Thursday, February 22, 2018

EC IN DISARRAY…CHARLOTTE OSEI GIVEN ULTIMATUM

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday February 22, 2018

The embattled Chairperson of the Electoral Commission (EC), Charlotte Osei, has been accused of running a ‘one-man’ show - failing to carry along other commissioners.

The EC boss is said to have refused to hold meetings with other six commissioners to discuss the way forward for the independent electoral body.

According to information available to DAILY GUIDE, the commissioners have not held a single meeting for about a year in clear breach of the EC Act 1993; and activities at the state institution appear to have been put on hold currently.

No Meetings 
DAILY GUIDE understands that it is the duty of Mrs Charlotte Osei to convene meetings to deliberate on the activities of the commission, but she had allegedly refused to do so, leaving her colleague commissioners very frustrated.

As a result, one of the commissioners, Ebenezer                   Aggrey-Fynn, has written a strongly-worded memo to the chairperson, asking her to arrange a meeting with immediate effect to enable the commission to carry out its functions.

He gave the EC boss a one-week ultimatum, failure of which he said he was going to use every legal avenue to get the matter settled.

The memo - a copy of which is in possession of DAILY GUIDE - was written on February 16, 2018 and was copied to Mrs Osei and her deputies in-charge of Operations and Corporate Services, as well as other members of the commission.

Constitutional Breach 
The memo is suggesting that Mrs. Charlotte Osei is running the commission as a sole commissioner, contrary to the 1992 Constitution.

According to Mr Aggrey-Fynn, a similar letter he sent to Mrs. Charlotte Osei on August 21, last year to enquire about the reasons for the failure to hold commission meetings fell on deaf ears.

“My memo dated 21st August, 2017 on the above subject refers. Regrettably, I am yet to receive an acknowledgement of it nor seen any action on the content,” frustrated Mr. Aggrey-Fynn said.

Mandatory Provision 
He drew the attention of the chairperson to Section 6 (1) (Act 451) - The Electoral Commission Act 1993 - which states that “The Commission shall meet at least once every two months.”

He said the EC boss should know that “the members of the commission are held jointly and severally for the actions and inactions of the commission.”

Sole Commissioner 
The worried commission member said, “It is sad to note that you (Mrs. Charlotte Osei) have positioned yourself in a manner that suggests that you are a Sole Commissioner, contrary to the 1992 Constitution.”

Demand Notice 
“I am by this memo demanding that you call a commission meeting immediately to enable the commission to carry out its functions,” he declared.

He indicated, “Failure to hear from you by 23rd February, 2018 on my request, will leave me with no option than to explore other options of compelling you to do so to enable me perform my constitutional mandate as a member of the commission.”

Frosty Relationship 
The public uproar that ensued following a series of petitions and counter-petitions filed against Mrs. Charlotte Osei and her deputies - Alhaji Amadu Sule (Operations) and Mrs Georgina Opoku-Amankwaa (Corporate Service) - gave an indication that all is not well among the commissioners.

It is public knowledge that some of the commissioners, including Mrs. Charlotte Osei, are not on talking terms and it was evident when she led the EC team to face a parliamentary committee last year.

Some of the commissioners are also reportedly required to fill the visitor’s form anytime they want to see Mrs. Charlotte Osei.

Chief Justice Committee 
Currently, a five-member committee presided over by Justice A.A. Benin of the Supreme Court is investigating the EC chair and her two deputies as prescribed under Article 146 of the 1992 Constitution.

The whole action 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 who were seeking to trigger impeachment proceedings against Mrs. Charlotte Osei.

A litany of allegations were leveled against Mrs. Osei, including spending GH¢3.9 million to partition an office, receipt of a bulletproof Toyota Land Cruiser from the previous 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.

Counter Petition
In the ensuing heat, Emmanuel Senyo, a non-EC staff, filed a counter petition to the president against the two deputy commissioners - Amadu Sulley and Mrs. Opoku-Amankwa.

