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Jul 21, 2018
Political science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Legon, Seidu Alidu has reiterated the need for President Nana Akufo-Addo to engage in a broad stakeholder consultation in the appointment of a new Electoral Commissioner. The lecturer speaking in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the broad stakeholder consultation is important based on two reasons and there are: ‘’one, because we are in a democratic dispensation and one of the important cardinal principles for democracy but also good government is the concept of consultation and consensus building, you have to consult widely.’’ The Electoral Commission he explained is one of the most important electoral organs of every nation and because there are a lot of stakeholders to that particular institution, it’s not only the government that is a stakeholder. ‘’The government is a stakeholder, all political parties are stakeholders, corporate entities are stakeholders, citizens are stakeholders. Every person who is in this country and needs peace in this country is a stakeholder in what happens in the EC.’’ He believes there should be a broad base consultation but also consensus building so that we all arrive at a decision that is acceptable to everybody and that everybody will really appreciate and accept.’’ He added: ‘’that is the first bid. The second bid has to do with the fact that, this government has pride itself as being one of the most liberal governments we’ve ever had that believe so much in the core tenets and values of democracy; so I believe the whole concept of consultation is very key to manifesting that particular philosophy they profess.’’ Seidu Alidu, emphasized the need for President Akufo-Addo, to engage broadly because that ‘’will be the right thing for the president to do, and for every stakeholder to have a say…So at the end of the day, we will arrive at a decision that is acceptable and pleasing for every individual.’’ He was reacting to a publication by the Daily Graphic that, barring any last hour hurdle, the president will announce a replacement for dismissed commissioner, Mrs Charlotte Osei. Two deputies are also to be named this week. When asked if he would be surprised if the appointments are made this week because it may be obvious the president may not have consulted broadly, the lecturer said, the president can go ahead and do it but ‘’I would have preferred it to be a more consultative a process, more consensus building so that we can disabuse perceptions that may emerge after the appointments.’’ Aside the consultation, he said there are some qualities the EC chair should have and the president will have to look at the character, specific skills and caliber. He said, ‘’the person who should be in this position needs at least three skills. Three skills are very key. The first skill is what we call people management skill-As an Electoral Commissioner, you are dealing with a lot of people, you are dealing with stakeholders, individuals, you are dealing with the president and opposition parties. You need to manage people, you need to manage you own commissioners you are working with, you will need to manage Ghanaians; you will need to manage political parties. If you are not able to relate with your colleagues within the commission, how then do you relate to Ghanaians? People management skill is very key. ’’It is very important and the heart beat of this democratic institution.’’ The second skill is technical skills. The EC has to do with a little bit of law. So you should have a background in law…You need to understand the law. You will need to have a little bit of political science and the dynamics of politics… The last skill is conceptual skill. You are dealing with a lot of issues that requires you to think.’’ The new EC boss should also demonstrate a character of independence and fearlessness. ''That person should demonstrate fearless independence. You should be impartial in order to establish integrity and conduct an election in an impartial manner. The person should be efficient especially in the management of EC's resources. The person has to objective.''
