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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has alleged that, contracts were inflated under former President John Dramani Mahama.   Addressing the media at the second in series of media encounter, the president said investigations by his administration has uncovered that some of the contracts were inflated while others were nonexistent.   He said his administration has paid some GHC1.6billion to contractors last year to contractors.   “I am being urged to pay contractors, I am paying them. Last year some GHC1.6 billion was paid to them. This year too, payments have started and we will pay them. We have found out some of the contracts were inflated while others were not existent,” he said. Touching on economy, he said he has been able to stabilize the economy.   “Government issued 7 and 10 year cedi denominated bonds and have helped improve the liquidity of banks and the balance sheets of SOEs in the energy sector. Efficient management will always yield positive results”.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said he was unhappy at the demise of the late Alhaji Bature.   Alhaji Bature, a journalist with many years of experience and a member of the opposition National Democratic Congress died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital a week ago after a short illness on January 5, 2018.     He was buried in accordance with Islamic beliefs a day after his demise. President Akufo-Addo in his opening at the second media encounter today [Wednesday], described the late journalist as a good opponent.   ‘’Alhaji Bature was a good opponent and it is a pity that he is no longer here to keep me and everything we are doing on our toes,’’ he said.         Alhaji Bature was the Managing Editor of the Al-Hajj Newspaper.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has reacted to the over 84,000 persons who expressed interest in joining the Immigration Service although vacancies for prospective applicants were only 500.   Public Relations Officer for the GIS, Superintendent Michael Amoako-Atta, justified why the security agency sold the number of vouchers it did.   He said the sale of e-vouchers to some 84,637 prospective applicants who applied to join the Ghana Immigration Service will cater for the cost of recruitment.     The president in his opening remark at the second edition of his media encounter today [Wednesday], described the situation as a ‘’sad scene’’.   He said, ‘’young people got up at dawn to form long queues in stadiums, in parts of the country in the hope of getting a job with the GIS. The president said similar scenarios are being played out at different sectors of the economy including the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) which recently advertised for vacancies for over 20,000 applicants but saw over 50,000 responding to the call. He also made a reference to the recruitment exercise conducted by the Ghana Armed Forces with only 1,000 applicants t considered out of over the 26,000 that applied.   According to Nana Addo, the police service tells a similar story because some 150,000 applicants applied whereas only 2,000 got opportunity to join the service.   He said, the story of unemployment has been a tragic one for Ghana for far too long. To banish the specter of desperation, and restore hope to our youth, we needed to do things differently, he noted.      ‘’The recent recruitment exercise in the Ghana Armed Forces went along similar lines. Some twenty six thousand, and thirty two (26,032) young people applied to be enlisted into the Other Ranks; twenty one thousand, and seventy three (21,073) of them qualified, and were shortlisted. The number to be taken to start training later this month is one thousand, eight hundred (1,800). The Police Service recruitment exercise tells a similar story. Some one hundred and fifty eight thousand, seven hundred and thirty four (158,734) young people applied, and seventy nine thousand, nine hundred and nine (79,909) of them met the requirements, and financial clearance has been given for two thousand (2,000) of them to be taken into the service. Once I started looking, I found similar stories all around. The grim story of youth unemployment has been a tragic part of our lives for far too long. When I became President, therefore, I knew my work was cut out. We had to do things differently, if we were going to banish the spectre of desperation, and restore hope to our youth,’’ he said.
A moment of silence was held in honour of some three departed journalists at President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s media encounter today [Wednesday].   Before introducing the president to engage the media present, Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid said, the president requested that, a moment of silence was held in honour of the late Kwadwo Asare Baffour Acheampong (KABA) of Asempa FM, Alhaji Bature, the Editor-In-Chief of the AL Hajj News Paper and Mohammed Ashley Yakubu.   A moment of silence is a period of silent contemplation, prayer, reflection, or meditation. Similar to flying a flag at half-mast, a moment of silence is often a gesture of respect, particularly in mourning for those who have died recently or as part of a tragic historical event.   The media encounter is the second in series after the one held in July 2017. The media are expected to ‘grill’ the president on security, job creation, agriculture, the cash—for-seat saga among other issues.      
