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It has emerged out that the decision to drop the case involving the 8 Delta Force who were standing trial for disrupting court processes following the inability of the Attorney General (A-G) to provide evidence was decided without recourse to advice from higher authority. This was contained in a statement from the Information Ministry. A Kumasi Circuit Court struck out the case against the eight persons who aided the escape of the 13 Delta Force members arrested for assaulting the security coordinator of the Ashanti Region.       Presiding judge, Patricia Amponsah freed the accused persons, following the Attorney General’s claim that it has no evidence to prosecute.       The eight were charged with causing disturbances in court, resisting arrest, and rescuing persons in lawful custody.   But the statement said, ‘’Preliminary investigations suggest that the decision was taken without recourse even to the Director of Public Prosecution and may amount to a breach of internal procedures on matters of this nature.’’       Below is the full statement STATEMENT ON DISCONTINUANCE OF PROSECUTION The Attorney General's department is investigating circumstances under which a Principal State Attorney in Kumasi decided *without recourse to advice from higher authority on a matter of high public interest of this nature* to drop charges against persons arrested in connection with disturbances in a Kumasi Magistrate's court in April this year. Preliminary investigations suggest that the decision was taken without recourse even to the Director of Public Prosecution and may amount to a breach of internal procedures on matters of this nature. While the department awaits the full results of this investigation we will like to reiterate our commitment to ensuring that the rule of law is applied at all times and persons found culpable of any breaches that bring the work and commitment of the department into disrepute will be sanctioned and the appropriate remedies adopted in the interest of the Republic. Signed Information Minister    
The Minority Caucus in Ghana’s Parliament says the freeing of the eight Delta Force members who were standing trial for disrupting court processes following the inability of the Attorney-General (A-G) to provide evidence is an insult to the judiciary. A Kumasi Circuit Court struck out the case against the eight persons who aided the escape of the 13 Delta Force members arrested for assaulting the security coordinator of the Ashanti Region.   Presiding judge, Patricia Amponsah freed the accused persons, following the Attorney General’s claim that it has no evidence to prosecute.   The eight were charged with causing disturbances in court, resisting arrest, and rescuing persons in lawful custody. But addressing the press today [Wednesday], Minority Leader Haruna Iddrissu said, ‘’ The decision by the Hon. Attorney-General is a confirmation of the claim by leading Members of the NPP at the time of the lawless action by the lawless Delta Forces that the culprits will be set free. We are of the view that the Government is pandering to partisan pressures to the detriment of justice and to upholding the independence of the Judiciary.’’   PRESS CONFERENCE BY THE MINORITY CAUCUS OF PARLIAMENT READ BY MINORITY LEADER HON. HARUNA IDDRISU ON THE CANCEROUS EXERCISE OF DISCRETION BY THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL OF GHANA IN THE DELTA FORCE SAGA The attention of the Minority Caucus in Parliament has been drawn to a very bizarre legal development in the country, which at best can be described as a slap in the face of the administration of justice, the rule of law and the judiciary in particular in this Country. I am referring to the decision of the Hon. Attorney-General to curtail the trial of the infamous Delta Force members who stormed a session of the Kumasi Circuit Court and aided the escape of 13 of their colleagues who were standing trial, by entering a Nolle Prosequi – "Refuse to Pursue." We refer to the action by the Hon. Attorney-General as bizarre because this is a Government that claims to be adherents of the Rule of Law. This is a travesty of justice and a lack of respect for the Judiciary. The Executive has a duty to uphold the tenets of the Constitution and in particular demonstrate in conduct and action its respect for the other arms of Government, particularly the Judiciary. Justice delivery will suffer a downward spiral with this uninformed action. The decision by the Hon. Attorney-General is a confirmation of the claim by leading Members of the NPP at the time of the lawless action by