Monday, May 17, 2010

NUGS back Vandals

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday May 17, 2010
The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) says it supports any effort by the students of Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana to resist attempts by the university authorities to convert the hall into a mixed-gender graduate hall.

In the past weeks, there has been fierce resistance from the students of Commonwealth Hall, popularly called Vandals and its alumni, Old Vandals Association (OVA) not to allow the idea of bringing females to reside in Vandal City, a decision which takes effect from the 2010/2011 academic year.

The university authorities have already said they would not rescind the decision.
In a news release issued in Accra on May 15, 2010 and signed by Wonder Madilo, President of NUGS said “we have as union whose core responsibility is to protect and safeguard the interest of Ghanaian students backed the decision of the Vandals to kick against the decision of the university to convert the hall into a mixed-gender graduate students hall.”

“We however, patiently await the government’s decision on the matter and the long overdue anticipated investigation to bring to book persons who engaged in the acts that was purported to have occurred on that faithful graduation day.”

The release said “the infrastructural base of most of our universities has become near obsolete. The case of the collapse buildings in UG, Legon, KNUST and others are just a mere demonstration of the weak and over aged structures we have on our campuses.”

It said “while it will be prudent to use the internally generated funds and GETFund supports judiciously, all we see most often is the building of facilities of little significance to our course of study including swimming pools and stadia.”

“We therefore call for an independent audit into the disbursement of IGFs of all public tertiary institutions. We also call on GETFund to stop funding such objectionable projects and rather concentrate on the very relevant ones.”

The release called on students to refrain from acts of violence adding “recent alleged acts of violence and indiscipline amongst us must cease. We need each other, Ghana needs us, Africa needs us, the world as whole needs us. It is only with a united front that we can fight our battles.”

On taxes and tariffs the NUGS claimed the National Democratic Congress government had not fulfilled its promise in its manifesto for the 2008 general elections saying “Under the Fiscal Policy of the Manifesto, the NDC promised that the new NDC government will not introduce any new taxes but instead improve tax revenue by introducing reforms in the tax administration, shifting from reliance on direct taxes to indirect taxes and enhancing tax incentives,” asking “why the sudden shift we are not told”.

It asked “who is addressing the case of leakage and non-compliance of the tax payer? What about those evading tax? What are the punitive measures? What is the impact of taxes introduced earlier in this country?”

“The several taxes for example road tolls, ‘Akpeteshie”, (local alcoholic drink), public sector taxes, import duties etc. slapped on Ghanaians have only added to the myriad of the already existing hardship. One will want to question the motivation behind the tax hikes? Couldn’t there be any other way of mobilizing revenue for the State?”

It said the NUGS considers the Volta River Authority request for tariff increases of over 150 per cent as “insensitivity to the plight of the ordinary Ghanaian,” adding “if granted, consumers would pay more than twice what they currently pay for a unit of electricity.”

“We believe that the inefficiency of an institution like VRA cannot be slapped on the consumer. The services are nothing but poor. All around East Legon and other areas have for many years now being experiencing very low voltage and there seems to be no solution to the matter.”

“The economic burden on us as students is getting alarming. We therefore will resist any attempt by Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to impute the inefficiencies of these institutions on us. We call on government to intervene in the matter.”

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday May 17, 2010
A businessman who claims to work for National Security and drops the names of persons in high places is standing trial for allegedly threatening to kill an Economic Consultant.

In court last Friday, the accused Frank Lewi, displayed arrogance before an Accra Circuit Court presided over by D.E.K. Dzaketsey.

It all started after the judge had granted him a GH¢ 5,000 bail with one surety to appear again on June 10, 2010.

As the judge wrote the next adjourned date the accused tried to step out of the dock and a lady court clerk asked him to allow the judge to finish his writing but he appeared not to have been enthused about what the clerk had told him.

He looked at the lady menacingly and a police warrant officer intervened, asking him to behave himself but Lewi appeared to have said something for which the policeman replied “Can you cause the removal of my uniform?”

The court however did not initiate any action against Lewi who had on May 7, 2010, been remanded by the court until last Friday.

When the case was called, Chief Inspector Nana Anim, prosecuting told the court that the prosecution was ready to proceed with the case but counsel for the accused, Ofori Adusei pleaded with the court for an adjournment saying he was not prepared.
Counsel told the court that he was in court to apply for bail for his client and did not know the prosecution was ready to proceed, saying “we were not given any indication we are going to start today.”

The judge then reminded counsel that the Chief Justice did not want cases to be delayed and said the case would start on the next adjourned date.

Counsel then asked for bail for the accused saying his continuous detention was affecting the family of the accused but the prosecutor opposed the application saying the complainant is still living in fear.

The facts of the case are that Lewi and the complainant, Joyce Yawa Amoah are both claiming ownership of a property at Osu.

On April 28, 2010, the two were at the Osu Magistrate Court in a civil case over the property in dispute and when the court went on recess, Lewi without any provocation threatened the complainant to the hearing of the witnesses.

Lewi allegedly threatened “I know where you and your family stay, I and my boys would pursue and when we catch you we would finish you by splitting the stomachs of you and your family and waste you.”

The accused also said “I work at the National Security and nobody can arrest me.”
On May 3, 2010, at about 10 am the complainant said her vehicle was tailed by a group of unknown young men from Gold House to the 37 Military Hospital in Accra where she sought refuge and was later rescued to the Regional Police Headquarters where she lodged a complaint leading to the arrest of Lewi.

