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Group sues Power Minister, Speaker, AG

A group calling itself Pressure Group Citizen Ghana Movement has filed a suit against the Power Minister , Attorney General, and the Speaker of Parliament over the contentious AMERI power deal.

Nana Akwasi Awuah, Lawyer for the pressure group, has said the legal action brought against the Power Ministry is to compel it to provide them with a copy of the signed contract and a due diligence report.

“The suit is being brought at the instance of the citizen Ghana Movement…You know in the past few days there has been a controversy concerning the Ameri contract which the government of Ghana signed with Ameri energy. The Power Ministry statement bears more questions than a soft to give answer to the issues raised therein.”

“In the action, the relief that we are seeking are that the Power Minister furnishes the applicant with a copy of the signed report together with the due diligence report that was done on the contract.

Meanwhile, AMERI, the UAE-based company fronting the controversial power deal with the Government of Ghana is also likely to file legal suit against the Norwegian newspaper, VG, for what it claims is false publication made on its agreement with Ghana.

There have been reports of inflation and malfeasance regarding the contract sum that was agreed on in the AMERI power deal.

Investigations by two Norwegian newspaper, has revealed the country may have been shortchanged in the deal.

NDC wins Amemfi West by-election

The ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) has retained the Amenfi West Constituency seat in the by-election that was held Tuesday, December 15, 2015.

41-year old Economist, Eric Afful who represented the Akatamansonians is now the MP-elect for the area.

He polled 15,806, representing 52.6% of the 30,030 valid votes cast to beat his main contender, Paul Derkyi, 43, who represented the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

Derkyi, a lawyer by profession polled 13,079, representing 43.6% of the total valid votes cast.

Abraham Kojo Buadee from the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP) and Adjei Elvis of the United Front Party (UFP) polled 1,032 and 113, representing 3.4% and 0.4% of the total valid votes cast respectively.

The by-election was necessitated by the demise of the NDC MP for the area, John Gyetuah.

The Amenfi West Constituency is one of the oldest constituencies in the country.

Ever since the country returned to constitutional rule in 1992, the people in the area has always voted for NDC until 2003 when the then NDC member, Mr Kofi Asante resigned as MP.

The by-election led to Agnes Samfo winning the seat for the NPP for the first time. The seat returned to the NDC in the general election in 2004 until the demise of Gyetuah.

Voting underway in Amenfi by-election

Voting is currently underway in the by-election in Amenfi West in the Western Region.

Materials for the polls such as ballot papers, inks and the Biometric verification devices have already been dispatched to the various polling centres for the voting which started at exactly 7 a.m. prompt.

Voting is taking place in 102 polling centers which are being protected by148 police officers deployed on the grounds.

The by-election has become necessary following the death of the National Democratic Congress Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Mr John Gyetuah.

Four political parties are contesting the elections.

Candidates of the four parties, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the National Democratic Congress (NDC), the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) and the United Freedom Party (UFP), on Monday wrapped up their campaigns to win the hearts and minds of the electorate.

The four candidates are Mr Abraham Kwadwo Buadee, a 41-year-old accountant, for the PPP; Mr Paul Derkyi, 43, a lawyer for the NPP; Mr Elvis Adjei, a 30-year-old Loan Administrator for the UFP; and Mr Eric Afful, a 41-year-old Economist, representing the NDC.

The Amenfi West Constituency has traditionally been the stronghold of the ruling NDC party since 1992, but the NPP won the seat for the first time in a by-election in 2003 when the then NDC member, Mr Kofi Asante resigned as MP.

Agnes Samfo became the new MP for the area but lasted for a year as the seat returned to the NDC in the general election in 2004 until the demise of Gyetuah.


Parlament strengthens aviation sector; ratifies 9 conventions

Parliament has ratified nine treaties and international conventions to which the country is a signatory, to address defects in the existing civil aviation rules and bring them in line with international regulations.

The nine treaties and international conventions cover security, general civil aviation rules, airlines and passengers.

By the 275 lawmakers’ actions, residents living around airports and flight paths are now protected under the Convention on Damage Caused by Foreign Aircraft to Third Parties on the Surface, otherwise known as the Rome Convention of 1952, in the unfortunate incidence of an aircraft accident.

