My Year of Action

I try not to make personal comments on this blog because I have dedicated it to news. I will therefore keep my New Year's Message very brief.

I wish all who have made it a habbit of reading my posts a happy New Year and one that would see them rise beyond their fears. To all those who contributed directly to the sucesses I have chalked in the year, I say God bless. Its my hope and prayer that you will find your fulfillment in 2008 and beyond.

This blog will continue to be an important hobby of mine and I promise to keep all informed on important issues as I get them. May this year see all of us taking bold and winning decisions! Goood Luck


News of Ghana captain's injury excites die-hard Nigerian fans

Some die-hard Nigerian football fans do not seem to share the disappointment in Ghana at the news that injury problems have ruled Black Stars' captain Stephen Appiah out of the forthcoming Nations Cup, to be hosted by the Ghanaians.Some of the fans interviewed by PANA here Saturday described the news that Appiah would be out of action for two months as ''sweet music'' to their ears, since Ghana is seen as one of the obstacles to Nigeria's quest for an elusive third African Nations Cup title.
Nigerian newspapers also gave a big play to the news, almost to the point of gloating about it.''Well, it is sad, but anything that will weaken the Black Stars is welcome,'' said Ojo Akinola, who described himself as an avid supporter of the Super Eagles.''We (Nigeria) didn't cause Appiah's injury, but if we can benefit from his absence (at the Nations Cup), why not,'' he added.Another fan, Johnson Ajewole, said since Nigeria and Ghana could meet as early as the quarter finals, it would be nice for the Ghanaians not to be in the best form for the competition.
''The Black Stars are a formidable team, and one of the most successful in the history of the Nations Cup. Therefore, no team can afford to underrate them,'' he said.Ghana is in group A of the 26th edition of the four-yearly competition, billed for 20 January-10 February 2008, while Nigeria is in group B.But the two age-long soccer rivals may possibly meet right after the preliminary round (quarter-finals), when the winner of group A is slated to meet the runner-up in group B.
Ghana has a formidable Nations Cup record, having won the competition four times (1963, 1965, 1978 and 1982), second only to Egypt with a record five victories.On the other hand, arch-rival Nigeria has only won it twice (1980 and 1994).


Appiah's Contract To Be Suspended?

According to the Turkish newspaper Milliyet, Fenerbahce has asked for permission from the Turkish Fotball Federation to suspend the contract of Stephen Appiah on health grounds.

The Turkish club is already planning to bring in another foreign player, for next season, to replaced the Ghana national team captain.

Appiah is expected to undergo surgery for a potentially career-threatening injury, which is expected to keep him out of action for at least 3-months.

The Black Stars ace arrived in Turin, last week, for further tests on complications from the surgery he had on his knee five months ago.

Speculation are rife that he might not participate in the African Cup of Nations next month.

Hayatou wants violence-free Ghana 2008

Confederation of African Football, CAF, President, Issa Hayatou has urged football fans across the continent to ensure a violence-free Africa Cup of Nations Scheduled for Ghana next January.

“The Nations Cup remain the greatest and the most crowd pulling carnival on the continent with supporters clubs from the 16 qualified nations coming to add more clamour to it,” he said.

Hayatou, in a message to the just concluded 4th international conference of the African Football and Other Sports Supporters Union (AFOSSU) in Accra, said the conduct of fans could make or mar the continental event.

Tidesports’ source reports that delegates from 10 of the 16 participating countries including Nigeria, attended the conference.

Hayatou was represented by Lepowura Jawura, CAF board member and Vice Chairman, Ghana 2006 LOC.

“Any of the 16 nations that qualified for the final of the competition is also qualified to win the competition. But only one country will emerge winner.

“Participation is more crucial than wining. So win or lose, the participants should relate and rejoice freely with one another,” stressed Hayatou.

He noted that world football would be devoid of glamour without participation of talented African players.

Hayatou lauded AFOSSU’s president, Rafu Oladipo for his effort in promoting violence-free matches, saying “such efforts will not go unnoticed by CAF.

Kofi Nsiah, Secretary-General of Ghana Footbal Association, also acknowledged the commitment of AFOSSU to a successful Nation Cup.

Ghana Supporters Union President, Abraham Boakye wants the leaderships of the various clubs to educate their members on the need to eschew hooliganism during and after the championship.

Earlier, Oladipo had thanked CAF for its support to AFOSSU in a bid to ensuring peace on the continent through football.


The New Face Of Radio Gold

After weeks of sleeplessness and confusing HTML codes, We are happy to announce today that the new Radio Gold website is live. www.myradiogoldlive.com

Personally I feel a great sence of achievment because this has been a project i have always wanted to undertake for a station I am deeply attached to. It is my hope that the Management and staff will take full advantage of this new portal and make the best of it.

Websites have increasingly become an important tool in todays business world and the essence of fully dynamic and easily navigable site cannot be overstated.

As all other websites, this is a work in progress. We will continue to improve it till our listerners are fully satisfied with our output. For now I would like to thank some particular people for making this dream possible: Mr Baffoe-Bonnie, BB Menson,James A Boateng and Tanko Rashid.

A spcial Mention must be made of Stephen Adjei www.Njoyonline.com
James Tadeo of www.Jamestadeo.com and www.ucomgh.com
and my special sunshine on the project, Miss Whitney Tetteh.

Many Thanks to Nikky Aboraa and Mrs. Wendy Bruce Tetteh for providing the needed motivation. For now Enjoy Ghana, either in Ghana or not.


New era dawns for CPP

The Conventions People's Party (CPP) ended its National Delegates' Congress in Kumasi on Monday in a grand style as supporters of successful candidates went into wild jubilation.