the lawless Delta Forces that the culprits will be set free. We are of the view that the Government is pandering to partisan pressures to the detriment of justice and to upholding the independence of the Judiciary. Article 296(a) & (b) of the 1992 Constitution circumscribes the exercise of discretion as follows: “Where in this Constitution or in any other law discretionary power is vested in any person or authority – a) that discretionary power shall be deemed to imply a duty to be fair and candid; b) the exercise of the discretionary power shall not be arbitrary, capricious or biased either by resentment, prejudice or personal dislike and shall be in accordance with due process of law” We consider the entry of the Nolle Prosequi as a gross abuse of discretion simpliciter and we call on the President H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to demonstrate leadership and not be led by the various lawless forces within his party. We find it very bizarre that the Hon. Attorney-General, Ms Gloria Akufo, who assured the entire citizenry of her commitment to fairness and strict adherence to ethical principles at her vetting not too long ago, will claim that she exercised the said constitutional discretion on grounds merely that there was a lack of evidence to prosecute the case in question when indeed, the Siting Judge, Court Clerks, Court Bailiffs, Court Warrant Officers (CWOs), Journalists as well as notable public figures in whose presence the said court was physically attacked and the accused persons freed, are alive and available to be interviewed and evidence taken from same. In these circumstances, we are clear in our minds that the decision by the newly appointed AG to exercise her discretion to file a Nolle Prosequi in this matter is an abuse of discretion, it is capricious, it is an abuse of due process and it is not candid. It was obviously exercised for narrow political expediency. Our expectations were rather these hoodlums would have been duly cited for Contempt of Court by now and successfully prosecuted. We demand therefore that this cancerous exercise of discretion be reversed immediately and the accused re-arraigned before court without any further hesitation. Thank you for your attention and may God bless Ghana.   [17th May, 2017]
Counsel for the eight Delta Force who were freed by the Kumasi Circuit Court over lack of evidence lawyer Gary Nimako, has debunked assertions that the action was an endorsement of lawlessness and impunity. A Kumasi Circuit Court struck out the case against the eight persons who aided the escape of the 13 Delta Force members arrested for assaulting the security coordinator of the Ashanti Region. Presiding judge, Patricia Amponsah freed the accused persons, following the Attorney General’s claim that it has no evidence to prosecute. The eight were charged with causing disturbances in court, resisting arrest, and rescuing persons in lawful custody. Some members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) believes the action was an act of injustice and politically motivated. However, lawyer Gary Nimako has indicated that, it will be improper for anyone to make such claims. In an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, lawyer Nimako said, the laws of Ghana and that of England allows prosecutors to provide evidence in support of their allegation against suspects but in this case, there was no evidence. He insisted that, the eight maintained their innocence from the day of their arrest and it was a burden on the prosecutors to provide evidence but there was no such evidence. When asked if the ruling was not politically motivated he stressed that, ‘’It was not politically motivated. I am speaking on the premise of law and the burden of proof in criminal cases at all material times, is on the prosecution. The prosecution could be on the police or state prosecutor and that burden is not on the accused person, and if you do not have the evidence, you do not have to waste state resources in prosecuting the case. That will be causing financial loss to the state. Before you commence prosecution, you must establish by the evidence-prima facie that on the face of evidence, you will get a conviction or can go beyond the first face of the case but in this case, there was no such evidence to support the allegation. You cannot waste the court’s time without evidence. Those claiming that the ruling was politically motivated are being trivial.’’   ‘’We don’t trial a case in court with speculation. We trial a case with hard evidence and so if you lack evidence, you don’t waste the court’s time. That is the law,’’ he stated.
