Tuesday, February 28, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
 Tuesday, February 28, 2017
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has revealed that the Flagstaff House, Ghana’s seat of Government, may be renamed Jubilee House during the 60th independence anniversary celebration on March 6.

Delivering his maiden State of the Nation address last week, the president also hinted at moves to rename the Founder’s Day holiday.

He said the position of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to rename the Flagstaff House and Founder’s Day is outstanding.

"Mr. Speaker, there is one subject on my mind that I wish to put before the House for consideration. I believe, in this 60th year of our nation, that the time is ripe for us to establish consensus on some national issues. It is important for us to have a conversation on how we name things that are of national importance to us all. I speak of the seat of the Presidency and Founder’s’ Day.

"In my view, it is not right that, 60 years after independence, these matters are still at large. It does not inure to the dignity of the Ghanaian Republic that such matters have become subject to political football.

"I believe we have to settle these matters once and for all, and in due course, I propose we have a national conversation and dialogue to this effect which, hopefully, will end in legislation that will reflect the national consensus," he said.

Even before that name change is officially done, the Flagstaff House appears to have been changed to Jubilee House by the Akufo-Addo-led NPP government.

Recent correspondences personally signed by President Akufo-Addo indicated Jubilee House instead of Flagstaff House.

However, it has been reverted to Flagstaff House to allow the debate and national consensus before the official name change.

Elder statesman, KB Asante, has already endorsed the name Jubilee House since the edifice was built during the golden jubilee celebration of Ghana’s statehood.

There has always been a tussle between the current NPP government and the outgone National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration over what name should be used for the seat of government.

Initially called Flagstaff House when Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah re-developed the facility in the 1960s to serve as his official residence and office, the NPP government under President John Agyekum Kufuor, rebuilt the whole place into a top class edifice and changed the name to Golden Jubilee House as a monument for Ghana’s 50th independence anniversary.

Before being used by Ghana’s first president, the facility had been used as the residence of the Inspector General of the Gold Coast Constabulary in the colonial days.

However, immediately after the NDC won power in 2009, it reverted to Flagstaff House, sparking a heated political debate at the time, especially when John Mahama moved his office there from the Castle where his predecessors, Kufuor and Professor John Atta Mills had operated from before the latter died.

Names for some important facilities were equally changed. Immediate past Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) chief executive, Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije - now MP for Ablekuma South - led an operation to change the name Ohene Djan Sports Stadium to Accra Sports Stadium as well as other state facilities in Accra.

The NDC activists, then in opposition, condemned President Kufuor and his NPP government over what they claimed to be profligate construction (of the Jubilee House) which was funded by the Indian government with a very low interest on the loan.

Some NDC officials were even on record as saying that they were going to use the facility for a poultry farm - a comment that attracted condemnation from sections of the public.

President Mills did not use the Jubilee House and remained at the Osu Castle but when President John Mahama took over after the unfortunate passing of the law Professor, he (Mahama) moved into the edifice immediately following his controversial victory in the 2012 election.

The Mahama government started with correspondences on ‘Jubilee Flagstaff House’ letterheads, indicating they were merging the names.

However, when NDC General Secretary Johnson Asiedu Nketia was asked about the development, he said cabinet never took any decision to merge the two names.

Mahama Ayariga, then Minister of Information, had to take responsibility for the gaffe and the name was soon reverted to Flagstaff House.

Throughout the campaign, then NPP candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, never referred to the seat of government as Flagstaff House.

In fact, he always said during the 2016 electioneering campaitn, “Everybody should come and ride on the back of the ‘elephant.’ The ‘elephant’ has entered the White House; let us get the ‘elephant’ in the Jubilee House – Ghana’s seat of government.”


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, February 28,  2017
Crystal Capital & Investments Limited (CCI), a fast growing markets investment firm, has officially launch two new mutual funds that will offer opportunities to investors to earn higher returns in order to plan appropriately towards their entrepreneurial goals.

The launch of the Mutual Funds - Crystal Entrepreneur Fund (E-Fund) and Crystal Wealth Fund (W-Fund)-was supervised by Alexander Williams, Acting Director-General of Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) and other financial gurus in Accra on Tuesday evening.

