Friday, July 30, 2010

ICU, Police clash at Castle




Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 30, 2010
What started as a peaceful demonstration by the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union (ICU) to protest against ‘killer’ utility tariffs almost turned ‘bloody’ when the police tried to stop the demonstrators from joining the leadership of the ICU at the Castle, Osu.

Some ICU executives, led by the Acting General Secretary Gilbert Awinongya, had gone to the Castle to present their petition to President J.E.A Mills to force the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC) to review the outrageous utility tariffs. The demonstrators decided to move to the Castle to join their leaders when the latter kept too long at the seat of government.

They had converged on the Independence Square as agreed upon with the police after embarking on a 45-minute march amid singing and dancing from the TUC Headquarters through to the Old Parliament House, Cocoa Affairs Court, Ministries Police Station and then to the parade grounds to await the outcome of the meeting of their executives with the President.

After about an hour of standing under the sun, they became ‘charged’ and started marching towards the Castle.

Some had alleged that if they did not go to the Castle their leaders could be ‘tipped’ by the government while others said once other demonstrators had always gone to the Castle they also had the right to be there.

The about 70 policemen on duty who were partially armed had it tough controlling the demonstrators who at that time were becoming very loud.

They started moving towards the Castle crossroads but were fiercely prevented by the police and some National Security operatives when they were about 50 meters to the crossroad where another batch of policemen ostensibly from the Castle who were heavily armed had taken position.

The incident created heavy vehicular and human traffic on the Tema Station-Osu stretch of the Accra-Tema road.

The police then called for re-inforcement and within a period of 35 minutes, heavily armed policemen wielding different riot control equipment, started arriving from the various divisions in the region.

The police after the re-inforcement managed to overpower the demonstrators and pushed them back to the parade grounds where out of frustration, most of the demonstrators left in their buses without waiting for their leaders to return from the Castle to brief them.

The professionalism with which the police handled the situation ensured that not a single bullet was fired or teargas canisters fired either.

The few that remained were carefully monitored by the police until the ICU leaders returned to the Castle to brief them on what had transpired.

Mr. Awinongya told them that they were met on arrival at the Castle by a Deputy Chief of Staff Ms. Valerie Sawyer and Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, a deputy Minister of Information and during the interaction Ms. Sawyer had said the government had assumed that organized labour involved only the Ghana Trades’ Union Congress (GTUC).

“She apologised to us and promised that the government was going to look into our petition.”

Mr. Awinongya also said “we were assured that the government was going to ask the PURC to rethink the increases in tariffs. At least, we have been able to demonstrate the ICU spirit and we also thank the government for receiving us.”

Before embarking on the demonstration, Mr. Awinongya had addressed the members at the forecourt of the TUC saying “what we are doing should not be politicised.

The ICU has never been engaged in any arrangement to discuss tariffs. The high tariffs are threatening our sources of livelihood. It is killing local industries.”

“We cannot be talking about job creation when we are laying off workers, when local industries are dying. When you kill the private sector you kill all Ghanaians.”

Mr. Freeman Kumashie, Deputy Regional Operations Commander who was among the police officers ensuring a peaceful demonstration, initially commended the demonstrators for comporting themselves and following instructions but later said “I did not know what motivated them to cause confusion. All the same, nothing untoward happened.”

There were several placards condemning the government and the PURC for bringing hardship to Ghanaian workers.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

SSNIT Explains Disposal of Housing Units


Posted on : www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 29, 2010
The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) says it has decided to dispose off all the 782 housing units currently under rent to be able to “safeguard the Trust’s investment in real estate.”

The Trust is also citing “inflationary trend in the country in the past years” as another reason for the disposal of the properties.

As a result, all persons occupying the two-bedroom housing units of SSNIT in any part of the country would have to cough out a staggering GH¢ 25, 000.00 (¢250, 000, 000.00) by November 30, 2010 or forfeit the property, which is less than four months.

It comes at a time when the government is making strenuous efforts to provide decent accommodation to the people and reduce the housing deficit in the country.

CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE has learnt that the SSNIT board has given its approval for the management to compel tenants in those housing units to pay the hefty amount before November 30, 2010.

A notice sighted by this paper headlined, “Notice of offer for sale of SSNIT workers housing unit and review of sale value,” confirms that the decision to sell the houses, which has already been communicated to the occupants.

It was signed by Baffour Akoto on behalf of the Legal Services Manager and copied to the General Manager/IDD and Properties Manager respectively.

The notice cited “inflationary trends and the need to safeguard the trust’s investment in her real estate” as reasons for the decision.

It said, “Please be informed that due to inflationary trend in the country for the past years and the need to safeguard the trust’s investment in real estate, it has become imperative for the existing sale prices of all SSNIT workers housing units in the country to be reviewed.”

Consequently, the notice said that the sale value of the two-bedroom flat allocated to tenants “has been reviewed upwards to GH¢ 25, 000.00 with effect from June 1, 2010.”

“Kindly take further notice that SSNIT has decided not to rent its flats or housing units anymore and has decided to divest or dispose off its interest in the said units or facilities to prospective buyers interested in purchasing same,” it noted.

In an interview with CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE in Accra on Monday, George A. Baafi, Properties Manager of SSNIT said, “This decision has been in the public domain since the 1990s. The Trust gave them ample time and every opportunity to take steps to buy the properties but they refused.”

He said the Trust is getting overwhelmed by the high cost of maintenance of the properties, explaining that “the occupants want the Trust to use contributions from people to re-fix everything including water tanks and dislodge septic tanks and even kitchen sinks.”

Mr. Baafi added, “We cannot hold the properties as long as the tenants are not ready to buy them and we still maintain them at higher cost.”

Eva Amegashie, Head of Public Affairs noted that the “tenants are not prepared to take up responsibility because the property belongs to the government. This is not the first time we are going to sell our properties. The greatest majority has already purchased their properties and we have approached this exercise with a human face.”

Kwasi Adomako of the Properties Department revealed that “SSNIT has succeeded in selling 6386 units. There are only 782 left to be sold. Some of our tenants even gave out the properties to third parties while others use them for purposes close to hotel business but when we get to know we re-possess the facility.”

Ruling for Tarzan, Mpiani




Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani are on trial and Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 29, 2010
An Accra Fast Track High Court will on August 10, 2010, decide on whether or not to prosecute Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani for causing financial loss to the state in the matters of Ghana@50.

The court presided over by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau of the Court of Appeal however made it clear that the court could only deliver the ruling “subject to the approval of the Chief Justice in view of the legal vacation” which commences on August 1,2010.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat and Mr. Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration and also the Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration have been put on trial by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for the various roles they played during the 50th Independence Anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

However, the two NPP stalwarts are saying that the charges preferred against them by the state “is a violation of their constitutional right under Articles 278 (1) (a) and 280 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution,” but the state insists the two men have a case to answer in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

At their maiden appearance, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to four counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state and were granted GH¢ 35 million self-recognizance bail.

Messrs Akoto Ampaw and Yoni Kulendi, counsel for Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani respectively, have already moved separate motions urging the court to strike out the charges preferred against the two.

Responding to the separate applications yesterday, Mr. Anthony Gyambiby, a Chief State Attorney who will be prosecuting the case said “the steps taken by the Attorney General to mount this prosecution are within the confines of the 1992 Constitution,” and urged the court to try the case.

He said “the Attorney General has not breached any mandatory procedure. She is exercising her powers within the confines of the law. The mounting of this prosecution is not with any malice or any personal hatred. She is only exercising her powers conferred in her under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution.”

“What the Attorney General is seeking to do is fair. It is not as if someone is vindictive and has personal hatred against the applicants.”

The Chief State Attorney contested the two applicant’s counsel submissions that once Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani appeared before the Ghana @ 50 Commission of Enquiry as witnesses, they have immunity from prosecution saying “their status at the Commission were other than witnesses. The immunity is not a shield for anybody who has appeared before the Commission.”

He said Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani were the ‘subject matter’ of the Commission’s enquiry saying “this immunity does not apply to persons whose conduct was the subject matter of the enquiry.”

He said the President had a choice as to what to do with the Commission’s report saying “having accepted the recommendations, the President came out with a white paper and instructed the Attorney General to institute mount prosecution against the applicants under the law.”

Mr. Gyambiby argued that once the six months needed before Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani could contest the Commission’s report at the Court of Appeal had not elapsed, the Attorney General had the right to mount a prosecution saying “after the six months the Attorney general’s hands are tied under the law”

Replying the prosecution, Mr. Ampaw said “it is unlawful for the Attorney General to sneak in between the six months mandatory period to mount a prosecution. The six months is to permit aggrieved persons whom adverse findings have been made against them to do an assessment and challenge the report.”

