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Minority raise red flags over purchase of new air craft for GAF

The Minority in Parliament has sounded a note of caution to government to be extra diligent in the purchase of aircraft and other equipments for the Ghana Armed Forces Peace keeping efforts undertaken by the United Nations Organization and other agreed uses.

The group is calling for all the necessary and better particulars covering the purchase to be made available to the Committee on Defence and Interior as they begin to probe the purchase agreement.

Government of Ghana has entered into an agreement with AirBus Defence and Space S.A.U for the acquisition of one (1) C-295 CASA Aircraft and related equipment at an estimated cost of €33,325,126.00 under the Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and VTB Capital plc, London (as Arranger and Facility Agent) for an amount of Three Hundred million United States Dollars (US$ 300 million).

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu raised the red flags on the floor of Parliament soon after the Paper (Agreement) was laid in Parliament and referred by the Speaker Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho to the Committee on Defence and Interior.

“Mr Speaker, I’m sounding a note of caution, urging that all detailed documentation about this acquisition must be made available to the committee to do due diligence, as we have traveled this road before. I’m doing so with hindsight after what happened in the purchase of aircraft for the Armed Forces under the Mills administration where a committee was set up by the President to investigate the purchase after it had been done” he said.

The decision by the National Democratic Congress government to acquire five new aircraft for Ghana’s armed forces at a cost of $102 million in 2011, sparked a lot of uproar with the minority side led by its Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu accusing the government of corruption and claiming to “smell a rat” in the purchase.

The proposed purchase includes a Brazilian-made Embraer E 190 jet with hangar facilities, two Italian-built Breda BA 42 Guardian Surveillance jets and another two CT95 aircraft.

The debate on the purchase which was heavily debated in Parliament ended up with the minority abstaining from the voting, and the purchase being approved.

The Embraer E 190, which has a passenger capacity of 100, will be used to carry military personnel on peacekeeping missions and its proposed hangar facilities include an ambulance and a bus.

The furore surrounding the acquisition led President J.E.A Mills to set up a committee to probe the purchase.


Parliament re- launches “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” program

Parliament, through the Committee on Government Assuarance, on Monday 16th March launched the “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” www.assurances.gov.gh digital platform in Accra.

The project is to help Parliament’s Committee on Government Assurances (CGA) to undertake its mandate of monitoring all assurances and promises made by the executive arm of government. The project is a collaboration with Penplusbytes with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).

“Connecting Citizens to Parliament” which started as a pilot last year with funding from Star –Ghana is now scaled up to reach citizens with technical and financial support from OSIWA. In this second more widely reaching phase, Penplusbytes has delivered well-developed digital platforms that enhance interaction between CGA, Civil Society Organization (CSO), citizens and other stakeholder to better track and monitor assurances and projects promised by government.

The “Connecting Citizens to Parliament” project is set to boost the capacity of the CGA on one hand and citizens on the other by increasing and closing feedback loops via sms web-platform, mobile app as well as social media tools such as whatsapp, facebook, twitter, etc.

Delivering a speech at the launch, the Chairman of the Committee, Hon. Emmanuel Kwasi Bedzrah stated that Citizen engagement is vital to the survival of democracy in current democratic dispensation, the case of the Arab spring , ie Tunisia and Egypt where governments were removed through the use of social media, adding that any government that wants to survive its mandate must engage the constituents.

He noted that the platform will bring together stakeholders such as MPs, government officials, ordinary citizens, CSOs, and the media to enable to the table using digital platform with the hope that we will have faithful deliberations on how collectively we can make democracy work for Ghana through closing the feedback.


Hon. Mintah Akandoh nominated minister designate

Member of Parliament for Juaboso in the Western Region Hon. Kwabena Mintah Akandoh has been nominated by President John Mahama as deputy Minister designate for Lands and Natural Resources.

His nomination follows the recent ministerial reshuffle by the President John Dramani Mahama which saw some ministers including Mahama Ayariga leaving the Sports ministry for the ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Hon. Mintah Akandoh was born on June 19, 1980 in Sefwi Antobia. He holds a BSc (Statistics and Mathematics); UCC, 2007. Until becoming an MP, he was a Public Servant, working as the Assistant Director in-charge of National Voluntary Programme, National Service Scheme, Head Office.

