Tuesday, December 12, 2017

EC BOSSES’ PROBE BEGIN…3 WEEKS TO FILE STATEMENTS

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday December 12, 2017

The committee empanelled by Chief Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo to probe the allegations of abuse of power and corruption at the Electoral Commission (EC), yesterday met both the petitioners and the respondents.

Both the petitioners and the respondents reported at the scheduled time of 1:00 pm; and each reportedly met the committee, to be chaired by a Supreme Court judge.

The EC workers, who petitioned the president, were represented by two of them, with the rest waiting in the wings for the real day for the showdown.

Witness Statement
DAILY GUIDE gathered that they have all been given three weeks to file their respective witness statements.

The two respective petitioners were the first to enter the court complex in Accra at about 12:45 pm and then came the first respondent, Charlotte Osei, EC chairperson, at about 12:50 pm.

Amadu Sulley, a deputy Chairpersons in-charge of Operations, who is another respondent, appeared to be in the company of the EC chairperson when they all entered the building with their lawyers.

Mrs. Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, a deputy commissioner  in-charge of Corporate Services (also a respondent), came in a few minutes after 1:00 pm.

Mrs Charlotte Osei was in the company of her lawyer, Thaddeus Sory, while Mr Amadu Sulley came with lawyer Farouk Seidu.
It was unclear who was representing Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa -  who is a lawyer herself - but the counsel was present.

Face-to—Face Meeting
DAILY GUIDE understands that the respondents and their accusers were first put in a room before the committee started calling them individually.

Sources said that all along, the EC boss thought that her accusers were some faceless people, but appeared to have been taken aback a bit when she finally met the faces behind the first petition against her - who are all said to be staff of the commission.

Counter Petitioner
Emmanuel Senyo, a non-EC staff who had filed a counter petition to President Akufo-Addo against the two deputy commissioners, also met both Mr Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa at the committee.

DAILY GUIDE’s information is that Mr. Senyo relates James Kofi Afedo, the communication consultant working with the EC.
Kofi Afedo, a known member of Movement for Mahama’- a partisan group - was hired by Charlotte Osei and allegedly paid him thousands of dollars.

The second petitioner, Douglas Seidu, was also present.
The committee reportedly closed the maiden session at about 4:00 pm yesterday.

Committee’s Mandate
The committee reportedly used the maiden meeting to explain the procedures as well as the terms of reference to the petitioners and the respondents (with their lawyers participating actively).

A source said that the committee is most likely to commence its work in January next year; meanwhile, all members serving on the committee were present.

DAILY GUIDE has learnt that since the problems at the EC escalated, the commission had not been able to meet, and so decisions that need attention are singlehandedly addressed by Mrs Charlotte Osei.

Article 146
The probe is being undertaken following the activation of Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution, after petitions and counter petitions had been sent to the president against the three top officials of the electoral body.

The committee was set up because there are sufficient grounds (prima facie) for impeachment of the officers whose attitudes have been jeopardizing the operations of the commission.

Apart from a Supreme Court judge chairing the committee, two other Court of Appeal judges (male and female) as well as two other members nominated by the Council of State (female and male) are also panel members.

Prima Facie Case

The impeachment committee was established because the Chief Justice, in a preliminary investigation, reportedly established a prima facie case against the three EC chiefs following separate petitions filed against them.

A source said several infractions in the award of contracts at the EC would feature prominently in the committee’s investigations.

The unnamed EC staff are being represented by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, against Mrs. Osei.

The petition against her alleged among other things, the spending a whopping GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, the receipt of a Toyota Land Cruiser from the Mahama government and the use of about $14 million to build district offices when the Public Procurement Authority had only authorized her (Osei) to use $7.5 million.

The preliminary investigations into the scandal commenced last August when the Chief Justice wrote officially to the commissioners to file their official responses to the allegations leveled against them in the respective petitions.

With the committee now in place, the respondents who have not been working together, may now be asked to proceed on leave, pending the outcome of the probe.







Monday, December 11, 2017

EC BOSSES FACE PROBE…MEET PANEL AND ACCUSERS

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday December 11, 2017

The committee empanelled by Chief Justice Sophia Abena Boafoa Akuffo to look into the alleged abuse of power and corruption scandal that have rocked the Electoral Commission (EC), will today meet the respondents and the petitioners.

According to sources, the five-member committee, to be chaired by a Supreme Court judge, will use the maiden meeting to explain the procedures, as well as the terms of reference to the petitioners and the respondents.

