History: Minority votes down gov’t’s attempt to take $1bn loan but...

History was made today when the Minority in Parliament won a vote to stop government from taking another one billion dollar Eurobond.

A motion by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, asking for parliamentary approval to borrow more lost by one vote.

67 Members of Parliament (MPs) voted against the motion, whilst 66 voted in favour.

A head count to establish the number of legislators voting in favour or against approval of the Eurobond became necessary after a voice vote proved impossible to determine whether the motion had been approved or not.

However in a dramatic turn, the Ebo Barton-Odro, First Deputy Speaker, announced that the number of Parliamentarians present in the House, i.e. 123, does not constitute a qurorum.

The House needs at least half of the total of 275 MPs to make a vote on a matter legitimate.

"It has been an exercise in futility," Ebo Barton-Odro said.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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22/Dec/2015

EC to allow manual voter verification in 2016 election

The Electoral Commission has agreed to allow manual voter verification during the 2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

This will be done for voters whose particulars appear in the voters register but may be rejected by the biometric verification machines.

The biometric voter verification will still be used during the polls.

This decision was taken at the just ended Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) on Tuesday.

It was also agreed at the meeting that 29,000 instead of 30,000 polling stations will be used during the elections due to budget constraints.

Source: myjoyonline.com

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22/Dec/2015

Nigeria raises borrowing in budget as oil prices fall

Nigeria's president has announced plans to raise spending by 20% next year by borrowing heavily amid falling oil prices

In his first budget since his election victory in March, Muhammadu Buhari said he would spend $31bn (£20.8bn) in 2016 on infrastructure and the economy.

However, Nigeria has been hard hit by the falling price of oil.

Petroleum exports make up 90% of total overseas revenue, according to the Opec oil cartel.

The country's budget deficit is expected to double to 2.2 trillion naira ($11bn, £7.4bn) next year and Buhari said the government would seek funding overseas of 900bn naira as well as 984bn naira domestically.

Oil prices have fallen from about $55 a barrel since the beginning of the year to around $36-$37 and Mr Buhari said that of the 3.9 trillion naira revenue forecast for 2016, just 820bn will come from crude.

Mr Buhari said: "This huge decline is having a painful effect on our economy. Consumption has declined at all levels. In both the private and public sectors, employers have struggled to meet their salary and other employee related obligations."

The president pledged to improve tax collection and invest in other industries including mining and agriculture. "The Nigerian economy needs to move away from dependency on oil," he said.

Nigeria's unemployment rate is growing, up from 8.2% in the second quarter to 9.9% between July and September according to official figures. Inflation is also rising, hitting 9.4% in September, on fuel shortages and higher food prices.

However, Mr Buhari said he expected Nigeria's economy to grow by 4.4% next year.

"The 2016 budget, as outlined, is designed to ensure that we revive our economy, deliver inclusive growth to Nigerians and create a significant number of jobs," he said.

Source: bbc.com

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22/Dec/2015

Greed? NPP’s Carlos Ahenkorah sued over Tema West primary

Five months after his election, the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) parliamentary candidate for the Tema West constituency, Carlos Ahenkorah has been sued by some disgruntled members of the party.

The members; Nana Yaw Ntim and Christian Joseph want a re-run of the election in the Tema West Constituency.
They argue that the NPP’s National Executive Committee (NEC), prior to the poll, directed that Ga-Adangme constituencies should be contested by only indigenous residents, hence for a non-indigene to be elected in Tema West is in contravention of the party’s decision.

The complainants are praying the court to declare Mr. Ahenkorah’s election “null, void and of no effect.”

They also want the court to order the NPP to re-run the primary in the area.

The NPP has been joined to the lawsuit.

Carlos Ahenkorah who contested the incumbent MP, Naa Torshie Addo, faced fierce opposition from some party members who accused him of not helping the party in the constituency.

The disagreements delayed his clearance by the party’s Vetting Committee but he was subsequently given the green light.

Mr. Ahenkorah during the election held on July 25, 2015, polled 503 while Naa Torshie Addo had 273.

The other contender Adwoa Amoakoa had 2 votes.

Reliefs:
1. A declaration that NPP’s election of Carlos Ahenkorah to contest the parliamentary primaries of the Tema West Constituency is in contravention of the NPP’s NEC decision taken on 23/03/15 in respect of the Tema West Constituency and article 9(d) of the NPP’s constituency to the extent that it permitted Carlos Ahenkorah a non-Ga indigene to contest the parliamentary primaries of the Tema West Constituency.

2. A declaration that by virtue of the Supreme Court decision in the case of Benjamin Eyi Mensah v Electoral Commission and Anor dated 27/02/15 Carlos Ahenkorah was not a registered voter of the Tema West Constituency at the time he contested the NPP’s parliamentary primaries in the Tema West Constituency.

3.A declaration that by reason of (1) and (2) above or either of them Carlos Ahenkorah purported election by NPP as NPP’s parliamentary candidate for the Tema West Constituency is null, void and of no effect.