The supporters of the winning candidates, who were clad in red, white and green colours of the party trooped unto the streets of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), venue for the congress, singing and dancing to brass band music.
The congress marked a new era in the history of the CPP as many of the long-serving National Executives were torpedoed by the 1,901 delegates, who cast their ballots in an election supervised by the Electoral Commission (EC).

In the race for the Party's presidential slot for Election 2008, Mr George Opesika Aggudey, who had led the party for two consecutive elections, polled only 139 votes, representing 7.3 per cent of the total ballot cast.

In his stead, Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom won a "onetouch" victory when he polled 1,022 votes representing 53.76 per cent of the valid votes cast. He was followed by Professor Agyemang Badu Akosa, who got 644 votes representing 33.87 per cent.

The others were Dr Kwaku Osafo, who polled 48 votes representing 2.52 per cent; Mr Bright Akwetey had 37 votes representing 1.95 per cent and Dr F.W.A. Akufo had 11 votes representing 0.57 per cent of the valid votes cast. The total valid votes cast were 1,901. Dr Edmund Delle, who had over the years represented the Party as the National Chairman and Leader, also lost in the contest for the position as he polled 392 votes as against the 1,017 votes by Mr Ladi Nylander; while Mr Iddrisu Egala was voted as the Deputy National Chairman with 500 votes.

The National Vice-Chairmanship position went to Dr Abu Sakara after he had polled 481 votes with Mr Eric Benyako being given the mandate as First Deputy National Vice-Chairperson when he poled 295 votes whilst Madam Araba Bensti-Enchil polled 277 votes to be elected as Second Deputy National Vice-Chairman.

In the contest for the General Secretary, Mr Ivor Greenstreet polled 942 votes to be elected to the position and Mr Mike Nii Ahele Nunoo had 299 votes to be given the mandate as First Deputy General Secretary. Mrs Evelyn Alamisi Anabilla was voted the National Organiser after she had polled 778 votes and Mr Africanus Amankwaa-Appiah polled 508 votes to be elected as the First Deputy National Organiser while Nana Kwaku Domfeh, had 379 votes to get the mandate as Second Deputy National Organizer.

Mr James Bomfeh and Mr Francis Opae-Tetteh had 1,054 votes and 857 votes to be elected as National Youth Organiser and Deputy National Youth Organizer, respectively.

In the race for the National Women's Organizer, Hajia Hamdatu Haruna had 1,282 votes to get the nod with Mrs Rose Anim polling 631 votes to be elected as Deputy National Women's Organiser.

Mr Mike Eghan had 828 votes to become the National Treasurer while Naa Kordai Asimeh polled 468 votes to be elected as First Deputy National Treasurer, with Dr Adolf Lutterodt being elected Second Deputy National Treasurer

The congress was generally peaceful and well-attended by a host of party supporters, sympathizers and activists as well as observers. Dr Delle promised that the old Executives would continue to collaborate with the new one for the sustenance of the Party's programmes and development projects.

He urged the old Executives to bury their differences and contribute their quota to enhance the Party's chances of winning next year's elections.

Dr Nduom thanked the Party for the confidence reposed in him and promised to evolve new strategies to ensure that it wrested power from the New Patriotic Party next year. EKB



"Yeewuo Demo" Draws Thousands onto streets

The committee for Joint Action, CJA, today organised one of its biggest domonstrations ever in Accra, Dubbed 'Yeewuo', meaning, we are dying. Thousands of protestors turned out for the street march which ended at the Hearts park in the heart of Accra. Reports picked up by our reporters indicate that the law enforcement agencies had virtually nothing to do as all protestors went about their march in a peacefull manner. These Pix were taken by just before the arch begun.


Police to Demonstrators------Be Carefull!!

The Ghana Police Service on Monday said it would not tolerate any act of violence by any person to create tension before, during and after the Committee for Joint Action's (CJA) demonstration on Tuesday December 11.A statement signed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr K. A. Opare-Addo said the Regional Police Command had information that some individuals intended to carry arms to defend themselves during the CJA march.
The statement said the Police would supply protective facilities for the demonstration, tagged "peaceful" by the CJA and advised demonstrators to obey the rules of the game and not to create any situation to destroy a supposed peaceful demonstration."Protagonists of arms carrying during the demonstration must be said to be prophets of doom and are warned to desist from any acts that will go to incite demonstrators against the Police and other law abiding citizens of the Metropolis", it said.
The DCP Opare-Addo, who is the Greater Accra Regional Commander of Police, said the Command had not received any notice from a group that claimed to be opposed to the CJA demonstration scheduled for Tuesday and would not tolerate any counter demonstrators.He advised the group to reconsider their decision and desist from the act.

Nkrabea May Stop Npp Congress

Retired Captain Nkrabeah Effah Darteh, disqualified from contesting the New Patriotic Party’s presidential candidature, is expected to file court processes seeking among other things, to place an injunction on the Congress by close of work Tuesday.

Effah Darteh is aggrieved that the vetting committee set up by the NPP disqualified him, and to worsen his plight, his appeal to be reinstated was dismissed by the party’s Executive Committee.

Worse yet, he feels bitter that while his appeal was pending before the Executive Committee, the party went ahead to conduct a ballot for the other 17 contestants to plan an outdooring rally recently held at Kasoa.

He says he was not even invited to appear before the Executive Committee that sat over his appeal.

Sources close to the old soldier say the action of the party presupposes the decision to disqualify him had long been taken and his appeal was therefore an exercise in futility even though he was given assurances that the matter would be reconsidered.

