Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NIA in mess

The agitators in a group photograph
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 31, 2011.
The National Identification Authority (NIA) established to capture biometric data and produce national identification cards appear to be struggling to deliver on its mandate.

The authority which commenced operation under the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is facing myriad of problems including, the lack of funds, logistical constraints and their inability to pay staff.

To make matters worse the management and day-to-day activities of the authority has been overly politicised with all top positions at the NIA being assigned to family members or relatives of top guns in the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

Almost two years after the registration exercise in six regions (Central, Western, Eastern Volta, Greater Accra and Ashanti), the issuance of the National ID Cards have stalled while the authority is yet to commence the registration of Ghanaians in Brong Ahafo, Northern, Upper East and West regions.

It is understood that contracts have been sublet to a company called M&G Systems which belongs to some top officers of the authority while some staff use the authority’s computers and other equipment to produce ID cards for private organization and pocket the proceeds.

Daily Guide sources indicate that M&G Systems constantly tap into the national identification system to collect data for their private business while laptops, vehicles and other equipment of the authority have gone missing.

As if that is not enough about 150 Mobile Registration Workstation (MRW) operators who claim have not been paid by the authority since May 2010 have began agitations to get the authority to pay them their salaries.

Yesterday in Accra, angry looking operators stormed the Gulf House areas where the NIA head office is located but they were thrown out by heavily armed police personnel who were brought to restore order.

The agitations came on a day when the Authority was to start the distribution of national ID and they are protesting because apart from not being paid their salaries, the authority has sidestepped them and engaged unknown persons for the registration in the Brong Ahafo Region and therefore they want to know their status as far as their contract with the NIA was concerned.

According to the NIA, only 20 people have been tasked to commence the registration exercise in Brong Ahafo instead of the usual 1500, but the agitators claim the list is riddled with NDC foot-soldiers.

They said the NIA kept sending them text messages to ask them to standby for postings to the BA and other regions yet to be covered but ended up sending relatives of top officers of the authority as well as NDC gurus to continue the exercise in BA.

“They are refusing to engage us because they say we are NPP. They say we were recruited under the NPP so they no longer need our services. If you send an application to the NIA and attach a complimentary card belonging to any NDC guru, you are quickly asked to proceed to work for the authority.”

The group says they have already consulted their lawyer to contest the issue and are also planning massive demonstrations to get their grievances addressed.

The MRW operators who visited Daily Guide office to explain issues include Abdul Rahman Yussif Ahmed, Mohammed Awal Umar, Reuben Neequaye, Bismark Osibeng-Aduonya, Richard Hammond, Harriet Commodore and Michael Sarpong.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Gender Attention Not Enough...Says IEA Coalition


Professor Kludze (middle) addressing the media. With him are Atik Mohammed (left) and Mrs. Chris Dadzie (2nd left). The rest are PS Adamu (right), Dr. Rose Mensah Kutin (2nd right) and Dr. IB Kuire (3rd right).

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 28, 2011.
A COALITION established by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) to solicit views and make inputs in the ongoing Constitution Review process says the attention given to gender is not enough and as a result gender concerns will persist in the country.

The coalition made up of political parties with representation in parliament, women’s and child rights groups, religious bodies and the Federation of Persons with Disabilities, explains that the current provisions on gender should be strengthened if the country is to see accelerated development.

Professor Justice A. Paaku Kludze, a retired Supreme Court judge who chairs the coalition said on behalf of the coalition at a news conference in Accra yesterday by the IEA to enable the coalition state its position on the Constitution Review exercise.

He said the provisions for gender parity in the country is weak and called for the strengthening of all provisions on gender so that there would be a constitutional obligation to properly consider gender issues for national development.

The coalition further said as far as they are concerned, there is no duplication of functions between the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) in their respective anti-corruption mandates.

“EOCO has prosecutorial powers whilst CHRAJ does not. In addition, CHRAJ is the creature of the constitution, which cannot be changes without an amendment to the constitution whilst EOCO is a statutory creature and can be changed by parliament. The two institutions rather complement each other.”

The coalition further said placing a ceiling on appointment of ministers of state will not be necessary because any attempt to limit the number of appointees will be difficult to enforce since there will always be a way that the President could make extra appointments without necessarily calling them Ministers.

They also said there should not be a ceiling on the number of Supreme Court judges since the stringent procedure makes it difficult for anyone to manipulate the system and added that a random selection should be adopted for paneling at the Supreme Court to make the process more credible.

The coalition said the local government system should be overhauled with powers devolved to the local authorities and also be given revenue generating powers to enable the district grow faster.

They recommended that queen mothers be considered for membership of the various houses of chiefs and also called for amendment of on the ownership, protection, use and management of natural resources so that people who have to forgo their lands.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

MFWA promotes District Assembly


Dignitaries at the programme (from L to R) Kojo Yankah, Prof. Kwame Karikari, Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye and Kwamena Ahwoi.
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday May 26, 2011.
The lack of in-depth coverage by the media on issues concerning local governance at the district assemblies has received attention from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) which has resolved to assist district assemblies to carry information to the local people.

As a result, the MFWA has designed a programme dubbed “Using radio to promote participatory and effective local governance” to offer the assemblies a platform to better engage the populace through the radio stations.

The project is aimed at building the capacity of selected journalists from community and rural radio stations across the country in local governance reporting by supporting the stations financially and technically to produce and broadcast programmes that would evoke grass root participation to bring about enhanced local governance.

At the formal launch of the project in Accra yesterday, Professor Kwamena Ahwoi, a local governance expert said “We can use radio to address programmes that really affect local governance and not one that is dictated by news bulletins and news reviews from Accra and other major cities.”

He said there is so much that radio can do to change the political landscape at the local level and that if this is done; it could break the monotonous NDC/NPP syndrome.

Prof Ahwoi said over concentration of the media on the political aspect of decentralization has left a big chunk of decentralization business unexplored.

He said most Ghanaians are not interested in the undue politicization of all issues in the media yet the media has forced the public to accept political issues as the main agenda.

He said part of the problem associated with the media’s role in promoting local governance has been the lack of a broadcasting law that would define the actual roles of radio stations.

Kojo Yankah, President and Founder of the African University College of Communication (AUCC) who touched on the role of radio in promoting local governance, said the assemblies remain potential news sources for the media which should be harnessed.

He said it was wrong for radio stations to extend their broadcasts beyond their specified boundaries adding that it is the duty of the media to help bring about “a sense of community and articulation of the democratic process.”

He said the time had come for government to facilitate the establishment of more community radio stations and called on district assemblies to improve upon their relations with the media.

Aquinas Tawiah Quansah, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development urged DCEs to be business-oriented and design programmes that would bring investments to their respective districts.

Prof. Kwame Karikari, Executive Director of MFWA said the coverage given to the assemblies by radio stations is not encouraging and urged them to do more.

“Too many of the stations concentrate too much attention on the Castle, Parliament and High Courts. We want them to turn their attention to what is right on their door steps,” he said.

Dr. Esther Ofei Aboagye, Director of the Institute of Local Government Studies who chaired the launch said local governance should be demystified for the people through the use of radio.

Anna Bossman Quits CHRAJ


Ms. Anna Bossman is a leading human rights activist in Ghana.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday May 25, 2011.
Acting Commissioner of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Anna Bossman has resigned.

She was said to have tendered in her resignation letter to the presidency yesterday.
Ms. Bossman confirmed her retirement to the media and said her decision to quit CHRAJ was to enable her to pursue “other interests”.

She said it was “right time” for her to move on and the “right thing” to do.

“I wanted to do other things…At a certain age you decide to move on…I will work at other places, do human rights work,” she told Citi Fm.

Speculations are rife that Ms Bossman quit the commission because of her inability to secure confirmation as the substantive boss of CHRAJ after acting in that capacity for a couple of times.

After Justice Emile Short’s resignation last year December, it was widely speculated that Ms. Bossman would take over as Commissioner of CHRAJ but sources say a High Court judge has been appointed as the new commissioner and that might have triggered Ms. Bossman to take the harsh decision.

Anna Bossman began her career as an Assistant State Attorney in the Criminal Division of the Ministry of Justice and Attorney-General’s Department after graduating from the Ghana Law School in 1980.

She also worked extensively in the energy sector taking up various legal, managerial and consultancy services with multinational oil and gas companies in West and Central Africa particularly Gabon.

She is a staunch supporter of women and children’s rights and advocated with the Federation of Women Lawyer’s (FIDA) and the African Women Lawyers’ Association (AWLA).

In 2002, Ms. Bossman was appointed a Deputy Commissioner at CHRAJ and subsequently became the Acting Commissioner from 2004 to 2009 when former boss, Justice Emile Short was granted leave of absence from the Commission to take up an international appointment as a judge with the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania.