Also see: dailyguideghanacom

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Anyidoho Call For Military Audit

Maj. Gen. HK anyidoho is a retired army officer in Ghana

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 15, 2010
A retired senior military officer, Major-General Henry Kwami Anyidoho has bemoaned the falling standards in the military and called for a ‘forensic audit’ of the performance of the various military training institutions particularly the Ghana Military Academy (GMA).

“The military in the past exhibited high standards but where has the standards gone today”, he queried.

Maj. Gen. Anyidoho was delivering the 50th Golden Jubilee Anniversary Lecture of the GMA under the theme “Ghana Military Academy- Past Present and Future”.

The well attended lecture was the third in a series of lectures lined up by the GMA to mark the golden jubilee celebration.

Maj. Gen. Anyidoho said “in the past the military had no room for tribalism and discrimination but today we are witnessing numerous problems which have the potential to derail the gains made so far.”

He said “whilst on a United Nations assignment in Sudan, I met a lot of Ghanaian officers who have retired prematurely and when I enquired from them they told me the military is no longer what it used to be.”

“Some felt discriminated against while others said they had no god-fathers. If the situation is true then the trend must be reversed without any delay.”

He advised the military authorities not initiate any programme that could sow seeds of discord among the rank and file of the military saying “we should not sow seeds of ethnicity. We either stand together or go down.”

He said the officer corps seems to be losing his/her image before the public despite increased intake into the training institutions saying “we should give fresh voice to ancient values.”

He said the military should not undermine moral considerations when it comes to recruitment saying “we should go back to enforce ethical values to make the military a reputable institution.”

“In the midst of this corruptive environment we should be able to hold our own so that our core values are not eroded. Let us return to base and rethink officer training.”

He said officer cadets should be trained to be professionals in order to uphold high standards, adding “you cannot be a good officer in the unit and be a different officer outside.”

Maj. Gen Anyidoho said the military should be able to correct the erroneous impression that soldiers do not have anything to do with the civilian community.

He said the military should not allow politicians to divide them saying “should we sit down for politicians make us see each other and turn away?”

He said the time has come for the GMA to be given the needed resources and infrastructure to be able to train more officers to serve the nation better.

He said the military has a duty to support the growth of the current democratic dispensation saying “I pray and hope that our country would continue to uphold good governance. The more we work towards it the better for the development of the country.”

He said “we want to see our nation develop so that the citizens can boldly speak their minds and we should not do anything to undermine this effort.”

Brigadier General Francis Asiedu Agyemfrah (Rtd) of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) who chaired the lecture said “there is a problem at hand and we should all work together to find solutions to the problems.”

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Thursday, May 13, 2010


A GOIL Tanker offloading fuel

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday May 13, 2010
At a time when the government is struggling to get crude oil for the country, some workers at the Tema Oils Refinery (TOR) have formed syndicates to siphon fuel for sale, illegally at ridiculous prices.

Daily Guide investigations revealed that the syndicate is a well connected one, revolving around those filling the tankers, supervisors, the security and some tanker drivers and their owners.

The end results of their nefarious activities is that the refined oil be it petrol or diesel end up on the streets of Ashiaman Official Town Tanker Yard area where it is mostly offloaded.

It is brisk business at Official Town and is hugely patronized first by commercial drivers and their private counterparts. Even police vehicles and that of the military come around sometimes to enjoy the ‘rape’ from TOR.

It is an open secret on the streets of Ashiaman that fuel is sold cheaply at Official Town and the situation has become a source of worry for filling station proprietors who complain of slump in sales.

For instance a gallon of petrol and diesel are sold at GH¢ 5 .20 and GH¢5. 80 respectively is sold at a lower prices of between GH¢3. 8, GH¢ 4.2 and GH¢ 4.5 respectively at Official Town.

Sources at TOR told Daily Guide that the tankers are overfilled by the syndicate at the refinery and it was the duty of the driver to discharge the excess first before heading to their destinations.

When the Daily Guide visited the area which is very close to a popular field called ‘Kofi Nimoh Park’ it was evident that the nefarious activities have gone on for a very long time.

Young men popularly called ‘Bele Bele’ Boys control the business.

Fuel tankers that frequent the scene mostly belong to Ghana Oil Company (GOIL) and they operate all week with the exception of Sundays.

The minimum numbers of vehicles that discharge fuel daily at the makeshift garage are about eight.

GOIL tankers seen off loading fuel at the scene include GR 2093 Z, GN 2594-09, GE 1062 W, AS 2205N and GW 2230 V, among others.

There was GOIL seals scattered all over the place. The Daily Guide learnt that the seals are to be broken at official discharging points but the criminals break it, offload the fuel and fix similar seals there.

The streets appeared oily as a result of spillages on the ground and almost every household had uncountable number of yellow gallons (Kufuor gallons) filled with either petrol or diesel for sale.

Residents have created makeshift filling stations in their homes while others sell the fuel in gallons packed in many houses.

Any fire outbreak in the area is likely to cause catastrophe.

When contacted on telephone, Cyril Oppong, Public Relations Manager of GOIL said “I am not aware of what the tankers are doing. If confirmed then what they are doing are totally at odds with what GOIL tankers do.”

“The seals are security measures against tampering and should not be broken. It is only broken when it gets to its destination.”

Aba Lokko, Public Relations Manager of TOR, when contacted said she was on leave and was not in a position to comment on the matter. She instead referred Daily Guide to a national security operative for answers.

