Friday, September 28, 2007

Lotto Operators Assoc. Challenges VAT's Decision

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday, 28 September 2007
THE Ghana Lotto Operators Association (GLOA) has said recent publication in the media by the VAT Service not to supply them lot to coupons was done in bad faith.

They contend that once certain aspects of the National Lotto Act 2006 (Act 7232) which seeks to monopolise the lottery business under the new National Authority (NLA) is being challenged in a law Court, VAT Service needed to exercise restraint in enforcing t he provisions of the act .

The publications which were in the form of advertisers announcements stated that
from September 30 the service will no longer print and supply lotto coupons to VAT registered lotto operators and further urged those affected to take steps to return all unused coupons for re-imbursement.

At a press conference in Accra yesterday Mr Seth Asante Amoani Secretary of GLOA said “it is surprising that the VAT Service should have recourse to the Act at a time when certain relevant provisions of the said act are being challenged at court.

He said in some of the publications it was clear that VAT service had acted in collaboration with the NLA in t he announcements and added “but t is should not have been the case because GLOA is currently pursuing a case against NLA and hat matter has not yet been disposed off”

He said following certain averment to challenge the new National Lotto Act in their case against the NLA, the court asked both parties to come to court on October 17, to enable GLOA to make amendment in their claim and wondered why NLA could team up withy VAT to issue such a directive.

Mr Amoani further said “we are now convinced that the VAT Service is allowing itself to be embroiled in a matter which falls out side its scope of operation.”

He said it would not be out of place to state under the present circumstances that since VAT Service is no longer interested in printing and supplying lotto coupons to the private operators, that responsibility which it snatched from the association, should be discharged by them.

He said any attempt to get the private sector out of the lotto industry without due process and also allow the court to determine the case will not be good for the rule of law.

Mr Amoani hoped that the cordial relationship that had existed between the association and the VAT Service as well as all stakeholders will remain adding “we are always ready to collaborate with authorities to get the best for the lotto industry.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Cop's wife testifies in missing cocaine case amid tears

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday September 26, 2007
The wife of Lance Corporal Dwamema Yabson one of the three policemen on trial before an Accra Fast Track High Court for the missing 76 parcels of cocaine yesterday stirred emotions when she appeared before the court to give testimony at the request of her husband.

The witness Helen B. Asaase, wept uncontrollably as she mounted the witness’ box and had to be consuled by a court clerk.

As she took the oath to start her testimony, tears flowed freely down her cheeks but sobered when the clerks assured her that she was protected by the law.

Yabson with who Helen has two children is being tried with Sergeant David Nyarko and Lance Corporal Peter Bundorin in connection with the missing parcels of cocaine brought into the country on April 25, last year by the vessel, MV Benjamin.

They were alleged to have collected an undisclosed amount in United States dollars from Sherriff Asem Darke, also known as Limping Man, who is wanted by the Police in connection with the importation of 77 parcels of cocaine.

Seventy six of the parcels were off loaded at the Kpone beach near Tema by Shiriff and his accomplices on April 26, last year but the policemen who saw them, allegedly collected the money and left them off the hook.

The police say the accused persons saw Sheriff, a Korean called Killer, as well as another unidentified person, offload cartons of alleged cocaine into a white van at the beach but instead of arresting them, they sat in the fugitives land Gruiser vehicle to Tema to collect the money.

Another policeman Detective Sgt. Samuel Yaw Amoah, who played a leading role in the case escaped soon after he was granted bail by an Accra Circuit Court in September last year.

The accused, all of who are with the Tema Regional Police Command, have pleaded not guilty to two courts of engaging in prohibited business related to narcotic drugs and corruption by a public officer.

They are in police custody.

Led in evidence by Mr. Stephen Ahor, the witness confirmed to the court that on April 26 at about 2 am, a man called Martey came to knock on their door at the Tema New Town Police barracks.

She said she was the one who opened the door, contrary to an earlier evidence by Yabson that he went out first to meet Martey.

“When Martey knocked the descended door, my husband had from the building. As I tried to look for him for Martey, he arrivd.”

She told the court presided over by Justice Annin Yeboah, of the Court of Appeal that Martey and Yabson then descended the building after which Yabson asked her to bring his identity card and his boots.

“I did not hear what Martey told him but I later saw him move to the charge office and
Martey headed towards the exit of the barracks.”

