Tuesday, October 17, 2017

NDC DID NOT COLLATE 2016 RESULTS BOTCHWEY REPORT REVEALS

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

It is turning out that the then ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) did not build any official platform to collate results of the December 2016 general election.

Despite the chants of winning the election ‘one-touch’ by then President John Dramani Mahama, it has turned out that the NDC did not collate the results but tied its fate to a possible machination of Charlotte Osei’s Electoral Commission and so when the EC system failed, the NDC was caught flat-footed.  
 
The party relied on Felix Kwakye Ofosu’s ‘private’ arrangement to collate the results, which also failed miserably.

Speculations at the time were that the party was in a secret arrangement with the Electoral Commission to get the results - a move which was unknown to other political parties.

However, when the commission’s system of transmission got ‘compromised’ according to EC Chairperson, Charlotte Osei, on the election night of December 7, 2017, the NDC was found wanting, scurrying for rescue, which was too late.

According to DAILY GUIDE sources, the NDC contracted K-NET to build a digital television platform - DTT - at a whopping cost of over $82 million, but still the system failed to generate any results.

Panicky Executives
The panicky NDC leaders then resorted to the Kwakye Ofosu platform but it was too late for them as the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), which had a solid platform for the transmission, had collated results from more than 80%,  representing some 24,000 out of the 29,000 polling stations on election night and had realized that provisionally, its candidate, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, was defeating incumbent President John Dramani Mahama, who was seeking a second term in office.

Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s 13-menmber committee set up by the NDC to investigate causes of the party’s embarrassing defeat, concluded on Page 33 of its 65-page Executive Summary that the party’s collation was “a complete mess.”

Messy Collation
According to the report - a copy of which is available to DAILY GUIDE, - Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a former deputy minister of communications, set up a platform to collate the results of the elections but when the committee asked him about what transpired, he said it was just a back-up for the party’s main collation platform.

The report says the party appeared to have relied on Mr Kwakye Ofosu’s private arrangement when the main collation platform set up under the supervision of the Election Directorate of the party, headed by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, could have been strengthened to deliver, claiming, “The situation brought dysfunctionalism in the party to a head.

“There were evidently two systems, one party-based, and the other, according to Felix Kwakye Ofosu, a private initiative. The Election Directorate evidently regarded the Kwakye Ofosu initiative as primary whereas Mr. Kwakye Ofosu and his team regarded it only as backup system.”

The report indicates, “For reasons of its obvious importance, we treat the subject fully in the main report,” adding, “Our general finding is that the party’s collation efforts were a complete mess, and a situation that brought the dysfunctionalism in the party to a head!”

Rigging System
The suspicion that the NDC put in place a clandestine plan to rig last year’s polls is not going away any time soon; and the plan failed because of extra measures put in place by the vigilant NPP.

The Botchwey report has further fueled the suspicion that the NDC was in bed with the EC to rig the election. But for the alertness of the NPP, the then ruling NDC would have skewed the more than one million votes margin that went to Nana Addo to its (NDC’s) advantage.

Comments made following the release of the report of Prof. Kwesi Botchwey’s committee showed clearly that the NDC was unprepared as far as the collation of the results were concerned and were ‘relying’ heavily on the EC’s alleged tacit support to clinch on to power.

It is turning out that 10 clear months after such humiliating electoral defeat, the NDC cannot still boast of its own independent collated results, which took the NPP only six hours to put together after close of polls.


Comfortable Lead
In the course of the transmission glitch, the NDC told the entire world that it was in a ‘comfortable lead’ and that its candidate, Mahama - who later became the first incumbent president to lose an election to an opposition candidate in the first round - was going to win.

At an Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting recently, the EC allegedly admitted that the commission had suffered IT system crash during the collation of the 2016 results.

Kofi Adams, the NDC National Organizer, who doubled as Campaign Coordinator for John Mahama, also claimed after the crushing defeat that the IT system failed the NDC - without providing any explanation, since the country doesn’t vote electronically

Report Submission
During the submission of the report, Prof. Botchwey had recommended among other things, that the party must find ways and means to “improve the collation of election results.”

