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Traditional leaders in the Bia District of the Western Region have threatened to order their youth to beat up politicians who will come to the area to campaign for votes in any upcoming elections. The traditional leaders have issued the threat because they believe government have failed in addressing their challenges. According to the leaders, they have not had their fair share of the national cake and so no politician should mount any campaign platform when the time approaches for the 2020 elections. The chiefs are also saying the district is one of the poorest in terms of developmental projects in the country. They claim that their major challenge is electricity and poor road network. They could have power interruption popularly known as dumsor for more than 20 times in a day without any prior notice and government has promised to solve the challenge but nothing has been done yet. The poor road network is also damaging vehicles and killing passengers through accident, they complained. The past government promised them of constructing the Benchema Nkwanta Oseikrom road but it is now a death trap, they added. ’With these and other challenges we have vowed not to vote or allow any political party to campaign over there during elections until our grievances are addressed,’ spokesperson for the chiefs Nana Kwamebi III said. The youth in the area have also supported the call and promised to carry out the threat by the chiefs.
Canadian police are questioning the suspected driver of a rented van that ploughed into pedestrians in northern Toronto on Monday, killing 10 and injuring 15. Alek Minassian, 25, was not previously known to authorities, police said. The incident appeared to be deliberate but the motive was not clear, officials added. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the "tragic and senseless attack" had brought him "great sadness". Meanwhile, an officer has been praised for not opening fire during a tense standoff with the suspect, who claimed to be armed. Video broadcast on CBC News showed a man pointing what appeared to be a gun at officers and shouting "kill me". The officer tells the man to "get down" and when the suspect says he has a gun, the officer repeats: "I don't care. Get down." The suspect was then arrested without shots being fired. How did the incident unfold? Police said the white rental van mounted the kerb on Yonge Street between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue at about 13:30 local time (17:30 GMT) on Monday and drove into pedestrians along a 2km (1.24 mile) stretch. Reza Hashemi, who owns a video shop on Yonge Street, told the BBC he heard screaming on the other side of the road. He said the van was repeatedly mounting the pavement and running into people. "People, fire hydrants, there's mail boxes being run over," said the unnamed man, who said he was driving behind the van during the incident. As the van continued, the man said he sounded his horn to try to warn pedestrians. "I witnessed at least six, seven people being hit and flying in the air, like killed, on the street," he said. Pictures from the scene showed bodies covered in orange sheets along the van's route. Debris and items of clothing were scattered across the pavements and road. The van was brought to a halt by police several streets away and was quickly surrounded. The suspect was arrested 26 minutes after the first emergency call was made to the police. What is known of the suspect? Police said Alek Minassian was from the northern Toronto suburb of Richmond Hill and was not previously known to authorities. "The actions definitely looked deliberate," said Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders. Public safety minister Ralph Goodale said there "would appear to be no national security connections" and Canadian broadcaster CBC cited government officials as saying Mr Minassian was not associated with any known terror groups. Minassian had previously attended a school for students with special needs in north Toronto, former classmates said. He would be seen walking around Thornlea Secondary School with his head down and hands clasped tightly together making meowing noises, Shereen Chami told Reuters. But she said Minassian had not been violent. "He wasn't a social person, but from what I remember he was absolutely harmless," she told Reuters. Another former student, Ari Bluff, said Minassian did not seem to have many friends. "I remember seeing him probably just walking down the halls, usually by himself, or in the cafeteria by himself," he said. He was speaking to CBC. Minassian went on to attend Seneca College in the North York area of Toronto, where the van incident took place, CBC reported. What else is known? Van rental company Ryder System Inc confirmed that one of its vehicles was involved and said it was co-operating with authorities. The incident happened while foreign ministers of the G7 leading industrialised nations - Canada, the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Japan - were holding talks in Toronto. Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said the G7 meetings would continue on Tuesday as planned. "The work of the ministers obviously goes on. This is a very sad day for the people of Toronto and the people of Canada," she said. City Mayor John Tory urged residents to remain calm. "This kind of tragic incident is not representative of how we live or who we are or anything to do with life in the city on a day-to-day basis," he said. The White House issued a statement saying the US "stands with the Canadian people" and offering "any support Canada may need". Source:BBC