DAILY GUIDE understands 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 Mrs. Charlotte Osei and allegedly paid him thousands of dollars.



Tuesday, February 20, 2018

NANA SERIOUS ABOUT CORRUPTION SAYS RAWLINGS

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday February 20, 2018

Former President Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings has noted that the selection of Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as Special Prosecutor is an indication that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is serious about fighting corruption in the country.

Mr. Amidu, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice - who is a key member of the National Democratic Congress - (NDC), subject to parliamentary approval, is expected to become Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor - an office created in fulfillment of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) manifesto pledge.

He underwent about eight hours of vetting before the Appointments Committee of Parliament last week and sources say he received overwhelming endorsement by members of the committee.

So far, it is Alhassan Suyuhini, NDC MP for Tamale North, who claimed on radio that he voted against Mr. Amidu’s approval; but the massive support for the incoming prosecutor appeared to make his eventual approval a mere formality.

Serious President
Former President Rawlings, in a meeting with the Ambassador of Japan, Tsutomu Himeno, said, “The appointment of Amidu as Special Prosecutor from outside his own party shows the president is serious.

“It vindicates some of us,” he said, whilst making a case for Japan’s continuous assistance to Ghana.”

He maintained, “No developed country should hold back in assisting our country to improve the lives of our people.”

International Matters
The former president also discussed issues of globalization and the current world order with the Japanese Ambassador.

“The inequalities created by capitalism and the impunity of political power may be leading to the emasculation and helplessness of the mass of people on the one hand and on the other, it will no doubt and definitely be triggering outrage, anger and hatred which translate into acts of violence, suicidal tendencies, terrorism and pockets of political instability,” Mr. Rawlings said.

He said Japan is holding on to its enviable position as a leading developed country because Japanese culture prohibits impunity.

“Others need to learn a few lessons from countries like Japan, China, South Korea and a few others that have held on to the humility of power. The culture of respect for the people is what has helped to prevent the arrogance of power,” he emphasized.

“Though our culture of respect is not supposed to be any different, we have not been able to prevent impunity.”

The former president said, “It is about time we woke up to the negatives of the savagery of capitalism and tyranny of the misuse of wealth.”

Mr. Rawlings extended a message of good wishes from his family to Emperor Akihito and his family as well as Professor Hishashi Owada, former diplomat and currently a member of the International Court of Justice.

Numerous Projects
Responding, the Japanese Ambassador recounted the numerous projects his government has been embarking on in Ghana and said the people of Japan are appreciative of the relationship with Ghana.

He mentioned the role being played by the Noguchi Memorial Institute and the untiring effort of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) as some of the efforts of the government of Japan.

Congratulatory Message
In the heat of Mr. Amidu’s nomination by the NPP government, the former president, who is the founder of the NDC, sent a congratulatory message to President Akufo-Addo on rising above ‘partisanship’ to appoint Mr. Amidu, whom he described as ‘fearless’ and ‘a highly principled citizen.’

Mr Rawlings had said Mr. Amidu is the right person for the job, explaining, “Mr. Amidu has proven to be a fearless anti-corruption crusader whose pursuit of truth and justice has won him national admiration. The President couldn’t have made a better choice.”



Monday, February 19, 2018

JUDGES FIRE ATUGUBA OVER ‘BOGUS’ REPORT

By William Yaw Owusu
Monday February 19, 2018

A said controversial research finding released by former Executive Secretary of ex-President John Mahama has riled top judges in the country.

Prof. Raymond Atuguba of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghana, released the findings last week which indicate that Ghana’s Supreme Court judges decide political cases taking into consideration the governments that appointed them.

The judges, led by Chief Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, are however, not taking kindly to the outcome of the research by Prof. Atuguba - who is a nephew of Supreme Court judge William Atuguba - and have expressed their disapproval in the strongest terms.