President Mills reappointed Ms Bossman as Acting Commissioner after Emile Short announced his retirement on December 1, 2010.

She is currently a member of the National Gas Development Taskforce set up by the government under the chairmanship of Prof. Kwesi Botchway, former Finance Minister in the Rawlings regime to manage and help expedite the on-going gas commercialization project in the oil industry.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Bishop Vaglas Kanco pleads for bail


Bishop Samuel Vaglas Kanco, General Overseer of Vineyard Chapel is languishing in jail.
Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 24, 2011
Bishop Samuel Vaglas Kanco, General Overseer of Vineyard Chapel has filed an application at an Accra Fast Track High Court for bail pending appeal against the 18-month prison sentence handed down to him by a Circuit Court.

An Accra Circuit Court presided over by Mr. D.E.K. Dzaketsey on May 5, 2011 sentenced Bishop Kanco to 18 months in prison after he was found guilty of defrauding Clova Sutherland, a British woman of £120,000 but the convict says the trial court erred in jailing him and therefore wants to be released before he begins the process to fight his conviction.

Yesterday at the Fast Track High Court where the convict has filed the application for bail, there was disagreement between the prosecution led by Rexford Anthony Wiredu, Principal State Attorney who are now respondents in the case and the defense team led by Kissi Agyebeng, who has also become the appellant over the format for the application.

Mr. Wiredu raised objection to the title of defense counsel’s motion and asked: How can an appeal coming from the Circuit Court to the High Court be a motion? It should be titled: “Petition for appeal.”

He said under Section 326 of the Criminal and other Offences Act the motion filed by Bishop Kanco does not meet the requirement of a petition coming from the Circuit Court.

The Principal State Attorney said Bishop Kanco failed to attach the necessary documents including a copy of the judgement of the trial court needed for the motion to be heard saying “the motion is standing on the leg of the appeal and if there is nothing before the court then it cannot be moved.”

But Mr. Agyebeng disagreed with the Principal Sate Attorney saying the defense team made strenuous efforts to get a copy of the judgement to be attached to the application to no avail.

He said “we applied for the judgement but the registry said they do not have a certified true copy. Our hands are tied without a certified true copy of the judgement.”

Mr. Agyebeng also said that Section 326 of the Criminal and other Offences Act quoted by the prosecution to support its claim does not apply to Circuit Courts but rather District Magistrates.

As a result, the court presided over by Justice Charles Quist ordered the registrar of the Circuit Court to transfer the judgement to the High Court for the motion to be moved and adjourned proceedings until June 6, 2011.

Bishop Kanco had the rudest shock of his life as he was handcuffed to make the journey to Nsawam Maximum Security Prisons to begin his 18 month sentence after he was found guilty of defrauding Clova Sutherland of £120,000.

This was after the Circuit Court judge who presided over the case, D.E.K. Dzaketsey found him guilty of defrauding the British national and lawyer, of the said amount.

Bishop Kanco collected the cheque of £120,000 from Ms. Sutherland under the guise of praying over it but went ahead to cash the money without her consent then vanished.

The cheque was meant for Ms. Sutherland’s boyfriend who the Bishop described as “evil.” While on trial he created the impression that the amount was a gift given to him by Ms. Sutherland.

The complainant, who was unemployed at that time, told the court that the pastor told her the cheque which bore her boyfriend’s name had to be prayed on because if she gave it to him, he would use it as a point of contact to kill her.

The General Overseer apart from the jail term was ordered to pay the money.

Bawku MP Case Resumes


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 24, 2011.
The case of Adamu Dramani Sakande, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central who is standing trial for allegedly having dual citizenship, was yesterday adjourned at the instance of the MP’s defense team.

The MP was undergoing further cross-examination by Rexford Anthony Wiredu, Principal State Attorney when Yoni Kulendi, lead counsel for the defense team asked the court for an adjournment to enable them to properly assess a document that the prosecution is seeking to tender through their client.

The document being tendered by the prosecution is seeking to counter other documents earlier tendered in evidence by the MP to indicate that he renounced his British citizenship before becoming MP in Ghana.

When the MP mounted the witness stand, Mr. Wiredu said “My Lord we are going to continue further cross-examination but before this I have something to say,” and just as he was about to speak, Mr. Kulendi objected saying the prosecutor was not entitled to make comments that are prejudicial to the trial.

Justice Charles Quist, the trial judge therefore asked the Principal State Attorney to continue with his cross-examination whilst laying the foundation for his case.

Prosecution: You were in court on October 15, 2010

MP: Yes my Lord.

Prosecution: You tendered exhibits.

MP: Yes (after refreshing his memory of the kinds of document he tendered.)

Prosecution: You were also here when I asked the court for an adjournment to go and verify your documents.

Mr. Kulendi at this point cut in to say that it is on record that the court sat on the case on October 15, 2010 and therefore there was no relevance in the question but Mr. Wiredu insisted on the question and presented a document to the accused indicating the results of the investigations the prosecution carried out.

Defense counsel immediately objected to the tendering of the documents through the MP saying the prosecution could not seek to adduce fresh evidence after closing its case.

“I object to the request to show documents which the prosecution claims it obtained in its effort to verify documents tendered by the accused in his defense. This is not a prosecution presenting its case,” Mr. Kulendi argued.

He then asked for the case to be stood down for a few minutes to enable them to go through the document saying “I anticipated this problem so I have documents in my car to counter it.”

After the case resumed, Mr. Kulendi rather asked for an adjournment until today so that they can adequately study and challenge the document the prosecution is seeking to tender through the MP and the court granted the request.

Mr. Wiredu said he was not objecting to the request and said he was ever ready for the trial on any day.

Mr. Dramani was on July 31, 2009, put before the court, charged with nine counts relating to his nationality, perjury, forgery of passport, election fraud and deceiving public officers to be elected as an MP but he pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

On July 8, 2010, he was exonerated on six of those charges and is currently facing three charges of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer.

He has since been granted a GH¢10,000 bail with one surety and his Ghanaian passport deposited at the Court Registry as part of the bail conditions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Adentan MP Clears Air

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday May 19, 2011.
Benedict Kwadwo Adu Asare, the Member of Parliament for Adentan in the Greater Accra Region who was accused of allegedly clearing a 40 footer container loaded with various items imported to the Tema Port, has hit back at his accuser, describing the allegation as a total fabrication.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP told DAILY GUIDE that his accuser, Dr. Nana Banful Ghansah, domiciled in Finland, was up to mischief but he would not sit down for him to destroy his hard earned reputation.

Mr. Adu Asare and Dr. Ghansah have known each other for sometime but the issue of who cleared the 40 footer container is causing a serious rift between the two men.

According to the MP, his accuser presented half truths to the media in order to satisfy his diabolical agenda, explaining that he had told Dr. Ghansah, well in advance before the shipment, that he was no longer interested in the container.

Dr. Ghansah had told DAILY GUIDE in both telephone conversation and e-mail correspondence that somewhere in June 2010, the NDC MP visited him in Finland and requested for some items to be shipped to him as a gift, which he did.

He said the cost of the freight was 3,500 Euros, excluding three months demurrage which was to be determined by the shipping company at Tema, adding that the contents were gifts he gave to the MP at the total cost of 30,000 Euros, including the medical equipment.

He also said he loaded a 40 footer container with assorted goods including computers, scanners, monitors, laptops, keyboards and mice, printers, photocopies, 54" LG Television, UPS, digital cameras, MP3 players, DVD players, mounted bikes, fridges and deep freezers, microwaves, bales of used clothes, school tables and chairs, carpets, mattresses, shopping trolleys, office chairs and tables.

But the MP disputed the items that Dr. Ghansah presented to the media, saying the list of items sent to him did not include laptops and scanners.

According to the MP, the items sent to him included clothes, shoes, bicycles, fridges, freezers, computer monitors school furniture photocopiers, printers, computers, medical equipment, LG TV (49 inches), water compressors, shopping trolleys, advertisement boards, microwaves, mattresses, piano radio and CD player, printer toners washing machines, dish washers among others (all used).

The MP said he did not request for a 56" LCD television and a couple of new laptops, as being claimed, but said he sent about 4000 Euros to Finland for Dr. Ghansah to facilitate the shipment of the items.

However, Dr. Ghansah insists that the amount the MP sent to him, through one Edward Kofi Donkor in Germany, was not up to 4000 Euros and went ahead to produce a transcript of the transaction.

“I got the money through Western Union from Offenbach, Germany. The first amount was €957.50 which bears an MTCN number: 4935218905 sent on 24.05.2010”, he noted, adding, “The amount he asked the guy to send was not enough so he asked the guy to send me another €1,057.50 with MTCN number: 1193592124 sent on 30.05.2010.”

