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The Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) has agreed on 29, 000 polling stations as against the original 30, 000 earlier agreed on by the same committee. The decision was agreed after the Electoral Commission had raised budget constraints as the reason behind the decision to reduce the number polling stations which was agreed by at IPAC. This was contained in a statement signed by the Acting Director for Public Affairs at the Electoral Commission. The meeting afford the members of the EC and political parties to discuss outstanding issues from the electoral reforms recommendations. After deliberations the following were the conclusions reached by IPAC. 1. IPAC agreed on 29,000 polling stations to be used for the 2016 general elections instead of the 30,000 previously agreed at IPAC due to budget constraints of the EC. 2. It was also agreed that manual verification of voters would be introduced, alongside biometric verification, for people whose particulars appear on the voters register but who may be rejected by the biometric verification devices. 3. IPAC also accepted a working definition for “over-voting” as follows; “Over voting would be deemed to have occurred where the number of ballots in the ballot box exceed the number of verified voters.” Other issues discussed included:      4. The Electoral Commission’s calendar of activities for the 2016 general elections was also distributed and accepted at the meeting.   Below is the full details of the statement DECISIONS TAKEN AT INTER-PARTY ADVISORY COMMITTEE (IPAC) MEETING OF 22ND DECEMBER, 2015   At the IPAC meeting held on Tuesday 22nd December, 2015 the following outstanding issues from the electoral reforms recommendations were concluded. 1. IPAC agreed on 29,000 polling stations to be used for the 2016 general elections instead of the 30,000 previously agreed at IPAC due to budget constraints of the EC. 2. It was also agreed that manual verification of voters would be introduced, alongside biometric verification, for people whose particulars appear on the voters register but who may be rejected by the biometric verification devices. 3. IPAC also accepted a working definition for “over-voting” as follows; “Over voting would be deemed to have occurred where the number of ballots in the ballot box exceed the number of verified voters.” Other issues discussed included:    4. The Electoral Commission’s calendar of activities for the 2016 general elections was also distributed and accepted at the meeting. The Commission informed IPAC that the panel, led by Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe that was engaged by the Commission to collate views on the voters register and to make recommendations to the Commission on the way forward, presented its report on 21st December, 2015. The Commission will study the report and make a decision on the voters register as soon as practicable. It further assured the nation that it would make the report of the Crabbe panel as well as the Commission’s final position available to the public shortly.   --SIGNED-- CHRISTIAN OWUSU-PARRY ACTING DIRECTOR, PUBLIC AFFAIRS for: CHAIRPERSON      
Anti-corruption campaigner and former justice minister, Martin Amidu has defended the flagbearer of the opposition NPP Nana Akufo Addo over the payment of a judgment debt to Delta Foods in 2002. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo was indicted in a Sole Commissioners report over the authorization of the payment of $ 4.5 million in interest accrued to Delta Foods after they sued government of Ghana for its failure to pay them of a delivery of 21, tons of white maize to the Ministry of Agriculture at the request of government. However, Martin Amidu said ‘’ Nana Akufo-Addo had nothing to do with the Delta Foods Ltd consent judgment and resulting accumulated interests. It was the handy work of Vice-President Mills usurping the Attorney-General’s office. He carried this bad habit of usurping the Attorney-General’s functions into his Presidency which I resisted as the Attorney-General with all the constitutional authority at my disposal and proved in the Supreme Court decisions in the Attorney-General, Waterville &Woyome case, and the Attorney-General, Isofoton & Forson case which the White Paper also tries again to bastardize.’’   Below is the full statement: COMMISSIONS OF ENQUIRY AND NON-POLITICAL WHITE PAPERS: BY MARTIN A. B. K. AMIDU We the people of Ghana in solemn declaration and affirmation of our commitment to probity, and accountability gave to ourselves the 1992 Constitution in the expectation of integrity and good governance by the President and other elected representatives. But the conversion of the excellent report of the Sole Judgment Debt Commissioner into a political White Paper for electioneering purposes to be published under the supervision of the office of the Attorney-General demonstrates how low we have come in this country in terms of the only constitutionally established office within the executive branch which by hallowed tradition and practice is to defend and uphold the liberty of every individual and the rule of law in its quasi-judicial decision making process. I have returned to this subject for two reasons. First, to deal briefly with the introduction of extraneous matters not forming part of the Commissioner’s report and attempts to amend, vary, modify and rewrite the Commissioner’s report in some parts, to show that it does no credit to the legal advisors to the Government as it converts them into conduits of a corrupt political elite in Government contrary to their constitutional mandate specifically provided for under Artilce 88 of the Constitution. Secondly, to use the historical records to show that the Delta Foods Ltd case which the political White Paper is at pains to wish away and turn into the responsibility Nana Addo Dankwa Akofu-Addo of the New Patriotic Party is one of two examples of what happens when Vice-Presidents or Presidents usurp the Attorney-General’s functions under the Constitution. This contrasts with an Attorney-General who abdicates his constitutional responsibilities and becomes a mere conduit for executive actions in the issuance of political White Papers contrary to the Constitution. Introduction of extraneous matters to the Commissioner’s report into the White Paper –     Pages 3 – 7 of White Paper       The Bankswitch Ghana v Government of Ghana and whatever decision was given at the alleged Permanent Court of Arbitration was not part of the enquiry and report of the Sole Commissioner on Judgment Debts. The Government and the Attorney-General nonetheless found it “honourable” to hood-wink Ghanaians by smuggling it into a White Paper on the Commissioner’s report pursuant to Article 280. This is a deliberate and inexcusable cover up of this Government’s complicity in compounding the Bankswitch Ghana arbitral award or debt which I had advised the Government as its Attorney-General in 2011 to settle because it had a very bad case to prevail at any