Former CEO of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Madam Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, under the Mahama administration, has been indicted in report after the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) unearthed a massive corruption scandal at the Centre.
The forensic audit which was conducted by the state body and initiated by the current CEO, Stephen Amoah stated that MASLOC invested an amount of GHc 500,000 in a 91-day fixed deposit with Obaatampa Microfinance Company Limited, at an interest rate of 25% per annum on July 24, 2014.
However, the former CEO instructed the microfinance company to terminate the investment and pay back the amount through a letter dated August 28, 2014.
A recommendation by the auditors said the former CEO “should be held responsible for the refund of the amount of GHS 500,000 with in interest in accordance with regulations 61(5) of the Financial Management Act, 2003 (654).”
Also, MASLOC was said to have planned for outreach programmes in all the regions in year 2016 budgeted for GHc 1,706,000.00 and approved by MASLOC Board at its 27th General meeting held on April 26 for the execution of the programmes.
However, the outreach programmes were not organized, the report stated.
On October 17, 2016, Madam Attionu requested for the approval to purchase 2000 units of tricycles from SAPPEVA Enterprise at a total cost of GHC 17,000,000.00 using the Restricted Tender Method, the report revealed further and the said amount was apporoved on October 28, 2016, with an advise to seek concurrent approval from the appropriate Tender Review Board after completion of the tendering process but this directive was not complied with per the documents received.
MASLOC also signed a contract with SAPPEVA Enterprise for the supply of the 2000 unit tricycles although the Evaluation Panel were yet to finish their work on November 11, 2016.
Each of the panel members appended their signatures on December 15, 2016. On December 16, 2016, SAPPEVA delivered 145 motor tricycles to MASLOC.
The report said attempts made by MASLOC to take delivery of the remaining quantities were however met with excuses from SAPPEVA.
Per the recommendation Mrs. Sedinam Tamakloe Attionu is to be sanctioned in accordance with Section 92 (1) which states that “Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act commits an offence and where not penalty has been provided for the offence, the person is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding 2,500 penalty units or a
Acting Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA, Peter Abum-Sarkodie, has been relieved of his post.
A letter which signed by Secretary to the President, Nana Bediatuo Asante, directed him [Abum-Sarkodie] to hand over to the Deputy Director of the Agency in charge of Field Operations, John Pwamang.
According to the statement, the decision had been taken by President Nana Akufo-Addo on the advice of the governing board of the EPA, which had not been formed when he was appointed.
Mr. Abum-Sardokie in the statement was said not to a “suitable candidate” to take over the position in a substantive capacity.
“The President thanks you for your service and wishes you well in your future endeavours,’’ the statement noted.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, says the although his administration has only been in office for 15 months, the track record of Government, in the first year, indicates that the Agenda for Jobs, which formed the basis upon which he won the 2016 election, is on course.
According to President Akufo-Addo, “many of the identified flagship projects under the Agenda have already been launched, some are being effectively prepared, and others planned for their imminent take-off.
The President noted that the gloomy picture of the Ghanaian economy, inherited from the predecessor Mahama government, has been reversed, and it is on a defined road of revitalization.
“The defined actions include the effective management of the economy with assertive fiscal, monetary and debt controls; establishing a national digital addressing system; launching of the 10-point industrialization agenda, including the “One District one factory” initiative; establishing a national tax evasion hotline; creating the Development Authorities for the Northern, Middle Belt, Coastal zones of our country; instituting the Zongo Development Fund; and the facilitation of an electronic payments system, especially for salaries and utilities, he said.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, when he launched Government’s 7-year Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, at the Accra International Conference Centre, Accra.
“The revamping of our economic and social infrastructure is on course; “dumsor” has ended, through the improvement of financing, generation, transmission and distribution of electrical power; the renovation and expansion of the railway network to northern Ghana is being pursued vigorously; and the revival of the transportation systems for the Volta Lake and the Eastern Corridor road have been initiated,” he said.
The President told the gathering that the fight against illegal mining is on course, with some of the rivers showing visible signs of recovery.
Touching on agriculture, he noted that the sector has exhibited the initial signs of transformation, with the implementation of the programme for Planting for Food and Jobs.
