Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Kabral cautions media houses

Kabral Blay Amihere is the Chairman of the National Media Commission in Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 31, 2010
Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC), Ambassador Kabral Blay Amihere has cautioned that the public will soon turn against the media if it does not deal with unethical journalism and corruption as well take steps to mend their ways.

“Ghana’s democracy is quiet better because we have a vibrant press but the actions of journalists can bring down this nation. We have a false belief that the media is free but I say that by our transgressions it will give the authorities opportunity to clamp down on the media,” he explained.

Ambassador Kabral was speaking at a public lecture organized by the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) to mark 75 years of broadcasting in the country.

The lecture with the topic “Media in democracy: The case of Ghana” was the last in the series of lectures and seminars lined up by the nation’s premier broadcaster for the celebration under the general theme “The national broadcaster – Agent for development.”

Ambassador Kabral said “since journalists as members of the human race are by nature political animals, there will always be politics in the media and journalists will take sides in political struggles. But Ghanaian media must develop the culture to operate as newspapers and electronic media and not as propaganda sheets or voice-boxes boxes of political parties or partisan interests.”

He said journalists could pursue ideals and causes dear to their hearts without serving as ‘footnotes’, adding “it is possible as other media in other parts of the world do, to remain professional and still be politically relevant.”

He said politicians who set up “little newspapers to propagate their agenda should keep clear from the profession or at best not be ones to criticize the press.”

Ambassador Kabral cautioned the media particularly the numerous private radio stations to show responsibility in their operations saying “not long ago, it was unthinkable to for anybody to apart from the state to have private radio. A great deal of social responsibility lies on their shoulders to ensure that their stations are not used by anybody to promote division and civil strife in Ghana.”

He also urged editors of state-owned media to continue to extricate itself from governmental interference saying “any control, direct or indirect from government can only take place if the management and editors of the state-owned media allow themselves to be used.”

He commended the private media for blazing the trail for press freedom when Ghana was in a democratic transition saying the lack of professional solidarity in the media fraternity today due to undue politicization of issues is an indication that the media needed to do more if it has to continue expanding the frontiers of media freedom.”

He also supported the call for the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) to help weed out charlatans from the profession but said it should be handled with care so that it would not negate the fundamental rights of every Ghanaian to free speech and freedom of expression.

Ambassador Kabral commended the present and past staff of GBC for sacrificing to get the station on track.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information who stood in for the sector Minister said “Ambassador Kabral’s presentation is candid, erudite and authoritative. He came out so sincerely and honestly.”

He promised the government’s readiness to support any effort that would promote freedom of the media and the practitioners and called on the media to also observe high ethical and professional standards.

William Ampem-Darko, Director-General of the GBC said media freedom should never be restricted adding “the frontiers of media freedom should rather be expanded for our democracy to grow rapidly.”


Kwesi Pratt Junior is an outspoken journalist and social commentator

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 31, 2010
Kwesi Pratt Jnr. the Convention People’s Party (CPP) member who has virtually become the unofficial spokesperson for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has predicted doom for the ruling party in 2012 if it does not swiftly put its chaotic house in order.

A seemingly frantic Pratt says the ‘internal insurgency’ happening in the NDC could take the party back to opposition.

Mr. Pratt, Managing Editor of Insight and a leading member of the moribund Committee for Joint Action (CJA) told Citi FM, an Accra-based radio station that there seemed to be deliberate moves by some NDC top guns to ensure that President Mills failed at all cost.

He said there was currently a raging “internal insurgency” within the ruling party, with key insiders making serious efforts to crush the Mills Presidency for their own parochial political interests but added that President Mills did not appear to appreciate the seriousness of the internal threat to his two-year-old presidency.

“All these agitations and sometimes downright insults of the president and manoevouring by some foot soldiers point to a certain strategy to replace the president and that is why I call it the state of insurgency. It is about regime change, it is a particular power struggle aimed at replacing the president,” he said.

Without mentioning names, Mr. Pratt warned that the growing internal opposition to President Mills will not inure to the benefit of the key insiders leading the attack, but may rather result in a possible return of the opposition NPP to power.

“The blow which will send NDC to the canvas will not come from the New Patriotic Party, it will not come from the Convention People’s Party, it will be a self-inflicted blow; it will be an NDC blow which will send the NDC to the canvas,” he warned.

“I do not know how the regime is going to deal with this problem, but quite frankly, opponents of the regime are very happy with this situation. The regime itself does not appear to have understood the full implications of this internal insurgency; they don’t seem to realize that this can send them to the canvas, they don’t seem to realize that if the current trend continues their task of winning the next election is going to be far more difficult than it has ever been,” he said.

The chances of the NDC retaining power in 2012 are getting slimmer by the day with the ruling party’s own media, elements, apologists and propagandists all doubting their ability to win the general elections.

Since coming into office about 19 months ago, the government has not known peace within the rank and file of the NDC as leaders are caught up in the web of power struggle with others accusing the President of presiding over a ‘go-slow’ ‘Team B’ government some of whom are said to be ‘boot lickers’ and ‘greedy bastards’.

Some members including the sacked National Youth Council Co-ordinator, Sekou Nkrumah have even suggested that President Mills against Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the 2012 elections would portend danger for the ruling NDC and had gone further to ask the NDC leadership to change President Mills for a ‘charismatic leader.’

A pro-NDC newspaper Daily Post has stated the Mills-led government “is in a hurry to go back into opposition.”

In a recent publication, Daily Post lambasted the party saying “So, they damn the founder of the party, leave the NPP’s machinery in government intact, ignore their financiers, ignore media houses friendly to their cause and tell anyone within the party who dissents to “go to hell.”

“As for the foot-soldiers, the police are being told to arrest them. What a government!”

It went on: “Before the 2008 elections, could they have damned the founder, ignored their financiers and directed the police to arrest their foot-soldiers? So it is; what the party took serious before it got into power, now it ignores.”

Daily Post made it clear to President Mills and his NDC government that “providing school uniforms for needy pupils, defraying the TOR debt and lowering inflation among others are not big enough to win the Mills government the 2012 elections. If they were, the NPP, after implementing the NHIS, School Feeding, LEAP, NYEP and Metro-mass among others, would have won the 2008 elections.”

Kofi Adams, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC and spokesman for Former President Rawlings and his family, has also emphasized that the factionalism within the NDC is real.

He was however quick to point out that factionalism should not contribute to the break-up of the party adding that it should rather be harnessed to the advantage of the party while at the same time cautioning that perceptions of factionalism could result in the party’s downfall.

While bemoaning factionalism within the party at a time when President Mills needed the support of every NDC member to make the government succeed, Mr. Adams was virtually canvassing support for former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings to become the party’s flag bearer when the latter has not ‘officially’ declared her intention to contest President Mills in the NDC primary.

Extolling the virtues of the former First Lady on XFM owned by Herbert Mensah, a pal of the Rawlingses,’ Mr. Adams had said “I have seen many presidents in Africa and other parts of the world who do not have even a quarter of the experience she has gathered and the kind of work that she has done.”

Court Faults Silver Star

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 31, 2010
The Commercial Court in Accra has ordered Silver Star Auto Limited, dealers of Mercedes Benz cars to give a brand new Mercedes Benz (E-Class) to G.A. Sarpong & Co. Ltd as a replacement for a damaged Benz saloon car.

In the alternative Silver Star, as defendants would, refund the sum of 48,000 Euros being the purchase price of the damaged car with registration GN 2266 Y to the plaintiff, G.A Sarpong & Co.

The court, presided over by Justice Henry A. Kwofie however did not order Silver Star to pay any compensation to the plaintiff but awarded GH¢ 4, 000 against the defendant.

G.A. Sarpong & Co filed the suit claiming, among other things, damages for breach of condition and deceit which the defendants vehemently denied.

The plaintiff’s case is that in February 2007, it purchased a brand new Mercedes Benz 180 C-Class saloon from Silver Star Auto Ltd for one of its officers and was covered by a two-year warranty, stating that sometime in July 2007, the head gasket of the said C-Class got cracked and the plaintiff duly informed the defendant.

In the event that followed, the plaintiff agreed to trade in the C-Class for another brand new Mercedes Benz 200 E-Class saying “the new E-Class had an invoice value of 51, 142. 30 Euros but the parties eventually agreed on the price of 48,000 Euros.”

By reason of the trade-in arrangement, the plaintiff surrendered the C-Class to the defendant and also paid the defendant 15,000 Euros, representing the difference between the price of the C-180 and the E-Class which was delivered on December 12, 2007.

