Thursday, October 27, 2011


Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra was not spared by the floods.

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By William Yaw Owusu with additional files from other correspondents.

Thursday October 27, 2011.
For about 12 hours, many suburbs of Accra were submerged by flush floods; halting business activities and movement of people following incessant rains yesterday.

The incident brought along devastation with reports of 12 deaths including three people that were consumed by fire.

There are conflicting reports about the number of deaths in the floods. While some put the death toll at seven, others claim it is more than nine. Two deaths were reported at Kasoa, three at Awoshie, two at Circle, one at Lapaz and another at Achimota.

The police in Odorkor confirmed that five people died in the floods but their names were not immediately known.

Two people perished in Awutu Senya district of the Central Region where a 20-year-old boy his sister died.

Their mother was receiving treatment at Korle-Bu.

Furthermore, a 25-year-old student of the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) was confirmed dead after a wall in her Achimota residence tumbled in the midst of rain. Her name was given as Abigail Opoku Adjei.
Another tragic scene was at Awoshie where a two-year-old boy, Bright Kofi met his untimely death during the heavy downpour.

Little Bright was said to have been swept away by the current at about 2am when his father whose name was only given as Owuraku tried to find a safe place to put him.

Parts mostly hit were areas along the Odaw river stretch including the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Odawna, Alajo, Avenor, Abelemkpe and Abofu, Christian Village while the devastation caused in other areas like Sakaman, Chabar, Mallam, Kwashieman, Abossey Okai, Kaneshie, Lapaz, Anyaa, Sowutuom, Kwashiebu, Awoshie, Nii Boi Town, Tantra Hill, Ofankor and Dome among other areas in the city is beyond measure.

Other affected areas were Dansoman, Alajo, Asylum Down, La, Latebiorkoshie, Chorkor, Kasoa and Agbogbloshie.

Thousands of people particularly residents in the affected areas have been displaced while the cost of damage runs into millions of Ghana Cedis.

Yesterday’s disaster got President John Evans Atta Mills to hit town to assess for himself the extent of damage.

He was accompanied by the embattled Mayor of Accra, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije and other senior government officials.

According to the Director of Communications at the presidency, the President visited Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Alajo, Dome and Christian Village before returning to the Castle midday to sort out “other matters”.

At the Kwame Nkrumah Circle young men particularly porters at Neoplan Station which was also submerged took advantage of the situation to do brisk business.

They helped pedestrians by carrying them on their backs for fees.

Owners of commercial motorbike popularly called Okada also made some profit as they took advantage of the situation to charge exorbitantly before carrying passengers to their destinations.

At the South Industrial Area, hundreds of people were stranded in the floods which many believe is the heaviest since 1995.

At the State Transport Corporation (STC) yard, travelers were stranded while the entire stretch linking the Graphic Road was submerged, making vehicular movements impossible.

Passengers at STC Yard, Neoplan Station, VIP Bus Terminal, Imperial Transport, M-Plaza station and others were heavily affected.

Several vehicles were grounded and long distance passengers had a torrid time reaching their destinations.

Many got flooded as motorists particularly, commercial vehicles had to offload passengers at unapproved routes.

Early morning workers were overwhelmed by the floods and many had to return home disappointedly.

Students were given a free day, but many had gone to school before the announcements were made. The floods made many roads in the city unusable

Workers of Vodafon Headquarters at Kwame Nkrumah Circle for instance were told not to come to work while Minister of Education Betty Mould Iddrisu asked school children not to come to school due to the floods.

At Alajo residents were on their feet until daybreak when the rains subsided and normalcy restored.

Some questions were raised about the quality of work on the drainage constructed by a Chinese company in the area. When the project was under construction it was thought that upon completion the woes of the people of Alajo during the rainy season would be over.

It failed an integrity test yesterday when it could not tame the flood which attacked nearby houses because of an inherent engineering challenge it posed.

At Odawna, pedestrians market and lorry station were submerged in rain water with severe damage occurring along the Odaw drainage and Adabraka.

Almost every container erected along the Odaw river was washed away.

The flood waters compelled the Odawna trotro drivers to abandon and line up along the Vanderpuije Street while their counterparts at Neoplan Station and other improvised the North Industrial road as their lorry station.

Ernest chemist branch located in the Odaw area was also hit by the floods, workers of the pharmacy shop who had come to work could not enter the facility.

People were also seen at the top of building as a means of shelter.

School pupils and students of schools located close to the Odaw drainage were seen returning home.

At Ablekuma, the floods virtually cut off residence of the area and beyond from the city.

The road construction near the Nsaki River compounded the situation and had to terminate their journey because the river had over flown its bank.

The National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), the Ghana Armed Forces, Ghana National Fire Service, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) and the Ghana Police Service were in action at various places but the scale of the devastation appear to have overwhelmed the security agencies.

In a related development, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) flag bearer Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo noted with “deep concern, reports of widespread flooding in areas of southern Ghana especially in fishing communities and towns along the coastal belt as well as many areas in the Accra and Tema Metropolis.”

Nana Akufo-Addo called on Ghanaians to support each other in this difficult time adding “the scale of the disaster is such that emergency services may not be able to respond effectively to all places at the right time.”,

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

No Verification!....Afari-Gyan Drops Bombshell

Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, EC Chairman explaining issues to Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday October 26, 2011.
Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), dropped a bombshell at an Institute of Economic Affairs forum in Accra yesterday when he said that the commission has not decided yet to factor the issue of verification into the impending biometric voters’ registration exercise.

“I cannot tell you we are going to conduct verification exercise of the biometric voters’ register when I am not assured that we will get the money for it”, Dr Afari-Gyan said.

Addressing participants including representatives of political parties on the biometric voters’ register, the EC chairman’s explanation of how the commission was going to handle the biometric registration appeared to have made most of the participants particularly New Patriotic Party (NPP) members nervous.

He said that for the EC to factor verification of the system into account, they would need about $50million for that alone.

“We are talking about an estimated 23,000 polling stations and for the system to be effective we would need back-up equipment for registration and when we made the cost assessment we are getting figures around $50million.”

He said the cost is different from the GH¢80million or so that the EC would be using for the biometric registration exercise.

The EC boss said as it is now, verification of whole system is not part of the exercise which he announced would take place in the first quarter of 2012.

“The biometric registration exercise id doable but we should not confuse it with verification. So long as it is done in a timely manner we will use the biometric register for the 2012 general elections.

“Verification is not registration issue that is why I prefer not to talk about it. It is a legitimate concern but it is not part of the exercise,” he said.

He said “we are already in discussion on this issue of verification with the political parties and I do not understand why my nephew (in reference to Dr. Matthew Opoku-Prempeh of the NPP) is raising this issue here.”

Dr. Afari-Gyan said the biometric process alone cannot guarantee free, fair, transparent and successful election adding “biometric would not come to supplant the way we conduct elections. That is why I keep advising the political parties to be vigilant on election days.”

He said it would be untenable for anybody to suggest that the EC could request for biometric registration equipment from other countries particularly Nigeria saying “equipment from other countries have been configured to suit their systems and it would be difficult to use them here.”

He said jokingly “it would be better to drink it tot by tot and ensure that everything is done properly than to do it in a haphazard manner.”

When Justice Francis Emile Short, former Commissioner of CHRAJ who chaired the forum opened the floor for questions and suggestions, participant upon participant expressed concern about how the EC was going to ensure that the system was verifiable.

Professor Mike Ocquaye, 2nd Deputy Speaker of Parliament who was on the high table said the whole biometric registration exercise must be verifiable for the process to be complete.

He said once the whole process involves money, it was up to every stakeholder to get involved to ensure that “we find the money to finance the exercise”, adding “without a verifiable mechanism we are likely to conduct half-baked exercise”.

