Former President Jerry John Rawlings has taken a swipe at Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo constituency, Nii Lante Vandapuye, for saying that, the NDC would free Abuga Pele when they resume office in 2020.
The outspoken legislator in an interview with Accra based Citi Fm said: “It is unfortunate but I can only say that this will not dampen the spirit of the NDC. Between 2001 and 2004, they sentenced Tsatsu Tsikata, Dan Abodakpi, Ibrahim Adam and Kwame Peprah. It did not stop us from winning elections in 2008. We are going to win the elections and bring Abuga Pele out.’’
But Mr. Rawlings slammed him saying political power is not used to set ‘thieves’ free from jail.
The former president expressed the position in tweet today [Monday].
“If the quest for political power is to release wrongdoers from prison, then the NDC is laying its own foundation to remain in opposition for a long long time,” Rawlings said.
Read his full statement below:
POLITICAL POWER NOT FOR FREEING THE GUILTY
Stealing and corruption puts no one above the law. Those who have committed crimes deserve to be punished. If the quest for political power is to release wrongdoers from prison, then the NDC is laying its own foundation to remain in opposition for a long long time. Fortunately, this kind of talk belongs to a handful of people in the NDC leadership who have gained power and influence they do not deserve and the sooner they are packed off, the better for the NDC and this country.
Obviously, the corruption by some of those who were in office, resulting in a humiliating defeat in the last election does not appear to have affected their conscience and reasoning in any way.
The NDC needs to regain its moral compass. A party born out of the explosive circumstances of our past should not find herself so HIGH on the scale of corruption. Just as the negative elements in various parties are networking to protect their misdeeds, so also must the positive minded personalities and supporters in the various parties also network to contain and keep such elements from political power. While the current circumstances favour patriotic forces the most, the unpatriotic elements are more bent on collaborating and exploiting the constitutional climate. Let’s make changes for the better. Clear the bad and retain the good. Bring on board other patriots.
Former President John Dramani has left Ghana today for Freetown, Sierra Leone, where he will be leading a number of meetings aimed at ensuring a peaceful election and its aftermath in the West African Country, a statement signed by his aide, Joyce Bawa Mogtari has said.
The statement indicated that: “[Mahama] will lead the discussions in a closed-door high-level breakfast meeting between the Presidential Candidates and their Running Mates, Commissioners of the Political Parties Registration Commission (PPRC) of Sierra Leone, Electoral Officials, Police Chief, Paramount Chiefs and Eminent Persons.”
The meeting, the statement said is at the invitation of the PPRC which will go to the polls on March 07, with sixteen political parties contesting the Presidential Election.
As part of his activities, the former President of Ghana will also preside over the signing of a Peace Pledge by the Presidential Candidates on Wednesday, February 28, 2018.
He will also hold talks with President Ernest Bai Koroma and meet with the Candidates, the Electoral Commission, Police Chief and Sierra Leone’s Donor Partners.
The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has distance itself from a comment made by its Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo constituency, Nii Lante Vandapuye, over the conviction of Abuga Pele with regards to the GHc4.1 million GYEEDA cash.
The legislator in an interview on the matter stated that when the NDC resumes power 2020, it would release the former MP for Chana Paga constituency.
His comments drew wild condemnation from the public with former President Rawlings expressing his disappointment in the statement and warned the party he formed, would stay in opposition for a long time.
The NDC in the statement which was signed by General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia said: ‘’ A statement purported to have been made by National Democratic Congress, NDC Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo Constituency Honourable Nii Lantey Vanderpuye in an interview with a local radio station has widely been circulated in both print and electronic media.
In the said statement, an unfortunate impression has been created by the Honourable Member that the NDC will release Honourable Abuga Pele, the convicted former Member of Parliament for Chiana Paga from prison, if the party succeeded in capturing power in 2020.
It is called that Honourable Abuga Pele was sentenced to six years in prison for causing financial loss to the state.
The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the NDC wishes to place on record that the sentiment expressed by the Honourable Member on the above sited statement do not reflect in any remotest sense the position of the party regarding the fight against corruption in the country on the matter involving the conviction of Honourable Abuga Pele in particular.