The National Democratic Congress (NDC), MP for South Dayi, Mr. Rockson-Nelson E K Dafeamekpor, is alleging that the president has concealed information with regards to the total number of staffers working for him. The list by the president he lamented is incomplete and inaccurate due to embarrassment. The legislator told the host that, the total number of people that should have been on the list was over 1,600. He said, the Minority will continue to demand for the true reflection of the number of people and the emoluments they are enjoying. The MP said he knows some individuals working at the presidency but their names were not captured on the list presented to parliament ‘’and the reason for doing that was to conceal information so Ghanaians will not know they are working with more 1,6000 individuals.I personally know some people who have been given official vehicles and working at the presidency.’’ Speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, he alleged added, the president budgeted for a total of 953 staffers but has presented a list of 998 persons and so ‘’the question to ask is, where did the president get the money to pay the others? The letter from the president said as at December 31st, 2017, the number of persons working for him were 998. However, the budget approved for you was for 953.’’ He accused the ruling government of peddling falsehood and doing the opposite of what they promised Ghanaians. ‘’The Nana Addo led administration is using his ‘obolo size’ government to mismanage, overspend and dissipate our resources. When you complain, they will justify the numbers and tell you the president appointed all these individuals for the specific projects he promised Ghanaians and yet, we cannot trace these projects. We will continue to mount pressure on government and demand for further details on the number of staffers working at the presidency. Parliament will resume on Thursday and I am sure this will be part of the issues we will raise on the floor. We will hold them to account for every pesewa,’’ he said. When asked if he agrees with the argument that numbers does not matter but the efficiency, he disagreed saying, numbers matter because this same government when opposition attacked the late Mills for appointing about 75 ministers. They have appointed 110 ministers, he added. He also disputed claims by Defence Minsiter, Dominic Nitiwul that, the current NPP inherited the numbers and has challenged him to provide the list of the persons they inherited.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Monday, 23rd April, 2018, commissioned the refurbished Sekondi Fishing Harbour, at a ceremony in Sekondi, in the Western Region. According to President Akufo-Addo, “the completion of this harbour is critical, because the fishing industry is an important mainstay not only of many of the residents of Sekondi, but also of some two million Ghanaians across the country.” The refurbishment of the Harbour, which was began by the Mahama administration in July 2016, and now completed by the Akufo-Addo government, the President said, “is evidence of the pledge I made in the run-up to the 2016 general elections that I will not abandon any project merely because it was started by a previous government.” Whilst extending sincere appreciation to the Government and people of Japan, who, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), are responsible for the technical and financial support given to this project, President Akufo-Addo underscored the importance of the fishing industry to Ghanaians. He stressed that the welfare of fisher folks in the country are important to his government, “that is why, upon my assumption of office in January last year, I appointed a full Minister to oversee the activities of the sector, just as was done during the period of the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor.” With the first rehabilitation of the Sekondi Harbour taking place in 2005 under the Kufuor-led NPP government, with its attendant boost to the fishing industry, the President stated that this current refurbishment, which cost some US$20 million, has equipped the harbour with a lay-by wharf, access road to boats, a fish market shed, fuel dumps, an administration block, a fresh water storage tank and a state-of-the-art ice-making machine. The ice-making machine has the capacity to produce some 30 tons of ice per day