Monday, February 29, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, February 27, 2016

After apparently refusing to make themselves available to be served with court documents regarding an action instituted against the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), the accountant, who was fired recently by the party, has secured a court order to serve the party’s officials by substitution.

The accountant, Mathias Mokono Wilson, revealed in his statement of claim how the Mahama-led NDC government paid a total of over GH¢5.5 million to the Electoral Commission (EC), the reason for which is yet to be established - after which the party gave him the marching order to vacate the office.

Evading Service
Mr. Wilson, whose dismissal triggered the court action, could not succeed in serving the party he had served for 23 years the initial court papers, compelling him to seek an order for substituted service.

The NDC had obviously been avoiding service and as a result, his lawyer, Prince Frederick Nii Ashie Neequaye, moved a motion for an order of substituted service at the Industrial and Labour Court Division of the High Court in Accra and secured the order last Tuesday.

The defendants, who are going to be served through a substituted service include the General Secretary, Johnson Asiedu-Nketiah; Vida Addae, a Deputy Treasurer; Samuel Ofosu Ampofo, NDC Director of Elections and Dr. Karl Mark-Arhin, whose appointment to the Electoral Commission’s controversial Steering Committee stoked heated political debate.

The rest are Mahdi Gibril, who ran errands for the party during the Presidential Election Petition at the Supreme Court in 2013 as well as Emmanuel S. Zumakpe, Director of Administration for the party.

Court Directive
The court order, signed by Stephen Afotey, the Registrar, indicated, “It is hereby ordered that the Writ of Summons and Statement of Claim with the order of substituted service be served on the defendants” by pasting copies in places like the Notice Board of the Law Court Complex, Accra, as well as pasting copies on the walls of the NDC Headquarters situated on Adama Street, Adabraka, Accra.

The court also ordered the plaintiff to serve the process on “any adult inmate found at the secretariat of the NDC, as well as deliver the process “to any security man found at the NDC Headquarters gate at Adabraka, preferably Victor K. Boampong, Kofi Forson or John Agbesi Mawuena.”

EC Payment
In the statement of claim, the beleaguered accountant revealed how the ruling party paid a whopping GH¢5,544,630 to the EC without receipts.

Cheque Details
Giving details of the payments to the EC, the accountant said there were different cheques he withdrew together with Mr. Asiedu Nkeatia on different dates at Societe Generale, Accra Main on behalf of the EC, although he admitted, “I am not a signatory to the NDC account.”

“The first cheque was GH¢630,000; the second cheque was GH¢357,000; the third cheque was GH¢2 million then followed by GH¢2.199, 340, then GH¢69,315; GH¢54,975; GH¢140,000 and GH¢100,000 - totaling GH¢5.544,630,” he revealed.

Court Action
He wants damages for loss of leave for 23 years and loss of gross salary at GH¢3,574.50 per month multiplied by 3 months in lieu of notice.
“The plaintiff states that his salary of GH¢3,574.50 x 23 years x 2 will come to GH¢164,427.00 plus the pay for 3 months which is GH¢3,574.50 x 3 his entire loss incomes to GH¢175,150.50 excluding his leave allowance for the 23 years.

“The EC delegated two people-  a man and a woman - with a huge van and collected the gargantuan cash of GH¢5,544,630.00 and as of 5th February, 2016, the 2nd Defendant (Asiedu Nketia) has still not accounted for the paid cash,” Mathias Wilson made the claims in court documents he filed against his unlawful dismissal.

The EC reportedly demanded physical cash instead of a cheque and the NDC, after cashing the cheques, put the GH¢5,544,630.00 in a van and handed it over to two EC staff for onward transmission to the Commission.

Cheques Vrs Cash
He averred, however, that the Commission rejected the cheque with the excuse that “the Electoral Commission does not accept cheques but cash.”

Mr Wilson claimed that when the EC rejected the cheque Mr Asiedu Nketia subsequently sent him to the bank for the money.