There are now more people using Sina Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging platform, than there are using Twitter. According to the Chinese company’s first quarter results, it has 340 million active monthly users, 30% up on the previous year. About 154 million people use the site daily, 91% of whom access it via mobile. By comparison, Twitter, which is blocked in China, has around 328 million active monthly users. “Our relentless focus to build the best social media experience in China is reflected in Weibo’s strong performance,” Gaofei Wang, Weibo chief executive, said in a statement. “Looking ahead, we continue to see strong momentum, as we further optimise Weibo to share, discover and consume information, especially for the mobile, social and video environment.” Preferred platform China has an estimated 731 million web users, more than 90% of whom can access the internet via a smartphone, according to the China Internet Network Information Centre. Sina Weibo is the most popular of China’s micro-blogging services, and it is the preferred platform for most mainland Chinese newspapers and TV stations, which have millions of followers. Last year, seeing how popular live streaming video was becoming, Sina Weibo launched its own live streaming app, Yizhibo, nicknamed “Yi”.   Source: BBC  
It is emerging that the deal involving Africa & Middle East Resources Investment Group – otherwise known as AMERI Group or AMERI Energy – which had become the talk of town, will be abrogated by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government anytime soon.   A highly-placed government source said the President Akufo-Addo-led government has decided to cancel the contract signed between the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration and AMERI for the supply of 256 mw of power because the deal is a rip-off with Ghana losing about $150 million.   Grounds Of Fraud   A 17-member committee chaired by Lawyer Phillip Addison had recommended to the government that it should call back owners of the Dubai–based company for re-negotiation and advised that should the company refuse to honour the invitation, the government should renounce the agreement on grounds of fraud.   It seems the government is following the advice of the Addison Committee, which had been set up by the Ministry of Energy to restructure the $510 million Build, Own, Operate and Transfer (BOOT) Agreement between Ghana and AMERI Energy.   DAILY GUIDE has learnt that there are too many fraudulent aspects in the whole deal, which is not in the interest of the country, although the minority NDC, which had signed the contract with AMERI during their time in office in early 2015, has continuously mounted a spirited defence of the Dubai-based company.   APR Factor   According to the source, Mr John Mahama’s government, in preparing to sign the controversial deal, had always created the impression that an entity called APR – a US company with years of experience in the provision and installation of General Electric TM 2500 aero-derivative gas turbines – was the company contracted to bring in the 10 turbines. However, the deal changed at the eleventh hour with the introduction of AMERI.   He said from the correspondence between the parties, it was clear that AMERI Energy was likely to have been created to circumvent the country’s procurement process that it was still APR (US) that government was dealing with.   The source said at the preparatory stage, APR Energy was offering a far cheaper option but the NDC government ended up handing the contract to AMERI Energy, which did not appear to have any experience in the field and also came at an outrageous cost of $510 million.   Former power minister who supervised the alleged dodgy deal, Dr Kwabena Donkor, rose to the defence of the deal. He said, “Who should bear the allegation of fraud? The agreement went through cabinet, the committee on mines and energy recommended by consensus to plenary and was passed by parliament. Was parliament party to this fraud? Is the plant not running and operational? Does it not have the cheapest tariff of all the thermal plants in the country? First of all, there was no fraud. The committee cannot use the relationship between the development and the contractors as the basis of fraud.”   AMERI Sublets Contract   Even when AMERI was given the contract, it sublet it to another company called PPR of Turkey and charged over $150 million commission.   In the course of the investigations, the Addison Committee said it took notice of the fact that the whole of the project was executed and financed by PPR, which was registered in Turkey at a charge that was considerably lower than what was agreed between the Government of Ghana and AMERI Energy.   Inflated Charge   A source close to the committee said the Variable Charge in the contract was around $8 million but by the time the contract was executed it had ballooned to about $16.6 million per annum.   DAILY GUIDE investigations indicate that state institutions that represented the country in the deal had said the ‘unstable’ variable charge was a mistake while AMERI officials also allegedly admitted the same mistake.   