Persons close to Nkrabeah told Joy News that even though he was prepared to withdraw from the race, pressure from his supporters to clear his name of the charges levelled against him, has motivated his decision to go to court.

Substantially, his suit against his party would dwell on the constitutionality of treason crimes he is supposed to have committed in 1981, and for which the party believes disqualifies him for the post, however, Nkrabeah intends to fight his image redemption battle at every available avenue.

To begin with, he would apply to the High Courts, failing which he would proceed to the Court of Appeal and then to the Supreme Court, if need be.

And the danger for the party: He would seek an injunction over the congress hoping that he would be reinstated to contest the post.



Appreciate Africa's socio-economic and political concerns - JAK

President John Agyekum Kufuor, Chairman on the African Union (AU), has called on the European Union (EU) to show genuine appreciation for the socio-economic and political concerns of Africa as the two continents looked into the future together.

"To secure dignified places in the on-rushing Global Village, Europe needs Africa as much as Africa needs Europe", he said at the opening of the EU-Africa Summit in the Portuguese Capital, Lisbon, on Saturday.

He said both parties must therefore be committed to promote and sustain economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation, recognizing Africa's rights to integrate itself into the world economy in terms of trade, investments and capacity building on basis of its sovereignty. President Kufuor and Mr Jose Socrates, Prime Minister of Portugal, whose country holds the EU Presidency, jointly chaired the two-day summit, which was designed to open up new horizons for partnership.

Peace and security, development, good governance, migration and climate change, were the main issues at the centre of the agenda for discussion by the 66 Heads of State and Government present. It comes amidst the growing Chinese investment and influence in Africa and the increasing recognition that the continent is no longer "Europe's private hunting grounds."

President Kufuor said the real significance of the meeting should be to build strong foundations for a new relationship based on mutual respect, trust and true commitment to pursue common and mutual interests.

He said previous partnership arrangements had been slow to come up to expectation but this time "Africa has come here believing that it can be different and for the better."

He said with its vast untapped resources, Africa was the new business frontier that must be explored and that as a partner, Europe could bring on board in this venture its mature scientific and technological know-how and significant capital. This must be the rationale for the new partnership between the two for purposeful cooperation. President Kufuor also spoke of the need for the adoption of an action plan for the implementation of their joint partnership strategy for the benefit of their peoples.

For efficacy, he suggested that the process of implementation must involve critical public institutions, the private sector and civil society stakeholders, to ensure an all-inclusive ownership. Prime Minister Socrates said it was time Europe and Africa wrote a new page in their relationship through frank and open dialogue with "no taboos."

He said the summit was one of equals, adding that, "We are equal not just in our human dignity but also equal in terms of political responsibility."

He said Europe wanted a partnership with Africa based on shared vision and mutual respect: that would defend Africa's priorities and provide solutions to its problems.

United Nations (UN) Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon, in an address read for him, called for the redoubling of efforts to assist Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals MDGs). He also appealed to the EU to help provide logistics support to allow for the deployment of the Hybrid Force in the Sudan Darfur region. 08 Dec 07

rom Kwaku Osei Bonsu, GNA Special Correspondent, Lisbon


Effah-Dartey's disqualification upheld

The National Executive Committee (NEC) of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) on Friday upheld the decision of the Vetting Committee (VC) not to allow Captain Nkrabeah Effah-Darteh (rtd), to contest the Presidential slot of the party slated for Saturday December 22.
This was the outcome of a meeting held by NEC on an appeal brought before it by Capt. Effah-Darteh against his disqualification when he appeared before the VC on November 28 and 30 for vetting, and read at a Press Conference in Accra.The statement read by Mr. Peter Mac Manu, National Chairman of the party said having gone through his submissions, including statutory declarations, NEC found out that Capt Effah-Darteh misled the VC on the charges preferred against him.
Mr Manu said the Committee found Capt. Effah-Darteh's appeal as being unmeritorious, and therefore endorsed VC's decision of disqualifying him as a Presidential material for the NPP.Giving the background of the incident which bordered on his conviction, the National Chairman said when Capt. Effah-Darteh appeared before the VC, it was detected that he failed to answer one critical paragraph on the form, which required him to indicate whether he had ever been convicted of any criminal offence.
Mr Manu said Capt. Effah-Darteh could not offer any tangible explanation as to why he left that portion blank, and so when further pushed to the wall, he for the first time admitted having been convicted of a criminal offence, adding that, he was charged with two counts of mutiny and misconduct.The National Chairman indicated that Capt. Effah-Darteh told the VC that he was acquitted and discharged on the count of mutiny, but was convicted on misconduct and accordingly sentenced to dismissal from the Ghana Army Forces with disgrace in addition to 23 months' imprisonment.
Mr Manu said while the former young army officer was serving his sentence pronounced on May 31, 1981, the December 31 coup took place, and he was released from prison and granted pardon by the then Chairman of the Provisional National Defence Council.The National Chairman said Capt. Effah-Darteh, having failed to provide the VC with proof of his pardon, was given 24 hours to furnish it with information on the matter.Mr Manu said when Capt. Effah-Darteh could not convince the VC on November 30, it recommended that he should be disqualified from contesting the Presidential slot.He said in view of the lack of candour in dealing with the VC, NEC applied to the military authorities for records of the trial of Capt Effah-Darteh, who was court-marshalled on April 14, 1981.
The National Chairman said from the military records, it came to light that the former army officer was tried on four, instead of two counts as he previously alleged, and found guilty on three of them. Mr Manu indicated that he was sentenced to dismissal from the GAF, and 23 months' jail term, but following the December 31, 1981 military take-over, captain's sentence was mitigated by the then military government as a result of which he was honourably released from the GAF with effect from August 14, 1981.He said as part of the conditions for his release, Capt.
Effah-Darteh was expressly prohibited from using his rank of Captain in civil life, and had to be warned in writing by the military secretary on July 19, 1994 from using the military rank when it was detected that he was still was using it in civil life to the prohibition.Mr Manu said, NEC had no doubt from the nature of the charges preferred against Captain Effah-Darteh, that all those offences bordered on the security of the state.For that reason, the National Chairman said, Capt Effah-Darteh was being disqualified from becoming President of Ghana, whether he had been granted a free pardon or not, and however long the passage of time, since his conviction.
The NEC, he said, accordingly endorsed the earlier decision by VC to disqualify Capt. Effah-Darteh from contesting the flagbearship race of the party on December 22.As to whether the money he paid as contesting fee would be refunded to him, Mr Manu said it was a matter that would be considered at a different and another forum if Capt. Effah-Darteh applied for it.