The E-Fund, according to Crystal Capital, has been designed primarily for entrepreneurs, young people with entrepreneurial ambitions, as well as organizations that support entrepreneurial initiatives.

 The fund protects the capital of investors by investing in a balanced portfolio that provides very good yield.

Through the E-Fund, Crystal Capital hopes to help entrepreneurs to achieve their business dreams without loans and also quicker than they would with just savings.

The W-Fund, on the other hand, has been designed for individuals and corporations who would like to make regular income on their investments at rates of return that are higher than those of savings.

The Wealth Fund provides security and opportunities to create wealth at one’s own pace. It is ideal for investors looking to invest towards particular short to medium term goals or looking for regular income.

Launching the funds, Mr. Williams said the rate at which mutual funds were growing is an indication of innovative product development and growth in the market.

He said developing the culture of long-term investments was the right way to go and also said that trust between the fund managers and investors was critical.

According to Mr. Williams, there is going to be what he called ‘exciting challenges’ in the capital market and the standard is going to be high and demanding.”

He advised the fund managers to commit themselves to always making the fund successful.

Prof. Robert Hinson of the University of Ghana Business School, who chaired the launch, said there is keen competition in the capital market and fund managers must be proactive in order to survive.

He said, “I have been following mutual funds for some time. The competition is keen in that area, but I believe there is still room for more.”

Martin Ofori, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Crystal Capital said “the E-Fund and the Wealth Fund have been designed to serve a current need in the market for innovative and flexible investment products that will give every Ghanaian real value.”

He said “with markets in a near state of tumult and the fear that volatility might destroy returns in many parts of the market, running one Fund with a mandate to find value in one particular market is not quite strategic.”

Mr. Ofori said that Crystal Capital has “the dexterity to diversify investment funds to deliver optimum yield.”

He explained that “at CCI, we identify value or the potential for value where others do not. We do not merely sell products and financial services - we form the right partnership with each and every client.”

“This is important to us – to create value for our clients through ingenious value-add services like complimentary advisory sessions for asset owners and users.”