Dr. Ahmed Gedel, a l member of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) called for open and frank discussion on the biometric registration exercise.

He said “we are not yet at the level of verification so let us all ensure that we get a credible voters’ register.”

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tullow Shareholders Strike Gold

Aidan Heavey Chief Executive Officer of Tullow Oil plc.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday October 25, 2011.
Since the beginning of full-scale production at the Jubilee oilfield at the end of 2010, over 15 million barrels of oil have been produced and 15 oil cargoes safely exported as of June 2011.

The field is now producing around 85,000 barrels of oil per day (bopd) with over 75 million standard cubic feet (mmscfd) of gas being re-injected, according to the 2011 Half-yearly Report posted by Tullow Oil Plc.

While Tullow and other Jubilee partners are making profit, they’re not paying corporate taxes, according to the Civil Society Platform on Oil and Gas (CSO), a coalition of NGOs monitoring Ghana’s oil find in the Western region. The coalition is worried that the absent taxes will hold back development in the country.

Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), a government agency mandated to collect revenue for development, says the oil companies aren’t making profits and so can’t pay taxes now. But Tullow’s mid-year report shows significant profit for the majority Jubilee partner.

Jubilee is shared by Tullow Oil plc (34.7%), Kosmos Energy (23.49%), Anadarko Petroleum (23.49%) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) (13.75%).

Tullow’s mid-year report, jointly endorsed by Aidan Heavey, Chief Executive Officer and Ian Springett, Chief Financial Officer said: “Tullow’s finances are being fundamentally changed in 2011 by increased production and cash flow from the Jubilee Oilfield.”

As a result, the Tullow board believes “it is appropriate to review Tullow’s dividend policy and has doubled the dividend for the half year to 4.0 pence per share (1H or 1H2010: 2.0 pence per share).”

According to the report, “the dividend will be paid on November 3, 2011 to shareholders on the register on 30 September 2011.”

The report said a total of 17 wells have been drilled of which 14 have been completed and brought on line, adding “this consists of eight oil production wells, five water injection wells and one gas injector well.”

It posited that the final production well is expected to be brought on stream this month, taking Jubilee oilfield production to 105,000 bopd.

Some of the key highlights of the report are the record sales revenue of over $1 billion driven by Jubilee production as well as 71 per cent exploration and appraisal success year-to-date (17/24), Akasa-1 discovery and the listing of the company on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GES) following a successful $72.3 million offer.

The report quoted Mr. Heavey as saying: “We have delivered a strong performance and achieved record results in the first half allowing us to double the dividend.”

Against this backdrop, CSO has raised red flags over the refusal or inability of Jubilee partners to honour their corporate tax obligations which would aid national development.

In the 2011 Supplementary Budget Statement for instance, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning posted that it was expecting GH¢ 603,764,335 from corporate taxes alone.

The Bank of Ghana also presented a good picture on the revenue front from oil as the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) stated in its report for 2011 that the strong export growth continues to be driven by gold, cocoa beans and crude oil, adding that the total export of crude oil from January to September was US$1.97 billion.

Shockingly, when the CSO platform recently raised the concern through one of their lead researchers, Mohammed Amin Anta Adam about the non-payment of corporate taxes by the Jubilee partners, the GRA came out strongly to defend the partners by insisting that the oil firms were yet to make profit.

The coalition insisted that the government knew that the partners were making a profit and that was why it was able to make provisions in the 2011 Supplementary Budget.

The coalition warned that the Petroleum Funds will be in arrears if Ghana is unable to collect the taxes before the end of the year and it will adversely affect the development patterns of the country.

“It is important for full disclosures by the oil companies on how much revenues they are receiving and how much capital allowance is provided for them so that we can assess whether the companies are making profits contrary to the position of the GRA,” it added.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mad Rush For State Lands

Alban Bagbin is the Minister of Water Resources Works and Housing in Ghana.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday October 21, 2011.
Reports reaching Daily Guide indicate that the government is planning to re-assign some top officers at the Lands Commission to facilitate the acquisition of titles to state lands for NDC functionaries.

They see the top officers as people who are blocking their attempts to grab state lands.

Daily Guide learnt that so far some of the officers have insisted that the acquisition of state lands by individuals ‘is no go area’ and this has infuriated the authorities who are bent on causing their re-assignment or removal if possible.

To facilitate their diabolic agenda, they have intentionally accused the officers as being NPP moles in order to get rid of them to pave way for the land grabbing.

Sources say the land grabbing plans has heightened because most NDC functionaries are not sure the Mills/Mahama led government would win the 2012 general elections and therefore they want to ‘secure’ themselves with some property including lands.

Recently, a board member of the Lands Commission was said to have ordered some officers from a crucial meeting for refusing to okay documents of an NDC guru who was trying to a acquire state land.

Apparently the board member was said to have asked one of the officers to sign state land title document for an NDC guru and when the officer refused insisting it was not right, the ‘big’ man decided not to involve those officers seen as NPP moles in any decision-making process at the commission.

A number of state lands in priced areas have allocated to the private developers foreigners with close connection with the ruling government through the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. Some of the choice areas are Cantonments at the back of Police Headquarters and Roman Ridge which the NDC in opposition had kicked against their allocation.

When reached via telephone and SMS text, Dr. Wordsworth Odame Larbi, Chief Executive Officer of Lands Commission said there was nothing wrong with state lands being given to individuals.

“As I said the Lands Commission has certain functions to perform and it includes allocation of lands for development.”

“Those issues are issues that I am not ready to talk about”.

Dr. Odame-Larbi said he would not comment on whether or not there is allocation of lands to NDC functionaries and was also not ready to confirm or deny whether there was going to be a shake-up at the Lands Commission.

“I do not know your source of information so I can’t say whether it is the case or not”, he said.

The issue of state lands being taken over by private people particularly politicians has created a lot of controversy in recent years.

When in opposition, the NDC demonized then President J.A. Kufuor and his NPP administration for allocating state lands to individuals.

In the course of the pre and post 2008 election campaign the NDC in collaboration with Kwesi Pratts’ Committee of Joint Action (CJA) incited ethnic groups notably the Ga Dangbe whose lands had mostly been taken by previous governments, against the NPP administration.

When NDC took over office the National Security Coordinator Lt. Col. Gbevlo-Lartey told Radio Gold that some NPP government functionaries had taken over state property including lands and the government was going to retrieve them and deal with the culprits.

The government subsequently set up what it called “A three-member Technical Committee to probe the Re-development of Government Residential Properties in Accra during the NPP administration” but nothing has been heard about it after the committee submitted it report.

Assembly Members meet on mining

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday October 21, 2011.
Assembly Members in some communities affected by mining have undergone training to enable them participate in effectively in decision-making at the local level with regards to issues of mining.

The three-day workshop was organized by Wacam, an NGO campaigning against the excesses of mining activities on local communities and it was attended by participants from mining areas including Obuasi, Kenyase, Grumisa, Ntotroso, Dumase, Bogoso, Akyem Saamang, Ntronang, Hweakwae, Maase Nsuta.

The workshop was supported by DKA, a Catholic charity organization based in Austria together with Oxfam America.

At the end of the training, the participants made up of 11 assembly members and 7 Unit Committee Members issued a communiqué urging the government through Ministry of Local Government and rural Development to compel all assemblies to enforce by-laws on the environment.

They resolved that issues of climate change have become important issues in the world and economic reasons should not be the only motivation for the implementation of development projects.

“Ghana is currently described as one of the countries in the world with very high rate of depletion of forest cover. We therefore condemn the granting of mining leases to companies such as Newmont Akyem Mine and Chirano Gold Limited to mine in Ajenua Bepo forest reserve and Tano Suraw forest reserve.”