Ghana's President Orders New Private Aircraft

According to the AFRICA INTELLIGENCE n°528 - 8/11/2007 (LA LETTRE DU CONTINENT), the President of Ghana, John Kufuor, has ordered a New Falcon Aircraft. The 900 series, was sold by DASSAULT, at the cost of $37 Million and the plane is scheduled to be delivered in February 2010. The deal was done through SSB Bank in Accra.
"This must be a mistake, because parliament knows nothing about this deal" , said an NDC member of parliament(MP), when asked to comment on the news item. "He [Kufuor] leaves office in 2009, so I wonder why this deal was done in such a hurry" said an MP of the ruling party.

Aggudey fails tax test - can't stand for CPP flag bearer

Mr. George Aggudey, is likely to miss the chance to contest for the flag bearer race of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP), as the 48 hour deadline for submitting his tax clearance certificate expires today Thursday December 6, 2007.Mr. Aggudey and two others, Accra based lawyer, Bright Akwetey and Dr. Kwaku Osafo were expected to submit their tax clearance certificates as requested by the party.

To qualify to contest for the position to lead the party in the 2008 elections, candidates were required to submit their tax clearance certificates before the December 15, 2007 congress. The deadline for submission was however set on Thursday December 6, 2007.By the close of Thursday December 6, 2007, Mr. Aggudey was yet to submit his tax clearance certificate.Last Monday December 3, 2007, the party gave the three contestants 48 hours to submit personal documents to certify that they had fulfilled their tax obligations.

In the case of Mr. Aggudey, who led the party in the 2004 elections, he is also expected to submit proof of payment of his employees’ Social Security contributions to dthe vetting committee.The other two, Mr. Akwetey and Dr. Osafo have submitted their tax clearance certificates.

President Kufuor off to Portugal

President John Agyekum Kufuor, who is the African Union Chairman, leaves Accra on Thursday night to attend the European Union-African Union (AU) summit in Lisbon, Portugal. The AU Chairman would also lead Africa in the summit scheduled for December 8-9, 2007.

A statement signed by Mr Andrew Awuni, Press Secretary to the President and Presidential Spokesman, said the meeting would discuss contemporary global issues that affected the two continents and establish the basis for a long-term strategic partnership between Europe and Africa.

The statement said the summit was expected to adopt a joint strategy and an action plan to deal with the many outstanding commitments in Trade, Aid and Development Assistance made in the past.

It said the summit would also discuss peace and security, democracy and human right, migrations as well as energy and climate change. Some senior government officials would accompany President Kufuor. Eighty countries that make up the EU-AU partnership as well as Heads of Regional Institutions from both continents will be attending the Lisbon summit.




Giver and taker wrong, says GJA ......Soli = Bribe

The Ghana Journalist Association is asking its members to file a complaint against event organisers who offer gifts including money to influence their reportage.

The GJA says event organisers have repeatedly been asked to stop offering cash, usually in envelopes, widely know to journalists as ‘soli’. But it says the practise seems to be continuing.

The case against financial inducement was highlighted at a round table discussion, which equated the payments of money to journalists to taking bribes.

Within the Journalist Association executives are divided in their position on the issue. The Acting President of the association in the Ashanti Region says it is not wrong for journalists to accept money from people who appreciate their work.

But the national President of the GJA, Ransford Tetteh says the association’s policy frowns on it and urges journalists not to hesitate to revert to the association if an event organiser offers to give them soli.

Meanwhile the General Secretary of the Advertisers Association of Ghana, Francis Dadzie says it will not be fair to ask journalists to lodge complaints against event organisers.

According to him, pressmen must bear equal responsibility for demanding money from event organisers and said he would be glad to see the day journalists would be bold enough to stand up against monetary offers from people who require their services.

NPP in a Fierce Friendly Fire

The Accra Daily Mail says even as the NPP was toasting itself last Sunday at its national rally at Kasoa, there were growing signs that the ruling party is losing its way in its succession programme. Dissatisfaction, suspicion, fear and even hate have taken over in this mean spirited campaign to succeed President Kufuor.

According to the paper, an agitated chairman of a Brong Ahafo constituency, pleading strict anonymity, last Friday night spoke to ADM on what he described as the "terrible thing happening to our party". He told ADM that a former minister, also the MP for a constituency in Kumasi "descended" on the Brong Ahafo Region to canvass support for a presidential aspirant.

This former minister told the B.A. constituency chairmen that he was campaigning for "the preferred choice of Accra". The significance of "Accra" was not lost on the chairmen and they quickly grasped the meaning.

