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Apr 25, 2018
A tax expert, Mr. Cudjoe Akpabey, has stated that the report that indicted the former Director-General of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Ernest Thompson and three top management members of the pension fund for their alleged roles in the failed IT project – Operational Business Suite (OBS) initiative of the Trust is confusing and incomplete. The report covered operations of SSNIT for the period ended 31st December, 2016 and the three-month period ending 31st March, 2017. Michael Asiedu, lead partner in the PwC assessment, said his team did not speak to any of the indicted persons. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report also indicted the previous board of SSNIT headed by Joshua Alabi, an NDC presidential hopeful. It was reported that on December 9, last year, Mr Ernest Thompson allegedly ordered the payment of $9 million to Perfect Business Systems after the NDC had lost the elections in 2016 and was on its way out of power. SSNIT allegedly agreed to pay $4 per card that was to be issued to pensioners in the contract but the amount increased miraculously to $7 per card and the Trust ended up paying the private company $7.1 million for one million cards. Reacting to the report, the tax expert in an interview with Kwame Tutu, said the fact of the matter is that, the media is getting everything wrong because if PwC was to conduct an audit review, then that was different from forensic audit. In his view, the investigation should be premised on forensic audit with technical people including IT professionals among others appointed to do it. Mr. Akpabey said, ‘’I expect the media to be on top of the issues…The media must be clear because when I heard PwC did an exercise and called for further investigation, it means the work wasn’t conclusive… So this thing must be clarified because I am at a lost over what is happening in the media.’’ He quizzed if we are dealing with the EOCO or PwC report adding, if we are dealing with the EOCO report, then it has gone to the Attorney General and so the media must collaborate with the A-G and get the report. He also explained to the host that he is aware EOCO has conducted an investigation into the matter and was wondering what PwC did. He wondered why SSNIT held a press conference when they did no job. He emphasized that the finding is inaccurate when the persons indicted were not given as opportunity to respond to the issues raised in the report. ‘’It will be strange to me if the accounting firm did not talk to them [indicted persons…This country we are lackadaisical. That is what we do. We have to be fair,’’ he said. Mr. Akpabey said, the finding may not stand the text of time in a court because of how the issues have been handled and further slammed the media for twisting the fact and confusing the general public. He asked for thorough work to be conducted so the reputation of people is not damaged.
Apr 25, 2018
Two mobile money agents have been shot dead by suspected armed robbers at Pelungu market in the Upper East region. Nyankonton Mu Nsem’s Issah Anthony, reporting the incident on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, the incident occurred today [Friday] afternoon at 12:15pm. The two agents he noted have been confirmed dead. Issah Anthony revealed that, the robbers numbering about 4 and ridding two motorbikes robbed the first Allied Bank, an electrical shops before robbing the mobile agents. He also reported that the allege robbers are suspected to be Fulani herdsmen. Issah Anthony, indicated that the robbers shot the agents because they realized they [agents] could have caused their arrest because they knew where the herdsmen rear their cattle. The police have since moved to the said location where the suspects are said to reside. Meanwhile, the amount the robbers bolted away with is unknown.