Controversial Findings
Prof Atuguba, who traced the voting patterns of Supreme Court judges from 1993 to 2018, said he analysed 100 political cases settled by the highest court, saying it revealed that on matters “where the law is not clear the judges were divided along the ideologies of the political parties that appointed them.”

According to him, 14 out of 22 National Democratic Congress (NDC) appointees to the Supreme Court had given judgment in favour of the NDC whilst 13 of the 16 judges appointed by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) gave judgements in favour of the party.

Judges Wild
Leading the charge, the Chief Justice said Prof. Atuguba’s work is alien to Ghana and appears to fault the premise for the whole research.

“It is an American type of research that you have done...that’s fine, but please be careful what you are importing into our environment,” she cautioned, adding, “They (Americans) are used to that, we are not. I don’t think there was a single judge who agreed with what you were saying.

“Under the Constitution, a judge will be appointed during somebody’s time...and that somebody will belong to one party or the other.”

The Chief Justice confronted Prof. Atuguba during his presentation of the findings at the 2018 GIMPA Law Conference where some superior court judges were in attendance last Thursday.

She insisted that matters are decided by the top judges in line with the law and said they are supposed to be ‘sound and factual.

The CJ cautioned the law lecturer not to introduce ‘alien practices’ into the Ghanaian setting.

Insulting Findings
A Supreme Court judge, Justice Jones Victor Dotse, who was present at the presentation of the research findings, did not hide his disappointment when he said the entire research is an affront to the judges.

“You are entitled to your views,” he told Prof. Atugaba, adding, “I think it is an insult of the highest order.”

Justice Irene Charity Larbie of the Court of Appeal said Prof. Atuguba’s research is a direct attack on the integrity of justices of the Supreme Court.

Atuguba Counter-Attack
However, Prof. Atuguba was adamant, saying he was not the least surprised that there was negative reaction to his findings.

“Words are just nothing to me,” he said, adding, "The first time I did a critical analysis of the police the next morning eight fully armed officers were dispatched by the IGP to arrest me from my office,” he claimed.

"What should we do with these analyses? Should we stop doing them, should we have another way of funneling it to the public, what should we do?" he asked rhetorically.

"I will never insult anyone, not to talk of the judges, I am engaged in a critical analysis of our political institutions (and) critical analysis always meets opposition," he noted.

“It is not a coincidence that this happened...and it will soon be discovered by the general populace and it may be too late then to gain public trust and respect for the court. The time to act is now,” Prof. Atuguba urged.

Public Opinion

Justice Francis Emile Short, former chairman of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), asked Prof. Atuguba to publish the research findings, saying it would elicit constructive critique from the academia.

"Publish it...I would like to see it," he told Joy FM on Friday, claiming, “Academic research is useful if we can critique the methodology."

He said, “It would be critical to find out how a case was determined as political and how the researcher reached the conclusion that a judge favoured the appointing authority. If the conclusions are valid, then there are lessons to be learned.”

Atuguba’s Support
Prof. Stephen Kwaku Asare aka Kwaku Azar, a United States-based Ghanaian law don who has been leading a crusade against certain obnoxious public laws, described the judges’ ‘negative’ reactions towards the research findings as an attack on academic freedom.”

He said the research by Prof. Atuguba only provided ‘empirical data’ to confirm ‘popular perception’ that political appointments of judges have influenced their voting patterns on political cases.

Prof Asare said on Joy FM that the findings of Prof. Atuguba did not surprise him, saying, “it is consistent with what people have been saying."

He said the law is not "arithmetic where two plus two amounts to four; what Atuguba is saying is hardly controversial.”




Sunday, February 18, 2018

STOLEN MONEY TRACED TO FOREIGN ACCOUNTS

By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday February 17, 2018

It is emerging that huge sums of money believed to have been stolen from state coffers have been traced to foreign accounts.
Sources investigating the stolen cash have said the offshore accounts are held in Europe, Asia and some African countries where there is financial stability.

The sources said details of the said accounts had been identified and it is likely to attract the attention of the Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu, when he is given the nod by parliament.

