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Parliament to debate draft national anti-corruption action plan

The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) is to present the draft National Anti-Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), one of the triggers for donor support, to Parliament next month for adoption.

It is, therefore, finalising the draft NACAP, progress of which was communicated to the Vice-President on January 6, this year, for parliamentarians to also make their input and adopt it to become the national strategy on anti-corruption.

Briefing the Daily Graphic in Accra Monday, a Deputy Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Richard Quayson, and the Chairman of the National Working Group of the NACAP, Mr Charles Ayamdoo, said the plan had evolved from wide consultations.

The anti-corruption plan, which will span the period from 2012 to 2021, is one of the triggers of donor support.

This means that a country requires will fashion out and implement an anti-corruption plan to make development partners eager to provide the much-needed support for its development.

The draft report builds on past experiences in the fight against corruption and brings together all anti-corruption efforts into one comprehensive, strategic plan that embraces all Ghanaians in the fight against corruption.

Presenting highlights of the strategy, Mr Quayson said NACAP was a national strategy to be debated and adopted by Parliament, after which copies of the plan would be circulated widely for its implementation to begin.

He said CHRAJ had facilitated the process by providing a secretariat for the working group that developed, consulted and collated efforts in the development of the strategy.

A broad cross-section of professional, business, civil society organisations, community-based organisations, the media, religious groups, the government and its agencies, as well as youth bodies nation-wide, were consulted in the drafting of the policy.

Two national integrity conferences took place in 1998 and 2011, with the first conference providing significant proposals for tackling corruption in a comprehensive manner and the second discussing, evaluating and validating the draft NACAP.

Mr Quayson said roles had been apportioned to all Ghanaians in the anti-corruption strategy, with the media, for instance, having the responsibility of sensitising the public to the action plan and conducting investigative articles to expose corrupt practices.

Mr Ayamdoo, for his part, said journalists and all other professions were also responsible for a non-partisan approach to their work under NACAP.

NACAP, he added, made all responsible to “walk the talk” and translate the preaching and commitments into practice.

He stressed that in order to survive governments, the document had been through processes that were consultative and was being facilitated by CHRAJ, which was independent in its operations.

Its adoption by Parliament, he added, was meant to make all Ghanaians identify themselves with the plan.

Nii Tackie Kommey denies planning to go independent

The Member of Parliament for Odododiodoo constituency, Jonathan Nii Tackie Kommey has refuted rumours that he is intends to contest as an independent candidate following his loss of his seat to Nii Lante Vanderpuye in the just ended NDC Parliamentary primaries.

The MP said he does not have any reason to challenge the decision of the delegates who decided on whom they want to represent them in Parliament, adding that his commitment to the NDC party remains unwavering.

The NDC party has warned that defeated candidates who go independent will swiftly be sacked from the party.

The election in Odododiodioo constituency was one of the places that attracted a lot of interest as Nii Lamptey Vanderpuije, a Presidential Staffer who was rumuored to have the backing of the Castle and vowed to unseat the incumbent. The campaign prior to the voting was characterized by a lot of tension between supporters of the two candidates.

Nii Tackie Kommey lost his bid to contest on the NDC’s ticket after he secured only 71 votes, against the 389 votes polled by his contender Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye.

In an interview with Adom News, stated that the delegates reposed trust in him by electing him on two occasions to represent them in parliament and if they have decided to throw their weight this time around behind someone else then he must respect it.

Spelling out some of the projects he initiated for the constituency, he emphasized that his defeat will not stop him from prosecuting other projects to realize the better Ghana agenda.

Hon. Nii Tackie Kommey assured of his commitment to work hard to ensure victory for the NDC party in the upcoming December general elections.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

MPs broke after spending millions on primaries

Months of investigation has unearthed worrying levels of illegal cash payments made by candidates trying to influence voting patterns in their constituencies.

This practice is a violation of Ghana’s electoral laws, unethical and in many cases goes unnoticed. It is also a gamble, often leaving the loser in financial ruin.