Jul 21, 2018
Banking and Financial expert, Jerry Afolabi has said it is not surprising that the Bank of Ghana (BoG) has revoked the purchasing of shares in ADB. The Bank of Ghana has revoked the purchase of shares in ADB. This means that Belstar Capital, EDC Limited, Starmount Limited and SIC-Financial Services are no longer shareholders of ADB. A statement issued that effect by the Central Bank stated that, "Belstar and Starmount are not fit and proper persons and cannot permit them to continue to hold shares acquired directly or indirectly in ADB." Reacting to the announcement, Jerry Afolabi said the move is not surprising since the affected share holders may have breached the laid down processes within the financial sector. The Order by the BoG was pursuant to section 55 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) to: (i) annul the acquisition by Belstar Capital Limited (Belstar), Starmount Development Company Limited (Starmount), SIC-Financial Services Limited (SIC-FSL), and EDC Investments Limited (EDC), of all shares held by them in the ADB Bank Limited (ADB), and all transactions undertaken in respect of the relevant shares; (ii) prohibit the exercise by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC of any of the voting rights or any other rights in respect of the relevant shares; and (iii) prohibit the directors appointed by the parties specified above to the Board of the ADB from acting as directors of ADB. Jerry Afolabi stressed the need for industry players in the financial sector to abide by rules and regulations in the sector or risk being punished by the regulator. ‘’I am not surprised at this decision. The matters at ADB started long ago and so when I heard about this information some few days ago, I was not surprised.’’ He explained that, if two banks decide to join forces and embark on an activity, they are to apply the rules. But if they fail, the Bank of Ghana will certainly apply the sanctions. ‘’The BoG have sanctions. These sanctions include financial sanctions and some executive members as well as non-executive members who have interest in the affected persons would also be punished by the central bank.’’ He however warned that, there could a legal tussle ahead following the order. He expressed disappointment at the current happening at the ADB and wondered why the bank, which was purposely established to assist farmers, is not living up to expectation. The statement also announced that: ‘’ The exercise of any of the voting rights or any rights issue in respect of the shares by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL, and EDC and the payment of any dividends in respect of these shares are also prohibited. All shares acquired by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC in ADB which were previously held by the Financial Investment Trust are to be immediately restored to the Financial Investment Trust until further notice. All directors appointed by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC to the ADB Board are to cease holding themselves out as directors of ADB with immediate effect.’’
Jul 21, 2018
We are committed to making the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Limited (BOST) transparent and accountable, a statement has said. The statement is coming at a time pressure group Occupy Ghana is demanding for a probe into smuggling activities at BOST in a report. “We wish to emphasize that management is committed to ensuring that investigations and audit relating to alleged irregularities will be conducted in the most open and transparent manner,” the statement said. The group has petitioned the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema-Opare to investigate allegations of smuggling and illegal dealings at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST). The pressure says a report released by the Ghana Chamber of Oil Distributors (CBOD) revealed that Ghana lost about GHC 1.4 billion in taxes and regulatory margins from smuggling and export dumping of petroleum products in 2017. Occupy Ghana in its petition to the Chief of Staff said: ‘’ “In the interest of the principles of probity, accountability, and transparency, we write to request that full-scale criminal and highly forensic investigations are conducted into the alleged findings in the CBOD Report.” “If any persons are found to have engaged in these acts we will urge the prosecution of all criminally culpable elements within the petroleum value chain to the full extent permissible by law, no matter who these culpable elements may be,” the petition stated Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Occupy Ghana’s Kwaku Segbefia said persons found culpable should be prosecuted no matter their positions in society. According to the report released, the losses recorded were as a result of increased smuggling activities along the country’s coasts, under-invoicing, tax evasion and export dumping, ESLA under-reporting, Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities and unlawful profiteering at BOST. The report added: “Illegal trading of products continues to be a bane of the industry and the national economy. Smuggling through the ports, premix and marine gas oil diversion (MGO oil) and export product dumping account for the majority of the illicit petroleum trade.The disappointing observation has been the absence of strong will by the central government to deal with this trade, despite modest arrests recorded.’’