Monday, February 27, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, February 27,  2017
The controversy surrounding the acquisition of state properties, particularly vehicles, by members of the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration does not appear to end any time soon.
This is because a new list has emerged, detailing how the NDC government under John Mahama, auctioned about 250 vehicles belonging to the state to its appointees and other staffers within a period of three weeks.
 According to a former appointee of the Mahama administration, Sam George, about 271 allegedly missing vehicles from the president’s office were sold to some officials of the NDC government.
The mass sale of the vehicles - majority of which were offered at ridiculous prices - was done between December 23, 2016 and January 7, 2017 in the period of the transition when the NDC had been heavily defeated by the New Patriotic Party and the former party was on its way out of government.
It is turning out that some of the vehicles did not qualify to be auctioned under the law and some of the appointees that benefited from the auction did not qualify either, according to the rules.
DAILY GUIDE has taken hold of the list of all NDC bigwigs who benefited from the auction; and it explains how some of the vehicles which were barely two years old, were sold in clear breach of the law.
The document titled, “Auctioned vehicles for the period December 2016 to January 2017,” indicates date of approval, vehicle registration number, vehicle type, chassis number, present owner/address, new owner/address as well as issuing office.
From the list, former ministers of state, presidential staffers, CEOs of corporations and even journalists and chiefs, among others, all grabbed the state vehicles at give-away prices - at the time President Mahama had outlawed the sale of government properties to appointees.
Most of the vehicles that were auctioned were in the name of the Office of the President while a couple of them were in the names of some ministries or agencies.
For instance, Edwin Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, former Minister for Youth and Sports, got 2015 Toyota Avensis from the Office of the President, while President John Mahama’s trusted lieutenant, Stan Dogbe, had 2014 Toyota Avalon - the same car driven by the president when he was in power- with former Defence Minister, Benjamin Kumbuor, grabbing 2014 Toyota Camry, also from the Office of the President.
Dzifa Aku Attivor, who supervised the infamous GH¢3.6 million bus branding and resigned from government as Transport Minister, had 2014 Toyota Camry; Alfred Ekow Gyan of the Western Region Coordinating Council grabbed 2015 Toyota Avensis, while Dr. Michael Kpessa Whyte, the immediate-past National Service Scheme (NSS) boss, got 2013 Toyota Camry from the Office of the President.
Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, the man who was responsible for coordinating the re-registration of government vehicles under the Mahama administration and the former deputy Chief of Staff, Dr. Valerie Sawyerr, both grabbed 2014 and 2013 Toyota Camry respectively, while another staffer, James Agyenim Boateng, formerly of Radio Gold, as well as the former Minister for Tourism and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, took away 2014 Toyota Camry and Toyota Avensis respectively.
Alhaji Limuna Mohammed-Muniru, former Minister of Agriculture, had 2015 Nissan Teana, while Alex Kyereme, former Minister of Education and Philip Senyo Tsagli got 2015 Toyota Avensis and Toyota Camry respectively. The CEO of Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC), George Smith Graham, grabbed 2014 Toyota Camry with former Deputy Power Minister, John Abdulai Jinapor, annexing a 2014 Honda Accord and former Interior Minister, Mark Owen Woyongo, getting 2014 Toyota Camry.
Former Minister for Fisheries, Hani Sherry Ayitey, grabbed 2014 VW Passat with former deputy Health Minister, Dr. Victor Bampoe, getting 2014 Toyota Camry, while Helga Boadi, the immediate-past Chief Executive Officer of Youth Enterprise Support, took home 2014 Toyota Camry.
Former Eastern Regional Minister, Antwi-Boasiako Sekyere, who had left his position long before the NDC lost power, grabbed 2016 Toyota Camry from the Office of the President, while the minority leader in parliament, Haruna Iddrisu, had 2013 BMW 750.
Cassiel Ato Forson, former Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, grabbed 2013 Toyota Camry, while former Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Nii Osah Mills, had 2014 Toyota Camry with Dr Alfred Sugri Tia, former Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, going home with 2014 VW Passat.
For former Ashanti Regional Minister, Peter Anarfi Mensah, grabbed 2016 Toyota Avensis as his counterpart in the Eastern Region, Mavis Frimpong, annexed a 2014 Toyota Camry.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Microfinance and Small Loans Centre (MASLOC), Sedina Tamakloe Attionu, also annexed a 2013 BMW 5231, while former Deputy Chief of Staff, Johnny Osei Kofi, went with a 2014 Toyota Camry as former Western Regional Minister, Paul Evans Aidoo, also got a 2014 Toyota Camry.
In all, there were about 86 Toyota Camry vehicles, 15 Toyota Avalons, 54 Toyota Corollas, 52 Toyota Avensis vehicles and 17 Nissan Sentras auctioned to NDC members.
The rest include 55 Hyudai i10s, 9 BMWs, 8 VW Passats, 5 Nissan Teanas, 9 Hyndai Elantras and 6 Hyudai Accents, among others.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that the valuation of the vehicles was all done at the Flagstaff House and not at the State Transport Corporation as being claimed by some former appointees.
A source said "some STC staff were invited to the Flagstaff House to give the exercise a semblance of proper valuation while they put their own values on the cars,” the source claimed. 
More anon


By William Yaw Owusu & Daniel Bampoe
 Saturday, February 25,  2017
There is seeming tension within the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) over the bribe allegation by the party’s Bawku Central Member of Parliament (MP), Mahama Ayariga, recently.

Even though the parliamentary ad hoc committee is probing the allegation, the NDC appears to have thrown its weight behind Mahama Ayariga against its minority chief whip, Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka, who has stated categorically that there was no bribe paid to the minority MPs on the Appointments Committee, creating division in the party’s ranks.

The party is currently split between Mahama Ayariga and Muntaka, who was accused by the former of sharing the ‘bribe’ money he claimed had come from Energy Minister, Boakye Agyarko, to approve his appointment after he had been vetted.

The NDC is said to be contemplating the ousting of Mohammed Mubarak Muntaka as the minority whip.

First Salvo
The first salvo appeared to have been fired by Tawiah Boateng, the NDC Eastern Regional Chairman, when he called for the resignation of Alhaji Muntaka as the chief whip.