In fact, Prof. Botchwey had said that it was time for the party to find means of collating its own results from polling stations to the top ‘independently.’




Monday, October 16, 2017

NDC SCRAPS ‘FRAUDULENT’ BIOMETRIC

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 16, 2017

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has resolved to scrap the biometric registration undertaken for its members ahead of the 2016 general elections which it lost miserably to the then opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Leadership of the party has now decided to conduct what it has termed, ‘Re-registration’ for all the members before the commencement of the exercise to elect new party officers from polling station to national levels.

The NDC took the decision at the National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting last Thursday at its plush $20 million headquarters at Adabraka, Accra, where security was said to be very tight, with NEC members being screened before the meeting.

Party Timetable
National executives of the party, through the Deputy General Secretary in-charge of Operations, Koku Anyidoho, issued a circular after the meeting, confirming the scrapping of the biometric which cost the party millions of dollars and said they would be meeting on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 11:00 am “to flush out the decisions arrived at by the NEC.”

The circular, entitled, ‘Press Engagement On NDC Re-registration, Branch Re-organization & Internal Elections Timetable,’ stated that between 18 and 24 October, 2017 there was going to be what they called, ‘National outrage programme,’ followed by the ‘fresh registration’ for party members of all branches between November and December, 2017.

The branch elections are expected to be held on 2nd, 27th and 28th January, 2018 followed by constituency elections on 3rd, 24th and 25th March, 2018.

Regional youth, women and Zongo caucus elections are expected to be held on 2nd and 3rd June, 2018 respectively and slated the regional conference for June 9, 2018.

National youth and women conferences have been scheduled for 13th and 14th July, 2018 while National Executive Conference is to come off on 27th and 28th July, 2018.

According to the 13-member committee that investigated the cause of the NDC’s massive defeat at the last general election, the biometric registration, which was fraught with widespread irregularities, made members of the NDC to believe that they had the numbers to retain power.

“The register gave a misleading impression of the party’s true strength in some branches and constituencies as some of the aspirants registered non-NDC members in their bid to win at all cost and by all means,” the Prof Kwesi Botchwey-led Committee report indicated.

Former President Rawlings, the NDC founder, had also alluded to the fact that some party members fraudulently registered NPP members in order to thwart the party’s structures.

Imminent Action
Scrapping the ‘fraudulent’ biometric register, which is said to have caused the party’s problems, had been high on the agenda since the NDC lost the elections, and it did not come as a surprise to many when the decision was finally taken.

Even before the NEC meeting last Thursday, some of the advocates, particularly the Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party, Ade Coker, had been saying that the plan to ditch the biometric system was to bring sanity into the party’s register.

Speaking at the party’s ‘unity walk’ in Accra recently, Mr Ade Coker accepted the Botchwey Committee report on the biometric registration, which was manipulated to make the NDC look big.

“We are now going to ensure that the biometric registration, which contributed to our downfall, is going to be scrapped and a better system put in place so that the true NDC people will be identified,” Ade Coker said. 

From pages 15 to 19 of the 65-page Executive Summary of the 455-page Kwesi Botchwey report, it states how the party was inconsistent in deciding on the biometric exercise and manipulation of the system by some individuals.

The committee that supervised the unpopular biometric exercise was chaired by Samuel Ofosu-Ampofo, NDC National Vice Chairman and Director of Elections.

According to the committee’s report, the NDC “implemented the biometric registration project without any safety nets.”
The report said the manipulation of the register was real and that had put the integrity of the whole exercise into question.

“The integrity of the biometric register was compromised and a number of the primaries flawed on account of widespread manipulation,” the report maintained.

Ethnicity
It also says the biometric exercise brought “ethnicism in the constituencies of diverse ethnic groups” in the party, adding “constituencies that hitherto supported and promoted the party as one people became divided during the primaries and in some cases after the primaries.”

According to the report, the whole idea of the biometric registration was imposed on NDC members, saying, “There were no broad consultations with stakeholders, especially the MPs who were to be directly affected by the system.”

Fraud
“Some membership cards were allegedly printed by unauthorized persons. The biometric register was not piloted before implementation,” it averred.