When Mr. Kulendi took his turn, he said Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani could not be the subject matter of the Commission’s enquiry because the terms of reference and the preamble of the Commission were to among other things “enquire into the activities of Ghana@ 50 Secretariat and the celebration”.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

AG is wrong - Kulendi



Yoni Kulendi is one of the prominent lawyers in Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 28, 2010.
YONI KULENDI, a lawyer says the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Betty Mould Iddrisu exercised her discretion ‘wrongly’ in her bid to prosecute Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani for causing financial loss to the state in the matters of Ghana@50.

He said at the trial yesterday “in this case, the exercise of the Attorney General’s powers under Article 88 of the 1992 Constitution is to say the least arbitrary and should not be endorsed by the court.”

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat and Mr. Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration and also the Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration have been put on trial by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for the various roles they played during the 50th Independence Anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

However, the two NPP stalwarts are saying that the charges preferred against them by the state “is a violation of their constitutional right under Articles 278 (1) (a) and 280 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution,” but the state insists the two men have a case to answer in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

At their maiden appearance, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to four counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state and were granted GH¢ 35 million self-recognizance bail.

Concluding his final argument in the application for an order to strike out and dismiss the charges against Mr. Mpiani and Tarzan, in Accra yesterday, Mr. Kulendi said the setting up of the Commission of Enquiry and its subsequent use as a pre-prosecution tool was abandoned as far back as far back as 1969 when the second Republican Constitution was promulgated and the 1992 constitution had even come to make issues much clearer.

He said “under this democratic dispensation, the 1992 Constitution is very clear that the president cannot set up a Commission of Enquiry, ask witnesses to appear before it and after everything the executive arm of government would turn around to mount a prosecution against the witnesses.”

Counsel argued that all those who appeared before the commission to testify as witnesses are immune from prosecution under the constitution in this matter, saying “when you appear before the commission, your right to protection against self incrimination is expressly take away from you and the law guarantees you protection.”

“The applicants participated fully in the Ghana @ 50 Commission sittings and corporated to achieve the objectives of the setting up of the Commission and after all these the state comes again to prosecute them when their protection is guaranteed under the constitution.”

Mr. Kulendi said “after choosing to apply Article 280 of the Constitution which sets up the Commission for the public’s greater interest, the President turns around to instruct the Attorney General to charge the applicants under Article 88 of the same Constitution. This move is arbitrary and capricious use of discretionary power.”

He said the affidavit filed by the state to oppose the application of Mr. Mpiani and Dr. Wereko-Brobby got the issues wrong saying “you mount prosecution based on the Commission’s report and when you are confronted with a protest you try to bring new facts.

The Chief State Attorney, Anthony Gyambiby who is the prosecutor is expected to move a motion opposing the applications filed by Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani today.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Court declines to expunge Nii Ababio’s name from register

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday July 27, 2010
An Accra Fast Track High Court has stated that it cannot order for the deletion of the name of Nii Kojo Ababio V, the chief of Ngleshie-Alata James Town British Accra, from the National House of Chiefs register.

The court, presided over by Justice Edward A. Asante, noted that it cannot declare that James Town Mantse Nii Kojo Ababio V is not a chief and the High Court has no jurisdiction to make such declarations and awarded GH¢3, 000.00 for NII Ababio V against the plaintiffs.

The suit was filed against the National House of Chiefs and Nii Ababio V by Ezekiel Quarmina Allotey Coffie Nii Sackey Akumiah VI, Nii Laryea Lamptey, Joshua Attoh-Quarshie and Charles Heward-Mills, who in the suit said they were Manste, heads and principal elders respectively of some of the divisions of the James Town British Accra.

The plaintiffs instituted the court action seeking a declaration that the registration of Nii Ababio’s name and his particulars thereof in the register of chiefs “is fraudulent and/or based on false information and therefore same ought to be expunged.”

They also sought another order to set aside the registration of Nii Ababio’s name and his particulars thereof in the register for wrongful registration and another order directed at the National House of Chiefs to expunge Nii Ababio’s name and his particulars from the register.

In their submission, the plaintiffs contended that the National House of Chief “fraudulently” and “falsely” published in the Local Government Bulletin No. 16 of Friday, August 10, 1990 that Nii Kojo Ababio V was enstooled as Ngleshie-Alata James Town Manste on July 6, 1978 and had therefore registered his name in or about February 15, 1984.

The plaintiffs said the House of Chiefs had given the impression that Nii Ababio “is a chief whereas in actual fact he is not a chief.”

They further contended that there is no substantive chief for Ngleshie-Alata James Town British Accra since Nii Adja Kwao II was distooled, stressing that his various appeals were dismissed in 1983.

Responding, the defendants denied the plaintiff’s claim and revealed that Nii Ababio V is the substantive chief who hailed from the appropriate family and lineage.

Nii Ababio V argued that “he was validly nominated, elected, enstooled and installed as James Town (Ngleshie-Alata) Mantse on July 6, 1978 in accordance with the requisite customary law and usage of James Town.

He told the court that Nii Kwao II was an imposter and so he litigated him and got him removed from office after which he was installed according to custom, stressing that his registration by the House of Chiefs was proper.

Nii Ababio V also noted that the issue in contention was a chieftaincy one and the trial court had no jurisdiction over the matter, citing the Chieftaincy Act to support his argument.

The court then ruled that “on all the evidence therefore, I uphold the defendant’s prayer and dismiss the plaintiff’s entire action as a cause or matter affecting chieftaincy.”

Monday, July 26, 2010

GJA broker peace between Times, Police



Mr. Ransford Tetteh is the president of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA)

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com


By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 24, 2010
The Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) says it has been able to resolve “amicably” the matter in which the Ghanaian Times, a state-owned daily newspaper was invited by the Police Criminal Investigations Department to answer questions of allegations of spreading false rumour.

This is the second time in three days that the GJA has had to step in to resolve impasse between the police and the media.

The first related incident was the invitation of the Acting Editor of Joy FM, Ato Kwamena Dadzie by the police for “publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public” under Section 208 of the Criminal Code 1960.

Mr. Dadzie was interrogated at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service after he carried a story on Joy FM that the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) withdrew its petition against the STX Housing deal from Parliament because of death threats on the lives of the Association’s executives.

The action taken by the police continues to receive massive condemnation from the public particularly civil society organizations who are of the view that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is trying to use the security agencies to gag the media which is seen as pacesetter on the African continent.

As a result, the GJA held a meeting with the Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu, his deputy James Agyenim-Boateng and Stan Dogbe, a Presidential Aide to resolve the issue and the Ministry after the deliberations “welcomed the request from the GJA for the Ministry to assist to discontinue the case against Joy FM.”

Just as the dust was settling, the police again on July 21, 2010 invited the Editor of Ghanaian Times for questioning following a story it carried on July 21 with the headline “Robbers occupy five police buildings.”

After another round of meeting yesterday, Mr. Affail Monney Vice President of the GJA who had led the delegation to deliberate on the Joy FM issue told Daily Guide that “we have been able to resolve the issue amicably with the police.”
He said “the GJA still maintains its position that it will not compromise on the criminalization of free speech in the country.”

He said the police also expressed their “misgivings” about the Ghanaian Times story and also urged the GJA to take steps to bring more professionalism into the practice.

“We accepted their concerns and they also respected our position.”

Mr. Monney said he was accompanied by Bright Blewu (General Secretary), Dave Agbenu (Organizing Secretary), Mrs. Linda Asante-Agyei ( Treasurer) and Kwasi Afriyie Badu (Legal Advisor) as well as the Ghanaian Times Editor Mr. Enimil Ashong while DSP Kwasi Ofori, Head of the Police Public Affairs led the police delegation.

The police had said that the story has the tendency to spread false news to cause fear and alarm with DSP Ofori quoted on Joy News as saying that the story is false and intended to denigrate the service.

He had said the content of the story failed to give credence to its headline “and this amounts to false information, trying to create fear in that environment and [the story] has nothing good to tell about the police”.

DSP Ofori had also said the editor would be required to substantiate the claims that armed robbers are indeed occupying a police building. He said the publication “has dragged the good name of the police service into disrepute”.

The Ghanaian Times on July 21, 2010 reported among other things that armed robbers have taken over five uncompleted storey buildings at Aboso, a suburb of Swedru meant to serve as office and residential accommodation for the police.

According to the national daily the buildings, which have been abandoned for the past 30 years have deteriorated extensively and the land encroached upon.

The Central Regional Police Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police Stephen Andoh Kwofie had told the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior on a working visit to the area on Monday that the projects had been captured in the budget every year, but no allocations had ever been made for its completion.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Govt Exposed Over Ato’s Arrest


Posted on: www.dailyguideghan.com


Mr. John Tia Akologu is the Minister of Information in Ghana


By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 23, 2010
Contrary to claims by the Ministry of Information that the government does not have any hand in the arrest of Ato Kwamena Dadzie, Acting News Editor of Joy FM, the Daily Guide can confirm that it was the government that ‘directed’ the police to ‘investigate’ the radio station’s claim.