“The bank manager informed the Plaintiff that the cash was so much to be paid over the counter and so she will make payment orders to the Electoral Commission of Ghana. Asiedu Nketia, the 2nd Defendant, said ‘No’ and that they needed cash so the Plaintiff decided to issue two cheque payment vouchers on 7th December, 2015 for GH¢2,000,000.00 and the other one on the same 7th December , 2015 for GH¢2,199,340.00 which the said vouchers, according to the 2nd Defendant, were received by Gyanu Edgar, an employee of the Electoral Commission,” Plaintiff averred.

Friday, February 26, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, February 26, 2016

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) exceeded its tax mobilization target of GH¢21.57 billion for 2015 despite the economic challenges in 2015 caused mainly by the erratic supply of electricity.

Commissioner-General of GRA, George Blankson, at a press soiree in Accra on Wednesday, said the 2015 performance represented 29.3 percent over the 2014 collection.

He said the government has set a target of GH¢27.6 billion, made up of GH¢17.4 billion for domestic division and GH¢10.2 billion for the customs division for 2016.
 “2015 was a challenging year. The electricity crisis affected industry but it was in the same year we registered an achievement as well as getting a number of tax laws passed.”

He said as part of efforts to deepen the legislative reforms and modernize the country’s taxation outlook, the government, through the Ministry of Finance, had introduced the new Value Added Tax Law, Excise Law, Customs Law and the Income Tax Act.

“We are rewriting all our tax laws to make them user-friendly and in conformity with modern tax laws,” he said.

Mr. Blankson also said that the government was working out the administrative provision that would enable the authority to ‘harmonise’ all the tax laws under one Act, saying “there is now harmony with the passage of all the laws, with the exception of the Revenue Administrative Act which we are working around the clock to get Parliament to pass it.”

He said GRA had completed what he called the ‘Strategic Plan’ and was zooming into Phase II of the plan to modernize tax administration.

“We developed a new electronic platform for the administration of all domestic taxes. We have also started piloting the Total Revenue Integration Processing System (TRIPS), and it is currently running in 13 offices and we are targeting additional 26 offices for this year.”

He said that GRA is consolidating the gains made by constituting the National Single Window System to enhance revenue generation.

“We have implemented the Common External Tariff (CET) set for the ECOWAS countries. It started on February 1, 2016 and our overall position is that it is proceeding well,” he said.

Mr. Blankson said that the Excise Tax Stamp policy that would ensure effective monitoring in the sub-region was being pursued.

Thursday, February 25, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, February 25, 2016

New Patriotic Party (NPP) vice presidential candidate, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has blasted the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration for plunging the country into huge debt despite the enormous resources available to it.

Dr Bawumia, an astute economist, insisted that the Mahama government had borrowed $37 billion out of which it could account for only $7 billion under its so-called massive infrastructural projects.

 “What is clear to me (and confirms my long held suspicion) is that members of this government, handed the mandate to manage our destinies as a nation, do not read,” the NPP vice presidential candidate stated in reaction to a statement issued yesterday by government to counter his earlier analysis on the heavy debt burden inflicted on the country by the NDC administration.

So far, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, are running away from the current debt position of the country as at December 2015, as they claim that they are still doing reconciliation two months after the end of the year.

Both the Finance Minister and BoG Governor Kofi Wampah are relying on a September figure of GH¢92 billion. With government contracting GH¢6 billion in loans monthly through the capital market, it is believed that the total debt is currently hovering around GH¢110 billion - as government continues to borrow to service interest on debts.

Dr. Bawumia stated, “If you sum the cost of all the loan financed projects listed in the green book, including those with artistic impressions, it is less than $7 billion. Meanwhile, the government has borrowed the equivalent of $37 billion, so where is the rest of the money?”

Travesty Of Justice
“I will repeat again that it is in fact a travesty that Ghana before the discovery of oil was spending a higher proportion of its income on infrastructure investment than after the discovery of oil and the massive increase in the debt stock,” Dr. Bawumia insisted.
The renowned economist, at the National Financial Literacy and Investment Summit organised by the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus, under the theme: “The Role of Financial Discipline and Investment in National Development,” last weekend exposed the NDC government’s propaganda while highlighting the massive mismanagement of the economy under President John Mahama.
NDC Response
However, a statement signed by Communications Minister Dr. Edward Omane Boamah yesterday chided Dr. Bawumia for his analysis, describing it as ‘false’ and ‘misleading.’