This former minister, himself the subject of much controversy, leading to his resignation last year, then proceeded to offer "assistance" to the constituency executives to influence them to entice delegates to vote for Accra's choice. Each constituency chairman received ¢10 million, other executive members each received ¢3 million; ¢10 million was also "donated" to each constituency to "help" with the organization of delegate selection. By the end of it all, ¢150 million had been spent on each constituency.

Special mobile phones were also given to each of the executives. The chairman who spoke to ADM said "we were given mobile phones with television". These must be the latest multimedia phones on the market. He departed with the promise that more would follow once Accra's bidding is achieved.

Reports from Tamale and the north, according to the paper, also spoke of lesser amounts and some cheap phones floating about.

It is circulated that now that the delegates are selected, the leading spender is ready to visit each delegate with an envelope containing US dollars!

A Central Region constituency chairman called a source known to ADM and narrated a similar story. According to him the aspirant himself had "descended" on the Central Region and splurged ¢50 million on each constituency with the promise of more to come.

The complaining chairman was grateful for the windfall but concerned about the legacy of such politicking.

This heavy spending is replicated all over the regions and constituencies but in fairness, not by all the aspirants but by a few who have constituted themselves into the elite of "moneycracy" throwing all caution to the wind and openly using money to determine the outcome of this month's congress.

The principle or lack of it in this strategy is to use money and more money where persuasion with ideas fails. So far the party leadership and elders have remained cagey about this development which makes total nonsense of "Zero Tolerance for Corruption", said the paper.

Compounding this murky use of money in the race to succeed President Kufuor is the sinister role being played by some Regional Ministers, Municipal and District Chief Executives. These Ministers, MCEs and DCEs, also claiming instructions from Accra have adopted tactics that can only be described as intimidation and coercion to whip constituency executives into line to ensure a win for Accra's choice.

For some inexplicable reason, it is the RMs, DCE, and MCEs of the three Northern regions who have been targeted in this grand strategy. Recent sackings and appointments have rather heightened the suspicion that Accra may indeed be sending a strong message to MCEs and DCEs to fall in line.

Exercising his right to remain anonymous, a DCE complained to an ADM source that they are on strict orders to deliver their districts to Accra's choice. In an interesting turn of events, this DCE told the ADM source to "use your influence in the media to blow this up because we are under intense pressure." And that is how come ADM got this lead. ADM has since cross-checked with other sources in the Northern Regional capital, Tamale and meetings at the MCE's residence and other places to advance Accra's choice have been confirmed.

In the Upper East Region, the Regional Minister is reported to be rounding up regional and constituency executives to "convince" them to bloc vote on December 22. But the Northern Regional Minister, who is said to be eyeing a running mate slot promised him by another aspirant is "bravely" holding out and is said therefore to be in open confrontation with his MCE who is neck deep in the grand strategy to deliver to Accra's choice.

The above narration could be put down to the intrigues of the cloak and dagger politics of the Third World. Perhaps, but is that not also the genesis of all the trouble spots of the continent?

Source: The Accra Daily Mail

Former NACOB boss calls for fresh investigations into missing cocaine

A former director of the Narcotics Control Board, (NACOB) Mr. K B Quantson has asked government to open fresh investigations into how 2,310 kilograms of cocaine went missing on board the shipping vessel M. V. Benjamin.

77 parcels of the drug each weighing 30 kilograms disappeared on the high seas in 2006, in what is thought to be the biggest cocaine scandal in the country.

Although a committee chaired by the current Chief Justice Georgina Wood was set up last year to investigate the case and other narcotics related matters, the drugs were never found.

Only last week, the fast track High court sentenced two drug barons Issa Abass and Kwabena Amanin alias Tagor to 15 years in jail with hard labour following recorded conversations that linked both men to the lost cocaine.

Mr. Quanson says the Attorney General should also come out to explain why the Police Director of Operations ACP Kofi Boakye is not facing prosecution.

Speaking to Joy News’ Matilda Asante on the question of wether the sentencing of the two suspects Alhaji Issa Abass and Kwabena Amanin demonstrates government’s commitment to check drug trafficking, he said this case is one deterrent one, but except it is followed by an aggressive enforcement system the message won’t go down well.

He also said assets of the convicted barons should be confiscated and followed by a continuous sensitization of the whole country.

Mr. Quantson is also advocating for a national programme through the schools, churches and mosques to sensitise the people because the drugs menace is a problem of the people.

On the missing 77 parcels, Mr. Quantson said every effort must be made to find the drugs.


PNC Selects Mahama Again

Dr. Edward Nasigri Mahama, this morning, was elected as the presidential candidate for the People's National Convention (PNC) at the Party's Delegates Conference held in Bolgatanga. This is the fourth time the PNC has elected Dr Edward Mahama as its flag bearer.

He polled 534 votes to beat the other contestant, Professor Yakubu Saaka who got 400 votes.

The over one thousand delegates drawn from all the PNC constituencies also voted to elect their National Executives. Mr Benard Monah who contested for the General Secretary of the party polled 691 votes to beat his opponents Dr Somtim Tubiga and Mr Santua Niagia who got 154 and 106 votes respectively. The National Organizer went to Mr Bayirga Haruna who polled 362 to beat Mr Abubakari K. Ebla and Mr.Godly Baba Ali who got 318 and 250votes respectively.

The Member of Parliament of the Party for the Bolgatanga Constituency Mr David Apasera was elected as the National Treasurer of the party with 660 votes as against Mr David Nibi who polled 264 votes. Hajia Alima Ajara Ali was elected as the National Women Organizer with 634 votes as against her opponent Ms Patricia Kanji who got 281 votes.