This is evidenced in the two statements released so far by the Ministry of Information since Joy FM aired a story to the effect that the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) withdrew its petition against the STX Housing Project from Parliament because of death threats received by executives of the Association.

On July 21, 2010, the Information Minister John Tia Akologu, in a news release had said “the work of the police must be delinked from central government and for that matter the Ministry of Information because the decision to caution the Joy FM editor and refer the matter to the Attorney General was and remains the decision of the Police.”

Yet on July 7, 2010 after Joy FM had carried the news on July 6, 2010, the same Minister in a news release said “government has directed the security agencies to investigate the claim because death threats were not to be handled lightly.”

The release had asked the management of Joy FM to substantiate its claims that the GREDA withdrew its petition against the STX Housing Project from parliament because of death threats received by executives of the association.

“Government has taken note of a Joy FM report that claimed that its sources have confirmed to it that the Ghana Real Estate Developer’s Association (GREDA) withdrew its petition against the STX Housing Project from Parliament because of death threats received by executives of the Association,” the statement said.

“Government is deeply offended by the Joy FM publication and demands that the management of the station substantiates its claims immediately or retracts the allegations and apologises to the President, Government and people of Ghana accordingly.”

The Minister blasted some organizations for their comments on the issue. He said it was unfortunate statements attributed to the Ghana Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD), National Media Commission (NMC), Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and others in the matter of the caution statement taken from Joy FM over the broadcast of alleged death threats.

The statement noted that it will be important for persons commenting and accusing government of attempts to truncate press freedom in the country to educate themselves on and about the issues at stake, understand the position of the police and also the legal limits to press freedom.

The statement said “the Ministry has also noted the deliberate attempt by Joy FM to continue the peddling of falsehood in this matter by claiming in its news broadcasts that its news editor has been charged for refusing to disclose his source of information for the death threats Joy FM claimed were received by some executives of the Ghana Real Estates Developers Association (GREDA).

However, the Police Administration has not denied the fact that it cautioned Ato Kwamena Dadzie and has granted him police enquiry bail.

The release had quoted Mr. Tia Akologu as saying that “the Ministry does not consider criminal prosecution an answer to the many cases of unethical practices” and recounted many instances of what he called “Joy FM’s unprofessional broadcasts” yet the statement goes further to say “the Minister welcomed the request from the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) for the Ministry to assist to discontinue the case against Joy FM”

As if that is not enough, the police have once again invited the Editor of state-owned media, Ghanaian Times for questioning following a story it carried on July 21 with the headline “Robbers occupy five police buildings.”

The Ministry has not commented on this one but when contacted, Mr. Enimil Ashong who is the Editor of the Ghanaian Times in a telephone interview declined to make any comment on the matter for now except to say that “the police have not formally invited me. I have not gone to anybody. I also heard the issue in the media. Let us wait and see what will happen next.”

However, Head of the Police Public Affairs, DSP Kwesi Ofori confirmed to Joy FM content of the state-owned newspaper’s story failed to give credence to its headline “and this amounts to false information, trying to create fear in that environment and [the story] has nothing good to tell about the police”.

The action taken by the police continues to receive massive condemnation from the public particularly civil society organizations who are of the view that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is trying to use the security agencies to gag the media which is seen as pacesetter on the African continent.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Maintain Supreme Court panel system – Prof. Kludze



Prof. Justice A. Paaku Kludze is a retired Supreme Court judge in Ghana.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 22, 2010
A retired Justice of the Supreme Court, Professor Justice Paaku A. Kodzo Kludze says the current system where judges of the Supreme Court sit in panels to deliver justice “has worked reasonably well” and must be encouraged.

He however admitted that there are “drawbacks” in the panel system but said “if we abandon this system we will be confronted with backlog of cases. We should rather work hard to find solutions to the problems associated with the system to ensure speedy delivery of justice.”

The panel system currently in use by the Supreme Court is the situation where all the justices of the highest court of the land do not sit on all cases argued before and decided by the Supreme Court. On each occasion the Constitution empowers the Chief Justice to select justices who should decide the case.

Prof. Kludze was delivering a lecture in Accra on Tuesday on the topic “The panel system at the Supreme Court: Merits and demerits.”

The round table discussion was organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), a policy advocacy think tank as part of the institute’s effort to undertake research and advocacy on certain provisions of the constitution that in its view require review.

Prof. Kludze said the merits of the panel system far outweigh the other system where all Supreme Court judges sit on every case that is brought before them saying “the panel system means that no particular judge can anticipate that he or she will sit on a particular case”.

“Selection to the panel is left to the sound judgement of the Chief Justice. A justice who has been selected for a panel can recuse himself or herself for good reason, but one cannot ask to be included on the panel for a particular case.”

He also said the panel system ensures expeditious disposition of cases arguing “because the entire membership of the Supreme Court would not sit on all cases, several cases can be adjudicated by different panels within the same time frame.”

The law professor said where the Supreme Court sits in panels its work may not necessarily be disrupted by the disqualification or recusal of a particular justice, saying “ a justice may recuse himself/herself because he knows the parties or has direct or indirect interest in the outcome of the case.”

He said on the contentious issue of packing the courts it is the panel system that can help to “neutralize the effects of an attempt the Supreme Court with favoured justices saying “the panel system whatever may be its drawbacks, is one of the provable mechanisms for resisting the harmful effects of any attempt to manipulate a Supreme Court by the addition of unqualified persons of questionable integrity to advance a political or other agenda.”

Prof. Kludze said in spite of the numerous merits the system it is still not perfect because of the acceptability of panel decisions by some people including lawyers, conflicting decisions of panels, risk of improper influence of panels, possible manipulation by the Chief Justice.

He said the Chief Justice has been given “too much” authority under the panel system and needed to be “restricted” saying “I do not know how it can be done but it has to be done so that the arbitrary elements in the empanelling of judges is reduced.”

He also called for the strengthening of the Court of Appeal saying “if this is done, the decisions of the Court of Appeal could be relied upon to reduce the burden of the Supreme Court and for them to be able concentrate on constitutional cases.”

Justice Francis Emile Short Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and
Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) who chaired the function said there is a “compelling argument that all judges must sit when the matter involves the interpretation of the Constitution.”

GJA meets Minister...Over Ato Kwamena Dadzie's arrest

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 22, 2010
The National Executive of the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) has met the Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu to discuss the matter in which an Acting Editor of Joy FM, Ato Kwamena Dadzie stands accused for “publication of false news with intent to cause fear and alarm to the public” under Section 208 of the Criminal Code 1960.

Mr. Dadzie, for close to a week now, is being interrogated at the headquarters of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service after he carried a story on Joy FM that the Ghana Real Estate Developers Association (GREDA) withdrew its petition against the STX Housing deal from Parliament because of death threats on the lives of the Association’s executives.

Head of the Police Public Affairs, DSP Kwesi Ofori, on Monday confirmed the interrogation of Mr. Dadzie saying the action was not to gag the media but was part of Police efforts to protect life and property.

The DSP has also noted that the intention was not to take Mr. Dadzie to court but he did not say whether the charges would be dropped or not.

The action taken by the police continues to receive massive condemnation from the public particularly civil society organizations who are of the view that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is trying to use the security agencies to gag the media which is seen as pacesetter on the African continent.

A news release issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Affail Monney, Vice President of the GJA said “after four hours of fruitful deliberations, the GJA restated its position that criminalization of speech in any form will undermine the credentials of Ghana as a beacon of freedom of expression and democracy.”

“The GJA accordingly requested Minister to impress upon the Attorney General and Minister for Justice to re-look the decision to maintain a charge against Joy FM under the Criminal Code 1960”.

The release said the GJA however agreed that there are questions about media accountability that must be tackled and recommended to the Ministry to continue to make use of the National Media Commission (NMC) in dealing with such matters.

It said Mr. Tia Akologu expressed appreciation to the GJA for the meeting and promised the commitment of the Ministry to partner the media in expanding the frontiers of freedom and strengthening public accountability.

The release said the Minister “explained that the Ministry had and will continue to engage positively with the media”and added“Hon. Tia Akologu also urged the GJA to promote high journalistic standards.”

It said “both sides agreed to collaborate to use best practices to promote media accountability.

The release mentioned James Agyenim-Boateng, Deputy Minister of Information and Stan Dogbe, a Presidential Aide as those who formed the Minister’s group at the meeting with Affail Monney, Bright Blewu (General Secretary), Dave Agbenu (Organizing Secretary), Mrs. Linda Asante-Agyei ( Treasurer) and Kwasi Afriyie Badu (Legal Advisor) making up the GJA delegation.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

NPP UK calls for ceasefire




Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 21, 2010
The United Kingdom/Ireland branch of the New Patriotic Party (UK/Ireland-NPP) says it is not happy with the persistent verbal attacks by some members of the party on the executives and asked all those involved to ceasefire and work together to ensure a successful election.