But the MP insisted that he did not agree to pay the freight once the container arrived in Ghana, adding that when the container arrived at the port in Tema, the agent contacted him and he told them he was not interested because he had told Dr Ghansah to stop the shipment.

The MP said if Dr. Ghansah was being sincere, he would have reported the matter to the police and the shipping agency in charge if he felt his container was missing, adding, “He did not even send me a bill of lading for clearance so therefore I could not have gone to the port to clear it.”

“We agreed with the shipping company that the Honorable pays the freight charges in Ghana. Unfortunately, the container disappeared from the port without the payment of the freight and custom charges. The Honorable says he is not the one who cleared the container because he did not have the money to do so.”

“My conscience will never serve me right if I went to the port to clear the container when I do not have the right to do so. I suspect that he wants to create mischief but I still stand on my principles that I am no longer interested in the items,” Mr. Adu Asare noted.

The MP even went ahead to question how Dr. Ghansah managed to become a doctor and called for a probe.
A second attempt to get to Dr. Ghansah to respond to the MP’s allegation proved futile.

Monday, May 16, 2011

West African Employers’ Strategize


A representative from the French Embassy (2nd left) in a handshake with Victor Atta-Amponsah, Head of Human Resource Development of GEA. Looking on are Lakoun Quattara Head of the FWAEA Project (left) and Diallo Oussein, Executive Secretary of FWAEA (right).

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday May 16, 2011.
The Federation of Employers Associations of West Africa (FWAEA) has ended a regional workshop in Accra aimed at assessing the role of the private sector in regional integration and economic development.

It was attended by about 30 heads of employers associations in the sub-regional and other business executives who took advantage of the event to study a report on the third phase of threats posed by the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Opening the two-day workshop on Thursday, Lakoun Quattara, Head of the FWAEA Project, which is geared towards studying ways to position the association to be able to respond to challenges in the private sector, said they need the efficient action of all employers’ associations to be able to succeed.

He said regional integration of the private sector is lagging because of the lack of the appreciation for the private sector as the engine of growth and development, adding “that is why we have to work hard to level the ground and build capacity of FWAEA and other member organizations”.

Mr. Quattara said if FWAEA is able to build the capacity of members it would give them the advantage to be able to strategize properly to face problems that arise from the sector.

Diallo Oussein, Executive Secretary of FWAEA, said they are holding several consultations to enable them derive satisfaction or otherwise from the EPA and regional integration.

He noted that there was the need to deepen public/private sector partnership in member countries so that they can harness the resources of the sub-region for the benefit of the people

“The level of utilization of our resources in the sub-region is low but if we develop the private sector effectively, it would assist in the utilization of the resources for wealth creation.”

Victor Atta-Amponsah, Head of Human Resource Development at the Ghana Employers’ Association (GEA), said the time has come for employers in the sub-region to strengthen their networks and help break the barriers for regional trade to flourish.

SSNIT Fraudsters jailed


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday may 16, 2011.

An Evangelist from Adawso-Akwapim in the Eastern Region who assisted a widow to outwit her late husband’s family to collect his Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) benefits has been sentenced to six months in jail.

Daniel Nsabaa had conspired with Hannah Assior the widow to commit the crime but the court deferred the sentencing of the widow.

The Magistrate Court in Akwapim Mampong presided over by Gloria Anyisombe also sentenced Togbui Ishmael Akakpo and Micheal Lomnava to three months imprisonment each for abetting the crime.

The accused persons were said to have impersonated to provide supporting documents to the widow to claim Social Security Death and Survivors Benefits of her late husband, John Teye Asior who worked with the Environmental Health Division at Adawso Health Centre and died three years ago.

According to the police the widow had pretended that her husband’s family was not willing to help her claim the social security and therefore she solicited the help of the evangelist.

The application for the benefit at the SSNIT Mampong Akwapim Branch Office was been submitted by Nsabaa who had obtained letters of administration and affidavit from the Koforidua District Court to support the Claim as Customary Successor.

The deceased's family also applied for the Social Security Benefits at the demise of Asior a relative, at Somanya Branch of SSNIT but it turned out that someone had already lodged claim to collect the benefit at Mampong-Akwapim Branch of SSNIT.

Upon contacting the Deceased's family it was revealed that Daniel Nsabaa who had applied for the Benefits in his capacity as the Customary Successor was not known to the family.

In the course of investigations the Branch Manager SSNIT Mampong-Akwapim, Mrs. Victoria Gifty Abaidoo invited Nsabaa and handed him over to the Mampong Akwapim Police for further investigations.

The police later revealed that Asior the widow and Nsabaa were abetted by Lomnava and Togbui Akakpo who acted as leader of Ewe Community and Religious leader respectively to support their claim.

Lomnava and Togbui Akakpo were said to have sworn affidavits to confirm their identity as Religious Leader and Head of Ewe Community respectively.

They also confirmed in the said affidavits that Nsabaa had been nominated by the deceased family as the customary successor to assist the widow to claim the Social Security Benefits.

Soli: An Albatross hanging on journalists?



Journalists queuing for ‘small chops’ popularly called Item 13 at the Ghana International Press Center after collecting Soli. This is a common feature at many assignments.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 14, 2011.
For some, it is the act of giving envelopes containing money aimed at strengthening working relations between event organisers and individuals on one hand, and journalists on the other. For others, it is the exchange of money or goods between organizations and journalists at public events.

Still, other would describe it as ‘gift’ given to journalists when they cover their programmes and events.

It is referred to as Solidarity, popularly known as Soli in journalism parlance. Daily Guide is looking at this phenomena and its impact on the practice of journalism.

Whatever way it is defined or described, the act where money is received by journalists before processing stories for publication has become an albatross hanging around their necks.

The practice is beginning to raise serious ethical concerns as many believe that soli is deepening corruption in the profession.

The act clearly offends the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) Code of Ethics, particularly Article 3 on professional integrity which states that: “Journalists should not accept bribe or any form of inducement to influence the performance of his/her professional duties.”

Andy Fosu of the Ghana News Agency (GNA) once noted that soli has become a ritual and common practice to the extent that the GJA and other media watchdogs will have to put up a brave fight to be able to stop it.

At the end of every event, journalists, as an act of routine, wait to collect their envelopes. The enveloped ‘solidarity’ usually ranges from as low as GH¢5 to as high as GH¢100. Television and radio crew are specially singled out and given first consideration. Then the Daily Graphic, Ghanaian Times, Daily Guide and GNA are then usually attended to in that order before all the other media houses are ‘seen’ to.

Reporters, as a matter of necessity, wait around or buy time by occupying themselves by either feigning or actually conducting ‘extra’ interviews. Sometimes they seek the relative comfort of the company vehicle.

For TV crews, cameramen or technicians are normally instructed to pursue the envelope. For other media houses, journalists themselves are tasked to line up for their soli.

When the envelopes are given and the amount in them tends to be below expectation the organizers of the programme can be rest assured that it will take days or even weeks for the story to be published or broadcast. Sometimes, the story does not see the light of day.

The activities of organizations and individuals who have made it a policy not to pay soli to journalists have always suffered low patronage from media houses. The obvious is that there will be no soli so therefore there will be no need to provide coverage.

Most TV stations charge organizers before providing them coverage. Some of the radio journalists collect money with the promise of putting the payee live on air, especially during bulletins. Journalists from print media also collect soli with a promise to publish stories.

Some senior editors and journalists who seldom go out to report collect soli from organizers in advance and send junior reporters to such assignments. Because the organizers have already paid for the coverage, they treat the junior reporters with disregard or contempt.

Why do journalists collect Soli?
Soli has become endemic because most media houses do not adequately compensate their reporters or compensate them at all. Journalists, often with families and dependents, are left to rely on soli to supplement their meager incomes. The cost of traveling to and from for stories on a daily basis can quickly accumulate. There is no means or structure in place that would give journalists the option to forgo Soli.

A media study conducted by the Labour Research and Policy Institute of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) revealed in February this year that nearly half of journalists in the country are paid less than GH¢200 a month. The report titled “Wages and Working Conditions of the Media Workers in Ghana” says 44 per cent of the media workforce earn below the average income in the industry.

The report states “Low remuneration was a major challenge confronting the media industry in Ghana”. The study was based on data collected from 1000 questionnaires sent to the various media houses across the country for journalists to answer.
Citing the 2007 Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) data, the study concluded that media workers earning below the minimum wage are also earning below the national poverty line.

Records show that in most public media outlets, a journalist with a diploma certificate receives between GH¢200 and GH¢350. A reporter at GNA receives as gross salary, an amount between GH¢230 and GH¢250, whiles a journalist with the same qualification at the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) receives between GH¢300 and GH¢330. At the New Times Corporation, publishers of the Ghanaian Times, a journalist receives GH¢350-420, whiles his counterpart at the Graphic Communication’s Group Limited (GCGL), is paid between GH¢400 and GH¢700.