The plaintiff said in 2008 during the rainy season the car, which was being driven by its Director, G. A. Sarpong suddenly stopped in the middle of the road at East Legon in Accra and had to be pushed out of water that had flooded the street and subsequently notified Silver Star, which took the car to the workshop and repaired it at a cost of GH¢ 7, 498. 77.

The plaintiffs said the defendant did not import any spare parts for the repair of the car contrary to claims made by the defendant, explaining that said the defendant had “perpetrated a gigantic fraud on them and their insurers.”

The plaintiff said they used the car after the repair works until December 1, 2008 when it developed another fault on the Korle-Bu Mortuary road.

The plaintiff was later notified by the defendant through their insurers that the engine of the car was irreparably damaged and had to be replaced, adding that the defendant, under the two-year unlimited warranty under the purchase agreement must provide the plaintiff with a brand new replacement E-Class at no cost to the plaintiff.

The defendant, in response, said the two vehicles were sold to the plaintiff under the manufacturers’ standard warranty which provided that all rectifiable defects that occur within two years of the purchase of the vehicle and not occurring through the negligence or default of the plaintiff would be rectified by the defendant at no cost to the plaintiff.

The defendant said the initial repair of the car was not covered by warranty provisions as the vehicle stopped solely because it had been driven into a flooded ditch that caused part of the engine to be submerged in water thereby causing the engine to stop with extensive damage.

The case then went to full trial after the parties failed to settle the matter at the pre-trial settlement conference.

The court held that the period of 12 months was not unreasonable and that the plaintiff is entitled to a brand new E-Class as replacement for the damaged car.
Meanwhile, Silver Star Auto Limited has filed an appeal against the judgement and the court is yet to fix a date for hearing.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Youth call for neutral Hajj Committee

Sheikh Osman Huhu Sharabutu is the National Chief Immam of Ghana

Posted o: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday August 28, 2010
MUSLIM YOUTH for Change, a group of Muslim youth have cautioned against what they call “undue politicisation” of the organization of the Hajj, a religious ritual of the Islamic religion.

They also reminded organizers to “remember that the sacred trust of organizing the Hajj must not be turned into defrauding poor and vulnerable pilgrims and indulge in various unethical acts under the pretext of Hajj, and in the name of Islam, in order to gain worldly wealth and influence.”

A news release issued in Accra and signed by Sheikh Dayinday Ali, General Secretary of Muslim Youth for Change with the title “NDC foot soldiers Hajj Organizers”, claimed that the organization of the Hajj has been given to foot soldiers and sympathizers of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

He said “we consider Hajj as a religious obligation and therefore its organization and management require the involvement of stakeholders of the Muslim Community and not on partisan basis as it is happening now in order to ensure good corporate governance, transparency, accountability, efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism.”

“With the preparation of the 2010/2011 Hajj underway, we demand from the NDC-imposed Hajj Committee to render full account of the Hajj 2009/2010”, adding “without doubt, the organization of Hajj 2009/2010 had occasioned a great scandal which had brought severe discomfort and humiliation to Ghanaian pilgrims in the holy city despite the propaganda messages of a well-organized Hajj.”

Sheikh Ali said “dishonesty on the part of the government the government and its so called Hajj committee, in pursuit of self interest and commercial profit, exploit the ignorance of the public and the vulnerability of Ghanaian pilgrims at the expense of the general good and benefit of the Muslim Ummah (community).”

He said it was ‘evident’ and ‘quiet obvious’ that some Hajj agents had “grossly abused their trust and taken advantage of the Hajj arrangements to accept clear aliens into the fold of the Ghanaian contingent and, more dangerously, facilitated their unlawful and illegal acquisition of Ghanaian travel documents.”

“We demand that the report of the 2009/2010 Hajj purported to have been submitted to His Excellency the Vice President be published in the media for the public to know.”

Sheikh Ali also called on the Hajj Committee to do a breakdown of this years’ Hajj fare which says has been pegged at 3,100 dollars instead of last years’ 2,900 dollars for the public to know the reasons for the increment.

“It is about time Ghanaians demonstrated the willingness and commitment to their own Hajj operations and develop their capacity to effectively, efficiently and professionally manage their own Hajj affairs in Ghana.”

He also reminded organizers of the Hajj to read Quran 4:10 and Quran 7:51.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tension At Accra Poly

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 26, 2010
Baring any intervention, lecturers of Accra Polytechnic will embark on a demonstration today to press for the election of a Vice Rector for the polytechnic but management says the action will be illegal.

Over the past week the lecturers have been on collision course with the polytechnic’s management and council over the position of Vice Rector expressing the fear that the council chaired by Professor Josuah Alabi who is also Rector of the Institute of Professional Studies (IPS) is trying to impose a Vice Rector on the polytechnic.

The lecturers are saying that the appointment of anybody to that position has always been done by convocation and want the status quo maintained failure of which will compel them to hit the streets.

However when Daily Guide visited the polytechnic located opposite the Ghana Trades Union Congress building at Kinbu Accra yesterday, Mr. Samuel N. Sundong who was delegated by the Rector to speak said “the lecturers’ demands are unjustifiable.”

He said the Polytechnics Act 2007 (Act) 745 gives the council the powers to review or amend the polytechnic’s statutes as and when they deemed it necessary so that the institution can be efficiently managed to serve the needs of society better.

He said under the new dispensation, the council has the power to set up a committee to search for a Vice Rector and make recommendation for appointment by the council adding “the situation where the Vice Rector is elected by convocation has been amended when Act745 came into being.”

Mr. Sundong sad “the council has the mandate to appoint the Vice Rector and other senior members to administrative positions,” adding “what they are agitating for have all been taken care off in the new Act.”

He said the council and management of the polytechnic met the agitating lecturers yesterday to deliberate on the issue but the lecturers still stood on their grounds and did not compromise and still stood on their position.

Mr. Sundong further said the council has already made it clear that it does not intend to go against the Polytechnics Act adding “the lecturers have notified us that they will be embarking on a demonstration but I do not think it is right because if they do it is the innocent students who are going to suffer.”

“It is not that the council has made any appointment yet for the position of a Vice Rector. Rather it is the changes in the statutes that are bringing all the problems.”

He said during the review of the statutes the lecturers who are now agitating had representatives on the review committee and added that the search committee that will be appointed by the council to look for a Vice Rector will also include representatives from the lecturers as the act mandates.

“The new act ensures that there is transparency in everything we do here. It does not make room for anybody to manipulate anything,” adding “the lecturers should rather channel their energies into fighting for better condition of service for members. They should fight for things that will interest all of us.”

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Arrest NDC foot soldiers – Presby Church tells police.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday August 25, 2010
The Presbyterian Church of Ghana says the Police Administration should deal firmly with the so-called foot soldiers of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) who are going about terrorrising law abiding citizens.

“We note with satisfaction government efforts to curb the recent spate of indiscipline relating to attacks, seizure and closure of public offices by the so-called foot soldiers and supporters of the ruling party. We therefore urge the law enforcement agencies to apply the law.”

This was contained in a communiqué issued at the end of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and read by Rt. Reverend Dr. Yaw Frimpong-Manso, outgoing Moderator of the church at a press conference in Accra yesterday.

Commenting on a wide range of issues affecting the nation, Rev. Dr. Frimpong-Manso entreated the judiciary which has come under public scrutiny of late to take expedite action on cases before the courts and asked politicians to desist from interfering in the work of the judiciary to enable it enjoy its independence as enshrined in the 1992 Constitution.

He said the church finds corruption worrying that Ghana is still battling to curb the menace and called on the government to “unequivocal and consistent in the fight against corruption while redefining and improving existing systems, structures and control mechanisms aimed at reducing corruption.”

Rev. Frimpong-Manso said even though the government is doing its best to bring about sound macro-economic framework for development, the policy initiatives could only be achieve if prudent economic management strategies are put in place to ensure its implementation.

On the oil discovery the church said “we anticipate that the industry would come with its peculiar problems. The General Assembly therefore urges government to develop strategies to meet the challenges when they emerge.”

On education, Rev. Frimpong-Manso bemoaned the way politicians have been toying with the country’s educational system saying “the time has come for all of us to sit down and have pragmatic and time tested educational policies devoid of partisanship and leave it for educators to run it.”

Rev. Frimpong-Manso also asked the government to strive to create employment opportunities for the people and also help to redirect the potential of the youth to better serve the interest of the nation.

He called on the government to arrest and prosecute all those who are found to have misapplied or mismanaged or embezzled the National Health Insurance Health funds and also take steps to tie up what he calls “knotty issues that are creating tension between the government and the minority in parliament and other civil society organizations regarding the implementation of the laudable STX Housing scheme.”