arbitration. The Government and the Attorney-General also find it “honourable” to smuggle into the White Paper on the Commissioner’s report the Balkan Energy Ghana case which was argued by me as the Attorney-General before the Supreme Court and conclusively decided in favour of the Republic and was not the subject of the Commissioner’s enquiry. As for the attempt in the White Paper to water down the Supreme Court’s decisions to favour the Government’s foreign friends and surrogates such as Waterville and Isofoton  after the Supreme Court’s conclusive declarations and orders on the issue of estoppel the little said about the Government’s disingenuity on the matter the better. I hope Ghanaians will wake up to the fact that this is not a White Paper under Article 280 of the Constitution but a bogus and fraudulent NDC Manifesto White Paper masquerading as one pursuant to Article 280 of the Constitution. It also calls into grave question the preamble and solemn declaration and affirmation of the Constitution to probity and accountability in the exercise of the Attorney-General’s functions under Article 88 thereof. Least I forget, first, in the Political White Paper the Government forgot to expunge or pretended not to have noticed in order to expunge the kind words the Commissioner repeated about me in his report onGbewaa  Civil Engineering Co. & Yakubu Adam Kasule v Attorney-General, etc at pages 355 to 356 of the leaked report thus: “….It is sad that Hon (Mr.) Martin Amidu has been vilified for being just. He has suffered several media bashing propelled by some faceless people, for pursuing a just cause as a patriotic citizen of Ghana and a good one of course. This Commission is amazed that he remains unfazed by such wrong attacks. The Commission accordingly accords him the enviable esteem of a Ghanaian who loves his country more than himself.” The Government’s determination to obliterate any good thing said about me (as its internal NDC foe) in the Commissioner’s report as it did at page 5 of the White Paper would come to naught without expunging the above commendations as well. I demand that the Government does so for the sake of consistency in its intolerance for alternative views within even the NDC. Second, the Government assumed an unconstitutional authority in the political White Paper to overrule or reject the definite adverse finding and recommendation (i) of the Sole Commissioner (see page 86 of the White Paper at moc.gov.gh). Common sense should have informed the Government that the provisions of Article 280(2) entrusting to the Court of Appeal appellate jurisdiction over such adverse findings would have been meaningless if the Government had a first administrative review authority to selectively overrule or reject or confirm such adverse findings made against persons by the Commissioner appointed under Article 278. The Sole Commissioner’s findings are not part of “any finding made by a commission or committee of inquiry which is not a judicial or quasi-judicial commission or committee of inquiry..” whose adverse finding shall not have the effect of disqualifying a person under paragraph (d) of clause (2) of article 94 of the Constitution unless it has been confirmed by a Government white paper as stated under Article 94(4) thereof. It is unconstitutional to tamper with this Sole Commissioner’s adverse findings in any form in a Government white paper – period! Delta Foods Ltd v Attorney-General – Pages 20 – 22 of White Paper The main thrust here is to show with documentary evidence how the persistence of a Vice-President to disregard the 1992 Constitution by arrogating to himself the functions entrusted to the Attorney-General under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution led to the consent judgment debts and other liabilities that became the subject of the Sole Judgment Debt Commissioner’s report in Delta Foods Ltd v Attorney-General. This NDC Government refuses to accept the responsibility for the obvious mess of the financial loss caused to the state by its former boss and officers. With its tongue in its cheek, it shamelessly politicizes the obvious in attempting to reframe and shift liability in the White Paper to a political opponent to score cheap political and electioneering points. On 9th April 1999 I wrote a memorandum to the Attorney-General, Dr. Obed Asamoah, on Delta Foods Ltd after the Solicitor-General, Mr. E. A. Addo, had submitted a memorandum through me to the Attorney-General on how the mess in Delta Foods Ltd was created and a consent judgment entered in the High Court without the knowledge and involvement of the Attorney-General. I wrote, inter alia, that:     “I think having read the ruling of the Supreme Court and looked at the file on this subject, the handling of the Delta Food Ltd contract by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Castle leaves much to be desired. The supposed settlement is also being alleged to have been reached to the detriment of Ghana because Attorneys in this Ministry claimed they were under instructions from the Castle to settle the case in court. Because of the alleged superior orders from the Vice-President’s Office, you, the Solicitor-General and myself were not even consulted before the settlement was entered in Court. I believe that if the Attorneys who handled this matter had handled the case professionally they would be accepting personal responsibility for the outcome of their actions in the settlement. But they are passing the buck to the Vice-President’s Office which shows that they acted more as administrators taking instructions from superiors than in the true tradition of the Bar as a lawyer advising the Government. It is in this light that I think we should be careful of the extent to which this office takes instructions from the Vice-President or his Office in purely legal matters. It is said the Vice President directed the entry into the contract with Delta Food Ltd. He directed the settlement in court with Delta Food Ltd which he is now trying to have set aside. He directed that Ministry of Agriculture should take possession of the maize and sell it. He directs that we pay the third party or agrees that we pay the third party. He reviews affidavits. I think we are either putting too much on the shoulders of the Vice-President or he is taking on himself the duties of the Attorney-General under Article 88 of the Constitution. It is not a situation which is in his own interest either legally or politically. One of the beauties of the legal profession is the ability of the lawyer to give his professional opinion without fear or favour, and handle his client’s case with utmost legal discretion but never as a mere conduit of the client. This tradition ought to be preserved before we become legal messengers instead of advisers. I am sorry I have had to set down my detailed opinion in this matter. It is not intended as a criticism but to ensure that in future nobody condemns our work as the principal legal adviser to the Republic of Ghana and its government. Superior orders