“It is instructive that after years of living in denial that these projects don’t exist, he has finally acknowledged their existence except that he wants to tread down the path of discrediting them for partisan gain,” the minister underscored in the statement.

The government said, “Dr. Bawumia’s latest untruths are only a last-gasp effort to create doubts about the unprecedented investments made in all spheres of our national life by President John Dramani Mahama’s Government. It is borne out of a morbid fear that the overwhelming evidence provided in the 210-page book, shatters the many unsustainable falsehoods churned out by him, the NPP and their allies about the performance of President Mahama.”

The NDC government also accused Dr. Bawumia of making claims without source and described it as “false and a desperate attempt to find basis for the flawed conclusions he churned out at the event.”

You don’t Read!
An unperturbed Dr. Bawumia hit back strongly yesterday, saying government officials, including ministers, do not read.

“Worse of all, as I said on 14th February, 2015, at a forum at the University for Development Studies, what is most unfortunate about this whole episode is the fact that the government doesn’t even seem to know how much it has borrowed.
“I have on several occasions tried to educate the government on what the true value of their borrowing is but try as I do, it is clear the government is committed to either not reading and understanding the extent of their reckless borrowing or is only following their usual path of deceit and propaganda.”

The NPP stalwart said, “Amazingly, after adding some GH¢20 billion to the debt stock in 2015 alone, the government still wants to insist that the value of borrowing they have done, in dollar terms, has actually decreased. This exposes the deception in the method the government is applying on our debt stock, in attempt to hide the real value of monies that have accrued to them.”

Dr. Bawumia also accused the government of lying in the release by Dr. Omane Boamah about capital expenditure during the NPP administration (2001-2008), saying “I doubt the Finance Ministry handed these figures to the Minister (Omane Boamah), but whatever be the case, it exposes the level of incompetent and deceitful governance we have today.

“All they have done is to repeat the same claims which have been discredited. For me, the people of Ghana remain the best judges on the issue of whether they have had their due from this government, considering the unprecedented resources and opportunities they have had since they won power.”

Judgment Day
He articulated, “After having more than 10 times the resources of the NPP through unbridled borrowing, astronomic increases in tax rates and favourable external conditions (which they did nothing to precipitate), the people of Ghana will judge if such huge resources have been invested in their lives.

“I remain convinced that the people of Ghana will judge and judge well. This conviction is strengthened on a daily basis as I go round the country and interact with the people of Ghana.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, February 25, 2016

Pressure group OccupyGhana says the real motive behind the ‘Interception of Postal Packets and Telecommunication Messages Bill’ is just to intrude the privacy of people and nothing else.

Members of OccupyGhana said parliament cannot go ahead to pass the bill in its current form and added that they were willing to appear before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Defence and Interior to share ideas on how to make the bill better before its passage.

Real Concerns
In a letter written yesterday to parliament, the group expressed concern that a bill of this magnitude was being ‘rushed’ for passage.

“There is the morbid eternal fear that without a clear definition of the crimes and offences, innocent Ghanaians will be monitored for acts that do not fall under crimes,” it insisted.
“A Bill of such nature, with the capacity to heavily intrude private lives with possible commercial implications, cannot be rushed through parliament, having earlier been reclusively published in the newspapers,” OccupyGhana noted.

International Standards
According to OccupyGhana, “The Bill does not follow important international legal best practices, which require that such a Bill must be guided and moderated by related Acts of Parliament.”

It said, “In the UK, there are the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act, which guide how ‘serious crime’ perpetrators are investigated.  Ghana’s Data Protection Act is not enough to protect the privacy of innocent Ghanaians.”

The group said the purpose of the Bill, which is protect national security, fight crime generally and in particular suppress organized crime, including money laundering, terrorism, narcotic trafficking and other serious offences and for related matters,’ is vague and ambiguous, leaving room for misinterpretation and abuse by the Executive.

