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John Mahama must apologise – K.T. Hammond

The former Deputy Energy Minister in the Kufuor administration, Kobina Tahir Hammond, has sharply responded to comments by Vice President John Mahama over the weekend over collateralizing Ghana’s Oil find.

According to Hammond, also MP for Adansi Asokwa, if the government wants to depend on Norwegians to decide on what is good for the country with regards to the oil find, then the minority will have nothing to say than to allow the government to go ahead with it.

According to K.T. Hammond, it is not only the NPP minority that is against some portions of the new Oil Bill but the majority as well since they all know the negative implications it will have on the country in future.

Mr. Hammond was reacting to Vice President Mahama’s assertion that “it will be foolish not to collateralize Ghana’s oil revenues for loans for infrastructural development”.

He has therefore called on the Vice President to apologize over the insulting language he used to show his disapproval of the minority.

He has also chided the government for intending to use a $10bn loan on only housing while other sectors are left unattended to, as well as trying to change a draft Oil Bill with an excuse that it was not cabinet that drafted the bill.

According to K.T. Hammond, who spoke on Asempa Today, if President Mills has called on all Ghanaians to avoid politics of insults and his second-in-command prefers using insulting language then it is a dent on the presidency.

Mr Hammond also condemned the government for using people he said were Norwegians to draft Ghana’s Oil Bill.

He said every law should originate from the government and for that matter Ghanaians and not foreigners as the case has been, adding it is a disgrace to Ghana.

The former deputy Energy Minister indicated that since oil prices have not been stable of late, Ghana will be over-burdened with interest payment should the use oil as collateral for loans.

Source: Asempa FM

PC Appiah Ofori petitions Speaker

Member of Parliament for Asikuma – Odobeng – Brakwa, has formally filed a complaint with the Speaker of Parliament over the bad treatment being meted out to him by his fellow colleagues in the Minority.

According to P.C Appiah Ofori, his colleagues in Parliament have consistently sidelined him in many activities carried out by the minority which has rendered him virtually ostracized from the minority group.

He believes his present predicament is a price he is paying for the alleging that his colleagues in the minority New Patriotic Party took $5,000 bribe before approving the GT/Vodafone deal in 2008.

He claims in addition he has been taken out of the Finance Committee of Parliament and is yet to be given any other committee to serve on, which is in direct contravention of Parliament’s own laws which states that a Member of Parliament should serve on at least one committee of the House.

P. C Appiah Ofori, cites his sitting position on the floor of Parliament as one of the many punitive measures being adopted by his colleagues.

He notes that even though he has served for three terms in Parliament, he has been made to sit with the back benches who are new in Parliament.

“Because I spoke against the $5000 issue, they wanted to punish me. But I stand by what I said. We could not sell Ghana telecom than to give away as we did” he said.

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensa-Bonsu reacting to the issue said his attention has been drawn to some of the complaints filed by his colleague, and he is aware that the Minority chief Whip, Opare Ansah is working to fix the problem.

Story: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Petroleum Exploration and Production Bill to replace PNDC law 84

Mr Inusah Fuseini, Deputy Minister for Energy, has stated that the Petroleum Exploration and Production bill would replace PNDC Law 84 when passed because the latter is limited in scope.

He said it would provide a legislative framework for exploration and production of petroleum in Ghana.

He said the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill which is also currently being considered in Parliament and expected to be passed on Tuesday November 30, offers one of the most transparent means by which revenue accruing from the commercialization of petroleum resources can be safeguarded and utilized in the most equitable manner.

Mr Fuseini was addressing a platform on oil and gas in Accra at the weekend.

He noted that other pieces of legislation and policies under consideration included the local content policy which was also being finalized after receiving cabinet blessing will ensure that Ghanaians benefit as much as possible from the oil and gas find in terms of employment, ownership and control and the provision of goods and services.

The occasion marked the first annual general meeting of the Civil Society Platform and the launch of a website for the platform.

Mr Fuseini said the establishment of a petroleum or oil and gas commission to regulate the petroleum industry was seriously being worked upon to ensure that the nascent industry was well managed to the expectation of all players-investors, workers or suppliers of goods and services.

He said in view of the multi billion dollar equipment deployed in the industry, appropriate measures are being put in place by multi-sectorial oil and gas security committee led by the Ministry of Defence to ensure maximum security and a peaceful atmosphere for operation of the industry.

The Deputy Minister said measures are also being put in place to ensure that the exploitation of the country’s petroleum resources does not result in environmental degradation or leave host communities worse off economically.

