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Nitiwul cautions youth to aquire wealth via legitimate means

Dominic Nitiwul, Member of Parliament for Bimbila has cautioned the Youth in Ghana against adopting criminal and unorthodox means to amass wealth.

He said there is no short-cut to getting rich in life, adding that it pays to acquire possessions through legitimate ways.

Hon. Dominic Nitiwul’s, advice follows the sentencing of the Former boss of the EXOPA Modeling Agency to 15 years imprisonment for attempting to smuggle narcotic drugs out of the country.

Ibrahim Sima in his 30’s who was jailed yesterday, has been on trial since September 2009 for two counts of attempting to export narcotic drugs and unlawful possession of narcotic drugs.

He was arrested on September 7, 2009 at the Kotoka International Airport when a search on his luggage revealed tubers of yam in which was embedded narcotic substances.

Officers of the Narcotics Control Board led the convict (then suspect) to his residents where a bread knife (which was allegedly used to cut the yam) and super glue which was used to seal the items were found and presented as evidence in court though he denied ownership.

Contributing to a discussion on e.tv’s Breakfast show on Friday, the Member of Parliament for Bimbila, Dominic Nitiwul who himself is a youth, condemned the craze by the youth to get rich quick in recent times, using life- threatening means which occasionally result in death.

“Some of the youth have resorted to all sorts of illegitimate means to get money fast, and are living affluent live styles and are being adored by many people, a trend which is increasingly worrying’’ he said.

Hon. Dominic Nitiwul bemoaned the lack of coordination between the banks in Ghana, the Revenue Agencies and security service, which allow people to save huge amount of monies while they evade taxes.

‘’In Ghana, one can save 1 million dollars in an account and no one in the bank will question as to how that person made that kind of money, this obviously cannot be done anywhere in Europe’’ he said.

Story by: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov

Parliament adopt report on University of Ghana Act

Parliament on Thursday adopted the report of its Leadership on the text variation in some provisions of the University of Ghana Act, 2010(Act 806) contrary to the decision taken by the House.

This follows a directive by the Speaker Mrs. Bamford Addo on Tuesday November 2, 2010 for the leadership to investigate and report to the House an anomaly detected in the University of Ghana Act 806.

Section 8 of the Act is about the appointment of the Chairperson of the University of Ghana Council. The decision by Parliament is that the Chairperson should be appointed from among members but this differs from what is stipulated in the relevant section of the law.

The Attorney General’s office had pointed out the mistake to Parliament whiles Papa Owusu-Ankoma, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi also raised the issue on the floor of the house. Papa Ankoma said if the decision by Parliament contravened the constitution and was found to be wrong, the section should have been referred to the house but this was not done.

He said the house had passed the bill with the President assenting to it and that its implementation had begun.Though he still insisted that the house should not adopt the report, his submission was not taken, adding that after investigation it was found out that the mistake came from the clerk’s office. Papa Ankamah said Parliament needed an independent legal adviser urging the house to create an office for draftsman so that in cases of this nature, the house can be advised.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, said that the issue was an internal affair and the house should try as much as possible to handle it as such.

Mr Mathias Puozaa, Chairman of the Education Committee, said the committee did not rush through the bill, “we were convinced in whatever we did to follow best practices” so let us threat it as an internal affair.

Alhaji Mohammed Muntaka-Mubarak, member for Asawase said the issue of draftsman was super important and expressed the hope that a time frame will be set up to have it running. He urged the house to find a way of synchronising all amendments with the constitution to avoid such embarrassment in future.

Source: GNA

Kennedy Agyepong: Government owes my wife

The Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon. Kennedy Agyepong has stated that the Ministry of Energy has refused to pay a huge debt owed his wife for no just reason.

Speaking on the Citi Breakfast Show on Thursday March 3, Hon Kennedy Agyepong said his wife had undertaken several projects awarded by the Ministry but has not received payment for jobs done. He however added that he is not in a haste to pursue the government for his money.