They called on the government and its agencies to consult communities that would be “potentially affected by mining operations based on the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) which has been ratified and gazetted by the government of Ghana in the ECOWAS Directive on the Harmonisation of Policies and Guiding Principles in the Mining Sector.”

“ On the basis of the FPIC, the right of mining communities to say ‘No’ to surface mining operations which they think will affect their livelihood negatively should be respected by government”, they said.

“As Assembly members in mining communities, we wish to condemn surface mining operations which have polluted water bodies and destroyed the livelihoods of people living in mining communities.”

According to the Assembly Members it is the central government, not the District or Municipal Assemblies that should provide remuneration for District Assembly and Unit Committee members, since the resources that go into the discharge of the duties of Assembly members are enormous.

They also said that it is the Minister for Local Government and Rural Development who should ensure that by-laws of District Assemblies are given legal backing and added that in their view, the thirty per cent of government appointees serving in District or Municipal Assemblies should strictly be people with special expertise.

The workshop discussed the roles and responsibilities of Assembly Members, the development role of District Assemblies, the District Assembly as a planning authority, Assembly Members and mining advocacy and an overview of the minerals and mining Act (Act 703),2006 among others.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Nduom Launches Campaign

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday October 20, 2011.
Although the Convention People’s Party (CPP) is yet to open the doors for nominations of presidential and parliamentary candidates for the 2012 general election, Dr. Paa Kwesi Nduom, a stalwart has launched what clearly looks like his campaign to contest as the party’s flag bearer.

He however insisted that the fanfare he organized at the Ghana International Press Center, Accra yesterday was “to announce my decision to enter the contest to become the presidential candidate of the CPP for the 2012 Elections and not campaign launch.”
He said so far all CPP presidential aspirants have already started their campaigns and said he was no exception adding “we are all waiting on the Central Committee to fix the date for congress but I can tell you that the train has already left the station.”

At the Press Center, bus loads of CPP supporters including constituency, regional and national executives were there to listen to the ‘Adwumawura’ as he is affectionately called.

The programme was also carried live on both television and other radio stations.
Dr. Nduom who performed abysmally in the 2008 general elections for the CPP said he has learned from his mistakes and would work hard this time around to win the 2012 contest.
“We had a great message for change in 2008 and we still stand by our promise for change in 2012,” he told the enthusiastic crowd.

Dr. Nduom said he is committed to supporting the CPP national executives and central committee members to close the ranks of the party and forge ahead in unity saying “the future of the new CPP is bright! I can see people from all the ten regions and 230 constituencies represented here today.”

He expressed optimism about his presidential ambition and said he would surely get the nod to lead the CPP and subsequently win the 2012 general elections.

Dr. Nduom who was appointed as Minister during the Kufuor regime said he was actively involved in many institutional reforms during the time of the NPP.

“I helped to draw the Single Spine Salary Structure (SSSS) and negotiated for the Millennium Challenge Account. If as a minister I was able to contribute significantly, what can’t I do if I become the President of Ghana?”

He promised to embark on fundraising campaign to sponsor 50 CPP parliamentary candidates that would be endorsed by the party’s central committee for the 2012 general elections saying “in 2008 I printed the campaign posters of most CPP candidates and it was an effort to get them elected and strengthen the party.”

“It is essential that everyone understands that the CPP will show its strength not only at the presidential level but also at the parliamentary level. Strong candidates have already begun to prepare themselves for victory in all the ten regions.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

More Trouble Over STX Project

B.K. Asamoah is the man credited for introducing STX Korea to Ghana Government.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday October 19, 2011.
It has now become apparent that Works and Housing Minister, Alban Bagbin’s claims that the controversial STX Korea Housing projects would finally take-off in style is an empty promise.

This is because, Bernard Kwabena Asamoah, the man credited for introducing the STX housing deal to the NDC government has filed a fresh suit at the Commercial Court, Accra over who is the rightful partner to execute the project.

The suit filed by his GKA Airports Company Limited is seeking to sack the Korean partners from the entire project, a move the Koreans have vowed to resist.

Even though President John Evans Atta Mills cut the sod in January 2011 for the commencement of the project, boardroom wrangling between the Koreans and their Ghanaian partners has stalled the construction of 200,000 housing units in the country, starting with 30,000 houses for the security services at the cost of $10 billion.

The Koreans were the first to go to court over who owns the company when they sued B.K. Asamoah, Registrar-General and others for allegedly diluting the company’s shares to their advantage but the Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice NMC Abodakpi adjourned proceedings sine die because the processes to get the case heard were not completed.

The GKA Airports suit cites STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited and STX Construction Company Limited in Seoul as the 1st and 2nd defendants with Kook Hyun Kim, Su Jou Kim, Daniel Jung, Seong Hoon Kang, Yong Chan Kim, Im-Dong Park, Ji Hoon Hwang and Man Kang as 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th respondents respectively.

When the case was called yesterday there was no representative for the plaintiff (GKA Airports) but was led by its counsel Karl Adongo while the defendants (STX) were represented by David Jeong with Osafo Buaben as counsel.

The court presided over by Mrs. Justice Gertrude Torkornoo adjourned proceedings until November 1, for the plaintiff to decide whether or not to continue with the ‘originating motion’ filed instead of a writ.

According to the judge, the ‘originating motion’ has the tendency to slow the trial saying “we should put points of law aside and focus on ending the dispute.”

Mr. Adongo, counsel for the plaintiff then told the court that they would state their position on the next adjourned date on whether or not to proceed by writ.

Mr. Osafo Buaben, representing 1st, 2nd, 5th, and 8th defendants said he did not prepare a statement of case because the plaintiff’s application had been premised on Section 217 of the Company’s Act.

GKA Airports Limited is seeking reliefs including a “declaration that by terminating the Joint Venture Agreement and Heads of Agreement, 2nd respondent renounced its membership of 1st respondent.”

They also want a further declaration that by failing to make direct investment in 1st respondent by way of equity contribution, the 2nd respondent “is statutorily barred from taking part in all of 1st Respondent’s operations”.

They want an order of injunction restraining 2nd respondent from holding itself out and/or purporting to act or discharge my functions as shareholders of 1st respondent and another order restraining the 3rd to 10th defendants from holding themselves as directors of 1st respondent.

GKA Airports want further declaration that the resolution purportedly passed by 1st respondent's board of directors at the meeting held on August 18, 2011 to convene an extraordinary general meeting of 1st Respondent is illegal, null, void and of no effect.”

The plaintiff wants a declaration that “the notices dated August 29, 2011 and September 8, 2011 respectively of an extraordinary general meeting of 1st respondent to be held in 1st respondent’s conference room on October 6, 2011 at 4.00 p.m. are illegal, null, void and of no effect.”

Finally, they want another order of injunction “restraining respondents from holding the extraordinary general meeting scheduled to take place on October 6, 2011 at 4:00 p.m. at 1st respondent's conference room.”

However, the defendants (Koreans) fired back disputing the claims of the plaintiff and made counter-claims against the plaintiffs.

In their affidavit in opposition filed October 17 and deposed to by Daniel Jung, the defendants say they have not executed any transfer of its shares neither has the shares been affected by any law or statute.

He said STX Engineering and Construction Ghana Limited was incorporated on November 17, 2009 and the subscribers to its regulation were both STX Construction Company Ltd and GKA Airports Company Ltd adding “the 2nd respondent subscribed to 15,000 shares whilst the applicant subscribed to 7,400 shares.”