Prof Botchwey’s committee reports, “Some national, regional and constituency executives had preferred candidates and therefore skewed to favour them, leaving grassroots members bitter and frustrated and making reconciliation difficult before and even after elections.”

It claims, “Some members of the biometric registration committee itself were alleged to have resorted to working independently of the committee and dealing directly with aspirants and other interested parties in the parliamentary primaries in their respective constituencies.”






NANA CREATES MORE DISTRICTS

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 16, 2017

President Akufo-Addo is set to create more districts to ensure a smooth administration of the country.

DAILY GUIDE is reliably informed that about 30 municipalities and districts are going to be created, barring any last-minute hitches.

A source said some sub-metros in the Accra, Tema and Kumasi are going to be elevated to autonomous municipal assemblies while other districts will be elevated to municipal status, and new districts carved out of larger ones.

Ghana currently has 216 districts and proponents of more districts have claimed that devolution of power should continue to enable the government to bring development to the doorsteps of the people, but critics have insisted that the whole process is a burden on the government’s wage bill.

In February 2008, more districts were created and some were upgraded to municipal status. This brought the number to 170 districts.

Further 46 districts were added on 28 June, 2012, bringing the total to 216 districts.

On his recent tour of the Upper West Region, President Akufo-Addo appeared to have given a hint about his intended creation and elevation of more districts when he said that Lawra District was going to be elevated to the status of municipality.

Naa Puowele Karbo III, paramount chief of the Lawra Traditional Area, in the presence of the president, had also put in a request to speed up the development of the area.

Sources say almost all the metropolitan assemblies are going to be split to ensure effective local governance.

The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), for instance, is expected to see the elevation of three of its sub-metros namely, Ablekuma, Ayawaso and Okaikoi to the status of full assemblies like La Dadekotopon and Ledzokuku-Krowor municipal assemblies.

At the Kumasi Metropolitan Assebmly, three of its sub-metros - Oforikrom, Nyhiaeso and another - are going to be given full assembly status while a similar move is being planned for Takoradi, at Kwesimintim and Tema at Sakumono or Spintex Road.

“What the government is doing won’t translate automatically into the creation of more constituencies,” the source told DAILY GUIDE.


CANADIAN WINS GOLD CASE AGAINST GHANAIAN

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday, October 16, 2017

A Canadian, Alistair Mathias, who was accused by his Ghanaian business partner of defrauding him in a gold business, has been exonerated by a court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Ghanaian, Henry Osei, filed criminal complaint against Mr. Mathias in the UAE and the case was heard at the Sharjah Appeal Federal Court, claiming that the Canadian misappropriated over $4 million in a form of failing to send the value of gold sent to a company they formed called Guldcrest Resources Company.

It turned out that it was Mr Henry Osei and his company in Ghana - Guldrest Resources Company Limited - that owed Mathias and his company more than $9.2 million.

Whilst Mathias was facing criminal trial in the UAE, his business partners (Osei) had also reported him to the Ghanaian authorities, claiming the same amount of $4,054,024.10; and the Canadian had the ordeal of having to shuttle between Accra and Dubai in an effort to clear his name.

The judgement finally came in the UAE where the court cleared Mathias and ordered Henry Osei’s company to refund an amount of $395,247 to Mathias Holding Company, belonging to the Canadian.

“Regarding the dues the appellant in Guldrest Sharjah Company and its assets, this entails that an agreement shall be concluded to liquidate the company so that its actual assets and asset inventory are calculated, and so that all its dues and obligations are listed through the liquidation procedures, and after the agreement of the parties to the budget prepared 31/3/2014, because the dues of the appellant in the company are 50% of the capital and the net profits amount to $90,793.50,” the court held.

It added, “Moreover, it is confirmed that the dues of Mathias Holding Company are an amount of $395,247 payable by Guldrest Sharjah Company.”

In response to another petition filed by Mr Osei with the Ghanaian police, Mr Mathias said he owns a Ghanaian company called M.A. Resources Limited and runs a trading and investment company with focus on gold trading in the Dubai and international markets and due to his exploits, he was introduced to Henry Osei and one Eric Azu as directors of Guldcrest Resources Limited (Ghana).