A recently ousted lawmaker, who pleaded not to be named for fear of being cited for breach of the nation’s electoral laws, was left with a drained bank account but lost the ticket by what he called “embarrassing margins”.

“You should not be surprised to hear I committed suicide,” the defeated lawmaker said.

“Universities are reopening within the next few days. I am broke to the extent that I may not be able to pay for my daughter to go,” the MP said. He said he hopes his confession, albeit on condition of anonymity, will “provoke a national debate which will lead to complete elimination of vote buying in our body politic.”

Worried by the vicious cycle of cash for votes during interparty elections, the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Jirapa has called for an end to primary elections.

Hon Dr Dakora, who retained the NDC Parliamentary ticket for Jirapa in the January 21 primaries of the party, told The Globe newspaper that although one of his opponents chose to pay as much as GHC50 each to delegates, with the promise of paying GHC 200 more if he won, “I can tell you from here that I never put even a single Ghana cedi note in an envelope for anybody. Primaries are killing our democracy because of the amount of money people spend just to get elected,” he said.

He argued there is need for political parties to devise more acceptable ways of choosing candidates to represent their parties.

The Jirapa MP said his own experience during the recent election to elect a parliamentary candidate for his constituency was a “very sad” one.

Before the election, he said, “I told the delegates. .. I said in this hall today; truth versus lies; purchase of votes verses objectivity …is going to be on challenge and I know that a lot of you sitting here, even if out of poverty you would have to take this money, would resist the influence of the money and vote for me because you believe that I have been working hard for this constituency. And they came out massively and did that.”

Delegates who spoke to The Globe from Jirapa confirmed the MP’s claims but refused to give details.

The incumbent NDC MP for Sege, who lost his re-election bid just this past weekend, echoed Dakora and called on government to establish the truth.

“I would be glad if audit will be carried out on some of the companies in the area – those who used company money to give out…to do their campaign,” he said, denying that he was broke after a failed attempt to match the financial prowess of his opponents.

“I am not broke,” he told The Globe. “God is my provider. He provides my needs. And so far as the Lord is on my side he meets my needs every time…”

“Vote buying is real, my brother. The sooner we fight to eliminate it, the better,” one majority MP confessed. “We have all along been behaving as Ostriches. I think the time has come for a national debate on how we can end this canker,” the MP said.

Over the weekend, the ruling NDC held parliamentary primaries in the Greater Accra region. A week earlier, the party held similar polls in other holding constituencies around the country, excluding those areas the Electoral Commission has reportedly earmarked for possible division into two separate constituencies.

Last April, the opposition New Patriotic Party held similar elections in constituencies around the country to elect candidates to contest parliamentary elections on the party’s ticket this December. The primaries of the two parties, The Globe found were replete with heavy doses of vote buying through the sharing of cash and free distribution of free cars, motor bikes, television sets, laptops, mobile phones, refrigerators, roofing sheets, iPADs, wax prints, bicycles, shoes, etc.

As much as GHC 1.6 million has made its way into the pockets of party delegates who made receipt of cash gifts part of the preconditions for voting for candidates seeking their votes in one constituency alone.

Although the issue of vote buying has become a major drain on the pockets of MPs, whose meagre monthly salaries are within the region of GHC 2500, almost all the lawmakers were unwilling to speak on the record without first pleading anonymity.

“I spent more than GHC 600 million just to convince delegates to vote for me,” one lawmaker said.

“This is senseless. It just does not make sense,” another worried lawmaker added, outraged about what she called “a very dangerous trend that has virtually put our democracy on sale.”

“We cannot continue like this”, another MP said. “Many of my colleagues are broke. I mean they do not have a pessewa in their bank accounts,” the lawmaker added.

“The delegates told us in the face they will not vote for us if we did not pay,” one MP said.

“It is as simple as that. You pay, you win; you refuse to pay, you lose. The simple fact is that our votes are not for free these days. In fact nothing is given out for free in Ghana these days,” a delegate, who gave his name as Abu said.

“The reason why we insist in being paid before voting is that once the votes are over, these MPs leave for Accra and we hardly see them again,” another delegate said.