According to him, Alhaji Muntaka’s alleged involvement in the bribery scandal that has hit the Appointments Committee of Parliament had brought ‘shame’ to the party and the high position that he occupies.

Tawiah Boateng, speaking on Accra-based Kasapa FM, insisted that Alhaji Muntaka’s continuous stay in office as minority chief whip has become untenable because he’s not being truthful in his defence.

“All his other colleagues on the Appointments Committee, apart from the Minority Leader, assert that the money he brought them is bribe, how can he turn round and take money from Hon. Agyarko who at his vetting described President Mahama as a corrupt person?” Tawiah Boateng averred.

He said, “What is worrying is his constant defence that the allegation is not true. He should give up the Minority Chief Whip position for another person who can best work to prosecute the agenda of the minority in Parliament. If there is any truth to be told he should tell our party General Secretary, Asiedu Nketia, so we know how to handle the matter.”

Ashanti Rebuttal
However, in a sharp rebuttal, Tawiah Boateng’s counterpart in the Ashanti Region, Yaw Owusu Obimpeh, is alleged to have said in a statement that Alhaji Muntaka is not going anywhere.

“The Ashanti Regional Chapter of the National Democratic Congress expresses its displeasure at calls by some leading members of the NDC for the Minority Chief Whip, Alhaji Mubarak Mohammed Muntaka’s resignation in respect of his position on the alleged Agyarko bribery scandal.

“The Regional Chapter of the NDC finds these calls premature, particularly when the alleged scandal is under investigation by the special ad hoc committee of parliament for which the Hon. Minority Chief Whip avails himself without hesitation,” he pointed out.
The statement further claimed, “In our urgent pursuit of party cohesion and re-organisation, we urge members to be circumspect in their public pronouncements on this sensitive subject matter. Also, we humbly encourage members to temporarily shelf or defer their public opinions until the committee’s findings are made public. This is to avoid possible irreparable damage that our less informed positions might cause one of our own.”

The NDC chairman urged the committee “to expeditiously and comprehensively weather the storm to end the continuing public anxiety that has characterised the alleged scandal.
“Let’s not allow temporary challenges to rock our re-organisation boat.”

Mahama Ayariga sparked public outrage on January 27 when he told a pro-NDC private network - Radio Gold - that the minority chief whip had distributed GH¢3,000 to some NDC MPs and claimed that Alhaji Muntaka had told him the money was coming from the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joseph Osei-Owusu aka Joe Wise, at the instance of Mr. Agyarko.

As a result, the speaker of parliament, Prof Mike Oquaye, set up a five-member Special/Ad-hoc Committee chaired by MP for Essikado and Minister of Railways Development Joe Ghartey, to investigate the allegation.

The committee is specifically looking into the allegation against Mr. Osei-Owusu, whom Mahama Ayariga had cited as the conduit for bribing the MPs; and Alhaji Muntaka, whom Mahama Ayariga claimed had brought the money.

Boakye Agyarko has vehemently denied paying any bribe to be approved by parliament while both Mr Osei-Owusu and Alhaji Muntaka have also dismissed Mahama Ayariga’s claim.
Mahama Ayariga himself has already told the committee that he had no direct evidence to prove his allegation against both Mr. Agyarko and Mr. Osie-Owusu, but insisted that Muntaka had told him that the money came from Mr. Osei-Owusu on the instructions of Mr. Agyarko.

Among all the people who have appeared before the Joe Ghartey committee, it is Ayariga who is standing alone, with others flatly denying that any bribe had come from Boakye Agyarko or any individual.

Another NDC kingpin, Allotey Jacobs, Central Regional chairman of the party, has also ruled out Boakye Agyarko giving out bribe to the vetting committee members.

He proclaimed that the bribery probe would end nowhere.

Friday, February 24, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
 Friday, February 24 ,  2017

Former President John Dramani Mahama has tasked his successor, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to pursue Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the beleaguered National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, to retrieve the GH¢51.2 million unlawfully paid to him.

Woyome was dubiously paid GH¢51.2 million by the Mills/Mahama administration for no work done after which the government turned round to recover the said money from him.

