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Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanten has expressed disgust at the probe being conducted into the cash-for-seat saga by Parliament’s five-member ad-hoc committee.   Appearing before the committee on Friday, the Minister who was infuriated at some comments by Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, said it  was outrageous to accuse anyone of wrongdoing.   “It is regrettable to be spending executive time to be discussing this,” declared Mr. Kyerematen in his response to a statement the Chairman of the Committee Ameyaw Kyeremeh has made allusion to. “I must say before I take leave of you that a matter of this nature has been elevated to a public controversy and has led to a parliamentary enquiry and I want it to be put on record that it is our hope that we go through this process by the grace of that no adverse finding is established,” he noted.   The Minister disputed claims that, the governing party used the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards (GEBA) to fleece participants.   In the view of the Minister, should the committee fail to find anything untoward, “it will be a matter of deep regret that we have had as a country to endure a controversy that has the potential of making very significant damage to our international reputation.” “If in the minds of the international public it is indeed the case that the government of Ghana is extorting monies from expatriates who have invested their monies in this country, do we not believe the impact that it would have on Ghana’s capacity to mobilize investments into this country?” he quizzed.   According to the audited account for the event, GH¢2, 667, 215, 00 was raised against an expenditure of GH¢2, 367, 426, 06 per a statement from the Ministry.   The Minister said the probe conducted by the presidency was ‘’’thorough’’ hence it is waste of state resources to probe the matter again.   “The [presidency’s] investigation was thorough.”   “I was written to and this was made public knowledge and I responded and after the response an official statement was issued by the Minister of Information. So I have no reason [but] to believe that it was a thorough investigation,” he added.
The Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA) has released the top 20 most played songs on radio for the year 2017. The list according MUSIGA, was based on statistical data collected from 80 percent of radio stations across Ghana. Ebony’s ‘Sponsor’ was adjudged the number one most played song on radio in Ghana for the year 2017. The announcement was made by the president of MUSIGA at a press soiree in Accra on 12th January, 2018. Self acclaimed Dancehall King; Shatta Wale’s ‘Forgetii’, ‘Taking Over’ and ‘Ayoo’, took the 20th,  6th and 14th positions respectively   At the 19th position was MzVee with her ‘Sing My Name’ which featured Nigeria’s Patoranking.   Sensational Becca took the 18th spot with ‘Na Wash’ also featuring Patoranking. At number 17 was Sarkodie’s – ‘Pain Killer’ featuring Runtown. Stonebwoy’s ‘Come From Far’ took the position for the 16th most played song on radio in Ghana.   The president of MUSIGA said no gospel music could make it on the list but they will create another separate list from next year.           Below is the full List: 1. Ebony – Sponsor 2. Wutah – Bronya 3. Kidi – Odo 4. Magnom – My Baby feat. Joey B 5. Kuami Eugene – Angela 6. Shatta Wale – Taking Over 7. King Promise – Oh Yeah 8. Patapaa – One Corner 9. Fancy Gadam- Total Cheat ft Sarkodie 10. Samini – My Own 11. Stonebwoy – My Name 12. Kidi – Say You Love Me 13. Captain Planet – Obi Agyi Obi Girl ft Kofi Kinaata  14. Shatta Wale – Ayoo  15. Kurl Songx – Jennifer Lomotey -ft Sarkodie 16. Stonebwoy – Come From Far 17. Sarkodie – Pain Killer ft Runtown 18. Becca – Na Wash ft Patoranking 19. MzVee – My Name 20. Shatta Wale – Forgetii ft Millitants & Pope Skinny
