President Kufuor returns from AU Summit

President John Agyekum Kufuor returned home this afternoon from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he was elected the AU Chairman at the Eight Ordinary Summit of African Leaders.
Nana Akufo Addo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Andrew Awuni, Presidential Spokesperson and other senior government officials accompanied him.On arrival at the Kotoka International Airport, President Kufuor was welcomed by hundreds of people who waved miniature flags of Ghana amidst drumming and traditional dancing.
During a press briefing Nana Akufo Addo said the decision to elect President Kufuor as the AU Chairman was unanimous and based on four main reasons.He said President Kufuor's exceptional performance as ECOWAS Chairman coupled with his rule in Ghana, which was characterized by such governance qualities as respect for the rule of law, democracy, accountability among others formed key reasons for his election.
The Foreign Minister said Ghana under Kufuor's governance had also contributed in many ways towards peace on the continent, adding that it was also generally felt that it was appropriate to honour Ghana on the occasion of her 50th anniversary.He said the occasion was quite reflective of the fact that Ghana was politically charting the right path.At a meeting with a delegation of Ga chiefs, President Kufuor expressed joy at the welcome he received on arrival.
He described his election as an acknowledgement of Ghana's role in the fight for independence in Africa and the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU).He said it was also an honour to the entire nation and a reflection of the political progress that Ghana had made so far. President Kufuor's election marked the first of such continental role for a Ghanaian leader since President Kwame Nkrumah was elected Chairman of the OAU in 1965.
At the airport to meet the President was the Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Ministers of State, members of the diplomatic corps, a delegation of Ga chiefs, the Chief of Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. J B Danquah and the Inspector General of Police Mr Patrick Acheampong.


Prof Mills congratulates President Kufuor

Professor John Evans John Atta Mills, Presidential Candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for Election 2008 on Monday congratulated President John Agyekum Kufuor on his election as African Union (AU) Chairman at the Eighth Ordinary Session of the continental body currently underway in Addis Ababa.
President Kufuor was elected by a unanimous decision of the 53-member body to succeed Congolese President Dennis Sassou Nguesso among half-a-dozen contenders including Sudan, Kenya, Somalia and host country Ethiopia.Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Prof Mills expressed the hope that President Kufuor would work towards the realisation of the objectives of the AU Charter
."I have no doubts President Kufuor is well aware of the challenges that come with this responsible and trusted position and I hope he will do his best in meeting the hopes and aspirations of our people and to advance the course of the Continent," he said. Prof Mills wished President Kufuor well and expressed the hope that he would execute the onerous task with the support of all.

Mills reacts to Kufuor statements

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Administration left a lasting legacy for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) to build on, Professor John Evans Atta Mills, NDC Presidential candidate for Election 2008 said on Monday.Prof. Mills was reacting to statements attributed to President John Agyekum Kufuor at the People's Assembly held recently at Sunyani.
He said the peaceful transfer of power from NDC to NPP was something that should be extolled and for which President Kufuor should be grateful.Prof Mills said the mere fact that the NPP Government found money to pay Public and Civil Servants at the end of the month in which it assumed power belied the often made assertion that the NPP Government inherited empty coffers.Prof Mills cited extracts from the NPP Government's 2001 Budget Statement in which the loans that the NDC Government contracted in 2000 were made available to the NPP Government to use saying, the NPP's 2004 Campaign Document: "So Far, so Very Good" showed the projects that the NPP Government executed with the NDC contracted loans.
He said the NDC made huge investments in road construction; in the extension of electricity to all district capitals; in upgrading and establishment of polytechnics in all the 10 regions and two new public universities; in the construction of modern hospitals at Cape Coast, Ho and Sunyani as well as the construction of Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) estates all over the country.
Former Vice President Mills cited the establishment of District Assemblies' Common Fund (DACF); Ghana Education Trust Fund and the Energy Fund among other funds, as concrete evidence of the huge legacy NDC left for the NPP Administration.
He called on President Kufuor to find a way of investigating and reprimanding his appointees, who were perceived to be corrupt, and to stop saying that people should rather provide him with evidence of corruption against them.