Jul 21, 2018
There has been a barrage of criticism in the US after President Donald Trump defended Russia over claims of interference in the 2016 elections. At a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland, Mr Trump contradicted US intelligence agencies, saying Russia had no reason to meddle. The top Republican in Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan, said Mr Trump must see that "Russia is not our ally". The president's own intelligence chief publicly broke with him. Russia is responsible for "ongoing, pervasive attempts" to undermine US democracy, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said in a statement. Mr Putin denied the claim. On Monday the US and Russian presidents held nearly two hours of one-on-one talks without their advisers in the Finnish capital Helsinki on Monday. Mr Putin described the Helsinki meeting as "candid and useful" while Mr Trump said there had been "deeply productive dialogue". Mr Trump said US-Russia relations had "never been worse" than before they met, but that had now changed. Relations between Russia and the West were severely strained by Moscow's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and Russia's support for separatists in eastern Ukraine. Source:BBC
Jul 21, 2018
A leading member of pressure group Occupy Ghana, Kwaku Segbefia has said the group is expecting a response on the petition presented to the president through the Chief of Staff on a probe into irregularities at BOST in two weeks. The group has petitioned the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Frema-Opare to investigate allegations of smuggling and illegal dealings at the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company Limited (BOST). The pressure says a report released by the Ghana Chamber of Oil Distributors (CBOD) revealed that Ghana lost about GHC 1.4 billion in taxes and regulatory margins from smuggling and export dumping of petroleum products in 2017. Occupy Ghana in its petition to the Chief of Staff said: ‘’ “In the interest of the principles of probity, accountability, and transparency, we write to request that full-scale criminal and highly forensic investigations are conducted into the alleged findings in the CBOD Report.” “If any persons are found to have engaged in these acts we will urge the prosecution of all criminally culpable elements within the petroleum value chain to the full extent permissible by law, no matter who these culpable elements may be,” the petition stated Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, Occupy Ghana’s Kwaku Segbefia said persons found culpable should be prosecuted no matter their positions in society. According to the report released, the losses recorded were as a result of increased smuggling activities along the country’s coasts, under-invoicing, tax evasion and export dumping, ESLA under-reporting, Special Petroleum Tax (SPT) transfer pricing, deliberate inefficiencies and illegalities and unlawful profiteering at BOST. The report added: “Illegal trading of products continues to be a bane of the industry and the national economy. Smuggling through the ports, premix and marine gas oil diversion (MGO oil) and export product dumping account for the majority of the illicit petroleum trade.The disappointing observation has been the absence of strong will by the central government to deal with this trade, despite modest arrests recorded.’’
Jul 21, 2018
Chief Executive Officer (CEO), for the National Health Insurance Scheme, Dr Samuel Annor, has warned that the scheme may grind to a halt in 12 months The scheme he admitted is confronted with challenges. “Between 2009 and now, we have just been piling debts,” Dr. Annor said of the NHIS. “Unauthorised payments will continue, people being turned away or being asked to go and buy drugs or some health things that they will need for care would also continue… all these things will continue unless we solve the financing situation.” Meanwhile, he has called on government to pump in more resources to help the NHIS. “Let us try and pay the appropriate fee for our healthcare and the appropriate fee according to suggestions by the World Health Organisation is about $86 dollars or about GHc 380 or GHc 400 per year for each member of the scheme and we should strive towards that,” he said.
Jul 21, 2018
The Bank of Ghana has revoked the purchase of shares in ADB. A statement issued to that effect indicates that Belstar Capital, EDC Limited, Starmount Limited and SIC-Financial Services are no longer shareholders of ADB. According to the statement, ‘’ Belstar and Starmount have participated in a series of other questionable, unsafe, and unsound related party transactions involving uniBank Ghana Limited to the detriment of Ghana’s financial system and for their financial gain and benefit.’’ Below is a copy of the BoG statement BANK OF GHANA ANNULS THE ACQUISITION OF SHARES OF ADB BANK LIMITED HELD BY BELSTAR CAPITAL LIMITED, STARMOUNT DEVELOPMENT COMPANY LIMITED, SIC-FINANCIAL SERVICES LIMITED, AND EDC INVESTMENTS LIMITED The Bank of Ghana has today made an Order pursuant to section 55 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930) to: (i) annul the acquisition by Belstar Capital Limited (Belstar), Starmount Development Company Limited (Starmount), SIC-Financial Services Limited (SIC-FSL), and EDC Investments Limited (EDC), of all shares held by them in the ADB Bank Limited (ADB), and all transactions undertaken in respect of the relevant shares; (ii) prohibit the exercise by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC of any of the voting rights or any other rights in respect of the relevant shares; and (iii) prohibit the directors appointed by the parties specified above to the Board of the ADB from acting as directors of ADB. The Order takes immediate effect. Following the Initial Public Offering (IPO) undertaken in respect of ADB in 2016, Belstar and Starmount directly acquired 24% and 11% respectively of issued shares in ADB. It has come to the notice of the Bank of Ghana that Belstar and Starmount are affiliates, and unknown to the Bank of Ghana, they entered into agreements with SIC-FSL and EDC to acquire additional shares in ADB in its IPO. These agreements, in addition to the direct acquisitions by Belstar and Starmount resulted in a direct and indirect holding by these companies of over 50% of the shares of ADB without the knowledge and approval of the Bank of Ghana and in breach of section 49 of the Banks and Specialised Deposit-Taking Institutions Act, 2016 (Act 930). It has also come to the notice of the Bank of Ghana that the shares acquired by Belstar and Starmount were acquired with funds obtained from uniBank Ghana Limited (currently in official administration) using emergency liquidity support obtained by uniBank Ghana Limited from the Bank of Ghana in questionable circumstances. However, the liquidity funds obtained by uniBank were improperly and unlawfully on-lent to Belstar and Starmount to acquire shares (including shares held by the Financial Investment Trust on behalf of the Bank of Ghana) in ADB’s IPO. Belstar and Starmount have participated in a series of other questionable, unsafe, and unsound related party transactions involving uniBank Ghana Limited to the detriment of Ghana’s financial system and for their financial gain and benefit. The Bank of Ghana considers that Belstar and Starmount are not fit and proper persons and cannot permit them to continue to hold shares acquired directly or indirectly in ADB. The request for emergency liquidity support from the Bank of Ghana by uniBank, loans from uniBank to Belstar and Starmount, the loan from Belstar to SIC-FSL, provision of funds to, and the engagement of EDC by Starmount as purchaser and trustee of shares, are inextricably linked and manifest a calculated intention by these entities to act in concert to acquire a majority shareholding in ADB using EDC and SIC-FSL without the knowledge and approval of the Bank of Ghana. The Bank of Ghana, therefore in the exercise of its powers pursuant under sections 49 and 55 of Act 930, has with immediate effect annuled the acquisition by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL, and EDC of all shares held by them in the ADB and all transactions undertaken in respect of these shares. The exercise of any of the voting rights or any rights issue in respect of the shares by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL, and EDC and the payment of any dividends in respect of these shares are also prohibited. All shares acquired by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC in ADB which were previously held by the Financial Investment Trust are to be immediately restored to the Financial Investment Trust until further notice. All directors appointed by Belstar, Starmount, SIC-FSL and EDC to the ADB Board are to cease holding themselves out as directors of ADB with immediate effect.
Jul 21, 2018
Parliament has approved an amount of €47 million to finance expansion works at the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC). The credit facility credit facility of €40.6 million is between the government and Bank Hapoalim B.M., while the commercial facility of €6.5 million is also between the government and Bank Hapoalim B.M. The Finance Committee of Parliament recommended the approval after which a presentation was made before the House. The Chairman for the Finance Committee, Dr Mark Assibey-Yeboah, told the House that, the facilities were to fund the phase two of the UGMC project, which included the provision of strategic income generating services for short, medium and long-term sustainability of the hospital. "The credit facilities for phase two are both critical and complementary in mobilising additional resources to address the critical gaps in the operations and sustainability of the UGMC and for the completion of the UGMC project", he said. The credit facility of €40.6 million has a commitment fee of 0.60 per cent per annum, arrangement fee of 0.8 per cent flat of facility, two years grace period and 10 years repayment period. The commercial facility of €6.5 million has a commitment fee of 0.6 per cent per annum , arrangement fee of 0.8 per cent flat of facility amount, one year grace period and four years repayment period. The hospital, said to be the first of its kind in West Africa, is a 650-bed facility built at a cost of $217 million raised through loans from Israel. It was one of the last projects commissioned by President John Mahama on January, 4, 2017 during the dying days of his administration.
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