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Court slaps NDC MPs, EC with costs, again

The High Court, Cape Coast, hearing the electoral petitions filed by Stephen Asamoah Boateng and Lawrence Agyinsam, NPP Parliamentary candidates for the Mfantseman and Lower Hemang Denkyira constituencies, has once again slapped costs on Hon. Acquinas Tawiah Quansah, Hon. Foster Andoh and the Electoral Commission respectively.

The High Court, presided over by Mr. Justice J.B. Benson, slapped costs of Five Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC 500.00) each, on both MPs and the Electoral Commission in both petitions.

This is the second time in recent weeks that the two MPs and the EC have been handed costs in respect of the petitions. On the first occasion the court slapped costs of One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 1,000.00) on the EC in each of the two petitions and also slapped costs of Eight Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC 800.00) on each of the MPs. This happened on March 14, 2013.

This follows the failure of the three to file their respective answers to the two petitions, Messrs. Asamoah Boateng and Agyinsam, filing applications to set down the petitions for trial on March 19, 2013.

Immediately, the two applications seeking to set down the petitions for trial were filed at the instance of Asamoah Boateng and Agyinsam on March 14, 2013 the EC and the two MPs quickly rushed to file two separate applications for extension of time to file their answers and also for the two petitioners to provide further and better particulars. Those two applications were fixed for 11th March, 2013.

However, the High Court could not sit on the 11th March, 2013 and adjourned the petition to 14th March, 2013, which date was the original date fixed for the determination of the applications by the two petitioners to set down the petitions for hearing, which would have meant that the High Court will hear and determine the petitions without the answers of the MPs and the EC.

On the 14th of March, 2013, though both MPs were in court, their lawyer, Stanley Ahor was not in court to move the applications. In the case of the EC, none of its officials as well as their lawyer Mr. Anthony Dabi was in court. The situation resulted in the High Court handing costs of One Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHC 1,000.00) on the EC in each of the two petitions and Eight Hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC 800.00) on each of the MPs. The High Court then adjourned both petitions for hearing on 19th March, 2013.

On 19th March, both counsel for the MPs and the EC moved their motions for extension of time and for the petitioners to provide further and better particulars.

Responding to the motions, Egbert Faibille. Jnr argued against the grant of the applications and prayed the court to dismiss the applications to enable the petitions to be heard expeditiously.

He further submitted that in the event that the court decided to grant the applications for extension of time and for further and better particulars, the petitioners were not in a position to furnish the Respondents with all the particulars being sought.

The court adjourned to March 27, 2013 for its ruling on the applications for extension of time and for further and better particulars.


We can pardon Justice Kpegah for trying to seek attention – Ursula

”We can pardon him if he is trying to seek attention…his argument is neither here nor there. He is just wasting our time. If it is diversionary tactics, he is not going to gain anything from it…”

Madam Ursula Owusu, Member of Parliament (MP) for Ablekuma West made this statement in reaction to the claim being made by the former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Francis Kpegah.

According Justice Kpegah, the flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) for the 2012 Presidential elections, Nana Akufo-Addo is impersonating the name William Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo and indicated that he is not a recognised lawyer.

Contributing to a panel discussions on ‘Kokrokoo’ on Peace FM, Ursula Owusu said she is a living proof that Nana Akudo Addo is a lawyer. She has therefore advised Justice Kpegah to spare himself the insults and embarrassment and withdraw the case from court.

“I am a proud member of the firm Akufo Addo Prempeh and Co. He has had enough of attention; he should redraw the case otherwise, he will expose himself to more ridicule and will be embarrassed in court.


Parliament to rise sine die on Wednesday

Parliament will now rise sine die on Wednesday March 27 2013 for the Easter break after it had earlier indicated it would rise on Friday March 22.

The postponement is to allow the House deal with unfinished business including passing the formulae for the sharing the District Assemblies Common Fund for the year 2013, proposed formula for Distribution of the Ghana Education Trust Fund(GETFund) for 2013 and Proposed Formula for the Distribution of Subsidies to be paid to Licensed District Mutual Health Insurances Schemes for the year 2013.

This was disclosed when the Deputy Majority Leader Alfred Agbesi presented the Business statement for the ninth week ending 27th march 2013 on the floor of the Parliament on Friday.

He noted that the House would sit on Monday 25th March which would extend beyond the prescribed period during the week.

Bills may however be presented to the House for the First Reading and those of urgent nature may be taken through the various stages in one day in accordance with Order119. Papers and committee reports may also be presented to the House

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Make maternal mortality a national policy – Parliament


The Health Committee of Parliament has advocated for maternal mortality to be made a national policy like the eradication of measles and guinea worm.

The committee which sees the current high rate of maternal mortality as a great concern suggested that the Ministry of Health should explore ways of addressing the situation and recommended that the Ministry should task the hospitals to look into the cause of the high rate and come up with measures to address it as a matter of urgency.