Hon. Mintah Akandoh is married with four children. He’s a Christian and an Anglican by denomination.

In the 2012 elections, he garnered 19,432 votes out of the 38,971 valid votes cast = 49.86%. Others candidates were: William Coffie (IND) 10,293 = 21.28%, Abdul-Karim Braimah Ibrahim (PNC) 255 = 0.65% and Khadijah Ama Nkrumah (CCP) 208 = 0.53%

Meanwhile, the chiefs and people of Sefwi Juaboso in the Western Region have commended President John Dramani Mahama for nominating their Member of Parliament (MP), Kwabena Mintah Akandoh as a minister designate.

Sompahene of Sefwi Wiawso traditional area and chief of Kofikrom, Nana Kwabena Nokwabour said the traditional area was grateful to the President for nominating their son for the position.

He stated that the people of the area would not put unnecessary pressure on their son simply because he has been nominated to the ministerial position.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

Ministerial Reshuffle:Ayariga kicked out of Sports Ministry

President John Dramani Mahama has reassigned Minister for Youth and Sports, Mahama Ayariga to the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.

Minister of State at the Presidency, Alhaji Dr. Mustapha Ahmed (MP) takes over as the new Minister for Youth and Sports.

Ghana’s Sports Ministry has seen two different Ministers in the last year ; Mahama Ayariga was appointed Sports Minister after the Black Stars Brazil debacle in the 2014 World Cup that saw the reassignment of Elvis Afriyie Ankrah.

Being reassigned may not come as a surprise after he publicly said Ghanaian journalists ask “useless” questions, while being quizzed on radio about the Black Stars expenditure at the AFCON 2015, in Equatorial Guinea.

The statement signed by Chief of Staff, Julius Debrah also announced new appointments by the President.

Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu has been assigned to the Presidency as a Minister of State.

The President has also reassigned the Minister for Water Resources, Works and Housing, Alhaji Collins Dauda Member of Parliament (MP), to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development.

The statement also announced the President’s nomination of Deputy Minister for Defence, Alex Segbefia as Minister for Health and the headmaster of Tepa Senior High School, Peter Anarfi-Mensah, as Ashanti Regional Minister.

Member of Parliament for Juabeso, Kwabena Mintah Akandoh, has been nominated as a Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to replace Ebenezer Okletey Teye Larbi (MP).

The following have also been nominated as Deputy Ministers of State: Samuel Yaw Adusei- Water Resources, Works and Housing Kenneth Gilbert Adjei- Defence.

Julius Debrah/Chief of Staff/presidency.gov.gh

K.T Hammond accuses Tullow Oil of ‘duping’ Ghana

Outspoken Minority Spokesperson on Energy, KT Hammond has alleged that the lead operator in the Jubilee Oilfield, Tullow Oil, is defrauding Ghana.

According to KT Hammond, following the fall in oil prices on the international market, Tullow “declared a whopping $2 billion loss arising out of their operations in other jurisdiction,” and the company wants to use profits from Ghana to reduce their losses.

KT Hammond said even though the falling crude oil prices have taken a toll, it is not enough to totally distort their operations especially when according to him, Jubilee’s cost of production hovers around $10 and $12 per barrel, hence they are still making a lot of profits.

“I do know for a fact that in our jubilee field, production cost is between $10 and $12 per barrel…So there is no way these guys are running out of resources or production cost outstripping their revenue,” the ranking member on energy said.

“Indeed, at the time of the signing of the plan of development, the world price of crude was about 42, 43, 45 better than it is and even then, they agreed to go on with production because they knew they were never going to incur losses,” he added.

He was of the view that claiming to have been hit by the development in the industry is not accurate, hence, attempts to layoff Ghanaian workers is also not fair.

Tullow oil Ghana has confirmed that it has started consultations with some of its employees who are likely to be laid off in the coming months.

“The extent of redundancies and organisational changes will be determined on a case by case basis and may therefore differ from one Tullow operation to the other,” a statement from Tullow Oil Ghana said.