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I am Innocent Says Tamale Poly Rector

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday May 13, 2010
The Rector of Tamale Polytechnic, Dr. Yakubu Seidu Peligah says he has not indulged in any wrongdoing as far as the running of the polytechnic is concerned.
He said the polytechnic is running what he calls an ‘open door’ administration and would not hide anything from Ghanaians.

Dr. Peligah was reacting to a Daily Guide report published on March 15, 2010.

In the said publication, it was alleged that both teaching and non-teaching staff of the polytechnic were gearing up for what looked like an angry demonstration over the continuous stay in office of Dr. Peligah as the Rector, since his tenure elapsed on February, 28, 2010.

A letter from A. Issah Mahmudu solicitor for Dr. Peligah said “our client feels he should redeem his image not only as respected academic and administrator but also as a responsible and respected citizen who is held in high esteem by his peers and members of his community.”

“The said publication contained libelous material which has the effect of undermining the integrity and reputation of our client”.

Mr. Mahmudu in a telephone interview said the petition purported to have been sent to President John Evans Atta Mills and copied to Alex Tetteh-Enyo, Minister of Education does not exist.

“That document to the best of our knowledge does not exist”

He also said “the document even if it exists was not signed. We do not know the group which is purporting to have sent that document”.

He said nobody or group has voiced out concerns about the leadership style of Dr. Peligah saying “the polytechnic community are co-operative and supportive of the Rector”.

“The publication was an attempt to stir disaffection among the polytechnic community.”

Mr. Mahmudu admitted that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) once investigated the Rector but said “we are not aware of any SFO report which has indicted the Rector of any involvement in any form of financial malfeasance.”

“The SFO investigated my client. I was his counsel. They did not find any wrong doing on his part. He is a clean man.”

On the issue of termination of appointments of some staff at the polytechnics, Mr. Mahmudu said “these are cases pending before the courts and we are awaiting the outcome”.

He said “there is no student or labour unrest. My client believes in freedom of association and things are going on as expected.”

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Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Ghana Post Boils

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday April 12, 2010
Tension is mounting at Ghana Post, the nation’s premier postal service, following alleged attempts by the Board to force the company’s management to expunge retirement benefits from the yet to be approved Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA)
The CBA was due to be signed on May 5, 2010 but a purported interference from the board to get the management to expunge the retirement benefits from the agreement put the exercise on hold.

Yesterday, at the Ghana Post Head Office in Accra, a durbar organized by the Management headed by the Acting Managing Director, Nicholas Derry was snubbed by the workers.

The durbar was organized at the behest of the board to discuss “pertinent issues” but the workers claimed it was a platform for both the management and the board to cajole them to accept the CBA without the retirement package.

The workers said they would continue to work but would not be part of any durbar arranged by the management.

They said they would only listen to their leaders and advised the management to channel any communication through the union.

The Communications Workers Union of the Trades Union Congress in a notice signed by its General Secretary James Lartey has already expressed its disappointment about the Ghana Post Management’s attitude towards the handling of the CBA.

The notice had said that the decision to await the a meeting between the management and board and the union before the CBA is signed is “a bad practice.”

The workers have already raised red flags over the management’s style of leadership as well as the board’s interference in the running of the day-to-day administration of the company.

The workers in an interview with the Daily Guide said “we want the management and the board to know that the retirement benefit issue is a no-go area. It is our blood. They should not attempt to remove it from the CBA.”

“They are telling us that they want to get rid of the retirement package and make use of the provident fund that we contribute with our own money. It cannot be possible.”

“We do not need their durbar. We want them to speak to our union leaders at the negotiation table so that our leaders would then get back to us. What they are trying to do is unacceptable.”

“They are always complaining that there is no money for Ghana Post yet they managed to purchase brand new land cruisers for top management members.”

The workers said even though Ghana Post had a well structured strategic plan, the management with the approval of the board threw it aside and engaged another consultant to get them the same strategic plan at the cost of 50,000 dollars.

They claimed that the management was planning to change the logo of Ghana Post and had already sunk millions of cedis into the project.

They also said the board takes home GH¢ 350 as sitting allowance while some of the worker’s monthly salaries are not up to GH¢ 150.

“We have to commend our union for restraining us
from doing anything untoward about the situation. Our salaries are nothing to write home about yet we give off our maximum best. We have sacrificed enough.”

“If they insist on cancelling the retirement benefits then they are in for trouble. We will resist it with all our might. We cannot work for so many years and go retire on nothing.”

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Who Burnt JJ's House...Fire Service Speaks

Ex-President JJ Rawlings had a shock of his life when his house was gutted on Valentin's Day

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 11, 2010
The Ghana National Fire Service says though it has concluded investigations into the fire that ravaged the Ridge residence of former President Jerry John Rawlings, it has no clue as to what caused the fire, immediately setting tongues wagging as to the fire source of the bizarre fire which completely razed down the building.

According to the Head of Public Relations Directorate of the Fire Service, Sam Sowah Oblejumah, the fire men who investigated the Valentine day incident could not established the cause of the inferno.

Mr Sowah Oblejumah told Joy FM yesterday that after months of investigating the incident, investigators’ report was not able to technically pinpoint the cause, but suspected upsurge of power.

“Talking about the cause of the fire, from our report it was undetermined, but it is suspected that during that early hours of 14th February there were power fluctuations so we are suspecting that it might have been caused by the upsurge of an electrical current.”

However a security analyst with Kofi Annan International Peace Training Centre, dr Kwesi Aning described the outcome of the investigation as unacceptable. “It is most unfortunate. The President should let them go back”, he told Joy Fm yesterday.
Dr Aning suggested that the investigators could have used forensic method to probe the incident.