He said the jubilee project was successfully carried out without any major environmental hitches.

Mr Fuseini said civil society has not relented in its advocacy for the best standards in the development of Ghana ‘s oil and gas policies and legislations.

Source: GNA

CHRAJ clears Muntaka Mubarak of charges

The Former Youth and Sports Minister and Member of Parliament for Asawase, Muntaka Mubarak has been cleared of all charges levelled against him by some officials of the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the National Security Secutariate.

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), after comprehensively investigating the matter acquitted him of all the charges levelled against him.

President Mills earlier directed the National Security to carry out investigation into the scandal. The findings of the National Security Committee in principle cleared the former Sports Minister but were found liable for having used his position to secure a German Visa for Edith Zunayela who was alleged to be his girl friend.

The enquiry into the scandal was instigated by a non – governmental organization, the Progressive Nationalist Forum (PNF) who petitioned the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), to investigate the conduct of the former Youth and Sports Minister whilst in office.

The group made allegations of abuse of office and conflict of interest against the former Minister when he took office. It further accused Hon. Muntaka of fraud, after he allegedly used false information to secure a German visa for his girlfriend, Ms Edith Zunayela, together with using the Ministry’s resources to finance their trip to watch the CHAN tournament held in Cote d’Ivoire in 2009.

However, after thorough investigations by CHRAJ, the Commission came to the conclusion that there was not enough evidence to convict the former Sports Minister of any crime per the laws of the country.
Hon Muntaka Mubarak who spoke to the media, confirmed the news and expressed his appreciation for being exonerated after all the bashing he had received from the media and section of the public.

He said a 30 paged report submitted to him by CHRAJ cleared him of all charges and allegations that were levelled against.

Hon Muntaka Mubarak, however added that he will avail himself for any Ministerial position in the future if considered by President Mills.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Parliament to begin debate on 2011 budget today

Law makers will commence debate on government’s budget statement and economic policy document for 2011 financial year today.

Finance Minister Dr. Kwabena Duffuor presented the budget to the public two weeks ago.

The extended leadership of Parliament over the weekend were tutored on the contents of the budget at a workshop in Koforidua.

Deputy Majority Leader Rashid Pelpuo told Joy News he expects the Minority to cooperate having been exposed to the many good things in the budget.

“Behind close doors, they have seen some [hope] in [the budget], they have shown likeness for part of the budget, they have demonstrated that the budget is a good piece of financial statement that we can all support,” he said.

Source: Joy News/Ghana

CHRAJ to release findings on Muntaka Mubarak case

The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice will this week make public its verdict on allegations of fraud and abuse of office against former Minister for Sports Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak.

The commission, for months now, has been investigating the former minister following a complaint by pressure group, Progressive Nationalist Forum.

The group in its petition also requested CHRAJ to look into allegations that the former minister used state funds to sponsor his girlfriend on foreign travels.

Commissioner of CHRAJ Emile Short told Joy News the report on the former minister is ready.

He said the parties were yet to be furnished with the Commission’s verdict after which the report will be made public.

Mr Short said there was a bit of delay in reaching a verdict because two witnesses for the complainant were in court and were not always available when the Commission needed them to testify.

Source: Joy News/Ghana

Adenta MP: Nana Addo’s call is unnecessary

The Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kwadwo Adu Asare, has said Nana Akufo-Addo, flagbearer of the opposition New Patriotic Party’s, decision to dare his critics to prove with empirical evidence that he is a drug addict or shut up is totally unnecessary.

According to the MP, the pronouncement from Nana Akufo Addo will enable his political detractors to open the “can of worms” and resurrect an issue that had been flogged to death.

Nana Akufo Addo for the first time made a public pronouncement on what he described as a smear campaign against his personality when he was speaking at the opening ceremony of a three day national youth NPP conference held at the Mafara Hotel in Tamale yesterday.

“The people who are saying it are fully aware that it is bull shit. The time it happened in the past we took the view that we were not going to dignify that rubbish with a response. But it looks as if that’s not a good idea because it’s just given them a free hand. So we are going to respond this time appropriately. I want you to know I have never swallowed, sniffed, eaten, whatever you do with cocaine. I’ve never done it in my life. And i’ll never do it. So be rest assured, that entire one is nonsense. It’s never true” Nana Addo declared to loud applause.

Nana Addo vowed never to tolerate any further attacks on his personality and threatened to deal decisively with persons who continue to peddle falsehood against him as a drug addict.