cannot avail us as an alibi. Submitted for your consideration please.” (See copy of the memo attached in PDF format) Prior to my above memorandum the Solicitor-General had passed a memorandum signed and dated 25th March 1999 through me to the Attorney-General on the subject “Trip by Solicitor-General to the U. S. In Connection with Action Initiated By Delta Foods Limited to Enforce Consent Judgment” in which he had stated, inter alia, that: “Following the Vice-President’s directives regarding the above matter the Solicitor-General left for the U. S. on 12th March 1999 with documents from the Vice-President’s office….” The Attorney-General and I were not consulted about this trip. The Vice-President simply usurped the powers of the Attorney-General just as he subsequently tried to do when he became President and I became his Attorney-General leading to our parting company. It is clear from the foregoing that this Government and the Attorney-General were clearly acting mischievously to politicize the excellent work of the Sole Judgment Debt Commissioner by connecting the NPP’s Attorney-General who merely paid upon the consent judgment the Supreme Court had refused to quash by certiorari during the NDC 2 Government as a means of aborting the further investigations ordered by the Commissioner. It was also clearly setting the grounds for unwarranted political electioneering attacks on Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who had become the Presidential candidate of the NPP for the 2016 elections against President Mahama. This is a patent and cheap unconstitutional exercise of executive power in the name of a White Paper against a political opponent under the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution. It also contravenes the core values of the NDC as we founded it to frown upon such abuse of power. History, they say repeats itself. The mess in the Delta Foods Ltd case repeated itself in the EO Group case when I was Attorney-General in 2011. The Vice-President at the time (now President) acted in concert with Dr. Oteng Adjei, (the Minister for Energy) in by passing my legal opinion to them on the EO Group case and smuggled a memorandum to the President for an executive consent to enable the EO Group to assign their shares to a buyer. Having obtained the executive consent behind my back they concerted by asking Dr. Oteng Adjei to write to me to confirm a request for indemnity from future prosecution or action by the Republic of Ghana. In the true tradition of the legal profession, the fact that the President had been deceived by the Vice-President and Dr. Oteng Adjei into granting an executive consent, did not intimidate me as the Attorney-General to grant the indemnity requested. I replied to Dr. Oteng Adjei’s letter No. SCR/ZA5/144/02 dated 22nd July 2011 in my letter XE337/09/8 of the same 22nd July 2011, inter alia, as follows: “Consequently, I wrote letter No. XE 337/09/8 dated 19th July 2011 which was hand delivered to your office and received on 20th July 2011. I am, therefore, surprised that in your letter NO. SCR ZA40/200/01 OF 21ST July 2011 written after my letter of the previous day, you did not find it appropriate to inform H. E. the President about my letter to you, the content of which H. E. the Vice President, your goodself and me had agreed upon on 19th July 2011. Having informed you of the status of the EO Group criminal case and advised you verbally and in writing, I cannot, without committing legal suicide, write again confirming the request for indemnity you made in the concluding paragraph of your letter of to-day. A photocopy of my letter NO. XE 337/09/8 0F 19th July 2011 is annexed herewith for your ease of reference.” (See copies of the letters attached in PDF format) I never granted the indemnity or closed the docket before I left office in January 2012. My immediate successor also did not grant the indemnity or close the docket before he left office in 2013. It follows that any indemnity and closure of the docket would have been done only under the watch of the Vice-President who had originated the unconstitutional problem when he became the President after the 2012 elections and thus leaving Dr. Oteng Adjei and him alone to picks the pieces of any political corruption allegations that arises. Does the foregoing not make it easy to understand how things are now being done in the teeth of legal advice at the GNPC under the Chairmanship of Dr. Oteng Adjei which were not done when the experienced and veteran Ato Ahwoi was the Chairman of that entity? I am deliberately exposing the politicization of the White Paper on the Commissioner’s report to enable people capable of rational and dispassionate reasoning see the inherent dangers any Government faces when it usurps the powers of the Attorney-General or when an Attorney-General allows his office to be usurped or abused by the Presidency. It also underscores what happens when a Government acts deliberately and covertly to cover political corruption by besmearing other coordinate organs of Government and political opponents in a manner inconsistent with or in contravention of the constitution. Nana Akufo-Addo had nothing to do with the Delta Foods Ltd consent judgment and resulting accumulated interests. It was the handy work of Vice-President Mills usurping the Attorney-General’s office. He carried this bad habit of usurping the Attorney-General’s functions into his Presidency which I resisted as the Attorney-General with all the constitutional authority at my disposal and proved in the Supreme Court decisions in the Attorney-General, Waterville &Woyome case, and the Attorney-General, Isofoton & Forson case which the White Paper also tries again to bastardize. The subsequent consent judgment and damages for wrongful termination of appointment with interests granted in my favour in the High Court, (part of which still remains unpaid and unfulfilled) shows a parallel with the consent judgment created by then Vice-President Mills and others in the Delta Foods Ltd case which the Government is running away from in the White Paper. The probity and accountability enshrined in the preamble to our Constitution requires Government to be candid with citizens instead of using covert means and propaganda to suppress political corruption and legal incompetence by passing the buck to other branches of Government and political opponents in an Orwellian Big Brother fashion. Let’s put Ghana First Countrymen!     Martin A. B. K. Amidu