Non-rectification of this particular convention, for instance, affected the compensation payout to victims of the Allied Air Cargo plane crash at the Kotoka International Airport in June 2012.

Ten people were killed when the Boeing 727-200 cargo plane, which flew into Accra from Lagos en-route to Ivory Coast, overshot the runway on landing, and crashed through the airport fence wall before crashing into a public transport ‘Trotro’ on the El-wak-Burma Camp Road — killing 10 and injuring two other persons in a nearby taxi.

Theophilus Tetteh Chaie, Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, told the B&FT that: “For some time now we have some treaties and conventions that were put before the house for ratification. These treaties and conventions have been in existence, some since the 1990s and early 2000s.

“Unfortunately, although Ghana has signed onto those treaties and conventions, they have not been ratified by Parliament — and this has created a lot of problems for the aviation sector; especially domestic airlines passengers’ safety, and the airlines’ safety as well.

“When the Allied Air crash at KIA occurred, some third parties died and others got injured as a result. At the end of the day, because this particular convention had not been ratified, what happened was government had to negotiate with the airline for settlement. In this case, because you don’t have the law ratified in your country backing your actions, the person will bargain with you.

“Once this law has been ratified, it gives the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) and other stakeholders the power to hold such airlines responsible.”

Ratification of the Protocol to Amend the Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, otherwise known as the Montreal Convention, has also strengthened the hand of airlines to deal with unruly passengers.

International Air Transport Association (IATA) data show that unruly passenger incidents are on the increase. Between 2007 and 2013, airlines recorded unruly passenger incidents of 28,000. These incidents have sometimes forced flights to return to base or land at a nearby airport to discharge the unruly passengers.

“The upsurge and severity of unruly behaviour on board a civil aircraft that may affect the safety of the aircraft or persons or property therein, or affect good order and discipline on board the aircraft, is what informed the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to amend the old Convention with the new protocol.

“The Protocol significantly improves the ability of ICAO member-states to expend jurisdiction over related offences in the operation of civil aircraft in flight and on landing. The agreed changes give greater clarity to the definition of unruly behavior — such as the threat of or actual physical assault, or refusal to follow safety-related instructions on board civil aircraft,” the Committee said in its report to Parliament.

Road Fund collapsing; seeks support from Parliament

The Board of Directors of the Ghana Road Fund has sent an SOS message to the Parliament of Ghana, pleading for an immediate intervention to help save the Fund from collapsing.

According to the Board, the Road Fund has for the past few years survived on borrowed funds sourced from the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) but warned that any further borrowing will jeopardize the Fund since a significant portion of the revenue would end up being used to service the loan.

The Road Fund is indebted to SSNIT to the tune of GH₵323million as at October 31, 2015.

The Fund, according to the Board, borrowed GH₵85million and GH₵109million on separate occasions to defray its indebtedness to contractors in 2008 and 2010 respectively but has since not been able to fully repay the loan.

The non-servicing of the loan, the Board noted in its SOS message dubbed ‘Brief on State of the Ghana Road Fund’ which was presented to Parliamentary Select Committee on Roads and Transport, has attracted interest payment over the period which has been capitalized on the outstanding principal.

SSNIT, has served demand notices for the repayment of the loan and accrued interest.

According to the Board, to save itself from any mishap, it has prepared a payment plan to repay the loan over a five year period beginning in 2016.

That means as much as GH₵95.22million, representing 28.25% of the GH₵337million revenue projected for 2016 and beyond will have to be set aside to service the SSNIT loan.

This, the Board noted, will bring about some shortfalls in revenue to manage the Fund and therefore called on Parliament to intervene.

For instance, the total amount estimated by the Road Agencies for road maintenance in the year 2015 was about GH₵611.06million but only GH₵285.90million was provided by the Road Fund, which was less than 50% of the road maintenance program for that year, leaving a significant backlog as far as maintenance is concerned.

That aside, there are also fears that the Fund will miss its target of GH₵322.21million for the 2015 financial year having initially recorded GH₵298.38million between January and November 2015.

