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“Citizens would understand what ECOWAs stands for through discussions” —Chief

The traditional leader of Winneba, Neenyi Ghartey VII is confident citizens within the West African sub-region would understand better what the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stands for through discussions on radio.

According to him they have heard a lot about the Community Parliament and he appreciate it that finally Winneba is witnessing the hosting of a delocalised meeting of the Parliament, adding it is the entire Central Region of Ghana that is benefiting from the delocalised meeting.

He made this remarks on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 when the Speaker of the ECOWAS Parliament with his delegation called on him in his palace at Winneba.

“We are fortunate to host this delocalised meeting and talking about history and tradition we stand tall, we are most grateful to ECOWAS Parliament for taking the decision to come to Effutu, with Alexander Kwamena Afenyo being part of you nothing would go wrong “, the chief stated.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Speaker of ECOWAS Parliament calls on Winneba Traditional leaders

As part of bringing the Community Parliament closer to the door steps of ECOWAS citizens, Speaker Rt. Hon Sidie Mohamed Tunis led by leader of the Ghanaian delegation to the Parliament, Alexander Kwame Afenyo Markin called on Neenyi Ghartey VII at his palace on Tuesday, July 27, 2021 ahead of the commencement of the joint committee delocalised meeting in Winneba, Ghana.

According to the Speaker as someone coming from the village and values tradition, and reiterated by leader of the Ghanaian delegation, if they had not come to pay homage, he does not think the delocalised meeting would have commenced.

“We believe this should be our first port of call and we respect the authority of chiefs. On behalf of my colleagues, I want to say thank you for your kind hospitality you have extended to us since our arrival”.

And recounted, the good music he and his colleagues were welcomed with Monday night, that he had no option but to dance to.

He further noted that ECOWAS Parliament is trying to bring the people of the sub-region together and it is a key policy and mission, “our vision is to bring parliament right to the door steeps of the people, we decided not to stay in Accra the capital through the leader of the delegation, rather come to Winneba”.

And recounted that some weeks back, when leadership of the parliament called on Chair of the Authority of Heads of States and Government, President Nana Akufo-Addo, he was informed of the delocalised meeting to be held in Winneba, Central Region of Ghana, and he was happy to hear the news.

“We would continue to collaborate with this Community to ensure that the people in this Community, are aware of what we do as members of ECOWAS Parliament and ECOWAS in general”.

He presented some traditional drinks to the chiefs and presented five thousand dollars as part of supporting the chief’s educational fund.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

AG update Parliament on status of high-profile murder cases

The Attorney General, and Minister of Justice has updated Parliament on the status of some high-profile murder cases including the murders of Tiger Eye PI’s investigative journalist, Ahmed Hussein-Suale, former MPs for Abuakwa North and Mfantseman, Joseph Boakye Dankwa Adu and Ekow Hayford respectively and former law lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Emmanuel Yaw Benneh.

Mr. Godfred Dame was responding to a question asked of him by North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who wanted to know the status of investigation into those alleged murders.

He said, “No docket has been built and presented to the Office of Attorney-General for prosecution since the deceased was killed on 16th January, 2019. The Attorney-General is thus not seized of this matter,” he said of Ahmed Hussein-Suale.

However, upon assumption of office in March this year as the principal legal adviser to the government, Godfred Dame said he received a briefing on the case by the Inspector-General of Police (IGP).

Sharing the status of investigations into the 31-year old’s killing and details of the briefing with the House, he said four suspects – Edward Gatson Kofi Goka, Musah Iddrisu, Francis Osie Poku and Abdul Rashid Meizongo – who were earlier arrested in connection with the murder have been granted police enquiry bail because the prosecution witnesses could not identify them after a sketch of the alleged assailants were made available to them.

Trial of two accused persons – Daniel Asiedu and Vincent Bossu – in the murder of the late Abuakwa North legislator, the A-G told the House, was ongoing in the High Court (Criminal Court 5).