However, at the instance of the Mahama administration, Woyome was virtually treated with kid’s gloves, with the money yet to be refunded despite an order from the Supreme Court.

According to John Mahama, the NDC government he led ‘diligently pursued’ Mr. Woyome, who claims to be a financial engineer, but court processes frustrated their efforts in the pursuit.

“Indeed, the person involved has been pressed to pay back some of the money, I hear he’s started paying back some of the money and it is our hope that this government will continue from where we left off,” he told a private radio station called Power 98.7 FM in Johannesburg, South Africa yesterday.

 “This issue about GH¢51million took place when I was vice president many years ago and you’ll be surprised that the matter is still grinding slowly at different levels: the Supreme Court has given a ruling, the lower courts have given a different ruling, the person involved is fighting the case at different levels of the court system, but the Attorney General, that is my Attorney General who has left, pursued this matter diligently and did her best in the legal maze to try and protect the interest of the Ghanaian people.”
 “We cannot be lovers of good governance but also be desirers of arbitrary justice: I mean under an unconstitutional government you’d just lock up somebody like that and seize all their assets but we live in a constitutional governance and democracy, and so, the law must work and the Supreme Court has given a ruling which is being enforced.

The ex-President’s claim about his government’s effort to retrieve the money is likely to start heated political debate in Ghana since his critics have always accused him and other gurus in his previous administration of complicity in the whole saga.

Many have alleged that the NDC benefitted from the money paid Mr Woyome.

Some critics have said that but for the untiring efforts of former Attorney General, Martin ABK Amidu, the NDC financier, would have walked away with the money.

Mr. Amidu aka Citizen Vigilante, who is renowned for his anti-corruption exploits, initiated the court processes to get the Supreme Court to rule that the payment of the GH¢51.2 million to Mr. Woyome by the NDC government was unlawful.

Corruption Tag
Mr. Mahama also parried the corruption tag placed on him by his critics, denying reports that he is worth about $900 million.

“I am not anywhere near even $2 million to talk about $900 million,” Mr Mahama, who lost his country’s December 2016 polls to Nana Akufo-Addo, told the radio station in South Africa, where he is expected to deliver a keynote address and also receive an award for African leadership.

“I am absolutely nowhere near that,” Mr Mahama stressed, explaining: “Often my brother [Ibrahim] is confused with me. My brother is a businessman, he has his assets and I have no interest in his business and I don’t own shares in his business.
“I am a farmer, I have published a book and I have earned royalties from my book and I earn from my farm and that is it. I live a very modest life.”

The ex-President was expected to deliver a keynote address at the African Leadership Magazine (ALM) Person of the Year 2016 Awards Programme in Johannesburg on the topic, “How can Africa win the progress race?”

Thursday, February 23, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
 Thursday, February 23 ,  2017

It is emerging that former President John Dramani Mahama outlawed the buying of state properties, including houses and cars, by his appointees when he was in power, yet he turned around to put in a request to be allowed to keep his official residence.

He specifically ordered his appointees not to attempt to buy any state property; and the directive reminding government officials of the order was signed by then Chief of Staff Julius Debrah on April 14, 2015.

Official Directive
The letter, addressed to all ministers of state, regional ministers and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) with copies to the secretaries to both the former president and the vice president, all chief directors, regional coordinating directors as well as all heads of departments and agencies, indicated that the president was following up on his 2014 State of the Nation address when he promised to stop the sale of state property.

“In the 2014 State of the Nation address delivered in parliament on 25th February, 2014, H.E. the President directed that the schemes on the purchase of houses and saloon cars by government officials at the end of their tenure should be stopped,” the letter said, adding, “Implementation of the directive took immediate effect.

“This letter is formally to inform all Ministries, Departments and Agencies about the enforcement of the directive and to advise them to cease sending applications to this office.”
The system where government officials are allowed to buy state property at ridiculous rates is fast becoming unpopular among some Ghanaians, with many pushing for the law to be scrapped totally.

Mahama’s Request
President Mahama appeared to have gone contrary to his own directive when he put in a request to keep his No. 3 Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra, residence reserved for sitting vice presidents, as part of his retirement package.