“The right of the 2nd respondent as a subscriber to the regulations of the 1st respondent are guaranteed and or prescribed by statute”, the defendants averred.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Land Rover Looks Into The Future

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From William Yaw Owusu, Johannesburg
Courtesy PHC Motors

Tuesday October 18, 2011.
Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) Group, a leader in the manufacture of luxurious Land Rover vehicles, says it is poised to commit more funds to advance the course of technology in the automobile industry.

Kevin Flynn, Managing Director of JLR South Africa & Sub Saharan Africa disclosed that the group had just committed 355 million pounds to a new engine plant in the Midlands in the United Kingdom to produce what he calls “Our next generation of four cylinder engines,” adding, “We are committed to strengthening our authentic brands in one global company under the banner of JLR.”

At the International Motor Show held in Johannesburg South Africa last week, JLR was one of the leading automobile manufacturers that made strong impressions about the future of automobile industry.

On display were several of JLRs iconic brands at the event which was rescheduled to this year due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup hosted by South Africa.

One of JLR’s masterpiece that caught the attention of car freaks and die-hard automobile enthusiasts was the Land Rover Evoque which PHC Motors is preparing to launch in the country soon.

Flynn said “we have 40 major project actions over the next five years. We are greatly performing very well. In fact last fiscal year we had $1.25 billion profits. And for the first quarter of this fiscal year we have also posted $248 million and this is a very solid growth in which to move forward.”

He said “it is our target to bring real sustainable business for long term growth. In fact the vision of Ratan Tata is something very special for our customers and it goes well with the Jaguar and Land Rover brands.”

Touching on the performance of JLR on the African continent, Mr. Flynn said “with investment of some 85 million Rand from our dealer network, we are expanding our jaguar and land rover dealer networks to move forward over the next couple of years.”

He said JLR is now represented in 30 sub Saharan markets, adding “we are restructuring our business to make sure that our customers will remain loyal and will enjoy the experience of owning our products.”

Mr. Flynn said JLR has recruited 22 experts to join them in the areas of research, marketing and training.

“We want to sustain our own business for the future by bringing through new management. We are passionate about having the right products in the right segments in our markets.”

Taking turns to outline the capabilities of Land Rover brands on display, Mr. Flynn said the new features for Discovery 4 for 2012 ensures it remains “crowned as the world’s most capable all-purpose vehicle which is winner of 36 awards since launch in 2009”

He said Range Rover Evoque “is the smallest, lightest, most fuel-efficient Range Rover ever produced. Uniquely in the compact SUV segment, the Range Rover Evoque allows customers to specify a lavishly appointed cabin, with soft, premium leather and beautifully tailored, twin needle stitching providing a luxurious finish to almost every surface of the instrument panel, doors and seats.”

On the Freelander, he said the 2011 Freelander 2 model range benefits from a new 2.2-litre diesel engine, sharper exterior looks and a smarter cabin while the 2012 Range Rover consolidates its position as the world’s most luxurious SUV with a host of style changes and feature upgrades.

On the Range Rover Sport, he said there is “more power, reduced CO2 an 8-speed transmission and improved interior features.”

Friday, October 14, 2011

IGP Fights Contempt Case

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday October 14, 2011.
There were fireworks at the Fast Track Court 1 yesterday when Justice Edward Amoako Asante ruled that lawyers representing police administration could go ahead to move a motion seeking to set aside the court’s order to re-instate 24 police officers who were arbitrarily dismissed from the service.

On Tuesday when Anthony Kukruku and DCOP Ken Yeboah representing the IGP tried to move the motion, J.K. Yeboah, counsel for the 24 policemen raised preliminary legal objection to the entire application forcing the court to adjourn for ruling yesterday.

The court on October 2010, ordered the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) to re-instate the 24 policemen, pay all entitlements due them including salaries and allowances from the date of their unlawful dismissal.

As a result, another Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Denise Agyei of the Court of Appeal could not hear the contempt application brought against the IGP by the affected policemen for refusing to re-instate them.

The court adjourned the proceedings until October 17 to await the outcome of the application filed by the police administration to set aside order to re-instate the 24 policemen.

Moving the motion to set aside the order of certiorari by the court, Mr. Kukruku, counsel for the police administration said the Attorney-General ought to have been joined in the whole action initiated by the affected soldiers.

He said once Article 88 (5) of the 1992 Constitution prescribed that the Attorney-General as an advisor of the government should be joined in suits such as this and the petitioners had decided to exclude such a vital provision the order of certiorari earlier granted by the court to re-instate the 24 policemen should be declared void.

“Since it is void, the court has inherent jurisdiction to set aside the order of certiorari to re-instate the policemen and their salaries paid and promoted.”

Mr. Kukruku said the police administration had acted on behalf of the state and therefore the Attorney-General should have been the body to be sued by the petitioners.

“The processes used in securing the order of certiorari constituted procedural impropriety and it should be set aside by this court.”

Responding to the police administration’s submission, J.K. Yeboah argued that the Ghana Police Service is a creation of statute (Act 350) and that makes it a legal entity whose actions and inactions can be questioned without reference to the Attorney-General.

“The argument that the petitioners ought to have joined the AG to the action is not applicable in the instant case because where Article 88 (5) enjoins the AG to be part is a situation where that institution is not the creation of a statute.”

He argued that the action of the police is an administrative action and there was no need to join the Attorney-General in the suit simply because the petitioners were already using the government advisor’s authority to question action of the police.

“The application is misconceived because we did not come to court under Chapter 5 of the 1992 Constitution for the enforcement of our rights but rather we came here under Order 55 of CI 47 of 2004 which gives the power to anybody who is aggrieved to invoke the supervisory powers of the court.”

Mr. Yeboah said the non-joiner of the Attorney-General did not take away the jurisdiction of the court to make an order of certiorari to re-instate the 24 policemen.

Earlier in allowing the respondent applicant (IGP) to move the motion to set aside the certiorari order, Justice Amoako Asante has held that the contempt proceedings initiated against the IGP had not been determined and the court had the right to hear the motion since there has not been any conviction.

The ruling of the matter was fixed for October 27.

On April 13, 2007, the police administration announced the dismissal of 24 policemen after a Police Enquiry established that they misconducted themselves by allowing the media to cover the bad accommodation problems facing them at the Police Barrack Depot in Accra.

The affected policemen, who were not given a fair hearing at the Police Enquiry sitting, challenged the decision to dismiss them and won the case but the police administration blatantly refused to re-instate them as directed by the court leading to the filing of contempt proceedings against the IGP.

Proactive Energy Sector Advoacted

Professor Dr. Daniel Buor, Vice Chancellor of Valley View University, explain the university’s approach towards environmentally sound energy delivery to Eberhard Schanze German Ambassador to Ghana and Katherina Reiche, Deputy Federal Minister for the Environment in Germany.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday October 14, 2011.
The visiting Deputy Federal Minister for Environment in Germany, Katherina Reiche has urged Ghana not to relent on efforts to pursue sound energy policies that will meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

“Securing a reliable, economically viable and environmentally sound energy supply is one of the great challenges of this century. A core element of this is the implementation of the pivotal political objectives for our future energy system,” she explained.

The Minister was speaking at a public lecture themed: “The state and environment – German perspective,” at the Valley View University (VVU) at Oyibi, near Accra on Wednesday.

The lecture forms part of efforts by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), a German organization to partner some tertiary and other institutions in the country to find solutions to the energy situation in the country.

Ms. Reiche said Germany is billed to become “one of the most energy-efficient and greatest economies in the world while enjoying competitive energy prices and a high level of prosperity.”

She said a high level of energy security, effective environmental and climate protection and the provision of an economically viable energy supply are necessary for any country to remain a competitive industrial base in the long term.

She said Germany was determined to strengthen competition and market orientation on the energy markets, which would enable them to secure sustainable economic prosperity, jobs for the future, innovation and modernization.