Amidu’s Vow
During his marathon vetting on Tuesday, Mr. Amidu said that he has the capacity to track all stolen funds stashed in foreign accounts.

“We will trace them and then they have to decide whether they will come and pay reparation or bring the money back or we will deal with it,” he said, adding, “There is an international law on politically exposed persons. If you want to open an account with a certain bank, especially in the UK and America, they ask you to fill a declaration of consent that if questions are asked about you, the bank is at liberty to provide them.”

Legal Assistance
He said, “..... So, legal assistance gives us an opportunity for those who think they are smart enough to put their monies and go through the Kotoka International Airport because they are exempted from very critical screening and deposit them abroad.”
The former Attorney General posited, “I was once the Minister for the Interior and so I know the security methods of doing it. We will use these methods.

No Harassment
Mr Amidu said he was not coming into office to jail people and would be nice to all those who would show remorse and bring back their stolen public funds. He pleaded that there should not be any politicization of issues when people are arrested adding, “Crime is crime without political colouration and that is how the office will run if I am approved.

 “We should go back and look at the offences the Special Prosecutor can prosecute. Out of the 10 offences listed with the general provision of other offences, six of them are misdemeanours, two are felonies, two are unclassified. So for me, the issue is not necessarily wanting to fill Nsawam with people.”

Justifying his position, he said, “What is the use imprisoning him if you can’t get the monies back? If he agrees to get the monies back only for a conviction and probation, I think that is better for the nation than imprisoning him 10 years, feed him 10 years, give him prison clothing and if he is grown, he will have chronic conditions and be sending him to hospital. If you will bring part of the money back or all of it and it is reasonable, that is the thing I like about this section so that those who think that the office is just to be there locking people left, right and centre will realise that the office will act reasonably.”

Mr. Amidu added, “This plea bargaining thing has a good incentive. If people want to make reparation for the consideration of the court and go and sin no more, the office will have to take into consideration all the grounds upon which reparation must be accepted and the reparation must be reasonable because it will come to the knowledge of the people of this country.”



Thursday, February 15, 2018

AMIDU CHASES WOYOME GANG

By William Yaw Owusu
Thursday February 15, 2018

President Akufo-Addo’s nominee for the position of Special Prosecutor, Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu, is still insisting that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) financier, Alfred Agbesi Woyome, should not go down alone in the infamous GH¢51.2 million judgment debt scandal that rocked the nation in 2011.

Mr. Amidu maintained, “If we are going to prosecute, we should prosecute everybody involved and not Woyome alone.”

The NDC bankroller, who fraudulently walked away with GH¢51.2 million for no work done, was said to have been aided by some staff of the Attorney General’s Department under Betty Mould-Iddrisu.

