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Gov’t sponsored counter AFAG demo – Akomea alleges

The Minority Spokesperson on Communications, Hon Nana Akomea, has accused the Mills-led NDC government of pumping state resources into the counter demonstration by the Movement for Better Ghana in the Ashanti Region.

The Okaikoi South NPP legislator told Citi News that he has evidence to back his claim that the government sunk nearly 100 million old Ghana cedis into the Kumasi demonstration, which was to counter the protest march by pressure group Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG).

AFAG successfully ended the much-talked about demonstration against the recent upward adjustment in petroleum prices.

The march, dubbed “Ahokyere” (hardship) attracted over a thousand people from Accra and elsewhere.

Some NPP members of Parliament and key members including National Youth Organiser Anthony Karboo and Abu Jinapor participated in the march.

A counter group in Kumasi, Movement for Better Ghana also hit the streets against what they call the hypocrisy of some persons who do not want to appreciate the good works of the government.

The pro-NDC Group’s demonstration which was also well attended in the supposed NPP stronghold was to put pressure on Government to investigate some NPP officials who are alleged to have misappropriated the Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) debt Recovery Levy which has eventually culminated in the recent increases.

Speaking in an interview with Citi News Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky, Hon Akomea quoted from a document which he said was the budget estimate covering the Movement for Better Ghana demonstration to back his claim.

“The demonstration that has taken place in Accra by AFAG is an expression of genuine concern in the society, petrol prices have been increased by 30% which is very irresponsible by the government and everybody is crying…so a demonstration like this is definitely a genuine demonstration”.

“Now if you are doing one in Kumasi and you say that you are going to thank the government for increasing the petrol prices then it is obviously a contrived demonstration. You have this bill almost a 100 million old Ghana cedis just to do this demonstration. It is like tickling yourself and laughing”.

“Obviously the NDC government is footing the bill and they are doing that for their own purposes. If they are using their own money then there is nothing wrong with it but obviously they are using state resources”.

“The hundred million that was used for the Movement for Better Ghana demonstration in Kumasi could have been used to provide street lighting in Kejetia that would have benefitted all in Kumasi”.

Meanwhile, a deputy Minister of Information, James Agyenim-Boateng in quick response on the Citi Eyewitness News vehemently denied the allegations by the Okaikoi South MP.

Mr. Agyenim-Boateng challenged Nana Akomea to provide evidence that the NDC government sponsored the demonstration by the Movement for Better Ghana in Kumasi.

Scrap Parliament if…………… – Majority Chief Whip

A Member of Parliament for Nkwanta South and Majority Chief Whip incensed with the growing public criticisms against Parliamentarians for demanding rise in salaries has hit back at the media and the public.

Gershon Gbediame, says the public are free to scrap the House of Parliament and bring back an autocratic military regime if they think the Legislature is not important.

His statements come in the wake of public disenchantment over proposals made by MPs to the Prof Ewurama Addy led Presidential Committee on Emolument for salary increases.

Sections of the public including some politicians who spoke to Joy FM did not hide their displeasure over the proposed increases.

Whilst some argued the MPs are not deserving of any increases because of the worsening living standards of electorates, others say the quantum being demanded is simply unrealistic, and cruel at worse.

The MPs have been unhappy over the public reaction and did not fail to register their protest on the Floor of Parliament on Wednesday.

One of them, Gershon Gbediame told Joy News’ Sammy Darko the public and media who are championing the anti MP crusade have been unfair to the MPs.

“Scrap Parliament and bring back the military if you think Parliament is not important,” he said.

He was even more surprised that the media keeps criticising parliamentarians over the salary proposals being made when the proposal itself involves all Article 71 office holders. That is MPs, Ministers, Presidents and Judges.

He was emphatic that the MPs are the least paid among the Article 71 office holders and yet they are the ones who endure rigorous and expensive campaigns before they come into office.

“Is it criminal for an MP to ask for a salary increase,” he quizzed, adding the proposals are subject to the approval of the Presidential committee.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

MP’s nationality trial adjourned

The trial of the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Adamu Dramani Sakande, on his nationality was yesterday adjourned for the second time because the prosecutor in the case is still indisposed.

A representative from the Attorney-General’s Office informed the court when the case was called that the prosecutor, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, had still not recovered from his ailment.