The “one village, one dam” initiative, which, he said, will be launched momentarily to cover the northern parts of the country, would help bring farmers closer to sustainable, all-year-round agricultural production.
“The social sector of Ghana is working again, with the implementation of the free Senior High School policy, the strengthening and alignment of Technical and Vocational Education Institutions; the facilitation of the ICT Programme in schools, and the continuation of the rationalization and expansion of educational infrastructure,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “The restructuring of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) has been initiated, with an intense stakeholder consultation process, whilst the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme has been expanded to cover more households. The Ghana School Feeding Programme has also been expanded to cover additional communities. The Affirmative Action Bill is under consideration by Cabinet, and the proportion of the Disability Fund of the District Common Fund has been increased.”
Under Governance, President Akufo-Addo noted that a programme for the amendment of the relevant articles of the Constitution to pave way for the direct election of MMDCEs, and bring full democracy to local government, has been defined; with the constitutional processes for the reorganization of our regional governance structure, the first in the history of the 4th Republic, to bring government closer to the people to accelerate development, currently underway.
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor, and the identity of its first occupant, have been effected; the Right to Information Bill has been presented to Parliament; the Public Sector Reform Strategy has been reviewed, and will be launched in a few weeks from now, whilst reforms of our system of public procurement are on-going,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo stated that actions have already begun on many of the flagship programmes under the Agenda for Jobs, and the remaining will witness inception shortly.
“It is my conviction that the effect and impact of these initiatives, and many others articulated in the document, will go a long way to ignite and sustain the transformation we are craving for our nation, and bring us close to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added.
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that the vision of his government is to create an optimistic, self-confident and prosperous nation, through the creative exploitation of the country’s human and natural resources, and operating within a democratic, open and fair society, in which mutual trust and economic opportunities exist for all.
Launching Government’s 7-year Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, on Wednesday, 11th April, 2018, at the Accra International Conference Centre, the President stated that this vision is informed by the need to establish a strong economy, that creates opportunities, inspires people to start businesses, stimulates expansion of existing businesses, and, ultimately, leads to the creation of jobs, increased economic growth and higher incomes.
As a result of the implementation of the policy, President noted that citizens should be to expand their scope of choice in consumption and saving decisions, “whilst Government is able to enhance its capacity to provide basic public goods and services that citizens desire; enhance access to social services, such as education, training and skills development and healthcare; and direct investment in infrastructure, such as transportation, power, affordable housing and water.”
To this end, Government’s policy direction, according to the President, is founded on five pillars of growth and development, namely revitalizing the economy; transforming agriculture and industry; revamping economic and social infrastructure; strengthening social protection and inclusion; and reforming delivery of public service institutions.
Economic, Industrial & Social policy
An important pivot of Government’s economic policy, President Akufo-Addo said, is effective fiscal policy management, which includes maintaining fiscal discipline by narrowing the public spending-revenue gap, reducing Government borrowing, and creating the fiscal space to reduce the vulnerabilities of the economy to shocks.
Good fiscal management, he added, will create favorable conditions for reducing interest rates to spur private sector investment, expansion and enhanced productivity.
Additionally, the President stated that the industrial policy, under the Co-ordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies, will provide direction to enhance the operational capacity of existing firms, and to facilitate small business incubation as a way to promote the Government’s “One District, One Factory” initiative.
“The industrial policy is to be supported by targeted provision of infrastructure to eliminate critical bottlenecks in the areas of roads, rail, aviation, water, sanitation, and energy, and distribute infrastructure fairly and comprehensively across the country,” he said.
Government’s social policy regime, President Akufo-Addo explained, is to invest in people, by improving access and ensuring the provision of quality education, healthcare, and affordable housing.
“An integrated social policy regime will address the demands of the growing population, urbanization and social infrastructure needs. Appropriate policies for social protection and inclusion will be sustained to address the needs of the vulnerable, including specific investments in rural, coastal, Zongo and inner city communities,” he said.
With the Coordinated Programme for Economic and Social Development Policies titled the “Agenda for Jobs: Creating Prosperity and Equal Opportunity for All”, the President noted that the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), as well as the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies, are to prepare their respective Medium-Term Development Strategies and Plans in response to, and for implementing, the policies under the Agenda.