National Security Coordinator
OccupyGhana said it was objecting to the mandate to be given to the National Security Coordinator to give oral authorization for the interception of the postal packets and telecommunication messages of Ghanaians within 48 hours before confirmation through the law court.

“This means that innocent Ghanaians can be monitored without any legal authorization by a court of law. We do not trust the discretion of an appointee not bound by any Investigatory Powers Act.

“We find it preposterous and dangerous the requirement that the Justice of the High Court, appointed by the Chief Justice, to supervise the implementation of this Act and ascertain whether the provisions of this Act are being complied with, submits to the National Security Coordinator who is required by the same Act to obtain interception warrant from a Justice of the High Court sitting in chambers.”

Security Guarantee
The group said the authorized parties cannot guarantee security of the intercepted messages and packets and also added that the punishment for the breach of the security of the intercepted messages and packets is not grave enough to deter the parties mandated to act on the Bill.

“The request by the National Security Coordinator from persons who provide public postal service, cyber communication service, or public telecommunication service to take the necessary steps for the enforcement of an interception warrant is unfair and unfortunate because their capacity to afford and manage the enforcement is not guaranteed. The one who bears the financial cost of the interception is not stated,” the pressure group underscored.

OccupyGhana called on parliament to suspend the passing of the Bill in its current state and allow for what it called “better public and stakeholder engagements to ensure absolute integrity and competence of the parties or persons involved with the interception of messages and postal packets.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, February 25, 2016

A group of teachers whose salaries have delayed has called for the immediate arrest of the Director-General of the Ghana Education Service (GES) Jacob Kor for allegedly overseeing the recruitment of over 400 teachers with fake certificates.

The affected teachers said in a news release yesterday that they were responding to ‘derailing’ statement made by the GES boss on salary arrears that is threatening the labour front in the education sector.

 “Before we begin, we are calling for the immediate arrest of the Director General for recruiting teachers with fake certificates, and going ahead to confirm and upgrade them whilst he knows they are having fake certificates. Other than that we are demanding an unqualified apology from him for fabricating lies.”

Audit Service Query
They argued that the fact that the Ghana Audit Service had raised queries regarding the input forms for teachers showed clearly that the District Directors of the GES were not doing their work properly.

“We are saying that the various District Directors were either sleeping or were under a spell when they accepted and forwarded input forms to the office of the Director-General without certificates,” the group said, adding that “it makes no sense and raises doubts about their qualification and competence.

“We all submitted our certificates since we were made to understand that it was a requisite for claiming the arrears. Isn’t it surprising that forms which were subjected to scrutiny at the district levels before it was forwarded have to be rejected and the rejection notice only made known to us in two years’ time and even more than that in some cases?”

Non-Establishment of warrant
They said the issue of non-establishment of warrant, as claimed by the Director General, was a ploy by GES and the Ministry of Education “to use ambiguous terms with the intent to deceive the public,” saying “even if we take it as they may want to mean, it still makes mockery of the whole GES directorate since it is incumbent on them to issue or establish such warrants.”

“Apart from that, whether warrant or no warrant, the Director-General himself approved our appointments with the Finance Minister giving us clearance before some of us received our three months arrears.”

The group said they were surprised when the GES and the ministry claimed the ‘Assumption of Duty Letters’ and ‘Acceptance Letters’ had not been attached to their documents, insisting “it is the simplest document to obtain among the rest of the documents we were required to submit for approval.

“It is however unclear and quite suspicious if a teacher who has been confirmed and upgraded by GES would not have such documents. On the contrary, we teachers submitted only documents the GES directors requested for.”

They said claims by the Director General that all the rejected forms were sent back to the district offices through the regional directorate was untrue and challenged him to provide concrete evidence to that effect.

“Looking at the way the GES and Ministries of Education, as well as Finance, are contradicting each other, you don’t need to be an expert to figure out that their actions are deliberate attempt to shield the government, we therefore call on the general public to debunk their statements since they were made to serve their paymasters.”

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Former United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan has stressed that narcotic drugs should be legalized worldwide since the ‘war on drugs’ appears not to succeed.