He said in March 2013, Henry Osei claimed he was going through financial difficulties and he (Osei) asked if they could form a company in UAE, which he initially declined and later accepted through the influence of Eric Azu.

“After a lot of discussions and hesitations, I reluctantly agreed to partner Henry in registering a company in the UAE. On 23rd March, 2013 we started the process of forming the company and were given licence on 24th March, 2013, namely Guldrest Resources FZC,” adding that all the expenses were financed by him alone and he was a director and shareholder of the company.

“Since November 2012, Henry Osei has been accumulating debts with me, but I was lenient with him, given that he was going through hard financial times. During the year 2013 into the first quarter of 2014, the debt kept increasing.

“In a grand scheme to avoid paying my money Henry made a criminal complaint in Ghana” against him, alleging that he stole $4 million and the same complaint in the UAE, and claimed he Mathias was a fugitive and also succeeded in spreading the story to many media outlets.

The Canadian said he had to cross many legal hurdles in both Ghana and the UAE, including the confiscation of his passport and other documents.

“The court case continued to a panel of experts, and finally on 24th November, 2015, the court found me innocent of all the charges leveled against me, and in fact, as part of their investigations, discovered and confirmed that it was rather Henry Osei and his company in Ghana - Guldrest Resources Company Limited (Ghana) - that owed me/my company more than $9.2 million.”






TIGHT SECURITY AT NDC MEETING

By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, October 14, 2017

There was tight security at the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) National Executive Council (NEC) meeting at the party’s plush office complex at Adabraka, Accra, on Thursday.

The party introduced strict security measures for members attending the meeting, because it did not want any member to leak information from the very important meeting, which took a decision on its timetable for electing officers at the various levels.

Thorough Search
According to a source at the party’s headquarters, the NEC members were subjected to thorough search at the entrance, to the embarrassment of some of them.

Unconfirmed report says NDC stalwart, Ato Ahwoi, who could not stand it, allegedly walked out in anger.

Before the meeting started, the party’s security detail reportedly prevented visitors from entering the premises and all NEC members were not allowed to enter with their mobile phones or any other gadgets.

They were then said to have been screened with metal detectors, in spite of vehement protests by some of the committee members.

The party’s leadership had been incensed following the recent leakage of the report of the Professor Kwesi Botchwey Committee that investigated why the NDC embarrassingly lost the December 7, 2016 general elections.

The 65-page Executive Summary of the 455-page report, which the NDC is keeping like a state secret, was leaked to the media, forcing some of the executives to attempt to play down on the significance of the contents of the report, albeit unsuccessfully. 

DAILY GUIDE will resume the publication of the report next week.

Presidential Support
According to the report, John Dramani Mahama’s presidency schemed for Kofi Portuphy and Kofi Adams to become National Chairman and National Organizer respectively of the NDC - a factor the 13-member Prof Kwesi Botchwey committee report claims contributed to the disastrous defeat of the party.

Immediately that was done, the party’s machinery collapsed and never recovered, according to the executive summary of the report.

Sycophantic Executives
The report says with the election of the two leading officers, the party’s hierarchy became sycophants and did the bidding of the presidency instead of concentrating on how it would remain in office.

“Kofi Adams and Kofi Portuphy were beneficiaries of the presidency machinations during the Kumasi Congress to elect them,” the report reveals on Page 27.

It adds on page 28 that “after the party’s congress in Kumasi, the party’s hierarchy collapsed,” saying, “party hierarchy became sycophantic in its relationship with the government.”

Kofi Adams unseated incumbent Yaw Boateng Gyan as National Organizer while Mr Portuphy removed then Chairman Dr. Kwabena Adjei aka Wayo Wayo or cat hunter, from office in an acrimonious congress of the party held in Kumasi in December, 2014.

Stolen Party Cash
The report recounts instances where some greedy party executives put in-charge of Mahama’s second term bid, stole campaign cash and denied the NDC foot soldiers their share of the cake.

According to the report, President Mahama let himself down with his attitude towards the campaign, saying, “John Mahama lost the elections and not the NDC.