A group calling itself the Ghana Youth Movement (GYM) had threatened to go public if the report of the fire incident in which a New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Darkwa Baafi is standing trial is not made public.
The group said it had intercepted a report of

the investigation and if the government failed to release it within the next 14 days it would go public.

Speculations were rife that the February 14, 2010 fire at the Rawlings Ridge residence might have been deliberately orchestrated in order to relocate the former First Family, a comment which landed Nana Darkwa in trouble.

But with the ‘no show’ report from the Fire Service, the speculation is gaining grounds with suggestion that the fire was the handiwork of arsonist who might an insider of the house.

Mr Sowah Oblejumah explained that the outcome was not unusual, since internationally, such incidents are sometimes “technically undetermined.

“What we are telling the public is this, yes we have conducted our investigations, submitted our reports to the National Security Council and the Interior Ministry, and all that we are saying is that, at the time that we conducted our investigations we could not concretely establish the actual cause of the fire.”

He therefore asked the public to shelve all suspicions and stop speculations on the incident because the “professionals” have done their job on it.

Former First Lady, Nana Konadu Rawlings and one of her daughters, Yaa Asantewaa, who were in the house at the time of the fire, escaped unhurt.

On Valentine’s Day on February 14, 2010, Ghanaians woke up to the news that the Ex-President’s residence at North Ridge in Accra had been gutted, destroying property worth millions of Cedis.

But the GYM claims it has intercepted the findings of the investigations leading to the burning of the Ex-President’s house and are threatening to make it public should the government refuse to make public the findings of the committee’s report within 14 days.

A news release issued in Accra and jointly signed by Kwabena Tandoh, Oti Boateng and Nana Prempeh Agyemang, executives of the GYM said the disaster has generated huge public debate and the taxpayers money have been used to conduct investigations into the matter and the government did not have to delay in releasing the report.

“Three months after the unfortunate fire disaster of the First President of the 4th Republic of Ghana, on the 14th of February 2010, which has generated a lot of public debate and also lead to the incarceration of a Ghanaian youth and his subsequent prosecution in court, the country has been very anxious to know exactly what happened and also some recommendations which will be offered by the committee to avoid such disasters in future.”

GYM said “however the committee even though has finished it work after almost three months, the government has failed to make the findings public and this gives much concern to us.”

The group said that “documents that are in the possession of the GYM, eye witness accounts by the security personnel attached to the house, the occupants of the house, and many other statements by the Fire Service personnel that got to the house four minutes after the fire started, and some, findings give rise to future investigations, if what we have seen are the vivid account of their statements to the committee.”

The GYM said “we have our doubt if the committee’s report will be accepted by the one who set it up and the general public since the debris that was supposed to be used by investigators in their investigations as it is done in every fire situation were cleared the following day the house got burnt leaving nothing to be investigated.

“The house was to have been cordoned off until all investigations are done including criminal investigations which could not have been ruled out, and if a forensic investigations was to take place will be impossible to do.”

The GYM said “with the release of the report, the recommendations by the committee will help in preventing such accidents in other state houses, properties and institutions, such as installing smoke detectors in all state houses, and also insuring them if necessary so that the state will not lose much if such disasters happen, especially in the case of rebuilding.

“We hope the committee will heed to our call to make the findings available, to finally clear the minds of every Ghanaian who is much interested to know what exactly happened and the steps we are taking so that such disasters do not happen again,” the GYM said.

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Old Vandals Spit Fire

Alhaji Razak El Alawa (standing), media liaison of OVA at the press conference. With him are (from L-R) Kwaku Bram Larbi, Kwame Takyi, John Mbroh, Isaac Nketia Sarpong and Kofi Abogah

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 11, 2010
The Old Vandals Association (OVA) of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana has broken its silence, calling on the university authorities to “suspend immediately the decision to make the hall a mixed gender, post graduate hall.”

They however could not tell what they would do if the university authorities proceeded to implement the decision.

Since the Executive Committee of the university took the decision to close down the Commonwealth Hall also known as Vandal City and convert it into a mixed gender and graduate hall, there have been several protestations particularly from current students of the hall.

Sensing that the university authorities is bent on implementing the decision, beginning 2010/2011 academic year, the OVA which is the alumni of the Commonwealth Hall has come out strongly to object to the decision.

At an emotionally charged news conference in Accra yesterday, Alhaji Razak El Alawa, moderator of the conference said “there is something fishy in the decision. There is a gang up by those who are not products of the great hall but are in positions of authority and want to use their positions to emasculate the Vandals.”

He said “we want the university authorities to know that we are not happy about the decision. We are not challenging their authority but we strongly object to that decision,”

Outlining steps taken so far to get the decision reversed, John Mbroh, Acting President of the Old Vandals Association said the Old Vandals acted with expediency by rendering an unqualified apology to dignitaries at the March 13, congregation of the university when news got to them that some students had disrupted the congregation and had caused embarrassment to the dignitaries.

He said they stated in the apology letter that that the apology rendered was without prejudice to any disciplinary action which the university might take against those who would be identified as taking part in the disruption of the congregation.

“After our letter, our attention was drawn to a pronouncement that it had been decided on April 28, 2010 among other things, to convert Commonwealth Hall into a graduate hall and will admit both male and female students. It is worth noting that the said announcement was made on Radio Universe by no less a person than Prof. Kwesi Yankah, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university”

Mr. Mbroh said that the Disciplinary Committee of the university had been sitting over the disruption of the congregation and was yet to conclude its investigations and submit its report saying “OVA finds it strange and unacceptable that the whole of the Commonwealth Hall including porters is being made to suffer for actions, the subject of which is still under investigations.”