It is suggested that Mr. Mahama wanted the residence as part of his retirement package the moment he stepped into that facility as then vice president; and that’s why he ordered the construction of a new one to house the current and future vice presidents at a whopping cost of $14 million.

After public pressure had reached a crescendo, the former president, who lost miserably to the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo during last year’s crucial election, said he was no longer interested in keeping the property.

Luxurious Cars
According to sources, there were about 17 luxurious Toyota Avalon saloon cars, Land Cruisers and BMW were in the residence, but after the ex-president had packed out, only one Avalon was said to have been left for the new government as contained in the handing over notes.

During the transition, it emerged that former President Mahama was demanding five saloon cars and five four-wheel drive vehicles as part of the end-of-service package, but it was unclear if the unaccounted-for Toyota Avalons were part of the demand.

A statement from ex-President Mahama’s office had maintained that he found it important to move out of the building to avoid ‘marring’ the spirit of cooperation between the two sides of the Transition Team, but even after coming public to say he had changed his mind, it took him almost a month to pack out.

Emoluments Committee
The former president’s request to keep the bungalow appeared contrary even to the approved recommendations by the Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh Committee on Emoluments and Conditions of Service for Article 71 office holders.

The committee reportedly did not recommend a house for him but rather agreed on 40 percent of his salary in lieu of accommodation.

Apparently, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, after realizing that there was no legal basis to appropriate the house, allegedly used its majority in parliament to secretly amend the Prof. Edu-Buandoh Committee’s report to include housing settlement for outgoing President Mahama.

However, even after the amendment, the immediate-past NDC government did not say that then President Mahama’s abode should be given to him.

271 Cars
Recently, it emerged that the Mahama-led administration auctioned many luxurious state vehicles to its appointees at ridiculous prices before leaving office.

For instance, a two-year-old Toyota Camry was reportedly valued at GH¢4,000 and all these happened after December 7 last year when the NDC had lost miserably in the crucial general election.

The bombshell was dropped by former presidential staffer, Sam Nettey George - who is currently the NDC MP for Ningo Prampram - when he said that 271 out of 641 vehicles were auctioned to the staffers at the presidency, confirming the earlier reports that some of the state vehicles were missing.

Cars For Boys
 Mr Sam George told Citi FM in Accra that “Now, of this 370, there is a disparity of between 370 and 641. This is because 271 saloon cars were purchased by staffers who had put in a request to purchase their vehicles which were two years and above.”

Post-Election Sale
Mr. George admitted that the NDC government sold the vehicles after the December 7, 2016 general elections, saying, “You cannot sell the vehicles to the people before the elections. You will only sell after the elections are done and dusted and you know that people are leaving office.

 “I can bet you in 2012 very few vehicles were sold between the Mills/Mahama switching into the Mahama administration because it was basically the same party.”

Tuesday, February 21, 2017


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, February 2 1,  2017
National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Asawase, Alhaji Mubarak Muntaka, yesterday shot down allegation by his colleague MP Mahama Ayariga that he (Muntaka) shared ‘bribe’ money among his colleague members on the Appointments Committee.

The man also accused of inducing them with the payment to facilitate his ministerial approval, Boakye Agyarko, also denied paying any bribe to get his approval by parliament.

Agyarko’s Denial
Mr. Agyarko stated categorically that he never gave money to anyone, particularly the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, to approve his (Agyarko’s) nomination to become Minister of Energy.

He said it was the Speaker of Parliament who called him to come to the house to clear the outstanding issues where he provided proof of his claim and said he handed the documents to the committee through the Chairman.

Mr Agyarko said he never felt his nomination was in danger because he distinguished himself before the vetting committee and never felt threatened.

“I had no motive to influence anybody with regards to my nomination. I felt incredulous about the matter. I had done no such thing,” he stated.

He said he always believed that “the matter was so outlandish that it was going to fall flat, adding, “I never gave anybody money to influence the Appointments Committee. “When we were at the Flagstaff House waiting to be sworn in, a call came from parliament that myself and Osafo-Maafo were required to come to parliament. When I came, I was confronted with three questions. The debt status of the energy sector, the second was the building of FPSO and the third was figurative language I had used about John Mahama in respect of the World Bank breathing down his neck. I answered the first two questions and withdrew the third comment.”