Commercial activities halt as Ga Traditional Area mourns Overlord

Commercial activities came to a standstill in the Accra Metropolis on Saturday as the Ga Traditional Area was mourning their Overlord, Boni Nii Amugi II, who died two years ago. A survey conducted by the Ghana News Agency at Dansoman, Kaneshie, Teshie, Osu, Adabraka and the Central Business District of Accra revealed that almost all shops, markets and drinking spots had been closed, while the normal human and vehicular traffic was absent.

Kwame Abotsi, a driver at the Accra-Tema Station bus terminal said the funeral had affected his business. “I have not made any money today and this is not normal on a Saturday,” he said. Most passengers at the terminal said it took a long time before the “trotro” commuter buses got full to transport them to their destinations. One Emmanuel Fletcher, a retired Civil Servant, said the quietness in Accra on Saturday was not only enjoyable but showed the great respect the people had for Nii Amugi, whose reign was very peaceful.

Some shop owners in the Central Business District, who were interviewed by the GNA in front of their closed shops, said although they were counting their financial losses, it was also good they did not engage in any commercial activity to give an opportunity for criminals to come and loot their goods. Naa Aduquaye, a drinking bar operator at Osu, said she hoped business would pick up in the night so that she could make some money for the day.GNA

Black Stars World Cup Account - Financial Disaster

The Black Stars' sensational World Cup campaign, from the qualification series to the final showdown in Germany, has left in its trail a huge financial disaster.

Beyond the glamour and the fame engendered during the tournament was a huge loss of nearly ¢40 billion purported to have been committed into efforts qualifying for the tournament and participation in Germany 2006.

At a GFA Executive Committee meeting in Accra recently, it was revealed that Ghana's qualification and participation cost the goverment in excess of ¢63 billion.
Graphic Sports investigations have, however, revealed that out of the $4.5 million that FIFA paid to the GFA, $2.5 million had been paid to the Ministry of Education, Science and Sports, with the FA itself settling for an amount of $1.6 million.

The remaining $400,000 allegedly went into the payment of bonuses for the players and officials.
FIFA's own regulations governing the World Cup stipulate that the financial largesse it makes available to participating nations as appearance fees should be paid back to the authorities that commit funds for ensuring qualification and participation, to enable them plough back their funds.
Thus, in Africa where Football Associations are impoverished, the governments which often take the responsibility of sponsoring national teams for their World Cup campaigns largely become the ultimate beneficiaries of FIFA�s world cup appearance fees.Ghana's qualification and appearance at the second round earned the FA a total of 5.5million euros about ($6 million).But out of the amount FIFA made deductions to cover expenses for the upkeep of the contingent whilst in Germany and fines which, sources revealed, came up to a frightening $12,000.
Apart from several yellow cards attracted by the Stars during the tournament, the red card attracted by Asamoah Gyan in the match against the Czech Republic, and the expulsion of Coach Ratomir Dujkovic in the Stars-Brazil game during recess, were said to have contributed immensely to the huge fines.The GFA, according to official sources, entered into an agreement with the Ministry of Education and Sports to pay back all government pre-finances from what it would earn from FIFA.And true to that the FA paid the $2.5million to the Sports Ministry after what sources described as an intense haggle.
Meanwhile, sources at the Executive Committee of the F A claim that after nearly six months after the World Cup, the Executive Committee is yet to be furnished with the financial details of the campaign, resulting in some discordant voices being heard at their last meeting over the disbursment of the funds that accrued from the World Cup without the committee's approval.
The Committee is also said to be demanding full income and expenditure accounts of all monies contributed by corporate institutions, those earned from pre and post- World Cup international friendly matches of the Black Stars and total expenditure on bonuses during the World Cup.But the Emergency Committee of the FA, according to authentic sources assured that an audited account would soon be presented as soon as the auditors completed their work.


It's good to be back home - Busumuru Annan

"It's good to be back at home" was Busumuru Dr Kofi Atta Annan's opening statement when he mounted the podium to deliver the first of the Golden Jubilee Lecture Series on: "Championing African Excellence".