“Globally, the ‘war on drugs’ has not succeeded. Some estimate that enforcing global prohibition costs at least $100 billion (€90.7 billion) a year, but as many as 300 million people now use drugs worldwide, contributing to a global illicit market with a turnover of $330 billion a year - one of the largest commodity markets in the world,” he said.

In an article he personally wrote and first published in Der Spiegel International entitled, “Lift the ban!” the high-profile diplomat, aged 77 said, “Prohibition has had little impact on the supply of or demand for drugs.”

He said, however, that in the event that narcotic drugs are legalized, there should be strict regulations to curtail abuse and called on Germany, which he said “has adopted better policies at home,” to strongly advocate for policy change abroad.

According to Mr. Annan, it has been very difficult for governments and international bodies to bring the drug trade under control because “when law enforcement succeeds in one area, drug production simply moves to another region or country, drug trafficking moves to another route and drug users switch to a different drug.”

In his opinion, prohibition had not significantly reduced the use of drugs, saying “Studies have consistently failed to establish the existence of a link between the harshness of a country’s drug laws and its levels of drug use.

“The widespread criminalization and punishment of people who use drugs, the over-crowded prisons mean that the war on drugs is to a significant degree a war on drug users — a war on people.”

He said evidence from the United States where cannabis has been legalized in some states for medical purposes showed that there had not been an increase in its use by teenagers, adding, “By contrast, there has been a near tripling of American deaths from heroin overdoses between 2010 and 2013 even though the law and its severe punishments remain unchanged.”

Mr. Kofi Annan said unfortunately there is a growing pattern in the consumption levels of narcotic drugs in Africa which hitherto had been a major transit region between producers in Latin America and consumers in Europe.

“Drug money and the criminality associated with it are fostering corruption and violence. The stability of countries and the region as a whole is under threat.

“I believe that drugs have destroyed many lives, but wrong government policies have destroyed many more. We all want to protect our families from the potential harm of drugs. But if our children do develop a drug problem, surely we will want them cared for as patients in need of treatment and not branded as criminals,” the former UN Secretary General underscored.

He said the time has come for governments to refocus international and national policy on the UN Convention on Narcotic Drugs which seeks to protect the “health and welfare of mankind.”

The former UN chief said it is time for governments to “decriminalize personal drug use, accept that a drug-free world is an illusion, as well as look at regulation and public education rather than the total suppression of drugs which we know will not work.”

According to him, “The steps taken successfully to reduce tobacco consumption, a very powerful and damaging addiction, show what can be achieved.”

Mr Kofi Annan said scientific evidence and concerns for health and human rights must shape drug policy, adding, “This means making sure that fewer people die from drug overdoses and that small-time offenders do not end up in jail where their drug problems get worse.

“The United Nations General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem would be a good place to start the debate and change the world for the better.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, vice presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), says the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government is hiding the real costs of the projects it is embarking on from the public.

“If you sum the cost of all the loan financed projects listed in the green book (even including those with artistic impressions) it is less than $7 billion. Meanwhile, the government has borrowed the equivalent of $37 billion so where is the rest of the money?” Dr Bawumia queried.

The NPP vice presidential candidate made the comments when he addressed a National Financial Literacy and Investment Summit organised by the University Students Association of Ghana (USAG) at the University for Development Studies, Wa Campus in the Upper West Region, under the theme: “The Role of Financial Discipline and Investment in National Development.”

Investment In Infrastructure
According to Dr Bawumia, the NDC government is attempting to hoodwink Ghanaians with claims of massive infrastructural investments since “investment in infrastructure has actually been on the decline.”

Dr Bawumia, an economist of international repute, underscored: “It is important to note that we measure investment in an economy relative to GDP and not just in nominal terms. This is a point that is unfortunately lost on this NDC government and their communicators.

“If as a country your investment in infrastructure relative to GDP is declining, then your growth is likely to decline. This background is very important to understand what is happening in Ghana today. The evidence shows that notwithstanding the massive increase in the debt stock, capital expenditure as a percentage (%) of GDP has actually been on the decline from 9.1% of GDP in 2008 to 4.1% by 2015. Capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP averaged 11% for 2001-2008 (without oil) while that for 2009-2015 has averaged 5.7% (with oil).