“President Mahama ignored the Akuse strategy. It included no flamboyant campaign, no amorphous group etc.”

The report revealed that then President Mahama, seeking re-election, carried himself like a ‘movie star’ and surrounded himself with aides who were intolerant to dissenting views.

Disastrous Solomon Nkansah
The report also asserts that the reign of Solomon Nkansah as the Communications Officer of the party was disastrous.

Mr Solomon Nkansah was the National Propaganda Secretary before the NDC turned the propaganda office into communication when the party moved into its $20 million office complex which the top hierarchy vehemently denied owning in 2014.

“Solomon Nkansah as Communications Director was a disaster,” the report claims on Page 28.

Party Disconnection
According to the report, there was “disconnection between the government and the party, and also there was “disconnection between the party and the grassroots.”

The report says there were palpable divisions in the party and cited Afram Plains in the Eastern Region as typical example.

It points out that the 13-member committee heard how the party’s hierarchy ignored warnings that the Lawra seat in the Upper West Region and other constituencies were falling into the hands of the opposition, but nobody did anything about it.

Greed & Selfishness
“NDC was its own enemy. Greedy, selfish, dismissive, arrogance of power,” were the party’s undoing according to the report on Page 27.



Thursday, October 12, 2017

CABINET MEETS ON GAS EXPLOSION

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Cabinet is expected to meet today to deliberate on the deadly gas explosion at Atomic Junction, Accra last Saturday that has triggered spontaneous debate regarding how petroleum products are being handled in the country.

Seven people, including a cameraman working with NET2 Television, who was stationed at the presidency, Mohammed Ashiley Yakubu, were killed and 132 others sustained various degrees of burns and were rushed to various hospitals for medical attention.

Sources say the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government is said to be considering far-reaching safety measures as lasting solution to the spate of gas explosions and fire outbreaks, and the crunch meeting is expected to set the tone.

Presidential Pledge
After visiting the scene of the explosion and the hospitals where the victims were receiving treatment, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, promised to act swiftly with the right policies to forestall fuel and gas explosion in the country.

“The time for talking is over and that the time for action is now!” President Akufo-Addo said after the visit.

“Cabinet will be meeting on Thursday, October 12, 2017 and I believe, out of that meeting, the country will know what our programme is, the comprehensive programme we intend to have to bring such incidents to a stop,” he said.

He made a passionate appeal to industry players “to recognise that we all have to make adjustments to be able to guarantee the safety and security of our people, so these things do not happen again.”

President Akufo-Addo underscored, “I need the support and the cooperation of the people of Ghana to make sure that the policies that we will be bringing out succeed, so that such incidents become a thing of the past and not of our future.”

Vice President Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, who visited the scene and the hospitals earlier said, “This is one too many. This is about the eighth explosion that has happened in three years, and I think what Ghanaians really want are solid policies to deal with this once and for all. We are going to move to deal with it.”

He added, “It is not about committees upon committees and nothing gets done. I think that we owe it to the country and the government is going to take this very seriously. We are going to move quite quickly to do it. It is not going to be one that you will wait weeks for it to happen. It is going to happen relatively quickly.”

Report Ready
It is now becoming clear that barring any hitches, the investigation into the circumstances leading to the deadly gas explosion will be concluded, and the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) is expected to submit to government its report by the end of the week.

Public Relations Officer of GNFS, Prince Billy Anaglate, said on Joy FM in Accra that the report is “90 percent completed,” adding that the investigator had spoken to all those whose accounts of the explosion were vital to the final report.

“We have done all that it takes. All the information regarding the investigation has been taken, and we are close to submitting our report,” he maintained.

Khebab Theory
In the initial stages, Mr Anaglate described reports suggesting that last Saturday evening’s inferno was started by a khebab seller nearby as unfortunate.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

DEADLY GAS EXPLOSION: JOURNALIST KILLED, KHEBABA FIRE RULED OUT

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, October  10, 2017

Details are emerging about how the deadly gas explosion at Atomic Junction, Madina in Accra, started.