To address the shortfalls in revenue to finance road maintenance adequately, the Board is proposing an increment on the levy on fuel and the road and bridge tolls in accordance with Section 6(2)(b) of the Road Fund Act to provide additional funds for the Road Fund.

The Board also proposed abolishing the current management positions within the Fund’s Secretariat as a key restructuring exercise to improve on efficiency.

It also proposed that repayment of the SSNIT loan which was suspended in July 2011 be re-activated following the expiry of the tenure of the loan without repayment by the Fund,” noted the Board.

Parliament approves 2016 Budget

Parliament Wednesday approved the 2016 Budget and Financial Policy Statement of the Government of Ghana for the year ending December 31, 2016.

The legislature has for the past two weeks been debating the motion for the adoption of the budget which was moved in the House by the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper, on November 13, 2015.

While Members on the Minority side shot down the budget for lacking clear-cut policies to address the numerous challenges confronting the country, those on the Majority side contended that the document was a well thought out plan meant to put the nation on the path to economic growth.

Minority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, in contributing to the motion described the budget statement as a document which was full of perspiration but with little inspiration in that the country is now choked with high inflation, depreciation of the cedi against major trading currencies on the world market, especially, the US Dollar, erratic power supply among others.

But the Majority Leader, Alban Sumana Bagbin in a sharp response said the Financial Policy of the Government of Ghana for the year ending December 31, 2016, “is good for the people of Ghana.”

“I strongly believe that the 2016 Financial Policy will take us a step forward in our quest as a country to achieve a just and free society as enjoined by the directive principles of state policy enshrined in Chapter 6 of the 1992 Constitution.”

Terkper in rounding up the debate told the House that Ghana’s growth rate at its worst point is even higher than the Sub-Saharan African as well as global average.

“Ghana’s growth rate at its worst point is higher than most of the advanced countries even though the structures of most of the economies differ,” he added.

He said for the first time, the country’s progress towards consolidation has never been reversed.

Tamale Central NDC violence: MP urges restraint

Minister of Roads and Highways and Member of Parliament for Tamale Central, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini has asked his supporters to remain calm and not initiate retaliatory attacks, following yesterday’s violence in parts of the constituency.

Tension heightened in the Northern regional capital of Tamale yesterday as supporters of Engineer Seidu Ibrahim who contested the incumbent MP in the just ended NDC parliamentary primaries burnt car tyres on the streets and set billboards belonging to Hon. Inusah Fuseini on fire.

Their criminal actions was informed by an allegation that Alhaji Tanko, Seidu had lost his job as an engineer at the Ghana Feeder Roads after the NDC race and the aggrieved supporters felt he was being witch hunted by the Roads and Highways Minister.

But speaking to Fiifi Banson on Anopa Kasapa on Kasapa 102.3 FM Hon. Inusah Fuseini condemned the criminal and unruly behavior of supporters, adding that few miscreants must not be allowed to take the constituency hostage and therefore urged the police to arrest the perpetrators.

“We have over the years worked tirelessly to bring development and improve the image of the area. We shuld not allow such indisciplined persons to act with impunity.”

On the issue of Alhaji Tanko, Seidu allegedly losing his job, Hon. Inusah Fuseini stated that he was only responsible for the transfer of the former from the Ghana Road Fund to the Department of Feeder Roads, a decision he insisted was not an act of punishment against his competitor but purely an administrative policy.

He added that he is not a vindictive person and as a good lawyer he will not act in contravention of the law.

“It was not an orchestration, I moved 20 people to other units under the Ministry including his (Alhaji Tanko, Seidu’s) boss. I had every justification to transfer Engineer Seidu Ibrahim. The law allows that to be done, everyone who works in the Civil and Public Service like Engineer Seidu Ibrahim is aware of that.”

GhanaMPs.gov.gh/Kwadwo Anim

Ho West will garner 45,000 votes for NDC – Bedzrah

Mr Emmanuel Bedzra, National Democratic Congress (NDC) Parliamentary Candidate for the Ho-West Constituency on Sunday said the Constituency was targeting 45,000 votes for the Party in the 2016 general election.

