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Major Mahama Fund worn the day – Defence Minister

Minister for Defence and Member of Parliament (MP) for Bimbilla, Dominic Nitiwul has said the opinion to set up a fund to take care of the late Major Mahama’s family worn the day at Cabinet meeting.

“It is a onetime fund to take care of the family and let us just leave it like that, government is only fulfilling a promise it made”

He made this revelation in an interview with ghanamps.com, when questioned on why a fund was not rather set up to take care of fallen soldiers who died in the line of duty.

He said, the Military has its own way of insuring themselves call the provident fund which is with the National Investment Bank (NIB), within the military if you serve for 15 years you are entitled to pension, unlike their civilian counterpart who have to serve for 60 years, he pointed out.

According to the Bimbilla legislator, government promised to set up a Trust Fund of Five hundred thousand Ghana cedis (GHS500, 000.00) to take care of the family of the late Major, “we have to come to parliament because public funds will be used.

“We will be going out to source for private money into the fund till then we are just dealing with public funds, we want to get this bill done quickly as possible”, he said.

Joint committee on Finance Defence and Interior are currently handling the Bill and will present it to the House to be taken through the second reading.

The Defence Minister further revealed that government has gotten a job for the wife of the late Major Mahama but failed to mention where, “let us leave the wife of the late Major Mahama to enjoy her privacy”, he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Passage of Special Prosecutor Bill make corruption unattractive —AG

Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Gloria Akuffo has informed Parliament that the proposed Office of the Special Prosecutor Bill 2017 will forcefully pursue the recovery of state funds to ensure corruption becomes unattractive.

In view of this, she said a lot is being done to make the office independent of all interference from political actors and the Attorney General’s department.

This came to light when the Bill went through second reading on Thursday, 26th of October 2017 after the AG requested for the proposed 120 amendment to the Bill to check if it is in line with the policy direction of government.

“The independence of the Office of the Special Prosecutor is secured by insulating the office from the direction or control of a person or an authority in the performance of a function of the office,” she said.

“The Bill also spells out the mandate of the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

This includes the investigation and prosecution of cases of alleged corruption under the Public Procurement Act, and other corruption offences implicating public officers, politically-exposed persons and individuals in the private sector implicated in the commission of the offence, and the recovery of proceeds gained from the commission of corruption-related offences in order to make corruption very unattractive in this country.”

“The Special Prosecutor is empowered to request the presence of a person or representative of an entity whose affairs are to be investigated or any other person the Office considers necessary to assist them with information relevant to the matter being investigated by the Office,” she explained.

“The Bill further specifies how the Office of the Special Prosecutor is required to deal with the proceeds of corruption. An authorized officer is empowered to seize properties reasonably suspected to be tainted with corruption or corruption-related offences.”

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Let us rely on intra-African Trade to deal with poverty —Tamale Central MP

Member of Parliament (MP) for Tamale Central, Inusah Abdallah Fuseini is advocating intra-African trade to help tackle poverty on the African continent.
He noted that relying on one sided screwed trade relationship between Africa and Europe is not benefiting Africa as whole.

“We need to encourage ourselves as developing countries, trade among ourselves, it will break down the trade barriers that prevent, African countries from trading among ourselves”, he said.

“You cannot imagen the kind of prosperity that will accompany, breaking down of borders in Ghana, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Togo and South Africa because we have the population but because of the restrictions for instance Ghana cannot export wax print to Nigeria.

And again there are many products that are in abundant here in Ghana but cannot get onto the African market”.

According to the Tamale Central legislator, trade and demand for goods and services will promote employment, industry will demand goods and services.

As people will move into agriculture to produce raw materials that the industries will need for their production.

He however lamented over the full potential of African in trade has not been taped, all because the European market have supply all around the world, the Caribbean’s produce Cocoa, so does Ghana and Ivory Coast.

 Hence we are unable to determine the market and prices for goods.If we are able to diversify our source of market, it will go a long way to help Africa he, said.

Mr. Fuseini  further explained that with the huge population of Nigeria if they are encouraged to consume cocoa products they cannot meet the demand, they have to fall on Ghana and Ivory Coast.

 In which case Ghanaian farmers producing cocoa will not only be trading with Japan and Britain but will boost trade in the West African Sub-Region that will cut down on restrictions in trade within the Sub-Region and Africa at large.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Releasing original report could be catastrophic to NDC – NiiLante

Member of Parliament (MP) for Odododiodioo, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye has said revealing details of the Kwesi Botchwey report on how and why opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) candidate John Mahama performed terribly in the 2016 Presidential election, could be catastrophic to the party.