A news release issued in London and signed by Nana Yaw Sarpong, Communications Officer of NPP UK said “Our National Executives are not perfect. Our Electoral Committee Members are not perfect. We should all support them to bring about a successful and credible election.

“The recent comments by Maxwell Kofi Jumah that there are Al-Qaeda in the NPP and another by Stephen Ntim that Brigadier Odei and Kwasi Adu Gyan, who are members of the committee, are hatchet men shows a lack of respect for fellow party members, the party and its institutions.”

“We all went to congress and majority voted for amendments to the constitution to expand the delegates’ list. If there are challenges, we must offer useful suggestions and not resort to insults and personal attacks.”

“We in the Diaspora may not agree with everything the National Executives and our Electoral Committee does but we would not come out and insult them and call them all kinds of names.

It further noted that “we have constituencies where independent candidates got over 10,000 votes and more and instead of sitting down to find solutions our leaders have abandoned their constituencies and championing the interests of individuals.”

“We also appeal to Stephen Ntim to stop criticising the proxy votes offered to party members in the Diaspora. As a former Member of NPP USA he should know better. “During periods that the party holds its congress the air fares are quite high and not all party members can afford the tickets. Besides majority of party members believe it is better to send these monies to support our constituencies and our National Party Headquarters. The proxy voting is a good initiative and it helps us to take part in the democratic process.”

“We must put our differences aside and join hands to support our National Executives and Electoral Committee to run a successful election.”

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kulendi Moves To Quash Charges...Against Tarzan & Mpiani





Poated on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday July 19, 2010
YONI KULENDI, one of the finest lawyers in the country has said the attempt to prosecute Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani for causing financial loss to the state in the matters of Ghana@50 is nothing but “a recipe for judicial chaos”.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat and Mr. Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration and also the Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration have been put on trial by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for the various roles they played during the 50th Independence Anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

However, the two NPP stalwarts are saying that the charges preferred against them by the state “is a violation of their constitutional right under Articles 278 (1) (a) and 280 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution,” but the state insists the two men have a case to answer in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

At their maiden appearance, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to four counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state and were granted GH¢ 35 million self-recognizance bail.

Moving an application for an order to strike out and dismiss the charges against Mr. Mpiani in Accra last Friday, Mr. Kulendi his counsel said “what the prosecution is seeking to do is unlawful, not warranted by law and gross violation of the rights of the parties.”

“This court in terms of the constitution has no jurisdiction to entertain this prosecution. There is not much disagreement as to the facts that ground this present proceeding.”

He said Clause six of White Paper issued by the government specifies clearly the legal basis of the election of the government to constitute a Commission of Enquiry after which the final report becomes a High Court judgment adding “the election of the Republic to mount this prosecution clearly offends the letter and spirit of Article 278 and other relevant authorities.”

“It is an unlawful attempt to seize the jurisdiction of this court because the report they are using to prosecute the accused is a judgment of this court,” and asked “does this court has the jurisdiction to entertain proceedings and make enquiries and findings arising out of its own judgment?”

Mr. Kulendi said since the constitution guarantees Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani the right to contest the Ghana @ 50 Report at the Court of Appeal they “intended to exercise the automatic right of appeal”.

He said if the Fast Track High Court goes ahead to try the case it will be usurping the authority of the Court of Appeal and thereby contravene Article 136 (5) of the Constitution.

Counsel at this juncture had to cut short his argument because the prosecution led by Chief State Attorney, Anthony Gyambiby had filed a supplementary affidavit which contradicted the substantive affidavit in opposition to strike out the case.

The court presided over by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau of the Court of Appeal had to adjourn proceedings to July 27, 2010 to enable the prosecution to put its house in order and for Mr. Mpiani to verify from the government publisher the date on which the report was published.

Dr Wereko-Brobby on June 27, 2010, moved a similar motion on notice to strike out charges preferred against him long before the supplementary affidavit to oppose the applications was filed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

ALAN IN COURT



Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen is a contender for the NPP flagberer race slated for August 7, 2010

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 17, 2010.
Kwadwo Kyerematen, one of the men aspiring to become flag-bearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Friday made a surprise visit to an Accra Fast Track High Court where two NPP stalwarts, Dr. Charles Yves Wereko-Brobby aka Tarzan and Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani are standing trial for causing financial loss to the state.

Mr. Kyerematen aka Alan Cash, a lawyer by profession, was accompanied by Kwabena Agyepong, his campaign strategist, ostensibly to show solidarity with Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani.

He entered the courtroom not long after the case had commenced and sat quietly to monitor the proceedings and when the case closed, he exchanged pleasantries with Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani before being driven away in his black Toyota Land Cruiser.

Dr. Wereko-Brobby, a former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat and Mr. Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration and Chairman of the National Planning Committee for the celebration, have been put on trial for the various roles they played during the 50th independence anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

The two NPP stalwarts are saying that the charges preferred against them by the state “is a violation of their constitutional right under Articles 278 (1) (a) and 280 (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) of the 1992 Constitution”, but the state insists the two men have a case to answer in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

At their maiden appearance, the two accused persons pleaded not guilty to four counts of willfully causing financial loss to the state and were granted GH¢35 million self-recognizance bail.

In the first count, the prosecution maintained that the two former NPP officials, between May 2006 and December 2007, willfully caused financial loss of GH¢499, 995.63 by spending in excess of the amount of $31.8 million approved by Parliament.

The second charge says that the accused, between February 2007 and January 2009, willfully caused a financial loss of GH¢2.116, 906.91 in the form of interest paid as a loan from the Prudential Bank Limited without authority.

In the third count, the two men stand accused of causing financial loss of GH¢966, 048.52, being bank overdraft from the Prudential Bank Limited without authority in/about September 2006.

The fourth count says the two men, between May 2006 and December 2008, willfully caused financial loss by expending GH¢935, 249.8, being the income of the Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, without authority.

Dr Wereko-Brobby, on June 27, 2010, moved a motion on notice to strike out charges preferred against him and yesterday, it was the turn of Mr. Mpiani to move a similar motion but Yonnie Kulendi, his counsel, had to cut short his argument because the prosecution, led by Chief State Attorney Anthony Gyambiby, had filed a supplementary affidavit which contradicted the substantive affidavit in opposition to strike out the case.

The affidavit deposed to by one Elikplim Agbemava of the Attorney General’s Department indicated that the Ghana @ 50 Commission of Enquiry’s report, based on which the two NPP men had been charged, and the white paper issued by the government were published in April and May 2010 respectively. But in the supplementary affidavit, a copy of which was yet to be filed on the court’s docket and another given to Mr. Mpiani and Dr. Wereko-Brobby, the deponent said the report and the white paper were both published in April 2010.

The court presided over by Justice Samuel Marful-Sau of the Court of Appeal then enquired from the Chief State Attorney what had gone wrong and Mr. Gyambiby then dropped a bombshell, saying the whole Ghana @ 50 Commission Report published by the Assembly Press in Accra had no date on it.

“My Lord I can confirm that there is no date on the report. When we went there to enquire, we were told that was what the government brought to be published. We even checked from the drafting section and it was the same so that was the information available to us.”

The judge then said since the date on the report was very relevant, the case needed to be adjourned for the defence team to also make their checks from the government publisher and also for the prosecution to make amendments to the affidavit.

Sitting continues on July 27, 2010.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Ya Na ‘killers’ go to High Court

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 16, 2010
All is set for the High Court to commence trial of 14 people arrested by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for their alleged involvement in the murder of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, Chief of Dagbon and some 30 others.

It follows the completion of the bill of indictment and summary of evidence of six of the suspects yesterday by the Adjabeng District Magistrate Court presided over by Ms. Patricia Quansah in Accra.

The six brought to court under heavy security to be committed to the High Court included Baba Ibrahim aka Baba Zey, Alhassan Mohammed a.k.a Mohammed Cheampon, Mohammed Mustapha, Sani Moro, Yakubu Yusif a.k.a Leftee and Hammed Abukari Yussif as 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th accused respectively.

Those who were on June 28, committed to be tried were Alhaji Baba Abdulai Iddrisu aka Zohe, Kwame Alhassan aka Achiri, Mohamadu Abdulai aka Samasama, Sayibu Mohammed, Alhassan Braimah and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, 45, former District Chief Executive of Yendi during the NPP regime as 2nd , 3rd , 4th , 5th , 6th and 8th accused persons respectively.

So far it is Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest, the seventh accused person who is still at large.

When the case was called yesterday, Ms. Gertrude Aikins, Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) read the preliminary facts of the case before the packed court before the court went ahead to commit the accused.

She said “at the last adjourned date the facts stated among others that Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest, the 7th accused person (now at large) was seen by witnesses in this case decapitating the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II near a kraal after he had been dragged there by Mahamadu Abdulai @ Samasama 4th accused person and one other now at large. That the one who was at large is now the 12th accused person Shani Imoro.”