Apart from a Supreme Court judge chairing the committee, two other Court of Appeal judges (male and female), as well as two other members nominated by the Council of State (female and male), are also panel members.

DAILY GUIDE learnt that the Chief Justice had already written to all the parties involved to appear before the committee with their lawyers, if any, at 1:00 pm today.

There is the possibility that the Chief Justice will formally ask the EC chairperson, Charlotte Osei, together with her two deputies - Georgina Opoku-Amankwa, in-charge of Corporate Services and Alhaji Amadu Sulley, in-charge of Operations - to step aside for the investigations to commence.

DAILY GUIDE has learnt also that since the problems of the EC escalated, the commission had not been able to meet, with decisions that need attention being singlehandedly addressed by Ms Charlotte Osei.

The probe is being undertaken pursuant to Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution, after petitions and counter petitions had been sent to President Akufo-Addo against the three top officials of the electoral body.

Prima Facie Case 
The impeachment committee was established because the Chief Justice in a preliminary investigation reportedly established a prima facie case against the three EC chiefs following separate petitions filed against them.

A source said several infractions in the award of contracts at the EC would feature prominently in the committee’s investigations.

The preliminary investigations into the scandal commenced last August when the Chief Justice wrote officially to the commissioners to file their official responses to the allegations leveled against them in the respective petitions.

First Petition 
The whole action against the EC gurus was triggered by a petition sent to the presidency by Lawyer Maxwell Opoku-Agyemang, who was acting on behalf of some unnamed staff of the commission, seeking to trigger impeachment proceedings against Charlotte Osei.

Mr Opoku-Agyeman may lead his clients before the committee today.

The allowances of some of the petitioners have allegedly been withdrawn by the chairperson, who is believed to have taken the path of victimization.

A litany of allegations were leveled against Mrs. Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, receipt of a bullet-proof Toyota Land Cruiser from the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, spending about $14 million for district offices when the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) had authorized her to use only $7.5 million, as well as attending Cabinet meetings under President John Mahama’s administration, among others.

Second Petition
Later, another petition was filed by one Lawyer Douglas Seidu against the EC boss on grounds of breach of procurement practices and provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 633) (as amended), gross financial mismanagement as well as conflict of interest.

The petitioner alleged that Mrs. Osei put herself in a conflict of interest situation when she awarded a contract to Aerovote Security Printing (Ghana) Limited to print the pink sheets used for the 2016 general elections, insisting that the EC boss has strong business links with the director of Aerovote and pointed out that she (Mrs Charlotte Osei) had ‘arranged’ the deal even before the procurement process opened.

He claimed the EC chairperson ‘unilaterally’ awarded contracts worth GH¢249,018,895.03 and $71,406,388.80 in breach of procurement processes, and also awarded various contracts, including some for letterheads and logos for the commission that indicated gross financial mismanagement.

Charlotte Fights Back
Through her lawyers - Sory@Law, who are also the commission’s external solicitors - the EC boss initially hit back at her accusers, insisting that she had not been corrupt nor abused her office and rather accused her two deputies of deliberately scheming to frustrate her stay at post.

The chairperson, in her initial response, openly accused Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa of signing contracts worth over $40 million without her knowledge and authorization between May and September 2015.

Illegal Votes Transfer
She also turned her attention to Amadu Sulley and said apart from transferring votes illegally in the run-up to the 2016 general election, he (Sulley) also pocketed huge amounts of cash from some political parties.

“The Deputy Chairperson Operations collected funds above GH¢6m in cash from some political parties for the organization of party primaries without recourse to the structures of the commission, and without the involvement of the finance department of the commission,” she said.

Counter Petition 
The fight became nastier when other unknown persons who appeared to be on the side of Mrs. Osei, sent a counter petition to the president to investigate her two deputies also for corruption and abuse of office.

Accusations and counter accusations then ensued between the EC boss on one hand and her two deputies on the other. They fought back strongly, trying to parry the chairperson’s allegations.

Corporate Services
Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa, for instance, said in a 25-point response to the EC chairperson’s public statement that, “The chairperson’s claim that there was a deliberate strategy to frustrate her work and tenure is palpably false and a figment of her own imagination.”

The deputy commissioner appeared to suggest that it was rather Mrs. Osei who was the problem at the commission and not her or Amadu Sulley.