The explosion that created huge fireballs in the sky in the north-eastern part of Accra at about 7:30 pm on Saturday, has greatly shocked the nation and also brought to the fore the need to tighten regulations on how petroleum products and the operations of petrol and gas stations are managed.

The actual cause of the explosion has not been confirmed, but the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) appears to have deflated the khebab-induced theory espoused by some journalists and social commentators as having started the huge fire.

There was no sign that the khebab man operated at that fateful hour when the explosion occurred, as his grilling stove was covered.

Casualty Figure
Officially, seven people - including a cameraman working with NET2 Television in Accra, who was stationed at the Flagstaff House, Mohammed Ashiley - are reported dead while 132 others were said to have been injured, with 64 of them having been treated and discharged by Sunday.

Mohammed Ashiley died in the line of duty while covering the event for the TV station, which is not too far from the accident scene.

Khebab Theory
Prince Billy Anaglate, Deputy Public Relations Officer of the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) dismissed reports suggesting that Saturday evening’s inferno was started by a khebab seller nearby.

He said the actual cause of the explosion was still under investigation and described the khebab link as ‘unfortunate.’
Already, countless number of witnesses had confirmed that the scent of gas was all over the area where a tanker was discharging the highly inflammable product; and that was an indication that the atmosphere was smoldered moments before the explosion, which was felt as far as Adentan and its environs.

There are reports that the driver of the gas tanker realized that the tank containing the gas was leaking and blew an alarm, forcing everybody at the scene, including workers in the area, to run helter-skelter.

Hundreds of people in and around the Atomic Junction area fled their homes and workplaces for safety as the two explosions lit the skies and caused severe heat waves.

Reports were rife on social media that the said khebab seller, who lit a fire when the gas was being offloaded, might have caused the explosion and the version espoused by a Joy FM journalist that the fire was started by a khebab seller went viral.

“It is true that certain activities around the gas filling station might be responsible for the cause of a gas fire on the gas facility, but if you are talking about a khebab seller, you need to determine the distance of the khebab seller to the gas filling point,” Mr. Anaglate told Citi FM in Accra.

Manual Valves
In the ensuing debate, the Chamber of Petroleum Consumers claimed that the use of ‘manual valves’ in discharging liquefied petroleum gas from a tanker into a storage tank might be the possible cause of the unfortunate disaster.

It said in a statement that its findings into the possible cause of the explosions pointed to the absence of a proper dislodge device (suction pumps) at the station.

A gas leak from one of the two gas fuel stations within the Atomic Junction enclave reportedly sparked fire, which extended to an adjoining Total filling station, causing two explosions that sent fireballs into the skies.

UPSA Protests
Students of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA), which is in the same enclave where the gas exploded, have started agitating for the removal of a petrol station under construction, situated right behind the campus which they claimed was a threat to their lives.

In a statement signed by UPSA SRC president, Justice Gadugah, the students said they wanted the regulatory authorities to act without delay to stop the construction of the fuel station.

“Due to the high number of casualties recorded by some students of UPSA, the executive council of the Students’ Representative Council (SRC) would like to by this notice inform the students of the University of Professional Studies, Accra to declare a demonstration tomorrow, Monday, 9th October, 2017,” the statement said.

The explosion had forced some students of the University of Ghana, Legon out of their hostels with over 200 of them wounded in the confusion.

PRESEC Boys
Students of Presbyterian Boys Senior High School - which is situated quite close to the accident scene - had to run for their lives when the fireballs started flying.

Almost every student took to his heels and some of them were found as far as Accra Mall area on the Tetteh Quarshie Interchange.

Yesterday, a Deputy Minister of Education, Dr. Yaw Osei Adutwum, visited the campus and interacted with the students and gave the assurance that the Ghana Education Service (GES) was bringing in counselors to manage the traumatized students.

Police Presence
At least 200 police officers, led by COP Akuffo Dampare, as well as all the security agencies and allied institutions like the GNFS and NADMO, have been deployed to the scene since Saturday.
Dr. Dampare said yesterday that it was too early for anybody to disclose the actual cause of the fire, but added that the police administration would continue to be vigilant.