4.An order directing NPP to implement NPP’s NEC decision taken at its meeting dated the 23rd day of March 2015 in respect of the Tema West Constituency to wit: that NPP be represented by a Ga indigene in the parliamentary primaries for the upcoming 2016 parliamentary elections.

5. An order of perpetual injunction restraining Carlos Ahenkorah from contesting the parliamentary election of the Tema West Constituency on NPP’s ticket.

Source: citifmonline.com

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21/Dec/2015

About time: Presidency strips Ministers of ‘first class’ travels

All government ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets have been directed by the presidency to stop with immediate effect.

Government has also directed all its ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.
The directive was issued in a letter  from the office of the president and signed by the Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah on November 16.

Even though government has not clearly stated exactly how much these travels cost government, the Chief of Staff expressed some concerns.

“It is needless to emphasise the serious impact the current frequent travels abroad by Ministers and Public officials are having on government finances,” he said.

The letter further directed the ministers to use business class instead of first class flights when need arises.

“To arrest the situation all Hon. Ministers are reminded to restrict foreign travels in their sectors to mandatory international assignments only. All non-essential travels are to be stopped. Hon. Ministers are also entreated to travel by Business Class and not first class, as stated in the letter,” the statement added.
The order follows a similar directive by the President of Tanzania, John Magufuli who has restricted all first and business class travel to government officials, except the president, vice president and prime minister.

Ghana’s government under the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, is being restricted in its spending to reduce the budget deficit to meet the 2016 target of 7.3% of GDP.

President John Mahama himself suffered criticisms from some Ghanaians in 2014 which they questioned his frequent foreign travels, during which the minority in Parliament described it as wasteful.

Source: citifmonline.com

All government ministers who embark on official foreign travels on first class tickets have been directed by the presidency to stop with immediate effect.

Government has also directed all its ministers to cut down on foreign travels in a bid to curtail government spending.

- See more at: http://citifmonline.com/2015/12/21/presidency-strips-ministers-of-first-class-travels/#sthash.smEe3QJo.dpuf
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21/Dec/2015

Electoral Commission’s elections 2016 budget hit by ¢400m cut

Parliament has approved 826.8 million Ghana cedis for the Electoral Commission for the conduct of presidential and parliamentary elections next year.

The Commission had budgeted 1.1 million cedis for the polls, while 100 million Ghana cedis would be used for other administrative expenses.

However, Parliament approved less than what the EC had planned for, leaving a funding gap of almost GHC400 million.

The EC’s budget deficit has come about as a result of a Finance Ministry ceiling of 800 million Ghana cedis for next year's polls.

Joy News’ Elton Brobbey says the EC may come back to Parliament to push for the 400 million Ghana cedis funding gap.

“The Finance Minister has agreed with the Electoral Commission for the release of an amount of 826.8 million Ghana cedis for the services of the Electoral Commission. This amount is silent on whether or not the EC will open the voters’ register to register eligible voters for the 2016 elections,” Elton explains.

Meanwhile, the EC says it would wait for the outcome of a committee it set up to advise on whether or not to compile a new register.

When the committee presents its report this week, the EC will be in a better position to go back to government to either make a case for the release of additional funds or spell out measures it has taken to operate within the amount approved, Elton reported.

The EC Chair, Charlotte Osei said since the announcement of the Finance Ministry ceiling, she has been looking internally and discussing ways to bridge the deficit.

The EC says it may have to reduce the number of polling stations by 1,000.

Prior the announcement of Finance Ministry ceiling, the EC had projected to conduct the general elections at 30,000 polling stations.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Source: myjoyonline.com

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21/Dec/2015

Group petitions Rawlings, Kufuor to have images removed from BRT buses

A group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians has petitioned former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor to have their images removed from the 116 Bus Rapid Transit vehicles.

The group said in a statement that it considers the money spent on pasting pictures a wasteful expenditure.

The 3.6 million cedis spent on rebranding of 116 buses genrated a lot of debate last week with many sternly criticising government for embarking on an extravagant spending.

Aide to Mr Rawlings, Kobina Andoh told Myjoyonline.com the former President is aware of the petition but he will act only after the Attorney General releases findings from a probe into the deal.

The probe was initiated by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

"His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has duly noted the concerns raised but responds that he will await the investigative report of the Attorney General as per the directives of the Presidency after which he will advise himself accordingly,” he said.

Below is a copy of the full statement by Concerned Ghanaians.

PETITION TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES, PRESIDENTS KUFFOUR AND RAWLINGS SEEKING TO HAVE THEIR IMAGES REMOVED FROM THE 116 BUS RAPID TRANSIT (BRT) BUSES.

Your Excellencies,

It is with great dismay that we, as Concerned Ghanaians, have noticed the adorning of 116 government procured BRT buses with the portraits of the current and former presidents, namely John Evans Atta Mills, John Agyekum Kuffour, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama.