Mr Emmanuel Wilson got the National Youth Organizer with 710 votes to beat his contestant Mr Iddrisu Andani Mu-azu who had 215 votes. The position of Vice Chairman was deferred to a later date due to the uncertainty about the exact number of people contesting the position.

Dr. Edward Mahama in his victory speech said the real winners of the elections was the Party, because of the way it was held peacefully and successfully, and that the elections is a sign that the Party's self inflicted wounds had healed.

He said it was also a victory for Ghana's democracy. Asked by Journalists, after his election whether he was not tired of being the presidential candidate, Dr. Mahama said the commitment of the people kept him going on.

He thanked the security services and the media for their good work and urged journalists not to relent in giving good coverage to the opposition parties.

Mr Adams M. Iddrisu, Upper East Regional Director of the National Electoral Commission (NEC) supervised the election. Meanwhile the elections, which were scheduled to start on Saturday morning dragged on to the early hours of Sunday. 02 Dec. 07


Effah DartehS' Past Catches Up With Him

One of the flagbearer aspirants of the ruling New Patriotic Party, retired Captain Nkrabeah Effah Darteh has been disqualified from the race. The party’s vetting committee took the decision on Friday afternoon. It was his dream to bring change to the people of Ghana through his message of better governance, law and order and human development. But Retired Captain Nkrabeah Effah Darteh is not going to live the dream. The party’s vetting committee disqualified the retired captain based on his previous record of an attempted coup maker as an officer of the Ghana Armed Forces. The report of the committee says he was convicted of treason by a military court in 1981. Article 62 clause 94 of the National Constitution bars any person with record of treason from contesting for president. Although the retired captain was granted pardon for the offence, the committee decided he couldn’t be allowed to contest because the 1992 Constitution of Ghana bars any person once charged with a treasonable offence from seeking the highest office of the land. Party Chairman Peter Mac Manu confirmed the decision at a news conference. Captain Effah Darteh has spent a substantial amount of money to reach the vetting stage before his disqualification. But perhaps his biggest expenditure in his quest to be president so far is the ¢250 million he paid to the party as filing fees. That amount, according to a member of the vetting committee, Samuel Odoi Sykes, is not refundable.

NPP Aspirants' Fate Decided Today

..... All 18 paid their $25,000 non-refundable fee
The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) will today Friday announce a list of qualified presidential aspirants one of whom would lead the party in next year’s general elections to succeed President John Kufuor. The 18 presidential candidates went through a vetting process after they submitted nominations forms and paid a non-refundable fee of 250 million cedis ($25,000)

The non-refundable fee generated a lot of controversy with the media leading the charge and describing it as excessive. The media wondered how the presidential aspirants could afford such a high fee while the average Ghanaian is living in poverty.

Nana Ohene-Ntow is the general secretary of Ghana’s ruling party. From the capital Accra, he tells Voice of America (VOA) reporter Peter Clottey that all is set for the party’s announcement of possible presidential candidates.

“The applicants have all been vetted by the Vetting Committee. And we expect that any moment from now, the Vetting Committee would be presenting its report to the national executive committee. Once the vetting committee comes up with the list of people who have been cleared by the committee, those people would be presented at the congress, and they would contest,” Ohene-Ntow noted.

He said the party’s Vetting Committee has done its job and that Ghanaians would see their work after today’s announcement.

“As you know, 18 people have been vetted by the committee, the committee has the power to pass or to disqualify an applicant. I’m sure that if the committee has to disqualify any applicant, they would provide reasons. If they do disqualify anyone, that applicant within 48hours can appeal to the National Executive Committee against the decision of the committee, and in that instance the decision of the national executive committee shall be final. So, barring any disqualifications, we expect that the Vetting Committee will present to us a list of 18 who would be contesting on congress day on December 22nd,” he said.

Ohene-Ntow said after the list of presidential aspirants is named, the party would then introduce them to partisans and the whole country amidst fanfare.

“On Sunday, the party would organize a platform in the central region, precisely at Kasoa during which all of those who have been cleared by the Vetting Committee to go to congress would be presented to the general public. They would be given the opportunity to showcase their ideas, and their visions and of course on congress day they would still have a chance to make a statement on what they intend to do should they be elected as presidential candidate of the party,” Ohene-Ntow pointed out.

He said although the party has been criticized for what some have called exorbitant non-refundable nomination fee, none of the presidential aspirants have complained about it.

“These are conditions that we stated very clearly in the application forms. And I’m sure you would know that the whole process was voluntary, no one was coerced to come and pick up the forms. And no one was coerced to return them and subsequently to file the nomination. And we take it that all those who picked up the forms and went ahead to file their nominations, read and understood the conditions, and ready to abide by them,” he noted. Clottey Interview With Nana Ohene-Ntow audio clip Listen to Clottey Interview With Nana Ohene audio clip




Ghana Ranks 136 in Human Dev't

Inches Closer Towards 2000 High Mark
... 78% get less than $2 per day income

Ghana ranks as the 135th best country to live in the world according to a United Nation report released today. It moves one place up in regard to the 2006 report, but still seven places down from her high of 128th in 2003 and 1995. (read)

Ghana’s Human Development Index(HDI) value improved from 0.532 to 0.553 - which shows the country inching closer to her highest rate of 0.556 in 2000

The HDI launched by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on annual basis measures country’s performance in terms of improvement in life such as life expectancy, education attainment, health indicators and increase in real incomes.