“You cannot blame us because we need to survive you know,” another delegate from the Lower Manya Constituency of the Eastern region added.

During our investigations, The Globe spoke to agents of various banks whose banks have given huge loans to MPs to run their campaigns. Some of these agents either refused to comment on the issue, citing confidentiality rules in banking, or pleaded anonymity as precondition to speaking to this reporter.

“My bank for instance supported many of the MPs with loans. Some of them took as much as 600,000 Ghana cedis. Other daring ones received as much as GHC 800,000,” one agent said.

“Almost all the MPs who took loans from us used their ex-gratia or end of service benefits as collateral. It is serious, my brother,” another agent said.

Source: The Globe newspaper

Ban Ki-moon should fight Kwashiorkor not for gay rights – Prof. Ocquaye

The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Ocquaye, has challenged African leaders to remain resolute and should not give in to pressure from the West to legalise homosexuality on the continent.

The UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon over the weekend called on African leaders to respect gay rights in their respective countries. This was at the African Union Summit at Addis Ababa in Ethiopia.

His call comes a few months after UK Premier, David Cameron, threatened to withdraw aid to anti-gay African countries.

Speaking to Citi News, Prof Ocquaye noted that the incessant calls by the West for the legalisation of homosexuality on the continent amounts to bastardisation and attempts to re-introduce slavery.

He indicated that “it is a very concerted effort that must be resisted. This people are making money out of certain situations and if we don’t take care, it is going to be a new form of slavery. ”

Prof. Ocquaye added: “They would take our young people from here, sodomise them in Europe and other places and when they have destroyed their humanity, they’d send them back.

“If these people are really interested in certain rights, what are they doing about Kwashiorkor rights? Do they know what Kwashiorkor does to our people here? ”

“What are they doing about Sickle Cell Disease and Children’s Rights, what are they doing about AIDS which in fact in a way they brought, which is causing us a lot of problems? ” he stated.


I blame myself for my defeat- Adu-Asare

The Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kojo Adu –Asare says he is to blame for his own defeat during Saturday’s constituency primaries as he went contrary to the word of God.

According to him, he defied God’s earlier word instructing him not to re-contest his seat in an election in that primaries that was to be keenly contested.

The affable and soft spoken MP Hon. Adu – Asare caused a stir in political circles when he presented a letter to the constituency chairman of the party at the Constituency’s general meeting in which he informed the party of his decision not to run anymore and subsequently came public on the issue.

He explained that he took that decision because he had realized his primary objective of contesting the 2008 elections that was to wrestle the Adenta seat which had been occupied by the NPP for a while, adding that having achieved that aim; he believes it is time to hand over the baton for another person to continue with the good works that he has started.

However in a sharp u-turn barely two months after his earlier declaration, the MP announced that he had rescinded his decision and now interested in seeking re-election, an action that was met with mixed feeling from his constituents including his constituency chairman.

Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrokoo’ show on Monday, Hon. Adu-Asare who lost woefully to Nii Ashie Moore by 17 votes to 70 votes stated that though he is aware that his supporters are disappointed by his loss, he is happy with the outcome of the election, since as a Christian he believes God orders his steps and does what is best for him.

“ I know the Lord has not finished with me because I’ve lost this election, this is a stepping stone for me to greater heights, I’m not on my way out but rather on my way up, God is certainly going to use me for something great’’ he said.

He noted that it will require extra effort from the candidate elect to retain the Adenta Seat for the NDC as the NPP candidate Frances Asiam, is a experienced and formidable politician who has a good knowledge of the Adenta constituency terrain.

Hon. Adu –Asare assured of his commitment to work hard to ensure victory for the NDC in the impending December elections.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

MPs worried with biometric registration date

The leadership of parliament is preparing to meet the Electoral Commission to negotiate for a convenient date for the biometric registration exercise to ensure that Members of Parliament are not disenfranchised.

The Electoral Commission has hinted the exercise may come off on 20th March 2012. Incidentally, the House will rise on the same day so the MPs fear they may not be able to actively participate in the exercise as well as getting people, especially their supporters, to get registered.