We believe that you will consider it profligate, as we do, that government spent a whopping GHC3.6m on this hubristic exercise. In the midst of our current economic problems as a nation, which caused the President to admonish Ghanaians to tighten their belts, we find that it is a wasteful expenditure to paste pictures of former presidents including the current president on these 116 buses at an individual cost of GHC31,000.

Knowing the good values of prudent financial management and good governance which you ascribe to, we are left with no doubt in our minds that you do not approve of such an expenditure as well as the idea of placing your images on these buses.

We are thus humbly appealing to your good conscience to request that you direct that your images be taken off those buses.

We, together with the growing number of online signatories to this petition, shall remain eternally grateful to you if you could grant us our petition.

God bless you and God bless Ghana.

Thank you.

Source: myjoyonline.com

A group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians has petitioned former presidents Jerry John Rawlings and John Kufuor to have their images removed from the 116 Bus Rapid Transit vehicles.

The group said in a statement that it considers the money spent on pasting pictures a wasteful expenditure.

The 3.6 million cedis spent on rebranding of 116 buses genrated a lot of debate last week with many sternly criticising government for embarking on an extravagant spending.

Aide to Mr Rawlings, Kobina Andoh told Myjoyonline.com the former President is aware of the petition but he will act only after the Attorney General releases findings from a probe into the deal.

The probe was initiated by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah.

"His Excellency Jerry John Rawlings has duly noted the concerns raised but responds that he will await the investigative report of the Attorney General as per the directives of the Presidency after which he will advise himself accordingly,” he said.

Below is a copy of the full statement by Concerned Ghanaians.

PETITION TO THEIR EXCELLENCIES, PRESIDENTS KUFFOUR AND RAWLINGS SEEKING TO HAVE THEIR IMAGES REMOVED FROM THE 116 BUS RAPID TRANSIT (BRT) BUSES. 

Your Excellencies, 

It is with great dismay that we, as Concerned Ghanaians, have noticed the adorning of 116 government procured BRT buses with the portraits of the current and former presidents, namely John Evans Atta Mills, John Agyekum Kuffour, Jerry John Rawlings and John Dramani Mahama. 

We believe that you will consider it profligate, as we do, that government spent a whopping GHC3.6m on this hubristic exercise. In the midst of our current economic problems as a nation, which caused the President to admonish Ghanaians to tighten their belts, we find that it is a wasteful expenditure to paste pictures of former presidents including the current president on these 116 buses at an individual cost of GHC31,000. 

Knowing the good values of prudent financial management and good governance which you ascribe to, we are left with no doubt in our minds that you do not approve of such an expenditure as well as the idea of placing your images on these buses. 

We are thus humbly appealing to your good conscience to request that you direct that your images be taken off those buses. 

We, together with the growing number of online signatories to this petition, shall remain eternally grateful to you if you could grant us our petition. 

God bless you and God bless Ghana.

Thank you. 

- See more at: http://www.myjoyonline.com/news/2015/December-21st/group-petitions-rawlings-kufuor-to-have-images-removed-from-brt-buses.php?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter#sthash.Xzp5QUhd.dpuf
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21/Dec/2015

US Democratic debate: Sanders apologises to Clinton over valuable voting data

Bernie Sanders has apologised to fellow US Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton after his staff stole valuable voting data from her campaign.

"This is not the type of campaign that we run," he said during a TV debate.

The candidates criticised Republican frontrunner Donald Trump for his call to ban Muslims from entering the US.

But they clashed over Syria, with Mr Sanders accusing Ms Clinton of being set on regime change while she said US leadership was needed.

Former Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley also took part in the debate in Manchester, New Hampshire.

But the former secretary of state remains the frontrunner.

On Syria, she insisted that the US should seek to remove President Bashar al-Assad from power.

"If the US does not lead, there is not another leader - there is a vacuum," she said.

Mr Sanders however argued that the US should first concentrate on defeating so-called Islamic State (IS).

"Getting rid of dictators is easy, but you have to think about what happens the day after," he said.

Both the main speakers had strong words for Mr Trump, with Ms Clinton calling him "the biggest recruiter for IS" and saying he used "bigotry and bluster to inflame people".

The debate was the first for Democrats since 14 people were killed in San Bernardino in California by a married couple that the authorities say had been radicalised.

All three candidates said it was important to work more closely with Muslim-American communities to tackle radicalism at home.

Data access

Bernie Sanders admitted that on two occasions his campaign could see proprietary data from Hillary Clinton's campaign following computer breaches - which he said were the fault of the software vendor.

He said that the most recent breach involved inappropriate behaviour by one of his staff members, adding that person had now been dismissed.

He said that the Democratic Party's decision to temporarily suspend his campaign's access to the strategically crucial database was "an egregious act".

The Sanders campaign on Friday filed a lawsuit against the Democratic National Committee in a federal court to restore its access to the voter data.

Strategically important information on voters is contained in the database, which campaigns use to decide strategy.

That data takes on a crucial role as campaigns prepare for early primary voting in just over a month's time.

