Tuesday, January 17, 2017

AMIDU CHARGES NANA TO ROOT OUT CORRUPTION

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Martin A.B.K. Amidu, has observed that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will succeed if he pursues his anti-corruption agenda without fear or favour.

“Many Ghanaians, like me, are not followers of your political party but I dare say that as long as you continue occupying that high moral ground and fight corruption in deeds you will succeed and your first four-year tenure will usher in the golden age of Ghana again,” he underscored.

In a news release yesterday, the anti-corruption crusader (who is fondly called Citizen Vigilante) said President Akufo-Addo should never follow the example of former President John Mahama whom he accused of supervising the looting of the treasury with impunity.  
“All that these ordinary and committed citizens care about is that you never repeat the mistakes of your immediate predecessor’s government which simply took Ghanaians for granted as undiscerning and looted them to pulp,” Citizen Vigilante charged.

Mr. Amidu said the controversial bungalow request by ex-President Mahama, who is appearing to be his (Amidu’s) bitterest rival despite being in the same political party, had blighted the transition process, but said it was premeditated.

He said the only shortcoming of President Akufo-Addo so far is the handling of the Mahama request to keep his official residence located at the No. 3 Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra, a request which he said the new administration should not have countenanced in the first place.

“The John Mahama retirement residence and office saga nearly cost you well-meaning supporters both in your political party and amongst ordinary citizens of good will,” he told President Akufo-Addo.

He said that in spite of the former president’s schemes, “The ordinary Ghanaian was quick to see that Mahama had with preconceived malice planned for years to take the Vice President’s residence for himself as his life-long retirement home right after Professor Mills’ demise,” adding “Even the ordinary Ghanaian sitting in the Madina tro tro bus realized that Mahama’s scheme of remaining in the Vice President’s official residence instead of moving to the presidential residence at the Flagg Staff House was part of his pre-meditated and internalized looting behaviour of state assets.”

Mr Martin Amidu admonished, “Mr. President, you have been in office for a week already and in the process of forming your Government. Ghanaians exhibit a great deal of goodwill for you to succeed as president. But make haste slowly and be fairly sure of each step you take.”

He said that President Akufo-Addo’s anti-corruption promise and agenda won him the election and that Ghanaians are expecting the president to fulfill that promise, saying, “Mr. President there is no gain saying that the experiences of the majority of Ghanaians in the immediate past few years have generated tremendous support and enthusiasm for your professed cause of action to save our dear country within the next four years.

“Remember always that governance as a human enterprise is susceptible to unforeseen natural contingencies that affect every human endeavour, whatever one’s good intentions and wishes. It works like applying quantum mechanics theory in social and political interactions.

“In these coming four years, your fate for the success or failure of the management of the enterprise called Corporate Ghana, is solely in your own and exclusive hands.

“In whatever you do for the next four years, remember that unlike your predecessor whose mandate was based on a casting vote of the Supreme Court, you received the overwhelming vote of the entire nation, in spite of deliberate attempts by the incumbent to rig the elections.”



Sunday, January 15, 2017

COCBOD BOSS FORED!

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, January 14, 2017

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Dr Stephen Opuni, has been relieved of his position by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

The termination of his appointment, which was contained in a letter signed by Nana Asante Bediatuo, Secretary to the President yesterday, said the decision was taken pursuant to Section 14 (1) of the Presidential (Transition) Act, 2012 (Act 845) and paragraph six of the schedule.

The letter stated, “You ceased to hold office as Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board upon the assumption of office of His Excellency, the President of the Republic.

“You are directed to hand over your office to His Excellency the President’s Representative at the Ministry of Agriculture, Dr. Owusu Afriyie-Akoto, and proceed to collect any terminal benefits or facilities due you under the relevant law.”

The letter also directed, “In view of the urgency attached to this matter, please ensure that you hand over and cease to act as Chief Executive of Ghana Cocoa Board not later than 5 pm on January 13, 2017.”

DAILY GUIDE learnt that Dr. Opuni attended a meeting of the Transition Team yesterday and was asked to give a briefing of his stewardship to the team.

Some of the areas he was supposed to touch included projects he initiated for Cocobod, contracts signed and outstanding issues that need urgent attention.
Dr. Opuni was appointed by former President John Mahama on November 30, 2013.

Prior to his appointment, he was the CEO of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA).

His tenure at Cocobod had been dogged with allegations of victimization, cronyism, corruption, among others.

He had a long fight with unionized workers under the auspices of the Industrial Commercial Workers Union (ICU), who accused Dr. Opuni of putting systematic plans in place to break the front of workers of the cocoa sector.