Some of the payments went into bank accounts of some staff at the Department and their wives, as well as NDC gurus.
The New Patriotic Party (NPP), ahead of the December 7, 2016 elections, released a list containing the alleged beneficiaries of the Woyome payout.
The GH¢51.2 million was fraudulently paid to the NDC man in 2010 by the government on the instructions of then Attorney General, Betty Mould Iddrisu, and her deputy, Ebo Barton-Odro.
Some of the beneficiaries were the late Professor Kofi Awoonor, who was the Chairman of the Council of State.
He was said to have received a cheque for GH¢75,000; Johnson Asiedu Nketia, General Secretary of the NDC, GH¢20,000; Ade Coker, Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the party, GH¢30,000 and Koku Anyidoho, Deputy General Secretary, GH¢113,000.
“On 8th February 2011, the NDC Greater Accra Regional Chairman, in a receipt, penned in his own handwriting, Mr Ade Coker was given GH¢30,000 by Woyome. The handwritten receipt reads, ‘Received from Consul Afred Woyome an amount of GH¢30,000.00,’ Signed Ade Coker 8/2/11. Asiedu Nketia is also listed as a beneficiary of the Woyome cash. For example, on 2nd September, 2011, he personally received GH¢20,000 from Mr Woyome. It was a cash cheque with serial number 727292,” the NPP stated.
The rest are Kwesi Pratt, Managing Editor of Insight newspaper, GH¢2,000; Steve Kpodzi, former Managing Director of ADB, GH¢60,000; Alhassan Sayibu Suhuyini of Radio Gold, GH¢8,000 and Jewel Ackah, a musician, GH¢60,000.
Woyome also gave GH¢15,000 to the NDC office in Hohoe; GH¢42,000 to the party for the purchase of motorbikes; GH¢30,000 to renovate NDC party office and another GH¢1 million to the same party.
“On 15th February, 2011, a one-million Ghana-cedi cheque was paid into the Unibank Ghana Ltd account of the NDC. We have a copy of the exact ADB cheque, which carries the No. 230051. Woyome's bank statement shows that that cheque was cleared the very next day,” the party claimed.
“On May Day (May 1, 2011), Koku Anyidohu received from Woyome personally a cash cheque of GH¢13,000, with No. 809093. A few days after, on 10th May, 2011, Woyome again gave Koku Anyidoho an amount of GH¢100,000 and the purpose is stated as ‘Koku’s Trip With President (Mills).’
“There is also payment of GH¢60,000 from Woyome to Steve Kpordzie, who was at the time the Managing Director of ADB. This raises serious questions over propriety. What did the Bank Manager do to deserve a cash payment of that colossal amount?
“In fact, the Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho, is also listed as receiving GH¢10,000 from Woyome, from cheque No. 727745,” the NPP stated.
It said Woyome made the payments to the people and the NDC in 2011.
It was Mr Amidu’s efforts that led to the declaration by the Supreme Court that Mr. Woyome should be made to refund the huge amount he unlawfully took from the state during the erstwhile Mills/Mahama  NDC administration.

Bizarrely, a criminal trial mounted against Mr. Woyome collapsed after the high court judge, John Ajet-Nassam, acquitted and discharged him for lack of evidence.

It was also in the course of delivering the Supreme Court judgement that a member of the panel - Justice Jones Victor Dotse - described the deal as a case of ‘create, loot and share,’ which became a negative political mantra used against the NDC ever since - to connote the supposed corrupt deals of the party.

During his vetting in Parliament House in Accra on Tuesday, Mr Amidu, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice, said, “As Attorney General, I had said that Woyome cannot be prosecuted alone and that all his accomplices must be prosecuted.”

Mr. Amidu, who did not name the supposed ‘accomplices,’ told parliament’s Appointments Committee that as the AG when he met his staff to deliberate the Woyome issues and “they all agreed that part of the fault is from this house (the Attorney General’s Department).

“That is one of the reasons why the hoodlums hounded me so that they would not be prosecuted. So Woyome alone was prosecuted and if you remember, in the judgement, the judge said that Woyome could not be prosecuted alone and that those who acted with him were not brought. So (John) Ajet-Nasam, who was proven to be a corrupt judge, later acquitted Woyome.”

In fact, his description of some NDC bigwigs as hoodlums attracted the attention of the Committee’s Chairman, Joe Osei-Owusu, who asked Mr. Amidu to retract the statement, which he did immediately.

Mr. Amidu said “If I had prosecuted that case, together with the accomplices, the result would have been different and my perception is that the prosecution was bundled to get that guy out.”


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

NDC RUNS TO COURT OVER AMIDU

By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday February 13, 2018

The opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) appears determined to stall the President’s nomination of Martin A.B.K. Amidu as the Special Prosecutor.

He is expected to face the Parliamentary Vetting Committee today, but that might be postponed because one of the NDC Members of Parliament (MPs) has filed a suit at the Supreme Court, seeking to stop Mr. Amidu from being vetted to become Ghana’s first anti-corruption prosecutor.

Dr. Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bolgatanga East, claims Mr. Amidu, a former Attorney General and Minister for Justice - who is credited for his crusade against corruption - has crossed the mandatory age limit required to hold such an office.