Despite remaining a beacon of democracy, peace and stability in the sub region, the quality of life for most Ghanaians has not seen much improvement and has actaully dipped from the highs of 2000.

The report states that "In Ghana, half of children in the droughtprone northern region are malnourished, compared with 13 percent in Accra" .

The Human Poverty Index shows that there are 44.8% having less than $1 per day income and 78.5% of population lives below $2 per day income in Ghana.

The national poverty line stood at 39.5% in accordance with 2004 data

Ghana is ranked among "medium human development" countries and territories, scoring less than Botwana(124), Namabia(125), Gabon(119) and South Africa(121).

Ghana scores better than Nigeria(158), Senegal(156) and all of it's other west African neigbours.

Iceland, Norway, Australia, Canada and Ireland rank as the best five countries to live.

The 20 worst countries to live in are all from sub-saharan Africa. The worst five are: Mali, Niger, Guinea Bissau, Burkina Faso with Sierra Leone at the bottom of the pack.

Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia were not included in the 177 countries ranked

Selected Data for Ghana

(last year's data in brackets))
  • Life expectancy at birth = 59.1(57)
  • Adult literacy rate (% ages 15 and older) = 57.1(57.9)
  • Combined primary, secondary and tertiary gross enrolment ratio (%) = 50.7 (47.2)
  • GDP per capita (PPP US$) =2480 (2,240)
  • Adult illiteracy rate (%ages 15 and older) 42.1 (42.2)
  • % of People without access to an improved water source = 25 (25)
  • URL Ghana Fact Sheet
Source Ghanaweb.com


Tagor, Abass jailed 15 years each

Tears flowed at an Accra Fast Track High Court on Wednesday when two self-confessed drug barons, Kwabena Amaning aka Tagor, and Alhaji Isaah Abass were sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment each in hard labour.

Relations of the two convicts wept uncontrollably as they were whisked away under heavy police escort from the courtroom to begin their sentences.

The judgement caught the accused, prosecution, defence, journalists and relatives by surprise, as the judgement date was to have been agreed on Wednesday.

Tagor was in POP and on clutches following an injury he sustained while playing football in custody.

The court found Tagor guilty for conspiracy, engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs because he confessed to about his drug transactions.

He was, however, acquitted and discharged for buying and supplying narcotic drugs.

The court presided over by Mr Justice Jones Victor Dotse, a court of Appeal Judge, also found Abass, 54, guilty for conspiracy and engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs. The court, however, acquitted and discharged him on charges of supplying narcotic drugs.

The court ordered that the sentences should take effect from the day of their arrest. Meanwhile the Serious Fraud Office last year, confiscated assets of the convicts.

The two were said to have made confessions about their previous dealing in the drug business at the residence of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Kofi Boakye in May last year. The said conversation was recorded and anonymously dropped at the Georgina Wood Committee set up by the government to investigate the missing 76 parcels of cocaine on board MV Benjamin, which docked at Tema last year. They pleaded not guilty.

Handing down the sentences, the court said it took into consideration the drug menace in the country and the fact that the nation was being used as a distribution point and the harmful effects of drugs among men and women.

"With the upsurge of the drugs in the country it behoves all of us to come together to fight the drug menace in the country," the court said. The court said sentences should be deterrent to others and corrective adding that it took into consideration the prime age of the accused persons.

The court noted that sentences were not prescribed by law and for that matter the court only used its discretion. The court was quick to say that some portions of the law had prescribed a minimum of 10 years.

Before handing over the sentences, Mr Ellis Owusu Fordjour, who represented Tagor, prayed the court to take into consideration the fact that his client was a first offender and pleaded that he should be dealt with leniently.

Mr Mohammed Attah who represented Abass drew the attention of the court of the days his client had spent in custody and prayed for the minimum sentence.

Ms Gertrude Aikins, Acting Director Public Prosecution (DPP), drew the court attention to the various stages in the drug business. According to her, while the users were fed by pushers, the pushers were also fed by the barons and prayed the court to met out punishment befitting the status of drug barons.



CPP goes to Congress

The third National Congress of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) would take place at the Great Hall of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi on Saturday, December 15, this year, a statement said today in Accra.

It said the Congress would be preceded by a meeting of National Executive Council (NEC) of the party on Friday, December 14 to approve the agenda for the congress.

The statement signed by Nii Noi Dowuoana, General Secretary of the of the party said the Congress would bring together more than two thousand delegates drawn from each of the 230 constituencies, regional executives the NEC, Council of Elders, Founding Members, MPs, Overseas branches, Youth and Women leagues and representatives from TEWSCHART. The congress would elect a presidential candidate to contest the 2008 elections as well as the election of national officers to steer affairs of the party for the next four years. Meanwhile, regional conferences for Western, Eastern, Volta Greater, Accra and Brong Ahafo Regions would be completed by December 8, while the conference for Eastern, Western Regions are scheduled for Koforidua and Takoradi on November 29 and December 8 respectively. The statement said it was expected that party members would play their respective roles to ensure an uninterruptible preparation leading to the event.