“Her managerial deficiencies, coupled with her poor human relations and lack of appreciation for teamwork, are too manifest to escape public judgement,” Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa said.

Operations
Amadu Sulley did not take issues lightly when he was accused of pocketing GH¢6 million from some parties.

“I don’t understand the motive of the chair to come out now to make this unfortunate allegation against me and the Deputy Chair, Finance/Administration,” he underscored.

He also accused Mrs. Osei of sidelining him in the daily operations at the commission.

He said he was taking legal advice and concluded with a sarcastic statement, “If you tell one lie you need a thousand lies to cover it!”

Interdiction
Currently, Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa is on interdiction following a complaint filed by Mrs. Osei; and she (Amankwaa) has been appearing at the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) over the alleged misuse of Endowment Fund of the commission’s staff.

Amadu Sulley, on the other hand, is still in office, but in the heat of the scandal accused Mrs. Charlotte Osei of sidelining him in the day-to-day management of the EC - a claim which suggested that the EC chairperson was running a ‘one-woman’ show.




Friday, December 08, 2017

EX-DIPLOMAT WEEPS FOR NDC

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, December 08, 2017

Former Consul to Dubai, Daniel Osei, has observed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) does not appear to have learnt any lessons from their disastrous performance at the polls last year, which truncated then President John Mahama’s second term bid.

He said the leadership of the party is repeating the same mistakes that led to its massive defeat by trying to impose the former president on the party for the 2020 polls, when the fundamentals that led to the humiliating defeat are still unresolved.

He said Mr. Mahama cannot be the NDC’s ‘surest bet’ for 2020, once the party’s leadership has still not ensured that there is re-organization at the grassroots.

Mr. Osei said a member of the party, on a social media platform called APN, wanted to know if the NDC had learnt any lessons from the humiliating defeat and whether the Prof Kwesi Botchwey 13-member Committee that investigated why the party lost had done any good or harm to it, adding that the question had kept him thinking.

“We have not learnt any lessons. The hijacking of the party by the ‘Onaapo’ crew (in reference to the Mahama camp), with their same feel good ‘Onaapo’ antics and deceptive explanations have kept the party hostage and also bankrupt of ideas,” he fired, adding, “The deliberate insistence on repeating the mistakes of the past with the calculated lies we tell ourselves is very sad and the end result is also very predictable.”

Corruption Tag
“On the issue of corruption, it was bad enough that we had funny situations like the Ford saga and its resultant fallout; today we have glaring images of the former president’s brother Ibrahim, being hauled before EOCO to make good on a debt of GH¢12 million+ (120 billion old cedis) for nonpayment of duties on his goods for over two years when we know traders get their goods auctioned off for far less,” Mr Osei stressed.

The Consul added, “How I wished it was all a lie when the story first broke, but alas..... After he finally paid, for whatever reason, they decided to put copies of the checks for payment online for all to see. How redemptive was that? It only confirmed he actually duped the government as charged and made our communicators work even harder.

“On the back of all this, and worse; we embrace the nonsense theory of ‘our surest bet’ as we boldly replace ‘no abaabase’ with ‘sankofa’ as if we are entitled.”

Mr Osei insisted, “No! We haven't learnt anything folks, and we better sit up.”

KB Report
He said that the Prof Kwesi Botchwey Committee Report has the potential to solve the NDC problems but the leadership of the party had thrown it into the dustbin because if the recommendations were fully implemented, there is no way the former president is going to be accepted by NDC delegates to lead them again.


Thursday, December 07, 2017

AKROPONG GETS 2 CHIEFS

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, December 07, 2017

There is uneasy calm at Akropong Akuapem in the Eastern Region following a reported installation and counter installation of a paramount chief for the traditional area.

As a result, there is currently a heavy police presence at Akropong to forestall any possible bloodshed.

Two factions have emerged from the Sakyebea Royal Family and each is claiming to be the rightful gate to select the next Okuapemhene to succeed the late Oseadeyo Addo Dankwah III, who ruled for 41 years before his demise.

Currently, Odehyie Kwasi Akuffo, a 63-year-old retired journalist and businessman and one Nana Kesse, are being processed simultaneously to be installed the paramount chief.

Odehyie Akuffo is being presented by Okuapemhemaa (queen mother) Nana Afua Nketia Obuo II, while the Baamuhene, Nana Afari Bampoe, is backing Nana Kesse, believed to be in his mid-30s and once domiciled in the United States.