“We will facilitate the private sector to develop its capacities and position itself to partner Government in implementing key initiatives identified under the Agenda. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have the significant role of disseminating information on the Agenda, facilitating direct interventions at the community level, and ensuring accountability in delivery,” he said.
Drivers of Agenda for Jobs
The transformation of the Ghanaian economy, President Akufo-Addo noted, demands the establishment of a world class labour force, adding that the Agenda proposes the development of a more and robust labour market data through operationalizing the Ghana Labour Market Information System (GLMIS), linking public service pay to productivity, making it more responsive to modern trends, introducing life-long skill training for workers, and improving the work environment.
“Government’s efforts will include improving the work environment, formalizing the informal sectors of the economy, resourcing and enhancing the workplace conditions of the Labour Department, Management Development and Productivity Institute, Fair Wages and Salaries Commission, the Public Services Commission, Office of the Head of Civil Service, and Local Government Service among others. Engagement with the Trade Unions would be intensified to facilitate productivity and harmonious industrial relations,” he said.
The President noted that in his address to the United Nations General Assembly in New York last year, he reiterated that sustainable development of Africa, including Ghana, must be predicated on technological innovation, research and development.
Acknowledging that Ghana has not paid due attention to research and development, which has hampered the development of innovation, Government, under the Agenda for Jobs will, as a matter of urgent policy, adequately resource the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and its 13 affiliated institutes, as well as other national research institutes, to lead the introduction of broad-based innovation and productivity incentives in the national economy.
“It will strengthen further the link between research and industry, particularly the industrial associations and the institutions of research and learning,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo, therefore, called on public servants, private sector operators, organized labour, actors in the informal sector, members of the media, institutions for research and learning, civil society actors, religious figures, traditional authorities, and friends of Ghana, to join hands in ensuring that this national clarion call resonates.
This, he said, is crucial, “so that we usher in a new era to create jobs for our people, to set-off on a new epoch of ‘Ghana Beyond Aid’, and to generate prosperity and equal opportunity for all.”
The Ashanti regional chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) who is contesting for his second term, Mr. Bernard Antwi Bosiako, a.k.a Wontumi, has said, he will not be surprised if his opponent Mr. Asare Bediako, steps down from the race because he has failed to visit various constituency executives to convince them.
"His posture to the contest has shown clearly that, he is not ready for the battle" he added.
Mr. Bosiako was addressing party delegates during the manifesto launch of the various aspirants who are contesting for various positions in the party which has been slated for 21st April, 2018 at Ejura-Sekyere Dumase, today [Wednesday] at TUC near Dakojom, Kumasi.
He was responding to questions posed to him by some delegates on what he will do should he be informed that his opponent has step down from the contest.
He appealed to the party delegates to vote against whoever hate his agenda as regional chairman and rather vote for those who supported his agenda.
Already, chairpersons in eleven constituencies have endorsed Mr. Wontumi.
According to the eleven constituency chairmen, their overwhelming endorsement of the re-election bid of Wontumi, was not done for personal reasons or material gains, but was based on the general feeling of the masses across the region.
A 10-member committee is expected to be set up by President Akufo-Addo to act on a petition brought before him by some local banks to intervene on their behalf following the directive by the Central Bank for local banks for an extension in the deadline date of the minimum capital requirement for indigenous banks.
The decision to set up the committee was reached at an earlier meeting between the president and representatives from the local banks.
The committee will be made of three members from the Bank of Ghana, three members from the Ministry of Finance, three members from the local banks and a chairperson to be nominated by the president.
The committee is expected to be set up and commence work on April 17 and complete work on May 26th, 2018.
Some local banks met the president to appeal for an extension of the timeline in meeting the minimum capital requirement from one year to four years.
The local banks want the deadline to be extended from December 2018 to 2022.
Minister for Inner-City and Zongo Development, Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, has called for calm among Muslims following a call made by Environment, Science and Technology Minister, Prof. Frimpong Boateng, on Muslim leaders to use WhatsApp to call their members to worship instead of the traditional way in order to reduce noise pollution.