Rev. Frimpong-Manso urged the government to formulate a strategic disaster management plan to deal with emergency situation in the country and also urged the media to avoid unethical behaviours and sensationalism in their work.

The Presby Church said it is disturbed by acts of indiscipline of some Christian leaders who were bringing the name of the church into disrepute adding “the General Assembly reiterates its call to the Christian Council, the Catholic Bishops Conference, the Ghana Pentecostal Council and the leaders of all other religious denominations to rise up and weed out charlatans from among their fold.”

We've faith in judiciary - Abudus

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday August 25, 2010
The Abudu Royal Family in Dagbon has declared their total support for the Chief Justice Mrs. Georgina T. Wood and the judiciary and urged them not to be “cowered and intimidated” by what the family describes as “somebody’s warped and parochial understanding of the doctrine of separation of powers and checks and balances.”

A news release issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Dr. Ziblim Iddi, Spokesperson of the family said they are disappointed in “the recent development on the ongoing trial of 15 members of our family standing trial for the murder of the late Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II.”

The release said “the family of the late king deserves justice and closure, and it is the obligation of the state to deliver that by adducing evidence in a competent court of jurisdiction.”

“The pursuit of justice in this country should not be at the whims and caprices of a select few politician.”

The release said the accused persons are innocent until proven guilty in a competent court of jurisdiction adding “they retain their constitutional right to fair and speedy trial, and should not be used as guinea pigs to serve the interest of any political party.”

“We continue to have faith in the justice system, and pray for the safety of all persons entrusted with the awesome responsibility to dispense justice in this country.”

It said the judiciary has a constitutional obligation to adjudicate and dispense justice to all manner of people including the 15 accused persons from the Abudu Gate adding “it is our hope that the Chief Justice would keep the wheel of justice running in this country by immediately appointing a new judge to sit on the case. This is a litmus test for the judiciary.”

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

I don’t feel safe – Judge

Ebo Barton-Oduro is the Deputy Attorney_General of Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 24, 2010
“I have felt insulted, scandalized, and indeed bastardized all in the name of the AG’s office to play politics with the bench in general and with me in particular. I am no politician. I am a judge and have taken an oath to dispense justice to all manner of persons irrespective of whatever.

“I will only plead in the name of the Almighty God that they stop these useless propaganda against the bench and get their act together as professional lawyers instead of appearing to be political stooges.

“I have gone through very low moments because of these unsubstantiated accusations but I console myself in the fact that the legal fraternity who are better placed to assess me do not regard me as bad and irresponsible alcoholic judge as Barton–Oduro and his party wanted the Ghanaian public to believe.”

These were the words of Justice Anthony Oppong, the High Court judge who was trying 15 people suspected of killing Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, overlord of Dagbon, before he stepped down from the case.

He stated yesterday that he did not feel safe enough to continue sitting on the trial.

“I must quickly put it on record that in view of what is happening in this country, particularly the threats of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) chairman; I do not feel safe at all in handling this case. I will not take anything for granted because this country has a history. In the circumstances, I will invoke Section 104 of the Court’s Act, 1993, Act 459 and crave the indulgence of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice, in all humility and with the greatest respect, to transfer this case from this court.”

Justice Oppong gave the shocking ruling at the Fast Track High Court Four in Accra when the 15 suspects standing trial appeared before him.

On August 16, 2010, when full trial started, Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney prosecuting dropped a bombshell by claiming that the Attorney General and Minister of Justice Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu intended to object to the judge handling the case on the grounds of bias.

The judge then asked the Attorney General’s Department to formalize the application by pointing out the bias they (AG) were claiming and adjourned the case to yesterday August 23, 2010 for the motion to be moved.

However, before the motion could be heard, the Deputy Attorney General, Ebo Barton-Oduro was said to have granted a radio interview and accused Justice Oppong of being a drunkard and making prejudicial comments about the case at a drinking bar and that a woman had told him of the incident.

Declining to sit on the case, Justice Oppong said “for the ten years that I have been privileged to sit on the Ghanaian bench, the past few days since August 19, 2010 have proved to be the lowest moments for me.”

He said “I have been confronted with the weirdest and unmeritorious application by no other personality than the Attorney-General.”

The judge said Mr. Barton-Oduro had accused him of being “a drunkard” and being “irresponsible enough to have gone to a drinking bar and under the influence of alcohol, made prejudicial comments about this case.”

“I vehemently deny this. I have never been to a drinking bar and made any comments whatsoever on this Ya Na’s murder case. I challenge Mr. Barton-Oduro to substantiate or render unqualified apology to me for running me that down.”

He said the impression being created that the Ya Na murder case is NDC case “is devoid of substance” explaining “in any event, the AG’s office is not an appendage of the NDC. The AG, Deputy AG, all the lawyers in the office are not workers or staff of the NDC. They are on the payroll of the Republic of Ghana and not the NDC.”

Justice Oppong, who seemed disturbed by the turn-out of events, advised that lawyers at the AG’s office must first and foremost see themselves as professionals and not party functionaries saying “they are there to make their expertise and knowledge in the law available in the supreme interest of the Republic of Ghana.”

He said since the Ya Na suffered an unnatural death and some people have been accused of killing him there was no need to play politics with the case adding “the AG’s duty is to bring cogent and convincing evidence that is capable of convincing the jury to return a verdict of guilty.”

He said “this is a jury trial and it is not the judge who will pronounce these accused persons guilty. It is the jury that will do this so why should anyone accuse me of bias.

“Perhaps Barton-Oduro, Esquire, is forgetting that being the Deputy Attorney-General, he is the second leader of the bar and in this regard, a higher standard of legal practice is expected of him. Why would a person of that caliber go on radio and use me as a pawn to score cheap political points, painting me as the worst judge in this country?”

He said the Deputy AG must be ashamed of himself and must also be told that this is not how he should object to judges sitting on a case for whatever reason.

“If he did that to bring disaffection or hatred to me and for that matter the judiciary, he did nothing worthy of praise because one does not cut his nose to spite his face.”

When the AG raised the objection of bias against Justice Oppong and he asked the AG’s office to file the motion stating their grounds, the AG rather filed an application for judicial review which had no returning date and did not even notify lawyers handling the15 accused persons.

Justice Oppong, before giving the ruling, said as long as the Registrar had not fixed a date for the AG’s judicial review application or placed it before the court, he was not going to hear it and asked the prosecutor “do you expect that the very judge against whom the application has been filed will be the judge that will hear the application?”

Ebo Barton-Oduro, confused by the latest development, told Joy FM that he had a tape recording in which Justice Oppong said he would "throw out the case".

The judge was alleged to have told a lady at a drinking bar that the case would be thrown out.

“If he thinks that he did not say it and he wants that matter to be gone into, I am ready. I am telling you, I have the evidence. When I interviewed the lady, I recorded it. It is on tape; I don’t do things just for the fun of it," he said.

Asked if the interview was a third party interview, the deputy AG retorted: “What are you telling me?: The lady who was sitting on the table with him when he made the pronouncements. Let’s not go into that,” he warned.

He has threatened to make the tape public if Justice Oppong continues to cast aspersions at him.
But Justice Oppong has thrown a challenge to Barton-Oduro to go public with the so-called tape.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Metro TV reporter is Journalist of the year

Posted o: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 23, 2010
A reporter from Metropolitan Television, Samuel Agyemang defied all odds to become the youngest journalist ever to win the coveted Journalists of the of the Year award for 2009.

For his prize, Mr. Agyemang, 29, received a professional enhancement package of $28,000 equivalent to GHC42, 000 from Unilever Ghana Limited as well as a visit to the International Centre for Journalist (ICFJ) in Washington DC in the United States to have attachments at some renowned media houses, depending on his area of specialty.

It was all excitement at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra, as the GJA celebrated its 15th awards night under the theme “Unethical journalism and corruption in the media: A danger to democracy.”

Journalists who thronged the venue had the opportunity to celebrate the night with Vice President John Dramani Mahama, Aidan White of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and a host of other dignitaries. They were treated to sumptuous music by Abrantie Amakye Dede and his Apollo High Kings band.

In all, 33 awards were given to journalists and some media houses while five individuals who have contributed in the flourishing of the media landscape including Mr. Aidan White were given honorary awards.

Two journalists and the famous crack cartoonist, Akosua of Daily Guide and Business Guide picked three awards at the ceremony night.

This was an improvement over last year’s awards when the leading private newspaper in the country and number two on the sales market picked an award for best design newspaper.

The journalists are Emelia Ennin and Esther Awuah who collected a plaque and citations for being the best journalists in Environment and Small and Micro Scale Enterprises, respectively were among 33 others who were honoured at the wards night.