We wish to remind Ghanaians that the investigation and prosecution of Honourable Abuga Pele was initiated by the NDC as part of our strategy to rid the country of corruption, and this strategy involves measures to prevent corruption and how to deal with corruption when it has already occurred. They include exposure, investigation, prosecution and punishment of corruption.
It will therefore be absurd that after a successful conviction has been achieved in this particular case, the initiator will turn around to free any person who has been convicted as a result.
We can understand the emotional trauma the family, friends and sympathizers of our former MP are going through at this critical moment. However, it is the belief of the leadership of NDC that in matters like this, the interest of the state cannot be subjected to individual or partisan interest.
We rather urge the current Nana Akuffo Addo led - government to emulate this shining example of the Mahama administration and, muster enough courage to bring members of his government who have been accused of corrupt practices to justice instead of praising them and misleading Ghanaians that all his ministers and appointees are clean.’’
Chairman for the Subsidiary Legislation Committee in Parliament, Mahama Ayariga, has said the conviction of Abuga Pele and Philip Assibit was because ‘’ … because we operated a legal regime that left cracks that became the holes that devoured them. The cracks include the tolerance of unfettered discretionary power in the management of our public affairs and the permissiveness of sole sourcing and other negative practices of allowing institutions to exist without an appropriate legal framework.
The legislator is therefore seeking to: . I will therefor take the following specific actions:
(a) Next week I will present a Private Members Bill to Parliament proposing the amendment of the Procurement Act to prohibit sole sourcing altogether. I will include in the bill a requirement that we recall and examine all sole sourced contracts to ensure that Ghanaians have value for money.
2. I will also move against each and every single public agency or entity that is exercising unfettered discretionary power without clear non-discriminatory non-arbitrary Regulations approved by Parliament governing the exercise of their discretionary power. Specifically;
(a) I will call for the annulment of all the modules and contracts entered into by the National Youth Employment Authority that are not founded on approved regulations passed by Parliament pursuant to sections 20 and 33 of the Youth Employment Agency Act, 2015 (Act 887). This will include the annulment of all of Zoomlion’s contracts with them and fair impartial procurement of those services.
(b) I will move against the GETFund to demand that GETFund should award no student scholarships, unless Regulations have been brought to Parliament to determine the criteria by which students can assess such scholarships.
(c) The Microfinance and Small Loans Center (MASLOC) must cease operating and the Minister of Finance should, on behalf of the President should bring a Bill to Parliament for the proper regulation of what they do there.
(d) I will move against the Office of the President to ensure that that Office no longer grants international scholarships to any student through the Scholarship Secretariat, unless it is based on fair impartial non-discriminatory and non-arbitrary Regulations approved by the Parliament of Ghana.
(e) I will move against the Ghana School Feeding Programme and demand a termination of all the contracts by the end of this term and that the award of new contracts for school feeding should be open, transparent and accessible to all based on clear Regulations enacted by Parliament to guide the operations of the entire National school Feeding Programme.
(f) I will move against the Ministry of Education to ensure that the arrangements for implementation of the Free Senior High School Programme is governed by Regulations approved by Parliament so that all those contracts for the supply of food for freely feeding the SHS students in all the public schools are equally accessible to every Ghanaian irrespective of your political affiliation.
(g) All the activities of the district, municipal and metropolitan assemblies including the various dismissals and arbitrary appointment of revenue collectors etc must all be governed by administrative Regulations
(h) All public agencies that charge fees must be brought under control. For example the Immigrations Service and others who charged younf people sums of money to process their applications have to should specifically which Legislative Instruments permitted them to collect such monies or they should return the monies the lawful owners.
I shall in the coming week write to each and every agency of Government concerned and demand that Regulations be brought to Parliament within 30 dyas otherwise I will proceed to the Supreme Court to seek an injunction against all that they are doing in violations of the law.
In the coming days I will review almost all our legislation and bring on board, for similar demands for accountability. any agency which is vested with any form of discretionary power and demand similar standards from them. Lets pursue arbitrariness and sever its head from our public body.