The controversial single spine salary structure can change the circumstances of some of the journalists in the state-owned media like GBC.

The situation is more pathetic in most private media houses as some journalists receive less than GH¢100, while others receive no salary at all but are only provided with accreditation to enable them to cover events. The soli they receive at the end of events is what they take home.

Can Soli influence stories?
Media consultant Dr. Doris Dartey and Professor Audrey Gadzekpo of the School of Communication Studies are strong advocates against soli. They both agree that the GJA and other media watchdogs should deal severely with journalists found to be indulging in such acts because it undermines professional integrity.

“My position is that Soli should not be given and it should not be taken because the giving and the taking have the potential to corrupt the integrity of the mass media of communication,” Dr. Dartey tells Daily Guide.

“Yes, even if it’s just a small amount and it covers the cost of transportation. The very fact that something has exchanged hands would make the person who gave you [soli] to expect the story to be presented in a certain way that favours them. It’s a problem. Nothing should exchange hands.”

There’s this entrenched tradition, where givers think they must give because they are dealing with the media. Event organizers, public relations departments, all over – they are giving soli. Organizations put it in their budget. As a result it has become a societal problem, and like corruption in general, it is not openly talked about. It has become part of a larger picture of malfeasance in Ghana.
Boakye Dankwa Boadi, a veteran journalist and Supervising Editor of Ghana News Agency (GNA) does not support advocates against soli.

“I disagree with the proponents against soli because if we are also being truthful to ourselves, we will discover that apart from a few media houses, journalists are paid peanuts” says Dankwa Boadi, “And these young journalists do not have sufficient money to keep body and soul together.”

He continued, “So to pretend as if everything is rosy for the journalist, and therefore he or she should not go out there and take anything is assuming too much.”
However, he noted that that is not always the case, as some reporters from well paying media houses take advantage of soli.

“I know certain media houses where you pay the people so much that if I see a journalist from such a media house waiting for soli, I will see that person as being greedy” he says.

Dankwa Boadi noted that many organizations transparently budget for soli, and so it should not be regarded as illegal or corrupt.

“I know that most event organizers sit down and budget for refreshments and transport for the media anytime there is going to be a media encounter” he says, before adding “if something has been budgeted and the auditors approve of it, then it means that it’s a legitimate payment to the journalist or the media practitioner
He concluded by saying that if anyone demands your time and effort, you should be compensated for it, as long as you’re not insisting for payment.

“They have engaged your time so they give you money for your petrol. So what is wrong with the younger reporter also taking GH¢5 as a taxi fare?” he asks, “I don’t see anything wrong with that. You don’t demand it, but if they offer it to you, you accept it.”

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Deputy Minister of Information thinks soli should not be promoted in any form, stressing that it has a tendency of demeaning journalists. He advocates capacity building instead.

“If we have support we want to give for journalists let us allow them to attend programmes that build their capacity, deepens their knowledge and encourages them to specialize in various field,” he says.

He acknowledges that unqualified journalists who exploit soli have blemished media practitioners’ reputations.

“Engaging in hand outs and all of that I do not think it helps. A lot of [journalists] are very well meaning and hard working, but you allow all kinds of miscreants, people who you are not even sure are journalists they gatecrash just because of soli. It does not help.”

The GJA’s position on soli is unclear. The association does not seem to know how to go about soli taking or giving. When Daily Guide sought the views of the GJA, its President Ransford Tetteh was not definite on the association’s position.

“It is a very important question and it touches the heart of the very existence of professionalism,” states the GJA President, “We are not saying that when you do a good job and for your efforts you are given some token gesture from somebody you have worked for [that] you should not accept. We would be angles to demand those things from our members.”

He proceeded to clarify, “What we are saying is that it is awful to see journalists charging event organizers and demanding money from them. Event organizers decide who to invite. If you are not invited to an event and you decide to go because your newspaper or radio station will need the information you can do your reportage and coverage and leave without harassing people. That is what is creating a bad image for our profession.”

Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Tetteh identified the culture of giving that is inherent to Ghanaian society, especially when one comes to your place of business or abode. He stated that soli is an extension of this culture.

“Indeed we live in Ghanaian society; you know that people show appreciation. If you invite somebody to a function far away from the person’s organization and you offer him some support for transportation. I do not think it is meant to corrupt anybody.”
Mr. Tetteh was careful to differentiate between journalists who accept soli for transportation means, and those who frequent events to collect money.

“Let me add that if GH¢20 can corrupt people to do things that professionally are not required of them, then I think they are not worth becoming journalists in this country and they must reconsider their calling into the profession” he dvises, “What we are saying is that people extorting money, people blackmailing others – those ones I think we abhor and we will continue to condemn those acts.”

Mr. Freddy Blay, a former First Deputy Speaker of Parliament and a Publisher likened the issue of soli to a double-edged sword which must be handled with care.

“In some instance it could be a gift while in others it could be considered as bribe. It depends on the circumstances surrounding the giving or taking of the soli” he says.

Mr. Blay noted that it is always bad when the soli is meant to undercut the journalist’s goodwill concerning a particular story. “It is unrealistic for a journalist to say that when he or she takes Soli, it would not influence his or her way of thinking.”

Mr. Blay feels the issue of soli is systemic, stating that it would be difficult for the authorities and media employers to ban soli when they do not take steps to improve the conditions under which journalists work.

“If you are not paying journalists quiet well, their professionalism would be undermined” he explains, “I would be a hypocrite to denounce soli but journalists themselves should be able to determine whether or not taking it would promote professionalism.

“Professionalism must be determined by the journalists themselves. They are writing their own history and posterity awaits them,” Mr. Blay cautioned.

Soli and Professionalism
“Soli has demeaned our profession. People look at us and think that we are just a bunch of people walking about extorting money from people, charging on their programs and eating their food and drink - gate crashing even when we are not invited. ” Ransford Tetteh lamented.

Prof. Audrey Gadzekpo has time and again spoken against soli. She says it breeds un-professionalism. She believes an effective GJA and other regulatory bodies could make the codes of ethics more enforceable.

According to Dr. Dartey, Soli has become an “entrenched and dangerous culture.”
She highlights that the media, which is supposed to serve as a watchdog, is corrupted itself by soli.

“If we have a mass media that accepts what they call soli without feeling guilty, how would a journalist who collects soli go and criticize a public official who has collected bribes?” she asks.

She thinks the givers of soli have the intention to influence and corrupt the receiving journalist and says “I have spoken to some of the givers and their response is that but ‘if we do not give it, they would not report our stories.’ So clearly there is a problem on the giver’s side.”

She says what is happening currently in the journalism landscape in Ghana is unacceptable and adds: “I know for instance in some media houses in South Africa if you are ever caught that you collected soli you would be fired out right.”

Mr. Baokye Dankwa Boadi disagrees. He argues that he does not see anything wrong with taking money to enable you to carry yourself back to the office.

“If the organizer has made provisions for you, then of course you take it” he says.
Journalism in Ghana appears to have been reduced to a pedestrian vocation that is open for mass participation as though there are no rules or values guiding the practice.

Charlatans and pretenders, with the unflinching backing of their sponsors, find it easy to hijack the noble profession for their own parochial interests. They have succeeded in carving a certain image for the profession. This has effectively distorted the general quality and depth of journalism and leaves much to be desired.

Articles 1 of the GJA Code of Ethics enjoin journalists to respect people’s right to true information. The duty of every journalist is to write and report the truth, bearing in mind his or her duty to serve the public. The public have the right to unbiased, accurate, balanced and comprehensive information as well as to express themselves freely through the media. A journalist should make adequate enquiries and cross-check his or her facts.

What can be done?
Dr. Dartey admits the issue of Soli is a complex one and feels the givers and the takers should both wake up to the corrupting nature of soli.

She proposes that “Media houses which are not paying their journalists, maybe National Media Commission and National Communication Authority should close them down. The NMC and GJA should have a system to take care of journalists and the attempt to unionize journalists is in order.”

Due to the multiplicity of media and journalism training institutions, the industry is overrun by unaccredited or untrained reporters claiming to be a journalist.

“There are so many so-called journalists and they do not have jobs” says Dartey, “So they are also part of the problem. They have to live, so they show up at events, lie that they are journalists and they collect some of the envelopes.”

Programme organizers and Public Relations officers must also ensure they only allow invited media houses into their programmes. Strict measures such as inspection of identity cards and invitation letters should be applied in covering assignments.

The journalism that was practiced and held in high esteem some time past is no longer attractive and noble as it should be. The earlier something was done about this, the better, to save journalists and the country from this shameful episode of journalism for soli.

Deputy Minister of Information Mr. Ablakwa is hopeful that the GJA, in collaboration with stakeholders, will be able to deal with the soli issue.