According to Akuapem customs and traditions, before one is enstooled a paramount chief of the traditional area, the person is supposed to go through a four-stage process of nomination, selection, enstoolment and finally, the installation; and it is the commencement of the process that is brewing trouble in the town.

Matters came to a head when the selection process was started in the palace of Nana Kwasi Omenako II, who is the head of the Akuapem Asona royal family (Asonahene) on Tuesday.

The Okuapemhemaa introduced Kwasi Akuffo to the Asonahene as the proposed successor to the late Omanhene and the nominee was sent to ‘Mogyawere,’ the palace of the Adumhene, Adu Panyin II, for confinement for about 40 days for traditional tutelage.

In the process, the Baamuhene, in the company of Nana Osim Kwatia, chief of Amanokrom and Akuapem Gyaasehene Nana Yaw Afari Bampoe, brought Kwadwo Kesse, slaughtered sheep and spilled the blood on his feet to signify the  selection  of another Akuapemhene.

They allegedly took over the palace and installed Kwadwo Kesse to occupy the Omanahene’s Hall of the palace as a new paramount chief of the Akuapem Traditional Area.

The police then stepped in as things were getting nasty, picked up the Baamuhene, who has since been granted bail, and asked the other chiefs to vacate the palace.

Later, the Municipal Chief Executive of Akuapem North, Dennis Agyapong, told Citi FM in Accra that the residents were in safe hands.

“There has been no casualty; there has been no quarrel; there has been no fight. Everything has been peaceful as it should be. From the outset, we have assured the people that their safety and security is paramount, so, we just put in place measures to ensure that their property and lives are protected,” he said.




NPP THANKS GOD FOR 2016 VICTORY

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, December 07, 2017

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is holding a thanksgiving service today to mark the one-year anniversary of the party’s massive victory over the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

The all-white interdenominational service, to be attended by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his vice Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, will take place at the Accra International Conference Centre (AICC).

According to the party, almost all appointees, including Ministers of State, Members of Parliament, National Executive Council members, among others, are expected to grace the occasion.

The Journey
President Akufo-Addo made history last year when against all odds, he defeated incumbent John Dramani Mahama with a margin of over one million votes, after a keenly contested general election on December 7, 2016.

While then candidate Nana Akufo-Addo’s votes appreciated significantly, that of NDC’s John Mahama dropped and eventually, Nana Akufo-Addo widened the gap with some 1,002,749 valid votes.

The then opposition candidate polled 5,716,026 which translated into 53.85% while incumbent Mr. Mahama managed 4,713,277, representing 44.40%.

There was spontaneous and wild jubilation all over the country when the Returning Officer of the presidential poll, who is the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, declared the 72-year-old legal gem the president-elect.

Some Ghanaians even referred to the historic victory by the NPP as the ‘second independence’ of Ghana.

John Jinx 
After Ghana had transitioned into democratic rule in 1992 - after 11 years of military dictatorship (Provisional National Defence Council) - all those who occupied the presidential seat had their first names as John.

Nana Akufo-Addo thus became the first person to break the chain of the Johns since the 4th Republican Constitution was promulgated in 1992.

Historical Facts
He is the first son of an ex-president (Edward Akufo-Addo) to be president of Ghana.

He is also the first person to maintain one running mate (Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia) for three consecutive elections – 2008, 2012 and 2016.

President Akufo-Addo is the first opposition leader to win ‘one-touch’ (over the 50% plus 1 as mandated by the Constitution) in Ghana’s electoral history.

He is also the first opposition leader to stop an incumbent president (Mahama) from winning a second term in office.

2008 Episode
In 2008, Nana Akufo-Addo, who was then the incumbent NPP candidate, led then opposition NDC’s Professor John Evans Atta Mills in the first round of poll but could not hit the 50% plus 1 vote to win outright to enable him to succeed exiting John Agyekum Kufuor as president.

As a result, the election entered into a second round and Nana Addo lost to the NDC candidate, thereby returning the NDC - which had ruled from 1992 to 2000 - to power.

Presidential Death
Unfortunately for the NDC, Prof Mills died suddenly on July 24, 2012, when he was preparing to contest again for a second term, and his then vice, John Dramani Mahama, had to continue until the December 7, 2012 contest when he (Mahama) was fielded by then ruling NDC against the NPP’s Nana Akufo-Addo, who was contesting for a second time.

