of the register used by the NPP.’’ The EC also explained they also made a request for the NPP to furnish with the Togo register they used in their analysis but they (NPP) brought a photocopy which according to the electioneering body, they have not given out to anyone. ‘’It is important to observe that in the petition of the NPP dated August 18, 2015, the party claimed to have based its analysis on copies of the register displayed in Togo prior to their elections. However, upon request from the EC for the register used in the analysis, the NPP presented a soft copy of the Togo Register which the Togolese Electoral Commission says it had not given out to any third parties,’’ the response noted. The response added ‘’seeking to remove names of persons who appear on the registers of Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire in our view, would be an arbitrary and discriminatory application of the law. It response further asked ‘’would the Commission therefore be required to obtain the registers of all countries of the world and remove the names of persons who appear on such registers as well as Ghana’s?   Below is EC’s position on the allegation of existence of Togolese on the voters’ register: In examining the identity and status of the 76,000 Togolese alleged to be on Ghana’s Register, the EC found that they were all duly registered during the mass registration period in 2012. Most of the voters were registered in districts in the Volta and Northern Regions. These districts include Keta, Ketu South, Ketu North, Akatsi South, Akatsi North, Adaklu, Agotime Ziope, Ho Municipality, Kpando Municipality and Tatale/Sanguli. Our conclusion from this examination is that the voters are duly qualified under the laws of Ghana to be on Ghana’s Register. The NPP did not provide any proof of the citizenship status of these persons and did not show any proof that they were not entitled to be registered in Ghana. Registration on the register of another country, under the current laws of Ghana, does not take away one’s eligibility to be on the Ghanaian Register.   The Commission was also unable to confirm the authenticity of the Togolese Register used by the NPP in their analysis as the Electoral Commission of Togo declined to provide the EC with a copy of its register or confirm the authenticity of the soft copy of the register used by the NPP. It is important to observe that in the petition of the NPP dated August 18, 2015, the party claimed to have based its analysis on copies of the register displayed in Togo prior to their elections. However, upon request from the EC for the register used in the analysis, the NPP presented a soft copy of the Togo Register which the Togolese Electoral Commission says it had not given out to any third parties. Finally, Ghana’s Constitution permits dual nationality and admits the possibility of acquiring citizenship through many modes such as naturalization, adoption, and marriage. It would therefore be improper and unconstitutional to simply remove the names of persons on the register on the mere allegation that they appear on the register of another country without giving them the opportunity to provide proof of their citizenship of Ghana. Seeking to remove names of persons who appear on the registers of Togo, Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire in our view, would be an arbitrary and discriminatory application of the law. Would the Commission therefore be required to obtain the registers of all countries of the world and remove the names of persons who appear on such registers as well as Ghana’s? Further, at a subsequent meeting between the Commission and the NPP on November 18 2015, the NPP stated that it could not provide an update on the analysis of the Togolese register (which in the party’s petition of August 18, 2015 the party claimed only ten percent of the analysis had been completed). At the said meeting, the NPP also informed the Commission that it had discontinued the analyses of the Burkinabe and Ivorian Voter Registers. It is the view of the EC that the allegation by the NPP regarding the presence of 76,000 Togolese on Ghana’s Register is therefore unsubstantiated and not supported by the citizenship laws of Ghana.    