“Let me tell you how much the government owes my wife, a lot of the Ministry of Energy contracts, she did it but they said they are not going to pay her. Even under their own administration 2009 to 2010, I supplied 8 million dollars worth, I did the contacts in China for her and they are not paying, all these monies they are not paying. They are not paying because they say Kennedy Agyepong is behind it. I am not worried because even if I die my children would come after the government and take the money”.

However, the Communications Director of the Ministry of Energy, Edward Bawa in a reaction told Citi News that the claims by Hon Kennedy Agyepong are not entirely true.

He conceded that the Ministry of Energy is indebted to Hon Agyepong to the tune of $8 million, adding that the Ministry has failed to pay the MP because there is no money and not because he is an NPP member as claimed.

Mr Bawa also added that the contracts were not signed in 2009 as claimed by Hon. Agyepong but were signed on 15 May 2008 under the erstwhile NPP administration.

“On 15 of May 2008, the Ministry of Energy signed a contract with Interior World to supply electricals to the tune of $14,996,624.16 million. The ministry gave a first payment of $2,709,344.44, the second payment was valued at $3,318,694.29 making the total sum to $6,190,628.73 and both payments were paid on 20th October 2008…so the balance that is left is $8,976,995.43. We have not paid him because there is no money but not because he is an NPP member. He would be paid as and when there is money”.

Source: citifmonline.com

Ajumako/Eyan/Essiam MP appeals to demonstrating teachers

Cassiel Ato Forson, Member of Parliament for Ajumako /Enyam/Essiam Constituency in the Central Region has appealed to teachers in general and especially those in his constituency, to remain calm and not take to the streets to demonstrate, as government takes steps to correct the inconsistencies in their salaries.

He said such an act will greatly affect the education of school children who need maximum attention from their teachers.

Teachers across the country particularly in the Brong Ahafo and Ashanti Regions have demonstrated in protest against what they see as appalling discrepancy in their salaries following their migration onto the single spine salary structure, with others threatening a strike action soon.

Several teachers had utmost shock when they realized after visiting the banks that some of them have had their pay reduced while others had a pittance added to their salaries, threatening to boycott the up-coming Independence Day celebration on 6th March 2011.

In a discussion on the issue on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem show on Thursday, the Member of Parliament for Ajumako /Enyam/Essiam Constituency who sympathized with the teachers however stated that taking to the streets to demonstrate their displeasure was not the solution to the problem.

‘’Demonstration will not solve the problem, dialogue with the relevant authorities is a sure way to bringing this matter to a close’’.

He stated that ‘’the NDC government remains committed to ensuring that the welfare of teachers is improved and will do everything possible to ensure this is realized’’ He said.

Meanwhile a technical team in Dodowa is working to correct the anomalies that have been raised by some of the workers in terms of people not having the migration taking place in respect of their salaries or those who have even been underpaid.

The Fair Wages and Salaries Commission has appealed to all personnel within the Ghana Education Service who have experienced some error in their February salaries to remain calm as it works to rectify the situation.

Story by : Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Water rationing policy shows lack of vision – Bantama MP

The Minority Spokesperson on Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hon. Cecilia Dapaah has blasted the Mills administration over its water rationing policy, saying it shows clearly the lack of deep thinking and vision on how to fix the nation’s water problems.

Her comments come over a week after President Mills touted the policy as one which has helped to fill the dry taps of many suburbs and households, which hitherto did not see running water for years.

President Mills during the Third State of the Nation Address told Parliament that Adenta, a suburb of Accra which has one of the worst water problems, had enjoyed significant water supply because of a water rationing exercise carried out by the Ghana Water Company, a claim that was disputed by residents of the area.

Former deputy Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Hon. Cecilia Dapaah, told Citi News President Mills’ comments were most unfortunate and exposed Government’s lack of vision for the water sector.