Borrow To Consume
He quoted the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as saying that most of Ghana’s borrowing had been used for consumption and not for investment.

“The overpricing of contracts, corruption and the absence of value for money considerations are partly responsible for this,” he said.

Kumasi Airport Runway
Dr Bawumia said for example that a runway rehabilitation alone at Kumasi airport cost this country $23.8 million whereas a proposed airport at Ho is estimated at $25 million; and asked sarcastically, “was the runway in Kumasi paved with gold?”

He insisted that given the resources at its disposal, one should expect at least four times the quantum of investment that the NDC claims to have undertaken, saying, “The close to $30 billion of borrowing that was not used for projects could have been used for other critical sectors of the economy.

He mentioned the rail network from Accra to Paga, the water problems, energy, many major road projects in each region, transformation of agriculture particularly in the Northern Regions, Afram Plains and others through investment in machinery, irrigation and dams as some of the projects that the huge amount of money could have covered.

He also said the amount could have been used to build one world class hospital in each region, buy at least 1,000 ambulances, set up factories with the private sector across the country to add value to raw materials and create jobs, equip existing health and education institutions with                       state-of-the-art facilities as well as build an additional 600 of the Senior High Schools the government is currently trying to build.

Over-Priced Projects
According to Dr Bawumia, the reason why he insists the NDC government is attempting to hoodwink Ghanaians with claims of massive infrastructural investments is that “Most of these projects are over-priced as a result of the single source procurement method, which has become the procurement method of choice for this government, as we saw in the SADA, GYEEDA, Karpowership, SMARTTYS bus branding, etc.”

He articulated, “I would like to see for example explanation from the government quantity surveyors of the costing on the Kumasi airport runway for $23.8 million. However, you and I know that they would not explain because they cannot explain. ”

He said all previous governments, especially the NPP, undertook infrastructural projects but the NDC is making it look like it has done what nobody did, saying, “The real fact is that the NDC has no real achievements to point to outside the undertaking of some projects; hence, their resort to mediocrity.”

Pertinent Questions
Dr Bawumia also said infrastructural investment was not supposed to be for its own sake but to increase productivity and production in the economy. “If you have indeed undertaken massive and unprecedented infrastructural investment, then why is the economy collapsing?

 “Why is the NHIS in trouble? Why is unemployment on the increase? Why are businesses collapsing? Why is agricultural growth stagnant? Why is manufacturing growth negative? Why is the government having difficulty meeting statutory payments? Why the high interest rates? Why the massive exchange rate depreciations? Why are the SADA guinea fowls flying to Burkina Faso? Why the massive increase in utility prices? Why the withdrawal of teacher and nursing training allowances? Why all this suffering in the land?” he asked.

Monday, February 22, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, February 22, 2016

The Electoral Commission (EC) appears to be unyielding regarding the setting up of the National Election Steering Committee, as it has asked the public to disregard media reports that the Commission had dropped plans to use the controversial committee for the November general election.

The setting up of the committee, which has been packed with mainly governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) party card-bearing members, sparked heated political debate and raised questions about the EC’s neutrality ahead of the crucial elections.

Even the NDC tried to distance itself from the committee described by the 2016 New Patriotic Party (NPP) Campaign Manager, Peter Mac Manu, as bogus.

IPAC Meeting
At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting on Friday, almost all the political party representatives said the EC could not even convince them about the rationale behind the formation of the committee and came out with the understanding that the Commission was going to abandon plans to use the committee for the elections.

The major parties - the ruling NDC and the opposition NPP - appeared to be satisfied with the decision to suspend the committee.

EC U-turn
However, Acting Director of Public Affairs of the EC, Christian Owusu Parry, on Saturday strangely issued a statement insisting that the committee was still in place and said it was taking steps to address the concerns raised by the parties.

“The Electoral Commission’s attention has been drawn to reports in the media that the National Election Steering Committee has been suspended. The Commission wishes to inform the public that the reports are erroneous and should be disregarded.