The court, presided over by Mr Justice Charles Quist, accordingly adjourned the case to February 18, 2011.

As usual, Mr Sakande, his lawyers and supporters were present in court.

At an earlier sitting on January 17, 2011, a representative from the Attorney-General’s Office had informed the court that Mr Wiredu had been rushed to the hospital due to ill-health, for which reason he could not make it to court.

The MP was, on July 31, 2009, arraigned before the court, charged with nine counts relating to his nationality, perjury, forgery of passport, election fraud and deceiving public officers to be elected as MP, but he was exonerated on six of those charges on July 8, 2010.

He is currently facing three charges of false declaration of office or voting, perjury and deceiving a public officer.

On October 15, 2010, the prosecution prayed the court to give it enough time to verify the authenticity or otherwise of documents produced by the MP to prove that he had renounced his British citizenship.

The court granted the prosecution’s request after it had overruled an objection from counsel for the MP, Mr Yonny Kulendi, who had prayed the court to refuse the request for an adjournment from the prosecution.

Counsel had argued that the prosecution should have thoroughly investigated the case before wasting the taxpayer’s money, the court’s time and his client’s time.

Mr Wiredu had earlier informed the court that his outfit had submitted, through the Police Forensic Laboratory, the documents tendered by the MP to the British High Commission in Accra.

On October 8, 2010, the MP tendered in evidence documents which bordered on correspondence between his United Kingdom lawyers and the British Home Office which led to the eventual approval of his renunciation of his citizenship in September 2008.

Following the tendering of the said documents, Mr Wiredu informed the court that the defence had not given the prosecution the opportunity to verify the authenticity of the documents because it had submitted those documents on short notice.

According to him, the defence did not give the prosecution the chance to verify the documents before cross-examining on it.

Opposing the application, Mr Kulendi had said the prayer from the prosecution was unreasonable, unjustifiable and unwarranted because it was asking the court to cure an omission it (prosecution) had created.

Mr Kulendi said the prosecution should have silently investigated the documents and addressed the court on it if it later found them to be fake.

Source: Daily Graphic

O.B Amoah endorses AFAG’s demonstration

The Member of Parliament for Aburi –Nsawam, Osei Bonsu Amoah, has said he fully supports the demonstration against the recent petroleum hike by the pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG).

According to the MP, economic conditions have been worsened by the recent increase in fuel prices, a move he described as totally unjustified.

The protest dubbed ‘AHOKYERE’ Demonstration which is scheduled for today Wednesday 26th January 2011 will start at 9am from the Obra Spot, Nkrumah Circle, Accra and end at the Hearts Park, near the Cultural centre.

Some Civil Society Organizations such as the Socialist Forum of Ghana and the Alliance for Accountable Governance, called on the government for the reversal of the 30 percent increase of fuel prices, a call that fell on death ears.

Contributing to a discussion on Oman FM’s morning show Wednesday, the MP for Aburi –Nsawam, O.B Amoah stated that the increase was unacceptable and inconsistent with promises made by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the election campaign of 2008.

He noted that the increase in fuel prices have had a ripple effect throughout the economy leading to the escalating prices of all goods and services.

‘’The rising prices are manifesting all around the country and this could also lead to significant job losses resulting directly from the strangulation of industry and commerce” he said.

Hon. O.B Amoah, however commended the Alliance for Accountable Government (AFAG) for exercising their democratic rights of demonstrating to register their displeasure at the fuel hikes.

Source: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Petroleum revenue accountability committee established

The majority in parliament today backed down on moves against establishment of a Public Interest Accountability Committee (PIAC) paving the way for its establishment.

The committee will ensure transparency in the management of petroleum revenue.

The law makers returned to the Petroleum Revenue Management bill today after they failed to pass it before going on recess.

Earlier, the majority spoke against establishing the PIAC because they believe its function could be performed by other state institutions

However after consultation with the minority, the house unanimously approved clause 53 allowing for the establishment of the committee.

The majority leader Cletus Avoka said the committee can stay to serve the public interest but added the House will look at the functions and the composition of the committee.

But, some MPs pushed for limitation on the powers of the committee.

Chairman of the Energy committee Moses Asaga wants its powers to be limited to only petroleum revenues.

But ranking member on the finance committee Dr. Anthony Akoto Osei disagrees.

He said to prevent the current problems at TOR it is important not to limit the powers of the committee, adding it will serve a good purpose of accountability if the powers of the committee are allowed to remain intact.

The General Secretary of the Christian Council of Ghana Rev Fred Deegbe was happy with the establishment of the committee.

He told Joy News people have high and sometimes unrealistic expectations on the oil find and argued any hint of corruption could be suicidal.

He was hopeful the committee will ensure accountability and transparency in the operations of the petroleum revenue management.

Freeze MPs salaries for two years – Shai Osu Doku MP

A senior member of Ghana’s Parliament has broken ranks with his colleague MPs on the matter of recent demands for increased pay for the nation’s legislators.

Shai Osu Doku MP, Hon David Tetteh Assuming, in an interview with Citi News stated categorically that he is opposed to the proposed upward review of salaries and benefits for members of the legislature.

He believes salaries for all article 71 office holders, which includes MPs, should not be increased for at least two years.

His comments come at a time Parliament is preparing to put before the Presidential Committee on Emoluments a detailed proposal to demand as much as 7,000 new Ghana cedis as monthly salary for lawmakers.

Hon David Tetteh Assuming said it is time for people in government positions to try and sacrifice for the nation to move on.

“We cannot continue to depend on foreign donors to develop this country for us. We should take innovative ways to do it. I believe that if all people in top governmental position agree to freeze any salary increments we would be able to gather enough money to develop the living standards of the people that we are presenting”.

“If we are able to develop the living standards of the people then the kind of pressure that is on us to pay people’s school fees, to pay funeral donations would be reduced. Nobody is prepared to live at the whims and caprices of the people”.

Asked whether he was satisfied with his monthly salary and living conditions as a Member of Parliament, the Shai Osu Doku MP said he is not happy but his main objective as a law maker is to ensure that the needs of his electorates are first catered for.

“It is the people who brought me to this level and I must think of them. Let me think of the people at the grassroots and let’s find a way of solving their poor conditions. You may see it not to be huge but if this approach is made the people of this country would be very satisfied”.

“Let us begin by setting an example, let us freeze our salaries for two years at this level even though it is not much and we are not happy but that is not to say that we would live in abject poverty. The little that we receive let us make do with it and freeze the salary for two years so we gather some money for the welfare of our people”.

Source: citifmonline.com

Pelpuo: Ghanaians are better off now

The Deputy Majority Leader Rashid Pelpuo has paid glowing tribute to the performance of the Atta Mills led administration, declaring that Ghanaian’s are better off now than they were before the National Democratic Congress took over the reign of power some two years ago.

“Ghana is in a better position to do business with the world than it used to be. Besides Ghanaians earn much more than they used to earn in the past two years. Things are far better. In Africa we are gradually gaining a position of trust and an oasis of peace, tranquility and development,” he said.

He was speaking on Radio Gold’s 60 minutes interview programme on Tuesday. He said “this is not the Ghana we saw yesterday. This is a different type of Ghana; a different type of economy and the oil has just started flowing in.”

Having been able to reduce inflation to its minimum, stabilized the country’s currency and economy, Mr Pelpuo who is also the MP for Wa Central was hopeful the country’s credit rating is so high it can borrow enough money for development.

“It is a Ghana where borrowing $750 million will no longer be the highest you have ever borrowed. It is a Ghana where we can borrow $1.5 billion, where people are willing to give us $10 billion. So when we compare the two economies of yesterday and today it gives the impression that we don’t appreciate the point we have gotten to now.”

This he said can only translate into more development for the country.

“From this year onwards when the STX takes off and then the road construction works take off and some other projects we are envisaging – water projects, electricity projects take off, more jobs will be available; more people are going to be employed; more money is going to flow into their pocket,’ he assured.

Apart from the economy, he said the government has achieved giant strides in peace and stability in the country.

“There is peace; the spate of armed robbery has decreased dramatically; the situation where people take arms against each other because of chieftaincy and other related issues have been arrested somehow and we are no longer seeing very dramatic changes in our lives to the negative,” he added.

Mr Pelpuo lauded government’s achievements on education, saying, the government has been able to build over 20 new schools in his constituency and has replicated similar feats across the country.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

I’ve never said Mills is blind – NDC MP

Controversial NDC MP for Lower Manya Krobo, Michael Teye Nyaunu has denied ever saying that President Mills is bat blind and thus has surrounded himself with the wrong people.

A publication by the Daybreak Newspaper on Tuesday January 25, headlined “Mills can’t see at all” said the MP begged President Mills to change his spectacles and go in for better lenses that would make his vision clear else the NDC would lose the 2012 elections. “He has to reinvestigate the people around him to see how things are going” the Paper stated.

But the MP told Citi News on Tuesday that his comment could not be taken to mean that he was referring to the President’s sight.

He accused some elements in the media of constantly attempting to twist comments made by politicians to suit their own parochial interests.

Mr. Teye Nyaunu, who once declared Professor Mills as unfit to run on the NDC’s ticket prior to the 2008 elections, has often received bashing from within his party for constantly criticizing them publicly.

In one of his latest outbursts, he told Citi FM that NDC executives at both national and regional levels were busily amassing wealth instead of concentrating on building party unity.

Although he still stands by that statement, he vehemently denied ever saying that President Mills cannot see.

He said his position about the President’s health had changed because the President appears to have regained strength after running the country for two years.

“Please don’t put this thing into the public domain because I never said this and will never say it. If he can’t see, then how do I converse with him? The Paper is not telling the truth. Absolutely I won’t say this when I am enjoying a very good relationship with the President. Excuse me to say but that is what some of you in the media do. You always try to find a way to smuggle your positions into what people have said and use them as your banner headlines and those are things that you intend to say yourselves.”

Kofi Jumah to spend 1 billion old cedis on scholarships

The Member of Parliament for Asokwa, Maxwell Kofi Jumah, has said he is steadily on course to becoming the first ever MP to disburse GH¢100,000 worth of educational scholarship to needy students.

He said currently he is left with an amount of GH¢600 which he intends to pay by the end of February 2011,to enable him accomplish his goal of giving out 1 billion old Cedis worth of scholarship.

Speaking to ghanamps.gov.gh, Hon. Maxwell Kofi Jumah stated that decision to spend such huge amount on scholarships, is based on his vision to see the young ones in his constituency have the best of education.

“I have lots of brilliant students in my constituency who have the zeal to educate themselves, but have been denied the opportunity due to the weak financial strength of their parents, and considering the importance of education I decided to help’’ he said.

Hon. Kofi Jumah, who spoke about some projects he has undertaken, stated that in an effort to improve the health needs of his constituents, he has completed the construction of an eye clinic in his constituency known as the Kumasi South Clinic to address their health concerns.

He noted that due to his networking abroad he has been able to invite doctors from the United States of America to health institutions in his constituency to work free of charge every year.

Hon. Kofi Jumah, who is in parliament for the second time, believes with the many projects he has executed since assuming the constituency seat, and the good relationship that exist between himself and the constituents, he is in pole position to win the seat during the upcoming 2012 elections.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Parliament is broke – Twumasi Appiah

The Chairman of Parliament’s Communication Committee, Felix Twumasi-Appiah says the house has not been able to pass the Right to Information Bill because of financial constraints.

The Sene MP says parliament is too broke to sponsor the committee in its activists to engage with stakeholders before the bill can be passed. His comments follow sentiments by the Commissioner of the Statute Law Revision Commission, Justice VCRAC Crabbe that Ghana is not ready for such a law because of poor record keeping. Mr. Twumusi-Appiah however expressed surprise at Justice Crabbe’s position.

He said the retired Supreme Court Judge had been consulted by the Parliamentary Committee and he never raised any such concerns. “My understanding is that he has been the major proponent of that particular bill and so I’m surprised,” he said.

Mr Twumasi-Appiah claimed Justice Crabbe was “even pushing us for immediate passage of that particular bill.” Nana Oye Lithur who spearheaded the Coalition for the Right to Information said Parliament’s argument that it was hampered by lack funds to get the bill passed were tenuous and surprising.

According to her, the World Bank had indicated their preparedness to fund the project and she wondered whether the House had sent a budget to the World Bank.

Source: joy news