Source: bbc.com

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20/Dec/2015

Rwanda vote 'allows Kagame to extend term in office'

Rwandans have voted overwhelmingly to allow President Paul Kagame to extend his term in office, initial referendum results show.

Some 98% of voters support changing the constitution to allow him to run again in 2017 after his second term ends, the National Electoral Commission said.

Mr Kagame, 58, could remain in power until 2034 if the changes are passed.

The vote took place despite criticism of such an amendment by the US and other Western donors.

Rwanda's electoral commission said 21 out of 30 districts had published results so far, covering about 70% of voters.

Full results are due to be released later on Saturday.

Mr Kagame has not said if he will run again, but he is widely expected to.

Asked at the polling station if he would stay on, he said: "What is happening is the people's choice. Ask people why they want me."

Paul Kagame: Visionary or tyrant?

The arrogance of power

However, the US has said Mr Kagame should step down in 2017 to allow a new generation of leaders to emerge.

Rights groups accuse the government of stifling the media and political opposition.

The small opposition Democratic Green Party claimed it had been prevented from campaigning against the change.

Mr Kagame has been president since 2000 but has held power since 1994, when his rebel force entered the capital Kigali to end the country's genocide.

The debate over extending presidential terms has led to instability in other African countries such as Burundi and Congo Republic, but has not caused unrest in Rwanda.

source: bbc.com

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20/Dec/2015

Spanish election: PM Rajoy's party loses majority

Spain's governing conservative party has won the most seats in the general election but has lost its majority and will struggle to form a coalition.

With almost all votes counted, the Popular Party (PP) had 122 seats; the Socialists 91 and the anti-austerity Podemos party 69.

The liberal Ciudadanos party was in fourth place with 40 seats.

Podemos and Ciudadanos fielded national candidates for the first time, boosted by discontent among the electorate.

The PP and the Socialists have alternated running the government for more than three decades.

A spokesman for Podemos said the results showed that two-party politics in Spain had ended.

"We are entering a new era in our country," said Inigo Errejon.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's PP needed 176 seats to form a majority. It had 186 seats in the outgoing parliament.

Corruption dominates debate

New faces in politics

New political era

The Popular Party had 28.7% of the vote; the Socialists 22%; Podemos 20.6% and Ciudadanos 13.9%.

Turnout was put at about 72% - up slightly compared to the 2011 election.

Analysts said the PP could find it very difficult to form a government because it can't achieve a majority in parliament in coalition with Ciudadanos, its most natural partner.

The Socialists, on the other hand, could form a pact with Podemos and Ciudadanos.

Spain's economy, corruption allegations and a separatist drive in the prosperous north-eastern region of Catalonia were all dominant issues in the election.

Mr Rajoy's administration adopted tough austerity measures and job reforms that, although unpopular, have been credited with returning the Spanish economy to growth.

However, unemployment remains high at 21%, the second-highest rate in the EU after Greece, although it has fallen from its 2013 peak of 27%.

The PP has also been damaged by corruption scandals.

Election system:

  • Spain's electoral system tends to disproportionately favour larger parties.
  • MPs are elected in 50 multi-member districts using proportional representation. Each district is home to at least two members.
  • Spain's North African enclaves Ceuta and Melilla elect one member each while 248 seats are allocated among the provinces in proportion to their respective populations.

Source: bbc.com

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20/Dec/2015

Israel minister Silvan Shalom resigns over harassment allegations

Israel's Interior Minister Silvan Shalom has resigned after a series of sexual harassment allegations.

Mr Shalom, who is also stepping down from his position as deputy prime minister, said he was doing so to spare his family any more suffering.

The attorney-general has ordered a probe into claims made against Mr Shalom by several women. Mr Shalom has denied any wrongdoing.

Israel has seen several similar high-profile cases in recent years.

The police anti-fraud chief is under investigation for sexual misconduct and last month another MP in the governing coalition, Yinon Magal, resigned amid sexual harassment allegations.

In 2011 the former President Moshe Katsav began a seven-year jail sentence for rape.

Some media reports suggest that Mr Shalom's replacement in the Israeli parliament could be Amir Ohana, who would become the first openly gay MP from the right-wing Likud party.

Source: bbc.com

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20/Dec/2015

NPP Is The Only Party That Can Bring Change To Ghana, but we need to close our ranks – Ex Prez Kufour

The country is ready for change but what we have to do is to close the ranks of the party and bring on board everyone who professes to be with us.



 

"The people are saying they want change. The change can only happen through one party and that is the NPP” – Former President Kufour said when addressing NPP members at the party’s 15th National delegates Conference in Sunyani on saturday.

Kufour who will be playing a vital role in Nana Addo’s 2016 campaign called on the leadership of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to close their ranks and end the 'needless and unnecessary' suspicions in the party. According to him – unity can help the party achieve its aim – insisting that the NPP is the only Party to salvage Ghanaians from the shambolic Mahama-led administration.

He noted that the NPP has a 'DNA of good governance' but internal wranglings within the NPP if not solved will make it impossible for the party to clinch power in 2016.

He therefore charged the leadership to work tirelessly to end the ‘needless suspicions’ tearing them apart.

The people want to know how we are going to do it and we must tell them what they want to hear. The NDC has failed them, we (NPP) must not,” he added.

 Source: peacefmonlone.com

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19/Dec/2015

Ghana Would Be Doomed If NDC Wins 2016 Elections - Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

New Patriotic Party (NPP) Parliamentary candidate for Afoase-Ayirebi constituency in the Eastern Region, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah says Ghana is doomed to fail in the next four years if the National Democratic Congress (NDC) retains political power.

His observation, he said on Asempa FM Friday is borne out of the gross misappropriation of the nation’s resources by the government.

An example of such misappropriation, he said, was the use of GHc3.6m for the branding of 116 Metro Mass Rapid Transit (MMRT) buses with the pictures of former Presidents and the sitting President.

The said amount, he said could have been used for the development of various deprived communities in the countries including Akim Techiman in his constituency which lacks Health Planning and Services (CHPS) compounds.

According to a document sent to Parliament detailing some government expenditure, it cost GH₵31,000 to brand each of the 116 buses. And that included a budget which stated that the company that placed stickers on the buses charged GHc2000 as labour cost for a bus; an allegation which has been denied by the Manager of Crystal Concept, Kwaku Mansah Abeiku.

Many especially the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) have accused government of milking the state coffers ahead of the 2016 elections. But government has justified spending GH₵3.6million on re-branding 116 public buses with pictures of the president, explaining that artistic work is generally expensive.

This justification, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said was unnecessary claiming that the government has over the years been developing a pattern where state officials deliberately give contracts which make no meaning to party cronies at huge prices.

Other corruption sagas, including SADA, GYEEDA, SUBAH, Woyome scandal and several others further tell of how Ghana would be heading for a crush if the NDC is not changed.

Mr. Oppong Nkrumah further entreated all Ghanaians to be ambassadors of change and campaign for the Mahama government to be voted out of power.

Source: adomonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

Akufo-Addo Can Never Be President – Asoma Banda (WATCH VIDEO)

Businessman and a former member of the Council of State, Alhaji Asoma Banda, has said leader of the main opposition NPP, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo can never be president of Ghana.

In a yet-to-be-televised interview on local television station TV3, Banda seeks to justify his battering of Akufo-Addo, saying: “The truth is he [Nana Akufo-Addo] can never be president… You see, to be a President, Kwasi, you must have certain structure, intelligence.”

Watch the video below;

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uxX-TkJ4hYg&feature=youtu.be

Source: peacefmonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

I’ve Achieved Purpose Of Preventing My Removal – Afoko

The suspended National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Paul Afoko has said he is fulfilled going to court to stop the party from discussing his removal at tomorrow’s delegates conference.

An Accra High Court Friday threw out an application by suspended Chairman of the New Patriotic Party seeking to stop the party from holding tomorrow’s Special Delegates Conference.

Afoko had run to court and filed an ex-parte motion seeking to restrain the party from taking a decision on his outright removal from office.

But NPP lawyers including Godfred Dame, Prof Mike Ocquaye, Nana Obiri Boahene and Dr Adusei Poku rushed to the court to defend the party.

The court dismissed the case brought against the party because it said the embattled suspended chairman failed to establish whether the conference will have irreparable damage on him.

However,  a statement released on behalf of Afoko by his spokesperson Nana Yaw Osei said: “By this development, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Mr. Afoko’s application has achieved its intended purpose of preventing the discussion of any issues in respect of his position as the elected national chairman of the NPP.”

He insisted the focus of the court action has never been to “seek an injunction to prevent the Conference in Sunyani from taking place as it is being speculated in sections of the media.”

Below is the full statement from his spokesperson

The office of the elected National Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr. Paul. A. Afoko, has been drawn to some information doing the rounds in the media to the effect that an interim injunction that was being sought by him has been dismissed.

We wish to state the facts as follows:-

1) That, Mr. Afoko did not seek an injunction to prevent the Conference in Sunyani from taking place as it is being speculated in sections of the media.

What Mr. Afoko sought to do, was to prevent the impending Sunyani conference from discussing anything in connection with the position of the national chairman.

2. That even though the application was made ex-parte, the Honourable Court allowed the other side (NPP) to also state its reasons why the application was not to be granted.

3) That after listening to Counsel for Mr. Afoko on why the application should be granted, lawyers for the NPP stated that the agenda for the Sunyani Conference did not include any discussion on the national chairman and/or his position as the national chairman.

4) That by this development in court, the party has given the assurance that it will not discuss any issues on the so-called suspension/removal of Mr. Afoko at the Sunyani Conference.

5) That, by this development, and for the avoidance of any doubt, Mr. Afoko’s application has achieved its intended purpose of preventing the discussion of any issues in respect of his position as the elected national chairman of the NPP.

Thank you.