He says the government is committed to supporting journalists to grow professionally. “We are setting up a media development fund. We promised it in our manifesto. We’ve already had discussions with the GJA and the National Media Commission. We are expecting that before the end of this year the fund will be established with clear criteria so that we can support journalists for further studies and encourage them to specialize in various fields. “

The GJA believes that unionizing the association to enable them to fight for better conditions of service for journalists would close the chapter of soli but can Soli taking go away when journalists get better conditions of service?

Herbert Mensah to release Mills GH¢90m Security Tape


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday May 14, 2011.
Herbert Mensah, the man who describes himself as a friend of the Rawlingses has said he will release to the media the controversial security tapes that purportedly captured President John Evan Atta Mills’ sanctioning GH¢90m to prepare for the July 8 to 10, 2011, delegates congress that will select a flag bearer for the ruling National democratic Congress (NDC) in the 2012 general elections.

The outrageous Mills’ war chest has generated controversy in the political landscape with President swearing heaven and earth that he had no budget for his re-election bid.

However, Herbert Mensah who is adamant and told Adom FM’s morning show host, Adakabre Frempong Manso, that he will make the tape available to him for it to be played on Monday.

He said he is ready to release the security tape which was recorded for two hours and made available to Former President Rawlings.
Herbert Mensah did not however say when and where he would be meeting Adom FM to play back the tape.

The tape according to Herbert Mensah reveals that President Mills had been caught on tape discussing about blowing GH¢90million on his re-election bid as NDC flagbearer.
He said “The tapes were brought to us…we listened to those tapes… it had details of other areas including intimidation, including alternative bank account details, naming of persons in government, people in the Castle.

“I do not want to go into detail…I do not want to inflame the situation further than that,” Herbert said.

According to him, he listened to the tapes together with the Ex-President and it was clear that the huge amount was going to be used to influence delegates to select President Mills as the party’s flagbearer whilst at the same time ensuring the former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings does not succeed in her presidential bid.

Already accusation is flying that President Mills campaign team is bribing delegates with Gc4,000 (C40million) each in addition to a motorbike. The campaign team has since denied the allegation made by Michael Teye Nyaunu, MP for Lower Manya Krobo in the Eastern region.

President Mills’ attempt to seek re-election is facing stiff opposition from former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, wife of Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings, NDC founder who has also picked her nomination forms to contest the President and as congress draws near both camps have traded accusations and counter accusation in their bids to shore up support.

A third force has come into the race in the person of Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, who until Tuesday May 10, was a Vice Chairperson of the party and has also picked his nomination forms to contest the two ‘giants’.

President Mills denied ever sanctioning GH¢90m equivalent to $60million and even asked the security agencies to investigate the matter for Ghanaians to know about the truth.

The President who spoke impeccable Fante to Asempa FM on Wednesday said “where I have reached in my career it is not the time for me to disgrace myself. I have therefore ordered our agencies to conduct investigations into the allegation so that Ghanaians would know the truth.”

He said “I have also heard about the allegation that I am going to use that huge amount for my campaign. I do not know where it is coming from. I heard they brought me a budget but nobody has presented to me any budget and I have also not given any approval.”

“Atta Mills has no budget for campaign it is well wishers (people) who are bringing it. Whoever wants to bring GH¢90million to Atta Mills should take it to the contractors who are working at Sofoline, Suhum and other places where projects are going on.”

Victor Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and former aide to Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings reacted angrily that the revelation of secret tapes purported to be emanating from the home of his former boss who Herbert Mensah now works for is an indication that Mr. Rawlings is spying on President John Evans Atta Mills.

Brigadier General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd.), National Security Advisor confirmed to Daily Guide that the President had ordered investigation in Herbert Mensah’s GH¢90million allegation and said “it is a serious allegation. It borders on corruption so it needs to be investigated.”

But now Herbert said the tape is genuine.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Mills chases Herbert Mensah Over GH¢90million Rawlings Tape



Posted on: www dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday may 12, 2011.
President John Evans Atta Mills has ordered the security agencies to investigate Herbert Mensah for alleging that he has sanctioned GH¢90million to be used in his bid to retain his position as National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearer for the 2012 election.

However, former president Jerry John Rawlings who allegedly received the security tapes containing the voice of President Mills discussing about the GH¢90million for his re-election campaign would not be investigated.

The President who spoke impeccable Fante to Asempa FM said “where I have reached in my career it is not the time for me to disgrace myself. I have therefore ordered our agencies to conduct investigations into the allegation so that Ghanaians would know the truth.”

The move is likely to heighten the already tensed situation in the ruling NDC who are struggling to keep the party together ahead of its delegates congress to select a flagbearer for December 2012.

The congress is slated for Sunyani, Brong Ahafo from July 8 to10, 2011.

President Mills’ attempt to seek re-election is facing stiff opposition from former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings, wife of Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings who has also picked her nomination forms to contest the President.

A third force has come in the person of Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, who until Tuesday May 10, was a Vice Chairperson of the party and has also picked his nomination forms to contest the two ‘giants’.

President Mills said “I have also heard about the allegation that I am going to use that huge amount for my campaign. I do not know where it is coming from. I heard they brought me a budget but nobody has presented to me any budget and I have also not given any approval.”

“Atta Mills has no budget for campaign it is well wishers (people) who are bringing it. Whoever wants to bring GH¢90million to Atta Mills should take it to the contractors who are working at Sofoline, Suhum and other places where projects are going on.”

The President said he needs money urgently to complete projects and mentioned the Sofoline project in Kumasi where he said could ‘transform’ the garden city when completed.

“Look at Achimota-Ofankor highway...I was there last Friday and saw how motorists were struggling. When I passed through the Tetteh Quarshie-Madina recently I had to bow down my head. If I have that money I would use it to complete those projects for Ghanaians to be satisfied.”

President Mills said if indeed he bought the delegates it will be an insult to their integrity and conscience saying “I laugh when that amount of money is mentioned. Money which is equivalent to $60million...do you know what I can do with that money?”

He said he was sad that somebody could concoct such a story and put it out in the media adding “if I can use $60million for congress then when it get to the general election I will have to break the Bank of Ghana for the money.”

He said “this election we are going to have in Sunyani I have already won it so why do I go for ¢90million. The agencies must investigate and come out with the truth”.
He however did not talk about the opulence and profligacy that characterised the picking of his nomination forms, including the live telecast of the programme for over six hours.

He claimed that the cost of his campaign was borne by well wishers without mentioning anybody.

When reached on telephone later, Brigadier General Nunoo-Mensah (Rtd.), National Security Advisor confirmed to Daily Guide that the President had ordered investigation in Herbert Mensah’s GH¢90million allegation.

He said “it is a serious allegation. It borders on corruption so it needs to be investigated.”

“We will invite Herbert Mensah for questioning when he returns from a trip abroad. There are so many allegations flying around and we need to investigate and come out with the truth.”

The General said Herbert Mensah has made things difficult for them by making allegations but not provided the purported tape recordings adding “we will ask him for the tapes when he comes back”.

“Corruption is not something I would encourage so therefore when you make allegations bothering on corruption you would have to prove it”, adding “he must play the tape for everybody to hear it. The media must show interest and pursue Herbert Mensah for the tape.”

When asked why the former President was also not being invited after Herbert Mensah claimed that the tape emanated from the former President’s home, the National Security Advisor said “it is Herbert Mensah who is publicly making the allegation but when Ex-President Rawlings returns from his trip abroad I would personally speak to him.”

When news about President Mills’ GH¢90million campaign cash hit the media, it was Victor Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and former aide to Ex-President Rawlings who first reacted angrily from his Prague-base saying the revelation of secret tapes is an indication that Mr. Rawlings was spying on President Mills.

The tape according to Herbert Mensah who describe himself as a friend of the Rawlingses, reveals that President Mills Camp had been caught on tape discussing about blowing GH¢90million on his re-election bid as NDC flagbearer.

He said “The tapes were brought to us…we listened to those tapes… it had details of other areas including intimidation, including alternative bank account details, naming of persons in government, people in the Castle.

“I do not want to go into detail…I do not want to inflame the situation further than that,” Herbert said.

According to him, he listened to the tapes together with the Ex-President and it was clear that the huge amount was going to be used to influence delegates to select President Mills as the party’s flagbearer whilst at the same time ensuring the former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings does not succeed in her presidential bid.