Lastly, I will propose a private members bill that will direct the president to delegate the appointment of chief executives of public agencies to their respective boards and councils.
I am constituting a Progressive Platform and I call on all progressive forces, who are minded to join in this struggle, to rally to ensure that the project of building a fair transparent administrative state that holds every public officer accountable and treats every citizen fairly is successfully completed.
The Progressive Platform shall go round the country from community to community to mobilise support for these fundamental reforms to the way we have been running our affairs.
Let me borrow from Flt Lt Jerry Rawlings and say that you are either part of the problem or you are part of the solution. There are no neutrals in this fight.
Mahama Ayariga (MP)
Chairman of Subsidiary Legislation Committee
Parliament of Ghana
Saturday 24th February, 2018.
The EIB Network and their Northern regional correspondent, Eliasu Mohammed Tanko, are in a hitch as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH), Dr. David Kolbilla, has threatened to take legal action against the media house and their reporter in the region for libel.
Last week, starrfmonline.com published news items on the 22nd and 23rd of February, 2018 accusing the CEO of involving in criminal transactions at the facility where he heads.
The publications which were captioned, “TTH CEO didn’t report scandal” and “Tamale Teaching Hospital CEO accused of buying stolen items” infuriated the TTH Boss over what is described as false publication and an attempt to grime the image of the CEO.
The news item hauled up the CEO for buying stolen items including hospital beds from the store keeper of the hospital for his private clinic suggesting that, the prime suspect in the ongoing probe, Kumbeiri Thomas, told multiple people including one Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim, the pathologist at the TTH and one of the owners of Universal Herbal Centre where some of the stolen items were retrieved by police, that he sold some of the beds to Dr. Kolbila for his Tizaa private clinic also in Tamale ; this, Dr. Kolbilla said was fallacious since he bought no item from any individual at the TTH.
Speaking to the Acting PRO for the hospital Dr. Kennedy Osei Mensa, he explained that on the issue claiming the CEO did not report the scandal to the police; it was untrue since he was present at the police station where the CEO went to report the case.
He said “The CEO knowing that the there was a criminal case at the hospital, I personally went with him to report the case to the police where we all went with the police to the Universal Herbal Centre where some of the equipment were found.” Dr. Kennedy explained.
However, in a document spotted by Rainbow Radio's Prince Kwame Tamakloe revealed that, lawyers for Dr. Kolbilla have asked the EIB network to retract the publication and apologize within 72 hours or face the law.
Meanwhile the two "fake stories" as described by the CEO, have since been removed from the news portal of Starrfmonline.com.
By: Prince Kwame Tamakloe
Former President John Dramani Mahama has reiterated his call for the national stakeholders’ conference on the free senior high school.
Mr. Mahama believes ‘’it is not too late to hold a national stakeholders conference on free senior high school.’’
He was addressing party supporters who participated in a unity walk organized by the party in the Eastern region.
He took a swipe at the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), for rushing with the implementation when it had no clear guidelines or a blueprint.
He questioned why the NPP implemented the policy when we had deficit in infrastructure at the secondary level.
The former president said, the NDC and NPP agreed on the concept on free senior high school but disagreed on the mode of implementation.
‘’Somebody decides that, he wants to implement it in three years, you don’t have enough dormitories, you don’t have enough classrooms, you don’t have enough text books, you don’t have enough laboratories, you don’t have enough dinning halls, you don’t have administration blocks and yet, you say in three years; for a programme that is so fundamental, you have no guideline, you are just implementing it in an adhoc manner and we say slow down. Bring parents, bring teachers, political parties, religious leaders and bring all of us together and let us decide on how we can implement and resolve the challenges. When we say this, you say we are naysayers.’’
He called on government to adopt a system where those who cannot afford to pay benefit would be the direct beneficiaries and those who would be able to afford, are allowed to pay.
The implementation of free senior high school is affecting other demands of other sectors including the District Assembly Common Fund, GetFund among others.
“So you can’t pay District Assemblies Common Fund, you can’t pay NHIS (National Health Insurance Scheme), you can’t pay GETFund (Ghana Education Trust Fund), you can’t pay other salaries and things because all your money is going into Free Senior High School.”