Akosua the unsurpassed satirist cartoonist picked the newly instituted award for cartoon, sponsored by the renowned industrialist, Akenten Appiah-Menka of Apino soap fame.

In addition each award winner will receive a laptop computer.
The award winners included: News Reporting TV – Portia Solomon (TV3), News Reporting Print – Francis Tuffour (Ghanaian Times), News Reporting (Radio) – Evans Mensah (Joy FM), Features (Radio)-Kingsley Obeng Kyere (GBC), Features (TV) – Samuel Agyemang (Metro TV), Features (Print) – Doreen Allotey (Daily Graphic) and Investigative Reporting - Peter Dela Tenge (Metro TV).

Others were: Sports Reporting – Maurice Quansah – (Daily Graphic), Arts, Entertainment and Domestic Tourism - Kofi Akpabli – Freelance, Photo Journalism – Gabriel Ahiabor (Daily Graphic), Business, Finance and Economic Reporting – Edward Nyarko (GTV), Small and Micro Scale Enterprises, Health Reporting – Lucy Adoma Yeboah – (Daily Graphic), HIV/AIDS Reporting – Gertrude Anka – (Ghanaian Observer), Development Journalism for advancing MDGs - Portia Solomon - (TV3) and Rural Reporting – Samuel Akapule – (GNA)

The rest were: Crime and Court Reporting – Kingsley Hope - (Ghanaian Times), Hygiene and Sanitation – Dzifa Azumah (GNA), Disability Reporting – Issah Shaibu – (GBC), Telecommunications – Samuel Dowuona (GNA), Anti-Corruption – Anas Aremeyaw Anas (New Crusading Guide), Education - Isabella Owusu-Oppong – (GTV), Features – Vicky Wirekoh Andoh – (Daily Graphic), Cartoonist – Akosua – (Daily Guide), Best Layout and Design newspaper – (Daily Graphic), Best Rural Radio Station – (Radio Peace -Winneba), Human Rights - Sunrise Radio (Koforidua), Democracy and Peace – (Citi FM), Best Radio Programme in Akan – Wo haw ne sen (Peace FM), Best Radio Programme in Dagbani – (Diamond FM, Tamale) and Best Radio Programme (Talk) - Kusum Gboo Obonu FM.

Vice President Mahama who stood in for President John Evans Atta Mills as the guest of honour commended the GJA for recognizing that there are still unethical practices and corruption in the media.

“The fact that the GJA has chosen this theme means that the media is willing to be accountable to the people with whom the ultimate power rests,” he said.

He cited misreporting, poor language, mercenary journalism and lack of objectivity as some of the challenges that the media needed to overcome and added that there was the need for journalists to close their ranks and weed out charlatans from among them.

The Vice President also complained about the rate at which the media displayed photographs of dead persons and others he considered obscene and also noted that the serial calling phenomenon was making it impossible for the public to judge what he called “real public opinion.”

“If we want to purge our journalism of the negative tendencies then we must be able to discuss issues affecting the profession. So much is expected from the media. Our work should be fair, credible and responsible.”

He also bemoaned what he called “partisanship in our public discourse,” adding “everything in this country is interpreted based on our political prejudices.”
Vice President Mahama said the media has been in the forefront of fighting for media freedom and urged the media to continue to hold public office holders accountable.

Aidan White who chaired the ceremony admitted that journalism was facing enormous challenges, saying “journalism is in profound crises”.

He said the media needed to reassess itself if it wants to continue to fight for democracy and development and added “the media has to set the highest standard of accountability and transparency. If journalists are corrupt democracy is fatally flawed.”

“We need to lead the struggle for tolerance, give equal voice to majority and minority as well as expose corruption especially in high places”.

The Minister of Information, John Tia Akologu said it was refreshing that the GJA has realized that unethical journalism has gone beyond what he called “perception stage” and said the time has come for journalists to name and shame errant colleagues.

He said the journalists cannot say that the GJA Code of Ethics has achieved its usefulness and said writing unethically has become the order of the day.

Kabral Blay-Amihere, Chairman of the National Media Commission (NMC) said the GJA showed humility and courage in selecting the theme for the ceremony and said “in recent months there has been assault on press freedom.”

He called on the government to empower the commission with funds so that it will be able to promote freedom of expression and also ensure a free and responsible press.

Oumar Farouk, President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) called for improved condition of service for journalists in order to make them immune from corrupt tendencies.

Ransford Tetteh, President of the GJA said by promoting excellence in Ghanaian journalism “we are helping to further consolidate freedom of the press in Ghana and to get the Ghanaian media to remain the toast of lovers of democracy across the world.”

Don’t underestimate power of Media – MTN Boss

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 23, 2010
The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Brett Goshen, has said the media’s role in consolidating democracy should never be underestimated by any institution or body.

“The media has extreme and enormous power and its capacity and ability to promote democracy and ensure accelerated development is not to be underrated,” he explained.

Mr. Goshen was speaking at the 15th Ghana Journalists’ Association (GJA) awards ceremony held at the Banquet Hall, State House in Accra on Saturday night.

The event which had MTN, a mobile telecommunication giant, as its major sponsor, had the theme “Unethical journalism and corruption in the media: a danger to democracy.”

Mr. Goshen said the media in Ghana was promoting human rights, expanding the frontiers of freedom and supporting accelerated development and encouraged the GJA to continue to strive for improved media and professional standards.

He said the Information Communication Technology (ICT) revolution had demystified the way modern communication was done and said it was helping the media to effectively monitor every society.

Mr. Goshen commended the GJA for admitting that there were still unethical challenges facing the profession and said MTN was committed to assisting journalists to improve upon their performance to bring about professionalism and improved media standards.

Commenting on the awards, the MTN CEO said “MTN is delighted to support and be a major part of this event because of the importance that we attach to the role of the media in the success of our operations as a leading telecommunication service provider in Ghana.”

He commended the GJA for expanding the breadth of awards to include nine new awards.

He said “we hope this year’s awards ceremony will deepen the media’s resolve to live by the ethics of the profession. This will also encourage all journalists to aspire to higher standards of integrity and professionalism in their quest to use information to build a prosperous and better society.

“We at MTN will continue to uphold our values of integrity and relationship-building with our media partners as we develop innovative products and services to meet the telecommunication needs of our cherished subscribers.”

He said MTN committed so much into the GJA awards ceremony because it recognized “the capability and can-do spirit of the media” and said MTN shared similar values with the media in shaping the society positively.

“MTN will pursue its partnership with the media to enhance the knowledge of the Ghanaian public in telecommunication technology and ICT in general which are important instruments for empowering people.”

Mr. Goshen also said the company would continue to live up to its social responsibilities by its foundation (MTN Foundation) to help in the acceleration of development of the country.

Atta Akyea cries foul

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 23, 2010
Ata Akyea, Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, has expressed concern about the way and manner in which Papa Joseph Adom, owner of J. Adom Limited, a construction firm, is using the media and the police to tarnish his reputation by avoiding to pay him his legal fees.

Mr. Akyea has been accused of professional misconduct by his former clients who are claiming that the MP misused more than GH¢230,000 whilst he was legal counsel for the company.

Managing Director of the company, Kwabena Arhin, also alleges the MP withdrew $60,000 from the company’s account to purchase a house at the Airport residential area in a fictitious transaction.

But a news release issued in Accra and signed by the MP said “the pathetic story of my former client who I have faithfully served for the past seven years, and who is now hell-bent to destroy my reputation is a book to be written, but I will simplify the issues and facts and let the court of public opinion judge.”

“There is documentary evidence that I have worked assiduously for Papa Joseph Adom, as I affectionately call him, who is the owner and the sole directing mind of J. Adom Limited. In all my dealings with Papa Joseph Adom, I have never made the acquaintance of anybody called Mr. Arhin.”

“It therefore comes to me as a complete surprise that the said Mr. Arhin, claiming to be Managing Director of J. Adom Ltd, has fed inaccurate information to the press in clear manipulation of confidential lawyer-client communication between Papa Joseph Adom and me,” he said.

Lawyer Akyea said “it is with a clear conscience that I state that the recent smear campaign via the press is a ruse by Papa Joseph Adom to avoid his just debts, as he has refused to be persuaded that the labourer is worthy of his hire.”

He said he represented Joseph Adom and J. Adom Ltd in diverse ways, citing cases such as suit No. AC 2/2003 between Engineers and Planners Ltd and J. Adom Ltd, and his legal fees were GH¢ 53, 460. 98 and USD62,069. 00,which Mr. Adom had not paid.