“Evidence will also be led to show that Alhassan Mohammed @ Mohammed Cheampon, Moro and others were seen with guns firing at the Gbewaa Palace on the 26th and 27th March 2002.”

“Evidence will also be led to show that Abukari Nabeli aka Kunkakums 14th accused person held two used lorry tyres whilst Mustapha the 11th accused held a gallon of petrol. That the 14th accused person put the lorry tyres on the body of Ya-Na, Yakubu Andani II and Mustapha, the 11th accused person poured the petrol on the body and set it ablaze.”

“That Yakubu Yusif aka Leftee 13th accused person was also holding a gun by the body. That Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest (at large) the 7th accused person was seen with a Dorman Machine.”

“That the 15th accused person Abdul Razak Yussif aka Nyaa was holding a camera and taking pictures of the scene. That after all these another group of men including the above led by Iddrisu Iddi aka Mbadugu came drumming, singing and dancing around the burning body,” the DPP said.

When the prosecutor gave the facts, the judge sought to know if the accused had anything to say before the committal but after conferring with Abubakari Abdulai who stood in for Phillip Addison as counsel for the accused, they said “we will rely on our statements given to the police.”

The judge then said “in the light of the bill of indictment and summary of evidence and in the opinion of the court the charges are maintainable. They are committed to the High Court for trial.”

Constitution Review Commission Phase II





Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 16, 2010
THE CONSTITUTION Review Commission (CRC) set up by government to recommend possible ways of amending the 1992 Republican Constitution has said it is switching to the next phase of its consultation process.

A news release issued in Accra and signed by Professor Albert K. Fiadjoe, Chairman of the CRC said “the Commission also wishes to advertise its follow-up consultations calendar as follows: Round Two Community and District Consultations (July-September 2010), Regional Consultations (August-September 2010), Regional Mini Consultations (August-September 2010) , National Mini Consultations (August-September) and The National Constitution Review Conference (January 2011)”

The release said “The immediate consultative activity on the commission’s calendar is the follow-up to Community and District Consultations. These will take place in all communities in Ghana and are meant to ensure that persons who were unable to attend any of the Community and District Consultations conducted between April and June this year will have the opportunity to meet officials of the Commission, learn about its work and make input to the constitution review process.”

According to the release, the CRC commenced its first round of public consultations on April 19, 2010 and ended on June 30, 2010 adding “these consultations were held at the Community and District levels and covered all 170 administrative Districts of Ghana including Bawku, Yendi and Biakoye, which recently experienced a number of conflicts.”

“Throughout the consultations, citizens participated actively and in their numbers in learning about the Constitution and its operation. This was done through discussing issues surrounding the Constitution and making submissions for a review.”

It said submissions made were received orally, in writing and electronically. Submissions so far received by the Commission number roughly 30,000.
The Commission expressed its profound gratitude to all who have made submissions to it and participated in the various consultations.

It also commended officials of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies; officials of the National Commission for Civic Education and all traditional and religious leaders for collaborating with them during the consultations saying “we would not have generated so much enthusiasm and yielded so many results otherwise.”

“The Commission wishes to urge all Ghanaians to continue to support the process through the subsequent stages of the information gathering phase of this very important national exercise.” It asked the public to contact Dr. Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary of the Commission on 0244-675611; 0302-771184/85/88 or by email: atugubaatuguba@yahoo.com or submissions@crc.gov.gh for any enquiry.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

NPP Chairman cries foul

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 15, 2010
The Bawku Central Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Alhaji Malik Imoro Salifu says an attempt to demolish his house at Teshie, a suburb of Accra is politically motivated.

He has therefore vowed to use all legitimate means to ‘fight’ and ‘protect’ his one-storey building located at Teshie Adogonno Malik, an area named after he built the house.

Recounting how the incident happened, Alhaji Malik told DAILY GUIDE in an interview in Accra on Tuesday that last Friday, July 9, 2010 at about 5:30 am he was at home when a relative came upstairs to inform him that some policemen had surrounded the house and were looking for the owner of the house.

“I quickly got down to meet them and I saw about 20 police officers most of whom were heavily armed and they had come in four different vehicles.”

“When I greeted them and enquired about their presence in my house, their leader said they were sent from the Greater Accra Regional Police Command and that a court had given them an order to evict me from my house, lock it up and come later to demolish the building.”

“The leader then told me I was even lucky that they did not come to my house with a bulldozer which they would have used to demolish the building there and then, but I told him that it will be over my dead body.”

He said he led them into the house and when they entered “one of the policemen upon seeing a picture I had taken with former President Kufuor in my hall remarked these are the people who have stolen all our money.”

“I expected the policeman to exhibit professionalism because I completed this house, which has seven bedrooms and two halls in 1995, after toiling in London to make my money. I certainly do not steal from the state. I am very hard-working and I reject any attempt to paint me as a criminal.”

Alhaji Malik noted that when the police personnel could not take anything from his house they asked him to send his Nissan Pathfinder with registration GN 207 Y to the High Court in Accra under security escort.

He said at the court’s premises, the bailiff told him that another family was claiming ownership of the land on which the house was built and had moved a motion to get an order to possess the land.

He said, “The police created a scene and made things appear as if I was a common criminal. The whole action is politically motivated because I acquired the land legitimately and my house is not on a waterway or obstructing any development project.”

“Somebody recently told me that those claiming ownership of the land had said that my government was no longer in power so they will demolish my house and show me where power lies. I brought electricity and telephone facilities to the area and made the place what it is today. I will never sit down to be cheated. I will fight till I have my peace,” he added.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

NDC Gov’t Hypocrisy Exposed …Jinapor Rebuffs Claims



Vice President John Dramani Mahama was in London recently


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 14, 2010
THE NEW Patriotic Party’s UK branch (NPP/UK) has lambasted the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) government describing them as “hypocrites” and “insensitive.”

A release issued in London and signed by Nana Yaw Sarpong, Communications Officer for NPP UK and copied to the Ghana media said the NDC’s hypocrisy was manifested when Vice President John Dramani Mahama visited London recently.

“For all their touting as social democrats, the Vice President stayed in one of the most expensive hotels in London, the Landmark Hotel at the expense of the Ghanaian tax payer.”

“This is the same hotel the NDC vehemently criticized ex-President Kufuor for lodging at while in opposition even though it was at the expense of the British taxpayer because he was being hosted by the British government while on a state visit to celebrate Ghana @ 50 in March 2007.”

The statement claimed “since Mr. Mahama failed to tell us why he was in the UK we would like to ask him to explain why he came, if only indeed he came to answer only four questions and the justification for spending hundreds of thousands of tax payers’ money in the Landmark Hotel.

“Our sources inform us that he was on a wild goose chase for investors but the leanings and the attitude of the NDC are off putting for investors therefore he went home empty handed,” it further claimed.

“Critical questions were asked ranging from the state of the economy, the mining disaster in which galamsey miners lost their lives, the debacle at our ports, the huge electricity and water tariffs and the reasons behind the sacking of Dr. Kwame Ampofo from the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR). Even though we did not get any tangible answers for any of these questions, we thank the Vice President for at least telling us what the Transport Minister had denied all along in the past, that is, all main roads linking our towns throughout the country will be tolled and taxed.”

The release said “a simple question was asked on how Ghanaians are going to pay for these tolls when real incomes have decreased as much as 40% and the Vice President rambled on with incoherent answers.”

“We were astonished by the Vice President’s response to the deaths of ‘galamsey’ miners who died in a pit; that not all those who died were Ghanaians thus it was not an issue to worry about. We would like to remind the Vice President that as a member of ECOWAS, Africa Union and even as human beings we owe a duty of care and protection to everybody who lives and works on the soil of Ghana. Such are the rules of international law and International humanity.”

On the question about the mismanagement going on at the ports, the delay in clearing goods and whether Carl Wilson the Chairman of the Vehicle Assets Confiscation Committee was still at post the release said “we got a curious answer; Carl Wilson will soon be put on trial to answer allegations against him but some of us are aware he is still sitting in an office at the Castle.”

The release said a gentleman also asked a question about events at the Tema Oil Refinery and the dismissal of Dr Ampofo. At this stage, a member of the NDC organizing team became aggressive and reportedly said “we are not here to answer these kinds of questions.” In the process, the microphone was snatched from him and it fell to the floor.

The release said the Vice President said at the forum that the STX Housing move was a good deal and that the opposition NPP always saw everything negative in what government was trying to do.

But in a sharp rebuttal, John Jinapor, an aide to the Vice President who was on the trip confirmed to the Daily Guide in a telephone interview that his boss indeed lodged at the Landmark Hotel in London. He however said “I am not aware if the NDC whilst in opposition condemned Ex-President Kufuor for lodging at the same hotel.”
He said the whole arrangement was done by the High Commission in London and the Vice President lodged at that facility based on security advice.

