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Vice President has not fought Bagbin

The Office of the Vice President on Monday denied reports of a scuffle between Vice President John Dramani Mahama and the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Alban Bagbin, over the Ghana Housing Project, also referred to as STX housing project.

A statement signed in Accra by the Spokesperson to the Vice President, Mr John Abdulai Jinapor, described the reports as a “crude attempt by some media houses and political forces to tarnish the image of Vice President Mahama to achieve their parochial interests”.

It said there was no reason for anybody to be angry let alone engage in a scuffle over the Housing Project.

“Vice President Mahama is even known to have the best of working relationships with Mr Bagbin from their days in parliament and now in government.”

The statement said the false report was similar to a previous claim that the Vice President pulled a gun on former President Jerry John Rawlings at the Castle.

“Every Ghanaians knows and appreciates his (Vice President Mahama’s) tolerance and patience and it is not in his character to engage in verbal or physical exchanges with any person,” it said.

The statement said Vice President Mahama had chaired, on behalf of the President, government meetings about helping clear the country’s housing deficit and also reviewed the wrangling among the partners working on the Ghana Housing Project.

It said there were no scuffles at any of these meetings.

Judiciary: We’re ready to handle all cases from PAC

The Judiciary on Monday said it was ready to handle all cases emanating from Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.

However, no cases from the PAC had yet been put before the Financial and Economic Crimes Court, it said in a statement signed by Mr George Dove, Deputy Communication Director, on behalf of the Judicial Secretary. The statement said at a roundtable organised by PAC in March 2010, two justices from the Financial and Economic Crimes Court in their papers had recommended that cases emanating from PAC should be placed before the court for trial.

The statement said the capacity of judges presiding over the courts had been built both locally and internationally.

It described as false” a statement that Chief Justice Georgina Theodora Wood had made no effort to set up the Financial Tribunal as envisaged under Act 654 (as amended).

The Judiciary noted that Parliament, by amending Sections 66 (1), 67, 74 and the repeal of Section 70 of Act 654 substituted the Financial Administration Tribunal with the Financial Administration Court which would appear to be in breach of article 126(1)(a) of the Constitution. It said the attention of the relevant stakeholders and PAC had been drawn to this apparent anomaly.

“Whilst waiting for the necessary amendment, if any, to be effected, the Honourable Chief Justice in exercise of the powers conferred on her by Articles 125 (4) and 139 (3) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana created the Financial and Economic Crimes Court as a division of the High Court. “These courts are located in the Specialised High Courts building in Accra and Kumasi and are presided over by Justices of the High Court, with the jurisdiction to hear cases from the Public Accounts Committee.”

The statement said by reason of Article 140, the Financial and Economic Crimes Court being a division of the High Court had the jurisdiction in all matters, both civil and criminal, including those offences created under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29), the Financial Administration Act, 2003 (Act 654) as amended and the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663). The rest are the Internal Audit Agency Act, 2003 (Act 658), Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2008 Act 749); Electronic Transaction, Act 2008 (Act772) and Economic Organised Crimes, 2010 (Act 804) in addition to any other jurisdiction conferred on the court by any enactment.

It said upon the establishment of the Financial and Economic Crime Court, cases, such as wilfully causing financial loss to the state; stealing; embezzlement of public funds and corruption among other cases had been dealt with by these courts while some were still pending for trial. “It needs to be emphasized that the bulk of cases that are filed and prosecuted before the courts emanate from the Economic and Organised Crimes Office,” it said.

Prez. Mills was wrongly briefed on Professor Frimpong Boateng

The Member of Parliament for Ayensuano, Samuel Aye Paye, says President John Evans Attah Mills has been misled into directing Professor Frimpong Boateng who has been sacked as the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Center to hand over the administration of the Center within one month.

The President yesterday directed Professor Frimpong Boateng to deliver his handing over notes after a meeting with officials of the Health Ministry and the Ghana Medical Association to settle the impasse that had ensued at the Cardiothoracic Center as a result of the dismissal of the renowned Heart Surgeon.

