Monday, January 31, 2011

Give NMC authority to allocate frequencies

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday January 31, 2011.
Dr. Audrey Gadzekpo, a Senior Lecturer at the School of Communication Studies, University of Ghana says it will be in the interest of the nation to allow the National Media Commission (NMC) to authorize allocation of broadcast frequencies to media houses rather than the current situation where the National Communications Authority (NCA) is responsible for the authorization.

Dr Gadzekpo said if that is done it would become obligatory for the NMC to effectively monitor content in the media and also motivate the commission to initiate action against errant media houses.

She was speaking at a public forum in Accra on Thursday organize by the National Constitutional Reform Coalition (NCRC) under the auspices of Center for Democratic Development (CDD) to gather information on possible amendment of media laws for the ongoing Constitutional Review exercise.

Speaking on the topic: “The 1992 Constitution and the media: Challenges and opportunities for reform”, the media lecturer said “the NMC wants to authorize allocation of frequencies. This must be encouraged because it is preferable to the NMC issuing out the licenses.”

She said the NMC has not been able to live up to its mandate because it is in dire need of funds and also does not have the power to issue licenses for media houses for which it could generate revenue to be able to become very effective adding “we need amendment of the law to position the commission to be strong.”

Dr. Gadzekpo also said the current situation where the President appoints some members of the NMC goes against the intentions to make the commission independent.

She also said it will be dangerous to adopt a proposal by government to select the Chairman of the NMC since if it is considered; the independence of the commission would be under threat saying “there is no need to review such vital areas of the laws on media.”

She identified the lack of respect for constitutional provisions by both state and non-state actors and the media; laws running counter to the constitution as some of the impediments in the effort towards the development of media freedom in the country.

Dr. Gadzekpo also said the current draft defamation bill is inconsistent with the provisions of media freedom and added that the absence of freedom of information and broadcasting laws are impeding the effort to develop the frontiers of media freedom.

Egbert Faibille Jnr, Editor-in-Chief of The Ghanaian Observer who was the discussant for the forum said the constitutional provisions relating to the media “are just enough for us but there is the need for a little more expansion. We need to clearly establish the boundaries in the constitutional provisions.”

He said in most cases ruling governments have sought to use the tax authorities to intimidate media owners especially when those owners do not share the views of the government but said “however we are yet to see a media owner jailed for such offences.”

He called for peer review among media houses to ensure sanity in the media landscape.

Professor Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) who chaired the forum said intimidation of media by state institutions especially the security agencies does not encourage and promote effective media freedom.

He however said the media needs “a measure of self examination” and do away with unprofessionalism, adding “if we continue to be recalcitrant it will be difficult for us to convince those who want laws of the media tightened.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Freak Accident at Paloma

The Nima MTTU Commander, Agnes Ceasar inspecting the accident at the scene.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday January 26, 2011
About 14 people, including a driver and his mate sustained various degrees of injuries when a 207 Benz bus with registration AS 3047 Y got involved in a freak accident.

There bizarre accident occurred at Paloma on the Ring Road in Accra yesterday at about 7:20 am. The vehicle was heading towards the Ako Adjei Interchange from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle with passengers.

It was very clear that the driver was rushing to pick up passengers at a nearby bus stop and in the process lost control of the vehicle which somersaulted before landing in the median.

But for a telephone pole which saved the situation, the vehicle could have ended up at the opposing lanes.

According to an eyewitness, the driver was using the outer lane in front of Bus Stop Restaurant and Night Club, but rushed to the nearby bus to pick up passengers without caution.

When DAILY GUIDE got to the scene, the vehicle was turned upside down and the police were busily making attempts to clear the place as it was causing heavy vehicular traffic.

The Nima Police, led by its Motto Transport and Traffic Unit (MTTU) Commander, ASP Agnes Ceasar responded quickly to distress call and within 30 minutes of the accident they were on hand to tow the vehicle away to ensure free flow of traffic.

ASP Ceasar noted that she followed the victims who were taken to the Police Hospital, adding that she witnessed the treatment of 14 of them.
She said some of the victims sustained quiet serious injuries while others were minimal.

ASP Ceasar said another accident, which occurred near the 37 Military Hospital involving an articulated truck, had been reported to her.
She said all the accidents are currently under investigations.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Naadu’s $48,000 Watch Sparks Controversy

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday January 22, 2010.
President John Evans Atta Mills’s administration is making frantic, albeit confused, attempts to clear the air on the $48,000 Backes and Strauss expensive gold watch presented as a gift to Michelle Obama, wife of President Barack Obama of the United States, when the couple visited Ghana in July 2009.

A citation accompanying the gold watch encrusted with diamonds, which was described as a one-off piece from the Regent Collection Backes and Strauss, was stated in a release from London, dated September 16, 2009, as follows:

“On Saturday 11th July, Mrs. Ernestina Mills, the First Lady of Ghana, presented the First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, with The Star of Ghana to commemorate and celebrate the first visit to the Republic of Ghana by the President of the United States of America, President Barack Obama and the First Lady.”

However, the Castle is not taking kindly to the news which dropped on the laptops of Ghanaians last Thursday, jolting citizens of the West African country.

A news release issued in Accra and signed by Koku Anyidoho, Director of Communications at the Presidency on Thursday evening to settle the matter, raised more questions than answers.

“Without any equivocation, the gift was handed over, neither on the orders, nor with the knowledge of Mrs. Naadu Mills,” he said at a follow-up press conference at the Castle, Osu yesterday.

He said although “all kinds of gifts were presented” during the Obama family visit, the President’s wife did not present a $48000 gold and diamond watch to the Obamas as presented by the American media.

“The First Lady of the Republic of Ghana, Mrs. Ernestina Naadu Mills, did NOT present Mrs. Michelle Obama with a Backes & Strauss wristwatch valued at $48,000, when President Barrack Obama and his wife paid a state visit to Ghana in the second week of July 2009.

“One such gift is the said Backes & Strauss wristwatch which was presented to Mrs. Obama on behalf of Ghana by B&S And Africa Watch Trading Co Ltd (representatives of B&S in Ghana),” he added.

On a visit to the website of Backes and Strauss, (, DAILY GUIDE discovered on the home page, a boldly displayed headline, “Michelle Obama is presented with the Star of Ghana” followed by “Backes and Strauss were commissioned to craft this unique piece from our Regent collection for presentation to the First Lady of the United States from the Republic of Ghana during the Obama family’s visit there this summer.”

It went on: “Backes & Strauss London, in association with The Africa Watch Trading Co Ltd. and on behalf of the Republic of Ghana proudly presents The Star of Ghana, a unique and one off piece from their Regent Collection.

“As Masters of diamonds since 1789, Backes & Strauss, the world’s oldest diamond company craft and create exclusive watches, combining art and science, light and time. The flag of the Republic of Ghana sits proud on the dial, being the first to adopt Pan African colours.”

The Star is known as the Lode Star of African freedom, reflecting Ghana’s principles of freedom and justice, equity and free education for all. There is the “Grande Date” at 12 O’clock with a Moon Phase Mechanism at 4 O’clock included in the flag of the Republic of Ghana.

According to the firm, the watch was crafted in 18kt rose gold in size 4047mm, with 3 rows of ideal cut diamonds, 288 in total on the case weighing 2.35 carats, and the Backes and Strauss signature “Jewel in the Crown”, a .09 carat ideal cut round diamond hand set into the crown, adding, “Gold and diamonds also candidly reflect two of the major resources of the Republic of Ghana.”

Just as the issue was becoming clearer, the US Embassy in Ghana jumped into the fray, complicating matters further.

Information Officer at the Embassy, Ben East confirmed to Citi FM that the 18-karat gold Backes & Strauss wristwatch was given to Michelle Obama when she accompanied President Obama on his first visit to Ghana in July 2009 but claimed it did not come from the Government of Ghana.

Mr. East could however not disclose the giver of the gift but categorically denied it came from the Government of Ghana or Ghana’s First Lady.

He told Citi FM the source of the gift could only be disclosed after the US Federal Register had corrected an error committed in registering it.

Apart from the $48,000 watch, Mrs. Naadu Mills also presented six pieces of Kente cloth and two glass beads jewelry sets, each consisting of a necklace, earrings and two bracelets worth $615.

According to Federal Register of the National Archives and Records Administration Volume 76 Number 11, published on January 18, 2011, President Mills also presented a 31 by 47-inch portrait of President Obama with an American flag valued at $700. All these items had been deposited to the archives.

As at press time yesterday, enough pressure had been mounted on the company Backes and Strauss as they promised to issue a formal statement over the weekend to deny that the Ghana First Lady gave the expensive gift to the most powerful family in the world.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Naadu's $48,000 Gold Watch To Obama's Wife

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday January 21, 2011
At a time when her husband, President John Evans Atta Mills is preaching against profligate expenditure and ostentation lifestlye, his wife Ernestina Naadu Mills was competing with the King of oil-rich Saudi Arabia to dish out an expensive gift worth $48,000 to Michelle Obama, wife of President Barack Obama of the United States of America.

The information about the gifts was published in the White House Federal Register and quickly hit all major news outlets across the world.

According to sources at the White House the gift worth $48,000 equivalent to GH¢ 72, 449.8 was a Backes and Strauss watch designed with the Black Star of Ghana and crafted in 18 karat gold with the strap encrusted in “diamonds and leather” when President Obama and his family made a historic visit to Ghana in July 2009.

However report monitored on Joy FM at press time claimed that Mills handlers have denied the media report about the lavish gold gift that has landed in US archives.

According to unnamed Castles sources quoted by Joy FM, the gold watch did not come from Mrs. Naadu Mills, but rather it was a present by Bits and Straws and the African Watch Trading Company on behalf of Ghana.

However analysts were of the opinion that how can foreign firm make a presentation on behalf of Ghana if there was no benefit assigned.

The report from the US capital, Washington stated that in his first year as US President, Barack Obama, his family and administration members were showered with more than $300,000 in gifts from Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

The Federal Register reported Tuesday that King Abdullah gave some $34,500 worth of presents to Obama, some $146, 200 worth to First Lady Michelle Obama and $ 7,275 worth to their children Malia and Sasha.

The monarch offered a total of $108,245 worth of gifts to White House staff, presents valued at $23,400 dollars to a senior US diplomatic interpreter and gifts estimated at $12,000 to the US charge d'Affaires in Riyadh, Saudi capiatal.

Among the gifts Obama received from Abdullah were a "large desert scene on a green veined marble base featuring figurines of gold palm trees and camels" and a large brass and glass clock by Jaeger-LeCoultre, according to the register.

The Saudi King gave the First Lady a ruby and diamond jewelry set worth $132,000 as well as a pearl necklace with a value of $14,200, according to the register.

Their children also received jewelry worth thousands of dollars in addition to books and DVDs.

Second in value to the generous gifts showered on the Obamas by a foreign dignitary was Ghana’s Ernestina Naadu Mills, $48,000 gift to Michelle Obama a Backes and Strauss "Black Star of Ghana" watch, "crafted in 18 karat gold with diamonds and leather," the register said.

Other ‘poorer’ presidents such as China’s Hu Jintao gave Obama "a framed and matted fine silk embroidery depicting a portrait study of the First Family" valued at $20,000, according to the register.

Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of then Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama of Japan, gave Michelle Obama a pearl necklace valued at $9,700.

Obama got a bronze statue of a girl releasing a flock of doves valued at 8,000 dollars from Israeli President Shimon Peres.

While Ghanaians are wondering what happened to the traditional Kente stole and cloth it is recalled that since the Mills administration came to power it has been lavishing generously on foreign countries and dignitaries.

On January 24, 2010, the government through the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni presented $3 million and other relief items to the government of Haiti when earthquake disaster struck in January 12, 2010 bringing that country to its knees.

No appreciation came to the Ghanaian people for show of magnanimity.

However, some critics are of the view that the First Lady made wrong move because the Obama family in their view did not need such expensive gifts as they are already well-to-do and the United States, the richest country in the world frowns on and legally bars any US government official from receiving a present from a foreign government.

Naadu’s $48,000 gift will be sent to the National Archives.

President Obama and others accepted the gifts because "non-acceptance would cause embarrassment to donor and US government," according to the register.

Chief Fire Officer Spills beans

Albert Brown Gaisie, Acting Chief Fire Officer.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday January 21, 2011
The inability of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) to respond to emergency situations especially fire outbreaks is mostly due to the uncooperative attitude of the utility service providers.

According to the Acting Chief Fire Officer, Albert Brown Gaisie the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) and Electricity Corporation of Ghana will have to “deepen their commitment” if fire outbreaks and other emergency situations are to be tackled effectively and swiftly.

At a forum at the GNFS Headquarters in Accra yesterday to discuss the factors impeding emergency response delivery and strengthen collaboration among stakeholders, the Fire boss said “we are committed to mounting swift emergency response but if our collaborators are do not step up their efforts it becomes difficult for the country.”

Interestingly, the GNFS confirmed that it invited the utility service providers to be part of the forum but none of them sent a representative.

Mr. Gaisie said 114 out of the 302 fire hydrants within the Accra –Tema area alone are unserviceable and said it has restricted their effort to respond to emergency situations swiftly.

“People have built on hydrants while others have destroyed it. Even in places where water can be found the pressure is sometime very low, making our men struggle so much to draw water to fight fires.”

He dispelled rumours that some personnel of the service trade the water meant for fire firefighting saying “there may be miscreants among us but we do not condone such acts. We always initiate action against any personnel who brings the name of the service into disrepute.”

“It is not our intention to apportion blame but if other agencies do not collaborate effectively it brings serious operational problems for us. We are emphasizing collaboration because anytime there is fire outbreak and we do not respond on time the public tend to blame us.”

Turning to the ECG, the Fire boss said “we have had problems with transformer fires, overhead and underground cables as well as power isolation in times of emergency.”

He said there have been several instances when fire fighters got stranded at fire scenes because the ECG had not been able to switch off power saying “no organization should suffer because of the inefficiencies of others.”

Mr. Gaisie also said the service needs the intervention of various District Assemblies to be able to enforce fire safety laws and impressed on the assemblies to make sure the country’s markets have the necessary measures to prevent fire outbreaks.

“We cannot take certain actions without recourse to our partners like the GWCL, ECG and the assemblies.”

He also called on the telecommunication service providers to assist the service with improved communication equipment saying “you should help the public to have easy access to us by providing better service in times of emergency.”

He said whilst ensuring personal safety and security the public should not mount barricades that makes it impossible for personnel to reach them anytime there is fire outbreak saying “people should not fortify themselves so that anytime there is disaster they can have easy exit.”

He said the equipment for fighting fire may not be adequate but the government is trying its best to procure more for them and added “we are currently repairing a lot of our tenders and other vehicles to step up our operations.”

The Fire chief was not happy about the lack of adherence to basic fire safety rules by the industrial sector which he said was the result of frequent fire outbreaks especially in industrial areas and said they sometimes keep flammable chemicals is stores where there are no ventilation.

He said the service is working a out a strategy to ensure that fire safety law are strictly enforce and would seek the assistance of the Attorney-General and the police to arrest and prosecute factory owners and others who refuse to adhere to safety rules.

Recently in Oda in the Eastern region firemen were ridiculed when they seen using buckets to fight fire.

Six container shops at the Oda Market in the Birim Central Municipal Assembly, were engulfed in flames, destroying property estimated at GH¢60,000.

Personnel of the Fire Service used buckets and other small containers to fight the inferno, due to lack of fire tenders, causing amusement among onlookers.

The Birim Wood Complex Limited provided water tankers to the GNFS before the fire was brought under control.

Assistant Divisional Fire Officer Ransford Ababio, in charge of the municipality told the Ghana News Agency that the fire at the market followed another disaster at the Finance Block of the assembly at about 0500 hours on January 13, when the building went up in flames destroying a number of items.

He said the cause of disasters were under investigations.
Isaac Kwasi Boadu, owner of an agro-chemical shop that was affected by the fire said he had lost all his goods.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Muslim youth fight over Hajj Committee

Musah Ali (middle), General Secretary of MYAPH addressing the media. With him are Nuhu Khalid (right) and Alhaji Abdul Hamid Baba (left).

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday January 20, 2011
In their bid to defend the Hajj Committee, a group calling itself Muslims Youth against the Politicization of Hajj (MYAPH) yesterday made mockery of themselves when they tried to question the right of another group, Muslim Youth for Change (MYC) that raised allegations of mismanagement against members of committee.

MYAPH organized a news conference at Kwesi Pratt’s Freedom Centre at Kokomlemle, Accra to lambast the MYC for threatening to hit the streets to demonstrate against the Hajj Committee over allegations of mismanagement.

However, had a torrid time explaining to media personnel why they should hold a news conference on the subject matter when members of the committee who were directly accused by MYC are capable of defending themselves.

In the end, all they could say is “we are not here to defend the Hajj Committee. However, we do not want anybody to use the name or office of His Eminence National Chief Imam as shield to launch sporadic on hard earned reputation of the members of Hajj Committee. We are going to fiercely resist any attempt to malign and incite Muslim Youth against them.”

They said they are fighting undue politicization of the organization of Hajj yet they ended making statements reminiscent of politicians making political statements on campaign platforms.

Speaking on behalf of MYAPH, Musah Ali, its General Secretary of said “all of us can bear testimony of the smooth and peaceful manner in which the 2009/2010 was organized but for the court injunction by the detractors of the Hajj Committee one would not even have noted that pilgrimage was ongoing.”

He said “as things turned out to be, Allah the almighty did not allow them to succeed so they are now changing their tactics,” adding “it is not true that those who could not be airlifted to Mecca in 2010 were 600 as it is being speculated but rather 356. The committee was able to airlift 2,144 pilgrims which constitute 85 per cent.”

Musah Ali said the current committee has been able to organize the best ever Hajj in the history of the country adding “one cannot simply understand why the success story of the 2009/2010 Hajj organization has become the headache of some individuals who are even alleged to be taking steps to mobilize and instigate some innocent youth to go on the streets.”

“Muslims in Ghana have seen the good work of the 2009/2010 Hajj Committee and shall fiercely resist any attempt by any group that tries to malign and incite some of our Muslim youth against them.”

MYAPH called on the National Chief Imam to warn those using his name and office for their selfish interest to desist from the act or as they put it “be prepared to face the concequences.”

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Ex-MP was naked – Witness

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday January 19, 2011
The fourth prosecution witness (PW4) in the case of three people standing trial for allegedly conspiring to rob J.B. Danquah Adu, Ex-MP for Abuakwa North and Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs in the erstwhile Kufuor administration yesterday told an Accra Fast Track High Court that when he saw the former legislator he was not wearing anything except his boxer shorts.

The witness, Cyrus Antoh, a tanker owner told the court presided over by Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh: “JB was not wearing anything. He only had his boxers. I asked about his clothes and he said the second accused person and another had forcibly removed his clothes during a struggle and also stabbed him.”

Narteley Yirenkyiwaa Nettey aka Awura Ama, 24, the ex-Minister’s estranged girlfriend is standing trial together with Charles Antwi and Nana Yaw Ampaw as the first, second and third accused persons respectively and the police say the three conspired to rob the JB at the East Legon apartment of the lady on August 26, 2010.

The three have pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy, causing harm and robbery and are still in police custody.

Led in evidence by Paul Asibi Abariga, a State Attorney, PW4 told the court that on August 26, 2010 he was driving home when he saw PW2 and PW3 struggling with Antwi in front of the house where the incident occurred so he parked and made enquiries.

“When I enquired, they told me that it was armed robbery and that someone had been killed upstairs”, adding “just as A2 (Antwi) was about to speak, A1 (Yirenkyiwaa) came to the scene and shouted at A2 not to say anything and rather asked us to arrest JB.”

He claimed that JB followed Yirenkyiwaa downstairs but was bleeding profusely so he removed his shirt to tie the wound for him.

“I then sat him down to find out what had happened and he told me that A2 and A3 forcibly removed his clothes containing some money and also wounded.”

He said the police after sometime came to the scene and took over the matter and he went home, changed and visited JB in the hospital but the ex-MP could not speak to him because he was sleeping.

During cross-examination by Kwabena Addo Attuah, counsel for Yirenkyiwaa, PW4 insisted that JB told him it was Antwi and Ampong who forcibly removed his clothes despite JB’s own earlier evidence that “A1 (Yirenkyiwaa) unzipped me.”

Counsel: You told this court in your evidence-in-chief that PW1 (JB) told you his clothes have forcibly been taken away from him

Witness: Yes my Lord

Counsel: was it the same person that you claimed told you who had been killed

Witness: Those I came to assist told me that somebody had been killed upstairs.

Counsel: Was it the same man that came downstairs in a pair of boxer shorts.

Witness: Yes.

Counsel: Did he resurrect.

Witness: Yes…but the explanation is that he was actually killed.

Counsel: Are you aware that he (JB) testified in this court.

Witness: I know he gave evidence

Counsel: Are you aware he told this court that his clothes were not forcibly taken away from him

Witness: He told me the accused persons collected his clothes so if he comes here and did not say it then that is up to him.

Counsel: I suggest to you that nobody took his clothes off

Witness: What PW1 (JB) told me is what I have told the court.

Counsel: You told this court that PW1 (JB) was bleeding profusely.

Witness: Yes…my shirt even got soaked.

Counsel: Did he collapse

Witness: He did not but was weak

Counsel: So that when you said when you got to the hospital he had collapsed was a lie.

Witness: I could not speak to him.

Counsel: You were not there when the injury occurred

Witness: I was not there. I met them at the roadside.

When C.K. Mintah, counsel for Antwi and Ampaw took his turn, the witness told the court that he enquired from JB what had happened to him when he tied the ex-MP’s wounds for him.

Counsel: When you enquired about what had happened to A1 what did he say.

Witness: He said those people forced his clothes off him and cut his hand.

Counsel: were those who inflicted the wound around?

Witness: A2 (Antwi) was there.

Counsel: Did you ask for the reason?

Witness: No.

Sitting continues on February 2, 2011.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

I didn’t see Ex-MP robbed

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday January 18, 2011
The caretaker of the house where three persons including the estranged girlfriend of JB Danquah Adu, Ex-MP for Abuakwa North and Deputy Minister of Women and Children’s Affairs under the erstwhile Kufuor administration allegedly attempted to rob the former legislator says he is not in a position to tell what really transpired in the room where the incident happened.

Emmanuel Kwame Okaompah Amoako, testifying as the third prosecution witness (PW3) on Friday told the Accra Fast Track High Court trying the case “I am not in a position to know what happened between Mr. JB and the accused persons because I was not in the room.”

Narteley Yirenkyiwaa Nettey aka Awura Ama, 24, the ex-Minister’s estranged girlfriend is standing trial together with Charles Antwi and Nana Yaw Ampaw; the police say the three conspired to rob the JB at the East Legon apartment of the lady on August 26, 2010.

The three have pleaded not guilty to three counts of conspiracy, causing harm and robbery and are still in police custody.

Led in evidence by Paul Asibi Abariga, a State Attorney, Amoako who says he is a steel bender told the court presided over by Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh that on August 26, 2010 between 9:30 and 10pm he heard somebody screaming for help and quickly rushed upstairs only to find Narteley’s window opened.

He said together with the security man (PW2) he knocked on the door and Ampaw (A3) came out with clothes hanging on his shoulder and when he enquired from him, he (A3) said “they are killing somebody in the room,” and descended the staircase.

“We were afraid to enter the room and as we stood there, Antwi (A2) also came out and said some people are fighting in the room and had blood stains in his shirt,” PW3 told the court.

He said he asked the security man to escort Antwi downstairs whilst he tried to enter the room but when he did; he hurriedly came out and descended the stairs because the security man had shouted for him to come down and help apprehend Antwi who was trying to run away.

Amoako told the court that when Antwi was overpowered and brought to the main gate of the house, a neighbour called Kwadwo Cyrus came around to help them and JB then came down, followed by Narteley.

He claimed when the police came around Narteley tried to go upstairs to lock her room but a policeman ordered her to allow the security man (PW2) to do it.

During cross-examination by Kwabena Addo Attuah, PW3 insisted that he entered the room where the incident occurred but the inmates did not see him.

Counsel: You never entered the room where the shouts were coming from

Witness: I entered but could not get to where they were.

Counsel: I suggest to you that you never entered the room

Witness: I entered but because I could not get to where they were they did not see me.

Counsel: I am still suggesting to you that you did not enter the room.

Witness: I can say it is not true because nobody saw me.

Counsel: You are not in a position to know what went on in the room.

Witness: Yes, because I was not there.

Counsel: You said when A3 was coming out of the room he was holding some clothes

Witness: Yes

Counsel: Was he naked

Witness: He was wearing jeans with white singlet.

Counsel: Describe what he was holding

Witness: I saw a black dress

Counsel: Tell the court the kind of black dress

Witness: He had folded it

Counsel: Could it have been his own shirt.

Witness: I cannot tell.

Counsel: Your story that A3 was holding a dress is a lie

Witness: That is not correct

Counsel: It was A1 herself who went to lock her room and not PW2

Witness: It was PW2

Sitting continues on today, January 18, 2011.

Arik Air Expands Operation

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday Janaury 18, 2011
Arik Air Limited, a privately owned Nigerian commercial airline, says it is committed to setting new standards in the aviation industry on the African continent.

As a result, the owner of Arik Air has invested over 130 million dollars to ensure that the company becomes a preferred airliner on the continent.

At a media briefing in Accra over the weekend, the Communications Directorate of the airline said Arik Air started modestly but has now grown to become the largest commercial airline carrier in Nigeria in less than a decade.

According to the Communication Directorate, following the liquidation of Nigeria Airways, Arik Air Chairman, Sir Arumemi-Ikhide bought a hawker jet aircraft, which was being used to serve business people in the Nigerian oil industry but soon became a hot cake.

According to them, Arik Air acquired assets of the defunct Nigeria Airways and transformed the assets into state-of-the-art facility before officially inaugurating the airline within seven months after the acquisition.