“We have it on authority that the chairman of the Residence Board in the person of Prof. Kwesi Yankah, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the university had sadly enough stated that the matter was meant only for information and implementation, and not for discussion.”

Mr. Mbroh said the students themselves have taken certain steps including a meeting with Vice President John Dramani and a peaceful procession to get the decision overturned and the OVA had been counseling them on the need to use dialogue to resolve the matter.

“We as OVA do not condone indiscipline, unruly and riotous behaviour as well as any other form of untoward conduct. We however believe that as alumni and stakeholders of the University of Ghana, we ought to have at least been consulted before any such decision to make Commonwealth Hall a mix gender, graduate hall was taken.”

He called on former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan who is the Chancellor of the university, the government, media and the public to intervene in the matter, saying “we pledge to work with the university authorities towards maintaining standards of discipline and excellence at the university.”

Asked what they would do if the university authorities went ahead to enforce the decision, Mr. Mbroh said “we will stand on this appeal for now. When we get to the river we will know how to cross it.”

During questions and answers, Kwaku Bram-Larbi, a legal practitioner and an old Vandal said “we want the status quo to remain. We would not mind bringing in graduate students but not women.”

“The university authorities are trying to visit past sins upon the present students. They are giving the dog a terrible name to hang it.”

After the news conference, the Old Vandals who were later joined by current students at the Ghana International Press Center chanted and sang some of the hall’s notable slogans.

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Friday, May 07, 2010

Ivorien Embassy outlines activities for 50 years of Indece.

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May 7,2010
As part of activities to commemorate 50 years of independence of the Republic of Cote d’Ivoire, its embassy in Accra has outlined series of activities to mark the occasion.

Cote d’ Ivoire, known as the Ivory Coast which borders Ghana on the west, gained independence from its colonial masters France on August 7, 1960, and would chalk 50 on August 7.

Some of the activities outlined include flag raising ceremony, a joint Cote d’Ivoire/Ghana Industrial and Trade Fair, a forum on sustainable cocoa economy, investment conference as well as a musical concert where international artists from both countries would perform.

Cote d’Ivoire together with Ghana produce 60 per cent of the world’s cocoa and aside that, Cote d’Ivoire is the world’s leading producer of rubber and the second leading producer of cashew nut.

Launching the programme of activities at a well attended ceremony in Accra on Wednesday, Emmanuel Auguste Ackah, Cote d’Ivoire Ambassador to Ghana said his country formerly known for its peace and stability had gone through military and political crisis but following the Ouagadougou Political Agreement under the initiative of President Laurent Gbagbo “this conflict which can be traced deep back into history, is now behind us.”

He said the socio-political upheaval thwarted their effort to build a prosperous nation adding “we have put the past behind us and we are moving towards an ideal economic development.”

Ambassador Ackah said the people of Cote d’Ivoire have now resolved to support one another to make their country grow saying “the investment opportunities that abound in my country is enormous.”

He stressed the need for a strengthened partnership between his country and Ghana commended the government of Ghana and the Ghana COCOBOD for their support for the government and people of Cote d’Ivoire.

He said “President Gbagbo and President Mills are focusing on the historic, cultural, economic and agricultural similarities we have as nieghbours and these similarities make is duty bound for us to work hand in hand to boost our economies and promote sub-regional integration by serving as role models”.

Mr. Seth Adjei-Baah, Member of Parliament for Nkawkaw and Vice President of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce who was the guest of honour noted that although the two countries’ economies depend hugely on agriculture there was little to show in terms of trade and commerce between them.

“There are numerous products that the two countries could trade in to bring prosperity to their people but we prefer exporting our products to Europe where we help them to create their wealth.”

He said “If we are able to trade among ourselves as Africans we shall be able to retain money in our respective countries for accelerated development. With strong political will, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire should be able to bring economic integration in the sub-region.”

Alsos see:

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Vandals March to Castle

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday April 6, 2010
Barring any hitch, students of the Commonwealth Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon will today storm the Castle in Osu to petition President J.E.A Mills who is cooling off in Equatorial Guinea over the decision by the university’s authorities to turn the famous hall into a mixed hall for graduate students.

The Vandals as they are affectionately called have vowed to hit the streets in a massive demonstration even if the police decide not to offer them protection or even allow them to embark on the exercise.

But the Greater Accra Regional Police Command says it may not be possible for the students to demonstrate because they did not follow up to discuss with the police the route to be used for the demonstration.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Cyprian Zenge of the Regional Police Public Relations Directorate confirmed to the Daily Guide in a telephone interview that they indeed received a notice from the students to go on demonstration.
He said the letter was written on April 30, 2010 and sent to the police command on May 2, 2010.

He however said the police told the leadership of the students to meet them to discuss the routes for the demonstration but they (students) did not turn up.
“They are supposed to come to us to tell us the routes that they will be using for the demonstration so that we can consider it if it is convenient but as I speak to you they are still not here.

“We are ever ready to keep the peace of the nation and would not allow anybody to create problems. They have their rights under the constitution to demonstrate but they should follow proper procedure”.

When the Daily Guide visited the campus of Ghana’s premier university yesterday at 9:15 am, tension was very high and there was a sizeable police presence to prevent the students from causing any mayhem.