He also said the Vice President’s trip was not a flop because he was able to secure a deal that would bring a specialist hospital facility at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital to serve the sub-region.

“I am not surprised the NPP is criticizing the Vice President’s trip. I do not expect them to praise us but I was on the trip and I am confident it was successful.”

The Vice President left Accra for London on July 5 and returned on July 11. The forum organized by the Ghana Mission in London, in collaboration with the Developing Markets Associates (DMA) and Africa Matters Ltd., is under the theme “Enhancing Economic Growth through Competitiveness, Diversification and Infrastructure Development.”

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Palmer-Buckle sticks to decision


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

Most Reve. Gabriel Palmer Buckle is the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Catholic Church in Accra

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday July 13, 2010
The Catholic Archdiocese of Accra says the planned relocation of the Catholic Social Advance Institute (CSAI) would go ahead as scheduled.

Over the past weeks, some members of the church calling themselves the Catholic Resistance Movement as well as some concerned parents of the school have made strenuous efforts to stop the Metropolitan Archbishop, Most Reverend Gabriel Palmer-Buckle from relocating the school, sparking intense media debate.

The Accra Archdiocese intends to relocate the CSAI to separate campuses at the Martyrs of Uganda, Mamprobi and Sacred Heart at Arena.

A release issued in Accra yesterday and signed Very Reverend Francis Adoboli, Vicar General of the Catholic Church and Very Reverend John Patrick Tindana, Chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Accra said “we will not as Archdiocese allow ourselves to be intimidated by any misinformed or ill-intended members of the PTA or teaching staff.”

“We take the threat to the Archbishop very serious and now that the veil is gradually being lifted from those behind the various nefarious activities of peddling lies and harassing the Archbishop we will advise ourselves on actions that need to be taken to stop this abuse once and for all.”

“We hereby serve notice to the Siaw faction of the PTA executive and their clique on the teaching staff that they would be held jointly and severally responsible for anything that will happen to Most Reverend Charles Gabriel Palmer-Buckle, the Metropolitan Archbishop of Accra who is the custodian of the Catholic Social Advance Institute.”

The release said the relocation plan is on course because “extensive and adequate renovations have been made at great cost both at Martyrs of Uganda and Sacred Heart property to create a very congenial milieu for academic work and also make both staff and student comfortable.”

The release said a section of the PTA led by Mr. Siaw with the support from a section of the teaching staff held the meeting on Saturday July 3, 2010 and invited the media when the Acting PTA Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Aboagye and the Principal of the school Ms. Rosa Sam had asked Mr. Siaw and his group to allow the media to excuse them to ensure a fruitful deliberation but the group refused.

“Mr. Siaw who is only an executive member of the PTA with support of a section of the teaching staff insisted that the meeting should go on as planned. He then proceeded to preside over a PTA meeting which to all intents and purposes had not been properly constituted.”

The release recounted how the school was established by Dr. Helga Kleinkowski and admitted that even though the Konrad Adenauer Foundation had supported the German philanthropist financially in putting up the school buildings, the foundation officially handed over the school to the then Bishop of Accra, Most Reverend Dominic K. Andoh in December 1980.

Court Stops Azorka over land

Posted on : www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday July 13, 2010
THE TAMALE High Court has restrained Sofo Azorka from developing 2.62 acres of land located at Gbanyamni-Nabtin Block ‘C’ residential area in the Tamale Municipality pending final determination over its dispute.

The application for interlocutory injunction was filed by Baba Ibrahim, a businessman against Azorka who is also the First Northern Regional Vice Chairman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) and Inusah, the Gundaaawulana purported to have sold the land to Azorka.

In the substantive suit, Baba Ibrahim is claiming ownership of the land which he intends to develop into a hotel but Azorka who is also claiming ownership has already started developing it.

In the reliefs sought in the writ of summons filed on May 22, 2009 the Ibrahim wants a declaration that “the parcel of land marked ‘site for hotel’ at Gbanyamni-Nabtin Block ‘C’ Residential Area covering a total of 2.64 acres belongs to the plaintiff to the exclusion of everyone else including the defendants.”

He also wants the court to declare that the acts of Azorka amount to trespass and an ‘equitable’ order of perpetual injunction to restrain both Azorka and Gundaaawulana from ‘trespassing’ of his property as well as damages arising out of the ‘trespass.’

Moving the application for interlocutory injunction filed on March 30, 2010, Mohammed Shaibu Abdulai counsel for Baba Ibrahim told the court presided over by Justice Gyamfi Danquah that his client bought the land from Seidu Kayaba who is the Natin-Na and it was the chief “who caused a layout of the land to be mad.”

Counsel told the court that his client first conducted a search at the Lands Commission before “embarking on any move to acquire the land saying the search showed that the land was unencumbered. A file was opened for the applicant and he applied for 99-year lease.”

“The lease was prepared awaiting the signature of the Ya-Na, but the execution was delayed as a result of the death of the Ya-Na. One Yakubu was put in charge of the land by the applicant right from the time it was acquired on September 17, 2001.”

The plaintiff said when he attempted to erect pillars around the land, Azorka had gone ahead to start developing the same land and any attempt to settle the matter failed because Azorka was allegedly in the business of developing the land.

Counsel prayed the court that where an applicant demonstrates that he has both legal and equitable interest in a matter, the court needed to step in to show who really owns the land.

In his application opposing the plaintiff’s claims, A.F Yakubu, counsel for Azorka said the applicant has waited for his client to “sink huge resources into the land before bringing this application.”

“From his conduct, it means that the applicant intentionally waited for the project to get to the current stage before bringing the application so as to lock up the first respondent’s capital with the grant of an interlocutory injunction.”

Interim injunctions are granted where prevailing conditions are just and convenient and they are meant to hold the scales evenly between the parties, but with the state of affairs in this particular case where one party has sunk so much capital, it would be inconvenient and unjust for the first respondent if the application is granted.”

“The applicant has no claim for recovery of possession in his endorsement on the writ of summons so in effect where the applicant gets judgment in his favor, the court will not grant him recovery of possession but he would be entitled to only the reliefs endorsed on his writ so the interim injunction should not be granted.”

The judge in granting the plaintiff’s application said “from the documents filed by both parties, it appears there is a serious question for determination by the court.”

The court said “the applicant has established a right in law or equity which needs protection by the court. In effect the case of the applicant is neither frivolous, vexatious and as the principle earlier discussed showed, a court would grant an interim injunction in such situations to preserve the status quo ante.”

The court said “if the first respondent is allowed to continue with the development on the land the plaintiff cannot be adequately compensated when he succeeds on his claim for declaration of title and perpetual injunction.”

The court however awarded GH¢300 in favor of the Gundaaawulana against the plaintiff for joining him in the interlocutory application.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Anyidoho rakes GH¢ 25,000 at book launch

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday July 10, 2010
A BOOK authored by Brigadier General Henry Kwami Anyidoho (Rtd), one of Ghana’s decorated military general was launched at the KAIPTC in Accra on Thursday, raking in a whopping GH¢25,000 within 25 minutes of auction.

The highest purchaser was the Office of President J.E.A. Mills who bought the 350-page book being sold at bookshops at GH¢30 for GH¢ 2,000 while the general’s family members as well as a family friend bought a copy each for $1,000 respectively.

The book titled “My Journey…Every Step” (an Autobiography) which has a beautiful portrait of the general as the cover picture was published by Sub-Saharan Publishers in Accra and was auctioned by Fritz Baffour, the Member of Parliament of Ablekuma South.

Launching it, the Chairman of the Council of State, Professor Kofi Awoonor, who was also the guest speaker, was not happy about the way the international community distort history when it comes to the role that certain countries played in stopping the Rwandan genocide of 1994.

According to the Professor it was Maj. Gen. Anyidoho who stood his ground and told the UN Security Council he would remain in Rwanda with his troops to protect the people at a time when the world body had left millions to be slaughtered in the war through pull out.

“Anytime the history of the Rwandan genocide is told, they sideline Ghana’s crucial role in stopping the carnage in that country. We have to tell our story to the world.”

He said it was necessary for Africans to construct what he calls “an intelligent programme of integration into a self-reliant society to retain its dignity.”
He praised the author for his immense contribution towards the intellectual development of the country saying “Maj. Gen Anyidoho’s commitment to professional soldiering was second to none.”

Dr. Helen Yitah, of the English Department of the University of Ghana who was the reviewer said the book covers one of the important areas which have received less attention by writers.

“It is a refreshing inside scoop into the men behind the uniforms. He appears to have an encyclopedic mind on everything discussed in the book.”
Dr. Yitah said the book represents “a wealth of valuable information on the army and a pleasant story to read.”

Ms. Akoss Ofori-Mensah in her brief comments as the publisher called for the establishment of a national fund to support literary work in the country.
Reverend Professor Gilbert Ansre, a renowned translator who chaired the launch encouraged the academia to strive to get the best literary work to enhance development.