It then went on to inaugurate Arik Air International in London in 2007 to develop worldwide routes to ensure that Arik Air “delivers truly global airline with world class standards.”

The Communication Directorate said on December 15, 2008, Arik Air successfully launched its first long haul flight between Lagos and Heathrow, London, flying daily with a newly acquired Airbus A340-500.

“The aircraft offers 36 premier class and 201 economy class seats. Premier class passengers enjoy super flat beds equipped with 17-inch monitors and a new generation in-built massage system. It also has a communal area which comprises a bar lounge, sofas and a seat-free space for socializing. In fact, the aircraft offers the highest degree of operational flexibility and unmatched passenger comfort.”

According to the directorate, Arik Air in 2009, commenced operations in Africa, first from Lagos to Johannesburg in South Africa and then the West African sub-region including Freetown Sierra Leone, Dakar Senegal, Banjul the Gambia, Coutonou Benin and now Accra, Ghana.

It said it is also operating a non-stop three times a week shuttle between Lagos and New York in partnership with Hi Fly Transportes Aeros S.A. of Portugal and have also launched non-stop services between London Heathrow and Abuja.

“Arik Air has also obtained traffic rights to many other international destinations across the globe including Houston, Beijing, Paris and Sao Paulo and this is the beginning of our international expansion.”

“Additional brand new aircraft joined the growing fleet which now stands at 26 aircraft. By September 2010, Arik Air had successfully flown over five million passengers in a network of 27 domestic, regional and international destinations.”

The directorate said Arik Air has already obtained International Aviation Safety Assessment (IASA) certification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amina ‘Brother’ chained

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday January 14, 2011
Michael Frimpong aka ‘Amina Brother’, the young man who claimed to be on the Yutong
Bus on which the alleged mass rape of passengers occurred, has now been sent to the Nsawam Maximum Security Prisons after a court remanded him.

At the prisons, he fell ill on the night of January 7, 2011 and was rushed to the infirmary at the Nsawam Prisons but because he was in a critical condition, he was transferred to the Nsawam General Hospital, where he is said to have been chained to a bed.

According to sources at the hospital, as soon as he was brought in, he was chained to the bed to prevent him from running away.

“I can confirm that a young man was brought here in the company of Prison officers at the weekend. They chained him and when I enquired from him he said he was the one who was arrested for saying that he was on the Amina bus,” a source told DAILY GUIDE.

DAILY GUIDE investigations revealed that although Frimpong was whisked to an Accra Circuit Court on January 7, 2011 without the knowledge of his counsel, he was granted a GH¢ 5000 bail with two sureties.

The police then sent him straight to the Nsawam Prisons from the Police Headquarters in Accra without any attempt to contact Frimpong’s counsel or any of his family members to bail him.

Andy Appiah-Kubi, counsel for Frimpong told DAILY GUIDE in a telephone interview yesterday that he was not aware his client had been sent to court where he was charged with one count of deceit of public officer.

Until he made a second appearance on December 22, last year, Frimpong was kept at the Teshie Police Station but was transferred to the Cantonments Police cell where he spent four days.

He was then brought to the Police Headquarters in Accra for two days before being sent to court but immediately after the proceedings, he was whisked away to the Nsawam Prisons.

Frimpong was picked up on November 17, 2010 after granting an interview to Great FM, an Achimota-based private radio station where he gave descriptions about what he claimed happened on October 11, 2010, in what is now known as the ‘Amina Bus Rape’ case.

Frimpong made his first appearance before the court on November 23, 2010 where he was remanded into police custody.

Just as the dust was settling on the Amina mass bus rape matter which resonated throughout the country, teasing many minds as to its veracity given also the politicization of the subject, Frimpong, a resident of Kumasi, granted an interview to Great FM claiming he was on board the bus with registration GN 623-10 where the alleged incident took place.

He gave a vivid description of the incident and appeared to have corroborated the story told by Amina Mohammed, the lady who first broke the news about the mass bus rape; but the police continue to maintain that the story is a hoax.

Amina is currently on trial at an Accra Circuit Court.


Kofi Asamoah (Right), Secretary-General of TUC presenting certificate of affiliation to Kyei Baffuor, Federation President of FUSSAG.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday January 14, 2011
The General Secretary of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GhTUC) Kofi Asamoah has entreated the leadership of organized labour to continue to seek the welfare of workers in the face of low wages, job and income insecurity coupled with high cost of living.

“The ability to serve union purposes depends largely on the strength of the unions. It is therefore imperative that all workers regardless of their employment, class and status enjoy the benefit of a legal and institutional framework which guarantees their rights to free and fair representation and to engage in useful collective bargaining for workers welfare,” he said.

The TUC boss said this when he presented certificate of affiliation to the Federation of University Senior Staff Association of Ghana (FUSSAG) at the TUC Hall in Accra yesterday.

With the affiliation, the FUSSAG has become the 18th the formal sector union to join the TUC.

Mr. Asamoah said “you come into the union at a time when we seek to further professionalize our operations, reach out and maintain constant touch with our members in order to provide service more efficiently and effectively. The challenge therefore is that your transformation into a trade union should operate within the structures, regulations and the strategic development plan of the TUC.”

He said the issue of productivity and remuneration should always be discussed dispassionately and objectively discussed to bring about consensus building for accelerated development.