At Vandal City, most of the students were in their usual red regalia and some chanted the hall’s slogans.

The students who hanged around the entrance of the hall did not appear to have examination papers to write.

Earlier on, media reports suggesting that the Vandals were trying to disrupt the examination currently underway at the university but when the Daily Guide got to the Central Cafeteria where most of the students had converged to write their papers there was calm and the examination was going on as scheduled.

Reports said they caused delay in writing the early morning papers.

Dr. Francis Baniru, Chief Examiner, later told journalists that the examination was delayed for several minutes with answer booklets and an identity card snatched from the owners by some of the irate Vandals.

Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Matthew Tetteh in charge of the Legon Police who led the police patrol team said “so far everything is calm but we will still remain here to ensure that the students do not cause any mayhem.”

“We are still advising them to remain calm and not take the law into their own hands. We are telling them to use appropriate channels to seek redress in this matter.”

Bernard Oduro Takyi popularly called Bernardo, a former Junior Common Room (JCR) President asked the students to exercise restraint as the leadership of the hall tries to dialogue with the university authorities over the issue.

He assured ASP Tetteh and his team that the Vandal leadership would use dialogue to get the decision reversed and not endorse any acts of violence.

A senior tutor of the hall, Dr. Edzada later in a telephone interview said “we have spoken to them. We are still meeting them. They should not do anything to cause public disaffection”.

“I understand that the Vandals are going to meet Vice President John Mahama. The SRC has also come in. We hope amicable solution would be found for calm to return”.

It would be recalled that during the university’s congregation on March 13, 2010, some students of the Commonwealth Hall, nearly disrupted the event by allegedly heckling former the UN boss, some officials of the university and other dignitaries.

The students heckled the former UN Secretary General and chanted songs in his face and he reportedly suffered the unpleasant experience along with invited guests and parents of graduands.

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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Insurance industry not there yet... Says Commissioner

Professor Naana Opoku, Vice Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, presenting certificate to a graduand

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday May 5, 2010
The Commissioner of Insurance, Nyamikeh Kyiamah has admitted that despite the resurgence in the insurance industry, the sector still faces “critical challenges.”

“Despite competition in the insurance industry, penetration is still low. Majority of the businesses are still in the informal sector and this is a huge challenge for us as players in this industry,” she added.

Mrs. Kyiamah was speaking at the 3rd graduation of the Ghana Insurance College (GIC) in Accra on Friday.

The college was founded in 2006 by the National Insurance Commission (NIC), Ghana Insurers Association (GIA), Ghana Insurance Brokers Association (GIBA) and the Insurance Institute of Ghana (IIG) to train, develop and mentor insurance professionals to excel in the practice of the profession.

In all, over 200 students graduated with Diploma in Applied Insurance Studies.
Mrs. Kyiamah said even though the agriculture sector remains the backbone of the economy, it continues to receive little attention and support from the insurance industry.

“All these developments are challenges that confront the industry and we need to face it with the view of developing appropriate programmes for the agric sector,” she observed.

She noted that for the insurance industry to grow and actively support the country’s economy there was the need for quality human resource, adding that “the college is helping to build the capacity of those in the industry.”

The Director of the college, Justice Ofori said they were committed to providing the cutting edge that was needed to develop Ghana and the entire continent.

“We have revitalized our programmes to meet the challenges confronting the insurance industry,” he indicated.

Mr. Ofori noted that since the inception of the college about 64 short courses had been organized for 832 students, saying we would be starting programmes in Kumasi for those in the northern sector.”

The NIC Board Chairman, Frederick Quaye Nortey disclosed that the insurance industry was positioning itself to meet the challenges that the emerging oil and gas industry would bring.

He said they had adopted measures to make the college a center of excellence.

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No Rule of Law in Ghana...Says Laari Bimi

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday May 5, 2010
The Chairman of the National Commission on Civic Education (NCCE),Laari Bimi says there is no rule of law in Ghana.

“I do not think there is rule of law in this country because if there is, people particularly those in high places would not commit crimes and indulge in wrongdoings with impunity.”

Mr. Bimi was speaking at the 10th Annual Constitution Week at Burma Camp, the Military Headquarters in Accra yesterday.

The lecture which was organized by Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) was under the theme ‘The role of the Ghana Armed Forces in enhancing constitutionalism through effective citizens’ participation for good governance.’

The NCCE bss said that those whose mandate it is to enforce the law had made it look as if it is only the poor and the vulnerable that could be punished for wrongdoing adding “people particularly the powerful in Ghana persistently flout the law and get away with it.”

He said for instance that there was a time in the history of the United States of America where President Bush’s daughter was fined by a court for drink driving but said “this cannot happen in Ghana. The law enforcer would not be allowed to enforce the law.”

He said “we have politicians who promise sun and moon and when they win power you cannot believe they are the same people.”

The 1992 Constitution has well defined parameters for the country to grow but until we make rule of law work to the letter and spirit we cannot succeed and move this country to where we want it to be”.

He said the insecurity in the nation had been heightened by the numerous chieftaincy disputes and conflicts and needed to be tackled head on, saying “our traditional system is under siege and we are pretending that everything is normal.”

Mr. Bimi also said widespread corruption had brought endemic poverty and called on the government to strengthen the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to be able to stem the tide, saying “we cannot promote good governance if we persistently elevate an elitist society.”

“Due to corrupt practices, development is not forthcoming as expected. There is no housing for the people. Citizens continue to sleep on the streets. Where is the good governance?”