In the heat of the struggle, the aggrieved workers at a point claimed Ghana lost more than $10 million because of the alleged dealings of Dr Opuni.



DON'T SPARE CORRUPT PAST OFFICIALS - AMIDU TELLS NANA

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, January 14, 2017

Former Attorney General Martin A.B.K. Amidu has claimed some influential people and chiefs are trying to persuade new President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo not to prosecute perceived corrupt officials under the previous Mahama administration.

He said President Akufo-Addo’s anti-corruption efforts would be meaningless if he takes the path of reconciliation instead of probity and accountability.

In a statement released recently, Mr. Amidu, who is a member of the NDC and renowned for his anti-corruption exploits, said “I assure every Ghanaian that the evidence of criminal and unconstitutional conduct is overwhelming, but unconstitutional attempts are being made through influential chiefs and elders to let bygones be bygones contrary to the demands of the Constitution for accountability, transparency and fairness in governance.”

He accused the 6th Parliament of the 4th Republic of assisting the previous Mahama administration to loot the country and hoped that the current 7th Parliament will not attempt to “compromise the President’s anti-corruption agenda in the name of reconciliation.”

“The President’s anti-corruption drive will be still-born with such compromises and reconciliations.”

While congratulating the new Speaker Prof. Mike Aaron Oqcuaye, the former AG said “unlike previous elections in the annals of our history the pivotal and critical issues were between electing a corrupt, bankrupt, inept, incompetent, abusive, impudent, and Looter incumbent Government, and electing one of the contesting candidates dedicated to fighting all these unconstitutional capricious evils and protecting the national purse.”

He prayed that Ghana should never elect a President like John Mahama because he is corrupt and had looted the country’s treasury.

“The massive thrashing of the incumbent Looter Government of John Dramani Mahama (may God never give Ghana a corrupt and looter President like him again) by the President Nana Akufo-Addo and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) is a clear expression of the sovereign will of Ghanaians for accountability, transparency and fairness in governance to all citizens without fear or favour.”

He said Ghanaians voted against what he termed “patronage, cronyism, ethnicity, and political party cryptocracy,” saying “Ghanaians, therefore, expect and demand a total brake with the immediate past practices of the parliaments which were reduced into appendages of the executive chariot in looting the national purse.”

“Ghanaians have demanded and expect that the mandate of the 7th Parliament will be consistent with the letter and spirit of the 1992 Constitution; and the promises by the President to protect the national purse and be impartial in the governance of our dear country.”

“The promises of the President upon whose steam of anti-corruption agenda the NPP in Parliament had such a beautiful majority, meets Citizens Vigilance for Justice’s agenda of putting Ghana First,” adding “I dare say that the reasonable number of members of Parliament returned and voted to the 7th Parliament was the result of the electorate’s perception of their ability to put Ghana First in holding the executive to account.”

He said that “the expectations of Ghanaians that the President and the 7th Parliament would for the first time since 2009 indeed render selfless service to the people of Ghana and not champion their corrupt self-interest and their political party’s myopic corrupt self-interest was demonstrated by the events that unfolded on Friday, 6th January 2017 at the concluding deliberations of the Sixth Parliament under the Fourth Republican Constitution, 1992.”

Mr. Amidu said that “the partisanship, cronyism, patronage, ethnicity, and endemic corruption of the Looter Governments of the Fifth and Sixth Governments of the Fourth Republic had been allowed by the majority to infect the fabric and conduct of Legislative business in the House.”

He hoped the current parliament would “be a leading champion of the anti-corruption agenda within itself and against the executive and judiciary,” adding “may this 7th Parliament not be party to paid covert Government surveillance through illegal undercover agents spying on coordinate organs of government and collaborating with the executive to suppress parliament’s own corrupt practices while exposing that of the least powerful branch, the judiciary.


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

GOV’T REJECTS MAHAMA HOUSE

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Akufo-Addo government is not in agreement with a request by former President John Dramani Mahama that he should be allowed to keep his current residence located at No.3 Prestige Link, Cantonments, Accra.
The residence has been the official house for sitting vice presidents.

The rejection is contained in a report by the Transition Team, which was submitted to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday.

It detailed reasons why the new government should not accede to the immediate-past president’s request.
There is spontaneous outrage in the country over the decision by former President Mahama to appropriate the official residence as part of his end-of-service package.

Proper Consultation
A source has said that President Akufo-Addo is still having consultations on the request and that the new administration is likely to follow strictly the first-come-first-served principle.