“Workers in demanding their rights should not forget that they have responsibilities to live up to. In the same vein employers should not be so profit oriented as to forget that creating wealth involves the commitment of workers.

Mr. Asamoah called on FUSSAG to take steps to reach out to their colleagues in the private universities to help strengthen the union for improved working and living conditions.

Kofi Bonney, Chairman of the GhTUC urged FUSSAG to struggle to meet the expectations of members saying “you have come at a time when the expectations of your members are very high.”

Kyei Baffuor, Federation President of FUSSAG acknowledged the task ahead of them and promised to ensure that their members remain united for common goal.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

CJA attacks NPP over fuel price hike

From L-R: Barlon Courage, Kwasi Adu and Kwesi Pratt Jnr.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday January 14, 2011
The Kwesi Pratt-led Committee for Joint Action (CJA) which virtually held the nation hostage with countless demonstrations anytime prices of petroleum products increased under the Kufuor administration has shown its true colours by insisting they will not embark on any demonstration despite the astronomical fuel price increment by the Mills administration.

On January 4, 2011, Ghanaians were greeted with increment in petroleum products between 25 and 30 percent by the President John Evans Atta Mills NDC government, exacerbating the already harsh economic conditions and living standard of the people but Kwasi Adu, convener of the CJA says “we are not moving an inch on this matter”.

A news conference the CJA organized in Accra yesterday under the guise of protesting the recent increases in the prices of petroleum products was rather used to castigate the members of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) for daring to question the NDC government over the increment.

The CJA does not understand why the NPP should hold a news conference to call on them to organize demonstration against the Mills government as it did to the Kufuor administration and went on to describe them as ‘self-appointed windbags’ and ‘hypocrites’ among other uncomplimentary language.

Addressing the media, Kwasi Adu said “judging by the effusions of the NPP, one would be forgiven for thinking that it is the CJA rather than the NDC that has increased prices of petroleum products. Their behaviour suggests that it would please them greatly if the CJA were to embark on countrywide demonstrations on this matter.”

“If ever the word ‘Honour’ came to walk by will the NPP recognize it? These self appointed windbags see no good in anybody else but themselves alone. The hypocrisy of the NPP is monumental. Going on demonstration just to please the NPP will only be an endorsement of inconsistency and NPP hypocrisy.”

“We have not removed the legs of the NPP leaders from underneath them, which would prevent them from going on demonstrations if they feel morally justified to do so. In any case what this increase signifies is that the NDC government is in the same boat with the NPP in the area of insensitivity to the plight of ordinary Ghanaians.”

During questions and answers Kwesi Pratt who has virtually become the unofficial spokesperson of the NDC government said no government can claim to be subsidizing petroleum products since the reality on the ground do not support the claims adding “it was not true when the Kufuor administration claimed it was subsidizing fuel and it is also not true when the Mills government says it is subsidizing fuel.”

Asked how he felt about most members of the CJA taking appointments in the current government, Mr. Pratt insisted that they are still active members of the group, participate in the group’s activities and still uphold its principles.

When media personnel sought to know whether NDC personalities such as Ato Ahwoi, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, Dr Omane Boamah, all Ministers and a host of others members shared the CJA’s position that the Mills government was insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians on the petroleum issue, Mr. Pratt said “I am not their spokesman but what we all met in advance to decide what to tell the people through the media.”

NDC Secretary in electoral fraud

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday January 14, 2011
JOHNSON ADESINA, the Techiman NDC Zongo Caucus Secretary who allegedly engaged in multiple voting in the just ended District Level Elections, is walking the streets of Techiman in the Brong Ahafo Region as a free man.

Adesina, a candidate in the election, goes about Techiman boasting that nobody can arrest him because his government is in power.

He is also issuing threats to all those who know about the incident.
The incident took place on January 4, 2011, when the Techiman Municipality took its turn to conduct its district level elections, which observers claim was poorly organized.

DAILY GUIDE’s investigations revealed that the Techiman Zongo Hausa Line Electoral area has three polling stations, namely Arms Clinic, Baptist Polling Station A and Baptist Polling Station B.

At exactly 3:30pm, Adesina was said to have gone to Arms Clinic to cast his ballot and immediately he finished, he proceeded to the Baptist Polling Station to vote again.

At Arms Clinic, he used the name Abaah Johnson, aged 47 with Voter ID 19513621 and polling station number G130503, whilst at the Baptist JSS polling station, he used the name Johnson Adesina, aged 40 with Voter ID 15196383 and polling station number G130501.

He had used Adesina Johnson to file his nomination papers with the EC.

When polling agents confronted him at the second polling station, he took to his heels and a report was immediately made to the Municipal Electoral Officer, who checked and confirmed that the suspect had voted more than once. The matter was then forwarded to the police.

According to sources, the Techiman MCE and his NDC henchmen are threatening people, claiming since the NDC is in power, the EC and the Police cannot take any action against Adesina.

Adesina is also alleged to be calling local radio stations, boasting on air that once his party was in power, nobody could do anything to him.

When contacted on telephone about the issue, Kwah Samuel, Municipal EC Officer, confirmed that Adesina’s case was brought to his attention, explaining that according to the report Adesina was exposed when he attempted to vote a second time.

The police investigator in charge of the case, Mr. Kwartey, also confirmed to DAILY GUIDE that he was investigating the matter and when he invited Adesina for questioning, the suspect refused to come to the police station.