The 2012 election was bizarrely called for Mr. Mahama by then EC Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari Gyan, in spite of widespread irregularities and fraud the opposition NPP complained about.

Election Petition
As a result, the NPP, through Nana Akufo-Addo, Dr. Bawumia and then Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey (now deceased), filed a presidential election petition at the Supreme Court, challenging the validity of President Mahama’s declaration by the EC.

The case, which was telecast live, travelled for about eight months and on August 29, 2013, the court, in a 5:4 majority, dismissed the petitioner’s case and upheld the EC’s declaration of Mr. Mahama as then president-elect.

It was the first time the EC was using a biometric voters’ register to conduct elections in the country.

NPP Determination
However, in 2016, the NPP vowed never to allow irregularities to dominate the process and appeared to have ‘policed’ the process, using a very sophisticated technology in the independent compilation of its version of the results.

The strict supervision given by the opposition party ensured that the EC was compelled to play by the rules as against what had transpired in 2012.

Then ruling NDC, it later emerged, could not even collate its own results and had reportedly tied their hopes on the platform run by the EC, which failed on election day when the result transmission was in progress.

The EC, therefore, had no other option than to declare the opposition leader winner of the presidential poll.




GHANA HOME LOANS NOW GHL BANK

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, December 07, 2017

Ghana Home Loans Limited, the largest mortgage finance institution in Ghana, has transformed into a universal bank known as GHL Bank.

Ghana Home Loans Limited began operations in 2006 as a non-bank financial institution, focusing exclusively on mortgages to individuals in the country and beyond.

It has expanded with the acquisition of a universal banking licence.

At a well-attended ceremony in Accra yesterday to officially commence universal banking business, Dominic Adu, Managing Director of GHL Bank, said the bank would offer insurance, money transfer, current accounts and savings accounts and strengthen its core mortgage services.

“As a universal bank, we are working with the government and building partnerships to make mortgage affordable to  create the environment to make home ownership much easier,” he said.

Mr. Adu disclosed that “we have hired a world class team and invested in systems and processes ready to provide a one-stop bank for financial services at every stage of your life – anchored by our core vision to be the foremost bank for wealth creation.”

Albert Essien, Board Chairman of the bank, said that “GHL Bank’s entry into the universal banking space has been long awaited.

“We have taken time to develop a very strong and effective corporate governance structure and we are poised to execute unflinchingly on the many expectations of our clients, shareholders and regulators.”

Mr. Essien further stated that the minimum capital requirement of GH¢400 million of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) will be met and deployed prudently.

He said GHL Bank will deliver unique services to clients to become the foremost institution for wealth creation in Ghana.

A Deputy Governor of Bank of Ghana, Dr Max Opoku Afari, said the country was emerging out of a period of slow growth, adding that the financial sector was expected to play a critical role in the growth stimulation.

He said the Central Bank as a regulator was supervising a feasible recapitalization of the banking sector and urged the banks to persist in the assumption of their respective financial intermediation roles.

Freda Prempeh, a Deputy Minister of Works and Housing, said the government was committed to closing the housing deficit by partnering the private sector.

GHL Bank currently operates from its Airport Residential Area head office, and has plans to roll out its branch network at strategic locations throughout the country.

The bank currently employs about 160 professionals.
Over the past decade, it has served over 3,000 households with approximately US$190 million in home financing.

The company has sourced over $200 million in long-term funding from a formidable list of institutions such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, Dutch Development Bank FMO, IFC, Paris-based Proparco, Germany's DEG, ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, Ghana International Bank and Shelter Afrique.

In 2012, the Dubai-based private equity fund Abraaj acquired a majority stake in Ghana Home Loans, now GHL Bank.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

MOLES TAKE OVER AKUFO-ADDO’S GOV’T - AMIDU

By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Former Attorney General (AG) and Minister for Justice, Martin A.B.K. Amidu has stated that there are people in the public sector who are sabotaging the fight against corruption by President Akufo-Addo’s New Patriotic Party (NPP) government. 

According to him, they are doing it for the benefit of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), which just left office.

He said some of those public workers in senior position, particularly those promoted at the dying moments of the Mahama-led NDC administration, are doing ‘cover-ups’ for corrupt former officials and some powerful persons in the country.

According to the former AG, the troubles that the Akufo-Addo government is facing in its attempt to retrieve the GH¢51.2 million fraudulently obtained by NDC financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, was an indication that there are moles in the government.