However speaking on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem programme, the Member of Parliament for Ayensuano, Samuel Aye Paye states that the President did not receive adequate briefing on Professor Frimpong Boateng’s work at the Heart Center, as the renowned Heart Surgeon had already handed over the administrative running of the Cardiothoracic Center four years ago.

He says whoever briefed the President yesterday must be held responsible for expose the President to some amount of ridicule as it clearly shows he had not received a thorough briefing on Professor Frimpong Boateng administrative work at the Cardiothoracic Center.

“How can a President direct someone who has already handed the day to day administrative running of the Cardiothoracic Center four (4) years ago to once again handover? This is a bit weird, such room must not be allowed for the President to be mocked’’ he said.

Hon. Aye Paye notes that Professor Frimpong Boateng has been treated unfairly by the way he was relieved of his position, adding that he should have been accorded a dignifying exit.

By : Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Sir John is an apology of a general secretary – Tetteh Chaie

The Member of Parliament for Ablekuma Central, Theouphilus Tetteh Chaie has described the General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie as “an apology of a General Secretary”.

According to him, the NPP’s General Secretary, popularly known as Sir John, is not living up to the billing of a party General Secretary.

His comments followed Mr. Owusu Afriyie’s criticism of what he termed a lack of action on the part of President Mills to support famine victims in Somalia.

Mr. Owusu Afriyie had, in a press release dated August 28 titled “Ghana must support humanitarian efforts in Somalia”, raised questions about the level of President Mills’ involvement in efforts by former President Rawlings to raise funds for famine victims in the Horn of Africa.

The statement said “the New Patriotic Party would have expected that the President of the Republic of Ghana would have seen this humanitarian crisis and the appeal from Mr. Rawlings as an opportunity to redeem Ghana’s current low image in African affairs and show the way by leading in the humanitarian effort. Ghana’s response, however, has been woefully uncaring and diplomatically embarrassing.”

Speaking on Adom TV’s morning show, BADWAM on Multi TV, Mr. Owusu Afriyie said it was “a disgrace for the sitting president to remain silent on providing help for famine victims in the Horn of Africa due to his feud with his party founder who is the AU representative to Somalia.

He expressed regret at the fact that whiles the people of Somalia wallow in abject poverty, President Mills has not taken any proactive step to help them.

But the Ablekuma Central MP was not happy with Sir John’s comments. He said these comments were uncalled for and asked him to be cautious about his public pronouncements since he speaks for a party.

Mr. Tetteh Chaie recounted how the opposition NPP opposed efforts by the Mills administration to raise funds for the victims of the Haitian earthquake and tsunami last year adding that jumping to hasty conclusions on issues will not guarantee the NPP victory in the 2012 polls.

Source: Multi TV

Ken Agyapong: some few ‘Wise Men’ in gov’t have turned MPs into ‘stooges’

Outspoken NPP Member of Parliament for Assin North, Hon. Kennedy Agyapong, says some of his colleague MPs are “stooges” who rush into approving decisions taken by “the president and his few wise men” at the expense of their constituents.

“With all due respect to everybody, we behave like stooges, stooges in the sense that…parliamentarians are being whipped into giving their approval to any decision taken by the President, his Vice, Cabinet and some few wise men who are ministers,” he said.

To him, it was rather unfortunate that parliamentarians tend to cede to any meaningless decision taken by their respective parties even though they know the outcome of the decision would not benefit the very constituent they represent.

In an interview on Adom FM’s Dwaso Nsem programme, the Assin North MP posited that because of his forthrightness, members from his own party sometimes oftentimes disagree with him, adding that the country needs politicians who believe in “Ghana First” and not “party first”.

“We need politicians who have already established themselves and cannot be enticed with triflings and are not easily intimidated; quality Parliamentarians who can stand on their feet and condemn issues that are not be in the best interest of the country…Most of them want ministerial appointments so would vote yeah…yeah because the president and his vice have put forward a proposal,” he added.

Calling for a new structure that entirely de-links the Executive from the Legislature; he stated that left to him alone, no parliamentarian should be made to serve as a minister. Citing his own experience as an example, the CEO of Kencity Media shockingly revealed that during ex-president Kufuor’s tenure, the NPP openly sabotaged Parliamentarians who strongly voiced out their views against the party.

