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Kennedy Agyapong’s case adjourned……trial judge not well

The case involving Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, Member of Parliament for Assin Central was on Thursday adjourned because the trial judge, Mr Ebenezer Osei Darko was not well.

Though, Mr Anthony Rexford Wiredu, Chief State Attorney and the accused Kennedy Agyepong appeared in court the case could not be heard because the trial judge was not well and had to seek medical attention.

Kennedy Agyapong has been charged for inciting riot and engaging in offensive conduct conducive to breach the peace.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and he is on self recognizance bail. The case was adjourned to April 9, 2013 for hearing.

The accused was arrested on Monday, April 16, after being invited by the Police CID over statements he allegedly made the previous Friday, April 13, on his Accra-based radio station, Oman FM.

He was alleged to have “declared war” and vowed to lynch any fake security operative, following the alleged physical attack on Ms Ursula Owusu,  NPP’s Ablekuma South parliamentary aspirant and Mr Abu Jinapor, an aide to the NPP flagbearer, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, at Tarzan, a registration centre at Odododiodoo in Accra.

The accused reportedly said he would organize supporters of the NPP to defend themselves because the police had failed to protect them.

On Wednesday, April 18, the Adjabeng Magistrate’s Court in Accra declined jurisdiction in the case of treason, felony and attempted genocide brought against the accused, saying such crimes should be tried by the High Court.

Ms Patricia Quansah, Presiding over the court, said in a ruling after prosecution had asked for the remand of the accused, that such cases were heard by three high court judges.

She said the Chief Justice on June 17, 2008, released a circular to all judges stating that cases such as treason, murder, narcotics and rape, were to be referred to the Chief Justice, who would in turn refer them to the court.

Ms Quansah asked the prosecution, also led by Mr Wiredu, to refer the matter to the Chief Justice to determine which court should hear the case.


Parliament to resume sitting on May 28

The second session of the Fifth Parliament of the Fourth Republic is expected to commence on Tuesday 28th May 2013.

The House went on recess on Wednesday 27th March 2013 after three months of sitting during which the work of Parliament involved the vetted and approval of Ministers, approval of budget and 2013 Appropriation Bill and the laying of several Papers.

Presenting the Business statement of the House for the year ending Friday, 31st May 2013, the Chairman of the Business Committee and Majority Leader, Dr. Benjamin Kunbour stated that the House may be recalled during the recess to attend to urgent business that may come up.

He noted that four questions standing in the name of Herod Cobbina, would be asked during the week of resumption.

Additionally, Bills may be presented to the House for First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order 119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Parliament approves 2013 Appropriation Bill

Parliament on Wednesday approved the 2013 Appropriation Bill by taking it through all the necessary stages to allow government to withdraw monies from the Consolidated Fund and other funds for the running of the country for the 2013 financial year.

A total of GHc 31,845,664,819.00 to be issued from the consolidated fund for the purposes of meeting government expenditure was approved by the House.

The Bill is divided into 5 clauses and 2 schedules. Clause 1 deals with sum of money to be issued from the consolidated Fund for the 2013 financial year. Clause 2 deals with internally Generated Funds while Clause 3 talks of the payment of money on authorization of Minister for Finance.

Clause 4 spells out the commencement date of the Appropriation Act and Clause 5 seeks to repeal the Appropriation Act of 2012. Schedule 1 provides for the total appropriation expenditure by items and schedule 2 provides a breakdown of total IGF retention for 2013.

In debating the report of the Finance Committee on the Appropriation Bill, the Ranking Member of the Committee, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei bemoaned the practice where state institutions overspend their budget, noting that in 2012 the Appropriation Bill was exceeded but no one was held accountable, a situation he expressed regret for.

He urged the Finance Ministry to liaise with Parliament to enact clauses that will impose sanctions on anyone who overspends the Appropriation Bill, adding that as a House Parliament must be concerned about how the ordinary tax payers’ monies are used.

The Deputy Minority Leader, Dominic Nitiwul who also expressed similar concerns called on Parliament to bare its teeth by enacting stringent laws to check such unauthorized spending.

He noted that even the Controller and Accountant General which was expected to check such anomalies itself overspent it budget.“ If the gatekeepers themselves are dipping their hands into the soup, them how much more the thieves” He added.

However an attempt by the MP for Akuapem North, Hon. W.O Boafo to amend a portion of the Appropriation Bill recommending a jail term of not less than 15 years for anyone found to have overspent the appropriation was harshly short down by the Majority side.

The Majority Leader Benjamin Kunbour, explained that his objection to the amendment was because his colleague’s intervention was irrelevant to the Appropriation Bill and should not be entertained.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Speaker calls for proper investigation into Maputo report

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Edward Doe Adjaho has charged the Sports Ministry to conduct proper investigation into a corruption scandal leveled against some persons at the National Sports Authority with demand for appropriate sanctions to persons named in the Maputo Report.