The suspended General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) Kwabena Agyepong has finally broke his silence on his suspension by the National Executive Committee of the party.  Kwabena Agyepong was suspended by the leadership of the party for violating the constitution of the party by granting media interview on internal matters of the party. He was also accused of failing to make use of internal structures, disregard decision of the party in the suspension of National Chairman, Paul Afoko. However the General Secretary who had remained silent since his suspension has issued a statement on his suspension raising some concerns bordering on the illegality of his suspension and constitutional breach.   Below is the full statement SETTING THE RECORDS STRAIGHT: MY RESPONSE TO THE COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS OF THE NEW PATRIOTIC PARTY(NPP ) ON THURSDAY DEC. 10TH 2015 ASCRIBING REASONS FOR MY INDEFINITE SUSPENSION FROM THE OFFICE OF GENERAL SECRETARY.   On Thursday December 10 2015, the Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) issued a communiqué, on the meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC). The communiqué confirmed the NEC's endorsement of the Disciplinary Committee recommendation to suspend me indefinitely from office as General Secretary of the NPP.   After a detailed study and deep reflection on the communiqué, I wish to take this opportunity to repudiate and totally reject all of the reasons ascribed by the NPP for my suspension, especially any intended or untended attempts to impugn my reputation and tarnish my good name.   I will like to first refresh our minds of the NPP's charges and then go on to answer each one of them thoroughly, comprehensively and honestly. So here we go:   A) Violation of Article 3(D) of the NPP constitution which enjoins members to publicly uphold the decisions of the party, through various acts including;   i. His disregard for NEC decision on 23rd October, 2015, suspending Mr. Paul Afoko   The legality or otherwise of the NEC decision of 23rd October 2015, has been under judicial contention since the day it was taken. Indeed, it is now the subject of a formal law suit which is yet to be determined. As General Secretary, I had to make a judgment call on how my conduct will best uphold the letter and spirit of the Party's constitution and the laws of Ghana which also bind the operations of all political parties in the country. This, I had made known earlier in a letter dated September 18, 2015 addressed to the Council of Elders and the National Disciplinary Committee.   It is therefore my humble opinion that pending the determination of the current legal action, the charge of disregarding the NEC decision of 23rdOctober 2015 is at best unproven.   ii. Various Public statements he made that cast the Party in bad light.   I wish to state for the record that since September 2, 2015, when the Presidential Candidate called for a halt to all discussions of internal party issues in the media, I have not spoken in any shape or form that could be considered as putting the party in a bad light; whether by interview, press conference, response to personal attacks or on anyone's behalf.   I stand ready to have the above assertion be proved otherwise by concrete and verifiable evidence.   B) He engaged in unilateral actions and activities without consultation of, or authorization by the NEC, such as;   i. Writing to the Electoral Commission designating only him and suspended Chairman Afoko as the only authorized signatories.   This charge is untrue. I have not, repeat, NOTwritten any such letter to the Electoral Commission; which fact could have easily be verified.   The facts are as follows: Earlier this year, the Deputy General Secretary and some Regional Chairmen wrote to the Electoral Commission (EC). The EC response was that as per the laid down procedures of the Commission, and in accordance with the Political Parties Act 2000, communication to the Commission is done mainly through party's General Secretaries.   The EC followed up its response with an instruction to all political parties reminding them that all correspondence between it the EC and political parties should be done through the General Secretary/Chairman.   The EC further instructed that IPAC will from now on only admit three Representatives from each political party namely, the National Chairman, General Secretary and one other.   ii. Granting waivers to parliamentary aspirants   The granting of waivers to parliamentary aspirants who have shown commitment to the Party by General Secretaries of the NPP is a precedent established by previous occupants of the position. For example, in 2011, the incumbent General Secretary granted waivers to many including Anthony Karbo and Dr. Ayew Afriyie without recourse to NEC or the NPP's Steering Committee.   In my case, most of the waivers went to the Volta Region, at the request of the Regional Chairman, Mr. Peter Amewu; in constituencies where we have traditionally struggled to fill candidates.   In the case of Peter Mensah, the gentleman who suffered an acid attack in the course of duty as constituency organizer, I justifiably granted him a waiver after receiving the request from him and some executives of the Techiman North constituency. Development fees were waived for the following; former National Organizer Bamba; former MP Effah Dartey, former MP Mrs. Cecilia Amoah; as well as Dr. Ayew Afriyie who has supported the party through AFAG. The Steering Committee was accordingly informed.   There is no record of protest or indeed any disciplinary action against any of my predecessors for the actions or their reasons for granting waivers which also followed past precedence.   So obviously, this is 'trumped up' charge.   iii. Non-reference of legal matters to the proper legal Committee of the Party   There are several past precedents where the party has acted outside of the constitutional committee in legal matters. For example, the immediate past administration instructed Madam Joyce Opoku Boateng to represent the party in court on the Manhyia, Kumawu and Juaben cases. The person assigned was NOT a member of the constitutional Committee neither was she appointed by same.   Perhaps it is important that we aver our mind to the historic election petition of 2013, which was not referred to the constitutional committee then headed by Hon. Ayikoi Otoo and the verifiable fact that none of the members of the constitutional committee, not even the Chairman, were on the Party's legal team at the Supreme Court.   It will be recalled that the composition of the Party's legal team was decided on by the Presidential Candidate, National Chairman and General Secretary although it was the National Council that gave the green light to go to court   iv. Interference with Constituency primaries against National Appeal Committee decisions and also, Court decisions.   This is blatantly untrue and can be easily verified. There is no evidence to support this assertion. Rather, it can be easily established, through reference to minutes that I passed on the report of the National Appeals committee to the Steering Committee and the National Executive Committee without any alteration whatsoever.   Regrettably, this is another 'trumped up' charge without an iota of truth   v. Misrepresentation/misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries   At the NEC meeting held on the 3rd of December, 2015, the General Secretary solicited the views and response of members of NEC on this accusation of Misrepresenting / misleading of NEC on status of some constituency primaries which came from the Member of Parliament for Adansi Asokwa, Hon. KT Hammond, who was also present in the meeting. When the question was put to the house, none confirmed this allegation.   