The investigator noted that he wanted to complete his investigations before issuing criminal summons against Adesina.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Lower Inflation Does Not Mean More Jobs...Says Barclays bank MD

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday January 12, 2010.
The Managing Director of Barclays Bank Limited, Benjamin Tettey Dabrah has stated that lower inflation and interest rates do not automatically mean more job opportunities for the youth.

Whilst acknowledging initiatives such as the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP), Mr. Dabrah said a lot more needs to be done to address the issue of youth unemployment, noting “young people have a hard time in the Ghanaian job market, with inadequate education and skills and few opportunities, most Ghanaian youth face a future of low-wage employment, unemployment and underemployment.”

The Barclays Bank MD was speaking on the topic, “Harnessing the power of the youth for accelerated development” at the formal opening of the 62nd annual New Year School and Conference at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon-Accra on Monday.

He said the expansion of employment opportunities is far below the growth in the youth population because of a lack of appropriate technologies and investment saying “for example, our continued dependence on rain-fed agriculture causes much underemployment among rural youth for most part of the year and as a result, young people consciously decide to move to the towns in the hope of greater chances for employment thereby causing massive urban drift.”

Commenting on entrepreneurship, Mr. Dabrah said there is an urgent need to review the financial infrastructure and incentive structure to encourage financial institutions to provide funding for young entrepreneurs.

He also said that through mentoring schemes, internships and other training opportunities, young people could gain an insight into setting up and running a business and avoid the potential pitfalls in the real world of business.

On education and training, the Barclays Bank MD said there is an urgent need to redesign the curricula at all levels to suit the changing needs of the labour market or alternatively to combine formal education with work based training.

He called for youth participation in economic decision-making adding “the only way we can address the issues militating against young Ghanaians contributing fully towards the development of our nation is for the government to prioritize the youth in policy-making.”

“Young people in Ghana have enormous potential that could be harnessed for promoting economic development. Governments and policy-makers therefore need to focus policy initiatives and resources on improving the leadership role of Ghanaian youth.”

He said the success of such interventions would depend on the participation of the youth in all aspects of the public policy process from the crafting of economic policies to implementation and subsequently monitoring and evaluation.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prof. Yankah descends on foot soldiers

Prof. Kwesi Yankah is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday January 11, 2011.
The Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Kwesi Yankah has taken a swipe at foot soldiers of political parties who indulge in violent conducts including the seizure of public toilets, advising them to rather channel their energies into productive ventures.

“If the raw energy and power of the youth should be unleashed, let these be let loose in the destruction not of property, but of poverty in Africa. Let the youthful exuberance be galvanized not to seize toilets, but to seize the canker of illiteracy in society; let them seize it by the horn and kill it. And for once they will not be charged for murder.”

Prof. Yankah was speaking at the formal opening of the 62nd annual New Year School and Conference at the Great Hall of the University of Ghana, Legon-Accra yesterday.
This year’s weeklong event is themed “Harnessing the power of the youth for accelerated development.”

The actions of party foot soldiers particularly those belonging to the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) continue to pose a major threat to the country’s multi party democracy.

On several occasions, these foot soldiers have embarked on violent confiscation of perceived national assets, locking out of public officials, issuing ultimatum to policy makers and chasing Ministers of Sate from offices without any attempt by the authorities to bring them to book.

According to Professor Yankah, developing appropriate legislations and policy framework that would harness the potential of the youth for national development should be vigorously pursued to bring hope to them and inspire them rather than give them a sense of hopelessness that drives them into all sorts of crime and lawlessness.

“Let the youth forcibly bring down the walls of ignorance and superstition that perilously hangs on us; and with clubs and sticks, let the youth chase away not public officials, but the scourge of disease and infant mortality that set us several years behind this millennium,” he said.

He said the youth have been effective catalyst for social change when well mentored saying “they should be considered a crucial human resource base, awaiting opportunities for capacity building for national development.”

He also advised youthful public officials to be mindful of their utterances saying “I also regrettably refer to misguided utterances, and verbal indiscretions committed by youthful publics of late.”

Professor Justice S.K. Date-Bah, a Supreme Court judge and Chairman of the University Council said the implications of the usefulness of the youth needs to be assessed and analyzed properly saying “youth are a powerful and vibrant resource for national development.”

He said all countries are designing policies that would enable the youth to play important roles in the development programmes and said Ghana could not be left out in that effort.

Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, out-going Minister of Youth and Sports reiterated the government’s commitment to harness the potential of the youth for national development.

She said the ministry was collaborating with all the stakeholders to resolve the challenges confronting the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) so that it can become sustainable.

In his keynote address on the on the topic: “Harnessing the power of the youth for accelerated development”, Benjamin T. Dabrah, Managing Director of Barclays Bank Limited said his research into the roles of the youth in political and economic development showed that the contribution of the youth is limited.”

“I found a few celebrated youth in our political and economic development and this is because we have overlooked their contributions. We should find a way of recognizing the contribution of the youth to serve as motivation for others.”

Professor Yaw Oheneba-Sakyi, Director of Institute of Continuing and Distance Education (ICDE) said concerns of the youth continues to pose headache for policy makers and it was time for them to design effective measures to address problems currently facing the youth.

He bemoaned the falling standards in education despite the increase of educational infrastructure and access to education but was hopeful that with the effective harmonization and implementation of policies, the youth would have hope for the future.