Nana Yaw Osei,
Spokesperson, National Chairman, NPP.

Source: peacefmonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

What's The Sense In Rebranding Buses? - Kwesi Pratt Quizzes

Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., has questioned the wisdom in rebranding 116 buses, purporting that it was a "needless" and "senseless" act by the current administration.

To him, there are other pressing needs of Ghanaians that begs the attention of Government which the money could have been used for catered for in order to benefit Ghanainas directly.

Earlier this week, news went viral that an amount of GHC3, 649, 004 Ghana oil funds have been spent on re-branding Metro Mass Rapid Transit buses.

The buses, re-branded with pictures of the three former Presidents and the current President, John Mahama, is for intra-city purposes.

Per documents sent to Parliament detailing some government expenditure, it costs almost GH₵31,000 to brand each of the 116 buses.

Interestingly, a Cabinet Minister is reported to have justified the GH₵3.6million spent on re-branding the 116 public buses saying artistic work is generally expensive.

Coming at a time when a power deal between government and the African and Middle East Resources Investemnt (AMERI Group) is under public scrutiny for suspected corruption and overbloated expenditure, this issue of branding intra-city buses has generated quite a huge public furore. 

Many, especially the Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament and civil society have accused government of wanton dissipating of state funds.

Speaking to sit-in host Nana Yaw Kesse of Peace FM's Kokrokoo, Kwesi Pratt noted that whiles it might be "reasonable" for government to make buses appear colourful, it is however needless to rebrand already sprayed buses when the money could be used to enhance development in the country.

He said the money could have been used to construct boreholes in deprived areas than "putting the images of heads of former Presidents" on the buses.

In his earnest view, it was an unwise decision to spend scarce state resources in such manner.



Which is important? For us to construct boreholes or rebrand a bus with images of former Heads of State?…What’s the sense in this rebranding? If I have my own money worth 3.6 million, I won’t use it to rebrand a bus which is already painted. I won’t use 3.6 million to rebrand that bus.

He therefore advised the government to set her priorities right.

Source: peacefmonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

I don't mind being NPP's lawyer - Tsatsu Tsikata

The former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) Tsatsu Tsikata has stated that he has no problem being the lawyer of the New Patriotic Party if their case had merit.

The renowned legal practitioner who represented the governing National Democratic Congress in the landmark election petition case in 2013 said he will represent the opposition party in principle but doubts he will ever be asked by the NPP to lead them on any case in court.

"I don’t think I'll ever be asked…I can tell you, if the basis on which the representation, from a legal point of view, was meritorious, I will have no problem, in principle, representing the NPP; I think I can say that," Mr. Tsikata told Citi FM.

He added: “You know in my career, both as a lawyer and a law lecturer, and, indeed, in my experience of corporate life, I think I surprise some people.

"For instance, when I was at GNPC, some people were hired in GNPC, who were known to be NPP people. And I was involved in hiring them on account of their technical capabilities. What they were doing politically had nothing to do with what they were supposed to do in the organisation.

"And so when I was sometimes asked: 'didn’t you know so and so [were NPP people?]' I would say: 'It's neither here nor there.' And equally as I mentioned earlier, I have friends and people that I have a lot of respect for – you mentioned J. H. Mensah and so on – I mean who are in NPP but …they were people that I considered I could look up to, so in that sense, I don’t have any problem in principle.

"But when I said also that I'm not likely to be asked, let's face it, that’s the reality. Within our context as a nation, the level of polarisation, and the representation of people like me, is such that it would be regarded as anathema even to be approached".


Source: starrfmonline.com



 

 
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18/Dec/2015

AMERI deal: Gov’t swindling Ghanaians – Bawumia

The vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has waded into the controversial AMERI power deal accusing government of swindling Ghanaians.

Addressing old students of Prempeh College in Kumasi in the Ashanti region, Dr. Bawumia said government is still hiding relevant facts about the deal.

According to him, the Mahama-led administration is ripping off the state with the deal.

“The issue of the AMERI power deal is the latest episode of issues bothering on corruption and failure to ensure value for money for the people of Ghana.

“This contract does not make sense,” Dr. Bawumia said Friday.

The contract between the Power ministry and AMERI has become a matter of public concern following media reports of inflation and malfeasance regarding the contract sum.

According to the contract, there is a variable cost of $16.6m every year, which translates into additional $83m for the five-year period.

This makes the total cost of the project $593m.

In addition to the cost, the Government of Ghana is to provide free utilities, free housing, site for storage, prepare site for the installation of the plant, as well as interconnect facilities to connect the plant to the national grid.

Source: starrfmonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

Blay, Abankwa illegally operated NPP account; Akufo-Addo not cleared of £100,000 illegal payment – Ohene Ntow

Nana Ohene Ntow has revealed that the New Patriotic Party committee he chaired to probe some allegations of malfeasance in the top hierarchy of the party found the party’s acting Chairman Freddie Blay and Treasurer Abankwa Yeboah of illegally operating a party account.