“Day in and day out, people are migrating from our rural areas to the urban areas. There is population growth. New industries are being introduced into the system, and this is part of our developmental process. So there should always be a vision of carrying on. Accra will remain Accra in land size but people can come in and augment or swell up the numbers. I haven’t seen the Mills administration prosecuting this vision because from what was done by the previous Government, I haven’t seen anything being done to augment the water delivery in Accra. And if the President says that rationing should be the norm of the day that is pitiful,” she said.

“If you look at the statistics, people who get water supply 24 hours a day, I don’t think they are even 30%. And when you turn on your tap for sanitation purposes, water should flow. People who are deprived pay more than what the Water Company charges. At times they pay ten times more. So you can see that if we put the right projects in place and supply the water, people have the capacity to pay for the water they use. Invariably because they are not getting the water, they pay ten times for the cost of water and I believe it is not fair” she said.

The Bantama MP also accused the Mills administration of sidestepping a comprehensive Water Policy approved by the erstwhile Kufuor administration prior to the 2008 General elections.

“I am amazed because if the blueprint is there and is for the national good why can’t it be continued? It is for Ghanaians, it is not an NPP Policy. Water is a human rights issue so Ghanaians should be provided with good drinking water to be able to survive and live healthy lives.

“How come that in this 21st century, we have an outbreak of cholera with people dying at Korle-Bu? This is unacceptable. Imagine a maternity home without water. Imagine children who have to be late or absent from school in search of water. So I believe as much as they want to accept the rationing of water, I think it is not enough. This Government has a penchant for borrowing so they should go and borrow and give us the water.”

Source: citifmonline.com

Atta Akyea readies to crush ‘passed’ Petroleum Bill

Counsel for the four Members of Parliament seeking to annul the Speaker’s ruling on the Petroleum Management Bill is rolling up his sleeves ahead of a legal battle at the Supreme Court.

Atta Akyea believes the passing into law of the controversial bill on Wednesday makes his impending suit a lot easier.

MPs for Bimbilla, Manhyia, Takoradi, and Tarkwa Nsuaem- Dominic Nitiwul, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh, Mr. Okyere Darko Mensah and Gifty Eugenia Kusi respectively are seeking interpretations for a ruling by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Doe Adjaho that the MPs had no power to introduce a bill that will impose a burden on the consolidated fund.

They were bent on filing a motion for the amendment as well as the institution of a Western Region Development Fund into which 10 per cent of the oil revenue should be allotted for the exclusive development of the Western Region.

But the Deputy Speaker Doe Adjaho ruled against the intended ammendment.

Doe Adjaho who sat in for the absent Speaker Joyce Bamford Addo, ruled that such a motion could only be filed by a minister or only at the behest of the President of the Republic.

The four MPs insist the ruling by the Deputy Speaker was unconstitutional and are threatening to annul the ruling at the Supreme Court.

As the controversial bill got passed Wednesday amidst cheers from the Majority, counsel for the four MPs, Atta Akyea, who is also MP for Abuakwa South, was already beaming with confidence ahead of the expected legal battle.

“Today is significant because that brings a closure to the arguments that nobody is going to change his mind on the issues raised and therefore we can say that now that the bill has been passed into law, waiting for the assent to give it the efficacy, we can now have the declaration from the Supreme Court that, that bill is null and void in terms of Article 108 of the Constitution,” he told Joy News’ Sammy Darko.

He dismissed assertions that Parliament is a master of its own and its decisions and Standing Orders are not for interpretations by any court.

According to him, once the Standing Orders referred to by the Deputy Speaker were in flagrant violation of the 1992 Constitution, he was hopeful the Supreme Court would uphold his clients’ suit.

Source: myjoyonline.com

NPP old guards to leave Parliament

Two more veteran Members of Parliament for the New Patriotic Party will not contest the upcoming 2012 parliamentary elections.

MP for Dome Kwabenya, Prof. Mike Ocquaye and MP for Afigya Sekeyere West, Kan Dapaah are the latest to join the tall list of veteran MPs who have announced their retirement from the House.

The two confirmed their decisions to Joy News’ Parliamentary correspondent Sammy Darko on Wednesday but insist their career in active politics is far from over.