It is useful to recall that at the NEC meeting held on August 18, 2015 when the decision was taken on the primaries in Adansi Asokwa, it was both the Ashanti Regional Chairman and the 3rdNational Vice Chairman, whose views persuaded the NEC to overturn the National Appeals Committee decision to disqualify aspirant Mr. Richard Anokye and uphold the earlier regional vetting committee decision to allow him to contest in the parliamentary primaries.   Again the minutes of the were recorded and are available for verification   vi. He, in conjunction with suspended Chairman Afoko and Sammy Crabbe, launched Party cards without authorizations from NEC   Article 9 (5) 9a) of the NPP's constitution enjoins the Party's Finance Committee to raise funds to support the activities of the party. It states clearly that “It shall be the duty of the Finance Committee to raise funds necessary to finance the operations of the party in conformity with the applicable laws. It shall report on its activities to the National Chairperson.”   The Finance committee duly invited proposals and reviewed same from six companies. On a near unanimous vote, the committee accepted the proposal from Paymanex Limited. Subsequently, the Party Chairman approved the recommendation of the committee which led to the actions taken to launch the card. The NEC was duly informed.   I want to reiterate that, for the avoidance of doubt, I placed all the foregoing facts before the Disciplinary Committee during my encounter with them. I was asked to recuse myself during the subsequent NEC meeting and therefore was denied the opportunity to participate in the deliberations.   I would to like state that the only purpose for putting out this statement is to correct the inaccuracies contained in the NPP communiqué of December 10 2015 and for no other purpose.   I believe there is already an ongoing action which will clarify the merits or otherwise of the legality of the removal of officers elected by the supreme body of the party, i.e. The National Delegates Congress   My attention has also been drawn to a purported transcript of my encounter with the Disciplinary Committee of the NPP which was first published by myjoyonline.com . I wish to state categorically that I completely reject that doctored account which is only calculated to soil my good name through innuendos and aspersions.   I will deal separately and comprehensively with the allegations made in that false report and furnish all with a copy of the genuine minutes of the Disciplinary Committee as submitted to the NEC of the NPP.   My commitment, dedication and long standing service to this tradition is a matter of public record. As a loyal member of this party, I shall continue to offer my support and prayers in our quest for victory in 2016.   I take this opportunity to wish all members of the NPP and fellow citizens of Ghana a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.   May God bless us   Long Live the NPP   Long Live the Republic of Ghana   Signed:   Kwabena Agyei Agyepong      
The youth of this country have been left despondent. The situation of the Ghanaian youth is that of hopelessness, anguish and misery. The cause of our sorry and bleak state is as a result of the incompetent and insensitive management of our dear state by the Mahama-led government. Businesses that will give us the jobs after school have collapsed. Those still surviving are struggling to even break even. This is because DUMSOR, which Mahama has made failed promises to end, will not allow businesses to operate economically. Businesses which can still operate only do so at a drastically higher cost. As if this is not punishment enough, businesses are saddled with all sorts of taxes under this government. Again, the interest rate for loans under this same government is around a whopping 30%. This is deadly for any young man or woman who wants to set up a business of his or her own and needs funding. The least said about the depreciation of the cedi, the better. Now tell me, how can any business grow under this madness of an economy? This madness is reflected in the pathetic 2015 GDP growth rate of 4.1% with oil money compared to 8.4% of GDP in 2008 under President Kufour without oil revenues. The economy after being competently mismanaged has been sent to the intensive care unit of the IMF. And as part of the economic surgical operation by the IMF, there is a freeze on employment in the public sector except for health and education sectors. Government will also sack some government workers in 2017. You can now imagine the unemployment hell placed on the good people of this country by this government since it took over the reins of government. Our brothers and sisters in Northern Ghana who were once joyous because of the establishment of SADA and GYEEDA by the NPP have been painfully betrayed by President Mahama. We all least expected such callous treatment from a President who hails from the North and admits these initiatives can hugely help alleviate poverty in the North. The fate of SADA; and GYEEDA, which is now YEA is most pathetic. It has been turned into a machinery for looting state wealth. The jobs that were to be created by these avenues only created wealth for the cronies of the Presidency. It is not surprising Ghana is the second most corrupt country in Africa according to Transparency International and the Presidency the second most corrupt institution in Ghana according to the IEA. Most disturbing is the fact that this government has failed to disburse funds allocated to SADA in previous budgets and allocated 0 (zero) cedis to SADA in the 2015 and 2016 budgets. What description best fits a government which casts a blind eye on employment creation for a population which has almost half of its people to be youthful? If this is not incompetence, then we do not know what else to call it. Ironically, the President claims he is youthful and identifies with us the youth, yet actions of his government towards the needs of the youth has been poor, shambolic and a total disappointment. We therefore urge the good people of Ghana, especially the youth from the length and breadth of the country, to relieve this beautiful country of this incompetent government led by President John Dramani Mahama by voting it out in next the 2016 general election. Let us vote for change not for the sake of change, but to seek change in governance which will remove CORRUPTION, create JOBS, end DUMSOR, fix the deformed ECONOMY and will provide better EDUCATION for its people at an affordable cost.   Source: Appiah Prince | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