to preserve the catch, as against the previous capacity of 15 tons of ice per day, with the President expecting a substantial rise in the activities of our fisherfolk and traders in Sekondi, and in surrounding communities, following the completion of the Harbour. President Akufo-Addo, thus, charged Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA), responsible for supervision of the Harbour, to take good care of it, in order to protect the US$20million investment for current and future generations. He also used the opportunity to reiterate the unwavering commitment of Government to protect the territorial integrity of our country, in the face of the activities of pirates in the Gulf of Guinea. “We will not allow pirates or criminals to rob us of this hard-won reputation, and create a sense of insecurity on our waters. To the fourteen tuna fishing companies that are reported to have recently halted operations due to the menace posed by the pirates, I urge them to resume. They have the full assurance of Government of their protection and safety, as they go about their day-to-day activities. We will not leave them to fight this menace alone. The full force of the state’s security apparatus is being marshalled to curb the threats of piracy,” the President said. The President also revealed that plans are underway for the construction of mini-fishing harbours and landing sites across the coastal belt of the country. Already, Government has signed an agreement with the Chinese Government for the establishment of the Jamestown fishing port complex, at a cost of US$50 million, with construction scheduled to commence this year. “Under the Fisheries Sector Infrastructural Development Programme, the Ministry of Fisheries will commence the development of three landing sites at Winneba, Mumford and Axim; rehabilitate three public hatcheries at Vea, Sankana and Dormaa-Ahenkro; rehabilitate three fish health laboratories at Takoradi, Koforidua and Kumasi; complete and commission the Anomabo Fisheries College; and refurbish the Tema Boat Yard to increase productivity of fisher folk,” he added. As Co-chair of the Group of Advocates of Eminent Persons of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, President Akufo-Addo concluded by stressing that “even though we may have little or no control over climate fluctuations or changes, one thing we can have control over is our day-to-day activities.” The President continued, “Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) methods are depleting our fish stocks. Our beautiful coastal wetlands are threatened by high volumes of plastic and metal waste that choke breeding habitats for fish. This must not be allowed to continue. Together, nananom, ladies and gentlemen, let us protect endangered species, achieve food security, and protect our oceans for the future.”
The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has recalled Members of Parliament from their recess for an urgent business on the floor of the legislative house. They are to sit on Thursday, April 26 and Friday, April 27, 2018. A memo issued to recall the members did not disclose the reason(s) for the urgent call but Minority Chip Whip, Muntaka Mubarak has revealed that members have been recalled to come and ratify the African continental free trade area agreement. Ghana is hoping to host the secretariat for the free trade organization. Parliament went on recess on Friday, March 23 and was expected to reconvene on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. A statement signed by the Speaker of Parliament, said “In Exercise of the Power conferred on the Speaker by order 42(3) of the standing orders of the parliament of Ghana, I, Right Honourable Professor Aaron Michael Oquaye, Speaker of Parliament, do hereby direct that parliament shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, be recalled from the recess to sit from Thursday, the 26th Day of April to Friday, the 27th day of April 2018, at Ten O’clock in the forenoon each day, at Parliament House, Accra, to consider some urgent parliamentary business.”
An Accra High Court has ordered the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO), to de-freeze all bank accounts of the former Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr. Stephen Opuni. The court granted the request on Monday, 23 April. It is recalled that EOCO embargoed the assets of Dr Opuni, including his bank accounts during a probe into his administration of COCOBOD. Dr Opuni and businessman Seidu Agongo are facing 27 charges of willfully causing financial loss of GHS217million to the state, through three separate fertiliser supply contracts between 2014 and 2016. They have both pleaded not guilty to all the charges. The contracts were GHS43.1million (2013/2014 cocoa farming season), GHS75.3million (2014/2015 cocoa farming season) and GHS98.9million (2015/2016 cocoa farming season) totalling GHS217million through sole-sourcing, the state claimed, adding that procurement procedures for sole-sourcing were not followed.