As a result, the government is likely to provide accommodation for former President Kufuor and his vice, the late Aliu Mahama, who were denied their respective end-of-service accommodations by the Mills/Mahama administration.

The source said for purposes of equity, the government was going to provide accommodations for all the ex-presidents, with the same architectural designs.

Edu-Buandoh Report
The NPP Transition Team has said President Mahama’s own appointed committee, headed by Prof. Dora Francisca Edu-Buandoh of the University of Cape Coast, did not recommend a house for him but rather agreed on 40 percent of his salary in lieu of accommodation.

Yaw Osafo-Maafo, who is the Chairman of the NPP Transition Team, has quoted page 44 of the report, which suggests 40 percent of the ex-president’s monthly salary to be paid to him.

He claims that there is nothing in the said report that talks about acquisition of his current official accommodation.

The Edu-Buandoh Committee had Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Local Government Minister and Chairman of the University of Ghana Council, as a member who ruled out dishing out a house to resettle the former president.

Secret Amendment

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

Even after the amendment, the NDC government did not say the president’s current abode should be given to him.

Mahama’s Office
In 2009, the NDC administration reportedly motivated some young party activists, led by one Prince Derick Adjei - who called themselves Ga Dangbe Youth – and prevented ex-President Kufuor from having access to the facility at North Ridge, near Parliament House.

They claimed the building was on Ga land and that Mr. Kufuor should go to his native Ashanti Region.

In spite of the provocative action, then National Security Coordinator Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo-Lartey and then Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) boss, Yaw Donkor and other security capos, endorsed it and never allowed Mr Kufuor to use the facility to date.

Majority Leader
Majority Leader Osei-Kyei-Mensah Bonsu stated categorically that the December 19, 2016 letter written by the outgone Chief of Staff Julius Debrah to the then incoming NPP government to ask it to endorse the decision to hand over the house to Mr. Mahama was premature because parliament had then not even met to affirm the retirement package of the now ex-president.

He also said that the NDC, under Presidents John Evans Atta Mills and John Mahama, never honoured its part of the agreement to resettle former President J.A. Kufuor, who was entitled to a house when he left office.

The Majority Leader said former Presidents Flt. Lt. J.J. Rawlings and Prof. Mills had all been settled by the state, but Mr. Kufuor was never given anything.

Gabby’s Take
Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko, a lawyer, appeared to explain on social media yesterday the status of ex-President Mahama’s request.

“The president, according to the law, as varied, is entitled to a house. What he is not entitled to is to choose which house. He can only request,” he posted on Facebook.

“It is up to the powers-that-be to decide. That decision must be right by law, by the people and decent. And I am confident the final decision will meet all three above,” he said.

Yankah’s Intervention
The founder of African University College of Education, who once served as a minister under the first NDC regime, Kojo Yankah, has added his voice to the debate, pointing out that it is wrong for President Mahama to take the house.

“It is wrong for the ex-president to convert his official residence into a personal one. Even if parliament approved of it and the new president gave a nod, it is still wrong,” he posted on Facebook.

“When the late Obetsebi Lamptey (Jake) even paid for his official residence, it was considered bad enough. The precedence is dangerous and should not be allowed to stand,” he cautioned.

More Anger
A man who claimed to be a staunch supporter of the previous NDC government said, “Mr. Mahama should move out. In 2008 we stood and fought on such principle to drive out the then NPP elements. I will not do or accept a U-turn to such a principle. In 2008 we drove the NPP out. We must stand for Ghana.”

Another indicated, “I don't understand the mindset that enables our leaders to appropriate their official residence for their private use. Nor do I understand the mindset that allows the citizenry to acquiesce to the misappropriation. It is saddening, sickening, shocking and stinking.”

Another man said, “None of these noble men who served this nation in such capacity ever contemplated taking or buying such a property. I don’t understand why Mr. Mahama wants to take it at all cost. It’s not the best.”


















Tuesday, January 10, 2017

NO DEAL FOR MAHAMA HOUSE SAYS OSAFO-MAAFO

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 10, 2017

The request by former President John Mahama to the Akufo-Addo government to keep his official residence is causing uproar in the country.

Ghanaians are outraged over the decision by former President Mahama to appropriate his official residence as his retirement package.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) side of the Transition Team has subsequently rejected the outrageous request, which has generated heated debate between the new government and the immediate past NDC administration over the propriety of the ex-President’s action, which some claim smacks of double standards.