A light aircraft has crashed on take-off near the airport in the Indian capital, Delhi, killing 10 people. The Beechcraft King Air plane chartered by India's Border Security Force (BSF) came down after hitting a wall in Dwarka district and burst into flames. The plane was carrying members of the border patrol force, officials said. India's air safety record has been good in the past few years, despite a rapid increase in the number of private airlines and air travel in the country. The last major crash happened in the city of Mangalore in May 2010, killing at least 160 people. The twin-engine plane was on its way to Ranchi in the eastern state of Jharkhand from Delhi's international airport when the incident happened. "The crash took place at around 09:50 India time (04:20GMT) moments after the technicians lost contact with ground control," AK Sharma, chief of Delhi Fire Services, told AFP news agency. TV pictures showed a fire in a field and mangled and charred debris of the plane. Junior Civil Aviation Minister Mahesh Sharma told the Press Trust of India news agency that "all 10 [passengers] onboard BSF plane that crashed in Dwarka [are] dead". Suraj, an eyewitness, told reporters that the plane hit a wall, caught fire and crashed in a field outside the airport. "There were about 10 people on the flight. I saw two bodies. There were some labourers working on the ground where the plane fell," he said. More than a dozen fire engines and emergency workers have been rushed to the spot to douse the blaze.   In May 2011, 10 people died after a small medical ambulance aircraft crashed in Faridabad town near Delhi. Source: BBC
The police HQ in the strategic Afghan town of Sangin remains under siege after a Taliban attack, officials say. But there are conflicting reports as to who controls the remote district in Helmand province. The Helmand governor and police dismissed Taliban reports that it now controls Sangin as "totally false". Sangin has fallen under Taliban control several times, and fighting there has produced significant casualties among Afghan and international forces. In the east, a Taliban attack near Bagram on Monday killed six US soldiers. It was one of the deadliest attacks on foreign forces in Afghanistan this year. Three rockets were also fired into Kabul overnight on Monday. Some 12,000 foreign soldiers are deployed as part of the Nato-led Resolute Support international coalition, which is meant to underpin Afghanistan's own security forces. 'Supplies running low' Police officers and soldiers inside the Sangin police headquarters appeared to be still holding out as of Tuesday morning. The district police commander, Mohammad Dawood, earlier told the BBC the Taliban had completely cut the facility off from the rest of the province, and food and weapons supplies were running low. Mr Dawood added that, over the past month, security forces in the district had sustained 365 casualties, both dead and injured. Confusion over the fate of Sangin has been exacerbated by different statements coming from Helmand Governor Merza Khan Rahimi and his deputy, Mohammad Jan Rasulyar. "Our forces are in Sangin District and there are some clashes, but the district is in our control. We carried out some operations there last night as well," Mr Rahimi said. His claim was supported by police in Helmand who said that security personnel have been rescued from a Taliban siege and security measures have been expanded in the area. Mr Rasulyar said the district had been overrun by the Taliban late on Sunday and only some army facilities had not been taken. The Taliban said they controlled most of the town and the main administrative building had been abandoned. Britain has meanwhile announced that a small number of UK personnel have been deployed to Camp Shorabak in Helmand Province in an advisory role as part of Britain's contribution to Nato's Resolute Support Mission, "These personnel are part of a larger Nato team, which is providing advice to the Afghan National Army. They are not deployed in a combat role and will not deploy outside the camp," a Ministry of Defence spokesman said. Meanwhile, reports say the Taliban are also close to overrunning the neighbouring district of Gereshk. The head of Helmand's provincial council, Muhammad Kareem Atal, was quoted by AP as saying that "around 65%" of Helmand was now under Taliban control.   In September, the Taliban briefly overran the northern city of Kunduz in one of their biggest victories in 14 years of war. Source: BBC
A third of London’s buses will run on fuel made from meat from next year, transport bosses have revealed.   By March, 3,000 of the capital’s 8,900 buses will use B20 green diesel, which is blended with waste from the meat industry.   Animal fat and cooking oil are among the ingredients that will be churned into the bus fuel.   The buses are all owned by Stagecoach and Metroline, while the diesel will be supplied by Argent Energy.   More than 640 buses already run on the modified fuel as part of a two-month trial.   Deputy mayor for environment and energy Matthew Pencharz said the development would “slash the overall carbon emissions of the fleet and make use of fuels that would otherwise be clogging up our drains”. He added: “These buses will be a proud addition to what is already the greenest bus fleet in the world, including hybrid, pure electric and pure hydrogen vehicles.   “We will continue to work with our industry partners to use more of London’s used cooking oil turned into biodiesel right here in the city, creating green jobs and fuel self-sufficiency benefits.”   TfL’s buses director Mike Weston said: “This improvement, which will reduce CO2 emissions by 21,000 tonnes each year, is being introduced now with no extra spend needed and no long delay for the fitting of new kit.”   Argent’s development director Dickon Posnett said he hoped other cities would follow London’s cue and start using the B20 blend in buses.   TfL’s Ultra Low Emission Zone plan means all 300 single decker buses operating in central London must be electric or hydrogen-powered by 2010.   All 3,100 double decker buses must be hybrids by the same date.   Source: standard.co.uk
The deputy general secretary for the New Patriotic Party, lawyer Nana Obiri Boahen has scored President Mahama 100% for corruption and 0% for every sector of the economy for the year 2015. Accessing the performance of the NDC government, the deputy scribe of the NPP, noted that nothing can be said to be an achievement of President Mahama except for incompetence, mismanagement and lack of integrity. Lawyer Obiri Boahen in an interview with Kwame Tutu host of frontline on Rainbow Radio, said the NDC government has created, looted and shared state resources by inflating cost of government projects to amass wealth for themselves. He challenged the NDC to show Ghanaians the existence of their so called achievement. Asked whether he was not failing to recognize the infrastructural development across the regions in the country, he answered in the negative and said the legacy of President Mahama is nothing to write home about. He maintained that the hardship Ghanaians are going through is a clear evidence that Mahama has failed woefully and do not deserve another chance in government.    