“The challenges of sustainable energy provision derive in part from long-term global trends. The world’s rising demand for energy will lead in the long-term to a pronounced increase in energy prices,” she indicated.

The minister said Germany’s dependence on energy imports would continue to increase, adding “energy consumption currently causes 80 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions.”

She said Germany’s present energy supply structures would have to be radically transformed in the medium to long term if they were to achieve energy security, value for money and the targets set by their climate protection policy.

Ms. Reiche said the huge potential for innovation, growth and employment could be tapped in the course of revamping the energy system.

Dr. Charles E. Gyansa-Easmon, an Agronomist, said a decentralized state-intervention in environmental-policy is effective in ensuring a sustainable balance between the environment and economic development.

Professor Dr. Daniel Buor, Vice Chancellor of Valley View University, in an introductory remark, confirmed that the university is committed to contributing meaningfully to the debate on climate change.

Minister’s Driver Arrested

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By William Yaw Owusu

Friday October 14, 2011.
Deputy Minister of Roads and Highways, Dr. Nii Oakley Quaye-Kumah together with his driver were on Tuesday arrested by the Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) of the Ghana Police Service for flouting Motor Traffic Law.

The deputy Minister who doubles as the NDC MP for Krowor (Nungua) in the Greater Accra Region was caught by the police in a special operation on the Spintex Road in Accra.

The two were in a light green Toyota Landcruiser vehicle in the middle of the road allegedly on top speed when the police stopped them.

A source told Daily Guide that the deputy Minister had explained to the police that he was on his way to join President Atta Mills’ convoy touring the region at Tetteh Quarshie but the police said he could have asked for the assistance to escort him.

The Minister’s driver was however processed for court. The operation was mounted on the Spintex stretch leading to the Regimanuel Estate traffic light.

In all, the police according to the source, made about 50 arrests and it included high profile ones such as a chief from Nungua and a Member of Parliament.

When reached on telephone ASP Alexander Kwaku Obeng, leader of the operation confirmed that they indeed made some arrests including some high profile personalities but declined to mention their names.

He said the offenders were supposed to be arraigned yesterday but the Motor Court did not sit and assured that t was going to be done today.

“The indiscipline on our roads is getting out of hand and we need to put our feet down and ensure that our roads are safe,” he complained.

He said the police has realized that offenders mostly caught are those who are educated and people in high places.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Court Decides Fate Of IGP

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday October 13, 2011.
A Fast Track High Court in Accra will today decide on whether or not to hear an application seeking to set aside the issue of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) allegedly disobeying the court’s order to re-instate 24 police officers who were arbitrarily dismissed from the service.

The court presided over by Justice Edward Amoako Asante adjourned proceedings because J.K. Yeboah, counsel for the 24 policemen raised preliminary legal objection yesterday to the movement of the police administration’s application seeking to set aside the court’s decision of October 2010, which ordered them to re-instate the policemen.

As a result, another Fast Track High Court presided over by Justice Denise Agyei of the Court of Appeal could not hear the contempt application brought against the IGP by the affected policemen for refusing to re-instate them.

The court adjourned the proceedings until October 17 to await the outcome of the application filed by the police administration to set aside order to re-instate the 24 policemen.

When the case was called, Mr. Kukruku and DCOP Ken Yeboah representing the IGP told the court that they were seeking to set aside the court’s order of certiorari for the police administration to re-instate the 24 policemen because the whole action was misplaced.

They argued that in a certiorari application such as this one, the petitioners (24 policemen) should have joined the Attorney-General as an advisor of the government to the whole action as provided under Article 88 (5) of the 1992 Constitution.

However, just as the argument was gathering momentum, Mr. Yeboah cut in with an objection saying that since the IGP had been cited for contempt and the respondent/applicant (IGP) had not taken any steps to purge himself of the contempt he (IGP) could not be heard on the application.

On April 13, 2007, the police administration announced the dismissal of 24 policemen after a Police Enquiry established that they misconducted themselves by allowing the media to cover the bad accommodation problems facing them at the Police Barrack Depot in Accra.

The affected policemen, who were not given a fair hearing at the Police Enquiry sitting, challenged the decision to dismiss them and won the case but the police administration blatantly refused to re-instate them as directed by the court leading to the filing of contempt proceedings against the IGP.

It all started when 30 policemen were brought before the Police Service Enquiry Board on charges of misconduct in 2007 but each of them denied the allegation.

According to the policemen, even though they were questioned, they were not allowed to tell their side of the story or cross-examine the witnesses who testified at the enquiry and later all they heard was that only six had been cleared and the rest (24) given dismissal letters to take effect from May 1, 2007.

Based on this, their counsel, J.K. Yeboah first filed an order of mandamus at the High Court, presided over by Justice N.M.C Abodakpi on June 24, 2009 to compel the IGP to “furnish the applicants with the proceeding that culminated in their discharge within 30 days after the service of this order.”

It took several months for the police administration to comply with the court’s order and when they finally did the lawyer realized his clients had been unfairly dismissed per the proceedings.

He therefore filed a notice for judicial review in the nature of Certiorari under order 55 Rule1 of C.I. 47/2004 asking the court to compel the police administration to re-instate the dismissed policemen.

The respondent (IGP) was served with the processes but his counsel failed to attend court when the application was moved before Justice Asante who quashed the decision by the police administration to dismiss the applicants and also awarded cost of GH¢ 1,000 for each applicant against the respondent.

The police was also ordered to pay all entitlements due the applicants including salaries and allowances from the date of their unlawful dismissal.

However, since October 25, 2010 when the court gave the order, the police administration has refused to comply with the court’s order.

Parties Adopt New Code of Conduct

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By William Yaw Owusu

Thursday October 13, 2011.
The major political parties in the country with technical support from the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) yesterday finalized the much-awaited political parties’ code of conduct that would regulate their activities in the upcoming 2012 general elections.

The final workshop to shape the draft code was attended by high-profile members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), New Patriotic Party (NPP), Convention Peoples Party (CPP), Peoples National Convention (PNC).

The rest were Great Consolidated Peoples Party (GCPP), the EAGLE Party with the Electoral Commission (EC) and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in attendance as observers.

Concluding the code, Dr. Michael Ofori-Mensah, a policy analyst of the IEA said all the parties had all expressed concern about the way and manner certain provisions in the code of conduct is persistently abused and have pledged to make it work this time around.

“One key issue participants agreed on was the need to strengthen the enforcement mechanisms envisaged in the code in order to make its provisions more meaningful,” he said.

He said the code of conduct bears the hallmark of cross-party efforts and provides strong evidence of the political leaders’ capability to rise above partisan lines and work towards what he called “a congenial democratic system in our country.”

Dr. Ofori-Mensah said the code of conduct which is expected to serve as guide in the 2012 elections should be disseminated to the public to get the electorate to appreciate the effort to consolidate the democratic dispensation adding “it is the IEA’s hope that strong efforts will be made to conform to the code in order to maintain our hard-earned reputation as a model of good governance and democracy.”

Later in an interview, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey, National Chairman of the NPP said the political parties flout the code of conduct because the enforcement has always been very weak.

He said “today we are in power, tomorrow we are in opposition but all we need to realize is that these are strings in political life of which we need a set of rules so we can all live with no matter where we find ourselves.”

He said “if we have to legislate the code then we should particularly look out for the ones that are breached at will so that we can make appropriate laws that can be more easily applied.”

“It is up to the political parties to generate the necessary goodwill for the code to be enforceable and workable. If that is done it makes politics better and I hope we will all be able to enforce the codes we set for ourselves,” he added.