“At the Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting held yesterday, Friday, 19th February, 2016, the Commission assured the stakeholders, after persistent calls for the Commission to reconsider the setting up of the Committee, that it would meet and discuss the concerns raised and inform IPAC of its decision later. This should not be misconstrued as a suspension of the Committee. The Committee remains in place until a contrary decision is made,” the statement indicated.

Parties Shocked
In what looks like an unending saga, the political parties have expressed shock at the EC’s sudden U-turn.

National Organiser of the People’s National Convention (PNC), Desmond Twumasi, told Joy FM that his party was ‘dumbfounded’ by the turn of events.

“Indeed, yesterday (Friday), when we were at the IPAC meeting they (EC) did apologise for what they’ve done and that they were going back to the drawing board. We are surprised that they have come to tell us this story,” he said.

He said the Commission’s turnaround is a clear indication that the EC “themselves don’t seem to know what they are about to do.”

CPP Communications Director Abdul Kadri stated that the EC was yet to officially communicate to the party about the latest development.

Bogus Committee
In a related development, CENAB, a Ghanaian advocacy group affiliated to the NPP and based in the United Kingdom, has called on Ghanaians to put more pressure on the EC to dissolve what it called the ‘bogus’ 18-member election steering committee.

A news release issued in London and jointly signed by Peter Antwi-Boasiako, Adreba Abrefa Damoa and Kingsley Adumattah Agyapong said, “CENAB-UK believes the continual existence of the committee, suspended or not, will be inimical to Ghana’s electoral credibility and needs to be dissolved and the EC stopped from setting up any intermediary committees in the future.”

According to the group, the actions and inactions of the EC clearly showed that the Commission could plunge Ghana into chaos if not talked to. “There is even more to reveal, particularly the Electoral Commissioner's determination to condone and connive in perpetrating electoral fraud in favour of the ruling party,” the group noted.

CENAB-UK wondered what criteria were used in selecting members of the committee when the electoral bill was currently being discussed in Parliament.

“Why has the EC not called for an open voluntary recruitment participation by reaching out to the various professional groups and organisations, such as university lecturers, lawyers, medical doctors, accountants, faith groups and organisations, etc, to form this steering committee, if at all it were necessary, but rather made choices of those particular institutions and personnel?”


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, February 22, 2016

Pressure group OccupyGhana is on the heels of the National Communications Authority (NCA) over the so-called Interconnect Clearinghouse (“ICH”) for the telecoms sector which has given rise to the award of a contract and licence towards the implementation of the policy.

The group wants the NCA to furnish it with every document, report or agreements in respect of the ICH contract, which was controversially awarded to Afriwave Telecom Ghana Limited.

IMANI’s Revelations
The NCA and its supervising Ministry of Communications have been in the news lately following a mind-blowing expose by policy analysis think-tank, IMANI Ghana, that an evaluation panel set up by the authority to assess five companies that put in bids to run the ICH platform, rigged the process in favour of Afriwave.

According to IMANI Ghana president Franklin Cudjoe, the NCA evaluation panel did everything to ensure that Afriwave was awarded the multi-million contract by padding figures.

The NCA later hit back at IMANI’s claim and said the processes leading to the award of the ICH contract were transparent and in accordance with the laws of the country.

Independent Investigation
In the ensuing melee, OccupyGhana requested President John Mahama to set up an independent body to investigate the licence issuance process in the light of IMANI Ghana’s allegations against the NCA.

At a news conference in Accra last Friday, Sydney Caseley-Hayford, a leading member of OccupyGhana, said  the group had since last year been formally pursuing the NCA to provide answers in respect of the ICH policy but to no avail.

The group is speculating that recent controversies over the ICH licence might be the main reason the NCA and the sector ministry had been unable to provide answers relating to the whole ICH policy and added that members were relying on Article 21(1)(f) of the 1992 Constitution to compel the authority to provide the answers.

They said they wanted minutes and/or notes of all related meetings and discussions involving the ministry’s personnel, ministers and deputy ministers, directors and outside persons, prior to NCA making its policy recommendation to the Ministry of Communication.