He also complained about the way and manner the media is being misused saying “we are in a country where rumour has become the order of the day. There would be a time when there would be a social revolution if we do not stop they way we are running the country”

He said the time has come for the military to reposition itself to be able to take up the challenges that is confronting the nation.

Wing Commander A.G. Asamoa of the Ghana Armed Forces Legal Department in his lecture said the numerous chieftaincy conflicts in the country are posing a threat to the security and stability of the nation.

He however said the chieftaincy institution had survived the test of time and it was unthinkable for anybody to suggest that the institution should be abolished.

“Chieftaincy cannot be abolished. It has existed for centuries and many people owe allegiance to the institution. If anybody makes attempts to abolish it there will be conflagration.”

Wg. Cdr. Asamoa also noted that even though the military had preyed on the various constitutions, “there is a consensus that the 1992 Constitution must stay.”

“Democratic rule is the best and the GAF has the responsibility to protect the constitution. It is a responsibility which should not be underrated.”

He urged military personnel to continue to exhibit professionalism by showing impartiality, equity and treat all ethnic groups equally.

“We should help the citizens to participate in the democratic process by ensuring that there is stability in the country. We should not take sides and help one group gain undue advantage over the others in an electoral process.”

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Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Legon Vandals Resist Girls

Commonwealth Hall (Vandal City)is a famous hall in the University of Ghana, Legon

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 4, 2010
From all indications, there is going to be fierce resistance from residents of the Commonwealth Hall (Vandals) of the University of Ghana with the decision by the university’s authorities to turn it into a mixed hall for graduate students.

The hall has over the past 54 years served as an all-male hall, but the Executive Committee of the university issued a directive at the weekend that with effect from the 2010/2011 academic year which commences in August, the Commonwealth Hall would no longer be a single sex hall.

The decision follows series of rowdy conducts by vandal, with particular reference to the heckling of the Former United Nations (UN) Secretary General and Chancellor of the University, Kofi Annan.

When the Daily Guide visited the Vandal City on Saturday, it was visible that the students were not enthused about the decision and were bent on resisting it.

A source told the Daily Guide that since news broke that the hall was to admit female students; residents had been having series of meetings to strategise to kick against the decision.

They intend to organize a news conference by Tuesday over the issue and follow it up with what they call a “massive demonstration”, a source said.

The Daily Guide learnt that the leadership of the hall had already gone to serve the police with documents on their intended demonstration.

It would be recalled that during the university’s congregation on March 13, 2010, some students of the Commonwealth Hall, nearly disrupted the event by allegedly heckling former the UN boss, some officials of the university and other dignitaries.

The students heckled the former UN Secretary General and chanted songs in his face and he reportedly suffered the unpleasant experience along with invited guests and parents of graduands.

A news release on March 23, 2010 which followed the incident and signed by J.M. Boadu, Registrar of the university had said “management would like to assure the university community, the alumni, and the general public that steps are currently being taken, to deal decisively with the culprits, and others whose actions tend to subvert good order and discipline, thereby tarnishing the good name of the premier university.”

The release condemned what it called “the students’ unruly behaviour” and said “it tarnished the image of the university”.

The release said “the Vice-Chancellor has since sent an official apology to the Chancellor and former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan, assuring him that the university will spare no effort in identifying and applying disciplinary sanctions to those involved,” adding “the Vice Chancellor’s letter assured the Chancellor that the university would take decisive steps to ensure that the unfortunate incident does not recur.”

Later on the Hall Council and the old Vandals Association of the Commonwealth Hall also condemned the act and apologised to Mr. Annan.

Media reports has it that not satisfied with the apologies, the Executive Committee of the University, after discussing the issue, found it necessary to convert the hall into a mixed hall for graduate students, as a means of forestalling any further embarrassing occurrences.

A senior tutor of the hall, Dr. Edzada, on Friday told Citifmonline that the entire student body of the university has been accordingly informed about the decision and disclosed that the Commonwealth Hall Council was yet to receive any formal information from the Executive Committee of the university, saying “the whole University community has been informed that the hall will be turned into a graduate hall from next academic year, for male and female.”

Already, some old students of the hall have also expressed shock at the decision to convert the hall into a mixed hall.

A former Chief Vandal of the Hall, now a Legal Practitioner and Managing Editor of Ghanaian Observer, Egbert Faibille, told Citi FM that he is shocked about the development.

"I think that this is a very sad decision and I am very surprised," he stated. He said even though he did not support the heckling of the Former UN Boss and the constant unruly behavior of students, it would have been appropriate for the University authority to consult the alumni since they were also stakeholders.

Egbert. Faibille further explained that transforming the Commonwealth Hall was not the only solution to deal with indiscipline which is found in almost in every human institution.

He however called for calm on the part of the present students of the hall and urged the leaders of the hall to ensure that the right things are done.

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Press Freedom Day Marked

Ransford Tetteh (left) and Kabral Blay Amihere (middle) being assisted to hoist the GJA flag with John Tia Akologu (extreme right ) ready to hoist Ghana flag

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 4, 2010
This years’ World Press Freedom Day was marked yesterday in Accra with a passionate appeal to government to step up efforts to pass the Right to Information (RTI) Bill into law.

Various speakers at the function however said the Bill, in its present state, would not enhance the democratic dispensation to serve the development interests of the nation as well as satisfy fully the provisions of Article 21 of the 1992 Constitution.

The Press Freedom Day was celebrated under the theme, “Freedom of Information: The right to know” and carried live on Ghana Television (GTV).