Government will provide the necessary resources to the country’s tertiary institutions to expand their infrastructure to meet the expected rise in the student population following the implementation of the Free Senior High School (FSHS) programme, Vice President Bawumia has assured. The Nana Akufo-Addo government will also provide opportunities for continuous hiring and training of the necessary human resources to facilitate proper teaching and learning. Speaking at the 22nd Congregation of the University of Education, Winneba on Saturday 21st April, 2018, H.E. Dr Mahamudu Bawumia said government had been mindful of the expected increase in tertiary admissions and was working assiduously to provide the necessary funding to address the infrastructure challenges before the first batch of the FSHS complete in 2020 and seek admissions. Began this academic year, the FSHS initiative aims to provide Senior High School education to every qualified Ghanaian child who completes the Basic level of education at no cost to parents in order to remove the barrier of finance which has undoubtedly deprived Ghana of many potential leaders. “As a nation, we have a responsibility and an obligation to invest in our students and our schools. It is our responsibility to ensure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will to pursue education can still get the best education possible and should not be held back by financial constraints,” the Vice President underscored. “Surely, Government knows very much that the free SHS policy inevitably means a boost in enrollment figures in our senior high schools. We are aware that this will consequently lead to a greater demand for expansion in tertiary education. Government, however, is prepared and ready to support higher education institutions to be able absorb these huge numbers. We will do our utmost best to improve upon facilities and offer adequate resources to these institutions to capacitate them to deliver on their mandates.” Government, Vice President Bawumia indicated, is also broadening the national educational policy and optimizing resource delivery to attract more students and teachers. “At the core of the education development and improvement plan of every nation is the teacher. A well trained, confident, and contented teacher is essential in the delivery of quality education. This is why Government is committed to the Teacher Professional Development Projects (T-TEL). “I am told that the University of Education, Winneba currently serves as the only university in the West African sub region which has the mandate and capacity to train teachers in technical and vocational education through competency-based training (CBT). Government is therefore ever prepared to partner with you, UEW in your TVET programmes.” A total of 16,153 students received Certificates, Diplomas, First and second Degrees and Postgraduate awards at the University’s 22nd Congregation.
Private legal practitioner, Elikplim Lorlormavor Agbemava, has demanded for the actual financial cost of having 998 presidential staffers. The lawyer in an interview with Kwame Tutu, on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm quizzed if the president indeed presented to parliament the full list of the staffers because some individuals have raised eye brows over the issue. President Nana Akufo-Addo last week presented before parliament list of the total number of staff working at the presidency. The release of the list is in compliance with Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), which requires the President to submit annually to Parliament, a report on the staffing position of the Office of the President. The breakdown was given as nine ministers of state, 27 presidential staffers, 256 other/junior appointees and 706 employees of public/civil service staff. These appointees are entitled to emoluments just as Article 71 Office Holders. According to him, he has commenced an action at the Supreme Court seeking clarification on some of the benefits enjoyed by Article 71 office holders as well as other public servants in that category. In his writ, the lawyer further wants presidential staffers who benefit from salaries, allowances, and privileges almost like an Article 71 office holders, to be stripped off such gratuities claiming it “is inconsistent with Article 71 and therefore unconstitutional.” He is also seeking for “A declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Articles 17, 98 (1), and 71 of the 1992 constitution the approval by the President (on the recommendation of the Committee set up under Article 71) for the enjoyment of retiring benefits or awards by Member of Parliament on the basis of a model that does not oblige Members of Parliament to contribute to any pension insurance scheme, during their years of service in Parliament before drawing on public funds for the payment of their pension is discriminatory against all other public sector workers employees in Ghana, unfair, unconscionable and contrary to Article 17 of the constitution and therefore unconstitutional,” Mr. Agbemava stated in his writ. The lawyer in his reliefs is also seeking “a declaration that on true and proper interpretation of Articles 98(1), 95 (6), 44 (2) and (3), 155 (1), 68 (4), 194 (5), 187 (14), 199, 203 (3)(c), 208 (3) (c), 233 (1) and 71 of the 1992 constitution, gratuity and pension is payable under the 1992 constitution after a full and final retirement of a public servant from public service and not intermittently while he/she is still in public service.” In his view, presidential staffers are not listed under Article 71 Office Holders hence it will be unconstitutional to make them benefit as such. He has posted his Facebook page to express his opinion on the list saying: ‘’Protecting the public purse has become a mere slogan. We do not know the actual financial cost of having 998 presidential staffers since the president forwarded mere names to Parliament. Some have questioned the integrity of that list saying it is incomplete. How does our Parliament find out if it’s a complete list or not and truly perform its oversight function in this regard with mere names? Submitting only 10 names would still not be ideal since the purpose of reporting to Parliament with a list includes the regulation of the financial cost of staffing the presidency. Adding actual figures would help accountability and transparency since the list would later be verified by the Auditor General’s report to Parliament. The story below shows that Trump’s list to congress includes the salaries and allowances of his staff. We wish the president would also tell us how much it is ACTUALLY costing Ghanaians to have 998 staff under him alone.’’
The Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia has assured unemployed graduates to wait patiently especially health graduates as the President, H.E Nana Akufo-Addo, will ofcially launch the Nations Builders program on May 1, 2018. He was speaking at a stakeholders and the media at the 2018 Health Summit at the Labadi Beach Hotel today [Monday]. The vice president told the gathering that government is very cognizant of the importance of making sure there is adequate staffing of the health facilities. ‘’On May 1st, the President is going to be launching the Nation Builders Corps where we want to provide work for our tertiary graduates to help in nation building. We have seven modules for the National Builders Corps and one of the modules is the health module.’’ He bemoaned the number of qualified nurses who have not been engaged after years of graduating from school and gave an assurance that, some 10,000 health professionals would be recruited under the health module. ‘’We have quite a number of nurses and health assistants who are sitting at home. They’ve qualified for years and have not been engaged. And we have now engaged the Ghana Health Service (GHS), and we will be prepared to recruit up to 10,000 nurses and health assistants, to be part of the National Builders Corps for a contract of up to three years to provide health services for our people…’’ Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also lauded the ministry of Health for their proposed digital system to ensure quality health care delivery in Ghana. About 100,000 graduates who have completed their national service are expected to be engaged under NABCO this year. The modules are Feed Ghana, Educate Ghana, Revenue Ghana, Heal Ghana, Enterprise Ghana, Digitise Ghana and Governance Ghana. In the case of the Revenue Ghana module, the graduates would work with the Ghana Revenue Authority to help in the collection of revenue, he said, while under the Heal Ghana module, nurses who had been at home for years without jobs would be engaged to work in the health sector. In respect of the Enterprise Ghana module, graduates would be assigned to various private sector enterprises for jobs and skills training, as well as development, while in the Digitise Ghana module, graduates would be posted to the IT sector for the Digital Ghana agenda; the transformation agenda, where they would be attached to the National Identification Authority (NIA), the Ghana Post, the Births and Deaths Registry or the Land Title Registry to work, he said. In the case of the Governance Ghana module, the graduates would be attached to various local authorities.
Deputy General of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Koku Anyidoho, has said presidential staffers should be experienced individuals who will bring a lot of experience to the governance system. He told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, aside the ministers, staffers are appointed to give direction to a government and not necessarily about the numbers but efficiency. In an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the outspoken politician said, the comparison between previous NDC government and that of the ruling NPP is needless, unwarranted and baseless. He said, ‘’let us focus on what is happening today. What is in the past should be left in the past.’’ Koku Anyidoho stressed that the presidential staffers are more experienced and the remuneration is above that of special aides at the presidency. He also indicated that what Eugene Arhin, Lord Commey and others are doing today and being given the status as staffers, he [Anyidoho] and Nii Lante Vanderpuye were doing it as aides. ‘’So if they have decided to bloat the government payroll,’’ they should go ahead, ‘’Ghanaians will also decide.’’ ''If there is no efficiency and no experience; they will be looking for bloated numbers and to hide behind that and say there are more jobs to be done. The president already has 110 ministers and he is justifying it,’’ and so it is not surprising they are justifying the bloated list. Mr. Anyidoho said, the interesting thing about the Nana Addo led administration is that, the various agencies and state institutions have an over bloated payroll. He charged the media to focus their attention at institutions like the National Lotteries among others. ‘’If you also go to the government department and agencies like Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, Ghana Export Promotion Authority, National Lotteries; if you go and see what is happening there in terms of over bloated payrollt; it is equally alarming and I am sure that is the next place you should be focusing on.’’ He suggested. He used the lotteries as an example and alleged that, the place is being managed by a CEO and three deputies who are all political appointees. When asked if the number is huge and should be reduced, he said, ‘’I will pass judgement. I leave the judgement to Ghanaians and the media.’’ President Nana Akufo-Addo last week presented before parliament list of the total number of staff working at the presidency. The release of the list is in compliance with Section 11 of the Presidential Office Act, 1993 (Act 463), which requires the President to submit annually to Parliament, a report on the staffing position of the Office of the President. Th breakdown was given as nine ministers of state, 27 presidential staffers, 256 other/junior appointees and 706 employees of public/civil service staff.
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