Asaase told the court that Yabson returned home at 2 pm that day and when she enquired about where he had been he replied it was part of his duty as a policeman.

She told the court that she moved to Ashiaman before Yabson was arrested but when the accused’s room was searched she was not present

Manya Jorpanya Observes ‘Ngmayem’

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday, 26 September 2007
THE Chiefs and people of Manya-Jorpanya in the Shai States of the Greater Accra Region have celebrated this year’s Ngmayem festival with a call on all to unite towards t he development of the area.

The annual event which had the theme, "Re-organising the Shai State for a better future," was attended by other chiefs and queenmothers in the Shai Traditional Council as well as dignitaries including the Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs, Mr Daniel Dugan.

In his keynote address, Nene Tei Djahene Korabo IV, Divisional Chief of Manya and Senior Asafoatse of the Shai Traditional Council, urged the people to take advantage of the peace in the country to support the development of the area.

He promised to ensure that the natural resources of the area was tapped to the benefit of the people and advised them to approach development of the area devoid of any ethnic, religious and political feeling.

Nene Korabo IV, however expressed concern about the behaviour of some people who posed as chiefs to sell lands in the area, "The growth we are all yearning for will not come if some of us continue to behave this way".

Mr Dugan for his part asked the people to continue living in unity and peace for accelerated growth and development.

He called on the people to support government to curb incidence of domestic violence and also advised them not to allow politics, ethnicity and religion to divide them.

Mr Joseph Kwaku Duah-Boateng, a businessman from Tema who chaired the function, appealed to estate developers to focus their attention to the area to complement government’s efforts of providing affordable housing for the people.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Flood victims suffer more predicament

By William Yaw Owusu, Bolgatanga

Thursday, 20 September 2007
THE predicament of people living in the flood-hit areas of the three northern regions has worsened with the influx of black flies, the tiny insects which cause river blindness or onchocerciasis, the multi-sectoral damage-assessment team from Accra has found.

The black fly, locally called "behn" is currently common in the Upper East Region, especially in areas between the Red and White Volta Rivers along the Bolgatanga, Bawku road.

However, Dr Joseph Amankwah, the Upper East Regional Director of Health Services says the insects can no longer cause blindness, because there is a total cure for the sickness.

The second day of the assessment of the extent of devastation by the floods, took the high powered multi-sectoral team to all the eight districts of the Upper East Region.
The team, led by Mr Kwamina Bartels, Minister of the Interior, includes other government officials, representatives of United Nations Agencies, International Development partners and Non-Governmental Organisations as well as the media.

Dr Amankwah who was part of the team that assessed the Bawku West and Celensi/Nabdam districts, said the bite by the insects is so painful that pupils in class lose concentration.

Mr Roy Ayariga, the Regional Director for the Ministry of Food and Agriculture, said the influx of the black fly is preventing many people from working on their farms, adding that the situation threatens food security if not checked.

Towns such as Kusanaba, Boya, Agao Akopela, Tetako, Kokore, Gumbare, Zowera, Azonge, Zangbeyiri, Dangumbe and Binaba are the worst affected.

On the flood situation, 64 displaced persons have been settled at Tilli Area Council building while at Yarigu, 194 people are seeking shelter at the District Assembly Basic School.

The Regional Minister, Alhassan Tamari, appealed for more relief items for the affected people.

On Tuesday when the assessment team toured the Northern Region, it was told that in spite of the relief items dispatched to the affected areas in the northern regions, the victims are still waiting for food.

According to victims along the White Volta, in the Central Gonja District they have not received any relief items since the disaster occurred.

To make things worse, about 339 houses have been submerged under water rendering some 645 people homeless.

The worst affected villages are Bonyanmu, Kpachiteve, Mpotoso and Sikape where the people have sought shelter at Makpam.

The victims appealed to the assessment team to speed up the process of ferrying relief items to them.

No deaths have been recorded in the Central Gonja District but the water level keeps on rising daily.

Alhaji Sulemana Yirimiah, Deputy NADMO Co-ordinator, who led the team to west and central Gonja Districts lamented at the state of devastation caused by the floods.

At Makpan, where most of the victims had relocated, they said their immediate needs were food and shelter.

There are also no sanitation facilities and they called on the team to make provisions for that to prevent the outbreak of disease.