The new government insisted that the decision over whether or not the official residence of the Vice President of the Republic located at No.3 Prestige Link in Cantonments, Accra where Mr. Mahama has resided since his Vice President days has not been finalized.

Under the Transition law, former President Mahama ought to have packed out for Dr Mahamudu Bawumia to move into the house as Vice President.

Head of the NPP Transition Team, Yaw Osafo Maafo said that the contentious house had not been given out as retirement package to Mr Mahama.

Mr Osafo Maafo told DAILY GUIDE yesterday that the new government had not authorised former President Mahama to continue to stay in the facility.

 “We have not approved of his request, and I want to repeat we have received the request and the requests are two – for him to be given his ex-gratia where he lives and also be given another property as his office.”

He said the issue was referred to the NPP’s legal team on the Transition Team but “our legal team is yet to receive the report.”

The NPP Transition Team chairman said President Mahama’s own appointed committee, headed by Prof Dora Francisca Edu-Bandoh of the University of Cape Coast, did not recommend a house for him and said it rather agreed on 40 percent of his salary in lieu of accommodation.

He quoted page 44 of the report, which suggested 40 percent of salary and nothing on acquiring his current official quarters.

The Edu-Bandoh Committee had Kwamena Ahwoi, a former Local Government Minister and Chairman of the University of Ghana Council, as a member who ruled out dishing out a house to resettle exiting presidents.

Mr Osafo Maafo said the former Chief of Staff Julius Debrah discussed the matter with him and followed up with a letter dated December 19.

According to him, he had referred the matter to the legal team of the government for consideration and will soon make public the outcome of the decision taken.

In spite of the uproar, the new opposition NDC insists the last parliament approved ex-President Mahama’s request before the house was dissolved.

Apparently after realizing that there was no basis to appropriate the house, the NDC, using its then majority in Parliament, secretly amended the Edu-Bandoh Committee report to include housing settlement, and even that did not say his current abode should be given to him.

Immediate past Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah believes that if the request would not be acceded to, the NPP should put it on paper.

House History
The building in contention was originally the GNTC Club House, which later became the guest house of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD).

When former Vice President Kow Nkensen Arkaah took office in 1993, there was no official residence for the Vice President and because he was the MD of GNTC, he settled on that building and thereafter, it became the official residence for the Vice President under the 4th Republic and has since remained so.
Subsequent Vice Presidents namely the late John Evans Atta Mills, the late Alhaji Aliu Mahama and President Mahama himself have all used the facility.

However, President Mahama refused to move out of the residence when he took office as the President of Ghana and as a result, his Vice Paa Kwasi Bekoe Amissah Arthur lived at the Australian House which is a government safe house.

Majority View
Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu appeared to have doused the flame yesterday when he said on radio that President Akufo-Addo approved the request for the government to provide a house for the immediate-past President but insisted that the approval did not mean that Mr. Mahama should be allowed to keep the current facility.

“We did not include that his current residence be given to him; that is not what we said.”

He said “the Mills/Mahama NDC administration never provided a house for ex-president John Agyekum Kufuor after his tenure but President Akufo-Addo was of the view that we should not repay evil with evil, in fact he told me that he wants us to start a new beginning.”

Hannah Tetteh
Hanna Tetteh, spokesperson of the NDC side of the Transition Team and former Foreign Minister, rejected the accusations against ex-President Mahama, disclosing that the request by her boss for a bungalow and office was part of his end-of-service benefit package approved by parliament.

“Parliament approved the president’s entitlement. What was discussed and approved by parliament has been the case for previous heads of state. It was that the president would be provided with official accommodation befitting a former president which also will have guest houses and an office. So it’s not about him asking for something; it’s an entitlement approved for him by parliament which has been approved for former heads of state already,” she insisted.

But the same package approved for John Kufuor was rejected by the NDC and the former president was never settled.

Expert’s View
In the ensuing debate, a constitutional law professor has waded into the controversy, saying the ex-President’s request should be treated with ‘contempt’ because it is not backed by law.

Prof. H. Kwasi Prempeh said, “Per the Edu-Bandoh Report, as approved by Parliament, President Mahama is not entitled to a state-provided house in retirement. He is entitled, as allowance toward his residential accommodation, to an amount equal to 40% of his monthly salary. That's what the current law says.”

"His request to keep the state house he lived in during his tenure, first, as Vice President and later as President must be declined and treated with the contempt it deserves. The Akufo-Addo government must not tolerate this. If he refuses to move out of the Cantonments House, he should be forcibly removed. Enough of this nonsense,” he posted on Facebook.