STX Brouhaha Bounces Back...DI Queries Funding


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May 13, 2011.
Danquah Institute (DI), a policy analysts group says the Minister of Finance & Economic Planning should go back to Parliament for the house to scrutinize the terms and conditions of the multi-million dollar agreement reached between the Government of Ghana and STX of Korea for the construction of housing units across the country.
DI is raising red flag over the implementation of the project because of what it calls “the government’s ambiguity, changes and re-arrangements with sources of funding of the project”.
Last year, the government reached an agreement with STX of Korea, through its subsidiary in Ghana, for the construction of 200,000 houses in Ghana within a period of five years estimated at $10billion and in August 2010, parliament approved an initial off-take agreement for 30,000 housing units for the security agencies at a proportionate cost of $1.5 billion.
It says it is calling on the Ministry of Finance to send the agreement back to parliament for review because of statements purportedly made recently by Minister of Works and Housing, Alban Bagbin that the government has reached another agreement with three international banks to fund the same project.
“We have learnt in the Tuesday, May 10, 2011 issue of the Daily Graphic that Standard Chartered Bank (a UK-based bank), one of three banks (the other two American) named by Mr. Alban Bagbin, the Minister for Works, Housing and Water Resources, in an earlier interview with Joy FM, has now been contracted to fund the project in tranches.”
The DI continued: “We wants Parliament to satisfy itself with the consistency of the current state of the agreement with what it approved in August 2010 and to further satisfy itself on the current propriety of the exorbitant and inessential $264 million political risk insurance originally demanded by the Koreans.”
It said the new development raises fundamental issues about the terms and conditions of these purported “new arrangements” and the need for the three separate credit agreements (or singular agreement if such) to be brought to Parliament for their terms and conditions to be scrutinized for consistency with what was originally approved by the legislature.
It said In September 2010, a Deputy Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, defended the STX deal, claiming that the agreement came with identified sources of financing, including the South Korean government.
“Nearly 10 months after Parliament approved this controversial agreement we are being told the government is now sourcing for funds. Credit facility agreements are ordinarily not presented to parliament for scrutiny and approval without an identified source(s) of funding and it is dangerously speculative and suspicious to present any such agreement with specific terms and conditions when sources of funding are yet to be identified.”
It said such a practice compromises “the government’s leverage to negotiate a good deal on behalf of the country and that is what we are afraid has happened in this STX case.”
DI said in his recent attempt to explain the delay in construction, five months after President John Evans Atta Mills cut the sod for the commencement of work, “Mr. Bagbin mentioned some preparatory works, including the identification of land, now being done and engineering and procurement details being finalized, all of which, as we argued last year, ought to have been done before any proper calculation of the estimated cost of the project could have been competently reached.”
They say the government should let Ghanaians know for example, if Stanchart is demanding to be paid political risk insurance adding “we are also aware of the active role played by the Government of Ghana in going on an international road show with officials of STX sourcing for funds as against the original expectation that was to be the responsibility of STX and the Korean Government.”
“Danquah Institute is calling on the government to bring back the US$1.5 billion suppliers’ credit facility agreement with STX (Gh) Ltd. for the construction of 30,000 housing units to Parliament since subsequent difficulties with efforts to raise funding and the ambiguity, changes and re-arrangements with sources of funding have altered fundamentally the integrity of the terms and conditions of the agreement which Parliament approved last year.”

UG Ready for Trouble-Makers


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Friday May13, 2011.
The University of Ghana Administration says it has taken notice of criticisms leveled against it in the handling of the case involving Amina Haruna, the lady who was molested by some students of the Mensah-Sarbah Hall of the University for allegedly stealing items belonging to the students.

“The university administration has taken note of the several criticisms about its procedures by several individuals and groups. The university wishes to assure its publics that its actions have been based, on time-honoured procedures for ensuring fairness and welfare for all categories of members of the university.”

A statement issued in Accra and signed by J.M. Budu, Registrar of the University said management is committed to protecting the image of the university and would also protect law-abiding students as they pursue their education.

“It has come to the notice of the University that there are significant efforts being made by various individuals and groups, both within the university and outside to create unnecessary unease among students. Management wishes to assure students that every necessary step will be taken to ensure their safety and the smooth conduct of on-going examinations in a congenial atmosphere.”

It said in matters of discipline, there are permanent disciplinary committees provided for under Section 40 of its statutes and the recent case involving students of the Mensah-Sarbah Hall was referred to the Disciplinary Committee which commenced sitting on April 18, 2011.

“The Disciplinary Committee is still sitting and has not completed its investigations and has therefore not reached any conclusions,” it said and added “indeed, the committee has interacted with over 40 persons, including Amina Haruna, the lady at the center of the incident.”

It said the committee is expected to complete its work within few days and the university would issue a report once the investigative process is completed.

The release said the university has cooperated fully with the police in its investigations to find the molesters of Amina saying “the police is conducting its own investigations into the matter and this independent of investigations by the university. It is useful to note that any action which will be taken by the university on the matter shall be independent of any other legal processes that may be running.”

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Transition Bill to reform institutions

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw OwusuThursday May 12, 2011
Dr. Michael Ofosu-Mensah, a Research Fellow at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) has said the Presidential Transition Bill currently before Parliament presents an opportunity towards institutional reforms in the country.

He has therefore urged the legislative arm of government to urgently work hard to get the bill passed with utmost urgency, since according to him, the Presidential Transition Bill remains integral to the enhancement of good governance and consolidation of democracy in Ghana.

Dr. Ofosu-Mensah disclosed this in an interview with DAILY GUIDE after a workshop in Koforidua, Eastern Region on the Presidential Transition Bill for members of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament.

The workshop was organized by IEA, a policy think-tank to deliberate and make inputs on the Presidential Transitional Bill and the IEA anticipates that at the end of the consultations, the Members of Parliament (MPs) will gain an enhanced understanding of the bill to expedite prompt passage.

The Research Fellow said even though Ghana’s democratic credentials have been touted as a success story in Africa, the transfer of power from one democratically elected government to another has been fraught with administrative lapses leading to acrimony, suspicion and tension.

“In fact, 2001 was the first time in Ghana’s history when power was transferred from one political party to another through the electoral process. The absence of a transition blueprint played a part in the resulting confusion.”

He said in 2007 the IEA, in collaboration with political parties who have representations in Parliament, drafted a Transition Bill but once it could not be passed, the 2009 transition also lacked the force of law and therefore things were again done selectively.

“The combination of suspicion with the lack of a clear government inventory resulted in the seizure of bona fide assets of some members of outgoing administrations. The resulting effect was a poisoned relationship between members of the transition team, leading to confrontation instead of cooperation.”

He said the Bill stipulates timelines for vacating official accommodation, provides mechanisms to safeguard government assets through an inventory system, framework for submission of handing over notes as well as defines clearly what appointees whose tenure ends with that of an outgoing President should do.

Dr. Ofosu-Mensah said the Bill factored the concerns of all stakeholders and should be able to stand the test of time, saying “the final draft of the bill has benefitted from a wide consultation process and several amendments to include the concerns raised by political parties and civil society organizations.

He admitted that the Bill, when passed into law, might not be able to solve all the problems relating to the political transfer of power, which is a fundamental attribute but was certain that the Bill has an in-built mechanism capable of strengthening transparency and accountability.

He said the Bill stipulates periodic stock taking and a detailed inventory of executive assets and this may help to limit expropriation of state assets which allegedly occurred in the two transitions in the Fourth Republic.

Dr. Ofosu-Mensah said “a more accurate measure of the political commitment to improving the transition process will be reflected in the speedy passage of the draft legislation. The parliamentary consideration provides a window of opportunity to make unpleasant aspects of an ad hoc transition system history.”

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

JJ Spies on Mills...Over GH¢90 million Campaign Cash


Ex-President Rawlings has become a pain in in the neck of President Mills.

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday May 11, 2011.
Victor Smith, Ghana’s Ambassador to the Czech Republic and former aide to Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings has said the revelation of secret tapes purported to be emanating from the home of his former boss is an indication that Mr Rawlings is spying on President John Evans Atta Mills.

“Why…are you spying on the Presidency? I really want the National Security to sit up then”, he said in a reaction to a revelation that President Mills had caught on tape discussing about blowing GH¢90million on his re-election bid as NDC flagbearer.

Mr. Smith’s outburst came after Herbert Mensah; the man who calls himself a friend of the Rawlingses repeated his claims on Adom FM, a Tema based private radio station yesterday that the camp of President Mills in the NDC flagbearership race is bribing delegates with huge sums of money in his attempt to lead the party for the 2012 general elections.

He said yesterday on Adom FM: “The tapes were brought to us…we listened to those tapes… it had details of other areas including intimidation, including alternative bank account details, naming of persons in government, people in the Castle.

“I do not want to go into detail…I do not want to inflame the situation further than that,” Herbert stated.

Herbert Mensah is saying that Former President Rawlings; founder of the NDC has security tapes that suggest that President Mills has sanctioned a whopping GH¢90million to be used for his campaign to lead the ruling party for a second term.

According to Mr. Mensah who is also a former Chief Executive of Kumasi Asante Kotoko, he listened to the tapes together with the Ex-President and it was clear that the huge amount is going to be used to influence delegates to select the President as the party’s flagbearer whilst at the same time ensuring the former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings does not succeed in her presidential bid to unseat the President.