Hon. Doe-Adjaho however considered the report as “damming” and called on the Sports Ministry to do everything within its capacity to bring the true to light.
 “The report is damning, I must say that corruption is corruption and it should be fought” he asserted
 It could be recalled that the Ministry of Youth and Sports set up a Committee chaired by Nii Barima Din Adotey to investigate into the reasons that led to the embarrassment of the National Athletics team during the 2011 All Africa games held in Mozambique Maputo.
The report indicted the then boss of the National Sports Authority and incumbent Chief Sports Development Officer, Mr. Worlanyo Agrah and Erasmus Adorkor respectively for corruption in the awards of contract and a lack of adequate supervision of contracts.
Meanwhile, Mr. Adorkor was further held responsible for an amount of 32,000 dollars that could not be accounted for.
The report came up for discussion when a Ranking Member on the Committee for Sports, Hon. Isaac Asiamah raised questions about the ministry’s record of financial embezzlement and the undue delay in implementing the findings of that particular report when the House met to approve this year’s budget allocation for the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
However findings of the report by the Committee are yet to be implemented after almost a year after its release.
Emmanuel Frimpong Mensah/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Prez. Mahama appoints more deputy ministers

The President, John Dramani Mahama, acting in accordance with article 79 of the 1992 Constitution, has nominated additional Deputy Ministers to serve in various ministries if approved by parliament.

A statement signed by Dr Raymond Atuguba, Executive Secretary to the President and copied to the GNA on Tuesday said the list includes:
1. Ricketts Kweku Hagan – Ministry of Finance
2. Ebenezer Okletey Teye Larbi – Ministry of Defence
3. Dr. Tia Sugri -Ministry of Health
4. Alex Kyeremeh -Ministry of Education
5. Yaw Effah Baafi -Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
6. James Agalga -Ministry of Interior
7. Vincent Oppong Asamoah -Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing
8. Sampson Ahi -Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing
9. Dr Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu -Ministry of Food and Agriculture
10. Dr Hannah Louisa Bissiw -Ministry of Food and Agriculture
11. Benjamin Dagadu – Ministry of Energy and Petroleum
12. John Abdulai Jinapor – Ministry of Energy and Petroleum
13. Ibrahim Murtala Mohammed – Ministry of Information and Media Relations
14. Joseph Yammin -Ministry of Youth and Sports
15. Edwin Nii Lante Vanderpuye – Ministry of Trade and Industry
16. Victoria Hammah -Ministry of Communications
17. John Alexander Ackon -Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs
18. Isaac Adjei-Mensah – Ministry of Roads and Highways
19. Mohammed Baba Ahmed Jamal -Ministry of Local Government and Rural Developmen
20. Dzifa Gomashie -Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts
21. Antwi Boasiako-Sekyere – Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations
22. Dr Musheibu Mohammed-Alfa -Ministry of Environment, Science, Tech and Innovation
23. Aquinas Quansah -Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development
24. Benita Okity-Dua and Rachael Florence Apoh -Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection
The statement also said, in accordance with Article 256(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, President Mahama has also nominated A.B.A. Fusheini, as Deputy Regional Minister Designate for the Northern Region.

Ministry must explain why it overspent more than its budget- Asiamah


The Member of Parliament for Atwima Mponua, Isaac Asiamah has challenged the Ministry of Health to provide supporting documents to Parliament explaining how it overspent an amount of GHc187,000,000 over its annual budget for the year 2012.

According to him, this act of financial indiscipline is highly reprehensible and must not be tolerated by Parliament as it is the institution responsible for protecting the public purse.

A total amount of GHC 54,244,178.00 was approved for the programmes and activities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the year 2012, however at the end of December 2012, actual expenditure was GHc 240,993,010.76.

The ministry claims that the over expenditure is due to funds released to the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) for the payment of arrears due beneficiaries of the programme.

However commenting on a Report of the Committee on Youth, Sports and Culture on the 2013 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Hon. Isaac Asiamah who is also the Ranking Member on the Committee noted that officials of the ministry failed to provide a single document explaining the reckless overspending of the ordinary tax payers hard earned money when they appeared before the committee, a situation he stated must be condemned.

“ The Ministry must tell Ghanaians who were the beneficiaries of this monies spent, it’s important that we know them, we cannot allow the public purse to be misused by institutions of state’’ he added.

He further indicted the government for failing to draw an Action Plan for the National Youth Policy, several years after it was put together.

However MP for Chiana Paga who is the former Chief Executive Office of GYEEDA was quick on his feat defending and vouching for the existence of such an action plan, saying he was privy to putting out the document, urging the ranking member to formally ask for the document which will then be supplied him. But even before he could sit, the Speaker of Parliament Rt Hon. Speaker Edward Doe Adjaho stated that he himself was interested and hence the MP must supply the House with the document.

Meanwhile, GHC 53,872,871.00 has been approved by Parliament for the smooth running of activities of the Ministry of Youth and Sports for the year 2013.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Parliament approves Deputy Ministerial nominees


Parliament on Tuesday approved nine deputy Ministerial nominees who were nominated to serve in various sectors by President John Mahama.