Ranking Member on the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee of Parliament, Inusah Fuseini, says the conviction of Abuga Pele, was due to negligence.
He said the issues that led to his conviction, were not intentional conduct but negligence.
He was reacting to the conviction of Abuga Pele and businessman, Philip Assibit over the GHc4.1 million GYEEDA cash.
According to him, the circumstances surrounding the issues indicated that, due diligence was not done and if Abuga Pele, had taken his time to scrutinize the deal; he would not have been convicted.
‘’Abuga Pele erred and that has accused him,’’ he added.
He also distanced the NDC from the statement made by Nii Lante Vandapuye, the MP for Ododiodoo constituency that, the umbrella family will free Abuga Pele when they resume office in 2020.
He said, the opinion was his [Lante’s] personal opinion. It did not reflect that of the NDC.’’
The MP for Tamale Central posited further that, the commitment of Mahama in the fight against corruption, contributed to making the processes work.
He said, allowing Abuga Pele to be prosecuted was a difficult decision but it showed how committed he was in the fight against corruption and how he wanted his appointees to be accountable to Ghanaians.
The Young Women And Christian Association of Ghana (YWCA) has expressed their worry over the rate at which child marriage is increasing in Ghana.
YWCA says child marriage is an infringement of the rights of the girl child right and also prevents them from accessing education.
Speaking to the president of the association Madam Vera , she called on NGO's, parents, teachers, traditional leaders, religious leaders as well as the media, to join the campaign in ending child marriage.
She said, the association is going to embark upon a door to door campaign especially in our rural areas to educate the public on the need to fight against child marriage.
She said this during a forum organized by the association in Accra over the weekend.
Child marriage is a human rights violation. Despite laws against it, the practice remains widespread, in part because of persistent poverty and gender inequality.
According to the UNFPA, in developing countries, one in every four girls is married before reaching age 18. One in nine is married under age 15.
Child marriage threatens girls’ lives and health, and it limits their future prospects.
Girls pressed into child marriage often become pregnant while still adolescents, increasing the risk of complications in pregnancy or childbirth. These complications are a leading cause of death among older adolescents in developing countries.
Child marriage is illegal. Both the 1992 Constitution and the 1998 Children’s Act set the legal age for marriage at 18 for both girls and boys.
According to UNICEF, Child marriage is a profound manifestation of gender inequality.
Child marriage disproportionally affects girls over boys: among men aged 15-49 years, only 5% were married as boys before the age of 18, compared to 27% of girls (MICS 2011).
It is also believed that, women with higher education and from wealthier households are less likely to get married before age 18.
Child marriage denies girls their childhood, disrupts their education, and limits their ability to participate in economic and social spheres.
Girls who marry before 18 years are at higher risk of social isolation and partner’s violence than women who marry later as well as at higher risk of contracting HIV and STIs.
The Accra Metro girls education session has declared their intention to collaborate with the Young Women And Christian Association of Ghana(YMCA) in order to fight against early child marriage among some communities in Ghana.
Speaking to Madam Akuah Winfred,the head of the unit, she said poverty, luck of education and cultural believes among some communities, are the main factors which have contributed to the early child marriage.
She entreated stakeholders to intensify efforts in fighting the menace since it was having negative impact on children.
She tasked the media, the traditional and religious leaders to campaign against it.
The Queen mother of Sempe traditional area, Naa Adole who has also supported the move, encouraged traditional leaders especially queen mothers to join the fight against early child marriage.
The Greater Accra Hockey Association, held its elections over the weekend to elect new executives.
The newly elected executives would take over the mantle of leadership to run affairs of the association for the next four years.
The outcome of the election which took place at National Hockey Pitch in Accra saw the following individuals emerge victors:
Adolf Adjei – Chairman
Derrick Tamakloe - Vice Chairman
Isaac Graham - Secretary
Lebene Ayoji - Treasurer
Ida Halm - Executive Member
Out of the 44 members, 42 were present to cast their vote to elect their new officers.