In another case, suit No. AC 19/2007, between Vivendi Construction Company Ltd and J. Adom Ltd, his legal fees were assessed at GH¢ 17, 781. 76 but it remained outstanding while in suit No. 145/2007, between J. Adom Ltd and Harry Sintim Aboagye, his legal fees were assessed at GH¢ 6,600 .00 and not paid.

In the suit No. 154/2007, between J. Adom Ltd and International Structures Group Ltd, the MP said his unpaid legal fees were GH¢ 7, 850 .14 adding “in the botched property sale of an Airport Residential Area building, I charged the very reasonable amount of USD 9, 500. 00 which is ten per cent of USD 95, 000. 00 which I saved J. Adom from paying to a swindler.”

“On Papa Joseph Adom’s instructions to cause the arrest of Joseph Krampa aka Joseph Amissah through the engagement of private investigators, the cost of the operation was USD 5, 000. 00,” adding “for undertaking negotiations with the respective solicitors for SIC and one Eric Defour in respect of the acquisition of a property adjacent to Papa Joseph Adom’s house at Ringway Estates, my fees are assessed as USD 5, 000.00”.

“Based on all the work I have undertaken for Papa Joseph Adom, as summarized above, the total fees owed me are in the sum of USD 81, 569. 20 and GH¢85, 692. 88. The cold refusal of Papa Joseph Adom to pay me my fair and just legal fee surprises me, and I do not recognize him from the man I slavishly worked for, for seven years without strictly insisting on immediate payment of fees when they fell due.”

He said Papa Joseph Adom cooked up a story to the police that “I have been keeping his monies without his knowledge, while leaving out the glaring truth that he owes me a whopping USD 81, 569. 20 and GH¢85, 692. 88 which he wants to avoid paying at all cost.”

He denied colluding with Krampa to rip off his accuser of USD 60, 000. 00 saying “it was Papa Joseph Adom who walked into my law office with Joseph Krampa to introduce him to me in connection with a house that Papa Joseph Adom wanted to buy at the price of USD 155, 000 .00 which seemed to me to be lower than such a house should go for.”

“I do not think it is fair for my client to use the police in the manner he did. The record shows that he was stampeding the police to prosecute me. He knew that my name mattered to me and my political standing was sensitive and priceless. My doors are still open for accounts unless the singular aim of a man I have shared deep professional confidence with is to use the powers that be, i.e. the press and the police, to destroy me.”

Stop attacks on judiciary – Dame

Posted on: www.dailyguidegahana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 23, 2010
Lawyer Godfred Yeboah Dame, has said the ‘undue’ and ‘unnecessary’ politicization of every issue in the country is fast threatening the independence and integrity of the judiciary.

“The judiciary has always robustly acceded to its independence but the unwarranted attack it is receiving from a section of the public is bringing the work of judges and the entire administration of justice into disrepute. This is affecting the democracy we are all seeking to build,” he explained.

Mr. Dame was speaking as a panelist on TV3 Current Affairs programme Agenda hosted by guest presenter Francis Ankrah and the topic discussed was whether or not Ghana’s judiciary is currently under threat.

National Chairman of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dr. Kwabena Adjei at a news conference on Tuesday to show solidarity with the beleaguered Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu who has lost a number of high profile cases against former New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials accused the Chief Justice Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood and members of the bench of a “grand conspiracy” to ensure NDC lose cases in the law courts.

As a result Dr. Kwabena Adjei warned the NDC will “clean judges” if the Chief Justice did not take steps to do a house cleaning in the judiciary.

He had threatened, “We will clean it if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on … at the right time, you will see how we clean it. There are many ways to kill a cat.’’

But the young lawyer said the “inordinate” suspicion of judges is coming from what he calls the “over politicization of issues” adding “the fear is unfounded yet some people spread it.”

“Any objective assessment of the judiciary will show that they are performing. Their decisions have advanced our democracy. Largely, they have performed above reproach.”
Lawyer Dame said in law there is nothing like a ‘political case’ and judges strictly apply the law to settle disputes adding they ensure that justice is done “even if heavens fall.”

He lambasted the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) particularly it National Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei for bringing the administration of justice into disrepute saying “it was a direct attack on the integrity and independence of the judiciary and he (Dr. Kwabena Adjei) must be taken on.”

“It was totally misplaced and unfounded. There is an appellate procedure to go through but he chose to advocate a radical method of disciplining the judges in a manner that offends the 1992 Constitution.”

He also said the current situation where lawyers from the NDC legal committee proffer advice particularly in the media on who should be prosecuted should be condemned adding “the situation where the NDC legal committee is usurping the powers of the Attorney General must cease”.

Victor Kodwogah Adawudu, a co panelist said the NDC National Chairman was ‘misconstrued’ by the media saying “it was public opinion and perception of corruption in the judiciary that informed Dr. Adjei to come out the way he did.”

He said he said the media also helps to put pressure on judges when they continuously spread rumours about corruption in the judiciary.

Mr. Adawudu said the independence of the judiciary is always guaranteed and that the judiciary is not under any threat.

Kwadwo Asante, Programme Officer of the Center for Democratic Development (CDD) Ghana also a panel member said the forum used by Dr. Kwabena Adjei to address the ruling party’s grievances was wrong saying “he had the right to speak but the tone was worrying. We have a right to question the work of the judiciary but there is a certain way to do it.”

He advised the public not to assess the Attorney Generals’ success as only prosecuting political opponents saying “the AG should be seen to be helping to provide justice for all.”

Mr. Asante said the issue of bias on the part of the judiciary had only surfaced whenever the matter involves politicians saying “the judiciary has helped to consolidate the rule of law but they need to work hard to clear the perception of bias.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Konrad Adenauer Foundation Gets New Director

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday August 20, 2010
Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAF), one of the five German political foundations that promote the ideals of good governance across the globe, has appointed Dr. Gregor Ryssel, 43, as its new director in Ghana.

He replaces Mr. Klaus D. Loetzer, another German who spent five years coordinating the foundation’s activities in the country.

A release issued in Accra and signed by Isaac Owusu-Mensah, Senior Programmes Manager of KAF aka Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), said Dr. Ryssel served as a desk officer for KAS in 1994 in St. Augustin, Bonn in Germany and coordinated the activities of the foundation in Poland, Balkan and Baltic States.

He moved to Sarajevo in Bosnia and Herzegovina and served as the country representative for KAS from 1996 to 2000, creating and organizing projects for the country and inviting foreign experts to intensify the relations Germany between Bosnia.

Dr. Ryssel served in Belgrade, Serbia from 2000 to 2002 as the country representative.

He helped that country to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries and returned to Berlin Germany and served as a desk officer for the Middle East from 2003 to 2006, coordinating the project activities in that region.

Dr. Ryssel was appointed the country director of KAS in Uzbekistan from 2006 to 2009 where he operated from Tashkent and boosted relations between Germany and Uzbekistan.

He was the country Director for KAS in Kazakhstan where he operated from Astana.
Dr. Ryssel was the member of the board of Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Potsdam and a member of the German-Uzbek Association in Germany.

He is very familiar with political situations in countries, particularly former Soviet countries.

KAS, which has been in Ghana for more than four decades, has supported economic and social reforms.

It strengthens the role of Parliament and creates platform for people to take part in the decision-making process and consensus building to accelerate decentralization as well as helping to strengthen traditional institutions.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Judges in danger...Warns Justice Kludze

Dr. Kwabena Adjei is the Chariman of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) in Ghana.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 19, 2010
The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Chairman, Dr Kwabena Adjei’s statement threatening judges of a possible ‘cleaning’ is receiving wide condemnation from the public particularly legal dons in the country, with Ashanti regional branch of the Ghana Bar Association boycotting courts until further notice.

A retired Supreme Court Justice, Professor Justice A. Paaku Kludze, has warned that the threat should not be taken lightly as judges in the country may soon become targets of physical harm and killings just as it happened in the revolutionary regime of Rawlings.

“When a PNDC or an NDC man talks about cleaning the judiciary, you remember in 1982 that some of them were eliminated, physical elimination is one way of cleaning the judiciary,” he told Citi FM yesterday.

Justice Kludze said “when you use that word it can spread terror in the minds of some judges…I am afraid it is very frightening. It looks like we are going back to the days of Nkrumah or the PNDC.”

In the PNDC days, three judges and a retired military officer were abducted during curfew hours and burnt to death in the Accra Plains.

The NDC, at a press conference in Accra, on Tuesday, showed solidarity with the beleaguered Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould-Iddrisu who has lost a number of high profile cases against former New Patriotic Party (NPP) officials.