“This is a competition of ideas, plans, vision and once we can actually get the debate onto that level and move away from just abuse it is going to help our course.”
Johnson Asiedu-Nketia, aka General Mosquito, General Secretary of the NDC said once the political parties have adopted the code they should be able to abide by it.

“We have tried to shape it so that we can all live by it. We have discussed it in an atmosphere of cordiality and transparency and I believe there would not be any difficulty in adopting it.”

He described the effort put in finalizing the code as “a learning process” saying “I think that we are progressing since we do not expect to achieve results overnight.

When you look at our democratic development there are improvements as we move along and so I want to believe that the conduct of parties in the upcoming election will be an improvement over the ones we have had over the years.”

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Ghana In Trouble Over Gay Rights

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By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday October 12, 2011.
The British government is planning to punish Ghana and other African countries for trampling on gay rights.

The punishment will come in the form of aid slash.

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government is reported to have vowed to get tough on Ghana and others who have poor records on gay rights.

According to British Daily Mail, Andrew Mitchell UK’s International Development Secretary, is ready to tell African leaders they will receive funding "fines" if gay rights are not respected.

President John Evans Atta Mills has not taken an official position on homosexuality, despite numerous calls for tougher laws. Currently, the law forbids “unnatural carnal knowledge.”

In the Western Region, Minister Paul Evans Aidoo heightened the debate recently when he called for the heads of homosexuals by ordering the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) to arrest them.

“We want to get rid of these people from the society,” he had said. “We want to get them so that we can test the strength of our laws.”

Christian leaders have already threatened to mobilize their congregations against politicians who defend homosexuality and lesbianism while Muslim leaders have also been swift to condemn homosexuality.

According to Daily Mail, the policy to slash aid to gay-unfriendly countries was re-affirmed when Mr. Cameron defended his decision to legalize gay weddings at a Conservative Party conference last week.

The British Prime Minister is reported to have vowed to persuade countries such as Ghana and Uganda where homosexuality is still a taboo to follow his lead – and he is ready to reduce aid to some of the world’s poorest people in order to push for gay rights.

A UK government spokesman is reported to have said they are committed "to combating violence and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in all circumstances, in this country and abroad."

Reiterating Britain's threat of aid withdrawal, the spokesman added, "We only provide aid directly to governments when we are satisfied that they share our commitments to reduce poverty and respect human rights."

Last month, the leaders of Britain's three main political parties pledged their support for a new London-based gay rights organization, called Kaleidoscope, hoping to modernize gay rights in former British colonies.

The organization, which plans to leverage the UK's political clout by encouraging countries to revoke discriminatory legislation, was strongly backed by Prime Minister Cameron who said "I want Britain to be a global beacon for reform."

The UK government has already taken steps against Malawi, cutting aid by $30 million after two homosexuals who held an engagement ceremony were sentenced to 14 months hard labor. And payments could be cut further to the southern African nation, which has received $312 since 2008, if it proceeds with plans to bring in tough anti-lesbian laws.

Uganda (due to receive $109 million this year) and Ghana (due to collect $56 million) could also face sanctions if they refuse to drop antiquated anti-gay laws. The possibility that these countries will see their aid slashed seems increasingly likely as Uganda has plans to punish same-sex couples with the death penalty, while Ghana's president has promised to "check the menace of homosexuality."

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Jaguar Land Rover Wants Economic Stability

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From William Yaw Owusu, Johannesburg
Courtesy PHC Motors

Tuesday October 11, 2011.
Roland Reid, Marketing Manager of Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) South Africa has stated that the absence of economic and socio-political stability in Africa is hampering the needed investments towards accelerated development of the continent.

“I am disappointed most African countries do not have assembling plants for cars. We have the technology, skills and the people and a lot of the natural resources that goes into a vehicle come from our continent but the weak economic and socio-political stability is denying us our fair share of investments.”

Mr. Reid expressed the concern at the International Motor Show held in Johannesburg South Africa last week where JLR was one of the leading automobile manufacturers that made strong impression about the future of automobile industry.

On display were several of JLRs iconic brands including the exquisite Land Rover Evoque as well as the elegant Jaguar XJ, XF, XKR, C-X 16 models.

Mr. Reid said over the years investments on the continent have not been attractive because Africa has been an unstable continent, adding “but you need economic and socio-political stability to attract investment and that will definitely lead to the creation of more jobs.”

“Currently investment monies appear to be going to countries where there is far more stability so it is key for the economic drivers for Africa to ensure economic and socio-political stability so that investors are attracted to us. They wish to be here but nobody would want to invest in a volatile economic and political environment.”

“It is important that Africa understands stable economy in every country to attract investors to put up manufacturing plants that they will get returns from. If there is stability the long term investment are going to come and the pressure on the governments to provide jobs will reduce.”

Mr. Reid said Africa has been one of the greatest markets for Land Rover brands while Jaguar is also coming, adding “we have been resurging as we strive to extend our footprints to Africa.”
“Africa has been traditionally a strong market for Land Rover for many years. The Defender has proven itself to be very capable vehicle in the harsh weather conditions. In the last couple of years there have been more luxurious Land Rovers finding their niche up and down the continent.”

He said JLR wants to ensure that their vehicles become more recyclable to reduce the carbon footprints to be able to make less impact on the environment, adding “we are very conscious about it and are working hard to get the best for everybody. We are improving on our designs so we have less impact.”

“With the expanding sales, our dealers on the continent are also creating jobs to help reduce the unemployment rate. With the expanding dealer network more people are getting jobs which were non-existent some years back in the various markets.”

“The future is brighter for us and over the coming years consumers are going to see more designs of our products on the market.”

He said JLR is not compromising on global standards for safety and added that “the clamour for specification is driven by the need for climate change and use of more light weight and more recyclable materials.”

38 Recruits Arrested

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday October 11, 2011.
Thirty-Eight recruits mostly believed to be National Democratic Congress (NDC) foot soldiers who presented forged appointment letters to the Assin Fosu Training Center of Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) admission have been arrested by the service.

The 38 including 17 females were taken to the GIS Accra for questioning yesterday but two NDC politicians (a Regional Minister and an MP) whose names are being withheld for now are said to be interfering in the investigations.

Daily Guide learnt that the suspects allegedly forged the signature of the Director-General who is currently in the United Kingdom on an official visit to gain admission into the service.

Two junior officers attached to the GIS Band whose names were given as Wereko and Sarkodie have also been picked up in connection with the 38 arrests.

When Daily Guide visited the GIS headquarters near the Arko Adjei Interchange in Accra to verify the facts of the case, Assistant Controller of Immigration Francis Palmdeti, Head of Public Affairs of the service confirmed the arrests and said they were handing them over to the police for further investigation.

He however said he was not aware if any Minister had called the service to ask them to be lenient with the suspects and also added that he was not aware if the suspects are NDC foot soldiers.

According to the Head of Public Affairs, 250 recruits were engaged by the service five weeks ago to undergo six months training at Fosu in the Central Region and whilst there, the suspects over the weekend rushed with their ‘appointment’ letters claiming they had been authorised by the Director-General to join the 250 already in the training.

Later another source told Daily Guide that “majority of the suspects came on Saturday while the rest arrived on Sunday and they all had similar appointment letters purportedly signed by the Director-General.”

“When the Director-General was reached in his UK base he said he had not made any such authorization and immediately ordered their arrests,” a source said.

At the GIS headquarters, Accra the Regional Minister and NDC MP were said to have placed separate telephone calls to the GIS pleading with them to be ‘lenient’ with the suspects because they have their people among them.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Police Assault National Hero

By William Yaw Owusu

Wednesday October 5, 2011.
Mike Ahey, one of the best athletes the country has ever produced, had a rude shock of his life last Saturday when police men from the Madina Police Division subjected him to severe beatings for reasons best known to them.