The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has described the decision by the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, to appoint the 2nd President of the 4th Republic, John Agyekum Kufuor, as its first Chancellor, as well-deserved. According to President Akufo-Addo, it is entirely appropriate that the former President, who was responsible for ensuring that the Western University College of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, through presidential assent on 12th November, 2004, becomes UMAT’s first Chancellor. President Akufo-Addo stressed that “it is a well-deserved honour, given in recognition of the immense work you did, during your time as President of the Republic, not only for UMaT, but also for Mother Ghana. Ayekoo. I commend the authorities of the University for this admirable gesture.” The President made this known on Friday, 12th January, 2017, at the Investiture of former President Kufuor as Chancellor of the University, at a ceremony held at the UMaT Auditorium. Applauding UMaT for the important role it is playing in producing industry-oriented graduates in engineering, together with its research findings, President Akufo-Addo stated that UMaT puts Ghana, a country rich in minerals and with a thousand (1,000) year history of mineral exploitation, in a strategic position to be a global leader in mining and its allied industries. He commended the University also for its contribution to the fight against galamsey through the training of four hundred (400) small scale miners, with an additional thousand (1,000) more set to be trained this year, and the manufacture of “Sika Bukyia”, a direct smelting kit for the recovery of gold without the use of mercury. Government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the President noted, intends to facilitate the manufacture and sale of ‘Sika Bukyia’ to all licensed small scale miners. With Government determined to exploit the country’s bauxite and iron ore deposits, with the Ghana Integrated Bauxite and Aluminum Development Authority set to spearhead this, President Akufo-Addo was delighted about the progress made in a novel technology being promoted by UMaT, which involves the use of plastic waste to upgrade bauxite ore to yield 90% alumina, as against the present grade of 40% to 45%. “As a result of this technology, the value of the ore will increase some tenfold. The research work being undertaken here is invaluable, and will assist greatly in our nation’s quest to transform our economy from a raw material producing and exporting one to a value-added, industrialised economy,” he indicated. It is for this reason that President Akufo-Addo congratulated the Vice Chancellor, the staff and team of administrators, for sticking to UMaT’s core mandate of engineering education, to complement efforts to advance the National Policy of achieving 60:40 student ratio for the Sciences as compared to the Humanities, through the promotion of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education. “I wish to assure you that the Akufo-Addo Government will insist that the process of equipping UMaT with the requisite logistics, involving the rehabilitation and equipping of existing laboratories, and the construction of new buildings, that is currently ongoing, will be systematically pursued, to enable it deliver effectively on its mandate of teaching, research and service to the community,” he said. The President continued, “I have been informed about the number of legacy projects on campus. The energetic Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has assured me that, through the Minerals Development Fund, these legacy projects will be completed soon in commemoration of today’s event.” With the Wassa Fiase Traditional Area donating 26 square kilometres of land to the University, for the construction of a 20,000 student capacity campus, President Akufo-Addo announced that “Government will give an annual special budgetary allocation of five million cedis (GH¢5 million) to the University for the realisation of the project.” UMaT renamed President Akufo-Addo congratulated the University Council of UMaT for its decision, in accordance with the Statutes of the University, to rename the institution after George Alfred Grant, the legendary Axim-born entrepreneur, ‘Paa Grant’. “It is a most excellent decision, which has received the agreement of the President of the Republic, so that, once the parliamentary process has been completed, this University will be called the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa,” he said. The President explained that it is wholly fitting that “this great, modest man, who can lay legitimate claim to being the father of modern Ghanaian nationalism, should be properly honoured by a grateful posterity, i.e. by us who are the heirs and beneficiaries of the freedom he so valiantly fought for, especially by citizens of his native Western Region.”  