When he took his turn Maj. Gen. Anyidoho noted he overcame a lot of obstacles when writing the book, saying “I want to leave some traces for young officers and the future generation.”

Friday, July 09, 2010

UTAG strike

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Feiday July 9, 2010
The University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) has withdrawn their services with immediate effect.

A news release issued in Accra yesterday and signed by UTAG President, Dr. Samuel K. Asiedu-Addo said “following our earlier resolution of June 24, 2010, and the subsequent press conference on June 25, 2010, and in view of the fact that the book and research allowances have not been paid as of July 7, 2010, UTAG hereby resolves and declares to withdraw all its services pending payment of the book and research allowances into the individual accounts of members.”

It said the government's failure to engage the UTAG in discussion for a review of the book and research allowances that has become necessary as a result of escalating cost of research materials, journal and professional association's subscription fees, publication fees was the reason behind the industrial action.

The release further said the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has failed to respond to outstanding issues raised by the UTAG including the different mode of job progression for academic Senior Members of public universities and the results of the job re- evaluation exercise.

“For several years UTAG has appreciated and understood the difficulties that the government has had to contend with when it comes to dealing with competing demands from various interest groups. For that reason, the Association has cooperated well with the government and has, at an enormous cost to its members, refrained from making unnecessary and incessant demands.”

“Even where circumstances have dictated so, UTAG has avoided hitting the press to ¬publicise its justifiable grievances. In fact the association has chosen the path of constructive engagement with Government in dealing with its grievances,” it said.


The release said the government's recent responses to the concerns raised by the UTAG about the conditions of service of its members “have given the impression that the government has equated the Association's policy of constructive engagement to weakness and gullibility.”

“In particular, UTAG has noted with dismay the government's contemptuous disregard, to concerns raised about the difficulties that it has, over the years, encountered in engaging Government on the following issues”

The release said “the chronic delays in the payment of book and research allowances each year and the government's failure to pay pension contribution on part of the Lecturers' salary that is hedged in the professional allowance,” are also part of their decision to stay away from the lecture halls.

“UTAG would also like to use this opportunity to urge Government to address all other outstanding issues pertaining to the conditions of service of members of the Association.”

NPP Boss Sues Today & Others

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday July 9, 2010
THE immediate past New Patriotic Party (NPP) Chairman for Abokobi-Madina Constituency in the Greater Accra Region, Kofi Asante aka Champion Chairman has filed a suit against SMS Limited publishers of ‘Today’ newspaper and two others for defaming his character.

The suit, which is claiming GH¢ 100, 000.00 in damages also cites Baba Zakaria, Presiding Member of the Ga East Municipal Assembly and Foster Arthur, the Constituency Youth Organizer of the NPP as the other defendants.

Apart from asking for punitive damages, the plaintiff, Mr. Asante also wants the court to order ‘Today’ to retract the ‘libelous’ story and another order for perpetual injunction to restrain the defendants from publishing defamatory stories about him.

Mr. Asante is claiming that a banner headline of November 16, 2009 “NPP Chairman in Micro Finance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC) deal” that was carried by ‘Today’ was libelous.

He believes that the story was circulated by Zakaria and Arthur.

In the statement of claim filed by his solicitors, Ablewor Law Chambers, the former NPP Chairman said in or around late 2008 at various party meetings that was attended by numerous party supporters and the public at Madina and its environs, Zakaria and Arthur made statements which affected his business reputation.

He claimed that the two men said “you Kofi Asante, you have fraudulently connived with your daughter, Akosua Darkoa to collect and share in your house MASLOC loans to your cronies and gangsters, thus depriving the others in the constituency of the MASLOC facility.”

The plaintiff claims Zakaria and Arthur went ahead to distribute at the said gathering documents with names of beneficiaries of the MASLOC facility, which they alleged that Mr. Asante, through his daughter, has purportedly manipulated to unjustly enrich himself and the family.

“The defendants knew and intended that these words or their gist should be re-published among others in the press and/or authorized their repetition.”

He claimed, “Today, in its November 16, 2009 publication Vol.2, No. 0161 ISSN: 0213-2542 deliberately wrote and published for public consumption a malicious story on the front page headlined, ‘NPP Chairman in MASLOC Deal” alongside a true copy of the plaintiff’s photograph and drawn out discourse on page 11 of the said paper practically scandalizing the plaintiff and his family, imputing fraud and negative manipulation with the obvious intention to malign the plaintiff’s character, personality and career.”

It is the case of the plaintiff that certain portions of the publication tarnished his image because the publication sought to portray him as engaging in a “counterfeit and improper or illicit deal pertaining to MASLOC for his own selfish and greedy interest.”

The plaintiff says he never at any point hand in MASLOC funds allocation in the Abokobi-Madina Constituency.

“The said publication by the defendants was not only a vicious attempt to asphyxiate my political ambitions, having put same in the public domain at the peak of my political party campaign to retain the NPP chairmanship position in the constituency, but has also gone to project me to all serious-minded and well meaning people in Ghana and beyond as a fraudulent character, arm twister, veiled thief and corrupt person.”

He stated that the publication has ‘mangled’ his political career, suffocated his business activities and presented him in an extremely negative light before members of his family, NPP, among others.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

14 on trial over Ya Na murder

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 8, 2010
Six more people suspected by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government for their alleged involvement in the murder of Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, Chief of Dagbon have been put in court for trial.

It brings to 14 the total number of people arrested by the security agencies in connection with the murder of the Ya Na and some 30 others.

On June 28, 2010, six people namely Alhaji Baba Abdulai Iddrisu aka Zohe, Kwame Alhassan aka Achiri, Mohamadu Abdulai aka Samasama, Sayibu Mohammed, Alhassan Braimah and Alhaji Mohammed Habib Tijani, 45, former District Chief Executive of Yendi during the NPP regime as second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth persons respectively were indicted at the Adjabeng Magistrate Court in Accra.

The first accused Iddrisu Iddi aka Mbadugu who was on admission at the Police Hospital in Accra at the last adjourned date finally made it to the court yesterday and was also committed to the High Court for but Zakaria Yakubu aka Zakaria Forest, the seventh accused person declared at large by the security agencies was not still in court.

The six brought to the court presided over by Ms. Patricia Quansah for committal to the High Court for trial include Baba Ibrahim aka Baba Zey, Alhassan Mohammed a.k.a Mohammed Cheampon, Mohammed Mustapha, Sani Moro, Yakubu Yusif a.k.a Leftee and Hammed Abukari Yussif.

The committal of the accused could not be done because the prosecution led by Ms. Gertrude Aikins, the Director of Public Prosecution told the packed court that there were errors on the summary of evidence as 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th accused respectively.

She said the summary of evidence on Yusif aka Leftee was not ready and that accounted for the prosecution’s inability to go ahead with the committal proceedings.

This prompted Mr. Phillip Addison, counsel for the accused persons to complain to the court that the prosecution had not been giving them documents in the case on time adding “we have always been cooperating with the prosecution. We even brought Leftee to the police,” but the DPP said it was not deliberate.

The judge then remanded the six into police custody and adjourned the case to July 15, 2010 for the prosecution to make the submission for committal.
The facts of the case as read by the DPP there are two Royal Gates to the Dagbon paramount skin called Andani and Abudu and succession to the skin has been on rotational basis.

However this system was disrupted in 1969 bringing about a protracted litigation between the two gates leading to the de-skinment of the Late Ya-Na Mahamadu Abdulai IV and the enskinment of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.

In February 2002, the celebration of the "Eidil Adha" festival brought about disturbances in Yendi and intelligence report indicated that arms had been smuggled into the township by both gates.

The District Security Committee (DISEC) imposed a curfew and placed a ban on the celebration of the Bugum (fire) festival. An approval of the imposition of the curfew was given by the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) on 23rd March 2002.

Whilst Abudu gate embraced the decision, the Ya-Na saw it as an affront to his position and on March 25, 2002 the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II decided to invite his elders to the Gbewaa Palace by sending Ziblim Abdulai to call one Mbadugu, Dugu-Lana and whilst returning with Mbadugu, Dugu-Lana, he was attacked and assaulted by some Abudu Youths.

The attack was followed by sporadic shooting towards the palace later in the day and the attack on the Gbewaa Palace by the Abudus intensified in the evening leading to the death of some of the elders inside the palace.

About 30 people lost their lives with many others hospitalized for all kinds of injuries and the situation worsened on the subsequent days that is on 26th and 27th days of March 2002.

On March 27, 2002 the Gbewaa Palace fell to the Abudus. The palace was set ablaze and the shooting was intensified leading to many deaths and when some of the elders in the palace attempted to escape they were shot dead.

Zakaria Yakubu now at large was seen by witnesses in this case decapitating the Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II near a kraal, after he had been dragged there by Mahamadu Abdulai and one other now at large and Mohammed Habib Tijani the then DCE was deeply involved in the conspiracy.