The Editor-In-Chief of The Inquisitor newspaper, Godfred Opare Djan has posited that, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is in tatters.   He was reacting to a publication in the Wednesday’s edition of the paper which slammed national executives of the party for failing to monitor the ongoing registration exercise.   He told Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm that, the current executives have outlived their relevance and must be cleared by the delegates of the party.   The reorganization of the party is very important but the current executives are not playing their roles as desired.   He said the apathy on the side of the executives of the NDC was due to the lack of  monetary motivation.   ‘’The party executives are living on borrowed time. It is time for them to be cleared. They must go. They are of no relevance to the reorganization of the party,’’ he noted.   He said the party could have used the registration exercise to galvanize the grassroots of the party after  suffering the defat in 2016.     He said, instead of the executives to go round and monitor the registration, they are in Accra doing their own thing. They are sleeping and rather going on radio and television to talk and criticize the current NPP government. It is good to criticize the NPP but aside that, what you are doing within your own party?’’
  Private legal practitioner, lawyer Maurice Ampaw, has taken a swipe at those attacking the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for storming the premises of the Electoral Commission (EC) to forcefully eject Georgina Opoku Amankwah who had resumed work despite being asked to proceed on leave some seven months ago.   EOCO has been lambasted for the ‘rambo style’ approach they used on Monday to eject the Deputy Chair. New Patriotic Party’s (NPPs) Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong described EOCO as a ‘’bogus and unfair’’ institution for trying to hound the Deputy EC chair.   The Minority in Parliament is calling for the head of EOCO’s Director, ACP K.K. Amoah. They accused Nana Addo of using EOCO to hound the woman and has since charged him to sack the director if he [President] is not involved.   But lawyer Ampaw, in an interview with Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm slammed Madam Opoku Amankwah.   He chided her for resuming work when EOCO was still conducting investigations into the alleged misappropriation of the Endowment Fund.   He explained, for the purpose of equity, Madam Amankwah should have exercised patience and allow EOCO to complete their probe.   He said lawyer for the embattled officer should have raised constitutional issues regarding the directive and sought counsel form the A-G and further go the Supreme Court for interpretation.   ‘’Is that how a lawyer [Like Opoku Amankwah] behaves? Does she understand due process? Is that how we behave in a civilized society? She disrespected EOCO and set a bad precedence which may influence others to misbehave towards EOCO, lawyer Ampaw added.  The action of Amankwah promotes indiscipline and could be best described as vigilantism.  ‘’I support EOCO 100 percent. And so those attacking EOCO have no moral right to condemn EOCO,’’ he said. He also slammed Kennedy Agyapong for describing EOCO as bogus adding, ‘’tell him [Agyapong] that he should not talk by heart.’’        
The Minority in Parliament has called on President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to sack the Director for the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for storming the office of Georgina Opoku Amankwah, Deputy EC Chair in charge of Corporate Affairs to forcefully eject her.   Spokesperson for the Minority, Alhaji A B A Fuseini alleged that, EOCO is hounding Madam Amankwah to give way for government to replace her with a member of the New Patriotic Party.   He wondered why EOCO will send armed police men to the woman’s office and further quizzed if the police was embarking on a war. According to him, it was a wanton violation of our laws and we expected that, 48 hours after the incident, the president should have acted by making heads roll.   ‘’If they don’t do anything about it, it will send a signal out there that they sent EOCO to hound the woman.’’   There was   stand-off at the premises of the EC on Monday after officials from EOCO led by their Director; ACP K.K. Amoah, stormed the premises of the EC after picking intelligence that Madam Amankwah, who had been asked to proceed on leave for investigations into the EC’s Endowment Fund to  take place, had defied their directive and had returned to her office.     The embattled Deputy EC chair was later asked to stay at home for 14 more days to allow investigations into the saga to  be completed.   But Alhaji Fuseini insists EOCO did what they did following an express order from government and to disassociate itself from the saga, we entreat the president to act.   He further described as childish and amateurish for anyone to raise an argument that, Georgina Opoku Amankwah would tamper with evidence.   ‘’It will be childish and amateurish for anybody to raise these kind of issues…Madam Opoku Amankwah has  been on leave for almost seven months. Are you telling me that, seven months was not enough for EOCO to have peruse any document from her office?  So that makes nonsense of that claim.’’ He also questioned the legal basis upon which EOCO carried out the illegal act and charged Ghanaians to speak against it because our democracy is under jeopardy.   The Minority had earlier issued a statement to express their disappointment over the action describing it as capricious, untenable and unjustifiable. Portions of the statement read: “We find it untenable, indeed, completely unjustifiable, that under the guise of conducting investigations into matters such as an endowment fund for EC workers, a massive force such as assembled, could be used against an innocent law abiding official of a body insulated against Executive interference or control.” “This is especially the case, given the fact that, this is a matter that EOCO has been probing for about seven months, a period during which the Deputy Commissioner had been prevailed upon to proceed on leave. This is not to mention the serious doubts raised regarding the jurisdiction of EOCO in dealing with this matter. It therefore appears to us in the minority from these and other factors that EOCO’s actions are nothing more than a desperate attempt to hound the Deputy Commissioner out of office,” the statement added.      