“At no point from my vetting did I feel the confirmation of my nomination was at risk and therefore had no motive to bribe anybody. If at all my confirmation was at risk, I knew there was a majority in the appointments committee who could approve me by majority decision and same could be done in the plenary so there was no motive at all in paying any bribe.”

Muntaka Digs Ayariga
Muntaka also denied categorically that he had brought money to Mahama Ayariga and other NDC MPs, claiming it was given to him by 1st Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei-Owusu who is the Chairman of the Appointments Committee, to influence the MPs to approve the nomination of Boakye Agyarko as Energy Minister.

The Asawase MP said he was ‘shocked’ at the conduct of Mahama Ayariga whom he described as “my best friend” and said it was unthinkable of his colleague to peddle falsehood against him saying, “Hon. Ayariga is the best friend I have on earth and I was shocked he was saying this about me. I couldn’t  see how I could speak to him about this issue.”

The Minority Chief Whip alongside his counsel, Samson Lardi Ayenini was testifying before the committee set up by the Speaker of Parliament to investigate Mahama Ayariga’s bribery scandal that rocked parliament about three weeks ago.

The five-member committee chaired by Joe Ghartey, Minister for Railways Development, is investigating among other things, whether Mr. Osei-Owusu gave money to Alhaji Muntaka at the instance of Mr. Agyarko to be distributed to minority NDC MPs on the Vetting Committee so that Mr. Agyarko could be passed as Energy Minister.

Peddling Falsehood
“It never happened. Hon. Joe Osei-Owusu has never discussed money with me let alone influence members on the minority side,” he protested.

He said the first time he met Mr. Agyarko in real life was when the nominee appeared before the committee adding, “I have never met him; he has not sent anybody to me or called me to give me money to influence members to approve his nomination.”

The Minority Chief Whip said that it was not in doubt that members of the Appointments Committee at a point decided to voice out about sitting allowances and the Chairman of the Committee had assured that he was working it out with the speaker and added that normally, every MP collects his/her allowances from the Accounts Office.

He confirmed that, initially, the minority had expressed their reservations about Mr. Agyarko and Yaw Osafo-Maafo as Senior Minister but after they were called in to clear certain issues at the Conclave, both the minority and the majority decided to pass them by consensus.

“I never gave money to anyone. I am surprised about what Hon. Ayariga said. I never received any money let alone share it among members.

“I was taken aback when I heard that Hon. Ayariga was saying that I gave them money and said it was coming from the Chairman at the instance of Hon. Agyarko. That had never happened. I was shocked where he got that information from. I never told him that Hon. Osei-Owusu gave me money from Agyarko to share it among members.”

He said he did not hear the Radio Gold interview where Mahama Ayariga first granted interview on the matter on the 27th of January, but admitted that he granted interview to Joy FM on the matter the next day.

He said that anybody who says he gave them money and said it was given to him by the Chairman from Agyarko will not be truthful, saying, “That’s going to be concocted because that never existed.”

Ayariga’s Evidence
Before the Minority Chief Whip testified, Mahama Ayariga, as the main witness, had testified and admitted that he never dealt directly with Mr. Agyarko or Mr. Osei-Owusu but insisted Alhaji Muntaka gave them money saying, “It was the whip who asked us to come for the money.”

He admitted that Mr. Agyarko had subsequently satisfied the minority that he could be approved when he brought documents on some of the issues he raised at the vetting pointing out that, “Substantially, on certain issues, he changed his position and others he withdrew so there was a consensus to approve his nomination and that was not based on any payment of bribe.”

Radio Gold
Mahama Ayariga appeared to shift the blame on Radio Gold, a pro-NDC radio station, when he said the station called him about the allegation and he agreed to grant interview.

He stated categorically that Mr. Agyarko’s approval was not influenced by anything including bribery, apart from the fact that some positions he held during the vetting had changed. “Ultimately, there was consensus to the extent that the two nominees satisfied the minority and we changed our position,” Ayariga claimed.