According to the company, the move is as a result of challenges in the oil and gas industry which have taken a heavy toll on crude oil prices.

KT Hammond’s claim follows a statement made on the floor of Parliament by the Finance Minister that due to the fall in crude prices, Ghana’s oil revenues have been affected greatly.

This, according to Seth Terkper, compelled the government to reduce oil revenue targets from $4.2 billion to $1.5 billion, about 64% cut.

He said the sharp decline in the price of oil on the world market continues to pose serious challenges to the achievement of the 2015 economic program.

The price of a barrel of crude has hit as low as $49 per barrel in the international market.

According to a former Deputy Minister of Finance, Fiifi Kwetey, there must be course for concern if indeed this is truly the situation.

“KT Hammond is the ranking member of the committee I belong to so naturally he is a bit more in touch with things more, so in recent weeks it’s not always been easy for me to be part of meetings. But a position for Ghana is a position we should encourage, meaning anything that can inure to Ghana’s benefit across the digital divide we must make sure that we push…I’m not privy to what some of the things he is saying but they are verifiable for example in terms of numbers pertaining to the production cost.”

Source: Citifmonline.com

Martin Amidu is suffering from paranoia – Hon. Agbodza

Member of Parliament for Adaklu, Governs Agbodza has stated that former Attorney General and Minister of Justice A.B.K Amidu is suffering from paranoia, which is self inflicted.

According to the MP, Mr Amidu’s own mindset that is motivating his actions in recent time has resulted in him unnecessarily being paranoid.

Anti-corruption crusader, Martin Amidu aka “Citizen Vigilante” has said clearly that he is prepared to go all out to fight corruption in Ghana even if it means laying down his life.

He alleged that former National Security Coordinator Col. (rtd) Larry Gbevlo-Larty is scheming to harm him but he remained undaunted and will go on to expose corruption especially in government.

In a statement issued today, Mr. Amidu who is credited for his persistent legal fight against NDC financier Alfred Woyome in the fraudulent ₵51 million judgment debt payment warned he would expose Mr. Gbevlo-Lartey should he persist to spread falsehood about him.

“There are other things to be said about my latter relationship with Gbevlo-Lartey after I left office should he persist in peddling untruths about me to which he has no personal knowledge.He had used cajoling with promises, threats, and intimidations on me with the singular intention of shutting me up. I will not now be cowed and thugs can be sent to assassinate me should the Government or anybody wish, for all I care! “

However, speaking on TV3’s newspaper review show on Monday, Hon. Agbodza stated that Mr Amidu has resorted to such actions to draw attention to himself and court public support.

‘If you think someone is truly after your life, the right thing to do is to report to the police, If I am threatened I will do so because I fear for my life, but Mr Amidu has not done that, as a lawyer he must know better, trying to win public sympathy about something which is not happening is totally wrong” he said.

Hon. Agbodza added that Mr Amidu can go on with his fight against corruption but having to continuosly accuse against people in government of thwarting his efforts is most condemnable.

Kwadwo Anim/Ghanamps.gov.gh

AG must appeal Woyome ruling – Boamah

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikoi North Constituency, Patrick Boamah has suggested that the Attorney General (AG) appeals the ruling on the Alfred Woyome case.

Alfred Woyome who was standing trial on two counts of causing financial loss to the state and defrauding by false pretense was acquitted and discharged by an Accra High Court on Thursday on both counts.

Mr. Boamah who is also a lawyer said the State and the Attorney General represents every Ghanaian “and I think they must look at the judgment, take a critical look at it, try and appeal the decision and get a good outcome on appeal.”

Woyome was paid GHC 51 million what for a job he did for the government ahead of the 2008 African Cup of Nations which was hosted in Ghana.

According to the prosecution, Woyome put in false claims by stating that he was entitled to the amount because the government had abrogated a contract for the construction of stadia for the AFCON Africa, when according to the prosecution, there was no such contract.

But the case which lasted for over two years and had generated huge public interest came to a close on Thursday after the Judge, Justice Ajet-Nasam freed him.