Ghana has discovered a new mineral, Lithium in commercial quantities, Chief Executive of Minerals Commission, Kwaku Addai Antwi-Boasiako has said.   The discovery of the minerals which is among 10 most expensive in the world was discovered in the Volta region.   Confirming the discovery on Accra based Citi Fm, he said “The mining activities will start but we want to attract investments into the Volta Region, that is where we have the Lithium and all these rare minerals. These are the minerals of the future. Lithium is about green energy and renewable energy. So if you have lithium and all these rare minerals in the Volta Region, you will want to expand the base of mineral production. The presence of these minerals is as important as having the money to mine them… for now, we know we have it.’’     According to him, the Commission was making efforts to ensure that the discovery sites are not encroached upon by illegal miners.     The commission he noted will follow due procedures before it considers issuance of licenses to companies to mine the mineral in the country, noting that it will primarily consider electronic applications from interested investors to avoid issues of corruption.
ETC Polska in collaboration with the Social Security and Innsurance Trust (SSNIT), have presented boxing equipment worth thousands of dollars to the Ghana Boxing Authority (GBA) and the Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation at an impressive ceremony at the Bukom Boxing Arena. Board Chair of ETC Polska, Madam Joyce Owureku Ampem Opoku said the brain behind the donation, was to help develop boxing in Ghana. She added that her outfit’s aim is to help the sport so that the country can produce and get more world champions. The GBA president Peter Zwennes received the items on behalf of the association. Lawyer Zwennes said, “We are lost for words about the gesture, we made contact for help but I never anticipated this magnitude of donation.” Other bodies that benefited are Catch Them Young (CTY) group, Ghana Boxing Federation and United Boxing Coaches Association of Ghana. The brand new Boxing assorted items included boxing rings, punching bags, speed balls, medicine balls, gloves, bandage scissors, boxing ring tools, original head gear, rope shackles, corner post protectors, mouth guard, hand wraps, abdominal guards etc. President of the Ghana Amateur Boxing Federation, (GABF) George Lamptey said the gesture has motivated the Black Bombers who are intensifying their training with a move to Cape Coast to keep them well composed and away from the pressure in Accra. Jacek Slotala and Wikior Stauinski of ETC Polska said they knew what Ghanaian boxers can do that is why they are supporting the sport on a long term basis.   They urged the Black Bombers to go and shine at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Rashid Believer of the United Coaches said the donation came at the right time when boxing has resurged and prayed that more will come as the gyms in Accra and the regions are expanding. Nii Kpakpo Allotey Cofie, a member of the GBA Committees and lover of juvenile boxing noted that, the future looks brighter for Ghana Boxing.   He appealed to other corporate entities to contribute to the sport as it offers more entertainment than football. Nat Attoh, also a member of the GBA Sponsorship Committee noted that boxing has done much for Ghana Sports and so the game should be well developed and promoted to attract big sponsorships.   By: Naa Darkuah Dodoo
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