Emergency Response
The emergency response appears to be swift as indicated by a Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who commended the GNFS, NADMO, Ghana Ambulance Service and the security agencies for the manner in which they dealt with the situation.

He described the swift response as unprecedented and said the government was committed to ensuring that all emergency service providers were given adequate resources to operate.
The deputy minister later revealed that about 400 gas stations are currently operating in residential areas across the country.



Monday, October 09, 2017

DEPUTY EC BOSS CHASES EOCO FOR REPORT

By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, October 07, 2017

One of the Deputy Chairpersons of the Electoral Commission (EC) currently embroiled in the scandal that has hit the commission is chasing the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO) for causing her interdiction over matters relating to the commission’s Staff Endowment Fund.

Georgina Opoku Amakwaa, who is the Deputy EC chairperson in-charge of Corporate Services, is currently on indefinite leave allegedly on the instructions of the chairperson of the commission, Charlotte Osei - who herself is being probed by the Chief Justice for alleged abuse of office.

The deputy EC boss is threatening to take legal action against EOCO if the investigative body fails to respond to her queries about the status of its investigations.

Asante-Krobea Sekyere and Associates, lawyers of Ms Opoku-Amankwa, in a letter dated October 3, 2017 and addressed to EOCO, copied to the Attorney General, Gloria Akuffo, stated that “we are giving notice of our intention to go to court against your office, a copy of which has been forwarded to the Attorney-General, whom you claim you have submitted your report on the investigation to.”

According to the lawyers, numerous letters written to EOCO to furnish them with the progress of investigations against their client by the chairperson of the EC had been ignored without any receipts.

EOCO is investigating some officials of the EC over the loss of GH¢480,000 from the commission’s workers’ Endowment Fund.
Ms Opoku-Amakwaa said she caused her lawyers to write to the EOCO on three different occasions but the anti-graft body had refused to respond to any of the correspondences.

In a letter of October 3 to EOCO, a copy of which is in possession of DAILY GUIDE, Ms Opoku-Amakwaa’s lawyers averred, “It is regrettable that even though all the previous letters were delivered to your office by our client personally, you have not seen the need to treat our letters with the requisite courtesy of even acknowledgement, let alone a reply to same.

“In our last letter to you dated 28th August, 2017, we requested to know the status of your investigation into the allegation made against our client by the chairperson of the EC.” In that same letter, we registered our displeasure towards the way and manner the office has dealt with our client.”

According to the lawyers, they had already indicated Ms Opoku-Amankwaa’s “unhappiness with the instruction issued by the chairperson of the EC to write to our client to proceed on leave on an allegation made by the same chairperson on a matter that bordered on the Staff Endowment Fund.”

The lawyers said they did not understand why Ms Charlotte Osei, against whom some allegations had also been leveled by some staff of the commission and which are before the EOCO for investigation, had not been asked to proceed on leave but the investigative body could cause Ms Opoku-Amankwaa to proceed on leave.

“Since your office has decided not to respond to our letters we have no other option but to proceed to court to seek redress for our client and to get your office to submit to us the status of your investigation into the allegation against our client, particularly as your action is keeping our client out of office indefinitely,” Mrs Opoku Amankwaa’s lawyers warned. In July, Mrs. Opoku-Amankwaa, together with two EC officials - Kwaku Owusu Agyei-Larbi, Chief Accountant and Joseph Asamaoh, a Finance Officer - were asked to proceed on leave over a missing GH¢480,000 from the Staff Endowment Fund for the commission’s workers.

A letter from the EOCO, which was signed by ACP K.K. Amoah (rtd.), Acting Executive Director, said it had taken over the case, explaining, “The suspects are assisting in investigations.”

In the letter, dated July 4, 2017, and addressed to the chairperson of the commission, EOCO had said it was investigating “the loss of about GH¢480,000 from the Endowment Fund at the Electoral Commission.

“The office would be grateful if you would direct the officers listed above to proceed on leave whilst investigation proceeds.”

Pursuant to the EOCO letter, Madam Charlotte Osei wrote to Mrs Opoku-Amankwaa asking her to proceed on leave ‘immediately‘ and directed her to “kindly forward any pending issues to the Office of the Chairperson.”