Joy News’ parliamentary correspondent Sammy Darko reports that the MPs are lobbying to either get the House to rise on the 16th of March or convince the EC to delay the exercise for about a week.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the House is set to engage with the electoral body to know the exact date for the registration exercise to enable it take a firm decision.

Dubious judgment debt awarded by NDC gov’t – Kennedy Agyapong

The New Patriotic Party Member of Parliament for Assin North, Mr Kennedy Agyapong has claimed he has proof to that effect that the Mills led government was awarding dubious judgment debts through the courts to certain individuals.

According to him, under President Mills’s leadership huge corrupt practices which is documented  have been carried out in some state institutions such as the Tema Oil Refinery, the Bulk Oil Storage and Transport Company, the National Youth Employment Programme amongst others.

The issue of judgment debt has been raging on for several months following the realization that GHS58 million has been paid as judgment debt to the governing National Democratic Congress (NDC) bank roller Alfred Agbesi Woyome, in a controversial manner.

Speaking on Accra based Okay FM on Friday; Hon. Kennedy Agyapong assured that he would go every length to ensure that every money that has been given out to NDC supporters under the pretext of judgment debts is returned to the state.

He mentioned the deputy Attorney General, Ebo Barto Oduro as one individual who has become a channel through who criminal acts are carried out against the state, adding that Ghanaians must hold him and the government in general to account.

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

NDC set for Greater Accra parliamentary primaries

All is set for this weekend’s Greater Accra Regional National Democratic Congress (NDC) constituency primaries.

According to party officials, impediments that were in the way of the party that prevented the elections from being held last week as part of the national elections have all been cleared. .

Incumbent MPs, Gabriel Kojo Essilfie, MP for Shama, and Kingsford Alban Bagbin, Member of Parliament for Nadowli West will receive popular acclamation.

The Member of Parliament for Adentan, Kojo Adu-Asare, who made a volte-face to re-contest the seat which sparked confusion in the area, has been cleared to contest.

Primaries would, however, not be held in areas such as the Ketu South and Weija where pending the results of the 2010 sensus could lead to the creation of a new constituency .

Kwadwo Anim/ghanamps.gov.gh

Ho-West MP presents motorbikes for 2012 campaign

Mr Emmanuel Bedzrah, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ho-West, has presented 15 motorbikes to the constituency for campaigning in the 2012 general elections.

The motorbikes are to be given to zonal coordinators who are being assigned to organise young people especially into the ranks of the NDC.

Mr Bedzrah said his target was to maximize the presidential votes for the party and tasked the zonal coordinators to send the campaign to every corner of the constituency.

He asked them to encourage everybody to get involved in the biometric registration, which is the first step in the election process.

Mr Bedzrah commended delegates and people in the constituency for the confidence reposed in him being returned unopposed in the recent primaries.

He said he was ready to work with everybody to bring development to the area and called for support from all.


Ayawaso East MP donates motor bikes to Nima Police Command

Dr Mustapha Ahmed, Member of Parliament (MP) of Ayawaso East in the Greater Accra Region on Wednesday donated two motor bikes to the Nima Divisional Police Command to help ease their transportation difficulties.

He said the licensed bikes are meant to support the Nima and Kotobabi stations to enhance their surveillance and policing activities.

Dr Ahmed also the out-going Deputy Minister of Water Resources, Works and Housing said the partnership between the Police and the Ayawaso community has not only been harmonious but also beneficial in ensuring peaceful co-existence.

He said the donation is in recognition of the untiring efforts of the Police to protect lives and property.

Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Timothy Yoosa Bonga, Divisional Police Commander expressed appreciation for the continued support of the MP to facilitate security service in the area.

He said the major challenge facing the Command has been mobility and the donation of the bikes would aid the Police personnel undertake surveillance and other policing activities.

ACP Bonga recalled the two computers and accessories Dr Ahmed donated to the Command last month which he said, had gone a long way in supporting his outfit in secretariat works.