It has emerged that Ghanaians are not enjoying the drastic fall in fuel prices because taxes alone constitute about 70% of the cost of fuel in Ghana today. For example, Energy Debt Recovery Levy of 41 pesewas per litre of petrol and diesel is said to be money that would go to buy fuel for the electricity sector. Even though a barrel of crude oil on the world market as of yesterday was $38, as against $100 in June last year, consumers in Ghana now pay about GH¢15 per a gallon of fuel, an unreasonable price. On the other hand, in the United States of America (USA), a gallon of petrol is sold at just about $2. The fuel price increase has imposed more hardship on the already suffering Ghanaian. With the new increases, taxes on petrol per litre are Excise Duty, 2.78 pesewas per litre; Energy Debt Recovery Levy, 41 pesewas per litre; Road Fund Levy, 40 pesewas per litre; Energy Fund Levy, 1 pesewas per litre; Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy, 12 pesewas per litre. Other margins are Primary Distribution Margin, 4.5 pesewas per litre; BOST Margin, 3 pesewas per litre; and Fuel Marketing Margin, 1.5 pesewas per litre. Each tax component and margins also attract 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT), which the consumer also pays. For diesel, the tax components per litre are Excise Duty, 1.8 pesewas per litre; Energy debt recovery levy, 41 pesewas per litre; Road Fund Levy, 40 pesewas per litre; Energy Fund Levy, 1 pesewa per litre; Price Stabilisation and Recovery Levy, 10 pesewas per litre. Other margins are Primary Distribution Margin, 4.5 pesewas per litre; BOST Margin, 3 pesewas per litre; and Fuel Marketing Margin, 1.5 pesewas per litre. Each tax component and margins also attract 17.5% Value Added Tax (VAT), which the consumer also pays. All the above taxes exclude the actual price of the product, which also attracts 17.5% VAT.  Govt bagged GH¢3.2 billion from taxes in 4-and-half years Government bagged GH¢3.2 billion from taxes imposed on petroleum products for the past four-and-half years. This amount accrued between January 2011 and June 2015. Now that subsidies have been scrapped, government will have to clearly state specific projects the monies from such taxes will be used for. The question on the lips of many is how government has spent the GH¢3.2 billion that accrued in the past four-and-half years. For instance, while the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Debt Recovery Levy generated over GH¢1.6 billion within the four-and-half years, the refinery remains closed due to huge indebtedness. The TOR Debt Recovery Levy was introduced in a bid to clear the massive debt overhang on the refinery. Currently, taxes on petroleum products constitute over 20% of the price of fuel. Data examined by The Finder indicates that within the same period, an amount of GH¢880 million also accrued from the Road Fund to the state, yet roads in the country are in deplorable state. Despite this, a bill has been presented to Parliament which proposes a number of taxes, including recovery margins, on fuel. The breakdown of the GH¢3.2 billion revenue for the four-and-half years is 2011 -GH¢390,663,167.40; 2012 – GH¢468,627,829.51; 2013 – GH¢514,341,781.52; 2014 – GH¢775,984,110.74; and Jan-June 2015 – GH¢1,053,949,345.67. For the four-and-half-year period, Road Fund accumulated GH¢880,478,324.35; Excise Duty generated GH¢338,096,690.34; Energy Fund accrued GH¢7,004,420.51; Exploration Levy amounted to GH¢14,688,001.25; Cross Subsidy bagged GH¢134,324,167.04; TOR Debt Recovery Levy generated GH¢1,165,635,051.25; and Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) amounted to GH¢931,983,887.18. Excise Duty – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢338,096,690.34) The breakdown of Excise Duty for the four-and-half-year duration is 2011 – GH¢63,421,143.57; 2012 – GH¢74,654,260.81; 2013 – GH¢79,952,816.23; 2014 – GH¢79,697,549; and GH¢40,370,920.73 for the first six months of 2015. Road Fund – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢880,478,324.35) For Road Fund, GH¢145,610,059.50 accrued for 2011; GH¢174,113,652.78 was generated in 2012; GH¢239,164.22 accumulated in 2013; GH¢244,683,812.14 accrued in 2014; and GH¢127,831,635.72 was generated in the first six months of 2015. Energy Fund – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢7,004,420.51) During the four-and-half years, the Energy Fund generated GH¢1,271,683.96 for 2011; GH¢1,496,760.11 for 2012; GH¢1,608,011.40 for 2013; GH¢1,749,091.30 for 2014; and GH¢878,873.75 for the first six months of 2015. Exploration Levy – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢14,688,001.25) Exploration Levy, added to the price of refined petroleum products to allow government generate some revenue to undertake oil exploration activities in Ghana, generated GH¢2,687,824.33 in 2011; GH¢3,169,409.89 in 2012; GH¢3,385,441.90 in 2013; GH¢3,637,235.65 in 2014; and GH¢1,808,089.42 for the first half of this year. Aside the Exploration Levy Ghanaians have been mandated to pay, there is a whole budget every year that the government gives to GNPC to do exploration in the country, raising questions about the need for this levy, with some people calling for it to be scrapped. Cross Subsidy – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢134,324,167.04) Revenues that accrued from Cross Subsidy are GH¢31,263,742.71 in 2011; GH¢34,688,233.33 in 2012; GH¢26,811,222.74 in 2013; GH¢29,077,423.84 in 2014; and GH¢12,483,544.42 in the first six months of 2015. TOR Debt Recovery Levy – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢1,165,635,051.25) TOR Debt Recovery Levy, which was introduced in a bid to clear the massive debt overhang on the refinery as a result of under-recoveries, accrued GH¢208,936,198.75 in 2011; GH¢249,881,979.26 in 2012; GH¢267,965,557.51 in 2013; GH¢291,853,220.95 in 2014; and GH¢146,998,094.78 between January and June this year. Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) – 2011 to June 2015 (GH¢931,983,887.18) Special Petroleum Tax (SPT), which was imposed on selected petroleum products in 2014, generated GH¢183,438,611.54 in its first year and GH¢748,545,275.65 in the first half of 2015.     Source: The Finder/Ghana
The National Chairman of the Ghana Road and Transport Union (GPRTU), Mr. Kwame Kuma has said that the union has not approved an increment in transport fares. Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem, he said the GPRTU will be meeting with the Ministry of Transport on the matter. According to him, although there is an increment in petroleum prices which constitutes factors in the increment of transport fares, the union have not approved of increment in transport fares yet. Government announced a 27% increment in petroleum products following the passage of the Energy Sector Levy (ESL) by Parliament in December 2015. The increment took effect Monday January, 1st this New Year with the GPRTU announcing of a possible increment. However Mr. Kwame has warned drivers not increase fares until the union approves of it. He revealed the GPRTU will by Friday come out with the official transport fares. He also took the opportunity to advise passengers to resist the attempt by drivers who charges new fares because the union has not approved of it.   The GPRTU will deal with drivers who charges unapproved fares until the union comes come up with theirs.
The General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), Mr. Solomon Kotei has decried the recent hikes in petroleum products describing it as astronomical and a recipe to collapse businesses. According to him the tariff increment in water and electricity is still on the table for them to discuss with government to reconsider the decision and further decrease the percentage but as if that was not enough, petroleum prices had being increased. Mr. Kotei indicated the action by government do not augur well for the business community hence their decision to meet with authorities over the matter. The increase took effect January 1st, 2015 between 18 to 27. This was occasioned by the passage of the Energy Sector Levy (ESL) by Parliament last month. However Mr. Kotei said labour will take steps to engage government over the increment since it will affect the business community. He added the energy crisis is still around with many people counting their loses and others losing their jobs therefore it care is taken, more people may run out of business and several others jobless because business owners may have no option than to lay off workers to save cost. Speaking an interview with Rainbow Radio, Mr. Solomon Kotei mentioned if government fails to act on the issue they may advise themselves on the next line of action.        
The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana, Rev. Dr. Opuni Frimpong says some prophets and men of God are confusing Ghanaians with their so-called prophecies. Speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu, host of frontline on Rainbow Radio the chief scribe of the Christian Council noted the situation of prophets pouring out prophecies of doom on Ghanaians is worrying. Rev. Opuni Frimpong noted it becomes more worrying when so-called prophets prophesy that President Mahama will win the 2016 elections while others claim that Nana Addo the three times flagbearer of opposition NPP will win. This he indicated confuse Ghanaians since they begin to question who God really is to give different prophecies to create tension and anxiety. He charged Ghanaians and especially Christians to desist from what he described as sensational Christianity which only focuses on prophecy and rather read the bible to guide them. Commenting on the revelations of the death of some key personalities in this country, Rev. Opuni Frimpong said that is not a ‘’big deal’’ because the word of God has says it is appointed unto man to die and after death judgment. He warned prophets and men of God to live exemplary lives as agents of God with their focus to win souls for Christ and desist from engaging in ungodliness. The Christian Council he indicated will continue to its best to sanitize activities of churches to bring discipline among members.  When asked whether these prophecies will not create anarchy and confusion unlike statements made by politicians, he disagreed and explained politicians by their actions and utterances and the use of ''tags' or foot soldiers may create violence unlike the prophecies of men of God which they only say them.    
The year 2016 came with many prophecies from a number of prophets and men of God as usual. There were different prophecies from the death of celebrities and radio and tv personalities to political and national leaders. According to the leader and founder of the Glorious Way Revival Ministries, Rev. Owusu Bempah, there could be a possible coup this year if Ghanaians do not pray. He also as part of his over 25 prophecies said some people are planning to assassinate the three times presidential candidate of the opposition NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and also the death of the sitting President John Mahama. Meanwhile the leader and founder of Nations Light Revival Ministry, Prophet Jeminaiah K. Rawlings a.k.a Jarujah said there would be a change of government which could lead to confusion, anarchy and bloodshed. He added if care is not taken, the newly elected president will die just like the late Prf. John Mills. Ghana according to him will experience famine like it occurred in 1983 with torrential rainfall and fire outbreaks that will destroy lives and properties if Ghanaians fail to pray. Rev. Isaac Fiifi Ankoma of the Royal Power Chapel said God has directed Ghana to direct attention to the physically challenged and less privilege else the country will be plunged into calamity. However Arch-Bishop Slaizer Ofori-Atta has noted that God is not a double sided person to give different prophecies. He explained that Ghanaians should rather focused on God and pray either than focusing on so-called men of God declare as vision. Acrh-Bishop Ofori-Atta said God is not a God of confusion to give prophesies that may vary or that may create instability or anxiety. He stressed prophecies do not come to create fear among people rather it comes to redeem, profess solution and further give people hope. Answering a question as to why prophets give countless prophecies especially during election year, the Bishop said God does not wait until the season or an event occurs before he reveals rather he reveals prior to the event and seasons.   He advised Ghanaians to be weary of false prophets citing Deuteronomy chapter 18 as proof of his explanation.
The Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, Superintendent Cephas Arthur says the ability of the service to maintain law and order and further reduce criminal activities was due to their preparedness. According to him, the police administration as part of their efforts to ensure an incident free during the yuletide adopted measures to prevent crimes from occurring with heavy security presence at very strategic locations across the country. Speaking in an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem over the public’s gratitude of the service performance, Superintendent Arthur noted they appreciate the comments of Ghanaians. The police he said through public education and awareness were able to inform Ghanaians on the need to be cautious during the yuletide and aside that they were also with the public both at the beach, churches and any other locations that crime could easily occur. He explained the core mandate of the police to ensure that citizens are protected from miscreants therefore they will continue to serve the nation with integrity. He indicated although there may  have being  some criminal activities recorded in some localities, the police service had generally managed the situation in a manner that had afford Ghanaians the opportunity to enjoy the season with less crime. The PRO added the police also adopted strategies to check the rate of accidents normally recorded during the festive season and by the record so far the number of accidents and casualties recorded was on the low. Superintendent Cephas Arthur admonished Ghanaians to continue working hand in hand with the police to maintain law and order.    Ghanaians have lauded the Ghana Police for a wonderful job done during the yuletide and further called on them to keep up the good works.