However the Member of Parliament Adenta, Kwadwo Adu Asare, stated that the allegation that Nana Akufo Addo was a drug addict was topical during the 2008 elections but did not affect the votes of Nana Addo and it was important that he does not revive a “dead issue”.

“You realize that in the last election, with all those damaging words about Nana’s personality, the masses didn’t buy that message but instead voted massively for him, his campaign team shouldn’t have made him touch on that matter at all’’, he said.

Hon. Adu Asare was speaking on Asempa FM’s Eeko si sen show, Thursday afternoon.

Story by : Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

More women for Parliament

Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, Attorney General and Minister of Justice, has encouraged women leaders, regardless of political differences, to unite and defend female leaders in leadership positions who are maligned in the media.

The Minister, a gender activist, said such an act would send a strong signal to the public that women were united, committed, qualified and ready to assume any leadership positions or sail through the ranks to get to the top of their careers.

Mrs Iddrisu made the call at the launch of a two-day workshop dubbed, “Women’s Empowerment Programme,” organised by the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in partnership with the European Union (EU) at Atimpoku in the Asuogyaman

About 40 women leaders, drawn from the four political parties with representation in Parliament, are attending the workshop, on the theme: “Towards Increased Women’s Participation and Representation in Parliament.

The aim is to train and build their capacities and confidences to be able to contest their male counterparts to contest in the 2012 Parliamentary Primaries and beyond.

The IEA and EU have expressed the view that the programme would encourage women to participate in elections to increase their representation in Parliament.

This follows revelations that women’s representation in the Ghanaian Parliament has been on the decline, from 11 per cent in the Fourth Parliament of the Fourth Republic to eight per cent in the current one, the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic even though they (women) form the majority of the country’s population.

Mrs Iddrisu said women must recommit themselves to the Women’s Agenda and work hard to discredit vile accusations such as ‘Have you had a child or children’, ‘Your boyfriend is in an opposition party’ among others, that were usually levelled against women leaders who aspire for prominent political offices.

Such tags, she noted, negatively impact on the chances of the contestants. She also mentioned socio-cultural and economic factors, including persistent negative portrayal of women in the media, saying they affected the morale of the women in political organizations and called on the media to put a stop to such acts, which discourage younger women from aspiring for political offices.

Otherwise, she warned, women’s involvement in such exercises would continue to decline.

Ghana ought to change its electoral system in line with international protocols to which it is a signatory to achieve a gender-balanced participation and representation in governance and decision making bodies, she said.

Mrs Iddrisu, consequently, called for a mechanism to support women to start their political campaigns and sustain them towards the 2012 Parliamentary Primaries and subsequently the general election.

She also called on the women to take a vital interest in the forthcoming district assembly elections slated for December 28, to make them visible in their communities to enhance their chances of being elected saying, “We cannot afford a drop in the numbers”.

Mrs Frema Osei Opare, Member of Parliament for Ayawaso West Wugoun, called for the setting up of a “Women’s Political Fund” to be administered by an independent institution to be used to support women politicians because they did not have the means to raise the funds involved in running political campaigns.

Mrs Osei Opare, who spoke on the topic: “Towards Increasing Women’s Participation and Representation in Parliament: Real Strategies and Measures,” proposed that all current women parliamentarians be retained unopposed or have their seats contested the primaries level by only women to increase their participation and representation in Parliament.

She also called on female journalists to champion the cause of women in the country.

Mrs Jean Mensa, Executive Director of IEA, further elaborated on the programme saying it spanned 2010 to 2013 and would involve activities such as joint workshop between the women’s wings of the Ghana Political Parties Programme and women’s Civil Society Organizations (CSO).

They would discuss the outcome of such workshops, identify new ideas and strategies from the CSO’s and broaden the agenda to include non-political party women desirous of working with the women’s wings to attain the objective of increased women’s representation in Parliament.

Ms Daria Fane, Head of the Governance Section of the EU Delegation to Ghana, said women’s participation in political decision making institutions was an avenue for making meaningful contributions towards development.

Mrs Juliana Azumah-Mensah, Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, who chaired the programme, called on women to be practical and visible among their constituents to enable them to win the trust of the people needed to enhance their chances at winning political elections.

Source: GNA

Adu Asare condemns TEIN action

Kwadwo Adu Asare, Member of Parliament for Adenta has condemned members of the Tertiary Education Institutional Network (TEIN) of the NDC for hooting at the Executive Director of the National Service Secretariat, when he attended the TEIN National Conference at Winneba over the weekend.