The Africa Middle East Resources Investment (AMERI) Group has sued the Norwegian newspaper Verdans Gang AS (AG) ‘’for commencing an incessant and relentless defamatory campaign against a fair and transparent business deal between our Client and the Government of Ghana for the procurement, installation and operation of ten gas turbines on Build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.’’ The group hinted of suing the Norwegian based newspaper after it published in the said newspaper that one Farooq who represented the group in signing the $510 million deal between government of Ghana and AMERI was an alleged fraudster who is wanted by both the Swiss and Norwegian Police for fraud. The AMERI Group in the legal suit served the AG newspaper said ‘’by this legal notice you are urged: a.to withdraw your defamatory campaign against our Client; and publish a public apology in the front page of your newspaper and website;  B.to pay our Client 50 Million US dollars/- within 15 days, as costs suffered by it to initiate the legal proceedings against your company. And C.to pay our Client 100 Million US Dollars within 15 days, as the monetary value of the damages, including loss of business and reputation, suffered by it. The legal team representing the AMERI Group are Muhammad Umer and Riaz Nauman Qaiser.   Below is the full defamation suit   LEGAL NOTICE FOR A DEFAMATORY CAMPAIGN AGAINST AMERI GROUP   1.         We act for and on behalf of Africa Middle East Resources Investment Group (AMERI Group) -- hereinafter referred to as “our Client”, who has instructed us to serve upon you this legal notice for commencing an incessant and relentless defamatory campaign against a fair and transparent business deal between our Client and the Government of Ghana for the procurement, installation and operation of ten gas turbines on Build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) basis.   2.         At the outset, it is brought to your knowledge that out Client is a diversified privately held group of companies with businesses in different countries across the globe, including Norway, UAE and Pakistan. The Group is active in the fields of Energy, Infrastructure, construction and trade; and has partnerships and associations to help execute its business efficiently and successfully.   3.         Our Client, at its core, is a developer, investor, co-owner and operator of power plants, energy and infrastructure projects in different parts of the world. Its expertise in the energy space includes power generation from gas, coal, renewables to Oil & Gas; and is active at all stages of the energy value chain. Further, our Client, through its subsidiaries, works closely with its partners to deliver the innovative and most reliable energy solutions efficiently, within budget, and on time.   4.         Most of all, Our Client’s business dealings are based on trust, integrity, and transparency; and it commits to its word, and delivers what its promises. Timing is the essence of its dealings. Good governance and due diligence are the hallmarks of our Client.   5.         The group is headed by His Royal Highness Shaikh Ahmed Bin Dalmook Al Maktoum, a member of the ruling family of UAE and he also enjoys diplomatic status of his country; and includes a highly professional team of executives with tremendous market experience and business skills from all across the world, including an Former Ambassador At Large for the Government of Pakistan, Dr. Nasir Ali Khan; and Former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Justice Tassaduq Hussain Jillani, who is rendering services as consultant to the group.   6.         That notwithstanding the afore-mentioned and the excellent business reputation of our Client, you have, in a series of articles published in your tabloid newspaper and also available on your website, accused our Client of the following regarding the afore-mentioned contract dated 10th Feb, 2015:- a.      Mr. Umar Farooq from Oslo, who allegedly is wanted for fraud in Norway, had signed an agreement with Government of Ghana. b.    That the acquisition/outright purchase of ten gas turbines would usually sell for 220 million dollars; whereas, our Client has been paid 510 million dollars. Similar deal by METKA of Greece and Government of Ghana costed about 350 million US dollars; in another deal where General Electric sold eight identical turbines to the state Energy company in Algeria, for 161 million US dollars, at the rate of 20 million US dollars; c.   Why weren’t the manufacturers of these plants, General Electric, contacted to negotiate a direct purchase? d. That this deal was done quickly and out of public view to benefit the selected few. e.            Our Client has apparently achieved spectacular success in a very short period of time; and the website of our Client (www.amerigroup.ae) was created two months before the multi-million dollar contract was signed with Government of Ghana. f.     That four months after our Client made the deal with Ghana, the company is still not listed on the list of tenants in the office building of Dubai; and that employees in other business in the same building have never heard about the company   7.         It is emphatically and forcefully stated herein that none of the afore-mentioned allegations are even remotely correct, or even close to reality existing on the ground and to the contrary are put to the strict proof thereto. It is indeed ironical and inexplicable that why your tabloid newspaper would be interested in a deal struck thousands of miles away from Norway; and in which the State or people of Norway would have no interest whatsoever, either economically, financially or socially.   8.         A bare perusal of these slanderous and poorly authored articles from tabloid newspaper and your website goes on to show that the management of your newspaper has some old scores to settle with the ex-CEO of our Client, Mr. Umar Farooq; and our Client has just been caught in the act. In this regard, your articles on the one hand state that the instant contract related to acquisition/outright purchase of ten gas turbines; and on the other hand admit that it is based on Build, Own, Operate, Transfer (BOOT). This contradiction can never be reconciled, even by a person having a text-book knowledge of BOOT projects and the projects of outright purchase/supply of equipment; and thus leaves a lot to be desired and indicates that there is more from your side than meets the eye.   9.         It is brought into your knowledge that BOOT is a form of project financing, wherein a private entity receives a concession from the private or public sector to finance, design, construct, and operate a facility stated in the concession contract. This enables the project proponent to recover its investment, operating and maintenance expenses in the project over the Contract period. Such projects provide for the infrastructure to be transferred to the government at the end of the concession period.   10.       The instant deal, it is emphatically stated, is not an outright purchase of these gas turbines; but is a BOOT deal. The recital of this agreement, in this regard, stipulates that “AMERI Group has agreed to install 10 new GE TM 2500+ aero derivative gas turbines, (and to) operate, maintain, and transfer (the) same in good and operable condition and provide the support services on the terms, and subject to the conditions, set forth in this agreement.” The Clause 7(a) of the agreement further states that “The transactions contemplated by this agreement constitute a build, own, operate and Transfer of the AMERI ENGERY Equipment by AMERI ENGERY to the GoG”. Similarly, the Clause 8, while stipulating our Client’s obligations under the agreement, states that its obligations, inter alia, would include to “deliver, install, and commission the EMERI ENGERY Equipment…… “operate, maintain and repair the AMERI ENGERY Equipment ……” etc.   11.       In consideration of the installation, operation and maintenance of the equipment and provision of services thereof, the Government of Ghana would be obliged to make payments to our Client on monthly basis, inter alia, for the power produced and supplied, as per the Clause 10 of the agreement, at the rates stipulated therein. Further, after the contract term of five years, the plants in operating conditions would be transferred to the Government of Ghana.   