“In the first place, the committee did not investigate the establishment of a secret account as Nana Akomea’s statement seeks to portray. Since we did not investigate a secret account, we could not have exonerated anybody for setting up a secret account.

“That was what was investigated, and the investigation did establish that the National Treasurer Mr. Abankwa Yeboah, and the 1st Vice National Chairman Mr. Freddie Blay illegally reactivated and operated this dormant account without authority from the Steering Committee, Finance Committee, nor indeed the National Executive Committee,” the former general secretary of the NPP clarified in a statement Friday.

The comments are in sharp contrast to earlier claims by the Communications director of the party that the Ohene Ntow-led committee cleared the two officials of all the allegations the operation of the account.

Former General Secretary of the New Patriotic Party Nana Ohene Ntow also denied claims by the party’s communications director that a committee chaired by him (Ohene Ntow) has cleared the party’s flagbearer of some £100,000 illegal payment.

Nana Akomea told the media on Friday that the Ohene Ntow-led Committee investigated claims that the money was paid to Nana Akufo-Addo for some engagements without authorization by the party.

But in a statement, Mr. Ohene Ntow said the substantive of the monies paid or otherwise to the former attorney general was not broached by his committee.

“I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate”.




Below are details of the statement


December 18, 2015

REACTION TO NANA AKOMEA’S STATEMENT ON THE REPORT OF THE AD HOC COMMITTEE OF THE NPP NATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

My attention has been drawn to a statement issued by Nana Akomea, Director of communications of the New Patriotic Party, which statement comments on the Report by the Ad Hoc committee instituted by the Party’s National Executive Committee to look into the Financial Administration of the Party, Issues related to fees received for the 2015 Parliamentary Primaries and other Financial Matters. Ordinarily, since the statement by Nana Akomea is to all intents and purposes an official statement of the party, I should not respond to it. However, in view of the fact that the said statement by Mr. Nana Akomea sought to cast a slur on my person and on my integrity as a professional and also Chairman of the said Committee, I am compelled to state the facts of the matter.

1. In the first place, the committee did not investigate the establishment of a secret account as Nana Akomea’s statement seeks to portray. Since we did not investigate a secret account, we could not have exonerated anybody for setting up a secret account. The issue was about the unauthorized reactivation of an existing BUT DORMANT Account.

That was what was investigated, and the investigation did establish that the National Treasurer Mr. Abankwa Yeboah, and the 1st Vice National Chairman Mr. Freddie Blay illegally reactivated and operated this dormant account without authority from the Steering Committee, Finance Committee, nor indeed the National Executive Committee.

2. I have to state further that the Committee did not investigate any allegation of a disbursement of any One Hundred Thousand Pounds Sterling (£100,000) from a party account to the 2016 flagbearer, Nana Akufo-Addo. The committee therefore could not have issued a clean report on a matter it did not investigate.

3. The impression being created by Mr. Akomea’s statement that all disbursements from the Ecobank account were solely for the Talensi by-election is false.

The committee did not audit the disbursements from the Ecobank Account as both the National Treasurer and the National Organizer failed to provide the committee with any receipts on their expenditures on the Talensi By-Elections.

4. The impression being created by Akomea’s statement that the recommendations contained in my minority report fall outside the committee’s Terms of Reference is false.

5. The impression being created that the recommendations contained in my minority report are not supported by the evidence adduced before the committee, and that I possibly cooked up those recommendations out of a vacuum is also palpably false.

First of all, the committee’s Terms of Reference consisted of Nine items not Four, as Mr. Akomea’s statement claims. The Nine-Point TOR are as follows:

1. To establish the total amount collected as fees for the 2015 parliamentary primaries;

2. To establish the bank account(s) into which the fees were lodged;

3. To determine the disbursements out of those accounts and the purpose for those disbursements;

4. To establish the approvals of those disbursements;

5. To investigate the cause(s) of the impasse between the National Treasurer and the National Chairman/General Secretary;

6. To ascertain how the dormant Bank Account at the Trust Towers Branch, was reactivated, and how it was operated;

7. To investigate the circumstances under which the National Treasurer entered into a contract with Textgenesys Limited for the collection of Membership Dues and Monies that have accrued from the process;

8. To investigate any other matters which , in the opinion of the Committee, are relevant to its work;

9. To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future.

DISBURSEMENT FROM ECOBANK ACCOUNT

The committee did indeed establish that some of the disbursement from the Ecobank Account went into the Talensi by-elections. However, it was also established by the committee that a chunk of the money from the Ecobank Account were illegally used to purchase Treasury Bills as well as to establish a call Account, all without proper authorization.

In his evidence to the committee the National Treasurer, Mr. Abankwa Yeboah admitted that his decisions to reactivate the Ecobank Account, purchase a Treasury Bill and establish a call Account for the party were all unilateral and without appropriate authorization. Obviously, it is based on this and other evidence that came before the committee that the minority report submitted by my good self recommended disciplinary action and sanctions against the National Treasurer.