The Minister made the suggestion when he took his turn at the ‘Meet Press’ briefing organized by the Information Ministry on Tuesday.
“In the house of worship, why is it that the noise will (not) be limited to the house of worship…and again maybe from the mosque, why is it that time for prayer would not be transmitted with a text message or WhatsApp so the Imam will send WhatsApp message to everybody that the time for prayer is up so appear.’’
He has since been chastised for the suggestion. But reacting to the comments, the Minister in charge of Zongo Development called for calm.
The Environment Minister he noted was only making a suggestion and should not be seen as something that is going to be enforced.
‘’Prof. Boateng was only suggesting to the Islam community. He was not stating something that was going to be enforced. I will appeal to Ghanaians to hold their gun and stop attacking him.’’
He was however quick to add that, the suggestion is not going to be possible because it is not every Muslim who have access to WhatsApp and even those who have access to it are not active users.
Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, said the religious co-existence between Muslims and Christians has been a shinning example for other countries and will continue to so.
The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu says the reason why the University of Ghana Medical Centre has not started operation is because the facility is incomplete.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing on Wednesday in commemoration of the World Health Day, the Minister said, it would not be prudent for work to begin at the facility when consistent electricity supply cannot be guaranteed for the machines to run effectively.
“You cannot run MRI and imaging equipment on the national grid, the back-up generator is not there yet, so should we should operationalize and spoil the equipment?” he said. “And those who claim the place is completed, I am the Minister and I want to tell the Ghanaian population that the place is not completed,” he said.
Government in 2012, signed a contract with Messrs. Engineering and Development Consultant (EDC) of Israel to build the first phase of the facility.
The University of Legon designated 400 acres of land for the entire project.
The first phase of the University of Ghana Medical Centre was completed in November 2016 and was handed over to the university.
About 800 personnel are needed to get the facility fully operational.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has been challenged to follow the footsteps of Rwanda and shutdown churches being operated by charlatans and fake prophets.
Speaking on Frontline on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the General Overseer of the Alabaster International Ministry, Prophet Dr. Kofi Oduro said, some of these prophets are talking madness and yet Ghanaians are mute whereas people are losing their souls.
He said, ‘’everything is about money and how prophets will drive in expensive cars. They don’t care about the souls.’’
He also alleged that some of the prophets are using their church members as blood sacrifice to enrich themselves.
About 700 churches were been down in Rwanda for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution in February
According to a proposed new law in that country, all preachers must have theological training before opening a church.
Commenting on the issue, the man of God said, the president should follow that example and shutdown churches managed by charlatans.
Ghanaians he said are yearning for prophecies about wealth and travelling to foreign lands and yet they do not want to listen to the message of salvation.
He said, some people are claiming to be prophets but they are not called by God. They are occultist using their church members for blood sacrifices to enrich themselves.
Prophet Dr. Kofi Oduro said the mushrooming of churches in Ghana plus what he described as senseless prophecies are the cause of the nation’s underdevelopment.
The Accra High Court has adjourned the case of former COCOBOD boss, Dr Stephen Opuni, to allow the Supreme Court determine a constitutional issue related to the case.
Lawyers for Dr Opuni, who is standing trial for allegedly causing financial loss of Gh¢271.3m to the state, filed a motion praying for all the documents that the Attorney-General will use to prosecute their client.
They premised their arguments on Article 19 clause 2 (e) and (g) of the 1992 Constitution, which bordered on fair trial.
But the High Court, presided over by Mr Justice C.J Honyenuga, Wednesday decided not to rule on the matter, but to wait for the Supreme Court to give an interpretation of Article 19 clause 2 (e) and (g).
Article 19 clause 2 (e) and (g) was referred to the Supreme Court for interpretation in February, this year, by another High Court handling the National Communications Authority (NCA) $4million scandal case.
According to Mr Justice Honyenuga, ruling on the matter before the Supreme Court comes out with its interpretation would amount to usurping the powers of the Supreme Court.
He accordingly adjourned the case to April 30, 2018.
Dr Opuni and a businessman, Seidu Agongo, were dragged to court in March 2018 for allegedly indulging in acts that cost the state GH¢271.3 million in a fertiliser deal.