 “The first Bill of Indictment was filed on 16th February, 2017. Nolle prosequi was entered on 29th May, 2017, effecting a discontinuance of the matter. This was to enable further investigations to be conducted on the identity of the masterminds of the murder.

“On 25th January, 2019, a fresh Bill of Indictment was filed and the accused were committed to trial. On 15th April, 2019, the 1st accused was referred to the psychiatric hospital for assessment. This process took quite a while. The accused was eventually declared fit to stand trial on 9th January, 2020.”

The trial, however, was delayed by the outbreak of the Coronavirus disease which forced the trial of all criminal cases to be put on hold.

Prosecution has since called three witnesses following the recommencement of the case on February, 9, 2021 with the case adjourned to 21st October, 2021 in view of the impending legal vacation, he added.

Five suspects, Jibor Ali, Saadoh Ali, Umaro Sandoh, Alhassan Abubakar and Nazairu Fudailu Nash, the Attorney-General disclosed were standing trial in the murder of the late Mfantseman legislator.

He said they were identified in an identification parade by persons who were with the slain lawmaker in October 2019 after they were arrested in a similar robbery attack similar to the one that claimed the MPs life.

“The suspects who are in custody having been convicted of an earlier offence have been arraigned before court on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit robbery and robbery in relation to the events that led to the death of Ekow Quansah Hayford.”

In the case of the murder of the 66-year-old University of Ghana law lecturer, Professor Benneh, the A-G said though the first suspect, James Nana Womba, who is believed to have “strangled” the deceased to death, died in custody on 17th October 2020, prosecution of a second suspect, Ebenezer Kwayisi, has commenced.

With a third suspect, Opambuor Agya Badu Nkwansah, discharged after a study of the docket revealed that he was not at the scene of the crime when the offence was committed although he was invited by James Womba to assist him rob the deceased, committal proceedings have been held at the Kaneshie District Court as prosecution awaits the notice of arraignment at the High Court.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanampa.com

“We can achieve regional development through the use of ICT tools” —Speaker Bagbin

Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament, Rt. Hon Alban Sumana Bagbin said the West African sub-region can achieve regional development through the use of ICT tools hence the need to address concerns in respect of mobile roaming services.

According to him 2018 World Bank report indicates that there are over 320 million mobile subscribers in the sub region, however the uptake of mobile data remains a serious challenge.

And most of the ECOWAS nationals who travel to other countries in the sub-region have to pay higher premiums on mobile usage, while others have to change their sim cares to have access to the network available in their new destination.

He made these remarks at the opening of ECOWAS Joint Committee on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and Africa Peer Review Mechanism (APRM), Legal Affairs and Human Rights, and Telecommunications and Information Technology, on the theme, “Telecommunications and Information Technology (TIT) in Achieving Regional Development, Peace and Security and Human Rights’’ in Winneba.

We can only achieve regional development by ensuring that the Regulation on Roaming on Public Mobile Communications Networks in the ECOWAS Space, which was adopted by the Council of Ministers on 16th December 2017 is implemented.

These regulations are intended to reduce charges paid by ECOWAS citizens for communication services while roaming within the community, it is therefore more imperative now than ever to deploy the use of telecommunications and information technology to advance all sectors of one’s economy and also promote the development of the sub-region.

“If future generations are to remember us more with gratitude than sorrow, we must achieve more than just the miracles of technology, and must also leave them with the gimps of the world as it was created, not just as it looked when we got through with it”.

Cybercrime and the insecurity in the maritime space in the Gulf of Guinea, are issues that require immediate attention. For this reason, countries in the sub-region through data collection and data sharing are strengthening their collaboration and existing co-operation with International Agencies such as (INTERPOL) and the West Africa Police Chiefs Committee (WAPCCO), in order to combat cross border crimes and terrorism.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

All is set for today’s delocalised joint Committee meeting—Afenyo

Leader of Ghana’s delegation to the Community Parliament, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin has told journalists all is set for the five days joint Committee meeting to held in Winneba, Ghana and in addition security arrangement has been secured by the Ghana police.