He therefore called for unity among the rank and file of the Party in the Constituency to “deliver” the votes for a “sweet victory for NDC”.

Mr Bedzra who is the incumbent Member of Parliament (MP) for the Constituency was addressing a non-denominational thanksgiving service at Tsito, after winning the Constituency primary, weeks ago

President John Dramani Mahama got 33,506 votes in the 2012 presidential elections in the Constituency with Mr Bedzra, getting 32,623 votes.

Mr Bedzra said the 2012 results were good but must be better in 2016 with 10,000 and more votes.

He said the only challenge to achieving the target was disunity but was hopeful that the thanksgiving service would reconcile all for a massive NDC victory in 2016.

“After this thanksgiving service, we have only one team.

Team NDC Ho-West and I know this team will deliver the votes,” Mr Bedzra said.

He asked for forgiveness from all contestants in the Constituency primary who might be offended by any member of his campaign team.

Mr Bedzra said he had also forgiven all those who peddled falsehoods about him and said he was prepared to work with all.

Speakers, during optional speeches underscored the need for the Party to be united ahead of the 2016 elections and advised Mr Bedzra not to work with gossips.

They asked him to try and fulfill promises he made to the Constituency.

The event, which was characterised by singing and dancing, attracted traditional rulers from the district, some Members of Parliament (MP) and NDC Party loyalists.

Namoale begs for forgiveness from NDC

Member of Parliament for Dade-Kotopon, Nii Amasah Namoale has written to the leadership of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) to offer his unqualified apology for the unruly behavior he exhibited to the regional executives of the party after the November 21 polls.

In the said letter dated December 7, 2015, a copy of which is in possession of Kasapafmonline.com, Mr. Namoale said “I write to offer an unqualified apology to the Leader, National Executives and the entire membership of our great party for the things I said in the aftermath of our primary election in the Dade-Kotopon Constituency.”

The letter dubbed “Letter of Apology to the party I love” and addressed to the National Chairman and General Secretary also stated “I recognize that my statement did not reflect the united front our party seeks to promote. I must state that I am a keen believer in the tenet of our party and I have absolute faith in its structures. I am therefore by this letter apologizing for the said remarks, which were made in the exuberance of the events following our elections. Please accept the assurances of my highest respect and regard.”

The Dade-Kotopon legislator is currently on suspension from the NDC on grounds of indiscipline.
Namoale, according to the party, flouted various constitutional provisions of the NDC during the November 21 Presidential and Parliamentary polls.

His suspension took effect December 1, 2015, pending the hearing by the Disciplinary Committee of the party.

A letter dated December 1, 2015, which was addressed to him in part read “On 21st November, 2015, you contravened article 40(8c) when you granted interview to the media accusing the regional executives of perpetrating fraud to the benefit of your contender and calling some of the executives as “fraudsters and pickpockets”.

“The Regional Party and its Executives find this act as an affront to democracy and attempt to drag the party’s image into disrepute. These anti-party conducts or activities has embarrassed the party and has brought the party into hatred, ridicule and contempt; hence must no go unpunished in order to protect the sanctity of Article 40(8b) and 41(3a) of the party’s constitution.”

By: Kasapafmonline.com/Ghana

Job 600 leaks; elevators, security scanners broken down

Two elevators in the State Tower Block, popularly known as Job 600, are not functioning.

This is as a result of water that seeped into the motors of the equipment during the last couple of rains and in the process, affected the traction of the cables and counterweight systems of the elevators.

The roof of the 252-room office complex, Kasapafmonline.com understands leaks anytime it rains.

The situation, this website is told, has brought more pressure on the remaining four elevators in the building.

That aside, security scanners installed at the entry point of the Block have also broken down.

Visitors are now subjected to physical body checks before being granted access to the facility.

The scanners and elevators, according to inside sources, broke down two weeks after the facility was inaugurated by President John Dramani Mahama on November 7, 2015.

The State property was refurbished by the China State Hualong Construction Company Limited.

It has 252 offices for Members of Parliament and also boasts of a three hundred seater auditorium, a gym, restaurant, a clinic, a mosque, a fire station, VIP common room, video conferencing room and banks.