“A time comes when you must give way to younger people,” Prof. Mike Ocquaye said, “but I am the type of person who will still be contributing to the work of Parliament,” he added.

Interestingly, his son, Mike Ocquaye Jnr. is one of the younger aspirants vying for the position.

He stated vehemently that the decision as to who succeeds him will purely be taken by the delegates in the constituency and if the constituency decides to elect his son, it will be entirely up to them.

He dismissed assertions about bad timing, insisting that ability and competence should be the overriding principle for an election.

On his part, Kan Dapaah also noted he has served Parliament for a long time and that it was time to move on for others to serve.

Even though he agrees there is always the need for experience in the House, he stated that one must not necessarily be within Parliament to bring his experience to bear on the floor.

He will however remain active in politics.

MP for Nsuta-Kwamang Beposo, Osei Kwame Prempeh, MP for New Juaben North, Hackman Owusu Agyemang and Nana Akomea MP for Okaikoi South have all announced they will not contest in the 2012 elections.

Petroleum management bill passed

Parliament on Wednesday March 2, passed the Petroleum Revenue Management Bill into an Act despite attempts by some Minority MPs to scuttle its passage.

The new legislation, which will govern the use of the nation’s oil revenue will become operational when the President gives his assent to it.

The debate on the Bill has dragged on for months although commercial drilling of oil begun on December 15, 2010. A key component of the Bill, that generated heated debate between the two sides in Parliament was the refusal of Government to withdraw the Clause that allowed for the nation’s oil resources to be used as collateral for loans.

The Majority eventually succeeded in maintaining the Clause.

During the passage of the Bill on Wednesday after it went through a third reading, Minority members were generally quiet but did not show signs that they were completely opposed to it, although they had raised concerns about some inconsistencies in the Bill.

The Petroleum Revenue Management Act is supported by a Petroleum Exploration and Production Act.

But some members of the Minority side who planned to abort the passage of the Bill have vowed to carry out their threat of filing a suit at the Supreme Court to hamper the passage. The suit is being spearheaded by four MPs, Dominic Nitiwul (Bimbila), Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh (Manhyia), Gifty Eugenia Kusi (Tarkwa-Nsuaem) and Kwabena Otchere Darko-Mensah (Takoradi).

The MPs took the decision on Wednesday February 24, after the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Edward Doe Adjaho, threw out an amendment that would have committed 10 percent of oil revenue from the Jubilee Oil Fields to developing the Western Region.

Mr. Adjaho had in his ruling on the matter, said the proposed legislations were unconstitutional and will offend the rules of the House if allowed to stand.

But the MP for Takoradi, Hon Otchere Darko-Mensah says the Speaker erred in his judgment hence their decision to seek an interpretation of Article 108 of the 1992 Constitution at the Supreme Court.

Before Wednesday’s passage, one of the MPs, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul told Citi News even if the House succeeds in pushing the Bill through, lawful means would be used to nullify it.

“The first relief the lawyers are going to seek is that, if the law is passed without our input, we will seek to say that it is illegal, null and void and for that matter the Speaker was wrong. And the Courts have the power to tell Parliament that it erred and so the Bill could be brought back”.

“The second thing will be to determine whether what the Speaker did was Constitutional or not. Whether indeed the Speaker can say that because the amendment was not introduced by the President or Ministers of State it could not stand”.

Don’t extend term of office for President – Isaac Asiamah

The Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah, has objected to suggestion for the term of office for future governments to be extended beyond the current four years.

He said four years is enough for any serious government to be able to honor promises it made to the electorate during electioneering campaigns.

Former President John Agyekum Kufour, before exiting office in 2008 proposed the extension of the term of office for presidents to enable them realize their manifesto promises.

The issue has once again come up for discussion at a five –day conference organized by the Constitution Review Commission opens which opened on 1st March and ends on 5th March 2011.

The conference would articulate concerns of the citizenry as regards the amendments required for a comprehensive review and make recommendations to the Government for consideration and provide a draft bill for possible.