Mahama Ban
When ex-President Mahama assumed office in 2013, he abolished the policy that allowed public office holders to purchase state bungalows allocated to them and immediately instructed then Chief of Staff, Prosper K. Bani to suspend all requests by government officials to purchase any state vehicles assigned to them for official use without delay.

Unfortunately, outgoing NDC ministers have been asked to buy the official vehicles at reduced prices.

Bizarre Twist
However, in a bizarre twist, the outgoing Chief of Staff Julius Debrah, in a leaked letter of December 19, requested ownership of the building and asked the incoming government to accede to the request.

“Reference our (Osafo-Marfo/Debrah) discussion of 19th December 2016 on the above stated matter, we wish to indicate that H.E President John Dramani Mahama would like to have Bungalow No. 3, Prestige Link, Cantoments, Accra and its adjoining facilities as his official retirement home.”

Mr. Debrah later said that President Mahama once made a verbal request to President Akufo-Addo, who referred them to Mr. Osafo Maafo.

Fight Back
The office of the ex-President, in a statement, asked the public to ignore claims about President Mahama’s residence.

“Contrary to the claims being made that HE John Dramani Mahama, former President of the Republic of Ghana, has refused to vacate his residence, we wish to state and confirm that per the information officially communicated to the newly inaugurated administration following discussions by the Joint Transition Team, President Mahama will continue to maintain his current place of residence as his retirement home.”

“The decision and agreement on the place of residence and office for the former President was formally communicated to the new administration by the former Chief of Staff Julius Debrah on December 19, 2016. The Sixth Parliament of the 4th Republic before its dissolution also resolved that residential and office accommodation should be provided to the outgoing President, HE John Dramani Mahama in line with convention and existing precedent.”

The statement said “the claims that Vice President Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia is stranded and has nowhere to stay are mischievous and deliberately intended to embarrass President Mahama. The Vice President is expected to take up residence in the House known as Australia House, which was previously occupied by former Vice President Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur.”

“An official and permanent residence for the Vice President is currently under construction, off the Switchback road. Dr. Bawumia will move into the new structure when completed,” the statement said.






Thursday, January 05, 2017

FRESH ATTACKS HIT DR. OBENG…ACCUSES COLLEAGE OF SABOTAGE

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, January 05, 2017

The tug-of-war that has ensued between the Registrar of the Ghana Medical and Dental Council (MDC) and owner of Obengfo Hospital is getting personal.

According to Dr. Dominic Obeng Andoh, the registrar is embarking on a personal agenda against him by making malicious statements in some sections of the media to make him look as some kind of a quack.

He said the recent visitations by the police at the Advanced Bodysculpt Centre of the Obengfo Hospital at Weija Junction, Accra on the instructions of the Registrar of the council Dr. Eli Kwesi Atikpui was part of the agenda to force him out of the profession.

Patients including celebrities and other high-profile Ghanaians have been attesting to what can be described as mouth-watering transformations due to the unique artistic way excessive fats from the body are withdrawn without being cut but the registrar insists that Dr. Obeng Andoh is not licenced to conduct such a procedure.

Genesis
Giving the genesis of the issues, Dr. Obeng Andoh said “Dr. Eli Kwesi Atikpui himself filed a complainant to the Medical and Dental Council of which he a is part that I was advertising unfairly and in performing countless hernia surgeries around 2010,” adding that “So he together with the MDC sat on the case without ever inviting me to defend their concocted false charge and succeeded in sentencing me from the medical profession for three years in 2012 for having a sign board that had a hernia drawing on when my clinic was located in Mataheko, Accra.”

“I was never invited as natural justice demands even to defend myself against the bogus charge but they passed a one-sided judgment in my absence saying that I should be suspended from practice. I saw my lawyer and we filed an appeal at the High Court.”

Dr. Obeng Andoh said “the court then asked the MDC to file their so-called proceedings that led to the decision to suspend me but they didn't and haven't been able to defend their bogus judgment against me till date. The case is still pending.”

He said since then, the registrar has been condemning him through the media at the least opportunity saying “he calls me a quack Doctor and asked everybody not to come to my clinic.”

Dr. Obeng Andoh further said “he asked Accra Reginal CID to come and arrest me when an appeal against that bogus suspension had been filed at the court which meant that they had no right to follow through with their orchestrated suspension and should have left me alone to work.”

 He said that again in 2013 “I heard Dr. Eli Kwesi Atikpui attacking me in the media that I only have a medical licence that allowed me to do only consultations and had teamed up with some journalists and some doctors in publishing false, fabricated stories that I was actually killing unnamed clients in my clinic when in actual fact no such medical misconduct nor negligence had ever been found against me.”