“I have raised the red flags for President Akufo-Addo and his team to be alert to the dangers ahead and the ultimate plans of Woyome and his mentors waiting in the wings for a possible positive outcome at the Africa Court,” he said in a news release.

The former AG, who is credited for his fight against corruption, earning him the accolade ‘Citizen Vigilante,’ said, “Nothing epitomises corruption in the annals of the history of this country better than the circumstances and context of the Woyome case, and its trial by an irredeemably corrupt High Court Justice,” according to Mr Amidu.

He said, “No reasonable person expects President Nana Akufo-Addo to personally investigate and deal with suspects in fulfillment of his promises of fighting corruption and dealing with past corruption which substantially contributed to earning him the Presidency.”

He said such a function should be taken up by his appointees “to whom he has assigned ministerial responsibility for security and intelligence, law and order, and particularly justice.

“One of the problems faced by some of the appointees of the present government is the ability to go beyond the biased advice being proffered to them by the senior public officers they inherited from the previous government,” he said, adding that “a conscientious and knowledgeable minister should be able, within the first three months in office, to know how many of his officers were recently promoted by the outgoing government and their role in cover-ups in the ministry.”

He said the inability of any minister to understand the composition and promotional history of his/her senior public servants upon whom he depends for advice within the first three to six months meant that “he may be working with moles planted before the demise of the previous government.”

Mr Martin Amidu said the criminal prosecution mounted by the state against Woyome was a sham from the start and added that the collaborators of the NDC financier had been left off the hook.

He claimed the same senior law officers “who thwarted the execution of the judgement and engaged in various spurious agreements with him while their more senior court-going colleagues were in the Supreme Court trying to execute the judgement, are still those in position to advise the present government on outstanding matters related to the case.

“The manner the case was prosecuted by the government and its lawyers clearly facilitated the verdict pronounced by the irredeemably corrupt former Justice Ajet-Nasam of the High Court, who the whole world now knows sold justice for cash and had a penchant for chasing accused persons for payment.”

Mr. Amidu said that in any civilised system of criminal justice administration, the Woyome trial should have been vacated at the instance of the Republic “because of the overwhelming evidence that now-disgraced Justice Ajet-Nasam did not have the capacity to administer impartial criminal justice by virtue of his internalised endemic corrupt nature.”

He said that there are other aspects of the Woyome case which the government could pursue in addition to the judgement and order under reference, if the NPP administration was really bent on fighting corruption.

“Unfortunately, you (President Akufo-Addo) have the misfortune of working with some officers who have earned their mid-night promotions protecting the looting and covering up of the activities of the previous government,” he said.

He then added, “They have no interest in pointing out residual matters in this case to your government unless your government has a personal commitment, the energy and industry to fish out those matters by yourselves.”







Tuesday, December 05, 2017

WACAM SHARES EXPERIENCE WITH ACTIVISTS

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Wacam, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) credited with tackling irresponsible mining in the country, has hosted activists from the sub-region to discuss its continuous campaign for a clean extractive sector, particularly mining.

The activists, representing some powerful Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), were drawn from Burkina Faso, Nigeria, Mali and Senegal.

They used the two-day workshop to, among other things, deliberate on the gaps in minerals and mining regimes and also developed advocacy strategies aimed at increasing benefits of mining to the states.

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of Wacam, in an overview, said they have been working to redefine corporate responsibility to ensure that the people, especially those directly affected by irresponsible mining, hold the mining firms accountable.

She said, “Wacam relies on best practices to ensure that companies and governments respect community and environmental rights under protocols signed by states and industries at UN and AU levels, as well as guidelines developed to guide the conduct of businesses in developing countries.”

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said “Wacam has contributed to the reduction of conflicts between affected communities and mining companies by getting affected mining communities to appreciate the importance of using legal procedures, dialogue and campaigns in their struggles.”

“We have helped to increase the confidence of affected peasant communities in the judicial system through its right-based education and by so doing, has contributed to the strengthening of democratic governance of Ghana and the rule of law.”

She said that the development of what she called a ‘Sample and Mining Bill’ by Wacam, in collaboration with the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), has been instrumental in the campaign against irresponsible mining, adding that they drew inspiration from ECOWAS Mining Directive, which has provisions like Free Prior Informed Consent, Polluter Pay Principles and Community rights and the issue of compensations.