Dr. Adjei threatened the judiciary saying “we will clean it (judiciary) if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on … at the right time, you will see how we clean it. There are many ways to kill a cat.’’

The NDC had accused the Chief Justice, Mrs. Georgina Theodora Wood, and members of the bench of a “grand conspiracy” to ensure NDC lose cases in the courts.

William Kissi Agyebeng, Criminal Law Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana said “it is sad for our democratic dispensation;” adding the statement by the NDC chairman “is unnecessary and has the tendency to put undue pressure on the judges.”

He asked “if as a government it cannot trust the decisions of the courts, then what do you think the ordinary Ghanaian will do?”

Mr. Agyebeng said the merits of a case determine the outcome and the NDC cannot come out to say that once the ruling did not favour them the judges were biased adding “to say that judges are biased towards you and have twisted the law, you have to prove it.”

Dr. Nyaho Nyaho Tamakloe, a leading member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has already sent warning signals to the NDC that Ghanaians would not sit down for them to “muzzle the judiciary.”

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Dr. Tamakloe, one-time Ghana’s Ambassador to Serbia said “the NDC should be rest assured that if they should persist in their disturbing attacks on the judiciary, right thinking Ghanaians will not sit down unconcerned.”

He said “it is incumbent on Ghanaians to come out in support of our judiciary failing which the NDC might succeed in its aim to emasculate it.”

“If President Mills is indeed committed to the rule of law as a learned jurist and President of Ghana, he must call back his attack comrades who are currently prosecuting an agenda of persecution against the judiciary.”

“President Mills’ action is required since the current NDC judiciary-bashing is symptomatic of the breaking out of the rule of law that Ex-President Kufuor recently observed,” he added.

Dr. Tamakloe said the NDC must engage in “soul-searching if it wants to understand its recent losses in court,” adding “thus far the NDC has engaged in politically-motivated, Soviet-style show trials, hence its losses in court. These are not driven by rational legal analysis but rather a determination to please party faithful and also pacify the wild and scurrilous allegations that the NDC made during the 2008 elections.”

He said “the NDC’s attacks on the judiciary including vitriolic interventions made by its party functionaries and government appointees show that indeed a Leopard cannot change its spots.”

In a related development a group calling itself Agona Youth Confederacy (AYC) has condemned the NDC and its National Chairman and called on President Mills to arrest him for putting the judges’ lives in danger.

A statement jointly signed by Kojo Quainoo, and Richard Cobbold, Chairman, and Secretary of the AYC respectively said “These comments are very serious and should not be treated softly or taken for granted, because we have had a bad precedent before: during the (P)NDC era where three Honorable Judges and a retired army officer were abducted and killed by members of the (P)NDC for exercising their constitutional duties. And now the constitutional administration of the same callous and heinous fraternity which is now called the National Democratic Congress has publicly threatened the judiciary in a sovereign state.”

The statement said “we want to assure the NDC that the events of the 80s and early 90s respectively, would not be countenanced in the 21st century. The NDC, especially its national chairman, should be held responsible if anything happens to our Honorable Judges.”

“We would further appeal to the Security Agencies to invite Dr. Kwabena Adjei and put him on notice, for if anything abysmal happens to the members of the bench he would be held responsible,” the statement said.


MEDISHOP EXPO slated for September

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 19, 2010
THE SECOND International Medical and Pharmaceutical Exhibition, MEDISHOP EXPO 2010 to harness potential of the health sector for national development has been slated for September 23-25, 2010.

The three day event will be organized by the Society of Private Medical and Dental Practitioners Ghana in collaboration with Shem Pharma Services Limited under the auspices of the Ministry of Health (MOH). It has a general theme: “The emerging oil and gas wealth in Ghana: environmental and medical challenges to our communities.”

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE in Accra on Tuesday, Humphrey Tetteh, Chief Operating Officer of Shem Pharma Services said “it is our objective to ultimately provide the most comprehensive database of suppliers and manufacturers to the health care industry as well as specialist service providers in the sector both locally and globally.”

He said: “we want to help promote the provision of quality healthcare by facilitating information dissemination and working closely with consumer-oriented medical professionals such as the Society of Private Medical & Dental Practitioners of Ghana (SPMDP), Laboratory Technologists Associations, the Ministry of Health Ghana and other key players in the industry.”

He said the MEDISHOP EXPO is seeking to provide a platform for health practitioners in both the private and public sectors to exchange ideas in order to reduce the high incidence of medical errors in health care delivery.

Mr. Humphrey said the event will also expose exhibitors to what he called “huge potential market made up of the over 70 percent of Ghanaians who are enrolled with the National Health Insurance Scheme.”

He said “bringing medical suppliers, hospitals, other health institutions and health policy makers together to deliberate on how to position the country’s healthcare delivery system is the best thing that will happen to the country.”

He said the time had come for policy makers to accelerate efforts to make health care delivery electronically and technology based adding “the computing systems have not been fully utilized to facilitate healthcare delivery in the country.”

“Technology has come to change how hospital business and healthcare services are done. There is now the electronic medical record system. We must work hard to facilitate the implementation of such laudable systems so that the health sector will be strengthened.”

“People are getting to know that they have a right to basic healthcare. We are now in a global village and we do not have the luxury of repeating mistakes any longer. We must know that the wealth of any nation is measured by the health of its people”.
He said issues will be discussed in a frank and dispassionate manner to get the best for the country.”

Christians demand transparency

Reverend Fred Deegbe is the General Secretary of the Christian Council, Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 19, 2010
THE CHRISTIAN Council, in collaboration with the Ghana Pentecostal Council, wants to empower the Christian community to demand accountability and transparency from government in the management of the country’s natural resources, particularly oil.

As a result, the two bodies with sponsorship from the Ghana Research and Advocacy Programme (GRAP) are outlining a series of educational programmes that will sensitize the public on how the oil find should be managed to bring accelerated development.

At a media briefing in Accra yesterday, General Secretary of the Christian Council, Reverend Fred Deegbe said “the time has come for ecumenical bodies and civil society organizations to let the public have greater understanding of the management of the country’s natural resources.”

He said a section of the public are having what he termed as “high expectation” of the oil find and it needs dialogue and consensus building to get such people to understand how revenue accruing from the oil should be used.

“In line with our prophetic roles we have formed this coalition to contribute to the development of our oil and gas industry and help bring equitable distribution in the industry,” he stressed.

Rev. Deegbe said they will be working closely with civil society organizations and lobby policy and decision-makers with the view to influencing policies regulating the industry.

He said oil discovery and production has increased “resource nationalism and corruption which has combined to make a few people fabulously rich and driven the majority into extreme poverty. That is why we must all work together to avoid that situation in Ghana.”

The oil industry, he observed, has supported many economies in the world, stressing that Ghana should not be left out once oil has been discovered in commercial quantities.

Apostle Samuel Yaw Antwi of the Ghana Pentecostal Council said “we believe the church’s voice must be heard in the management of the country’s resources. We are an important development partner. If we intensify the education of our people we will be empowering them to question how the country’s resources are used for our benefit.”

“We have taken into consideration the rate at which the country’s gold, diamond, bauxite, timber, among others have been misapplied and we will continue to engage the government and all stakeholders over the use of the country’s resources so that we do not repeat the past mistakes.”

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Kwabena Adjei Sends Red Alert...NDC To 'Clean' Judges..Many Ways To Kill A Cat, He says

Posted on" www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday August 18, 2010
‘‘People in the judiciary can make a very good case look very bad. If the judiciary is biased, if the judiciary has made its mind in one direction, not even Jesus Christ who was appointed as the Attorney General(sic) can change things. We will clean it if they don’t take steps to clean it. We will clean it and let everybody everywhere blame us for interfering in the judiciary and we will take them on. … at the right time, you will see how we clean it. There are many ways to kill a cat’’. - Dr. Kwabena Adjei, NDC Chairman.

It started with irate activists and foot-soldiers of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) calling for the heads of some judges in the country following recent series of legal defeats the President John Evans Atta Mills administration has suffered in the law courts.

Now, it is official. The leadership of the party led by its National Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei has endorsed the undemocratic acts, saying that the judiciary is “becoming politicised and biased in dispensing justice.”

The party has therefore decided to take the battle straight to the judges with threatening messages and inciting the party’s foot soldiers against the members of the Bench.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei, served notice that the executive arm of government could intervene and ‘save the image of the Judiciary’ if the Chief Justice does not act quickly to correct growing public criticisms that the Judiciary has increasingly become politically biased.