The Bawku Central MP insisted that it was a fact that Alhaji Muntaka told them to come for money and they took it, and that there were rumours about bribery and they asked the whip to find out what it was.

He also claimed that Alhaji Muntaka had said that the money was coming from Mr. Agyarko and it had been given to the Whip by Mr. Osei-Owusu, but said he had no basis of verifying the rumour.

He admitted he had no direct evidence that Mr. Osei-Owusu took money from Mr. Agyarko and gave it to Alhaji Muntaka to be given to them.

Ablakwa’s Entry
Later, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, also appeared with his lawyer Dr. Dominic A. Ayine who is also MP for Bolga East and former Deputy Attorney General, to challenge some aspects of the evidence of Mr. Osei-Owusu.

Mr. Osei-Owusu in his earlier testimony had said that in the presence of K.T. Hammond, an NPP MP, Mr. Ablakwa remarked that they were spreading the allegation because Mr. Agyarko had continuously said Mr. John Mahama was a corrupt president.

Ablakwa said, “I never made those statements being attributed to me. This same allegation had earlier been attributed to Hon. Ayariga on Joy FM by Hon. Osei-Owusu,” adding, “There are some inconsistencies in his statement.”

He asserted that he had no motive to go into conspiracy against a nominee just to spread corruption allegation around.
“At no time did I meet with others to smear Mr. Agyarko,” he insisted.


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, February 2 1,  2017
It has emerged that the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) has contracted a private company to provide receipt and delivery storage services to shippers who operate at the Takoradi Port.

The contract between GPHA and Ibistek Limited commences on March 6, 2017 and as a result, the GPHA management has announced that 3rd March 2017 will be the last day that importers could take delivery of containers and containerized cargo within the port.

The deal, which was concluded last year on sole-sourcing basis, is causing uneasy calm at the port because the unions claim they were kept out of the whole deal.

On February 13, 2017, the GPHA management confirmed the arrangement when it wrote that “in line with the agreement between GPHA and Ibistek Limited, the authority has licensed Takoradi Container Terminal (TACOTEL) as an inland container terminal to provide receipt, delivery storage services to shippers using Takoradi Port.”

The letter, signed by Richard H. Acquah, Ports Operations Manager for Director of Ports on February 13, 2017 with reference POM/TKI.23/V57, said “TACOTEL is located in the premises of the erstwhile Ghana Primewood Limited on the Takoradi Sekondi Road, and will be responsible for devanning of import containers, as well as receipt of export containers.

The letter said, “All vehicles devanned from containers will be handed over to Safebond Ghana Limited for onward delivery to consignees.”

According to the letter, “TACOTEL will technically be commencing operations on March 6, 2017, and will in the interim, handle import containers only.

“Export containers will continue to be deposited with GPHA in the port by shippers until otherwise directed. Therefore, 3rd March 2017 will be last day that importers can take delivery of their containers and containerized cargo within the port.”

When the deal was reportedly being finalized in November last year, the unions wrote to the management of GPHA, requesting it to furnish them with the contract agreement to enable them to inform the workers, accordingly but the management refused.

On November 24, 2016, the Junior and Senior Staff Unions wrote to the management to furnish them with the contract documents which they said was between the GPHA and Safebond Company Limited (SCL) signed in April 2016, as well as documents covering the agreement between GPHA and Takoradi Container Terminal (TCT) since they claimed it was causing fear and panic among the workers.

According to them, “The sighting of the documents by the unions will allay doubt, fear and suspicion about the intention of management with regards to future dealings of GPHA, SCL and TCT.”

 “It will also help the unions to educate its members on the contract agreements and management’s expectation of workers role as far as these new contracts concerned.

The next day, the management replied the union, stating categorically that they were not going to accede to the request of the unions.

“It is not the practice of management to provide contract documents to staff for review,” the letter said.
“We are unable to accede to your request.”

The unions said, “Money will go to private pockets instead of coming to the state. The company could have done this investment on its own. Why should the state contract huge loans for the port expansion project and turn around to hand over this strategic asset to a private firm after spending so much on the project.”

“If the government, through the GPHA, has been able to carry out this massive expansion of the port without the involvement of private entities, why should the management engage in such bizarre arrangement?” they quizzed.