They include Samuel Yaw Adusei –Deputy Regional Minister Designate for Ashanti Region, Justice Samuel Adjei- Deputy Regional Minister Designate for Brong-Ahafo, Mrs Queenstar Pokua Sawyerr – Deputy Regional Minister for the Central Region, Ms Mavis Ama Frimpong- Deputy Minister Designate for Eastern Region and Mr. Isaac N. Djanmah – Deputy Regional Minister for the Greater Accra Region.

The rest are Daniel Awenyue Syme- Deputy Regional Minister for Upper East, Mr. Abu Kasangbata – Deputy Regional Minister Designate for Upper West, Mr. Francis Ganyaglo – Deputy Regional Minister Designate for Volta Region and Mr. Alfred Ekow Gyan –Deputy Regional Minister Designate for the Western Region.

They were approved after the Appointment Committee which vetted them told the House that the nominees have fully met the requirements of the constitution and thus recommended their approval by consensus.

Following their endorsement the nominees are expected to be sworn in by President John Mahama to enable them discharge their duties effectively.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

Walewale MP appeals for assistance for flood victims

Parliament for Walewale, has appealed for urgent relief for victims of the floods which claimed at least four lives and displaced hundreds.

A severe rainstorm hit the northern West Manprusi District last week, inundating the area with one of the worst floods recorded in recent times, submerging roads, houses, farms and ripping off roofs.

The disaster has exacerbated the areas infrastructural deficit, with damages and estimated assistance running into millions of Ghana Cedis.

“It is very critical that immediate relief is brought to mitigate the human suffering that has befallen us as a result of this disaster,” said Dr Bambangi.

Making the appeal through the Ghana News Agency in Accra at the weekend, the MP called on government, non-governmental organisations, international aid agencies and philanthropists to as a matter of urgency support the victims as those displaced by the catastrophe are in dire need for shelter, food and clean drinking water.

The rainstorm follows similar devastating ones which hit parts of the region a fortnight ago.

The authorities have declared Tamale, Gushiegu, Mion, Yendi, Zabzugu, Tatale, Savelugu/Nanton Sabola and surrounding areas disaster zones as a result of the devastation of recent rainstorms.

Meanwhile government and some reputable organisations have started sending relief items to the area.

“In this moment of suffering of our brothers, sisters and children, we must come together and give enthusiastically…they have really lost a lot”

Go back to the classroom, former MPs plead with Teachers

The Forum for Former Members of Parliament has expressed its disquiet over the ongoing strike by members of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) and the National Association of Graduate Teachers(NAGRAT) with a call on them to rescind their decision.

According to the forum, the strike action has the potential of jeopardizing the future of several thousands of children and if not curtailed immediately, the consequences may be disastrous for these children who through no fault of theirs have had to bear the brunt of the actions and inaction of others.

In a press release, the group called on the Labour Commission, the Ministry of Education and other Administrative bodies who possess the mandate to handle the matter to expedite action on the Teachers demands in order to bring it to a speedy closure.

The former MPs noted that peace and harmony on the industrial front are key requirements for the accelerated development of the country and the current industrial atmosphere is certainly not the best for ensuring the total development of the country.

It added that the group believes in the use of constitutionally accepted procedures and processes in addressing labour issues and urge all concerned to respect the labour laws of the country.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh

SADA spends GHC15 Million on Guniea fowl,but Minority raises eye brow


Minority Members of Parliament on Monday challenged government to show proof of where exactly it invested a whopping GHc15, 000,000 on Guinea Fowl Project under the Savanna Accelerated Development Authority (SADA) in 2012.

According to them the government must be prudent in its spending and also transparent enough to Ghanaians and as such indicate exactly where the projects were done and who the beneficiaries were.

The MP for Effutu, Alex Afenyo Markin led the charge by the Minority side when he took his turn in debating a report on the 2013 budget estimates of the Office of Government machinery.

He further questioned what the returns on these huge investments are, and challenged the government to make known to Ghanains the existence and viability of the projects.

“I find it strange to understand why government through SADA invested such huge monies but failed to make any provisions in the 2013 budget. We are also told that about GHC 33,000,000 was invested in Afforestation, where we these trees planted we need to know’’ he said.

A total of Three Hundred and Twelve Million, Three Hundred and Forty –five Thousand, Five Hundred and Twenty-One Ghana Cedis (GHC 312,345,521) was approved by Parliament for the running of government machinery for the year 2013.

The following institutions are to have their allocations of the above stated amount.

They are Office of the President, Office of the Head of Civil Service, Management Services, Scholarship Secretariat, Public Records and Achives Administration Department, Ghana Aids Commission and various Commissions and Councils. The rest are National Identification Authority, National Population Council, Ghana Investment Promotion Center, Internal Audit Agency, Savannah Accelerated Development Authority, Microfinance and Small Loans Center, Office of the National Security and Regional Coordinating Councils.

Meanwhile Parliament today approved a sum of GHC 4,412,695,383, for Ministry of Education and GHC 21,228,757 for Electoral Commission

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMPs.gov.gh