After, Zakaria Yakubu had decapitated the Ya-Na, others now at large poured petrol on the king after putting used car tyres to set fire to the body.

The killing of the Ya Na in 2002 became a major campaign tool for the NDC in the run up to the 2008 general and even made it a manifesto promise to find the killers and prosecute them.

According to the NDC, its predecessor, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) did not do enough to prosecute those involved in the killing of the Ya Na and some of the late king’s elders.

Otiko strikes Bisiw, Benyiwa-Doe




Otiko Afisa Djaba is the National Women Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday July 8, 2010
THE NATIONAL Women’s Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Otiko Afisah Djaba has taken a swipe at two National Democratic Congress (NDC) ministers saying sometimes their utterances “did not augur well for the advancement of women in Ghana”.

She said reactions from the two NDC women namely Dr. Hannah Bisiw, Deputy Minister of Works Housing and Water Resource and Ama Benyiwa-Doe, Central Regional Minister during the altercation between the Vice President’s Aide, John Jinapor and Ursula Owusu, an NPP activist on Metro TV recently were “very unfortunate”

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE in Accra Tuesday, the NPP Women’s Organizer said “following an altercation between Mr. Jinapor and Ursula on a morning TV programme, two female Ministers of State also joined in the fray to wage war on Ursula in a manner that portended to shame all women in politics. My humble plea to all stakeholders is that women should not be their own enemies.”

“My reminder to Ministers of State is that at all times it requires of them to speak with decorum and sensitivity, as well as conduct themselves with dignity befitting the high office they hold in this country”, she said.

“People have high expectations of government and politicians to improve upon their lives rather than deepen their woes. Ministers of state must appreciate the fact that it is a privilege to serve the citizens of Ghana with some level of humility and sensitivity rather than exhibiting arrogance, throwing tantrums and using filthy and foul language on public platform.”

She said the incident that sparked “this gross misconduct between Mr. Jinapor and Ursula is not an NDC/ NPP matter. It is about the dignity and respect of the Ghanaian woman, especially women in politics. However, in the quest to make it an NPP versus NDC issue and to protect the image of the Vice President our two female ministers rather compounded it.”

“As has been said, sometimes, we women are our worst enemies. In my life as a politician, I have heard numerous comments and remarks by women alluding to the fact that they will never vote for other women simply because they are women. We women are just too quick to accept unpalatable labels and are comfortable with baseless characterizations of our gender as quarrelsome, whores, confrontational, ‘bitchy’ and vindictive.”

“It is critical that women prepare themselves adequately to acquit ourselves creditably when we are called upon to assume the leadership positions we aspire to. While men look forward to political office as a natural consequence of being men,

women have to invest greater energy in fighting prejudice, culture, tradition, family and their own gender to make any headway in politics in Ghana.”

“Those of us who have continued to pursue political ambitions know too well what offensive comments we have endured over the years for simply deciding to contribute our quota to the development of our societies. These offensive remarks and jeering comments should not come from women themselves, especially female government officials.”

Ms. Djaba said women in politics must be convinced of the importance of their cause and their inalienable rights as human beings to be accorded equal access and opportunity in governance, politics and the development agenda of the country.

“Women in my opinion have so much to contribute and have such unique qualities to bring to the table that if men and women allow prejudice to scare women from politics, they will be doing the people, who are indeed our children and future generations, a great disservice.”

She said the recent unfortunate incidents in the country’s political discourse have prompted her to seek the support of all stakeholders to curb remarks and actions that might denigrate women in Ghana further and undermine their prominence.

“We are at the doorstep of the celebrating 100 years of the International Women’s Day and we need a leadership that can create opportunities for women and turn them into abilities instead of paying lip service to the advancement of women. In spite of the massive strides that the women of Ghana have achieved in the quest to participate in the management of our national affairs, we still have a very long way to go and very high mountains to conquer.”

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

COURT SLAPS NPA/TOR

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 7, 2010
An Accra High Court has ruled that the ‘ex-refinery differentials’ imposed on the people by the National Petroleum Authority (NPA) is illegal.

Development Data, a policy research and advocacy think tank, Kwaku Kwarteng of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Abdul Ganiyu all plaintiffs filed the suit against the NPA and Tema Oil Refinery (TOR), seeking a declaration that the Ex-Refinery differentials imposed by the defendants since June 5, 2009 is illegal.

According to the plaintiffs, the ‘ex-refinery differentials’ after ex- refinery and ex-pump prices has become an extraneous element introduced by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and which has not been made known to the people of Ghana about how it is being used.

The plaintiffs filed the suit on September 28, 2009 but the NPA and TOR did not file any motion to contest the case and the court had no option but to give a default judgement.

In his ruling on July 5, 2010, the court presided over by Justice Patrick Baayeh said “upon hearing the affidavit of the second plaintiff filed on June 30, 2010, and upon hearing Alexander Abban Esq. counsel for and on behalf of the plaintiffs default judgement is hereby entered against the first defendant as prayed for”
The court also awarded GH¢ 400 cost against the NPA.

In their statement of claim the plaintiffs had said “contrary to NPA Act 2005, Act 691, the NPA neglected, failed and/or refused to gazette the import parity price of refined petroleum products as at June 5, 2010.”

“In order to conceal the illegal price top-ups from the public, and to unjustifiably profit from same, the NPA by a confidential letter dated June 5, 2009, directed TOR to pay the difference between the true ex-refinery prices and false ex-refinery prices which the NPA calls ‘ex-refinery differential’ into the NPS’s bank account.”

They said the NPA did not authority any authority to impose the ‘ex-differential prices adding “the NPA imposed an illegal charge on consumers in its maximum fuel prices announced on June 5, 2009.”

“The unlawful action of the defendants is extortionist on consumers of petroleum products in the country and the defendants will not, unless otherwise ord3ered by this court, abate their unlawful actions.”

The plaintiffs therefore sought a declaration that the ex-pump prices announced on the basis of the ‘ex-refinery prices’ were not in accordance with the prescribed petroleum pricing formula and therefore unlawful.

They also sought an order for TOR to cease the collection of the illegal ex-refinery differential for NPA and another order compelling the NPA and TOR to publicly declare the amount of money accrued from the imposition of the illegal ex-refinery differential and to pay it into the consolidated fund.

They also asked the court to order the NPA to publish periodically in the gazette import parity prices of the refined petroleum products and a perpetual injunction restraining the NPA from imposing the exploitative ‘ex-differential’.

Mining problems overwhelming nation – WACAM Boss

posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday July 7, 2010
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR of the Wassa Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Daniel Owusu-Koranteng says the country is becoming “overwhelmed” by problems in the mining sector calling for “drastic” measures to stop them.

“The problems in the mining sector, both small and large scale are beginning to overwhelm the whole nation. It comes in term of loss of human lives, pollution of water bodies, destruction of properties, poor safety measures, conflicts, corruption and above all human rights abuses.”

Mr. Owusu-Koranteng was reacting to the recent mining disaster which claimed at least 70 lives describing it as “very unfortunate and tragic” but said “it could easily have been prevented if our mining regulators had been up to the task.”

According to media sources at least 70 small scale miners engaged in what is known in local parlance as ‘galamsey’ were killed after a gold mining pit collapsed in Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central region.

The victims became trapped when rain caused the pit to cave in on Sunday, June 27 and only 21 bodies were retrieved by rescuers.

Mr. Owusu-Koranteng said problems in the mining sector “far outweigh our capacity to deal with them. We need a very strong and independent regulatory body, civil society organizations and an empowered media to be able to stop this onslaught.”

“In the drive to get gold, we are sacrificing safety, human rights and other social considerations. The rate of accidents and other problems give you an impression of an industry that is getting out of regulation.”

The WACAM boss said “the unfortunate but tragic accident could easily have been prevented. It came as a result operating without consideration to safety rules.”

He said “I do not believe that anybody including the district assembly, Minerals Commission and other state regulators were not aware about the operations of the miners and its consequence.”

He said the drive for gold and other mineral resources have become so strong and have been boosted with the surge in gold prices on the world market adding “both small and large scale mining sectors are engaged in fierce battles to control the resources.”

“The craze for gold is so strong that even mining companies now use the police, military and other security agencies to brutalise our own people anytime they try to express genuine concerns.”

“Safety issues are becoming very important in artisanal mining. Small scale mining has changed tremendously from the use of pickaxes and shovels to heavy duty machines and equipment and government should not relent in its effort to put stringent measures to check abuse in that sector,” he noted.

He said the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) is clear very clear on who should engage in mining in Ghana but the small scale mining sector has now been taken over by foreigners who are operating with impunity.

Sadly, “We have a network of Ghanaians including chiefs, business people and some elements in the security agencies fronting for these foreigners to destroy our environment and abuse the rights of the people,” he said.

WACAM is a non-governmental organization campaigning against irresponsible and illegal mining.