It was his first speaking engagement since retiring after 40 years of service at the United Nations (UN), 10 of which he was the Secretary-General. "I intended to retire to a quiet and peaceful civilian life but when your President calls you to duty you can only say it's an honour Sir to be at your service", Busumuru Annan declared amidst a loud laughter from the audience, which included President John Agyekum Kufuor and his wife Theresa; Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Mr Begyina Sakyi-Huges, Speaker of Parliament; Members of the Council of State; Ministers of State, Members of Parliament (MPs), Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Traditional and Religious Leaders and people from all walks of life.

Busumuru Annan declared that he was proud to return home and to address Ghanaians not in his capacity as a world leader but as a private Ghanaian citizen, who left Ghana to join the UN at the time when Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah was still President of Ghana and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) was Kumasi College of Science and Technology (KCST). When he turned his attention to his lecture notes, he was straight to the point, punchy, fluent and brief.

Even though at the start the audience got the impression that the lecture was going to be long, Busumuru Annan delivered a brilliant and loaded lecture, which attracted a standing ovation at the end, in less than 30 minutes.

Mr Alban Sumani Bagbin, the Minority Leader in Parliament, said the lecture was a masterpiece delivered in the most excellent English that one could ever imagine.

"Although at the start of the lecture one got the impression that it was going to be long, it ended up being very brief but loaded and I hope everybody there understood everything he said." Mr Bagbin, however, complained about what he described as “selective invitation” the Government threw to members of the opposition to Ghana@50 programmes, and said Ghana@50 was not NPP@50 and that all political parties in Parliament needed to be invited to be part of the initiation, planning and implementation of programmes to give the celebrations a national character instead of one party character.

Mr George Opesika Aggudey, Convention People’s Party (CPP) Flag Bearer for Election 2004, described Busumuru Annan as a symbol of national unity, saying that all leaders of political parties needed to rally around him and his brilliant ideas to move the country forward. "Ghana is bigger than any political party and (Busumuru)Kofi Annan has just told us that in the simplest of languages - we need to put our differences aside and feed on his ideas for development," he said.

Dr Edward Mahama, Leader of the People’s National Convention (PNC), said Busumuru Annan was a calm and humble gentleman but firm in his convictions "and I believe that we can see another Kwame Nkrumah in (Busumuru) Kofi Annan - this should give us the hope that the spirit of Kwame Nkrumah lives on in sons of the nation like Kofi Annan and others".


Ghana needs Busumuru Annan's advice - Rawlings

Former President Jerry John Rawlings on Wednesday appealed to Busumuru Kofi Annan, Immediate-Past United Nations Secretary-General, to observe the country's political scene and offer his advice. Former President made the appeal when Busumuru Annan paid a courtesy call on him at his residence in Accra about 1400 hours after his arrival home.
Busumuru Annan had served the UN for 40 years out which he was Secretary-General of the world body for 10 years. Former President Rawlings asked Busumuru Annan to bring his expertise and knowledge to bear on the development of the country and to join to straighten the course of peace and stability.
Former President Rawlings told Mr Annan: "We are happy about the reception the Government has given you and that of the people of Ghana." Busumuru Annan said he was happy to be home after years of service to the UN and acknowledged the reception accorded him by the good people of Ghana. He commended Former President Rawlings for the leadership he provided the country and said both of them served humanity but in different capacities.
Busumuru Annan further called for a concerted effort by the Government, the opposition parties and civil society to help to build a better Ghana. With the Former President Rawlings were Professor John Evans Atta Mills, Former Vice President and Flag bearer of the opposition National Democratic Congress for Election 2008 and Mrs Mary Grant, a Former Member of the Council of State. Professor Mills also expressed joy at the homecoming of Busumuru Annan describing him as a man of knowledge and high sense of duty, worthy of honour.
He urged Busumuru Annan to exhibit his courage to right the wrongs of the Ghanaian society by speaking the truth. Mrs Mary Grant, who said Busumuru Annan was her nephew, described him as the pride of the family and traced his success to the training he acquired as a Ghanaian and an African.GNA

ECOWAS Condemns violence in Guinea, appeals for calm

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has condemned the mounting death of civilians in Guinea as a result of the recent crisis in the country. "Any loss of life is regrettable but the killing of unarmed civilians is particularly unacceptable.