The Northern Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has banned the riding of motorbikes in twos in troubled spots across the region. The affected areas are Bimbilla, the Nanumba North  District; Kafaba and Kalampor near Salaga in the East Gonja District; Binbagoi, Sayiogu, Sanbruk and Najon number 1 in the Bunkpurugu-Yunyon District where unidentified armed men riding in twos on motorbikes have shot and killed residents in these areas.   The Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Salifu Saeed, who is also the chairman of the REGSEC disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic. He said the ban follows the shooting incident in Bimbilla on Thursday which claimed the lives of three persons with seven others sustaining gunshots wounds who are on admission at the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) and the Bimbilla Government hospital respectively. According to him, all  the shooting incidents recorded in these areas across the region followed the same function with gunmen riding in twos on the motorbike opening fire on people gathered at a particular place. A similar shooting incident at Najong number 1 in the Bunkpurugu -Yunyon district in the latter part of 2017 which claimed the lives of four persons involved unidentified armed men riding in twos on two motorbikes who opened fire on some people at the market killing the four. No arrest has been made in all these shooting incidents recorded in the latter part of 2017  to date. However, the Northern Regional Minister, Mr. Saeed has assured that investigations are underway to apprehend the perpetrators of all these criminal acts including tlast Thursday's shooting incident at Bimbilla. He said the curfew hours in the Bimbilla township has been reviewed from 6am to 6pm.    Credit: GraphicOnline 
Former President John Agyekum Kufour has been  made Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa.   The ceremony organized today [Friday] was also used to rename the university after the late George Grant, the first President of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC).   The school is now called, the George Grant University of Mines and Technology.       The president in his speech said: “It is only fitting that this great modest man who can lay a legitimate claim of being the father of modern Ghanaian nationalist should be properly honoured by a grateful posterity by us who are heirs of the freedom he so violently fought for especially by the citizens of this great Western Region.” “I appreciate the special moment this will be for me, a descendant of all the myriad of persons who assembled at Saltpond under his president , the lost United Gold Coast Convention UGCC on that fateful Saturday 4th August 1947 when the power of Ghanaian freedom and independence was nominated to be the president who will have the privilege to assent to this decision,” he noted.     On his part, Chairman of the University’s Council, Dr. Stephen S. Yirenkyi, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to allocate funds to the school for the completion of legacy projects,  incompletion is impeding teaching and learning.       He added, “Today the University is seeing a new phase. The Chancellor has an enormous responsibility to make this University continue to stand tall and maintain its positions as the best public-funded University in Ghana. I am also optimistic that he will be given the needed support by the President and his government, Captains of the mining and the allied industries and rank and file of the university to make his work as the chancellor a pleasant one.”     Grant was born in 1878 in Beyin, Western Nzema, into an influential merchant family. He was the son of William Minneaux Grant and Madam Adjua (Dwowa) Biatwi of the Aboradze clan, and the grandson of Francis Chapman Grant, proprietor of the Gold Coast Times and treasurer of the Fanti Confederation. Grant was educated at Wesleyan School in Cape Coast and through private tuition given by Joseph D. Abraham, a wealthy merchant friend of his father's.[1] Grant was subsequently employed in the timber trade, first at Axim and then for five years in the Ivory Coast. In 1896, he established his own firm, George Grant and Company.[1] He prospered as a timber merchant, with a flourishing export business, at a time when the trade was dominated by European companies.     In 1926 he was appointed to the Legislative Council, representing Sekondi. Grant was also a member of the Aborigines’ Rights Protection Society and was instrumental in many development projects including introducing street lighting and pipe-borne water to Sekondi and Axim.
Private legal practitioner, Maurice Ampaw, has taken a swipe at the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) for describing as unconstitutional the office of the Special Prosecutor.   Lawyer Ampaw said the PPP’s argument was not premised on law.   National Chairman of the PPP, Nii Allotey Brew Hammond, told Kwame Tutu that, ‘’the Special Prosecutor’s Act is legal but unconstitutional, we don’t think it can fight corruption.’’   He said  Article 88(3) gives the Attorney-General the responsibility to initiate and conduct prosecution of criminal offences.   The article states specifically that “The Attorney-General shall be responsible for the initiation and conduct of all prosecutions of criminal offences. “ Based on the article the PPP is arguing strongly that, the provision needs to be amended so the power to prosecute is given to the Attorney-General.   But responding to the concerns raised by the PPP, lawyer Ampaw said, the arguments have no constitutional basis and if the bill on the Special Prosecutor was illegal, Parliament would not have passed it. He challenged those referring to the law as unconstitutional to file a case at the Supreme Court and challenge the illegality.     The Office of the Special Prosecutor has come to stay and so I will warn appointees of this government to deist engaging in any corrupt deals.     He said, there is no way Martin Amidu will lose a case in court, he said.