He filed the suit against the current Attorney General and Mr. Amidu himself yesterday, and he is being represented by Mr Tony Lithur, who represented former President John Mahama during the landmark presidential election petition in 2013.

Mr. Ayine, who was the Deputy Attorney General under the previous Mahama administration, wants reliefs, including “a declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (1) (4) and 295 of the 1992 Constitution, the requirement age of all holders of public offices created pursuant to Article 190 (1) (d), is 60 years, anyhow not beyond 65 years.”

He also wants “a declaration that by a true and proper interpretation of Articles 190 (1) (d), 199 (4) of the 1992 Constitution, no person above the age of 65 years is eligible for employment in any public office created under Article 190 (1) (d),” as well as “ a declaration that by reason of his age (66 years), Mr Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be nominated as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

The former Deputy AG further wants a declaration that “by reason of his age, Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be approved by Parliament as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959).”

Furthermore, the plaintiff wants a declaration that “by reason of his age, Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu is not qualified or eligible to be appointed by the President of the Republic as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2018 (Act 959).”

He also wants a declaration that “any purported nomination by the Attorney General or approval by Parliament or appointment by the President of Mr. Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu as the Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2018 (Act 959) is unconstitutional and therefore null and void.”

The suit indicates, “In the event Martin Alamisi Burns Kaiser Amidu has already been vetted and approved by parliament and or appointed by the President as a Special Prosecutor under Section 13 (3) of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2018 (Act 959) prior to the final determination of this suit, an order annulling such nomination, approval and appointment.”

In his legal arguments, the plaintiff insisted among other things that the Office of the Special Prosecutor is “a creature of the Constitution to the extent that it is a direct offshoot of a power drawn from Article 190.

“Once parliament passed Act 959 and the President assented to it on 2nd January, 2018, the Office of the Special Prosecutor became part of the public service and governed by the constitutional provisions relating to the public service and public office holders.

“Whatever designation one gives the Office of the Special Prosecutor created under Article 959, it is clear that it forms part of the public service, and its employees and appointees, once appointed, become public officers.

“The plaintiff said that the Office of the Special Prosecutor has no special constitutional guarantees beyond what is prescribed under the 1992 Constitution for all public office holders. The Act, which creates the office, can therefore not give it any features or attributes beyond what is constitutionally prescribed for the public services in general.”





Friday, February 09, 2018

NDC ALLERGIC TO FACTS – SAYS NANA

By William Yaw Owusu
Friday February 09, 2018

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has observed that members of the minority opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) in parliament are "allergic to facts."

According to the president, the NDC MPs do not appreciate any facts put out, and noted that that is threatening smooth national debate and consensus building.

At his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered in parliament yesterday, President Akufo-Addo said that there was no doubt that the government he is presiding over inherited “a weak economy choked by an avalanche of debts and with many projects abandoned.”

He said although the then NDC government, led by President John Mahama, was claiming to have invested heavily on roads infrastructure, there was still serious issues concerning road traffic in many parts of the major cities, particularly Accra.

He said he was setting the records straight, irrespective of the heckling by the minority who clearly did not agree with him (President Akufo-Addo).

 “It is a shame that after seven years or so after work has started on the Eastern Corridor roads, we are nowhere near completion....and yet this is a strategic road that will provide a much shorter and cheaper link between the northern and southern parts of our country and suitable alternative road for the land-locked towns," he said.

President Akufo-Addo said for instance, that the Eastern Corridor road, which is supposed to serve as a major link between the southern and northern parts of Ghana, is not completed due to excessive propaganda of the NDC in their time in office, noting that the network of roads is suffering from deliberate unproductive propaganda.

He also lamented how massive cocoa cash was used to fund cocoa roads in the country at a time when cocoa prices were going down under the previous administration, saying, “It comes as no surprise that COCOBOD has issued directives to suspend work on all three sections (of the road network) which comes up to almost 100 kilometres.