He said when Dr. Stephen Opuni was at the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), the registrar allegedly used the authority to harass him (Dr. Obeng Andoh) without any justification.

“He teamed up with Dr. Opuni who is believed to be his classmate to arrest me on a false charge of advertising on a hernia surgery,” adding “after the needless arrest and the false charge the case was never heard.”

He said as a result of the registrar’s pronouncements against him in the media, “I had to sue Multi media, CEO KwesiTwum, Manesseh AzuriAwuni, and Seth Frimpong Boateng and late Isaac Yeboah of P&P in the process for publishing defamatory stories about me and Obengfo Hospital. The case is still pending.”

He said the council has continuously rejected his application for renewal of licence without justification since he took them on in court.

“All this time year after year I do what all other good  doctors do by attending prescribed Continuous Professional Development (CPD) accredited conferences, programs,  training sessions both locally and internationally to upgrade and improve myself and at the end of each year present all certificates including fees  to the MDC. To my utmost dismay the council rejects and consciously decides not to receive them.”

“From 2012 till date I have all my certificates and money available, but they will not accept my application and turn around to make me look bad in the eyes of the public,” he complained.

He said some elements in the council are using the police to harass him even without any express orders of the court saying “No medical negligence nor misconduct has ever been found against me in my medical practice in any of the thousands of surgical procedures done by me both in Ghana or internationally.”

“Most of my clients are highly educated and know what they want. Celebrities, journalists, Doctors, pastors, pastors wives, Doctors wives, lawyers, Chiefs, beauticians, politicians and the like. No death, no Life-threatening complications has been caused through my surgical practice in my hospital. I can boost of very successful outcome of surgery with the over 20 thousand surgical procedures in my highly esteemed hospital.”


GH¢10,000 LIMIT SET FOR DKM REPAYMENT

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday, January 05, 2017

Another batch of customers of the defunct DKM Diamond Microfinance Company is currently being paid and the Official Liquidator has set GH¢10,000 as the limit.
The Registrar General’s Department, which is the official liquidator, tasked Pricewaterhouse Coopers to make the payments.

According to reports, the process is going on smoothly but some of the affected customers are still complaining.

Initially, payments made to clients did not exceed GH¢3,500.

Presently, customers, who invested up to GH¢10,000 and below, will have all their monies back while those who invested more will be paid GH¢10,000 and later given their respective balance.

A local representative of PricewaterHouse Coopers, Darren Owusu McDaniels, told reporters yesterday that “I will not be able to know because we are just facilitating the payment exercise. We just follow the process brought to us from our people in Accra and make sure everything is in order. I will not be able to tell what went into the raising of the threshold.”

He added that they were working hard to resolve all the challenges associated with the process.

“Initially, some people did not see their names in the list that came out. Others too did not have their expectations met after coming to collect the monies, but we have explained everything to people better so everything has been cleared and it is running smoothly.”

The Principal Company Inspector for the Official Liquidator, Jones Nathaniel Ansah, later confirmed the payments.

The auditing firm has announced new measures, requiring all customers of DKM to visit Wa in the Upper West Region for their funds.

“PWC has currently rescheduled all payment to take place in Wa and if people want a change in this arrangement, it may affect the whole process.”

“This time around the cut across pay is GH¢10,000 so if you invested more than GH¢10,000 you will get the GH¢10,000 now while we renegotiate the rest of the payment with you later,” he added.

There are about 93,000 names validated manually but as at December 20, 2016, only 41,000 names had been released and posted at the various payment stations following the DKM financial scandal that brought untold hardship to customers.

This second batch of payment is expected to cover the remaining 52,000 customers.

Woes of DKM customers
Thousands of customers of DKM Microfinance Company lost their investments running into millions of cedis after the Central Bank in 2015 suspended the operations of DKM for violating the Banking Act.

Though the Central Bank subsequently lifted the ban on the company’s operations, DKM failed to pay its customers.

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) confiscated the assets of the company and tasked the Registrar General’s Department to commence the liquidation process to pay the monies of the customers.


    

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

TENSION AT APM TERMINAL

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

There is simmering tension between the workers of APM Terminal and management at the Tema Port, putting security of the port at risk.

According to sources, the management’s decision to interdict about 21 workers who were complaining about poor condition of service has incurred the wrath of their colleagues who have decided to solidarized with them by voluntarily joining the strike.