The Executive Director, Institute for Liberty & Policy Innovation (ILAPI- Ghana), Peter Bismark Kwofie, has opined that, the fight against ‘’white colored corruption’’ by the Special Prosecutor will not be an easy task.   The director of the Ghanaian based free market and policy Think Tank which emerged the winner of the 2017 Think Tank Shark Tank – Africa Competition held in Johannesburg in South Africa recently, called for the enactment of new laws to tame the canker of corruption.   According to him, about 70 percent (scientific) of alleged corruption announcements in Ghana are structurally organized.   In a write-up following the nomination of Martin Amidu as Special Prosecutor, Mr. Kwofie said, ‘’When laws fails, force is applied as in the case of fighting illegal mining (galamsey). Once laws are not perfect, there are always loopholes identified by those who made the laws and those applying the same laws in discharging their administrative duties. White colored corruption emanates from these same laws using unseen aperture of the legal frameworks.’’ He also stated in his write-up that, ‘’Even though the Special Prosecutor's office to eradicate the endless battle to perform legal surgery of removing the cancerous cells of corruption has been set up, it is bound to loose its credibility in 9 years from the day of starting the gross country race. Change of governments, change of the Special Prosecutor and the interest politicians clandestinely exhibit to it appointments may be no more a hot seat but a lobby one. Most good laws started well but not all good things ends well.’’     In his view, ‘’ The "Independent" Prosecutor really have the largest meal of corruption to consume with strong documentary evidences on the dining table.’’   He added: ‘’ The Economic and Organize Crime Office (EOCO) had the toughest time to investigate, control and with the mandate from the Attorney General prosecute those involved. EOCO failed us to prosecute. EOCO needed strong documentary evidences so it can make a good case to avoid causing further financial loss to the State. The absence of substantial evidences could render the fight on corruption a friendly one. But wait a minute, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of EOCO and his deputy are all appointed by the President and obviously may not be able to probe the sitting government. The one interesting fact about the Special prosecutor is that, even though the Attorney General makes recommendation to the nomination of the Independent Prosecutor, so the President can appoint, it does not account to any of the two offices (President and AG). This denote one uniqueness of that office. It therefore must be unique but must tread cautiously in the process of discharging it duties.’’     He stressed, ‘’ White colored or structural corruption is a cartel and the biggest threat to our democracy. Those who made the laws may be the same people to "steal" using the very Law. Be careful not to make your anti-corruption office a corruption friendly one.’’
A joint military and police team numbering about two hundred (200) commenced an operation today [Friday] in the Asante Akyem North and Sekyere Afram Plains districts of the Ashanti and Eastern regions in response to the recent attacks on residents and security personnel in the area by nomadic herdsmen.   A statement issued by the Information Ministry and signed by Deputy Minister, Curtis Perry Kwabla Okudzeto said, the objectives of the operation are to: ‘’pushback the herdsmen from new areas they have occupied; arrest perpetrators of recent acts of violence for prosecution and augment the efforts of operation cowleg, an ongoing security operation aimed at dealing with the activities of herdsmen in the area.''   The statement added, the join forces will also include the Air Force.   ‘’A programme to restrict and ranch cattle will commence upon completion of the operation, to provide a long-term solution to the challenges associated with unrestricted cattle rearing,’’ the statement concluded.
The Information Services Department (ISD) in the Northern region is poised to make every resident within the northern region be acquainted with the 2018 budget statement and government’s laid out economic policies.    According to the ISD it will also do its best by explaining and disseminating the financial statement into simple local language in the northern region for the easy understanding of the people.   In this regard, the Department has launched a 10-day information broadcasting campaign with the view to expose the public to the provisions in the budget as presented to Parliament last year by the Finance Minister, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta.   The launch which was held on 9th January, 2018 at the Northern regional coordinating council, brought together stakeholder including the  district information officers, commentators, the media, the northern regional budget officer among others.         The Northern Regional Information Officer, Mr. George Akanlo said the exercise would equip the public with the right knowledge on the budget to enable them keep an eye on revenue mobilization, utilization and reporting.   He said, the campaign would also enable them monitor the extent of revelation of all relevant public fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner while creating room for civil society organizations to carry out independent budget analysis and share their findings and concerns with government and the public at large.   Mr. George pronounced that “the campaign would help in highlighting the limitations of government budgets with regard to key sectors or issues in the society; enhance easy detection of bottlenecks, inefficiencies and corruption in the transfer and procurement of public goods and resources to reduce corruption and wastage” The regional information officer however called on everyone especially the media, to help in the campaign in other to achieve the set objective.       By: Prince Kwame Tutu
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