“Mr. Speaker, we are determined to find the resources to complete the Eastern Corridor road...there is a crying need for work to be done on all our roads; the Western and Central  Corridor roads, trunk roads, feeder and town roads around the country for the required urgent attention.


NDC MPS FACE SUIT OVER CASH-FOR-SEAT

By William Yaw Owusu
Friday February 09, 2018

Lawyers for the Millennium Excellence Foundation (MEF) are threatening to sue two opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) Members of Parliament over their conducts in the cash-for-seat claim.

According to the MEF lead counsel Peter Zwennes, the two: Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak (Minority Chief Whip) and Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs) have continuously churned out what he called “irresponsible and destructive falsehood” against his clients since the cash for seat issue came up and they were going to take legal action against them.

At a news conference in Accra on Tuesday, Mr. Zwennes said they were going to seek permission from the Speaker of Parliament to drag the two MPs to court to prove their claims against leading members of the MEF, the organization that hosted the 2017 Ghana Expatriates Business Awards on December 4, last year.

Destructive Falsehood
“The propagation of such irresponsible and destructive falsehood made against my client should not be availed the cloak of parliamentary immunity which if it had been said in anywhere else in the open will certainly be giving rise to a meritorious court action in defamation,” he fumed, adding “the foundation is still considering its options and they are still available to us.”

Affected Reputation
He said despite the exoneration of the foundation, its president, Ashim Morton, feels the reputation he has built for himself within a period of twenty years has been affected.

“Despite the untruths now having been laid to rest and though much gladdened by his exoneration, my client has found that this acquittal has come at a heavy cost to his hitherto unsullied and unquestionable reputation.”

“This not to mention the heavy cost that these false allegations have caused the country also to suffer in terms of the commitment of foreigners towards foreign direct investments, market confidence, and the image of the leadership of the Republic of Ghana on the international scene”

“After steadily building up his reputation of integrity over a period nearing two decades, it is an abysmal shame for the foundation to realize that some choose merely to see it as an institution worthy of sacrifice on the altar of common mischief for the sake of what they see as political expediency,” he added.

Bogus Allegation
The MEF held the news conference after the five-member Parliamentary Committee set up by the Speaker to investigate the Minority’s claim that during Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, all those who sat close to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo were charged between $25,000 and $100,000, submitted its report on the floor of the house.

The special parliamentary ad hoc committee after a thorough investigation, some of which were telecast live, exonerated officials of the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Millennium Excellence Foundation because there was no extortion as claimed by the NDC Minority.

There was confusion when the minority said its members on the committee wrote their own report called ‘Minority Report’ that sought to challenge the findings of the committee.

Financial Loss
Later, Minister of Trade and Industry, Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, whose ministry was tagged as ‘extortionists’ said the NDC MPs caused financial loss to the state through their motion to recall parliament to set up the committee to investigate the allegation which turned out to be bogus.

He insisted that the emergency recall of the house to discuss the matter was unnecessary saying “it may be possible that the associated cost for recalling this may be a case of causing financial loss.”

However, the minority was adamant and even left the floor of the house by boycotting the debate on Cash-for-Seat Committee Report.

Insincere Group
Yesterday, Kwasi Ameyaw-Cheremeh, Chairman of the Parliamentary Investigative Committee that looked into the issues recounted how members of the minority on the committee ‘played games’ with them when they were concluding their report.

He specifically mentioned on radio that Dr. Dominic A. Ayine, NDC MP for Bolga East, who was part of the committee, representing the minority, was disingenuous in his dealings with the committee members when they were compiling the final report.

He also said another NDC MP on the committee James Klutse Avedzi left the committee’s work and travelled to Uganda on an assignment, saying “I was supposed to travel to the United States but I had to prioritize the committee’s work but he could not; maybe it was because of the per diem.”

Two other majority members on the committee were Dr. Mark Assibey-Yeboah and Yaw Buaben Asamoa.