Mr Vincent Senam Kuagbenu, was shocked to the marrow when the students on Saturday, November 27, hooted at him and prevented him from addressing them, despite protestations from their leaders.

The tertiary students’ embarrassing act was because they claim Mr. Kuagbenu is arrogant and had treated some of their colleagues unfairly.

Though the NSS Boss was scheduled to give a speech on “Rudiments of National Service”, the thousands of TEIN members present would have none of it as they continually shouted “away, away” at him.

Not even calls from some NDC “big men” including the Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah could calm the angry students.

Speaking on Peace Fm’s Morning Show “Kokrokoo” Monday morning, the Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kwadwo Adu Asare, described the act from the students as very unfortunate and must be discouraged.

He noted that Mr Kuagbenu himself is a youth and it is important that the youth wing of the party see him as one of them and give him the necessary collaboration.

Hon. Kwadwo Adu Asare, decried the increasing “in fighting “within the NDC party and called on the party hierarchy to work effectively to ensure party unity and cohesion which will guarantee success for the party in the 2012 general elections.

Source: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Parliament approves creation of more electoral areas

Parliament on Tuesday endorsed the creation of more than one thousand electoral areas under the Local Government Instrument 2010 to enhance the decentralization programme of the country. Ghana now has 6,135 electoral areas after the addition of 1,306.

The Local Government (Creation of New Electoral Areas and Designing of Units) Instrument 2010 (Legislative Instrument 1983) was laid October 19, 2010 in accordance with article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution was the vehicle for the addition.

The electoral areas and units currently in use for district level elections in the country were demarcated in 1988 at a time that the country had 110 districts.

The structures however, had changed significantly over the two decades in terms of population, size and other factors which necessitated the increase of districts to 170.

With the increase in the number of Metropolitan/Municipal/Districts, it is important to that the electoral areas are also increased in boundaries, re-aligned in consonance with the new creations.

Mr Kwame Osei-Prempeh, Chairman of the Committee for Subsidiary Legislation and NPP member for Nsuta-Kwamang Beposo, said perceptions from the outcome of the nation wide forum organized by the Ministry of the Local Government and Rural Development in conjunction with the Electoral Commission on the matter demonstrated that there was an urgent need to re-demarcate and re-align the electoral areas.

He said Western Region which formerly had 452 electoral areas would have 92 additional ones culminating in 544, Central Region had 498 with 73 but now has 571, Greater Accra had a base number of electoral areas as 236 but received additional electoral area of 121 making it 357 and Volta Region that had a base total of 517 received an additional electoral areas of 145 to have a total of 662 electoral areas.

Eastern Region moved from a base of 690 electoral areas with 160 to 850, Ashanti region’s 840 electoral areas had an increase of 205 to get a total of 1,045 electoral areas, Brong Ahafo region had 582 electoral areas with 156 newly created ones to have a total of 765, Northern Region had a total of 546 electoral areas with a top up of 156 electoral areas culminating in a total of 702, the Upper East had a total of 270 with 78 newly creations to have a total of 348 and finally Upper West Region had a total of 198 with 93 being added to it to have a total of 291.

Mr Osei-Prempeh observed that the proposed expansion of the electoral areas would go a long way to deepen decentralization in the country. He noted that the coming into effect of the instrument would eliminate some the challenges encountered during the implementation of the existing electoral areas for the district level elections.

He said challenges such as long distances to voting centres, separation of ethnically-bonded communities and separation by physical barriers had been taken into account in the proposed electoral areas in the instrument.

Mr Yaw Baah, NPP member for Kumawu, in supporting the motion called the attention of the House to the fact that Mr Joseph Yieleh Chireh, Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, had erred for issuing a directive that suspended the district level elections.

He quoted article 113 (2) of the 1992 Constitution to make the case against the Minister that he did not have the power that he exercised. “At any time when Ghana is actually engage in war, Parliament may from time to time by resolution supported by votes of not less than two-thirds of the members of parliament extended the period of four years…,” he said. “What the minister did was to set a very dangerous precedence”, he noted.

Mr James Klutse Avedzi, NDC member for Ketu North, said the creation of more electoral areas would not solve the problem of electorates covering long distances to vote.

He said this problem needed the creation of more polling stations. Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, NPP Member for Weija, said the expansive nature of some electoral areas especially those of the Weija constituency made local administration ineffective and called on the House to support the motion.