As a result, the management of APM Terminal, which is part of the Maersk Group operating a container terminal at the port, reportedly hit town to engage the services of drivers to handle sensitive machines, including reachstackers and forklifts used in arranging containers from the vessels.

BUSINESS GUIDE gathered that the stand-off heightened because of the prolonged negotiations on salary review for 2016 and bonus.

“After many rounds of negotiations at the close of 2016, the management of APM Terminal and the Maritime and Dockworkers’ Union (MDU) failed to conclude negotiations of 2016 salary review and bonus for 2016,” a source said.

“The management of APM Terminal and the MDU, which represents about 41 operational employees of APM Terminal, started salary review negotiations for 2016 on 18th May 2016 with the union’s initial proposal of 40% and management’s proposal of 10%.”
 
“After some meetings, management increased its position to 15% which it described as a final offer with the reason that its business in Ghana had reduced drastically whilst the union reduced its position to 27.5%.”

The source said that since 23rd July 2016, management and the union had not made any headway in the negotiations which compelled the MDU to make an initial complaint to the National Labour Commission (NLC).

But the parties declared a deadlock in a meeting on the 23rd November 2016 and agreed to refer the case to the NLC.

As a result, the source said, “The MDU reduced its position to 17 % for the salary review of 2016 and 17% of annual salaries of employees as bonus for 2016 whilst management maintained its stand of paying 15% for the salary review and 15% of annual salary as bonus to the unionised employees.”

“The many rounds of negotiations which did not yield any change in management’s position of 15% for the 2016 salary review and the bonus 15% for 2016 bonus up to the end of the year frustrated the workers which led the workers to embark on industrial action for about four hours on 28th December 2016, prior to the mediation meeting on 29th December 2016.

The workers have been venting their spleen on the management of APM Terminal for maintaining its posture.

“How can we be patient when the 2016 salary review and bonus had not been determined as at 27th December 2016. Management staff who earn big salaries had taken 15% of annual salaries as bonus and want to force those of us who earn salaries that are equivalent to $300 to $400 per month to take the same 15% of annual salaries but we do all the donkey work,” the workers fumed.

According to the workers, in spite of the call for austerity by the management, the company had been able to purchase expensive brand new cars for some members of management, saying “How can a company which claims to have drastic reduction of business continue to increase its overhead cost but request the ordinary workers to make sacrifices. The gap between the remuneration of the management staff and the workers is too wide and simply unfair.”

When contacted via telephone, the General Secretary of the MDU Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, said the tactics being employed by the management to intimidate the workers were unfortunate.

  “The workers have made tremendous sacrifices to contribute to the high profits of the company and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
“We won’t keep quiet on such injustice no matter the intimidating strategies adopted by management,” he said.




ACEP OPPOSES RELOCATION OF GNPC

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) says it will not make economic sense to relocate the headquarters of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) to Takoradi, the Western Regional capital.

Currently, there is an oil boom in the Western Region, and there are indications that the incoming New Patriotic Party (NPP) government could move the strategic national asset to the region.

President-elect Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo recently emphasized the need to relocate the corporation to the Western Region when he visited the area on his ‘Thank You’ tour.

“The commitments that we have made are commitments that are going to be fulfilled. They were not platform or campaign talk. They were full commitments that we made…We are going to relocate the headquarters of GNPC to this region,” the President-elect told the chiefs of the region.

However, at a media interaction in Accra, Head of Policy Unit of ACEP, Dr Ishmael Ackah, said the decision will put policy makers in a tight corner since oil exploration will commence in other regions as well.

He said the best the government could do will be to establish subsidiary offices rather than relocate the whole headquarters to the oil hub.

“We believe that it is not something that was well thought through because very soon we are going to produce oil in the Volta Region so are we going to shift GNPC from the Western Region to the Volta Region?”

“We can maintain GNPC here and rather open a subsidiary office probably for operations in the Western Region.”

He said, “What we can also suggest is that instead of GNPC, we can rather move Petroleum Commission, which is the regulator to the Western Region.”



GOV’T EXTENDS SUBAH CONTRACT

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

The outgoing National Democratic Congress (NDC) government has reportedly extended its contract with Subah Infosolutions.

Subah, which is one of the leading IT solution providers in revenue collection, ICT, data management, healthcare, banking, among others, has been granted the extension to continue monitoring revenues from the telecommunication companies on behalf of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), but it is not clear when the contract would expire.

A letter signed by the Commissioner-General of GRA George Blankson and sent to the telecommunication companies asked them to “Continue granting of access to your physical network nodes pursuant to the Communications Service Tax (Amendment), Act, 2013 (Act 864).”