“As at now, two thirds of parliamentarians are part of the executive and have been made ministers…I don’t want to mention names, but if you could recall, anybody who refused to be intimidated during the NPP tenure, the party made sure they sabotaged him to lose in the elections. Had it not been by my own effort and the fact that I had resources of my own to campaign, I could have been a victim,” he disclosed.

He believes this and other factors have turned parliamentarians into ‘stooges’.

When host of the show, Adakabre Frimpong Manso, drew his attention to the fact that the word ‘stooge’ might be too derogatory a description for Parliamentarians, the NPP MP, who said he was prepared to retract, however stressed that Members of Parliament have been kowtowing to the whims and caprices of the government of the day for far too long answering “Yes, Sir, Yes, Sir” to every proposal from the Executive.

Source: Peacefmonline.com

Let’s avoid politics of regionalism – Haruna Iddrisu

Communications Minister, Haruna Iddrisu has called for an end to what he describes as ‘politics of regionalism’ where indigenes of mineral rich regions lay exclusive claim to the natural resources available in that region.

According to him, the practice is unhealthy and amounts to cheap politics.

Speaking on Multi TV and Joy FM’s news analysis program NEWSFILE, Mr. Iddrisu who is also the Member of Parliament for Tamale South said the fact that a particular natural resource is found in abundance in a particular region does not give automatic ownership of the resource to the indigenes of the region.

Quoting article 257 of the 1992 Constitution, the Tamale South MP stressed the fact that natural resources found anywhere in the country belong to all Ghanaians.

“Engaging in regional politics is inimical for national cohesion. It is not healthy for our politics” he cautioned.

Explaining the government’s stance on the controversial $3 billion loan facility from the China Development Bank, Mr. Iddrisu indicated that government is seeking Parliament’s approval to enable it borrow the money adding that all “these are cited in the master facility agreement and also in the committees report.”

He said most of the issues raised by the Minority with respect to the loan facility, particularly the issues about gaps in the loan agreement have been resolved by Parliament’s finance committee thus “let them not behave as if this is the first time a loan has gone to parliament with gaps.”

Parliament on Friday approved the controversial $3 billion Chinese loan agreement by a voice vote with the minority abstaining.

Explaining the Minority’s decision to abstain from Friday’s vote, the Member of Parliament for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul, stated that the Minority is not against the projects to be executed with the loan facility but it believes there are some inconsistencies and problems with the loan agreement such as the mode of payment and the interest rate on the loan agreement.

“We said take your time, go and reconcile all these things and then bring it back to Parliament in a holistic manner for all of us to approve it and they said no, and they went ahead to approve it, and we taught that the important thing is that we will abstain, we are not going to vote against it” Mr. Nitiwul said.

The Managing Editor of The New Crusading Guide Newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, who was also a guest on the show advised government to “manage our expectations, particularly the expectations of our brothers and sisters in the Western Region. The way and manner the Chiefs have gone about this thing, the railway workers, the NUGS, and some of their own lead spokespersons on air, some of whom I have heard, they must manage and we must have clarity and consistency of information flow on the 3 billion loan facility.”

Alban Bagbin: Ghana will lose nothing if STX fails; government will

Ghana as a country will not suffer any fatal injury if the controversial STX Housing project fails to materialize, Works and Housing Minister has said.

Alban Bagbin was quick to add however, that the government stands to lose a “political mileage” if it fails to honour its promise of putting up 30,000 houses for security personnel at a cost of $1.5 billion.

He was speaking with Joy News’ Araba Koomson on the topsy-turvy STX Housing project.

The project, since its conception has been dogged with so many controversies.

It was approved by a lopsided Majority in Parliament with the Minority staging a walkout.

In January 2011, President John Mills broke the ground for what was anticipated to be a peaceful and successful execution of the project but reverse has been the case.

The Ghanaian and their Korean counterparts have been embroiled in series of boardroom squabbles with each asserting its authority.

Government in a bid to resolve the board room crisis has set up a mediation committee to see to a peaceful resolution of the problems.

Even before the committee completes its responsibility, the Works and Housing Minister Alban Bagbin said Ghanaians must not be too worried about the project.