The delocalised meeting is on the theme, “the role of telecommunications and information technologies (TIT) in achieving regional development, peace, security and human rights”, with joint committees on Political Affairs, Peace, Security and African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)/ Legal Affairs and Human Rights and Telecommunications and Information Technology

According to leader of the Ghanaian delegation, thirty Community lawmakers are expected at this joint delocalised meeting, which starts from Tuesday, July 27 to Saturday, July 31, 2021.

In attendance would be the Speaker of the Community Parliament, Rt. Hon Side Mohammed Tunis, third Deputy Speaker Madam Memounatou Ibrahima and the Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament Rt. Hon Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin.

Mr. Afenyo Markin in a media beefing on Friday, July 23, 2021 noted that consultants in the information and telecommunication sector would have the opportunity to address lawmakers and emphasized that Ghana is committed to the ECOWAS dream and its protocols and set to make the meeting a memorable one.

Flanked by his colleagues from the Community Parliament during the interview, he hinted that the issue of citizens of the Community paying higher charges when using MTN roaming across the various countries, Ghana, Togo, Benin or Nigeria would be touched on. He queried why citizens from these countries using the same network be charged higher? “We need to discuss it, as the whole idea of ECOWAS is to promote integration”.

Again, it came out of the briefing that efforts should be made to get good roads that interconnect the West African sub-region, same with telecommunications to help ECOWAS citizens integrate properly.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Dr. Mills doubts government’s commitment to operationalize Komenda Sugar Factory

Member of Parliament (MP) for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem Dr. Samuel Atta Mills is of the believe that the Akufo-Addo led government does not have any intention to operationalize the Komenda Sugar Factory, since it has been story after story, despite the fact that there has been a test run on the factory.

According to him, the sector Minister Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen came to parliament and told the House that there was no way a test was run on the factory, and listed thirty-five (35) reason why test could not be run.

He pointed out in an interview that when the Minister appeared before the Appointment Committee for the second term of the current government, “he admitted that there was a test run and sugar was produced”.

Again, he added that the Minister in 2019 in a question noted that Komenda Sugar Factory would start in April 2020, “we are in July of 2021 they went to the extent of parading someone to the traditional area that he was a strategic investor just for politics”.

As to whether, he would notify the Government Assurance Committee of the Assurance given by the Minister, he responded in the affirmative and lamented over the conduct of government when it keeps shifting the goal poles.

“The Minister in his response to the House said government would finalise everything by the end of August and operationalize the sugar factor by the end of this year”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Government to construct roads within Yilo Krobo and environs —Minister

Minister for Roads and Highways, Kwasi Amoako Atta has assured Parliament and the good people of Yilo Krobo and its environs of constructing roads within their constituency and beyond.

According him, Huhunya, Boti, Sutapong and Opesika roads and some others are very important and government and the Roads and Highways Ministry is currently doing the engineering works and studies, which would be completed within this year, 2021 and finally be captured under the 2022 budget year.

He further said, any road within the area which are of bad condition would come under annual roads maintenance program which is aimed at ensuring smooth riding surface in between time while the ministry prepares for the major road construction project come next year, 2022.

This came to light, when the member of Parliament for Yilo Krobo, Albert Nyarkotey Tetteh asked the roads minister, what the Ministry and government is doing to get roads in his constituency and around fixed to bring some relief to his people and others that ply the roads.

Mr.  Nyarkotey used the opportunity to re-assure his constituents that, he would do everything possible to fulfill promises made to them by making sure that, problems of his people are put before government and the appropriate authorities for solutions, since his constituents also deserves better and must equally enjoy their part of the national cake.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Mid-year budget review slated for Thursday

This year’s mid-year budget review is slated for Thursday, July 29, 2021 when the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta would be on the floor of the House to present it to the plenary.

Majority Leader, Osei-Kyei-Mensah-Bonus in presenting the business statement for this week last Friday noted that there would be a motion for the adoption of mid-year review for the budget statement and economic policy of government of Ghana and supplementary estimate for year ended December 31,2021 financial year.