Apr 25, 2018
The General Overseer of the Alabaster International Ministry, Prophet Dr. Kofi Oduro, has posited that, countries that legalizes same sex do so because of the financial benefits attached to it. The prophet in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm said, homosexuality is ungodly and an act that has serious medical implications. He was reacting to comments made by Theresa May, the UK Prime Minister that, her country will help Ghana decriminalize same sex relationship. The UK Prime at the ongoing Commonwealth nations head of states meeting said, the UK should be blamed for criminalizing same sex relationship in colonized states. Her comments received wide spread contamination from the public. Reacting to the issue, the prophet said politicians give audience to such demands because they get financial benefits. ‘’Homosexuality is a detestable act. God frowns on homosexuality. Politicians do not speak the truth and homosexuality comes with a lot of money to any nation that accepts it. They [politicians] should tell me it is a lie. The reason why our politicians will give audience is the revenue that is attached to it,’’ he said. He alleged that South Africa and some nations received billions of dollars after decriminalizing same sex relationship but has cautioned Ghana not to legalize homosexuality otherwise the wrath of God will come upon us. Meanwhile, Information Minister, Dr. Mustapha Hamid, has described homosexuality as un-Ghanaian and against the cultural and religious beliefs. He said at a press conference on Thursday that, no foreign nation can impose on Ghana the need to legalize homosexuality. Dr. Mustapha Hamid, said ‘’we are uniquely Ghanaian…The law is based on custom and tradition…So the custom of the land is what factions law. So people or the law cannot be divorced from the cultures and traditions of the people. So as far as our cultures and traditions are concerned, gayism and lesbianism are un-Ghanaian.’’ He went on to add: ‘’it is difficult to see how foreign interests can impose foreign cultures on us…It is a non issue. The issues of bread and butter which is what I have been responding to, are more critical. The issue of poverty and how we can eradicate it are the matters that concerns developing nations today. If they’ve gone past the kind of poverty that we have and therefore can afford to talk about other issues, that is fine with them. But for us, we [Ghana] want to stick with the bread and butter issues.’’
Apr 25, 2018
The United Kingdom (UK) has increased its export finance cover available to Ghana from £125 million to £500 million. The offer is intended to, among other things, support new Ghanaian businesses that want to partner with the UK. The UK Minister of State for Africa, Ms Harriet Baldwin, who announced this at the UK-Ghana Investment Summit in London, said the move was also to spur the plans of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for industrialisation, infrastructure development and value addition to important sectors that drove the economy. Ms Baldwin also announced a new partnership between the Bank of England and the Bank of Ghana, saying that stronger technical assistance between the two financial entities would help Ghana and its companies raise local currency bonds abroad. UK investors visit Ghana “In February this year, the Department for International Trade brought 18 of the UK’s top infrastructure companies for a week-long trade mission and business forum to better understand Ghana’s infrastructure needs. “Last week, the Scottish Development International also came to Accra with an 18 strong oil and gas trade mission. But in all these, finance is crucial and that is an area where the UK can deliver,” she said. Describing London as the meeting place for the world’s global investors and global investment opportunities, Ms Baldwin said: “The London Stock Exchange had, in the last decade, raised $10 trillion and also has $15 trillion in assets under management.” The British government, she explained, was, therefore committed to having a trade relationship with its African partners that were as good as those it already had, if not better. She said the bilateral trade between the UK and Ghana was £1.4 billion in 2016, representing a 26 per cent increase over the previous year’s figure. “Today, we are hosted by the UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce, which has 95 members, 60 of whom are UK-based, with many investing in Ghana for years. “Nurturing these business relations and increasing bilateral trade will help provide more jobs because it is increased trade that will help provide the revenue and support for infrastructure improvement and education, so that Ghana has a workforce that can truly meet the workforce of the future,” she added. Economic development On economic development, Ms Baldwin said the UK was seeking long-term partnerships to deliver economic development and create opportunities for everyone. To that end, she said: “The UK is shifting the focus of our support, in line with President Nana Akufo-Addo’s vision, away from large-scale resource transfers in health and education and towards targeted technical assistance which will support economic development, diversification and the creation of decent jobs and livelihoods. “It will support domestic resource mobilisation and tax reforms in a partnership between the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the UK Customs to enhance Ghana’s ability to self-finance and secure exit from poverty.” Alluding to the fact that 57 per cent of Ghanaians were under the age of 25, Ms Baldwin said that young population would not only be a huge opportunity for the country in its development efforts but also present real policy challenges, since young people needed education and jobs to secure their future. She, therefore, gave an assurance that the UK would work on governance of the social sectors to safeguard the considerable gains made to date. “Building on work that has already helped to shape the business environment, develop oil and gas and support small and medium-size businesses and a new strategic partnership will deliver mutual benefit for the UK and Ghana. “With the refocusing of UK aid and greater engagement with the private sector, a new UK aid of allowing the final stages of design will stimulate that private investment and create thousands of jobs for Ghanaians by increasing private investments into key industries working with British, Ghanaian and global businesses,” Ms Baldwin said. Source: Daily Graphic