Ghana is currently ranked number one in Africa and 27th in the world, according to Reporters Without Borders, which monitors press and media freedom in the world.
Speaker upon speaker stressed the need for legislators to facilitate the passage of the RTI Bill, but they noted that it should be scrutinized properly in order to get a suitable law for the country.

The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) President, Ransford Tetteh set the tone at the well-attended ceremony at the Ghana International Press Center when he appealed to Parliament not to rush into passing the Bill in its current state but rather engage civil society and other stakeholders to ensure that “we have a law that is in accordance with international standards and helps to promote transparency and accountability.”

Mr. Tetteh said a credible Freedom of Information Law and Broadcasting Law when fully implemented would lead to best practices and compel the media to promote quality in the dissemination of information.

Nana Oye Lithur, Coordinator of the Right to Information Coalition said, “It has taken us about six years to have these Bills tabled before Parliament, but our position is that the Bill, when passed in this state, would not serve the interest of the nation.”

She said there are portions in the Bill that needed to be straightened before passage to ensure that Article 21 of the Constitution is fully realized.

Mrs. Lithur mentioned that the Bill should be able to propose the appointment an independent commissioner to implement the provisions as against the present provision whereby the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice has the responsibility to implement the law in order to prevent conflict of interest.

“Ghanaians should take interest in this Bill and contribute towards its passage and structures to ensure that we can access information, which must first be put in place,” she emphasized.

A representative of Private Newspapers Association of Ghana (PRINPAG) said, “Whilst we are eager to see the RTI Law come into force we are not willing to accept one riddled with many potholes that are likely to make the law ineffective.”

A representative of the Friederich Ebert Foundation called on stakeholders to tackle contentious issues in the Bill before its passage in order to safeguard the public’s right to know.

Vicky Wereko Andoh, President of the Institute of the Public Relations Ghana revealed that the right to know would be beneficial for governance and needed to be pursued vigorously.

The Acting United Nations Resident Representative commended Ghana for its vibrant media, saying the right to information is a necessity for good governance.

Professor Kwame Karikari, who is a leading member of an Advocacy Committee that is pushing for a Broadcasting Law, called on the government to facilitate the process of enacting a broadcasting law to bring about order and professionalism in the broadcasting industry.

Chief P.A. Crystal-Djirackor, Vice President of Ghana Broadcasters Association said the draft broadcasting law should be open to dialogue to make room for emerging technology.

Kojo Oppong of the Ghana Community Radio Network said the right to know cannot be a luxury but rather a necessity which the government must make it possible for the ordinary people.

William Ampem-Darko, Director General of the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) noted, “The anachronistic GBC Act of 1968 must be reviewed so that we can play a very effective role. GBC is for the public and not the megaphone of any pressure group.”

The Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu, who was the guest of honour, said the RTI Bill represents an important instrument for the public to hold the government and other actors accountable.”

He disclosed that the government is committed to ensuring that both the RTI Bill and the Broadcasting Bill are passed into law to inspire the media to ‘qualitative journalism’.

Kabral Blay-Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), which has oversight responsibility over the media, mentioned that his outfit was faced with numerous challenges which had made supervision difficult.

He said currently the NMC does not have computers and internet facilities to enable them to do proper monitoring of the media landscape.

Mr. Blay-Amihere, who was the Chairman of the occasion, also said there is undue politicization and polarization of the media, stressing that standards in the country had fallen.

“The commission is beset with complex issues such as how to deal with pornography and hate speeches in the media,” he stressed.

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Sunday, May 02, 2010

My Lord Jail Me- ‘Cocaine’ Man Tells Court

Sam Sarfo Kantanka (pictured)swallowed 96 pellets of cocaine

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 1, 2010
The 56-year old music producer grabbed for attempted drug trafficking has admitted that he swallowed cocaine.

“My Lord, I did it. I am guilty of offence. There is no need for remand, just sentence me so that I can go in peace,” the accused, Sam Sarfo Kantanka confessed before the Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Charles Quist yesterday.

It was Kantanka’s maiden appearance before the a court of law following his arrest at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) on Tuesday April 27, 2010 by officials of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB).

He had attempted to smuggle narcotic substance believed to be cocaine on board a British Airway BA 78.

According to officials of the NACOB, Kantanka had swallowed 96 pellets of cocaine and upon his arrest expelled all the narcotic substance.

When the case was called, Kantanka had no lawyer and the prosecution was represented by Asiamah Sampong, a Chief State Attorney.

The prosecutor then announced himself and asked the court to remand the accused but Kantanka signaled the court clerk that he had something to tell the court and when asked to speak, made the confessions.

After explaining himself, Justice Quist said even though the accused was requesting to plead guilty, the court needed to follow the rule which meant asking the prosecution to send the narcotic substance to the Ghana Standards Board for analysis.

The judge told Kantanka, “I will not record you now. Come to court again on May 27 to tell your story. For now let us allow the police to send the substance for analysis”.

The facts of the case are that Kantanka, a resident of Sowutuom in Accra was arrested on Tuesday at the KIA on suspicion that he was carrying narcotic drugs.

He was using a Ghanaian passport with number H1894034 and while going through boarding formalities his urine was tested and it proved positive for cocaine.

He was then picked up for interrogation where he admitted swallowing cocaine.

Kantanka then told his interrogators that the narcotic drugs was given to him by a man called Stone to be delivered to one Obroni for a fee of £4,000.

The prosecution said the suspect Kantanka used two days to expel 96 pellets.

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