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Apr 29, 2017
The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament has taken issues with the Bank of Ghana for its failure to capture a transaction involving the export of 40,000 tonnes of bauxite by the Ghana Export Company Limited in its audited accounts for 2015. The committee chaired by Mr. James Klutse Avedzi, consequently directed the Central Bank to furnish PAC with the report today [Wednesday]. At its sitting yesterday the MP for Efutu, Mr Alexander Afenyo Markin, who drew the committee's attention to the anomaly, said he knew for a fact that more than 40,00 tonnes of bauxite valued at $41 million were exported in 2015 and yet it was not captured by the audited report of the Central Bank.  The BoG appeared before the committee to respond to questions raised by the Auditor-General in respect of Foreign Exchange Receipts and Payments from January, 2015 to June, 2015. Other members of PAC in the seventh parliament are MP for Lambussie/Karni, Edward Kaale-Ewola Dery, who is the vice chairman; MP for Keta, Richard Quashigah; MP for Karaga, Alhassan Dandawa; MP for Ningo-Prampram, Samuel Nartey George; MP for Builsa South, Dr Clement Apaak; MP for Aowin, Mathias Ntow; MP for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak; MP for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem, Samuel Atta-Mills and MP for Ejura/Sekyedumase, Mohammed Bawah Braimah for the minority.The rest are MP for Bibiani/Anhwiaso/Bekwai,Kingsley Aboagye-Gyedu, who is the ranking member; MP for Afigya Kwabre North, Nana Amaniampong Marfo, who is the deputy ranking member;  MP for Atwima Nwabiagya North, Benito Owusu-Bio; MP for Bunkpurugu, Solomon Namliit Boar; MP for Fanteakwa South, Kofi Okyere-Agyekum; MP for Mpohor, Alex Kofi Agyekum.Others are MP for Dormaa East, William Sabi; MP for New Juaben North, Kwasi Boateng Adjei; MP for Nanton, Mohammed Hardi Tufeiru; MP for Kade, Kwabena Ohemeng-Tinyase; MP for Lower West Akim, Eyiah Kyei Baffour; MP for Nhyiaeso, Kennedy Kwasi Kankam; MP for Afigya Sekyere East, Mavis Boadu-Nkansah; MP for Gomoa West, Alex Kwodwo Kom Abban and MP for Effutu, Alex Afenyo-Markin.
Apr 29, 2017
    The Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) has initiated investigations into a missing Gh¢35million said to have been disbursed as loans by the Ghana Venture Capital Trust Fund.    The BNI suspect fraud since the beneficiaries of the loans cannot be traced. Consequently, the current Chief Executive, Mr Osman Sulemana and his predecessor Daniel Kofi Duku are to provide answers on the missing money.Mr Osman Sulemana, on his part has explained that the monies were disbursed before he took over office and that, “when I took over there was no money”.The BNI’s report after the investigations will inform government’s action to take on the individual’s involved.It has been gathered that conflict of interest, fraud and complicity on the part of officers involved is to blame for the fund’s inability to recover monies disbursed as loans to some companies and individuals.The fund by its mandate provides credit and equity funding for small and medium scale enterprises.Beneficiaries are to present valid business registration, company location and guarantors among others to be able to meet the criteria for loans.However, it has been established that most beneficiaries cannot be traced and some of the guarantors mentioned have denied knowledge of the loan facility when the fund contracted a debt collecting company to collect the money.Furthermore, loan officers are said to have given loans to family members with fake business registration certificates.A former Member of Parliament is said to have received a cheque for a company but the money never got to that company.The former chief executive is said to have flouted the board’s directive not to disburse further loans.The current chief executive, Suleiman Osman in an interview with Joy FM denied involvement in the scandal.“If you have an investment institution like Venture Capital that has done disbursements of over Gh¢18million comes with interest of over Gh¢35million and you cannot get recovery, a total default rate of 90 per cent, then it tells you that they are not loans.“If indeed they are loans, we should have been able to collect them. The ongoing investigations has led to some other individuals making fabulous publications on me and tarnishing my reputation as a CEO. I took over office in September 2016 and at that particular time the disbursements started in 2010. I did not disburse a single penny because the time that I took over office the institution had run into its knees, there was no money.”Source: DailyGraphic
Apr 29, 2017
The Head of Financial Management Service at the Bank of Ghana, Stephen Opattah has insisted that, no single individual can skew the issuance of bonds to favour one person or another. His comments is coming at a period where the Minority in Parliament is accusing the Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta of issuing the $2.25 billion bond to his friends and cronies. But the Bank of Ghana has said the controversial bond cannot be shrouded in secrecy as  alleged. "In such a system you cannot predetermine who the investor will be," Opatta said. On the part of the Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana Johnson Asiamah it is impossible for a bond to be issued in secrecy. He also insisted that given the operations of the bond issue it was practically impossible for anyone to predetermine who the investor will be. He gave the explanation when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament yesterday [Tuesday]. Officials of the Bank of Ghana, who were key players in the bond issued appeared before the committee to answer queries from the 2015 Auditor General's Report about foreign exchange receipts and payments.The Minority in Parliament has alleged that, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta sold the ninety five percent of Ghana’s recent 2.25 billion dollar bond to friends and cronies.They have therefore called for a full scale investigation into the case since they believe it smells.The Minority Spokesperson on Finance, Cassiel Ato Forson, claimed at a press conference on Tuesday that  a non-executive director on the board of investment firm, Franklin Templeton that purchased majority of the bonds is also the Chairman of the Enterprise Group; a company closely aligned to the private interests of the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