He has therefore petitioned the Police Intelligence and Professional Standards Bureau (PIPS) at the Police Headquarters in Accra to investigate what he termed the “Professional misconduct by policemen from the Divisional Police Headquarters – Madina.”

Narrating his ordeal to DAILY GUIDE yesterday, Mr. Ahey, a Commonwealth Games medalist, said he was supervising the fixing of his gate in front of his house when a team of uniformed and plainclothes police officers parked a vehicle right beside him and dashed to the area where the drug peddlers operate to arrest some people.

“I saw that they had arrested some innocent persons, including a dressmaker who was sewing in her kiosk and her brother who had come to visit her, and some drug users, so I informed the police officers that the real culprits were still around and that these were innocent people.

“I then told them that at least they should have approached those of us in the neighbourhood to point out to them the real culprits and not have conducted themselves in the manner they did which would only lead to innocent persons being victimized.”

According to the 69-year-old, one of the policemen, whose name tag read Gyamfi, alleged that “if you are sensible you would have sacked the drug peddlers from our neighbourhood and that if you have failed to do so and we are doing our job, you have no business complaining.”

He said he insisted that the police were arresting the wrong people and in the process the arresting officers entered the opposite house, adding “the next thing I saw was that they were beating one of my daughters called Aurelia and when the elder sister called May protested against the beatings they attacked her and beat her also.”

Mr. Ahey said the policemen, led by Gyamfi pursued Aurelia to his bedroom, adding, “I attempted to come between my daughter and the policemen, asking Gyamfi what she had done to deserve the physical assault and all this while, seven of the drug peddlers were there looking on as the policemen turned their guns on us.

“As I tried to rescue my daughter one of the policemen went behind me, booted me down, hit me with the butt of his gun and as I struggled to get on my feet he slapped and kicked me until the man who was working on my gate called Karim came to rescue me.”

He said Aurelia was detained at the Madina Police Station cell until 7:00 pm, adding “when I went to the police station to lodge a complaint the same Gyamfi insisted that nobody was going to take a statement from me and that if I do not take care they would put me in handcuffs.”

He said he personally moved to the Madina Police Station, ClD Anti-Narcotics office at the police Headquarters and the MP for Abokobi-Madina, Alhaji Amadu Sorogho to report the activities of drug peddlers but to not avail.

Mr. Ahey alleged that those arrested were released and they targeted his family saying “it is apparent that they picked the information from their police sources about who had lodged the complaint.”

“These criminals have always taunted me and my family boasting that nothing would come out of the complaints I continue to make because they have bought the Madina Police and other police units.”

Ahey, a gold medalist at the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, Australia, also won silver in the 4 by 100 relay race at the same event.

The tall and lanky Ahey, a three-time Olympian competed in the 1964 Tokyo, Japan Games, 1968 Mexico City, Mexico Games and the 1972 Munich, Germany Games.

His 1962 long jump national record of 8.19 meters stood for decades until it was smashed in 2004 by new sensation, Ignatius Gaisah of Ghana at the All Africa Games in Abuja, Nigeria

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

MP Donates To Constituents

Hon. Daoud Anum Yemoh presenting a sewing machine to one of the NYEP beneficiaries. Supporting him is Samuel Awuku Kulego, NDC Chairman of the constituency.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Tuesday October 4, 2011.
As part of efforts to make Ghanaians have a feel of the government’s ‘Better Ghana’ Agenda, the Member of Parliament for Domeabra-Obom in the Greater Accra region has presented assorted item worth millions of Cedis to communities in the constituency.

The items included 600 bags of cement for the construction of schools, sanitary facilities, 40 brand new laptops and computers and accessories, as well as two packets of roofing sheets and sewing machines for NYEP graduands.

According to the MP, Hon. Daoud Anum Yemoh, the cement and computers were funded from the MPs Common Fund while the roofing sheets and sewing machines were sponsored by himself and the government respectively.

He said the distribution is being done according to specific requests made by the various communities, noting “most of the communities want us to provide more educational infrastructure, particularly at the basic level followed by sanitation facilities including toilets.”

The delegates in the constituency, after a short presentation ceremony at Kwaku Pamfo, suggested that if the national and regional executives of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) would permit, their MP should contest the upcoming primaries unopposed.

Samuel Dartey, the officer in charge of water and sanitation in the Ga South Municipality told DAILY GUIDE that the water and sanitation situation has improved tremendously, saying “the MP is collaborating effectively with the assembly to solve the water and sanitation needs of the people.”

He said within a short period, the MP and the assembly have managed to sponsor the construction of about 20 boreholes and instituted pipe schemes for the delivery of mechanized water for the people, adding that “about 80 per cent of the constituency now has access to potable water”.

He said the MP has also rehabilitated all the damaged boreholes and instituted water projects for communities, which are yet to benefit from the water scheme.

Mr. Dartey also said some NGOs, particularly Action Aid, have tremendously assisted them by executing many developmental projects, saying “the effective collaboration between the MP, assembly and other stakeholders is yielding dividends.”

Samuel Awuku Kulego, NDC Chairman of Domeabra-Obom said “our MP is doing his best and it is up to us to offer our unflinching support for him to do more.”

“He is working hard to make basic education accessible for all. He has embarked on massive water and sanitation projects and is supporting establishment of clinic to see to the health needs of the people.”
He said the constituents want a police station to be established in the area, stressing that the MP has already paid for a plot of land at Kwaku Pamfo to pave way for the construction of a police post.

Mr. Kulego said “he is the first MP in the constituency to get so low with the people. He is always with us and understands our problems. His relationship with the constituency and ward executives is very cordial and that is helping to accelerate the development of the area.”

Monday, October 03, 2011

Tears Flow At Kokompe

Disaster! the afthermath of Darkuman Kokompe fire.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday October 3, 2011.
Shop Owners at Kokompe at Darkuman junction in Accra could not contain the trauma of seeing their investments in ruins as they broke down in tears following a deadly inferno that swept through one of the old markets in the country on Friday night.

The Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) was tested on its fire control capability again as the firemen were overwhelmed by the fire which teased them for several hours as onlookers wondered whether they were really primed for the assignment despite taking delivery of firefighting equipment recently.

The fire which started at about 10pm remained untamable by the firemen with their tenders until around 4am leaving in its trail destroyed goods worth several millions of Ghana Cedis and collapsed traders.

Several public buildings and markets have seen one fire incident or the other sometimes leaving their trail deaths apart from destruction of properties.

The intensity of the fire could be determined by the pockets of smoldering fire dotting the place as firemen moved around to put them out with policemen on standby to contain any act of lawlessness or outright theft when such situations arise.

A fireman told DAILY GUIDE that they have been working all night to bring the situation under control an indication of how serious the fire was.

The place had been thrown into a state of mourning and traders, even men wept uncontrollably over the loss of their wares and capital, with victims claiming that they had cash in their shops. Dada Kofi aka Obolo, a victim said “I have six stores full of goods on credit but I could not retrieve a penny from it. The inferno was strong…it was like hell…the firemen could not do anything about it.”

“I buy or credit materials and goods worth GHc2000 on daily basis and they are all gone within a twinkle of an eye.”

Another shop owner who gave his name as Benjilo said “when I got to the scene the fire had not entered the spot where my shop is but the fire officers said their vehicles were using gas and so could not get close to the fire while others also said there were no water hydrants around.”

“How are we starting again? This is our lives…we have lost everything…we appeal to the government to support us just as NADMO has been doing for flood victims and we will appreciate it very much,” he said.

It took several hours for fire personnel to break through but their inability to get access to fire hydrants exacerbated the situation and the GNFS had call for reinforcement from Tema.