According to him some judges are fast losing credibility and therefore asked Chief Justice Georgina Wood, to intercede and reverse the trend otherwise the government could be compelled to intervene and save the image of the judiciary from sinking further, if the Chief Justice fails to fight what he sees as growing rot within the judiciary.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei said these in an interview with Citi FM yesterday soon after addressing a press conference in Accra to express outrage at recent court rulings which have all gone against the state.

The NDC boss asked members of the NDC who are outraged by recent court rulings against the state to redirect their anger at the Judiciary, instead of continuing to attack the Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

But his attack has received equally harsh responses from legal brains who described the ruling party’s chairman’s comments as not only disgraceful but embarrassing.

According to Samuel Okudzeto, a former president of Ghana Bar Association (GBA), and Samuel Atta Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South, the comments by the NDC chairman were to effect undermine the very foundation of the constitution which President Atta Mills had sworn to defend.

Mr. Atta Akyea of Zoe, Akyea and Co, said it was a sad day for the country for the obvious intervention of the NDC in the judicial process.

The GBA, also in a statement, expressed concern about the unguarded comments by the public about the judiciary, asking the public to leave the judges alone to perform their duties.

In a statement issued in Accra and signed by Anthony Forson Jnr., PRO of the association noted that the criticism of judges should be carried out with utmost circumspection. “Criticise with decorum and not with venom,” it said.

Kwabena Adjei asked the foot soldiers to redirect their anger at the Judges instead of blaming the Attorney General and the party hierarchy. ‘‘Our party members are angry but we take the leadership decisions and they listen to us. We tell them that they should be patient and leave the A-G alone and they will do just that. Laymen are different from lawyers so from their perspective, it is because the cases are being lost, they put the blame on the Attorney General’’ he said.

At the press conference to state the NDC’s position on the recent Fast Track High Court’s decision on the Ghana @ 50 case, the party leaders accused the Chief Justice and the entire judiciary of “grand conspiracy” to ensure NDC loses cases in the law courts.

Reading a five-page statement which was titled “NDC news conference on the High Court decision on the Ghana @ 50 case and other issues” at the party’s headquarters in Accra yesterday, Dr. Adjei said “while the NDC remains committed to the rule of law for a better Ghana, we cannot help but take note of the growing perception and suspicion among the various segments of our society that the judiciary is becoming politicized and biased in dispensing justice.”

He said “we in the NDC wish to give the judiciary the benefit of the doubt and are convinced that there are men and women in the judiciary who are committed to maintaining the integrity of the law.”

He said “but it is pertinent to point to certain circumstances and events both before and after the coming into office of HE President Mills which cast doubts in people’s mind as to whether some members of the bench are committed to maintaining the integrity of the law.”

Dr. Adjei said “there are unfortunate rumours and allegations making the rounds that a leading member of the NPP has on weekly basis been having meetings with leading members of the judiciary for the purpose of aiding the defendants in cases affecting leading members of the NPP.

“There are those who believe these are not coincidences but may be linked to a grand conspiracy. In order to preserve the people’s faith in the independence and sanctity of the judiciary, we appeal to the Chief Justice to endeavour to take concrete and rapid steps to correct the growing public perception that the judiciary has become increasingly politically biased.”

The NDC warned that Dr. Wereko-Brobby, former Chief Executive Officer of the defunct Ghana @50 Secretariat, and Kwadwo Mpiani, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile NPP administration, are still not free and would have to answer for the various roles they played during the 50th Independence Anniversary and the 2007 African Union Summit hosted by Ghana.

He added: “Following the High Court decision, the Chairman of the NPP, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey and his cohorts have gone on a media propaganda rampage to create the impression that the discharge of Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani exonerates them from any wrong doing. This is completely false. The report of the Douse Commission and its recommendations still stand.”

According to the NDC chairman, the two men have caused “huge financial loss and must pay the appropriate penalty.”

Present at the news conference were Yaw Boateng Gyan (National Organizer), Anita de Souza (National Women’s Organizer), Richard Quashigah (Propaganda Secretary), Chris Ackumey (Member of the NDC legal team) among other party stalwarts.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Drama at Ya-Na trial

The late Ya Na Yakubu Andani II was the Overlord of Dagbon Traditional Area in the Northern Region of Ghana

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday August 17, 2010
The much talk-about trial of 14 people over the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II, chief of Dagbon, started on a dramatic note yesterday, when the trial was adjourned abruptly as the prosecution team suspected the judge, Mr. Justice Anthony Oppong of ‘bias.’

Matters came to a head when Rexford Wiredu, a Principal State Attorney prosecuting, shocked the court saying “the AG intends to object to the judge trying this case on the grounds of bias.”

As a result, Justice Oppong asked the prosecution to ‘formally’ file the application for the defense to respond so that the court could give a ruling on the matter and adjourned the case until August 23, 2010.

The police could not even bring the accused persons to the Fast Track High Court for the trial.

The only one who was present at the trial was Iddrisu Iddi a.k.a Mbadugu, believed to be in his eighties. He managed to appear before the court because he is currently on police enquiry bail but all the rest are still in custody.

Those committed by the Adjabeng District Magistrates Court presided over by Ms. Patricia Quansah to stand trial at the High Court are 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.

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

Phillip Addison, counsel for the accused, told the court that the defence got to know their clients were set for the court two hours before the trial.

Ms. Gertrude G. Aikins, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), reading the preliminary facts, said at the Adjabeng Magistrate Court “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 also 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 Yussi,f 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.

On page 34 of the NDC manifesto titled “Manifesto for a better Ghana 2008,” a portion headlined ‘Protecting the people’ promised to “Set up a new truly non-partisan professionally competent and independent Presidential Commission to re-open investigations into the murder of Ya-Na Yakubu Andani II and his elders in March 2002.”

Monday, August 16, 2010

Police need more than Single Spine

Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah is a Criminologist and Lawyer

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday August 16, 2010
Professor Ken Agyemang Attafuah, a renowned criminologist and lawyer says the recent increase in salaries of police personnel will not automatically lead to improved security in the country.

He said “security will enhance if apart from the increased remunerations, police personnel are given all the necessary accoutrements and equipment to be able to combat crime effectively and also maintain peace and order.”

About 23,000 personnel of the Ghana Police Service reportedly witnessed substantial increases in their July pay following the implementation of the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and most people are of the view that once conditions of service is becoming better the police have a binding duty to ensure total public safety.

The Inspector General of Police, Paul Tawiah Quaye, interacting with the Implementation Committee of the SSSS at the Police Headquarters had said “personnel of the Police Service have been astounded by their pay-slips for July 2010. Most are still coming to terms as to whether it is a one-off event, a mistake by the payroll office, or a real commitment by government to implement a salary regime that adequately compensates them for their efforts".

"Majority of personnel would now be free from the severe and unbearable financial constraints that used to confront them on daily basis, a situation which used to impact negatively on their performances."

"The SSSS would create a more relaxed mental environment that would enable personnel to be more dedicated towards work and enhance their productivity in the long run. Personnel now know that, their efforts are now being significantly and appropriately rewarded," he added.

Public Affairs Director of the Police Service, Superintendent Kwasi Ofori said that the increase in emoluments would boost the morale of personnel and engender discipline and professionalism in the service.

But in an interview with the Daily Guide in Accra on Friday, Prof. Attafuah, Executive Director of Human Rights Institute noted that “we cannot continue to expect so much from the police if we do not work hard to improve their general condition, training accommodation and their mobility.”

“They need other tools and facilities to work with. It is only when we do that we can have legitimate basis to challenge their performance.”

He said that the increase in emoluments is a step in the right direction adding “it will further motivate those personnel who are already committed to high ethics and high performance.”

Prof Attafuah said “there are police officers who before the introduction of the SSSS were decent, highly ethical and hardworking. This will constitute a significant boost to their moral and motivate them to even greater performance.”

He regretted that there are “a crop of police officers who have become inordinately addicted to bribe taking and other corrupt practices”, adding “for such people increased remunerations may mean very little and may not make a dent in their bribe taking behaviour.”

He said once the police officers are now getting improved remunerations, corruption as he put it “can reasonably be expected to go down because they will not be lured by petty bribes that are given to them.”

“The performance of police officers is a combination of many things. The public should take into consideration their level of training, the logistical support, the corporation they enjoy from the public and the validation or affirmation they receive from their superiors.”

He said it will take a while for the new SSSS to alter the material circumstances of police officers.

Friday, August 13, 2010

NDC chases judges

Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood is the Chief Justice of the Republic of Ghana.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday August 13, 2010
Irate activists and some senior members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have turned their anger on the judiciary over the abysmal performance of the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Betty Mould–Iddrisu, in the face of recent series of legal defeats that have been trailing her.