Apr 25, 2018
The president of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo has claimed the Queen is “winding down” her Commonwealth duties hours after she said it was her “sincere wish” the Prince of Wales succeeded her as the institution’s head. Akufo-Addo’s comment was made as he proposed a toast in honour of the Queen during a Buckingham Palace banquet that followed the opening of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). During the opening ceremony, the Queen launched the two-day summit but also lobbied the prime ministers and presidents from the Commonwealth’s member states to choose Charles as their next head in future years. Ghana’s president told the dinner guests, who included world leaders, Theresa May, Charles, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry: “We’ve been made to understand she’ll be winding down her duties as head of the Commonwealth. “My toast thus takes on an added significance, for it falls upon me to express the depth of our collective regret that she will no longer automatically be present at our proceedings.” “The organisation will undoubtedly be the poorer for it… we shall miss her inspiring presence, her calm.” It is not thought the Queen is planning to relinquish her involvement with the family of nations, an important institution that she famously pledged to serve, when aged 21 in 1947, for the rest of her life. But it has been widely assumed that the Queen, who celebrates her 92nd birthday on Saturday, is probably presiding over her last CHOGM in person as she has not taken a long-haul flight for a number of years and the venue for the biennial summit moves around the globe, with the UK only hosting it three times in the last 32 years. Buckingham Palace has emphasised during CHOGM week how the Queen is as active as ever in Commonwealth projects and its people. The monarch also recently appeared in a television documentary with Sir David Attenborough, promoting the forest conservation project known as the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy. Earlier during the CHOGM opening ceremony, the Queen publicly endorsed Charles as the next head of the Commonwealth. She told the 46 heads of government – and six foreign ministers – gathered at the palace: “It is my sincere wish that the Commonwealth will continue to offer stability and continuity for future generations, and will decide that one day the Prince of Wales should carry on the important work started by my father in 1949.” The Queen has been head of the Commonwealth since coming to the throne in 1952, but the position is not automatically held by the British monarch. Speaking about her wishes is likely to end years of speculation about who will take over as head of the institution her father King George VI first led in the aftermath of the Second World War. The leaders are due to discuss the issue of Commonwealth succession on Friday at their retreat at Windsor Castle, which will also see leaders debate topics ranging from a blue charter on ocean conservation to cybersecurity and trade. The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “The Government supports the Prince of Wales as the next head of the Commonwealth.” Mrs May’s spokesman added. “He has been a proud supporter of the Commonwealth for more than four decades and has spoken passionately about the organisation’s unique diversity.” Source: www.heraldscotland.com
Apr 25, 2018
Former Public Relations Officer (PRO) under the previous Mahama led administration, Tony Goodman, has said the University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) cannot depend on the generators at the facility to operate but a sub-station. He told Kwame Tutu in an interview that consultants for the project, suggested for a sub-station be stationed at the facility due to the equipment at the centre. The power supply at the centre he noted is not stable and should the facility depend on that, it will cause power fluctuations which will in turn damage the state of the art equipment. The $217 million facility is was funded with a loan facility from Israel, with counterpart funding by the Ghana government. The UGMC is a quaternary level health facility with sub-specialist units in various departments. It is a art medical facility, built to provide medical care to people in Ghana and the West African Sub-region. The Minister of Health, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, at a pres conference recently stated that, 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. Mr. Agyemang Manu said there was a need to ensure that all parts of the facility were ready before full-scale operations could begin. “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. He also emphatically disregarded claims, particularly from officials of the previous government that the Medical Center is ready for work to begin there. But reacting to the issues, Tony Goodman said we cannot wait till the entire project is completed before using it rather we should start running the completed one so we can identify the challenges and resolve them as they arise. The Minister also announced at the presser that government has allocated an amount of $50 million of the second phase. The project is expected to have a phase two to add 350 beds to the facility. The second phase will provide specialist facilities, including heart and cancer treatment and rehabilitation centres and a hostel for families of patients.