“We are hearing of budgets of GH¢90million to ensure that she does not make it…some of the newspapers have started publishing stories of loans being given to women organizers,” Mr. Mensah had told first Peace FM on Monday.

He said everybody knows that if the impending delegates’ congress is free and fair the former First Lady will win hands down saying “we do not want a candidate who is not a unifier. We need somebody who is capable of bringing the nation together and capable of bringing the party together.”

Immediately the family friend of the Rawlingses hanged the telephone on Adom FM, Victor Smith called into the programme from his Prague-base, accusing the former first family of working towards the disintegration of the NDC.

“If they are going to allows such things to be put out against our government…security tapes…what is the security tape they are talking about…Are they recording meetings of the President or National Security, who did the recording and made it available to the Former President?”

“There are issues that we should not allow to lie quietly…They are disturbing the peace of the party…Are we enemies in one party for Herbert to say they have intercepted a security tape?” he lamented.

Mr. Smith said what Herbert was saying about President Mills sanctioning GH¢90million for his campaign might not be the truth but rather somebody’s imagination saying “you put out such dangerous information and when you finish you call for peace and unity in the party.”

“We hear so many things about what is going on at former President’s place. We hear many things about what Mrs. Rawlings is doing. I get a lot of information about the goings on in that house. We are not out there speaking because we want peace.”

He admitted that what is currently going on in the ruling NDC is reducing investor confidence because he is being inundated with queries from diplomats about the situation in Ghana.

He said Herbert Mensah is not the Auditor General or the Minister of Finance to determine misuse of public funds after the latter had expressed fears that the GH¢90million purportedly sanctioned by the President for his campaign might be tantamount to misuse of public funds saying “he should go to CHRAJ to make his argument”.

Ruling out a possible Konadu victory in the primary, Mr. Smith said “Mrs. Rawlings is not going to win this election… we stand a good chance of winning 2012 when Prof. Mills is the flagbearer.”

“You wonder why former President Rawlings is on the back of the President all this while…You ruled for many years and nobody from your party tried to disrupt your administration…We gave you our fullest support…Why is President Mills going through all that he is going through with the founder and his better half,” Smith queried.

Araba Tagoe, Western Regional Womens Organizer of the NDC also called into the programme to accuse Herbert Mensah of fanning troubles in the NDC.

“We know about his deeds. We do not want to expose and disgrace him. He should back off the NDC,” she screamed.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mills Sprays Cash...Says Herbert Mensah



Posted on: www.dailyguigeghana.com
Herbert Mensah, a friend of the Rawlingses has become a thorn in the flesh of the NDC
By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday May 10, 2011.
Herbert Mensah, the man who calls himself a friend of the Rawlingses has dropped a bombshell, claiming that the camp of President John Evans Atta Mills in the National Democratic Congress (NDC) flagbearership race is intimidating delegates with huge sums of money in his attempt to lead the party for the 2012 election.

He said cash promises have been made to delegates in exchange for votes in order to swing victory to President Mills.

Herbert was the same person who once said Ato Ahwoi, a close associate of the president had told him that President Mills had become delusional and hallucinating seeing trees the event leading to the 2008 elections.

This time around Mr. Mensah told Peace FM, an Accra based private radio station that “I have just come back from Kumasi and picked up security tape from there and it suggests that millions of Cedis are being transferred for the purposes of making sure that Mrs. Rawlings does not make it,”

The NDC is billed to hold delegates’ congress from July 8 to July 10, 2011 in Sunyani to elect a flagbearer but President Mills’ attempt to seek re-election is facing stiff opposition from former First Lady Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings who has also picked her nomination forms to contest the President.

While some accuse the former first family of power drunkenness, Mrs Rawlings’ campaign team maintains that President Mills has lost touch with the people due to incompetence and corruption in his government and insist the destiny and future of the country and the NDC as a party cannot be entrusted in the hands of the President anymore because he is a bad driver.

Former President, Jerry John Rawlings, founder of the NDC who is vigorously campaigning for his wife Nana Konadu has time and again appealed to NDC delegates to change President Mills or risk losing the 2012 general elections.

Sharing his thoughts on the 10th anniversary of the tragedy that befell supporters of both Accra Hearts of Oak and Kumasi Asante Kotoko on May 9, 2001 when 126 football fans died at the Accra Sports Stadium, Herbert Mensah did not waste time when immediately after eulogizing the dead, he zoomed straight into politics, accusing the Mills camp of doling out money to ensure that the former First Lady does not succeed in her presidential bid.

“We are hearing of budgets of eighty and ninety plus million Cedis to ensure that she does not make it…some of the newspapers have started publishing stories of loans being given to women organizers,” he fired.

The former Kumasi Asante Kotoko Chief Executive continued: “So there is a whole suggestion of machinery in place to make sure the delegates succumb to financial and other intimidation which obviously the government may deny but I sat with 10 to 15 delegates in Kumasi who were involved with May 9 and quite clearly not all is straight.”

Mr. Mensah claimed that he is not a member of the Konadu for President Campaign Team but only a family friend and said the Rawlingses have very strong views on the way things should be.

Commenting on Konadu’s Presidential campaign launch, he said “Once you make a declaration of intent then you must have rolled out plans as to what it is that you are trying to do. I am not part of the inner strategy group who are deeply involved and I think Kofi Adams is the person who can give more information on the campaign.”

He said it cannot be that he should be described by some people as the ‘number one confusionist’ in the NDC because he cannot dictate to the former first family.

“For a whole leader of the country for 19 years to be listening to one small boy who is opinionated on both sides of the fence…then I must be very powerful…You know me very well. If I was running this campaign it will be a different campaign,” he told Sefa Kayi, host of Peace Fm morning show.

He said that in the process to bridge the peace and restore unity in the NDC it is the camp of the Rawlingses that always initiated the move saying “this year alone, I have had many meetings with the Castle and nobody would dare come out to deny it apart from the ignoramuses who make these kinds of statements.”

The football administrator turned politician said “I do not think the government wants her to back down…We have been trying with different people who are supposed to have the ear of the President on areas of commonality to resolve this matter,” but to no avail.

He said the Rawlingses have decided to throw their weight behind Nana Konadu because President Mills and those surrounding him have not understood the process of taking power and have neglected everybody including the party’s foot-soldiers.

Faulting President Mills for not being able to discipline his ministers who he says have been insulting Mr. Rawlings, Herbert Mensah said “some of the small boys are making irrelevant and stupid statements on air…Small boys are taking on President Rawlings…They should be keeping quiet.”

He said there is internal disrespect among the executive arm of government adding “If President Rawlings is taking on President Mills, it is for President Mills to deal with it. It is not for an Omane Boamah or Agyenim Boateng or Ablakwa or other minor beings to open their mouths to be responding.”

He said it looks to him that the executive arm of government does not understand its own power or role, position and respect for old age saying “a lot of these could have stopped long time ago.”

“If the executive itself has the balls and courage to stand up and show that it has the strength it would have dealt with this. Are we saying the executive secretly encourages this while hiding behind the cross and be seen as more pius than other people.”

He said the success or failure of Mrs. Rawlings’ presidential bid will depend on the how much money the Mills camp is prepared to splash saying “you know the Rawlingses are going into battle without money…That is their signature tune.”

“If there is no solution to the end which I hope there will be in the end, there is no reason why she should not win. She has very strong chance. Clearly if it was an expanded electoral base she would win hands down.”

Monday, May 09, 2011

Adenta MP In Missing Container Saga


Kwadwo Adu Asare is the MP for Adentan

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday May 9, 2011.
The issue of whether or not a 40 footer container loaded with various items imported to the Tema Port was cleared is causing a rift between a Ghanaian domiciled in Finland and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Adentan in the Greater Accra Region, Kwadwo Adu Asare.

The complainant, Dr. Nana Banful Ghansah who is based in Helsinki is accusing Mr Adu Asare of clearing the container from the port but pretending not to know about the whereabouts of the container.

However, when Daily Guide reached Mr. Adu Asare for his side, he admitted knowing Dr. Ghansah but denied ever going to the Tema Port to clear the said container, saying “I told him long before the shipment that I was no longer interested in the items.”

Narrating his ordeal to Daily Guide in both telephone conversation and e-mail correspondence, Dr. Ghansah claimed somewhere in June, 2010 the NDC MP visited him in Finland and requested for some items to be shipped to him as a gift which he did.

He said the cost of the freight was 3,500 Euros excluding three months demurrage, which was to be determined by the shipping company at Tema and the contents were gifts he gave to the MP at the total cost of 30,000 Euros including the medical equipment.