Two basic schools, Bunyanmu Roman Catholic and Sikape District Assembly schools are both under flood waters, and about 300 pupils have been displaced.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday September 11, 2007
NAPOLEAN B.K. Kpoh, who until last August was the General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union (ICU), was yesterday jailed for a month for contempt of court.

An Accra Fast Track High Court held that Kpoh had defied its ruling on August 20, which restrained him from holding himself as the General Secretary of the union.

The motion for contempt filed by the National Executive Council (NEC) of ICU, flouted the orders of the court and went to the ICU offices to work as General Secretary, and whilst there, he ordered the workers not to obey the NEC, after which he locked the main door and left.

They also said he granted interviews to the media claiming that he had filed a notice of Appeal and another motion for stay of execution and on that basis, he could act as the General Secretary.

Convicting him, the court presided over by Justice K. Anto Ofori-Attah, said “Mr Kpoh cannot treat the court’s orders the way he likes.”

It said Kpoh made “dangerous propositions” in his affidavit in support of the defence he filed to purge himself of the contempt motion initiated by the NEC.

Kpoh had argued that he could not be removed from office because there was an automatic seven-day period within which he could ask for stay of execution of the order, but the judge described it as “capably erroneous.

“At the time he filed the motion for stay of execution and the notice of appeal, the restraining orders were still effective,” the judge said, adding: “the authority of the court and the sanctity of the process must be preserved at all times.

“The filing of those notices do not wipe away the force of the court’s ruling. The advice by his counsel was demonstrably wrong,” the judge said.

The court said that the NEC was able to establish beyond reasonable doubt that Kpoh went to the ICU offices in spite of the court’s orders adding that “his intentions may have been good but that did not mean he is not in contempt. He set himself to trivialize the orders of the court”.

Before sentence was pronounced, Mr. Christoph Kofi Koka, counsel for Kpoh, had aplogised for his client’s conduct, adding that “we have purged ourselves and handed over everything including the vehicle to the ICU.

However, Mr. Albert Adaare, representing the NEC, prayed the court to convict Kpoh to serve as a deterrent to others.

The leadership struggle in the ICU started on August 2, when the NEC, declared at a meeting that Kpoh and Mr. Ahmed Yussuf Salifu, chairman of the union, had both been removed on the basis that their tenure of office had expired.

The NEC then went ahead to appoint an Interim Management Committee to steer the affairs of the union until the next congress.

The purported removal of the two resulted in a joint writ being filed on August 6 by Kpoh and Mr. Salifu to halt the action of the NEC, as well as a counter writ by the NEC seeking to restrain the two persons from holding themselves as officers of the union.

The court on August 20, upheld the NEC’s motion and restrained Kpoh and Salifu from holding themselves as executives of the union because their tenure of office had expired.

Pressurise Gov't To Address Human Rights Abuses - Bossman

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday September 10, 2007
THE Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has accused the citizenry of failing to put pressure on government to address human rights issues adequately.

“Are we making sure that government and its institutions pay particular attention to issues on human rights?” CHRAJ Commissioner, Ms Anna Bossman asked rhetorically.

“It is not only the President and the government who should fight t his cause. We all have a constitutional duty to ensure that the problem is adequately addressed”, she said in Accra on Friday when speaking at the end of t he second annual human right s advocates training programme for West and Central Africa.

The two-week programme, which was under the theme “Human Rights and Development – the Millennium Development Goals”, was attended by 30 advocates from West and Central Africa.

It was organized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration wit h the Centre for the study of Human Rights at the Columbia University, New York.

Ms Bossman said: “The human rights situation in the county is not the best but you cannot also say t here has not been improvement over the years.”

She said there was a lot of work to be done in areas such as gender empowerment and addressing of problems affecting the vulnerable in society.

She then called for a change of the mindset of the people appreciates that human rights abuses affected accelerated growth and development.

Ms Boss man said CHRAJ now has a broader mandate to include anti-corruption adding, “with the little resources, we are trying to do the best we can.”

She, however, commended the media for “doing much better” in the fight against human rights abuses and corruption.

Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of MFWA, noted that with the limited resources at it s disposal CHRAJ has lived up to its name. “It is one independent body which has put people’s rights above everything,” he commended.

He called for media support in crusade against human rights abuses saying “we still cannot be complacent of the work we have done so far.”