Dubai Trip   It has been said that the 17-member committee had their all-expenses trip to Dubai paid by AMERI when they commenced the investigation, but a source said the whole idea was at the instance of the Dubai-based company.   “The committee requested AMERI officials to be present in Ghana for the matter to be delved into but they said one of their Sheikhs was doing military service and was not going to be available,” the source said adding, “The committee proposed a neutral venue in London and they still insisted it was impossible and finally proposed that the members travel to Dubai for them to bear the cost.”   The Deal   The NDC government has signed the BOOT Agreement on February 10, 2015 as an emergency power arrangement to help reduce the power supply deficit at the time, and the project was expected to be delivered within 90 days after the fulfillment of conditions precedent, but it was never done within the stipulated period.   Then President Mahama’s brother’s company – Engineers and Planners – was given part of the contract at a highly ridiculous cost.   “Even though the plant is operational, several omissions and concessions were made in the BOOT Agreement which require re-negotiation, amendments and restructuring of the Agreement. The Agreement simply is grossly unfair and is not as it presently stands, in the best interest of Ghana,” the Addison Committee had said.   “The Committee has enumerated technical, financial and legal observations and recommendations in the report that are aimed at rectifying the anomalies in the BOOT Agreement for effective and efficient implementation of the project,” it added.   It said that the recommendations were also to serve “as a guide for future negotiations of power projects,” and advised that the government “should take all necessary measures to avoid power supply deficits which result in the execution of emergency power agreements.”   Heated Debate   The AMERI deal, which involved the installation of 10 General Electric TM 2500 aero-derivative gas turbines at the cost of over $510 million at the Aboadze Power enclave, near Takoradi in the Western Region, later turned out to be exorbitant for the taxpayer, thereby sparking heated political debate.   The lid was blown in December 2015 by award-winning Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang (VG) which published that the power generating gas turbines were estimated to cost $220 million on the international market, but the NDC government contracted them for $510 million for Ghana, excluding service charges.   The newspaper’s investigative journalist tracked a Pakistani-born Norwegian, Umar Farooq Zahoor – a fugitive who is said to have played a leading role as a director in the deal between Ameri Group and the government.   According to the Norwegians, Umar Farooq was said to be the middleman between the Ghana government and the Dubai-based single-purpose company.   Outrageous Swindle   Bright Simons, a brilliant social innovator and researcher, later said that the deal “might be the most outrageous swindle this country has seen in the last decade.”   According to the founder and president of mPedigree, who is also a leading member of IMANI Ghana – a think-tank – the country paid $260 million more in the deal which translates into 21% per annum, saying, “That 21% effective annual interest rate is the product either of criminal incompetence or sheer recklessness, which leads many right-minded persons to suspect underhand dealings.”     Source: DailyGuide
Education Minister Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has issued a statement to dismiss media report that he said ‘only brilliant students’ will benefit from the free senior high school. The Education Minister per an online publication by StarrFmonline said, only brilliant JHS graduates will benefit from government’s flagship education programme. But in his statement he debunked the report and has called for an apology.       Below is the full statement:       REJOINDER: STARRFMONLINE.COM NEWS ITEM ON FREE SHS POLICY. My attention has been drawn to a news item on Starrfmonline’s website, published yesterday 16th May 2017 and headlined ‘Only Brilliant Students will Enjoy Free SHS-NAPO’. The news item was based on an interview I granted earlier to Mr. Francis Abban of Starr FM, and which was aired on Monday 15th May 2017. I categorically wish to place on record that at no point during the interview did I state or even imply, however remotely, that Free SHS would apply only to brilliant JHS graduates. What I made clear was that starting in September 2017, any JHS graduate who passes the BECE and is placed in a public senior high school will benefit from Free SHS. This has been our consistent position as a government. My disappointment with the news item is exacerbated by the fact that in a conversation with Mr. Abban just before the formal interview started, I specifically raised concerns about misleading headline on the basis of past experiences. Mr. Abban promised not to be mischievous as others had been, and yet exactly the opposite has taken place in this instance, giving a completely false, twisted and misleading headline to my comments on access to free SHS. I strongly believe it is important for journalists to honour their word and be thoroughly professional and meticulous, as accuracy is paramount in their line of work. I would fervently hope that there are no ulterior motives to this obviously false headline or that the mischief was not at anyone’s bidding. The media, as the fourth estate, are crucial partners in nation building, and it is important for public officials to develop and maintain a warm relationship with the fraternity. However, incidents like this threaten to mar this relationship as they lead to suspicion and wariness on the part of public officials. That is not a healthy development. I expect that the management of Starr FM will take the necessary steps to address this lack of professionalism as a matter of extreme urgency. Hon. Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh   Minster