He said he loaded a 40 footer container with assorted goods including computers, monitors, laptops, keyboards and mice, printers, photocopies, 54" LG Television, UPS, digital cameras, MP3 players, DVD players, mountain bikes, fridges and deep freezers, microwaves, bales of used clothes, school tables and chairs, carpets, mattresses, shopping trolleys, office chairs and tables.

He said the medical equipment shipped were 4D Ultrasound and probes as well as stretchers, hospital beds which were to be donated to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra.

Dr. Ghansah said a month before the container´s departure from Helsinki, Mr. Adu Asare asked if he could buy him a 56" LCD television and a couple of new laptops which I did and the MP asked one Edward Kofi Donkor in Germany to send the money for those items.

“I got the money through Western Union from Offenbach, Germany. The first amount was €957.50 which bears a MTCN number: 4935218905 sent on 24.05.2010”, adding “the amount he asked the guy to send was not enough so, he asked the guy to send me another €1,057.50 with MTCN number: 1193592124 sent on 30.05.2010.”

He said the MP for Fanteakwa, Amankwa Asiamah later visited him in Helsinki when the container had spent two months in Tema and attracting freight charges and discussed with him about the issue and he (Fanteakwa MP) offered to clear the container if the Adentan MP would allow him but he (Adentan MP) rejected the idea.

Dr. Ghansah said as a result his agent in Helsinki continues to accuse him of collaborating with the Adentan MP to clear the container in Tema without paying the freight charges.

“We agreed with the shipping company that the Honorable pays the freight charges in Ghana. Unfortunately, the container disappeared from the port without the payment of the freight and Custom charges. The Honorable says he is not the one who cleared the container because he did not have the money to do so.”

“I am being held responsible for the shipment and must pay the freight charges. He has put my family in this mess after all I did for him. He only changed his mind after the container had arrived at Tema.

Reacting to the Dr. Ghansah’s claims, the Adentan MP said “it is not true that I changed my mind after the container had arrived at the port in Tema. He did not send any bill of lading to enable me to clear the container. I cannot walk to the port to clear goods without a bill of lading.”

Asked why he did not coo porate with his friend, the MP said Dr. Ghansah in the process showed gross disrespect to him and he decided to break links with him.

He said he sent 4000 Euros to Dr. Ghansah through his friend in Germany to get more goods for shipment, an amount Dr. Ghansah disputes and added that he has decided not to pursue Dr. Ghansah for the money.

“He might have used my name as the consignee but I told him from the beginning when there was a misunderstanding between us that I am no longer interested in the whole deal. I made it clear to my colleague and Fanteakwa MP that I was no longer interested so I do not see where I fit in this case.”

“My conscience will never serve me right if I went to the port to clear the container. I suspect that he wants to create mischief but I still stand on my principles.”

IEA Holds Forum On Transitional Bill

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Monday May 9, 2011.
Nana Ato Dadzie, former Chief of Staff in the erstwhile Jerry John Rawlings regime has said a structured and clearly defined method of handing over from one government to another reduces suspicion and increase trust in the transition process.

“The process of mediation, reconciliation, discussion, consultation, and bi- partisanship, constitute the basis for a peaceful and orderly transfer of power,” he said.

Mr. Dadzie was speaking at a workshop held in Koforidua in the Eastern Region on Wednesday on the Presidential Transition Bill for members of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament.

The workshop was organized by the Institute of Economic (IEA), a policy think tank to deliberate and make inputs on the Presidential Transitional Bill and the IEA anticipates that at the end of the consultations, the MPs will gain an enhanced understanding of the bill to expedite prompt passage.

Sharing his experiences, the former Chief of Staff said the stability of the democratic order requires the creation of bi-partisan committees, structures, rules and procedures that will regulate the transition of government, power and administration from one set of government to another.

He said “to etch a meaningful growth and advancement in our democratic process, political tolerance must be made part of our constitutional doctrinaire. It must be taught and ingrained in the hearts and souls of our citizens and our children.”

He said rules and regulations clearly defined and stipulated, setting out the details of handing over processes in transitions for emerging Democratic African Countries may better serve the present age and posterity adding “beyond statutory rules and prescriptions, the mental attitude, forbearance and democratic disposition of our political leaders have a direct bearing and influence on the progress of the democratic process.”

Mr. Dadzie said the country cannot continue on the same path of disunity and intolerance, unstructured and unguided transitional processes for the future, adding “personal favours and goodwill gestures in governance may not necessarily be sustained. They are subject to the emotions, moods and idiosyncrasies of individuals and groups.”

He said transitional periods when not well handled could create a potential for leadership vacuum particularly during war times or times of economic crisis and added that the creation of a Presidential Estate Unit and the appointment of an Administrator General (who will be making enforceable regulations) should eliminate or reduce drastically the incidence of inter party petty human weaknesses, which undermine the strength and integrity of the transitional process.

“I believe that the durability of our democracy will depend largely on how efficient our transitional arrangements are structured, implemented and enforced. In this, we will need the total commitment of all Ghanaians to the higher goal of a stable, democratic, tolerant state,” he added.

Dr. Michael Ofori-Mensah, a Policy Analyst at IEA said the institute in collaboration with political parties with representation in parliament saw the need to prepare what he called “a multi-partisan framework of ground rules and regulations” to govern transitions of the future.

He said “indeed, building an institutional framework to guide the political transfer of power is integral to the enhancement of democracy and good governance in Ghana.”

Friday, May 06, 2011

Nduom hot over new ‘CPP’ movement


Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com

By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday May 5, 2011
Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom, the 2008 Presidential candidate of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) is said to have been reprimanded by the party’s bigwigs over the alleged formation of a movement within the CPP called Movement for Social Justice (MSJ).

Dr. Papa Kwesi Nduom was summoned to appear before the Central Committee of the CPP at a meeting in Accra recently where he was asked to explain his reasons for promoting the movement without official sanction.

Sources at the meeting said Dr. Nduom fumbled several times in an attempt to explain himself after the party’s executives descended heavily on him and it took the intervention of his friend Mike Eghan to rescue him.

They were said to have accused Dr. Nduom of being a ‘divisive force’ within the CPP and lambasted the party’s Chairman Ladi Nylander for always ‘shielding’ Dr. Nduom.

Mr. Eghan, also a leader in the CPP according to the source had to beg for the Adwumawura as he is affectionately called when his friend was suffered a humiliating exposure.

Dr. Nduom according to the Central Committee is clandestinely using the movement to shore up his bid to lead the party again when the CPP goes to congress to select a Presidential candidate for the 2012 general election.

The committee was said to have expressed grave concern about the way and manner in which it is being inundated with petitions from some members of the party to stop the Adwumawura’s movement.

Petitions from the Ashanti, Central and Eastern Regions raising objections to the filing and closing of nominations for the positions as constituency executives have already been sent to the party’s headquarters.

As if that is not enough, four CPP constituency executives in the Central Region have filed a suit at the Cape Coast High Court to restrain both the Regional and National Executive Council of the party from “doing anything contrary to the constitution of the party.”

They also want the party’s executives to ban the Movement for Social Justice which is traced to Dr. Nduom as well as an order the CPP executives to “follow the proper legal procedure for the pending elections as enjoined by the constitution of the party.”

In their statement of claim the plaintiffs contended that the national executives did not have the power to ‘call-in’ elections earlier before confirmation of the national congress.

They also claimed that the regional executives failed to notify all interested members of the party about the intended elections and also distributed nomination forms to CPP members who belong to the Movement for Social Justice alone.

In the petition sent from the Ashanti Region and endorsed by 20 CPP concerned members on March 29, 2011 and forwarded by K. Ampem Darko ESQ objected to filling of nominations papers for the constituency election which was to be closed on March 30, 2011.

They said among other things that their complaint is “hinged on the premise that there was no publicity of such an exercise and also the time limit is so short that most members who want to contest for positions will not be able to do so for lack of information and publicity.”

“The whole exercise is clothed with secrecy to prevent eligible and capable members from contesting.”

For their part, the concerned CPP members in the Central Region in their petition of March 28, 2011 filed by ‘Adastra’ Chambers, said there is the popular believe that the regional executives have proven to be ‘grossly incompetent’ and ‘bias’ in the way they are conducting themselves.

They said the regional executives have failed to visit some the constituencies and were ‘actively’ engaged “in organizing a parallel political organization called the Movement for Social Justice”, an organization it claimed is planning to ‘upstage’ perceived political opponents in the party.

In the petition of 21 members from the Eastern Region, filed on April 6, 2011 by Sir S. Asante Ansong & Co said “we want to register our vehement objection to any intended filing and closing of nomination for constituency elections for Eastern Region between April 6 and April 14, 2011.”

They said the timing of the notice is too short and added that the whole exercise was “shrouded in secrecy to prevent eligible and capable members from contesting the elections and intended to favour the rich who may not be committed to the good cause of the CPP.”