Apr 29, 2017
The former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Benjamin Mkapa, has congratulated the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on his election to the highest office of the land, and has urged him and the country to continue on the path of democracy, and continue being the ‘star of Africa’.Benjamin Mkapa made this known on Tuesday, April 25, 2017, when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Presidency, on his way to deliver a lecture at the University of Development Studies, in Tamale.“The last time we met, you were a prospective candidate, but you have finally made it. More importantly, you have made it in a peaceful, serene election; the results were unquestionable, which places you in a position of authority to lead your country,” the former Tanzanian president said.He also congratulated Ghanaians for the seriousness with which they undertook the civic responsibility of electing their leaders, and thanked “Ghana for the example they are showing to the people of Africa. Continue, therefore, to be a shining example to the people of Africa.”Benjamin Mkapa noted that current Tanzanian President, John Magafuli, has put industrialization and the addition of value to raw materials as his major focus. Additionally, “agricultural development is a major preoccupation of his. I have learnt that agricultural development is a major preoccupation of yours, and I hope that you succeed.” On his part, President Akufo-Addo thanked the former President for the gesture of his visit, and for the collection of autographed books given to him in 2014, during his time as presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party.President Akufo-Addo told Benjamin Mkapa that he had the privilege of meeting the new President of Tanzania at this year’s AU summit in Addis Ababa “and discovered that we had very similar programmes. It is good for all of us that we have woken up to the realization that there is no future for us in being exporters of raw materials.”He continued, “If we are going to give jobs to our people, we can only do so in a modern, industrialised economy. So, that is very much the focus of what we are doing here in Ghana. We have a very ambitious programme. We have committed ourselves to establishing small and medium scale industries in each of the districts in our country over the next four years.”On agricultural development, the President told Benjamin Mkapa about the “Planting for Food and Jobs” programme, launched in Goaso a week ago, which, he explained, will affect the lives of 200,000 farmers in the first year, with some 2.5 million farmers benefitting at the end of 4 years.“We are living in a country that has everything. We have the land, and, yet, we find ourselves importing plantain from Cote d’Ivoire and tomatoes from Cote d’Ivoire. We are saying to ourselves that, within the next 24 months, all these things will be a thing of the past,” he said.In concluding, President Akufo-Addo stated that “we continue to wish that Tanzania, like Ghana, continues down the path of orderly development, and that we will see countries who have living Presidents like you who are still contributing to the lives of their people, once they are out of office. It is an inspiration for the rest of the continent, and it is an inspiration that people do not have to hang onto power for 30 to 40 years to be relevant.”
Apr 29, 2017
Former Sports Minister under the erstwhile Mahama led administration, Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye had his home raided by some operatives from the National Security Tuesday afternoon. According to reports, the operatives raided the house in search some vehicles suspected to be state owned. Confirming the incident to Accra based Citi Fm, the MP for Odododiodoo said the situation has left his wife, who is currently the only occupant of the house distraught.   The only vehicles currently in the house, were ones he purchased from a public auction some four years ago and another; which is an official vehicle he used while serving as minister in the former government, but bought it before he left office, he revealed. According to him, the documents to the car are available and will lodge an official complaint to the police when he returns back from UK where he is currently.   “The only vehicle I have which used to belong to the state, has been sold to me when we were leaving office. I bought it and paid for it, a Toyota Avensis. I used it when I was a deputy minister and a minister. The process started in December, and ended before we left office in January, but I finally got all the documentations somewhere at the end of January and also I didn’t have all the money to pay the customs so when I finally got the money, I paid the customs duty and got the clearance and everything before I re-registered the vehicle between February and March 2017,” he said. “I paid over GH¢30,000 as the value and when we had paid that amount of money, we were told to pay duty to the GRA and that one too was done, about GH¢29,000 in all, about ¢GH50,000 I paid on that vehicle,” he added. 