“The challenge is that mining companies are ahead of the CSOs when it comes to mining lobbying and advocacy on the continent. Mining companies, with their vast financial resources, have the ear of governments who depend on natural resources.”


Monday, December 04, 2017

MAHAMA CAMP PUTS NDC IN DANGER

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, December 04, 2017

Former Consul to Dubai, Daniel Osei, has observed that the incessant tagging of party members, who disagree with the camp of former President John Mahama, is dividing the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) further, making it difficult for the party to unite.

He said recent events have shown that it is the Mahama camp, which is endangering the party since the former president’s core supporters have become intolerant of dissenting views and constructive criticisms.

Stronger Grassroots 
“I don't care who becomes our flagbearer. I don't have a candidate and I don't need to have a candidate to understand the value of organizing for our desired goal of victory 2020,” he said in his latest epistle as the NDC seeks to reunite after a bruising defeat in 2016.

Mr Daniel Osei said he had always stressed the need for serious grounds work and the importance of starting the processes of reorganization early, adding that selecting a flag bearer would be easy if the grassroots are already fixed.

Leadership Sabotage 
The former consul claimed the attempt to commence the reorganization as soon as the NDC lost the December 7, 2016 general elections, was dashed by the national executives of the party.

“If the party executives are insisting on imposing the former president as flag bearer – FINE -- why endanger the party's prospects in the process of that agenda? Why can't we build our party up while the former president rests and when it's right time he announces his return? Can't we chew gum and walk at the same time?” he wondered.

Mr. Osei observed, “Because the focus has been on engineering the return of former President Mahama, more than building the party, they see any advice not emphasizing their position as bad and must be defeated with insults and the attack dogs, even if the advice is good for their agenda in the long term. If former President Mahama becomes the flag bearer, doesn't he stand to benefit from a stronger party if attention is paid to treating this lame horse of a party as he now describes us?”

Phantom Voters 
He said, “We are not using information wisely. We are too tone deaf and focused on silly feel-good sentiments and managed to conjure up the false narrative that somehow one million NDC members didn't vote and so they will come out and vote in 2020 and our surest bet is this person or that person. Really? I feel scandalized, folks.

“We are wasting good opportunity just sitting. We were rejected by the electorate. Period! And if we want to return to power, we better sit up. Talk to your friends, the teachers, nurses, doctors, engineers, businessmen, workers and you will find person after person who voted for Prof Mills (RIP) in 2008, supported NDC in 2012 and voted against Mahama in 2016. These people are real and we must sit up and listen to them and their concerns and organize around that from the branches up!”

Mr Daniel Osei asked, “How many NDC parliamentarians are in parliament today but JM lost in their constituencies- in the North, in Accra and elsewhere? This is information we must pay attention to.  When you ask this, they retort, ‘but there are places the former president won but the parliamentary candidate lost,’ and they say it as if it's an intelligent response.”

Imminent Disaster
According to him, disaster is awaiting the NDC in 2020 if the opposition party continues to sweep the problems that made them lose under the carpet, adding that “those who have hijacked our party don't have a clue as to what must be done.”
Mr. Osei posited, “To the sycophants, it's all about the money and the so-called advisers simply are clueless. We saw this movie play out in 2015-2016.”

EC Voter Register Debate
The former consul said the NDC gurus were wrong when they sided with the Electoral Commission (EC) to deny Ghanaians a new voter register and said it contributed to their massive defeat.

“Remember our insistence on no registration and the NPP wanting a totally new register? Why would we want no registration to take place? In the four years between 2012 and 2016 there was a very short limited registration prior to the assembly elections and it was hardly engaged. Did no NDC person turn 18 in that four-year period, and why wouldn't we want to register them?” he queried.

Mr Daniel Osei noted, “In their simple-mindedness, they concluded we won with the 2012 register and should do whatever it takes to hold onto it, all the while not recognizing we were hurting ourselves.”

Lazy Thinkers
“Instead of engaging a robust registration of our people and using the information to organize our campaign, the lazy thinkers, who managed the campaign, felt it was sufficient to bully their way through with the old register,” he charged.

He said the NPP was hungry for power and prepared better to beat the NDC to its game.

“What happened to the proposed change in the election date to November? Did we not have the majority in parliament to make the change happen? It was not done because the original intention was just not holding - grounds were not good and grounds never got good because we refused to do the hard work to help make grounds good, and today, grounds STILL no good,” Mr Osei observed.