Following the defeats suffered by the NDC government in court in their bid to jail some New Patriotic Party (NPP) members, the NDC members led by their National Women’s Organizer, Anita de Souza in particular, have made scandalous statements that seek to incite the party’s foot soldiers against the entire judicial administration of the country.

Ms. De Souza, as a panelist on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme, yesterday, openly attacked Chief Justice Georgina Wood and Justice Samuel Marful-Sau of the Court of Appeal, the judge who stopped the NDC government from prosecuting Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby and Kwadwo Mpiani, President Kufuor’s former chief of staff, for their roles in the Ghana @ 50 celebrations.

Anita said they had a list of judges who they knew “are pro-NPP” and called on the President to remove them.

She claimed the judges were thwarting the efforts of the NDC government to prosecute NPP appointees who were perceived to be corrupt.

Another panelist, whose name was given as Eben, from the Office of the President, said Justice Anin Yeboah of the Supreme Court was pro-NPP and went on to castigate judges for sabotaging President Mills and the NDC government.

Kwadwo Twum-Boafo, the defeated NDC parliamentary candidate for Ayawaso West Wuogon and acting Executive Secretary of the Free Zones Board, also called into the programme describing the judiciary as “activists’ judiciary.”

He said “They have tilted the balance of power to one particular party. They are using technicalities to throw away NDC cases.”

Twum-Boafo said the Chief Justice was rewarded with her current position by Ex-President Kufuor adding “the NDC government must sit up. Government for all is not working. If it is not careful it will be removed for what it did not do.”

Already, some pro-NDC newspapers have started accusing Anthony Gyambiby, the Chief State Attorney who handled Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani’s case, of being in bed with the NPP.

According to the NDC activists, Mr. Gyambiby, who was brought back from the Eastern region, was now doing the biddings of the NPP, citing his comments on the ruling as an affront to the ruling party.

Mr. Gyambiby had said “this is a well reasoned ruling. It goes to confirm that rule of law and democracy is deepening in Ghana.”

Kofi Adams, Deputy General Secretary of the NDC and aide to Jerry Rawlings, had also said he believed some elements within the Attorney-General’s Department had been sabotaging Mrs. Betty Mould-Iddrisu, which had resulted in the loss of several high-profile cases.

Mr. Adams, who was not willing to give out names, claimed “the authorities who are supposed to act know” those he is intimating, adding that the unnamed persons were “making sure that they do not succeed”.

The NDC Deputy General Secretary said in order for the government to win high-profile cases, its representatives would have to act. “If they do not act, then what is happening will continue to happen”.

On Dr. Wereko-Brobby and Mr. Mpiani’s case, Mr. Adams said “I am convinced that there were massive acts of corruption and it is the responsibility of government and, therefore, the Attorney-General’s Department to prosecute the offenders.”

A member of the NDC legal team, David Annan, confirmed Mr. Adams assertion, adding that the Attorney-General’s Department was already “stocked and filled” with personnel supposedly aligned to their political opponent.

Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, a Deputy Minister of Information, according to Joy FM, asked both the NPP and the NDC commenting on the issue to exercise restraint and avoid politicisation of such cases.

Ga Chiefs condemn Homowo ban

Nii tackie Tawiah III is the Ga Mantse

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday August 13, 2010
The Ga Traditional Council says it was never consulted by anybody before the Greater Accra Coordinating Council released a circular purporting to restrict this year’s Homowo celebration of the Chiefs and people of Ga.

A news release issued in Accra yesterday and signed by Nii Dodo Nsaki II on behalf of the council said “the Ga Traditional Council comprises of chiefs of the seven quarters of Ga Mashie and those of Osu, La, Teshie, Nungua and Tema. The council wishes to protest and condemn that circular in no uncertain terms.”

The release said the chiefs as custodians of the Ga land were not consulted before the circular was sent to the media adding “Ga Mashie is not the only flash point in chieftaincy matters in Ghana.”

“Even in areas where there are shootings and bloodshed the people celebrate their annual festivals without interference whatsoever,” the release said.

It will be recalled that on Monday August 9, 2010 the Greater Accra Regional Coordinating Council issued a circular restricting the forthcoming annual Homowo festival to designated areas.

The restriction was contained in a press statement signed by Fats Nartey, Chief Director of the Regional Coordinating Council on behalf of the Greater Accra Regional Minister.

The Regional minister has directed that the festival be restricted to only family homes where there are no disputes.

The sprinkling of “Kpoikpoi” the directive went on should also be done in such family homes and not extended unto the streets at the trouble spots.
Persons the minister referred to as malcontents should not be allowed into any of the palaces or the stool rooms.

According to the release the Greater Accra Regional Police Commander has been requested to monitor the celebrations to ensure that peace according to the minister prevails in the region, saying “the due process of law should be made to take its course to ensure that peace and harmony prevail during the celebration and any person who flouts the law should be dealt with in accordance with the dictates of the law.”

The Minister said “the government will not sit down for anybody to take the law into their own hands and that the security services have been put on full alert to deal with any malcontents according to law.”

The annual festival has been marred with what has been described by interference of people with vested interests in the Ga chieftaincy affair.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Volta NDC Youth whacks Mills

Alhaji Bello Misbaw is a leading member of the Concerned Volta Youth.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

William Yaw Owusu

Thursday August 12, 2012
IT APPEARS all is not well with President J.E.A Mills and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) government.

A group calling itself the Concerned Youth of Volta Region has also entered the fray taking a swipe at the president for neglecting former President J.J Rawlings, founder of the NDC and the man who made him who he is today.

They are threatening to withdraw their support for the NDC if President Mills does not take steps to see to the needs of the former President.

A news release issued in Accra and jointly endorsed by Alhaji Bello Misbaw (Spokesperson), Kennedy Amewu (Secretary) and Dzila Tsikata (Organizer) titled “Maltreatment of HE JJ Rawlings by the Mills Administration” said “we, the Concerned Youth of Volta Region have observed with utter dismay and shock the maltreatment that our beloved former President H.E .Jerry John Rawlings, founder of the National Democratic Congress and his family are going through at the hands of his own NDC government led by HE Professor JEA Mills.”

They said “we want to state categorically that we are not happy about the maltreatment being meted out to our former President whose toil the current Mills administration are enjoying and we have resolved to use any legitimate means to protect the legacy of our founder.”

The release said “since the NDC government came to power we have not seen any step taken by President Mills and his appointees to appreciate the man whose fruit of labour the government is enjoying now. All we see from the government is a strenuous effort to glorify Kwame Nkrumah and his CPP instead of finding ways to build a solid NDC for the future by concentrating on the remarkable path created by HE JJ Rawlings.”

It continued: “Currently what is going on in the Volta region is that some natives in the region from the Presidency are going about polluting the people that our former President is frustrated and that people should not take him seriously. This is unacceptable and we are ready to lay our lives down to protect the integrity of our founder. In fact we are prepared to face squarely anybody who goes around any part of the country to spread this unfounded and wicked propaganda.”

The release said JJ Rawlings is an experienced leader and knows what he is about adding “He does not speak for the sake of it. He speaks with wisdom. Whatever he says is to the benefit of President Mills and his government and for the Better Ghana Agenda to be realized.”

“Is it not a fact that people are becoming disillusioned about the Better Ghana Agenda? And when he tries to help for it to be achieved some people in the NDC and those on the outside who do not want to see the party progress for selfish and parochial interests try to castigate him.”

“His accommodation issue is still in limbo and those in the government do not seem to care. They only sit in their comfort and make outrageous statements.”

“We would like to tell those who are having infantile feelings that the NDC as it is now can win an election without our founder and his spouse had better go back and rethink this because they know it will be extremely difficult or impossible for that to happen,” the statement said.

“We want to tell them that if they feel the kitchen is too hot for them they can leave the party. We want them to know that if they leave today they will not be able to take even one per cent of the party’s members away. They should find out from all those who left the NDC.

The group also served what it called a “final notice” to Omane Boamah, Haruna Iddrisu, Inusah Fuseini, Alhaji Iddrisu Bature and others “to render an unqualified apology to our founder for trying to bring the former first family’s name into disrepute otherwise we will withdraw our support for the Mills administration in the region.”

“We also want to make it clear that if they want to hoard money and think they can use it to buy our conscience then they must be dreaming. This is because Ghanaians are now mature democratically and nobody can use money to buy anybody’s conscience any longer.”

“The hypocrites around the President are too many. There are a lot of stomach politicians too. They did it when former President Rawlings was in office and they are doing it to President Mills. We are reminding the President that when he becomes a former President he will understand what we are talking about,” the group added.