Apr 25, 2018
President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV, has called on Ghanaians to avoid putting tribal sentiments into the creation of new regions in the country. He underscored the need for Ghanaians to support the creation of the new regions s because the two major political parties in the country have supported the creation. The traditional ruler said, it is therefore important for the people, especially those in the affected areas, to avoid an attempt to introduce tribal and ethnic sentiments into the processes and rather, come out with vital information to assist the success of the exercise. He added that when the Minister for Regional Reorganization and Development (RRD), together with the members of the Commission of Enquiry into the creation of new regions, briefed the House on how far they had gone on the processes to create the new regions. The Commission of Inquiry into the Creation of New Regions commenced work after its inauguration by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo, on 19th October 2017. The Commission was tasked to establish whether there was a need and substantial demand for the creation of the new regions, based on petitions received by the President, and advice from the Council of State as required by Article 5 of the 1992 Constitution.
Apr 25, 2018
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has cut short his attendance at the Commonwealth summit in London to deal with violent protests at home. Clashes have taken place in North West province where protesters are demanding jobs, housing and an end to corruption. Shops have been looted, roads barricaded and vehicles set alight. President Ramaphosa, who took office in February, has sought to encourage investment in South Africa during his visit to the UK. Protests in South Africa's North West province erupted on Wednesday as demonstrators demanded the resignation of provincial Premier Supra Mahumapelo - a member of Mr Ramaphosa's governing African National Congress (ANC). Mr Ramaphosa is scheduled to hold meetings with ANC leaders in the provincial capital Mahikeng on Friday, his office said. "To pay attention to the situation in the North West, the president has decided to cut short his participation in the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London where he is leading a government delegation," a statement said. Mahikeng has been at the centre of the latest disturbances - dubbed "service delivery protests" - and streets were reported to be deserted on Thursday after bouts of looting and clashes with police. Mr Ramaphosa has called for calm and ordered police to exercise restraint. South African media said officers used tear gas to disperse protesters who had set light to a bus, stoned vehicles and blocked roads with burning tyres. Nine people have been arrested since Wednesday, South Africa's Timeslive reported citing police spokesperson Adele Myburgh. The situation in South Africa's North West province is the worst unrest since Mr Ramaphosa took office in February. Protesters are demanding jobs and housing as well as an end to corruption. Mathole Motshekga, a member of the ANC's National Executive Committee, told the BBC that the protests were a "rude awakening" for the party's leadership. "They want President Ramaphosa to lead a clean government. He has inherited people they suspect of being corrupt," Mr Motshekga said. He added that the ANC's leadership needs "to deal with the people that are reasonably suspected to be corrupt within the ranks of the organisation." Mr Mahumapelo's office has denounced the protests as an attempt to discredit him. "[It is] an anti-Supra Mahumapelo political campaign which seeks to intimidate residents of Mahikeng‚" spokesman Brian Setswambung said, according to Timeslive. Neighbouring Botswana said it had closed exit points along its shared border with North West province. South Africa's faltering economy has been a priority for Mr Ramaphosa since he took over from former President Jacob Zuma. Growth had been weak and unemployment painfully high as Mr Zuma's leadership was dogged by years of corruption allegations. In a recent interview with Bloomberg in London, Mr Ramaphosa said he was seeking $100bn (£71bn) in investment to help kick-start the economy. He said his government was determined to tackle corruption. Source:BBC
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