He has defended the stance of his party not to release the Kwesi Botchwey report, which is in the custody of the party’s National Chairman and General Secretary.
And further added that the scheme of media publications is to force the part to make the report public but that is not going to happen, he said.

“I can say as a member of the Committee that anything that possibly will induce us, coerce us or push us to put the original report out will spell the doom of the party, and I will never recommend that,” the Odododiodioo legislator pointed out on Thursday  Joy TV News.

A copy of the leaked 455-page report revealed the money was either “pocketed” or channeled through irregular means.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghc10 million single sourcing is illegal- Ashaiman MP

The Member of Parliament of Parliament for Ashiaman, Ernest Norgbey has raised red flag over the expenditure of over Ghc 9.98million by the Ministry of Agriculture to procure insecticides through sole sourcing to fight fall army worm which has devastated farms throughout the country.

The Member said the Ministry breached provisions of the Public Procurement Act since the Act does not make room for the Public Procurement Authority to retrospectively grant procurement approvals.

Mr Norgbey raised the concern in a follow up question when he asked the Minister for Agriculture what procurement method was used to procure insecticides for the army worm eradication.

In response, a Deputy Minister for Agriculture, Dr Sagre Bambagi said the PPA has granted the Ministry to use a single source procurement method to engage various supplies to undertake the procurement of insecticides in accordance with section 40 (1) (c) of the Public Procurement Act, 2003Act 663.

The deputy Minister explained that the Ministry used that approach in order to procure the insecticides to promptly control the fall armyworm effects on farmlands.

According to him, the urgency of the situation and its expected negative impact on families and food security necessitated a prompt action.

‘’Considering the urgency of the situation and the impact on food security and farm families, the Hon Minister submitted a memorandum to Cabinet for support to fund the management of the fall armyworm throughout the country’’ he said.

Dr Bambagi who is also the MP for Walewale said a total twelve Agrochemical companies were engaged to supply the insecticides that were used to control the armyworm menace.

By Christian Kpesese/ghanamps.com

UN is biased towards Africa- Annoh-Dompreh

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Frank Annoh-Dompreh on his part said the reasons that gave birth to the formation of the UN were still relevant today and calls for a retrospective view of the gains chalk.

He questioned the unfair economic order of the world which has resulted in poverty, disease and other socio – economic challenges whiles urging Africa to develop its own identifiable development model.

The Nsawam Adoagyiri Member of Parliament also advocates a swift response from the UN to deal with terrorist groups such as ISIS to make the world a peaceful place for all.

Ghana is commemorating the 2017 UN Day on the theme: ‘’ Achieving the SDGs: Innovating, Mobilizing and Partnering for the Implementation of the SDGs in Ghana’’.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Africa must be represented on UN Security Council- Ablakwa

Members of Ghana’s Parliament are calling for Africa to be to be represented on the United Nations (UN) Security Council as the world marks 72 years of the UN.

Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa strongly suggested for the need for Africa who currently has no voice on the UN Security Council to be included as a matter of urgency.

He wondered why majority of the world’s security cases are found on the continent of Africa and yet decisions concerning the continent are made without the inputs and involvement of Africa itself.

This he noted was unfortunate hence the need to give Africa a voice on the Security Council whiles urging Africa to do its homework and get ready for inclusion.

The North Tongu MP made the suggestion in contribution to a statement made by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration; Shirley Ayokor Botchwey to mark the 72nd anniversary of the UN.

She calls for unity among all stakeholders to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in order to curb poverty.

She praised Ghana for its significant contribution to the UN over the past decades especially in the area of peacekeeping and humanitarianism.

Other MPs who contributed were unanimous that the time is now for Africa to be included on the Security Council.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Stop abusing privileges- Minority leader

The Minority Leader in Parliament, Haruna Iddrisu has urged Parliamentarians to stop abusing the process of acquiring visa in order to earn and maintain their dignity at the various Embassies in the country.

Supporting a statement made by the Ranking Member of Foreign Affairs Committee Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Leader said to whom much is given much is expected and for that matter Members of Parliament should stop the abuses of the processes and the abuse of the privileges they have so that the Embassies will treat them with dignity and honor.

The Tamale South Member of Parliament who expressed dismay at the inhumane treatment of visa applicants said’’ these Embassies couldn’t be borthered if the sun is scorching, if it’s raining or even if there is a category five hurricane, they simply don’t seem to care’’.

He did not rule out a reciprocal treatment if the Embassies continue to treat Ghanaians with disdain.