This was contained in the Committee of Health report on the 2013 annual budget estimates of the Ministry of Health on the floor of Parliament on Wednesday.

The committee in its deliberations with officials of the ministry noted that though the Ministry targeted a rate of 185 deaths per 100,000 births, the Ministry recorded 350 deaths per 100,000 births.

The committee further questioned the source of the data and opined that the Ministry was better placed to give accurate figures, but unfortunately their source of data is from the World Health Organization (which has stated 350/100,000 births since 2008).

It noted that though Parliament passed as number of Health Acts to improve health delivery in the country, most of these Acts have not yet been implemented, notable among them being the Health Facilities Regulatory Act and Mental Health Act.

The Committee therefore recommended to the Ministry of Health to take the necessary steps to implement the acts that were passed to ensure improvement in service delivery.

Meanwhile Parliament has approved a budget of Three Billion, Five Hundred and Twenty-Nine Million, Four Hundred and Forty –Four Thousand and Fifty –Six Ghana Cedis(GHC 3,529,444,056) for the activities of the Ministry of Health for the 2013 fiscal year.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Police must invite Sir John for further investigation – NDC MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Builsa North, James Agalga says the Police must invite NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie to prove his allegations that Dr. Bawumia’ near- fatal accident was engineered by the NDC.

The NDC MP said whilst Mr. Owusu Afriyie’s allegations were absurd, it was necessary for the police to invite him to assist with their investigations into Sunday’s accident involving the vice-presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party in the 2012 elections.

Mr Agalga was speaking on Metro TV’s Good Morning Ghana in response to claims by the NPP General Secretary, popularly called Sir John, that the governing NDC, president John Mahama and National Security had a hand in the accident.

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia was in the early hours of Sunday morning involved in an accident on the Bole Road. His new Toyota Landcruiser V8 was badly mangled in the process but he together with his press aid, driver and body guard, escaped with minor injuries.

Barely 24hours after the accident, Sir John called a press conference at which he accused the president, the NDC and National security of plotting to assassinate Dr. Bawumia as part of effort’s to undermine the election petition brought by three leaders of the NPP (including Dr Bawumia), challenging the validity of the 2012 election results.

But Mr Agalga says the comments were “very reckless and calculated to undermine the very peace we are enjoying in this country. I think that straight away Sir John should be invited to assist with the investigations because he speaks with emphasis, he speaks categorically, as though he is privy to some information.”

He said it was absurd to think a car cannot be involved in an accident because it is a new V8 Toyota Land Cruiser and cited instances where high-profile personalities such as Mr. Cletus Avoka and Mr. Mahama Ayariga have been involved in accidents similar vehicles.

“When things like this happen, we can only give thanks to God and not to begin to apportion blame and say somebody is responsible for your plight,” he noted.


Parliament approves budgetary estimates for four ministries

Parliament on Thursday approved budgetary estimates for four ministries for the implementation of the programmes for the year 2013.

The Ministry of Finance was allocated an amount of Two Hundred and Ninety-two Million,Two Hundred and Six Thousand, Four Hundred and Seventy-eight Ghana Cedis(GHC 292,206,478), while the Ministry of Interior had Eight Hundred and Twenty Five Million, Eight Hundred and Seventeen Thousand, One Hundred and Sixty Nine Ghana Cedis(GHC 825,817,169.00).

The Foreign Affairs Ministry was allocated One Hundred and Ten Million, Two Hundred and Twenty-nine Thousand and Forty-nine Ghana Cedis(GHC 110,229,049.00) while the Ministry of Roads and Highways had Seven Hundred and Six Million, Seven Hundred and Twenty-one Thousand, Nine Hundred and Thirty-Seven Ghana Cedis(GHC 706,721,937.00).

Presenting the report on the estimates, the Chairman of the Finance Committee of Parliament, James Avedzi said the total allocation for the ministry has increased from the GHC 165,918,822.00 in 2012 to GHC 292,206,478in 2013.

Giving the budget allocation, he noted that out of the total amount GHC 214,170,624.00 is GOG, GHC46, 747,194.00 is Donor support, GHC 27,350,000.00 is ABFA while GHC 3,938,660.00 is IGF.

For the Ministry of Interior an amount of GHC 5,648, 963, was allocated to Headquarters’, 499,297,847 to Police Service, 107,904,383 to the Prison Service. Fire Service had 101,762,592; Immigration had 51,321,100, while NACOB had 12,433,500. NASC had 1, 455, 821, Migration 568,649, NADMO 40,096,030 while the Refugee Board had 1, 270,000. Others are Gaming-1, 008, 694, and Peace Council 3,049,590.

In considering the budget estimates, the Chairman of Defence and Interior Committee, George Kofi Arthur said the committee observed a general shortfall in allocations to all the sector agencies. He noted that the amounts granted are woefully inadequate to meet operational needs especially, in the face of current crime rate, land disputes and the drug menace confronting the country.