Eyewitnesses gave contradictory statements about how the fire started. While some said power outage triggered the inferno others claimed it was due to negligence on the part of a watchman named only as Efo whom the AMA boss, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije confirmed DAILY GUIDE was currently in police custody to assist in investigations.

At about 9:10am, Mr Vanderpuije arrived at the scene to assess the extent of damage for himself.

The AMA boss who was visibly shaken by the turn of events expressed concern about the persistent fire outbreaks in the various public places and assured he had already called for a thorough investigation into the disaster.

In a brief message he said “this fire outbreak is a bother to all of us so I came to assure you that we will investigate to know what exactly happened.”

Sharing his thoughts on what might have happened, the AMA boss said “they burn the materials they do not need at the end of the day. I have been here personally on three or four occasions to help put away small fires but unfortunately this is one that got out of control. What we had anticipated could happen in the past is what has happened today so we have to put our hands together to see what we could do.”

“Apart from congestion, they have their own way of disposing unwanted materials and setting fire on these unwanted materials is one of the means even though it may sometimes not be the best means.”

“I always come here to warn them about the fires. It is unfortunate that this has turned into a major disaster. We will be meeting the leadership of the various associations here to see the way forward.”

“It may not be intentional because they always try to dispose off unwanted material at the end of the day and that may have triggered the fire. We have always spoken against that.”

“There has not been report of any loss of life. I have not been briefed on that. The Fire Service briefed me about the situation but did not say there were deaths.”

Forum Against Human Trafficking

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By William Yaw Owusu

Monday October 3, 2011.
THE MONTHLY Citizen Kofi Media Dialogue Series that seeks to identify development problems of the country and tries to offer suggestions for social change has moved to sensitize media practitioners on one of the major threats to human existence – Human trafficking.

Human trafficking described widely as modern-day slavery is a lucrative business that needs well-resourced and motivated media and other state institutions to break the front this social menace.

At the Citizen Kofi Center in Accra last Friday, Angela Dwamena-Aboagye of the Ark Foundation who was the moderator for the 9th edition of the thought-provoking dialogue described human trafficking as “a social menace that needs a concerted effort to fight and defeat it.”

“We as a country are not doing well in this area at all. People are trafficked on a daily basis and nobody seems to care about the situation. Those who indulge in this heinous crime do so with impunity.”

She said the journalists needed more training to help expose what she called “this sophisticated criminal business”, adding “we have to take a stand and raise the issue to a level where we can demand accountability.”

Dr. Kofi Amoah, owner of Citizen Kofi and initiator of the Dialogue Series the issue of human trafficking is a crucial one and should never be taken for granted.

“Before I came here I was surfing the internet and came across startling revelations about this illicit trade. According to the United Nations, the global profit for human trafficking for 2005 alone was estimated between 31.5 billion dollars and in 2008 alone about 2.5 billion people from 127 countries were trafficked to 137 countries.”

“This is alarming statistics. From the records, this illicit trade is supposed to be second only to drug trafficking.”

He said the time has come for the media to use its platform to engage the public and sensitize them on the menace human trafficking poses to the entire society.

“Be advocates for moving the country to the right direction and with the media’s deep involvement we can all help to bring this menace under control.”

A Deputy Director from the Department of Social Welfare said the government was doing its best to check the menace but lack of resources was the main reason mitigating against the effort.

“We are mandated to protect the vulnerable in the society particularly women and children and we have put in place some mechanism to monitor the situation and UNICEF has been helpful in this area of our work,” he said.

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Managing Editor of Crusading Guide who shared his experience on how he and his team of reporters are using the media to fight the menace said there “inadequacies relative to legislative frameworks”.

“Those of us in the field are confronted with certain challenges including risks. It is a multi-million business. It is like the narcotic drugs business. We have to find ways of protecting the journalists who are willing to confront the menace.”

He said the capacities of the media needed to be built to be able to tackle this global phenomenon saying “without capacity building we would not get anywhere.”

A number of local NGOs who are working in the area of human trafficking also shared their experiences with the large audience.

Justice for the Poor crucial – Prof Dankwa

Some of the dignitaries at the lecture included Professor Stephen Adei (2nd right), former Rector GIMPA; Prof. EVO Dankwa (3rd right), the main speaker and Sam Okudzeto (4th right) who chaired the forum.

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By William Yaw Owusu

Saturday October 1, 2011.
Professor Emmanuel Victor Oware Dankwa, one of the best legal brains in the country has said those tasked to dispense justice must always strive to avoid the perception that they exist to serve only the well-off in society.

“The use of the application of the law that we have learnt, the oath of office that we have taken, the conscience that prick us to do what is right are the guides that brings justice in righteousness.” he said.

Professor Dankwa was speaking at 11th in a series of public lectures organized by the William Ofori Atta Heritage to mark the late statesman’s centenary celebration.

William Eugene Amoako Atta Ofori Atta aka Paa Willie (1910 - 1988) was one of the torch bearers (later called the Big Six in political parlance) in the struggle for independence for Ghana from the British.

Speaking on the topic: “Justice in righteousness”, Prof. Dankwa said “righteousness can help those who apply the law to enhance justice”.

Occasionally making references in the Holy Bible Prof. Dankwa said judges should speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves and judge fairly so that the underprivileged in society would have hope.

“Maintain justice in the courts. A judge who has taken bribe cannot give a fair and just decision. Righteousness should preclude a judge from subverting the law. The judicial oath that our judges take gives no room for bribes. If we all want righteousness in our courts then bribery must be avoided by our judges.”

He said the constitution can be stifled, strangled or subverted if there is no recourse to justice, adding “judges wanting to pursue justice must not consider family, party affiliations, personal advancement or fear of the consequences of the true Judgement.”

“Justice must be seen to emanate from the courts. Truth and justice must have the last word in the legal system.”

“Not inclining the ear in judging a matter is the fundamental principle of fairness in the traditional system of time immemorial.”

Prof. Dankwa said “30 per cent of our population is considered poor and a large portion of them live in the rural areas. It is expensive to access justice and it is a reason for the grant of legal aid under Article 294 of the constitution. Even though the legal aid scheme Act of 1997is supposed to serve the needy, regrettably, the comprehensive legal aid policy is yet to be developed.”

Community mediation centers have been set up and as at 2008 the centers had increased to 26 so therefore justice was getting closer to people in an inexpensive manner adding “it is hoped that it will be extended throughout the country so that justice will be closer to all.”

Turning to conditions at prisons and other detention centers, Prof. Dankwa said the conditions must be humane for there to be justice in righteousness.

“For 12 years Prof Dankwa I was the a leading member of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights and served for parts of that period as Vice Chair, Chair and Special Rapporteur on Prisons and detention Centers in Africa on the commission and therefore I have an insight into the harsh conditions of prisons on the continent”.

“Harsh conditions in the prisons do not lead to justice for all. The Justice for all Programme being undertaken is a step in the right direction.”

He cautioned lawmakers not to make laws that would bring hardships to the people saying “Unjust legislation cannot make justice in righteousness. Parliamentarians must be sensitive to the laws that they pass. They must always consider righteousness in the laws that they pass.”

“Preventive Detention Act (PDA) introduced during the Nkrumah regimes was a notorious legislation but that even as one condemns the PDA righteousness should prevent us from engaging in terrorists acts.”

He condemned what has come to be known as instant justice in the country saying “due process must be followed in determining the guilt of those who are suspect of committing crimes. Instant injustice has no place in a democratic dispensation and justice in righteousness does not allow for this.”

Prof. Dankwa eulogized Paa Willie saying “his sense of humour none can match, not just the content but the manner of delivery. He believed in justice in righteousness and wished justice for all.”