ADVERTISEMENT   12.       What this means is that our Client, after acquiring these plants from the manufacturer would install and operate these plants to produce and supply the electricity in consideration of monthly payments, just like any other Independent Power Producer; where after, the ownership of these plants would be transferred to the Government of Ghana after five years.   13.       Therefore, it must be explained that the quoted price of 220 million US Dollars in your articles for outright purchase of similar turbines does not include all other costs in a BOOT deal, i.e., auxiliaries, balance of plant, civil works, sub-station, installation of equipment, cost of financing, operation and maintenance etc. Our Client, under the agreement, is also bearing the cost of all the above operations, apart from the outright purchase of the turbines – which is the essence of BOOT projects, as explained above; and thus the total price of 510 million US Dollars. The Government of Ghana is on record on this score.   14.       The above would also establish that no payment, as yet, has been made to our Client for the cost of the ten gas turbines; neither will be any payment made in this regard during the term of the agreement.   15.       Furthermore, as far as the allegation that the manufacturer of these plants, General Electric, was not directly contacted for the acquisition of these plants, suffice is to state that a similar BOOT deal with General Electric, as per the statement of the Government of Ghana, was far too expensive; and therefore rejected.   16.       It is stated that our Client procured the said contract through a fair, transparent and an above-board process, which has been duly vetted by the concerned officials of Government of Ghana, before being ratified by their Parliament. Further, the Bank of Ghana, which opened a L/C on behalf of the Government of Ghana in pursuance of the Clause 5 of the Agreement, conducted its own due diligence on our Client’s credibility and ability to fulfill its contractual promises. In the same vein, an American firm, JP Morgan also independently conducted its own due diligence before confirming the standby LC for the project. Therefore, all allegations of haste, non-transparency and secrecy are hereby rejected; and you are put to strict proof thereof by the contents of this legal notice.   17.       As far as the allegation that an alleged fraudster negotiated and concluded the said deal, it is important to bring on record that Mr. Umar Farooq has been involved with our Client as its CEO till August, 2015; and has never been involved in any scam or fraud, for our Client conducts its own due diligence and scrutiny before hiring or retaining anyone in its board and team. Further, Mr. Farooq, as is apparent from the perusal of the last page of the agreement, only signed the agreement as a witness, whereas His Highness signed the deal on behalf of our Client. Therefore, the Government of Ghana has an agreement with our Client and not with anyone else, including Mr. Farooq.   18.       Similarly, the allegations about the making of the website and absence of the name of our Client from the name boards in the building where our Client is situated are nothing but figments of your fertile imagination. The entire building is in the ownership of His Royal Highness and his family and any contention contrary thereto is denied. The success of our Client in a short span of time has attracted many an allegation from all and sundry. However, it is now crystal clear that you are working at the behest of someone to achieve some ulterior motives with criminal intent; for which you have resorted to highly objectionable and unethical journalism – journalism which reeks of nothing but malice, corruption, exploitation and venality and yellow journalism at its best. The mere fact of translated version of articles from Norwegian to English language made available on website of tabloid newspaper proves nothing but malicious intent to defame reputation of our client all across the globe as the translation from Norwegian to English language of articles in rare phenomenon in Norway.   19.       That the slanderous articles published and available on your website have caused colossal damage to our Client financially, socially as well as professionally, along with bringing wanton inconvenience to him and his acquaintances across the globe, especially in Pakistan, where our Client has a considerable presence – not only in terms of business; but atleast two members of our team, as mentioned above, also hail from Pakistan.   20.       By this legal notice you are urged: a. to withdraw your defamatory campaign against our Client; and publish a public apology in the front page of your newspaper and website;. b.       to pay our Client 50 Million US dollars/- within 15 days, as costs suffered by it to initiate the legal proceedings against your company. And c.  to pay our Client 100 Million US Dollars within 15 days, as the monetary value of the damages, including loss of business and reputation, suffered by it.   In your default in doing so, our Client reserves the right to institute legal proceedings, both Criminal and Civil, for which you shall also be liable to pay all the costs incurred. It is also intimated that after procurement of arrest warrants/judicial decision, the name of the Chief editor and other editorial members would be placed on the Interpol’s red Alert with the assistance of Pakistan’s National Central Bureau (Federal Investigation Agency).   LEGAL NOTICE IS BEING SERVED UPON YOU ON BEHALF OF OUR CLIENT WITHOUT PREJUDICE TO ANY CLAIMS, RIGHTS AND REMEDIES WHICH ARE LAWFULLY AVAILABLE TO OUR CLIENT IN A COURT OF LAW.   However, before we advise our Client on the legal options available in this respect and the specific steps which are to be taken, it would be in order if you remedy the breach and minimize the damages, which are claimed by our Client for the loss personal and business reputation, within fifteen days of the receipt of this legal notice, failing which we shall document the claim and advise our Client accordingly.   We further reserve the right to include other heads of damages and claim any remedies, which may be available under the law in the best interests of our Client.   Sincerely,   MUHAMMAD UMER RIAZ Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan Barrister-At-Law  JUSTICE (R ) M BILAL KHAN Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistani Ex-Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court   NAUMAN QAISER Advocate High Court HAROON RASHEED MIR Advocate High Court    
The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has released provisional results for the November/December 2015 West African Senior School Certification Examination (WASSCE). A statement from WAEC signed by Mrs Agnes Teye Cudjoe, Deputy Director of Public Affairs said the results of 970 candidates alleged to have been involved in various examination malpractices have been withheld pending conclusion of investigations into the cases of malpractices. In all a total of 143,116 candidates took part in the examination. According to WAEC the withheld results would be released as soon as the Council concludes its investigations. Candidates may access their results online at www.waecgh.org. The statement cautioned members of the public to be wary of the activities of fraudsters who contact candidates with the promises of bettering their results for a fee payable through mobile money transfers. “The sole aim of these swindlers is to make money from their victims by deceit” “The Council wishes to assure members of the public that its results database is well secured. As such, all forged results can be detected by its confirmation/verification system. Institutions and organisations are advised to confirm or verify results presented to them directly from the Council or access the confirmation/verification service online at the WAEC website,” it said.    
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