The committee established that the 1st National Vice National Chairman, Mr. Freddie Blay illegally authorized the disbursements from the Ecobank account, and also wrongly usurped the office of the National Chairman. It therefore stands to reason that my recommendation that Mr. Freddie Blay is sanctioned could not have been baseless as the Akomea statement seeks to imply.

A close look at the committee’s Terms of Reference shows clearly that Item 9 states and I quote:

“To submit Recommendations to forestall any such occurrences in the future”

With reference to the above-stated item on the committee’s TOR, I am at loss as to how any fair-minded person could suggest that it was beyond the committee’s remit to recommend anything, more so sanctions and disciplinary action where appropriate.

It is based on the evidence that came before the committee and on our findings that I proposed the following recommendations which the other four members of my committee raised objections to:

RECOMMENDATIONS

The work of the committee has revealed very deep seated acrimony, animosity and a major factional divide within the party. Unfortunately, this situation is being exploited by some party members and leaders to the detriment of party unity, cohesion and internal harmony. Matters have not been helped by an apparent lack of effective enforcement of discipline. In an effort to deal effectively with the party’s current situation, the following Recommendations are being proposed:

1. That Article 17 of the Party’s Constitution be operationalized and the Finance Committee be mandated to immediately draft Financial Regulations to supplement the provisions of the constitution on the party’s financial management.

NB: The Finance Committee representative who appeared before the committee told the committee that his committee had already drafted proposals for such Financial Rules and Regulations for the party, ready to present same to the National Executive Committee. We recommend that the necessary action must be expedited on the said proposals for implementation.

2. The National Council should arrange an introspection meeting of all National Officers at which all fears and suspicions would be laid bare and all grudges brought into the open for a no-holds-barred discussion. It is recommended that this meeting is facilitated by professional psychologists and counselors before the end of the year.

3. The National Chairman should ensure that henceforth the group decision making principle which underpins the party’s constitution is adhered to.

4. That the National Treasurer is referred to the National Discipline Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct, indiscipline and for arrogating to himself powers that he is not constitutionally mandated to exercise, particularly with respect to his unilateral decision to reactivate a dormant account of the party and operate same, as well as for unilaterally entering into a so-called contract with Textgenesys and enforcing same against the decision of the party’s Finance Committee.

5. That the 1st Vice Chairman is referred to the National Disciplinary Committee for the appropriate sanctions for gross misconduct in view of his usurpation of the powers and functions of National Chairman even in situations that the National Chairman is available in the jurisdiction and is ready, willing and able to perform his functions as National Chairman.

6. That the National Treasurer is ordered by the Finance Committee to provide the it with documentary details of the revenue that has accrued to the party from the Textgenesys text fund raising activities to date.

7. That the National Treasurer who purchased a Treasury Bill and established a Call Account on behalf of the party without proper authorization, and the 1st Vice Chairman who improperly authorized the above transactions, are ordered by the National Executive Committee of the party to furnish it with the original copy of the Treasury Bill Certificate, as well as original documentary details of where the Call Account is held and the current status thereof.

8. That in view of the rather serious allegations made by Mr. Baah Achamfuor against the Immediate Past General Secretary, Mr. Owusu Afriyie and the Immediate Past National Treasurer, Mad. Esther Ofori of financial impropriety, the National Executive Committee institutes investigations into those allegations to establish the facts thereof.

9. That the former National Chairman, Mr. Peter McManu, is ordered by the National Executive Committee of party to explain in writing, the circumstances under which he opened or caused to be opened a party account at the Trust Towers Branch of the Ecobank and how it was run without the knowledge of the then General Secretary, the then National Treasurer nor indeed the Steering Committee.

I will just stop short of providing all the details of the evidence that was adduced before the committee, as well as all the findings. I believe that if we as a party do not want to wash our dirty linen in public, we should learn NOT to be the first to throw mud at the other person.

Signed

Nana Ohene-Ntow


Source: Starrfmonline.com

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18/Dec/2015

Ghana: EC Boss goes ‘mad’ in Parliament over budget cut

The Chairperson of Ghana’s Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei lamented to Parliament on Thursday about how her Commission has had their budget for the conduct of the 2016 election hugely cut down by the Finance Ministry.

Mrs. Osei said she proposed GHC1.2 billion as the actual cost for the conduct of next year’s general elections.

The amount, she noted, was hugely slashed by the Finance Ministry to GHc800 million causing a shortfall of GHc400 million.

Charlotte Osei would be conducting her first general elections as the boss of the EC since taking over from Dr. Afari Gyan.

Much is expected from her and the commission as the country is seen as an island of peace in a region of election-related disputes.

The slash in the budget of the commission, Adom News’ Parliamentary correspondent, said caused the EC to cut the number of polling stations from 30,000 to 29,000.

The former NCCE Boss also complained about the lack of offices for the Commission in the region.

Parliament is however yet to approve the budgetary allocations for the EC.

Source: ghanaweb.com

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17/Dec/2015