However commenting on the issue on e.tv’s Breakfast TV show Wednesday, the Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah accused politicians of making unrealistic promises that obviously cannot be honored within a four year period.

He opined, it is important that the various parties back their manifestos with an ction plan that will help them prosecute their promises when elected into power.

‘Politicians mount platform and make all sorts of promises to be delivered when elected, and Ghanaians don’t even ask them how they are practically going to achieve that, that is why they continue to do that’’ he said.

Hon. Isaac Asiamah added that if the term of office for government is extended to five or eight years as has been suggested by a section of the public, execution of projects will be slowed as governments will think they have enough time on their hands.

Source: Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

I owe no apology to Parliament – Minority Leader

Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Minority Leader, on Tuesday rejected the Majority’s request of an apology for not joining a procession to usher out the President after delivering the state of the nation address in Parliament on February 17.

“I owe no apology to Parliament”, he said as he rebuffed attempts by the Majority talk him into submission.

The Minority Leader after the state of the nation address recently delivered by President John Mills described the address as divisive and refused to join the recession to see off the President-a time honoured parliamentary convention.

The Minority Leader said he took that decision because the President failed to recognise the Former President John Kufuor, Chief Justice Georgina Wood and other elderly personalities of the state who had assembled in the House to listen to the yearly address.

The issue was triggered by Alhaji Mohammed-Mubarak Muntaka NDC member for Asawase, when he took his turn to debate the motion tabled on the President’s state of the nation address.

He had called on the Minority Leader to apologise to the House for not accompanying the President out of the chamber as parliamentary culture demanded.

He advised politicians to control their temper and their utterances, adding that a lot of people looked up to them. He said holding high public offices of that calibre was a privilege that should not be abused since there were others who could perform such functions with better. The Speaker Mrs Joyce Bamford- Addo said she thought the matter was put to rest after the President apologised as did the Minority Leader. She however said since the matter was lingering, she would give the opportunity to the Minority Leader to make his comments to put the matter to rest.

Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said he broke no Standing Order but only criticised the President for his omission and the insinuations he cast during his submissions.

He said the President agreed to the criticisms and apologised. “Our conduct was not meant to affront the President, we respect the President”, he said.

He said those who hailed the President as having given a very good statement were shamed when the President apologised. “Those who are hailing the President for the state of the nation address are leading him to the path of unrighteousness”, he said. The Minority Leader said when the President realised his fault and apologised he had no difficulty to also apologise which according to him,” I directed to the people of Ghana”.

Mr Rashid Pelpuo, Deputy Majority Leader, who vehemently disagreed with the Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said the conduct of the Minority Leader violated the conventions of the House and treated the President contemptuously. “He holds it a duty to apologise to enhance his own dignity”, he said.

“The matter will not be put to rest until the wrong is righted”, he said Dr Joseph Annan, Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, said the Minority Leader’s apology was a conditional one based on the fact that the President also apologised.

“We want the Minority Leader to have some level of respect and humility, we have students among us listening, if he cannot show humility to us he must show humility to the constitution, we demand an apology”, he said adding, if not he would be dragged to the Privileges Committee. The Speaker Justice Bamford- Addo, taking the entrenched position of the two sides, adjourned the House for about 30 minutes to allow the leadership to confer on the matter.

She said her intention was to allow the House to settle the matter once and for all since President had apologised and he (Minority Leader) also apologised.

The House reconvened at about 1230 hours with the ruling of the Speaker that no member would be allowed to stray into matters of convention concerning the President’s State of the Nation Address. All members, she said, must stick to the speech delivered and nothing else. The Majority Leader, Mr Cletus Avoka, said the issue of whether President recognised some one or not during his the state of the nation address should not be discussed but the substance of the address. Protocol and procedural matters must not be discussed in the review of the President’s address, according to Mr Avoka.

Mr Ambrose Dery, Deputy Minority Leader, said the issue of whether the President recognised any dignitary or not must be an issue of no go area for all members who would thank the President for his address. The Speaker referred matter to the leadership of the house for redress.