Apr 29, 2017
 The Ashanti regional chapter of small scale mining association have voiced out against the NPP government pragmatic measures put in place to stop illegal mining in the country. The members of the association held a press conference today [Tuesday] April 25, 2017  to express their grievances to President Nana  Akufo- Addo .  The spokesperson for the group Mr Frank Osei said the group will also petition the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II over government’s fight to halt illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, across the country. At an emergency meeting held at the TUC Complex in Kumasi Tuesday, an executive member of the Ashanti Regional artisanal miners’ chapter, Frank Osei, said the issue of illegal mining has been blown out of proportion. He accused government of giving the miners a bad name. “We have been demonised and it is not good for a government that wants to solve the escalating unemployment problem in the country” he stated. The meeting by the group was to discuss issues affecting their operations with the major one being government’s clamp down on illegal miners. Also on the agenda was arrangement for a meeting with the Asantehene to petition him on the fight against galamsey. “We are going to meet Otumfuo and petition him so he can intervene on this…We want the government to understand that we are ready to corporate so that the environment is protected as we continue our work,” Mr Osei said. Enormity of destruction caused by illegal mining on the environment across the country has triggered response from government and civil society groups to end the canker. Almost all of Ghana’s rivers and water bodies have been polluted by the activities of galamsey as well as destruction of forest covers and farmlands.   By:  Kwabena Amoateng 
Apr 29, 2017
A group calling itself Concerned Youth of Atiwa in the Eastern Region on Tuesday April 25, 2017 held a demonstration demanding that the President, Nana Akufo-Addo appoints a District Chief Executive (DCE) from Atiwa East to represent the region. According to the group, they will resist any appointment from Atiwa West. With placards, the group numbering about two hundred demonstrated through some principal streets in the area to press home their demand. Spokesperson for the group, Dr. Samuel Ofori speaking to the media said, al the previous DCEs appointed over the past 16 years hailed from Atiwa West hence the need for government to appoint one from Atiwa East.  “We are aggrieved because the previous governments have not been fair to Atiwa East people simply because it has been 16 years now, the nomination of the DCE have been coming from Atiwa West. It is not as if we have not been contesting, we always contest the position, but the fact is, there are some greedy bastards who for their interest they always want it to go Atiwa West so that they can manipulate people.’’ “Now we are not going to sit down and watch the President, Nana Akufo-Addo to take a person from Atiwa West again. The nominees that we presented, 2 from Atiwa East and 2 from Atiwa West; the competent two are from Atiwa East. We want Nana Akufo-Addo to sit down to analyse things and gather proper information and come out with a name from Atiwa East. We want an active member who can go round and listen to the grassroots members. The government must sit up and take the right decision.’’    
Apr 29, 2017
A senior State Attorney George Sackey has stated that the five Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts arrested last month for mining illegally on River Ankobra at Dawule in the Western Region abused Ghana’s immigration laws. The Chinese made false representation contrary to section 23 (1) of the criminal offences Act, 1960, Act 29, and Section 52 of the immigration Act, 2000, Act 573, the State Attorney said. According to him, the accused “conspired to undertake small scale mining operation without license contrary to section 23 (1) of the criminal offences Act 1960, Act 29”. Six other offences were brought up against the six suspects  and they are: “undertaking small scale mining operation without license contrary to section 99 (2) of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703”, “engaging in mining activity using methods not known or approved by the Environmental Protection Agency contrary to section 27 (3) of the EPA Act, 1994, Act 490”, “pollution of water contrary to section 24 of the Water Resources Commission Act, 1996, Act 522”, “pollution of water contrary to section 23(1) of the criminal offences Act, 1960, Act 1996, Act 522”, “conspiracy to commit offence to wit, causing intentional and unlawful harm and damage to property in a manner likely to cause danger to life contrary to section 23 (1) and 172 (2) of the criminal offences Act, Act 29, 1960”, and “causing unlawful damage intentionally and unlawfully to property in a manner likely to cause danger to life contrary to section 172 (2) of the criminal offences Act, 1960, Act 522.” Presiding judge Justice Edward Amoako Asante, on Monday dismissed for the third time, a bail application filed by counsel for the five Chinese nationals and their 5 Ghanaian counterparts. He ordered for the suspects to be released from police custody into prison custody and to reappear before it May 3, 2017.   The five Chinese facing trial are Dong Cheng, 30, Hung Jian, 51, Ning Guorui, 42, Yin Biquiang, 46 and Li Zilong, 44. Their Ghanaian counterparts are Eric Owusu, 28, Kwabena Adjei, 50, Nana Adu, 42, Kwesi Owusu, 28 and Kofi Darko, 21. 
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