But reacting to the ruling, Mr. Boamah told Citi News’ Richard Dela Sky that Woyome was freed because the “prosecution ought to have done a good job by proving all the ingredients in the offences that they charged Mr. Woyome with.”

He however acknowledged that the ruling was given after “the court looked at the evidence before it.”

But he was quick to add that if the state feels strongly against the decision of the judge, they can appeal against the decision of the judge.”

Ghanaians must accept the ruling

Meanwhile, the MP North Dayi, George Loh advised Ghanaians to accept the ruling because “if the court in its opinion thinks he hasn’t committed any crime, so be it…so I think that we should respect the decision.”

According to him, “the Judge heard both parties, he applied the law the way he understands it and as we stand here, until and unless the state decides to appeal, that decision stands. Nobody can do anything about it.”

Mr Loh who is also a lawyer opined that he does not in any way see the ruling “as a blow. Justice must be seen to be done…Justice Ajet-Nasam is firmly convinced that Woyome should go and walk free and that is what he has done.”


Govt reduces 2015 oil revenue target by 64%

Government has set the country’s oil revenue at 1.5 billion dollars after an earlier figure of 4.2 billion dollars stated in the 2015 budget.

According to government, the review has become necessary due to the dip in the prices of crude oil on the world market.

The new figure shows a 64% drop from the initial projections.

It had originally targeted 4.2 billion dollars in anticipation that crude oil would be selling at 90 dollars per barrel. But this was not to be as the price of a barrel of crude has dipped as low as 49 dollars after government’s calculations.

Minister of Finance Seth Tekper who made the new figures known in Parliament on Thursday March,12, 2015 emphasized the need for government to evaluate the impact of such product price unpredictability immediately as they come up so as not jeopardize the achievement of the country’s economic objectives.

Government had programmed to allocate GHC2.5 billion as annual budget funding amount to finance specific projects in the budget.

Meanwhile GHC1.1 billion was to be transferred into Ghana’s Petroleum Funds and 697.7 million to the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

The GNPC will now receive $ 400million dollars based on the review.


Finance Minister presents reviewed budget tomorrow.

The Finance Minister, Seth Terkper is expected to present a reviewed budget in Parliament tomorrow Thursday, 12th March 2015.

While some have described the presentation of this reviewed budget as historic, just two months after Parliament approved the 2015 Budget statement; government claims that it has become necessary because of revenue shortfalls and lack of funding from developing partners to support it.

However some Economists have contested the reasons given by government for the budget review, asserting that the government is doing so due to persuasion by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Minority New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Parliament during the presentation of their “True state of the nation address” stated that the presentation of a reviewed budget would have serious consequences for investment and the growth of the country’s economy.

The group said, setting aside a budget which has been approved only two months back and introducing a new budget means that the John Mahama-led government is incompetent of planning for even one year and it shows how deed Ghana has descended into an abyss.

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu who envisaged the presentation of a reviewed budgeted hinted this while making his contribution to the debate on the 2015 Budget last December , explaining that this is so due to the funding gaps, overestimations and incorrect projections in the 2015 Budget.


Speed up passage of L.I on domestic violence – Freda Prempeh

Member of Parliament for Tano South, Freda Prempeh has urged the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to speed up the processes on the drafting of the Legislative Instrument (L.I) to operationalize provisions in the Domestic Violence Act, Act 732 of 2007.

According to the MP, seven years after Parliament passed the Act, the L.I has not been brought to the House for consideration and passage.

Contributing to a statement made by the Chairperson of the Women Caucus of Parliament, Hajia Mary Salifu Boforo, on the floor of the House to mark the International Women’s Day, Hon. Freda Prempeh noted that due to the absence of the LI to guide the issuing of medical forms among others for victims of domestic violence, the prosecution processes are facing several setbacks in the courts.

She added that as a country, there is the need to strengthen our social services systems and social welfare institutions such as CHRAJ, to cater for victims and more importantly educate the public on the repercussions of violence against women.

Hon. Freda Prempeh further appealed to the ministry to establish more Community –Based Action Teams(COMBATs) across the country particularly where the gender violence is more prevalent, to sensitize the communities and also provide support to victims of violence.