The United States Embassy in Ghana says it has been chasing the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) for official bills. The Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko had earlier revealed that American Embassy’s 160 facilities in Ghana had not been billed for two years and had been asking for pre-paid meters. The ECG however denied the claims by the Minister insisting that the embassy was not indebted to the ECG. “I had a discussion with the managing director. American Embassy has 160 facilities in Ghana. They have not been billed for two years. So they went to ECG and said ‘look, we owe you money. Bring us a bill. Bring us pre-paid meters. We will use it for one year, and whenever we use, we will multiply it by 3 and give it to you.’ Up to now, the ECG hasn’t been able to do that,” Boakye Agyarko noted. The embassy in a response said, “the U.S. Embassy in Ghana has not refused to pay any electricity bills. We have been asking for official bills for embassy-managed facilities for more than 2 years so we can issue correct payments. The embassy has set aside funds for electricity, and we will continue to work with the ECG to get correct bills so we can pay.’’    
Faanaa is a fishing community within the Nglshie, Amanfro, constituency. The residents in the area have been bedeviled with challenges which needs an urgent help from government. Residents who reside at Faanaa, travel on Tsokomey ( a water body)  for about 3 miles to buy food and water because there is no any other option for them.   In an interview with Nyankonton Mu Nsem’s Agyekum Banahene, the residents said, they are compelled to on travel on the river before going to school adding that they sometimes find it difficult to get a boat to cross the said river.   Some described the challenge as scary, adding, access to light, school block, and clean drinking water, are the major challenges confronting us, one resident said. In the run-up to the 2016 parliamentary election, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bortianor Ngleshie Amanfrom, Hon. Habib Saad promised to resolve the challenges for the constituents. At a ceremony yesterday, the MP presented to the community, a boat to aid their travel on the water. He has also promised to construct a school block, and provide them with portable drinking water.   He used the opportunity to also appreciate the constituents for voting massively for him in the 2016 parliamentary election.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) for Denkyembour in the Eastern region Mr. Seth Birinkorang Ofosu, has outlined his vision for the district. Speaking in an interview with Rainbow Radio’s Kwadwo Asiedu Ansah, Mr. Seth Birinkorang Ofosu said, his vision is premised on three pillars namely: education, agriculture and job creation. On education he said, the standard of education must be prioritized to ensure that young people benefit from government’s flagship free senior high school policy. Speaking on how he will roll out the agriculture programme he said, the illegal mining in the area has affected farming and made food expensive hence residents will be encouraged to embrace the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ programme to ensure that, the area becomes a food basket for the country. On job creation, he stressed that they will access government’s one-district-one factory and the one million dollar per district policy. He expressed strong optimism that, with the three pillars, many lives would transformed especially the youth.    He encouraged the youth to educate themselves since it is the only key to success. He said, prioritize education because without education, you cannot achieve greatness. It is not all about galamsey. I am also an inspiration to the youth. They look up to me and there are equally successful graduates in the area. As part of my initiatives, we will form student unions to inspire the youth in the area so they will be motivated to succeed.’’      
The eight accused members of pro-New Patriotic Party (NPP) vigilante group Delta Force have been discharged by the Kumasi Circuit Court Two due to lack of evidence. Presiding judge, Patricia Amponsah freed the accused persons, following the Attorney General’s claim that it has no evidence to prosecute. The court on April 18, set May 17 for hearing after prosecutor ACP Okyere Darko upon the advised of the Attorney General prayed the Court for adjournment to enable the AG study the docket.      
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