‘’If they want to treat us with honour, we must treat them with honour, if they will not respect us, we owe them no respect’’ he said in protest.

He also blamed Ghanaian Embassies outside who also are not treating Ghanaians abroad well whiles urging colleague MPs, the Executive and other stakeholders to work and improve conditions in Ghana to earn us the dignity we deserve.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Parliament investigates inhumane treatment by Embassies

The Speaker of Parliament has directed the Committee on Foreign Affairs to investigate claims of daily inhumane treatments Ghanaian suffer in their quest to acquire visa from other Embassies in the country.

The Committee is expected to present its findings to the plenary for action.

The Speaker’s directive follows a statement made by Ranking Member on the Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa enumerating the challenges citizens faced in their efforts to acquire visa.

The ranking member who is Member of Parliament for North Tongu demands from foreign embassies to show respect and fair treatment to Ghanaians.

He expressed sadness that most of the Embassies have failed to make provisions for descent and safe waiting places to accommodate visa applicants while they wait for their turns.

‘’I have personally made the effort to visit a number of Embassies during their interview appointment periods, and what I have observed leaves me rather outraged, you find fellow Ghanaians standing in open places, some left to wait at street shoulders and roundabouts with no one caring about the associated risk posed by motorist, others left at the mercy of the vagaries of the weather’’ he said.

MrAblakwawho was not happy about the exorbitant visa processing fees charged by these Embassies also expressed disappointment at the unfortunate complicit behaviour of some Ghanaians who are aid in perpetrating such inhuman actsagainst theirfellow Ghanaians.

“What is even more worrying is the fact that often some of the embassy staff who treat Ghanaian visa applicants with such disdain are fellow Ghanaians.

 A new trend is also emerging where some embassies, apart from their standard visa processing fees, demand all kinds of extra fees and charges under various guises.

These guises range from express fees, early appointment fees, email fees, text message fees and so on and so forth. The sad reality is that in many instances, despite the fact that applicants pay through the nose, the embassies who charge all these extra fees do not keep to their side of the bargain while these vulnerable visa applicants are made to keep paying for the inefficiency and unreliability of the embassies,” he stated.

Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Frank Annoh-Dompreh agreed with the concerns raised by the maker of the statement.

The Speaker therefore directed that his office in collaboration with the Committee to visit the various Embassies to ascertain the claims and report back to the house for action.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com

Minister for Foreign Affairs engages embassies

The Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayokor Botchwey has disclosed that her outfit has held very fruitful deliberations with some Embassies in the country following allegation of ill-treatment of Ghanaian visa applicants.

According to her the said embassies agreed in principle to treat applicants with the necessary dignity they deserve in the process of visa acquisition.

The Minister however noted that there is absolutely nothing Ghana could do about the amount each country decides to charge for the acquisition of visa purposes since it has to do with their sovereignty.

She however assured to ensure that Embassies who charged visa fees for longer periods but grants only fewer durations refund such unfair charges.

She disclosed that some foreigners have acquired Ghanaian passport through illegal means and they are currently facing the law court.

Embassies engaged include the UK High Commission, USA and the Chinese embassies.

In a related development, the Minister disclosed that some foreigners who have attempted to acquire the Ghanaian passport illegally have been prosecuted.

Responding to a parliamentary question by MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, on what measures the Ministry is putting in place to prevent non-Ghanaian citizens from acquiring Ghanaian passport, the Sector Minister, said, the passport office is continuously embarking on various measures aimed at ensuring that, only bonafide citizens of Ghana are issued with Ghana’s passport.

“a significant and most important measure in this regard, is through rigorous physical verification of prospective applicants as well as their citizenship documents by the security agencies at the Passport Office, by the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

Defence Intelligence Unit of the Ghana Armed Forces, National Security Council Secretariat, the Ghana Service  (GIS) and the Births and Deaths Registry”.

The agencies she said are currently working in tandem with the Passport Office through the deployment of trained officers at all Passport Application Centres (PACs) in Ghana to physically verify every single applicant,

interrogate applicants to ascertain nationality and verify all documents presented for the purposes of acquiring a Ghanaian passport before recommending applicants for approval by a Director at the PACs.

According to her, there are about 4 individuals at various stages of prosecution at the Court.

“Since it is a crime against the State for a foreigner to acquire or attempt to acquire a Ghanaian passport, the Passport Office, in collaboration with the Ghana Police, actively and frequently effect the arrest and prosecution of suspected foreigners who may attempt to acquire our passport”.

By Christian Kpesese/ ghanamps.com