And all lawmakers are supposed to present themselves at the plenary for this critical business.

The House would sit on Monday, July 26, 2021 to enable the Rt. Hon Speaker and the House to receive some eminent personalities in connection with the Millennium Excellence Award 2021 and the conduct of related business.

For business of the week, there would be two (2) urgent questions on the floor of the House with forty-one (1) oral questions.

  1. Defence Minister 2
  2. Attorney General and Justice 2
  3. Sanitation and Water Resources 3
  4. Health 7
  5. Food and Agriculture 7
  6. Interior 3
  7. Gender, Children and Social protection 3
  8. Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation 1
  9. National Security 1
  10. Youth and Sports 2
  11. Roads and Highways 10
  12. Works and Highways 2

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

“GIPC law needs a critically look at, but on rice Nigeria took remedial steps” —Afenyo

Deputy Majority Leader of Ghana’s Parliament, Alexander Kwamena Afenyo Markin has called for a critical look at the Ghana Investment Promotion Center (GIPC) Act,2013 (Act 865) which has witnessed brouhaha between Ghanaian retail traders and their neighbours’ Nigerian traders.

According to him when it comes to integration and trade, there should be borderless nations and one market balance to have level playing field, and the GIPC law has created a lot of problem between Ghana and Nigeria.

“I believe the Rt. Hon Speaker, Alban Kingsford Sumana Bagbin raised the issue, we need to look at it critically and see how we can create a level playing field”.

He was quick to point out that, “do not forget Nigeria took a decision on the importation of rice because they also identified a loop hole. Benin has a relax system that allowed rice and other commodities to get into their market, whiles Nigeria was spending so much in agriculture to help grow their local rice economy”.  People were thus, taking advantage of the low tariff in Benin, and they were moving the rice into the Nigerian market and was collapsing their economy in the area of rice production

 The leader of the Ghanaian delegation to the ECOWAS Parliament urged the media to focus on information and telecommunication which is the focus of the upcoming meeting, when the media wanted to know if the issue of the brouhaha between Nigerian and Ghanaian traders would come up for discussion at the delocalised meeting scheduled to start from Tuesday, July 27, 2021.

“Nigeria is our big brother, we have worked together, the whole ECOWAS idea was championed by Nigeria and Ghana we have played critical roles, both countries have contributed a lot to the Community and we can do better than we have done so far”.

And added that Ghana’s Parliament would not shirk its responsibilities in coming up with laws that would guide Heads of States and Authorities, in the various sub-regional countries in dealing with challenges that might come up that need to be addressed.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com

Komenda Sugar Factory would employ seven thousand five hundred—MP

Dr. Samuel Atta Mills, Member of Parliament for Komenda/Edina/Eguafo/Abrem has alluded to the fact that the non-operationalization of the Komenda Sugar Factory has turned the town into a ghost town, as indigens have deserted the community.

According to him when the Komenda factory is revived, it would serve as direct and indirect employment opportunities to seven thousand five hundred people in the area.

He said “they drag the old president, to go and cut sod for 1D1F that employed twenty-five people at that time” but are dragging their feet to operationalize the sugar factory that has the potential to employ hundreds of people. Again, they have destroyed our fishing, stating that the fishermen do not get premix fuel to go fishing, and subsidized fishing net are hard to come by, hence most of the fishermen have gone to Ivory Coast, Liberia and Equatorial Guinea.

He pointed out in an interview that, only grandparents are left taking care of the kids, “isn’t it suppressing that when it comes to teenage pregnancy KEEA tops in the country, BECE we scored the lowest in the country? The parents who should take care of the kids are not there, they do not have jobs”

As to whether that is the end of the road to his quest to seeing to the revival of the factory, he noted that there is a saying that there are several ways of skinning a cat, “if questions in parliament cannot persuade the Minister to do the needful, it would come to a time where we would show our displeasure to government”.

Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/Ghanamps.com