The committee on the other hand lauded the ministry for the initiative to take steps in conjunction with National Security and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to address comprehensively and on a sustainable manner the menace posed by alien herdsmen, especially the Fulanis.

 Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Ajumako-Enyan -Essiam hails MP’s nomination as minister

The entire membership of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in the Ajumako-Enyan-Essiam has expressed joy over the nomination of Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, Member of Parliament for the area as Deputy Minister of Finance.

In a statement to the press signed by Mr Kwabena Kwansah and Mr Andrews Kojo Dodoo, Constituency Chairman and Secretary respectively, expressed gratitude to the President John Dramani Mahama for nominating their MP for the position.

The statement stated that since the inception of the Fourth Republic, Mr Forson was the first person from the constituency to be nominated by the NDC to a ministerial position.

It recalled that Mr Forson was elected to Parliament in 2008 as the youngest MP and worked hard to transform the constituency in terms of the provision of infrastructure.

During his first term as MP the area saw unprecedented development projects such as school buildings, teachers’ quarters, health facilities, construction of boreholes, and improvement of road networks among others.

The statement said it came as no surprise as the constituents overwhelmingly endorsed his re-election bid in 2012 to continue with his good works.

It expressed confidence that the Appointment Committee of Parliament would have no problem at all in approving Mr Forson’s nomination.

“We wish to assure President Mahama that he will have no regret for making the nomination as Mr Forson through competence and hard work will promote the President’s vision of the Better Ghana Agenda,” the stated.

Parliament approves budget for NDPC

Members of Parliament have called for increased financial resources for the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) to enable it    effectively run its activities.

The Commission exists to advise the President of the Republic of Ghana on national development framework and ensuring that strategies and programs are effectively carried out for the asccelerated development of the country which will provide continuous improvement in living standards of Ghanaians.

But the delay in releasing funds for the Commission which in most cases are inadequate has been obstructing planned activities and programs of the commission.

This issue came to light on the floor of Parliament when the House approved a total of Eight Million, Nine Hundred and Ninety-four Thousand, Seven Hundred and Thirty-four Ghana Cedis(GHC8,994,734) for the implementation of programs and activities of the Commission for the 2013 financial year.

The MP for Old Tafo and Ranking Member of the Finance Committee in Parliament Dr Akoto Osei in his contribution on the debate for approving the budget estimate wondered why a commission directly under the presidency will have difficulties in accessing enough funds for its activities. He urged the president to show interest in the work of the Commission as it plays an important role in nation building.

The MP for Obuasi West Kweku Kwarteng on his part called for a legal amendment to made to enable a cut on the high number of commissioners, adding that the money saved as a result of this action must be used in training a lot of technical staff of the commission which is currently inadequate.

He noted that at the moment the commission can boast of only 14 out of 52 technical and critical staff required for its optimal functioning.

Meanwhile Parliament has also approved an amount GHC 56,968,314 for the Ministry of Communication and GHC447,495,901for the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development to enable them implement their programmes and policies for the year 2013.

Parliament to rise on Friday for Easter

Parliament will on Friday 22 March 2013 rise sine die for the Easter break.

This was contained in the Business Statement for the week ending Friday 22 March 2013 read by Hon. Benjamin Kunbuor, Majority Leader and Minister for Government Business on the floor of Parliament.

He noted that the House would sit on Monday 18 March 2013 and that sittings would also be extended beyond the prescribed period during the week in order to deal with the many businesses of Parliament.

Hon. Kunbour said motions on estimates on Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) whose reports were presented before schedule may be taken during the week and 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 while papers and committee reports would also be presented.

He implored the various committees to speed up work on estimates of MDAs and other Institutions and report in good time for consideration at plenary to so that the House would take the appropriation Bill, 2013 through the various stages on Friday 22, March 2013.

North Dayi MP justifies Govt’s decision to sponsor pastors

The Member of Parliament for North Dayi George Loh has defended the decision by government to sponsor 200 pastors to Israel on pilgrimage.

He said government has done nothing wrong in taking that decision as the country cannot underestimate the importance of prayers in nation building.

A statement signed by the Minister For Youth And Sports and Coordinator for the programme, Elvis Afriyie Ankrah said government had secured sponsorship to take 200 Ghanaian in the Christian community on pilgrimage to Israel.

However, the Catholic Bishop Conference and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC) have indicated that they are not interested in the programme.

But speaking ETV’s breakfast TV programme, Hon. George Loh stated that government will be creating an even playing field by sponsoring a Christian pilgrimage as it does for Muslims on the hajj pilgrimage.

He noted that government took the decision based on goodwill and not intended to score any political points.

“several people including some in my constituency have over the years been asking why government have no such programme to visit Israel for pilgrimage just as government support the Muslims, so I see this as a good move rather that one which generate public outcry” he said.

Kwadwo Anim/GhanaMP.gov.gh