“There is no provision in the agreement that we signed and approved by Parliament that the money must come from a particular source.”

He said government is under no obligation to disclose the source of funding for the project because it has entrusted that obligation to STX Engineering and Construction, Ghana.

Alban Bagbin said “if they fail to bring the money we don’t lose anything. The project is not implemented; we don’t lose anything as a country.”

When he was reminded that government made promises to the people of Ghana and the security personnel especially, and which must be fulfilled, the Minister answered: “That is the government and the government is different from Ghana or the state. As a government we will lose a lot of political mileage.

He pledged government’s unflinching desire to implement the project.

Source: myjoyonline.com

Frimpong Boateng’s dismissal is unfortunate – Kojo Adu -Asare

The Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu-Asare has described the circumstances under which the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Center, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng’s appointment was revoked as very unfortunate and a ‘faux pas’ on the part of the Health Minister.

According to him, Professor Frimpong Boateng even if he had to be relieved of his position, must have been given a dignifying exit, as he has over the years rendered dedicated service to save the lives of hundreds of heart patients and has also trained several doctors in this field.

The renowned Heart Surgeon who established and was the Director of the National Cardiothoracic Center in 1992 after he returned from Germany had his appointment revoked by the Minister of Health over the weekend.

A letter released on 25th August 2011 and signed by Hon. Joseph Yieleh Chireh, revoked his (Prof. Frimpong Boateng’s) appointment after he sought and obtained permission to be transferred from the Ministry of Health to the University of Ghana in the year 2000.

However contributing to a discussion on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo show on Monday 29TH August 2011, the Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu –Asare, who expressed his displeasure over the issue, stated that Prof. Frimpong Boateng who has contributed hugely to the success of the Heart Center which is the best in West Africa should have rather been celebrated for his efforts instead of the “disgraceful” exist given him.

He noted that such action from government officials give room for unnecessary speculations that his “dismissal’ was politically motivated especially when the Prof. is widely known to be a member of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“ I’m growing increasingly worried about the tendency for successive governments to dismiss opposition members working in public offices as soon as it assumes power, we must be growing as a country and stop such unnecessary attacks on political opponents’’ he said.

Hon. Adu –Asare called on President Attah Mills to intervene and see how best he could resolve the issue which is creating discontent among a large section of the medical staff at the Cardiothoracic center while other hearts patients have been turn away from the center.

By : Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Affordable Housing to be completed – Tamale South MP

Communications Minister, Haruna Iddirisu says government will soon secure funds to complete the affordable housing project initiated by President Kufuor’s government.

He says President Mills has tasked the sector Minister to make the project a priority to help bridge the housing deficit in the country.

The opposition NPP has criticized government for not showing enough commitment to the complete the houses.

But commenting on Joy FM’s News analysis programme, Newsfile, Haruna Iddrisu said a financial arrangement will soon be secured for the execution of the project.

He said the initiative was a worthy one and the projects must be completed with funds raised preferably locally.

By :Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Debate on $3 billion loan deffered

Parliamentary debate on the $3 billion Chinese Loan agreement has been deferred to today, Friday August 26, 2011.

First Deputy Speaker, Hon Edward Doe Adzaho, ruled that debate on the loan be postponed to this morning after Minority MPs strongly opposed an application by the Majority bench that a revised report of the Finance Committee on the facility be debated yesterday.

The Majority Leader Cletus Avoka stated that the revised report, “is not substantially different from” the original one, which was laid yesterday.

The Finance Committee had earlier had a lengthy meeting to deliberate on some details of the revised Master Facility Agreement laid before the House Thursday afternoon by Finance Minister Dr Kwabena Duffuor. He had earlier, withdrawn the original $3 billion loan agreement his Deputy, Seth Emmanuel Terkper, laid before the House on Tuesday July 12, 2011.

This was to enable the government work on the concerns of the minority in parliament. The amended agreement had a three-paragraphed statement inserted to address the concerns of Minority MPs.

But the Finance Committee again failed to achieve consensus on the revised document.

The minority this morning is expected to cogently debate this loan agreement after careful study of the amended details, however the majority is expected to have their way due to their numerical strength.

By : Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh