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MPs haggle over whose reign was more pregnant with cocaine

Members of Parliament have been haggling over which of the two administrations- National Democratic Congress or the New Patriotic Party – was or is endemic with cocaine related activities.

The NPP MPs insist by September 2008 Ghana had been declared a no-go-area for drug traffickers, a position the NDC MPs vehemently disagree and produced a litany of cocaine related activities under the Kufuor regime to buttress their case.

The MPs were debating President John Mills’ State of the Nation’s Address on Thursday, a portion of which the president vowed to re-open investigations into the infamous MV-Benjamin cocaine case in which 77 parcels of cocaine went missing on Ghanaian waters.

The president also ordered a reopening of investigations into circumstances under which cocaine exhibits which were kept at the Police HQ as evidence for prosecution was replaced with a whitish substance in 2007.

Joy FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent Sammy Darko reports that the ensuing narcotic debate on the Floor is interesting.

Former Attorney General and Minister of Justice Joe Ghartey stated on the floor of Parliament he had no problems with the president wanting to unravel the mystery behind those two cocaine scandals but implored the president to be interested in recent cocaine cases as well as a report from whistle blower website-wikileaks in which the president was quoted to have remarked to a US ambassador that some of his appointees are being compromised by cocaine barons.

Ghartey produced a September 2008 Ghanaian Times report with a headline ‘Ghana no longer a hub for drug dealers’. That he said was as a result of the political will demonstrated by ex-president John Kufuor in putting in place stringent laws to fight the drug menace and making drug offence a non-bailable offence.

MP for Bimbilla Dominic Nitiwul in buttressing the arguments by his colleague charged the president to back his commitment to fight the cocaine menace with deeds rather than words.

He made references to the Rawlings-led regime in which he cited 300 cocaine cases which he said were not dealt with in which the sitting president was then the vice–president.

But the Communications Minister Haruna Iddrisu debunked the assertions by Joe Ghartey. Contrary to assertions that Ghana was no longer a cocaine hub, the minister noted that of 19 suspected drug dealers who were recommended for prosecution by a ministerial committee under President Kufuor only 9 were finally prosecuted.

Another NDC MP described the MV Benjamin case as the biggest drug scandal ever to have hit the country and commended the president for reopening investigations into it.

The debate on the president’s State of the Nation’s address continues tomorrow.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Gov’t not behind twist in Amina bus rape saga – Pelpuo

The Deputy Majority leader in Parliament, Hon Rashid Pelpuo has dismissed allegations that some elements in government are responsible for the current twist to the Amina mass bus rape saga.

Professor Ken Attafuah, counsel for Amina Mohammed, the woman at the center of the controversial Highway robbery and mass rape story has accused government of attempting to tarnish his reputation as a seasoned legal practitioner and a statesman.

His accusation comes after a fourth prosecution witness in the trial of the alleged mass bus rape, on Friday February 25, told an Accra Circuit Court that officials of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Professor Ken Attafuah influenced him with money to confirm the case.

The witness Michael Ofosu Frimpong told the court that he was offered 9,000 Ghana cedis to testify in favour of Amina Mohammed.

Giving evidence in the case in which Amina is facing charges of publishing false news with intent to cause fear and alarm, and deceiving a public officer, He claimed that the money was meant to save Adom Fm that broke the news and Amina Mohammed, the accused person.

Michael Ofosu Frimpong, a trader said he met with Jake Obetsebi Lamptey, Yaw Osafo Marfo, Kennedy Agyepong amongst others at the NPP headquarters who offered him Gh¢90,000 as a reward but he declined the offer.

In an interview with Citi News Professor Attafuah said, the claims by the prosecution witness are false and are been masterminded by some elements in government.

“It is a very sad allegation for anyone to make, it is completely untrue, it never happened and this is a fabrication by sections of the Ghana Police Service and sections of the Attorney General’s department intended to dishonor the honour, dignity and reputation of honourable men in the country”.

Professor Attafuah further told Citi News that he and other colleagues accused will resort to the courts to redeem their images if the need arises.

However, speaking to Citi News, the Wa Central MP Hon Rashid Pelpuo, rejected the accusations by Professor Ken Attefuah describing them as untrue.

Hon Rashid Pelpuo said the government cannot be blamed or held responsible for the current twist to the Amina case and urged the security services to thoroughly investigate the matter to the latter.


Put the issue of drugs above partisan politics- Iddrisu

Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Communications on Friday called on Members of Parliament (MPs) to put the issue of narcotic drugs above partisan politics and see it as a social problem.

He said if it was the fight against drugs the Atta Mills Government had demonstrated more than any other administration, the commitment to removing it from the country.

Mr Haruna was contributing to the debate on the floor of parliament on the President’s 2011 state of the nation address delivered on February 17, 2011.

He said the Ghanaian Times report of September 20, 2008 which stated “Drug Barons now Scared of Ghana” and used by Mr Ghartey to portray the work the Kufuor Government had done in the fight against drugs, was inappropriate because the government at the time was just about leaving office and could not have boasted that they had dealt with the drugs problem from the time they were in power to the end of the year 2008.

He said in 2007, Ghana was said to have lacked the political will to fight narcotics barons.

Mr Haruna said a bill to strengthen the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) would soon be introduced in the house.

He said the mention of government Ministers being involved in the drugs trade as reported in Wikileaks and used by Mr Ghartey against the present government was wrongly interpreted.

Mr Haruna praised the Atta Mills government for progress made so far in the fight against drug trafficking, saying that since the inception of the government of the National Democratic Congress, the country had continued to record a single digit inflation.

Papa Owusu Ankomah, member for Sekondi, said it was not true that President Mills was reopening investigations into the missing cocaine because he wanted to find them.

He also called on the house and the government to treat the narcotics issue as a national problem.

Source: GNA

Evacuate stranded Ghanaians in Libya in droves – Adu Asare

NDC Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu Asare has urged government to devise a comprehensive means of evacuating stranded Ghanaians in large numbers, from the chaos currently in Libya.

He said the evacuation of some few Ghanaians out of the over 10,000 from Libya is worrying since black people have become target of attacks in the on-going disturbance which seem not to have an end in sight soon.

A total of fifty five (55) Ghanaians who form the first batch of stranded Ghanaians in Libya arrived on saturday via Egypt air, whilst others will be transported later.

Close to four thousand Ghanaians in the North African country have been registered out of the estimated 10,000 expected to be airlifted home.

There has been massive pressure from Ghanaians both home and abroad for government to evacuate her citizenry following the political unrest in Libya.

Government has said that every single Ghanaian will be evacuated from Libya whether they are illegal immigrants or not.

Contributing to a discussion on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Monday, the Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu Asare stated that though the evacuation of some Ghanaians from the crisis in Libya is commendable, government should go a step further by collaborating with its development partners to help evacuate mass of Ghanaians in ships as the situation in Libya worsens by the day.

‘’It has become imperative for Ghanaians to be brought down in droves as the Libyans continue to target black people, coming down in small numbers is not good enough’’ he said.

Reports say over 2,000 people have been killed, a figure that has been disputed by the Libyan authorities.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Government committed to deepening decentralization -Kuntu Blankson

The Member of Parliament for Mfantseman East, George Kuntu Blankson, has emphasized the government’s commitment to ensuring the deepening of decentralization in Ghana.

He said government recognizes the importance decentralization plays in a country’s development and will not do anything to undermine it.

His comment comes in the wake of criticisms by a section of the public who accused government of weakening the decentralization process, as it has failed to inaugurate the newly elected assembly members to their various assemblies.

There have been concerns that since the immediate passed district assemblies were dissolved by government in October 2010, the failure of government to inaugurate the newly elected members has stalled work at the assemblies.

However speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem show on Monday 28th February 2011 the Hon. Member of Parliament for Mfantseman East, George Kuntu Blankson disagreed with the position ,stating that government intends to inaugurate the newly elected assembly members on Tuesday 15th March 2011.

He noted that though the new elected assembly members have not been inaugurated yet ,the various assemblies are working efficiently contrary to suggestion that they are idling.

“The District Chief Executives have an effective function to play in the decentralization process and they are doing just that in the absence of the new members’’ he said.

Hon. George Kuntu Blankson who is also the Vice Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Local Government stated that the yet to be sworn -in assembly members ,are currently undergoing training to sharpen them for effective execution of their work.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Don’t be bias, Fanteakwa MP urges Police

The Member of Parliament for Fanteakwa, Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah, has cautioned the Police Service against showing bias towards the ruling government when deciding what criminal matters to investigate.

According to the MP, the police have been quick to deal with matters that relate to the government but fail to apply the same alacrity when it relates the opposition.

His comment comes in the wake of reports that the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye, has ordered investigations into an allegation that some police officers extorted GH¢5O from the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Collins Dauda.

A statement issued and signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the Police Service, Supt. Kwesi Ofori, said preliminary investigations had revealed that the said incident took place about six years ago, when Collins Dauda was returning to Bekwai in the Ashanti Region.

However contributing to a panel discussion on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo’s show on Monday 28th February 2011, the Member of Parliament for Fanteakwa, Kwabena Amankwa Asiamah, who said he had no qualms with the police decision to investigate a six year old case, was nonetheless surprised at the police apathy towards investigating some recent cases relating to the opposition NPP.

“I have no problem with the police decision but I find it difficult to understand why the police are not willing to investigate the Chereponi shooting incident, where a supposed national security operative in the midst of NPP supporters was seen on national television shooting indiscriminately’’ he said.

“The Director of Public Affairs, DSP Kwesi Ofori has consistently failed to give reasons why this case has not been pursued whenever he is asked by the media’’ he added.

Hon. Amankwa Asiamah noted that such selective approach to fighting criminal acts by the police should be condemned as it has the potential of adversely affecting the image of the police service, which is an important state organ whose credibility should not be in doubt.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

NDC MPs threaten to discipline Minority Leader

Some members of the Majority in Parliament are threatening to drag the Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu to the Privileges Committee for misconduct.

The MPs accuse the Minority Leader of violating with impunity the Parliamentary convention of escorting President John Mills out of the chamber after the president’s state of the nation’s address.

Mensah-Bonsu had described President Mills’ address to Parliament as disappointing and the most partisan address he has ever heard.

He refused to escort the president out of the chamber in protest over the president’s failure to acknowledge the presence of the Chief Justice as well as ex-President John Kufuor before his address.

President John Mills has since apologised to the two eminent personalities for the slip, and the Minority Leader has returned the president’s good gesture with his own apology to the president.

But the Majority in Parliament are not satisfied.

Speaking on the floor of the House, Member of Parliament for Shama, Gabriel Asirifi said the Minority Leader must issue an unqualified apology in the House or risk being hauled before the Privileges Committee.

He said the Minority Leader owes the country an apology for breaking the Parliamentary convention.

He said if he fails to apologise the Majority will drag him to the privileges committee for investigations and disciplinary action if possible.

Source: Joy News

Abuakwa North MP seeks re-election

Professor Samuel Amoako, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament (MP) for Abuakwa North, on Thursday declared his intention to contest the seat by taking part in the upcoming constituency primary of the party.

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Koforidua, Prof Amoako said his intention to seek re-election was because he had lived up to the expectation of his constituents.

“I want to tell my constituents that I am ready to contest and lead the party again to victory as I did in 2008,” he stressed. Prof Amoako said his achievement since he became an MP in 2009, could not be overemphasised.

He said in fulfilment of his promise to improve the lot of his constituents, he undertook a number of development projects comprising education, health, road construction, agriculture, women and youth development.

Prof Amoako said recently he donated items to three institutions which included Anyinasin Community Based Health Planning Services, which received hand gloves and bandages worth GH¢18,000.

The Anyinasin Presbyterian School also received a computer and accessories while the Presbyterian College of Education at Kyebi also obtained a furnished library at the cost of GH¢40,000.

The MP said he also constructed a number of classroom blocks for some communities including Kukurantumi and New Tafo aimed at improving education in fulfilment of the promise he made during his electioneering campaign.

“If I can achieve this within two years then I can achieve more than necessary if given another four years.” Professor Amoako said the NPP was going to win the 2012 General Election and therefore urged the people not to be deceived by anybody but strive to rally behind the party.

He promised to run a vigorous campaign after emerging victorious in the primary in order to increase the percentage of votes the party. The former Columbia University Lecturer would face a stiff challenge from the former MP, Mr Joseph Boakye Danquah, who was defeated by the incumbent in the 2008 primary.


Western Regional Chiefs angry with Parliament

The Western Regional House of Chiefs have expressed their utmost disappointment at Parliament’s refusal to commit 10% of revenue from the Jubilee Oil Fields to the development of the region.

The House on Wednesday, February 23, led by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, threw out a proposed amendment that would have devoted 10 percent of oil revenue from the Jubilee Oil Fields to the development of the Western Region.

President of the Regional House of Chiefs, Awulai Atibrukusu III told Citi News that the chiefs are surprised at the verdict by the nation’s parliamentarians.

“We are so disappointed and surprised because the 10% that we are demanding for is not for him (Doe Adjaho), the people of the Western region or for the chiefs of the Western Region. All that we are demanding is that the ten percent should be lodged in the Western corridor so that it would be used for development in the Region”.

“Looking at the way things are going on, we can say that Western Region is the engine of Ghana…all that we are saying is that the people of the Western have been sidelined. Looking at development processes and others the people of the Western Region have no place to stand”.

Awulai Atibrukusu added that the Chiefs are however yet to pronounce on the legislature’s stance and determine their next line of action.

“It is now that Nananom are going to meet so as to take a collective decision”.

I.C. Quaye: I have never attacked an opponent in my life

The Member of Parliament for Ayawaso Central has challenged executives of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in his constituency to provide evidence that he is planning to assassinate them.

The Ayawaso Central NDC executives have accused the MP of plotting to eliminate some of his political opponents. The executive say they have evidence which they will present to the police.

But speaking to Joy News, Sheik I.C. Quaye flatly denied the allegation saying he has never attacked any of opponent in his life and that the executives should show the evidence to the police if they claim such evidence really exists.

The MP however indicated that “If they are planning to assassinate me, then of course they should say so, because they have always attacked me.”