In that connection, contestants for the various positions at the Congress were reminded to desist from smear campaigns and acts that would denigrate the integrity or image of other aspirants so as to preserve the internal cohesion of the party 27 Nov. 07



Kenyan Airport Security in a Diplomatic faux pas with Ghana's Defence Minister

Defence Minister, Albert Kan-Dapaah yesterday fought Kenyan security operatives when they tried to have him undergo a body-search at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, from where he was to emplane for home.
At Gate 8 of the airport, the Minister, who was returning home after an official duty in DR Congo, was stunned when a young Kenyan security operative asked him to submit himself for a search before boarding the Kenyan Airways aircraft, his diplomatic passport notwithstanding.It was the Minister’s Military Assistant, Wing Commander Appiah Agyekum’s angry response to the diplomatically incorrect search demand which attracted the attention of some Ghanaian passengers at the airport.
“You cannot search my Defence Minister. I am his Military Assistant,” he said.Upon discovering what they considered disrespect to their minister, the Ghanaian passengers rallied round the Minister in solidarity, showing interest in the progress of the standoff.One of them even said, “Ye be ye dede”, to wit: “We will make noise”. The Minister told the young Kenyan security man that he was not going to allow himself to be searched.
“If we had an ambassador here, would you have treated me this way?” he asked.Not even the security man’s decision to exclude the Minister’s shoes in the search could convince him to succumb to the Kenyan’s demand. One of the operatives retorted, “We would search even the Vice President. The only person we would not search is the President”.Another security operative, who sought to calm the nerves of the Minister, pleaded with him to allow the search to go on but the Defence Minister stood his ground as the standoff continued. Hon. Kan-Dapaah stood aside as the security men continued taking other passengers through the routine checks.
At a point however, he sought to go and sit outside the search area since he was not ready to be searched. He sat calmly at the passenger-waiting area of Gate 8 as a flurry of diplomatic activities went back and forth until he finally had his way and boarded the aircraft without being body-searched.A member of his entourage pleaded with some Ghanaians who wanted to stay behind and see the outcome of the standoff, to calm down as according to him, “It would be alright.”
There was relief on the countenance of the Ghanaians on board the Boeing 737-800 when the Minister finally made his way to the cabin after what appeared to be a diplomatic horse-trading.When Daily Guide asked him for a reaction, he showed the expected diplomacy by saying “that’s alright”, with a smile. When the flight landed in Accra and the Minister stepped out to the waiting arms of olive-green clad military personnel, who saluted in turns, the sharp contrast to the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport diplomatic faux pas some five hours away by air, was crystal clear.
Source:Daily Guide

France Telecom Wins GT Bid

Few days after Singapore Telecom withdrew from the race to take over 51% stake in Ghana Telecom (GT), the Government of Ghana has selected Telecom France as the winner of the bidding process for GT.

France Telecom beat Vodacom and Portugal Telecom. The price is yet to be confirmed but sources close to the Ministry of Communication say it is between $500 million and $600 million

In all, twenty foreign investors expressed interest in Ghana Telecom when the Government of Ghana announced early this year that 51% of GT would be sold to a strategic investor in a bid to enhance efficiency and quality of service. The rest of the shares would then be floated on the Ghana stock exchange (GSE).

Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) and Societe Generale are the transactional advisors for Ghana for the privatization.

Telecom France's revenue was up by 1.9% on a comparable basis to EUR25.9 billion (up 2.1% on an historical basis), reflecting a good second-quarter performance in the first half of 2007.

Ghanaian Chronicle

From Rawlings' Office---NDC Running Mate


It has come to the notice of the founder of the NDC, former President, that certain newspapers have made it their preoccupation to publish lies about the NDC and attribute such lies to him. One of such newspapers is The Point , which, in its last Friday’s edition published that ‘Rawlings okays Betty Mould as Mills’ running mate’. The founder would like to assure the party faithful that, the said publication is absolutely false and should be disregarded.

The founder has also indicated that the leadership is not unaware of the overwhelming Choice of the masses and wish to assure all the party faithful that the flag-bearer will at the opportune time, in consultation with the party’s council of elders and other appropriate organs of the Party, announce a running mate who will reflect that desire of the masses across the length and breath of the nation

Victor Emmanuel Smith (Special Assistant and Director of Public Affairs)

Archbishop Condemns Condoms

MOST REV. Peter Kwasi Sarpong, Metropolitan Archbishop of Kumasi has condemned the use of condoms to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS.

He deflated the notion that usage of condom was the best option to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, stressing that the development was rather encouraging people, especially innocent youth, to indulge in premarital sex.

This lamentable development, according to him, was the major cause of the spread of the disease and the reported cases of teenage pregnancies in society.

Most Rev. Sarpong, who was speaking at the 2nd National Delegate’s Congress of St. Theresa of the Child Society of the Catholic Church in Kumasi last Saturday, cited abstinence from sex as the best option to prevent the spread of the pandemic.

He urged the people to lead lives worthy of emulation to help bring down the reported cases of HIV/AIDS to the barest minimum.

“If you are married, stick to your partner and if you are not married, do not engage in sex because it is a sin in the sight of God,” he stressed.

The Archbishop charged people in authority to be bold and speak against premarital sex among the youth, adding that it was a dangerous development which could impact negatively on the country in future.

“Pastors, chiefs, politicians and all those in authority should speak against fornication and adultery since it is the prime cause of HIV/AIDS pandemic.”

Most Rev. Sarpong also took a swipe at those engaged in human trafficking, and called for a stop to the practice, noting that the act, bedsides being sin in the sight of God, was also morally wrong. “How can a human being sell his fellow human being in this 21st century?” he queried.

The programme was under the theme “Creating the Culture of Peace at Home, Workplace and in the World”.

In her remarks, Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Chief Executive, Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), urged parents to train their children in the fear of God so they would grow up to be responsible and law abiding citizens.

She as well advised parents to serve as role models to their children, insisting that parents had vital roles to play in directing the future of their children.

Madam Appiagyei entreated residents in the metropolis to ensure good sanitary conditions, advising them to paint their houses to beautify the city ahead of the Ghana 2008 football tournament.

Daily Guide