The Director-General of Police Operations, Mr Christian Tetteh Yohuno, has been promoted to the rank of Commissioner of Police (COP) effective January 1, 2016. Mr Yohuno was on December 5, 2015 appointed Director-General of Police Operations. He was given a special promotion to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP) in January 2012 and had earlier in 2011 been awarded Grand Medal for his meritorious service in combating armed robbery and other criminal activities in the country. Prior to that, as Divisional Commander for Accra Central from November 2007 to May 2009, Mr Yohuno doubled as Accra Regional Operations Commander. He was later appointed Deputy Accra Regional Commander and rose to become the Regional Commander in 2013 until December 5, 2015. He holds an Executive MBA in Project Management     Source: Graphic Online
The United Nations Cordinator to Ghana, Madam Christine Klock has commended the country for promoting peace and unity.   Delivering a solidarity message on behalf of the United Nations at the annual celebration of Prophet Mohammed, birthday (‘Mawulid’),  Madam Klock noted Ghana is a shinning example of peace and unity in the Africa because of religious tolerance.   According to her, the nation has enjoyed peace, stability and unity because of the peaceful co-existence among religious groups most especially Muslims and Christians.   Speaking to Islamic Clerics and members of the Islam faith, Madam Christine Klock said: ‘’…Muslims in Ghana continue to exhibit the true meaning of Islam which has peace as one of its foundations…Indeed If Ghana is regarded as a shinning example of  peace in Africa, it is in no small part due to the peaceful co-existence between people of different faith particularly Christians and Muslims,’’ she added.   Madam Klock revealed since assuming her office over a year ago in this country, she has remained continuously impressed with the level of mutual respect that exists among the various religious groups in this country.   She stressed the need for mutual understanding among religious groups  since it enhances development, the respect for human rights, cultural diversity, dignity and respect.   However, the UN Cordinator said Ghana cannot eradicate poverty and sustainable development without tackling conflict and insecurity.   ‘’…We cannot eradicate poverty and sustained development without tackling conflicts and insecurity. Promoting peace with access to justice means addressing the root causes of conflicts between groups…It means empowering institutions for conflicts resolution, promoting interface dialogue and tackling violent extremism conducted in the name of religion,’’ she indicated.   Madam Christine Klock took the opportunity to call for peaceful elections come November 7th November, 2016.   She said the world will be focusing on Ghana this year hence the need to prove that we understand democracy.   ‘’…This election year Ghana will again demonstrate to the region [Africa] and the world the importance of tolerance through diversity and the importance strong national and regional institutions to resolving conflicts and organizing elections in a peaceful and effective manner.’’   She added the UN will support Ghana in ensuring a peaceful election this year.   She further commended the security agencies for their enormous roles they have contributed in the peace and stability the country has enjoyed.          
Celebrated investigative journalist and Chief Executive Officer of the Tiger Eye P.I Eye Limited, Anas Aremeyaw Anas has emerged as the number most influential young Ghanaian in a poll organized by Aviance Media.   The poll which was conducted in 90 countries saw Ghanaians vote over a 15 day period across 10 different sectors including media, arts, sports, technology among others.     2015 Radio and Television Personality Award winner, Nathaniel Anokye Adisi popularly referred to as Bola Ray came second with GLO CAF Awards finalist, Dede Ayew followed in the third position.   Human rights lawyer Xavier Sosu is also captured on the list with the fourth position.   Ghana most celebrated and national youth achiever, Farida Bedwei, the Co-founder and CTO of Logiciel Ltd who runs a FinTech and serves on the National Communication Authority board despite having cerebral palsy came fifth topping her female counterparts on the list.  The director of the famous Adams Apple Movie, Shirley Frimpong Manso, John Dumelo and Rebecca Acheampong were also on the list from the creative arts industry. Renowned brand expert and a regualr discussant on Rainbow Radio Scofray Nana Yaw Yeboah was also captured on the list The managing director of Aviance Media in a statement Prince Akpah said: “These great young achievers have toiled for Ghana, representing and influencing their motherland positively across diverse activities and have shown their relevance among millions of young people across Ghana.”   According to him ”even though 2015 was marked as a year coupled with lot of challenges, it also turned out to be a motivating one attested by the massive involvement of young people in various activities bringing at par their works and impacts.”     This initiative is led by Avance Media in partnership with Dream Ambassadors Foundation GH, Synergy For Success Ghana, Synergy Events, Kanea Pictures, Kanea Multimedia, Impactshapers.com, Agape Research Center and Kobby Webs Technology, The  initiative is intended to disclose the true and genuine potentials of these young people who are earnest to turn around the fortunes of Ghana’s economy.
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