Stakeholder Consultation
 OccupyGhana further said it was asking the NCA for details of all public or stakeholder consultations carried out prior to the purported adoption of the ICH policy.

Additionally, the group wants all documentation and notes relating to any formal or informal meeting in which the adoption and approval of the purported policy were discussed and submitted to the Office of the President for Cabinet approval.

GYEEDA Corruption
OccupyGhana again waded into the infamous GYEEDA corruption scandal saying, “With respect to the GYEEDA matter, OccupyGhana is  honestly not impressed by the rate of collection by government of monies paid to companies by GYEEDA,  so we started chasing the matter after reading portions of the Auditor-General’s 2013 Report on MDAs.”

The group said after writing several letters requesting for information, it received a letter from Centre for Development Partners - one of the beneficiary companies - claiming they never received any loan of GH300,000 from GYEEDA and notified the ministry subsequently.

“After receiving an unsatisfactory response, we wrote directly to the Attorney General on 11th August, 2015, requesting same information but our letter was also ignored.

“OccupyGhana has decided to use a more forceful approach in seeking information and we began yesterday by hitting the courts with information on the Smartty’s bus branding issue; and more will be following in due course,” the pressure group stressed.

Friday, February 19, 2016


By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, February 19, 2016

The controversial Steering Committee set up by the Electoral Commission (EC) to assist it (Commission) to organise this year’s general election continues to receive public backlash.

The EC, without ‘proper consultation,’ set up the committee, which membership was later found to be mainly card-bearing members of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC); and that has once again raised questions about the EC’s neutrality ahead of the crucial elections in November.

Legal Basis
Two prominent United States-based law professors -  Stephen Kwaku Asare and Henry Kwasi Prempeh - have waded into the heated debate and questioned the legal basis for the setting up of the Steering Committee by the EC to manage the November general elections.

Prof. Asare said it would even be premature to discuss the membership of the committee if the EC was unable to explain the role it is supposed to play.

He posted on Facebook yesterday, “The problem with the EC's Steering Committee is that nobody knows what it is supposed to do; nobody knows how its membership was chosen and how the members are paid, fired, replaced or even how long they are to serve; nobody knows how it is to operate and whether it can bind the EC.

 “We are told and asked to accept that the 18-person committee is to help ensure the smooth running of the November 7 general election. The constitutional responsibility of the 7-person EC is to ensure the smooth running of elections. Is the committee supplanting the Commission? Can the EC even appoint such a Steering Committee, given that the EC is exercising delegated power?”

Supplanting EC
Prof Asare queried, “Assuming the committee is not supplanting the Commission, an obvious question is exactly how is the Committee going to do whatever it is supposed to do? Where is the regulation that describes the committee's responsibility?”

He said for instance that “Depending on what the committee is tasked to do, it might be more helpful to allow the political parties and other groups, rather than the EC, to nominate its members. “Alternatively, a different mode of appointment may be better if the committee is to play a security, fundraising, legal, education, etc. function”

Committee’s Mandate
Prof Prempeh of Seton Hall University School of Law, Newark, New Jersey, said the problem created by the EC “goes beyond the individual membership or composition of this so-called election ‘Steering Committee.’

“There's a more fundamental question of mandate: What is this 18-member body going to do exactly? Who created it? The EC chair, or by a resolution of the multi-member EC taken at a regular or special meeting of the Commission?”he also posted on Facebook yesterday.

He asked, “What is the relationship of this committee to the Commission as a collective body? Since we have never had or needed such a ‘steering committee’ in any of our past elections, why now? Who determined the composition and membership and by what criteria or process were the members selected?”

Interagency Coordination
Prof Prempeh said multiple state actors “are inevitably involved in the smooth and peaceful conduct of an election,” adding, “so some inter-agency coordination is necessary.”

He added, “The question is what form such interagency coordination must take in order to ensure that the partisan detachment and independence of the EC as a constitutional body are not undermined or compromised or that the EC chair does not use some outside committee to sidestep the constitutionally-empowered Commission's mandate.”