“This has reference to a letter with reference number MoF/RPD/GRA/016 dated 11th November, 2016 from the Hon. Minister of Finance on the above subject,” the letter said, adding that “we wish to inform you that Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited has been granted approval to continue its role of monitoring revenue from the telecommunication companies on behalf of the Ghana Revenue Authority.”

“Further to the above, we wish to request that you continue to grant access to Messrs Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited to your physical network nodes in accordance with the provisions of the Communications Service Tax (Amendment) Act, 2013 (Act 864).”

Subah has developed a platform for SIM-Box Fraud Detection Service which enables mobile operators to track down and eliminate SIM Boxes from the networks in real-time.

According to the IT firm, it utilizes a data feed to collect real-time usage data for each IMSI in the network, which is used to quickly identify offending SIMS.







Friday, December 23, 2016

PAY VOLTA BASIN FLOODED AREAS CLAIMANTS

Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Friday, December 23, 2016

A Land Court in Accra has ordered the government to resume the payment of compensation to claimants in the Volta Basin Flooded Areas of the Volta Region.

The court, presided over by Justice Anthony Oppong, held that it was unlawful for the government to halt the payments in 2013 merely based on recommendations made by then Sole Commissioner Justice Yaw Apau - now with the Supreme Court - who investigated judgement debts and other frivolous payments under C.I. 79.

Between 2009 and 2012, about GH¢71 million was paid to the various claimants by the government after a negotiated settlement, but the disbursement of the remaining GH¢67 million was put on hold on the instructions of the Sole-Commissioner; and the government announced later that it was dealing with discrepancies in the payments.

Mahama Adamant
However, since 2013 the Mahama administration refused to resume the payments, compelling the claimants to go to court to force the government to honour its obligation under the negotiated settlement.

Cabinet in July 2008 had approved a consolidated amount totaling GH¢138 million for various stools/families in Pai, Apaaso, Makango, Ahmandi and Kete Krachi Traditional Areas, and about 57 groups were said to have benefited from the amount.

As a result, the claimants, including chiefs and people from Krachi, Pai, Tapa, Afram Plains, Nkomi-Sene, Makango and Apaaso, sued the Attorney General and the Lands Commission to trigger the resumption of the compensation payments.

Misconceived Action
When the case started, the Lands Commission, which is the body overseeing the payments, raised preliminary objection challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear the case at all, but the action was dismissed as ‘misconceived.’

The case then went to full trial where the plaintiffs, led by Messrs Kwasi Owusu Yeboa and Daniel Owusu Nyampong, insisted that the government breached the terms of the negotiated settlement and urged the court to reverse the decision to suspend payment.

They also argued that it was unlawful for the Sole-Commissioner to recommend that the payments be halted without following properly laid down provisions.

Defendants’ Position
Both the AG and Lands Commission (as defendants) had argued among other things that once adverse findings had been made against some of the people involved in the claims, they needed to seek redress at the Court of Appeal before they could continue to file for the rest of the claims.

They insisted that the plaintiff’s cause of action was premature, even though the defendants admitted the existence of a negotiated settlement and part of the amount already disbursed.

The commission further held that those the adverse findings were made against should have gone to the Court of Appeal to seek redress instead of the High Court.

Court’s Decision
In his judgement, Justice Oppong said that the government White Paper covering the Sole-Commissioner’s report had no binding power on the court in its current state.

He said all the findings leading to the recommendation of the suspension of the rest of the payments assumed the character of a High Court judgement after six months of the release of the report, and said the recommendation could not be binding on the court to decide whether the payment should be resumed.

The court also held that the terms of reference of the Judgement Debt Commission also made reference to inordinate payments, but the category under which the claimants’ case fell could not be said to be inordinate payment of public funds since it was a negotiated settlement at the instance of the government.

Negotiated Settlement
“How can a negotiated settlement between the government and a powerless claimant be said to be inordinate to the extent that the Sole-Commissioner can recommend that it should be stopped?” the judge queried, adding “the negotiated settlement represents a valid contract between the government and the claimants.”

The court therefore ordered that “the negotiated settlement concluded in 2008 between the government and the plaintiffs under E.I. 98 of 1974 as amended by E.I. 67 of 1975 in pursuance of certain tranches of compensation payment which were made by the government to them was still valid and legally binding.”

Apart from a cost of GH¢40,000 awarded in favour of the claimants, the court also slapped the plaintiffs with GH¢10,000 compensatory damages.