We express our sympathies to the families of the deceased", said a statement issued on Wednesday by the ECOWAS Secretariat in Abuja, and made available to the Ghana News Agency. The statement called upon the Guinean Authorities to guarantee the safety and security of its citizens while they express their constitutional rights of freedom of association and free expression.
It said what started as a labour union strike had escalated into a political crisis and that it is evident that the current crisis in Guinea could only be resolved by genuine dialogue amongst all Guinean stakeholders in an atmosphere free of intimidation and violence. "ECOWAS stands ready to work with all Guinean political forces, the government, political parties, civil society, trade unions, etc., in the search for a lasting resolution to the crisis", the statement said.
It said in that regard, the ECOWAS Chairman, President Blaise Compaoré, was engaged in consultations aimed at dispatching a mission to Guinea to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the crisis.GNA


Busumuru Annan arrives back home to a hero’s welcome

Busumuru Kofi Annan, Ghana’s top diplomat and Immediate-Past Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN) arrived back home on Tuesday night to a hero’s welcome. Among the huge crowd of people from all walks of life who thronged the Kotoka International Airport to welcome him and his Swedish wife, Nane, were President John Agyekum Kufuor and wife Theresa; Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama and wife Ramatu; the Speaker of Parliament, Mr Ebenezer Sekyi-Huges, Professor Daniel Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State; Ministers of State, members of the Diplomatic Corps, Chiefs and religious leaders.

As the Alitalia flight carrying Busumuru Annan touched down at exactly 2210 hours, the people went into frenzy, cheered and waved miniature Ghanaian flags amidst traditional drumming and dancing.

The Former UN Chief and the wife were presented with the “Akwaaba” bouquet by Janet Afriyie Mensah and Susana Manu, when they stepped down from the gangway. He then exchanged pleasantries with President Kufuor and Vice President Mahama after which the President escorted him to do same with the welcoming party accompanied by Kete drumming, an honour reserved for only chiefs.

With that over President Kufuor and Busumuru Annan went into the VVIP lounge, in front of which, two giant portraits of the retired UN Secretary-General had been placed on the walls, for private discussions. Later in brief remarks, Busumuru Annan thanked the entire nation for the support and encouragement, without which, he said he could not have done the job the way he did it. “The journey had been long and I have completed a cycle.”

Born in Kumasi on April 8, 1938, Busumuru Annan joined the UN in 1962, working with the World Health Organisation in Geneva and also served with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. At the UN Headquarters in New York, he held senior positions in diverse range of areas including human resource management, budget and finance and peacekeeping. Busumuru Annan was Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping at a time when nearly 70,000 military and civilian personnel were deployed in UN operations around the world.

He was elected the Secretary-General of the World Body in 1997 and completed his two five-year term on December 31, 2006.GNA

Wa MCE relieved of his post

President John Agyekum Kufuor has relieved the Wa Municipal Chief Executive (NCE), Mr M.A Banda of his position with immediate effect. This was contained in a press release signed by Mr Kwadwo Okyere Mpiani, Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in Accra on Tuesday.
It said the President has directed that Mr George Hikah Benson, Deputy Regional Minister for Upper West, should act as the MCE of Wa pending the nomination for appointment of a substantive Chief Executive.GNA

Socio-economic devt in Ghana is the best in Africa

The visiting Mayor of London, Mr Alderman John Stuttard, on Tuesday commended Ghana for her impressive political and socio-economic development and stressed the need for the Government to work hard to consolidate the achievements made for the benefit of the citizenry."Ghana's exhibition of good governance, integrity and successful democratic dispensation is the best in Africa in recent times especially among emerging economies," he added.
Mr Stuttard made the commendation during a courtesy call on Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, at Manhyia Palace in Kumasi.He was accompanied by Mr Gordon Wetherell, British High Commissioner to Ghana and Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive.Mr Stuttard arrived in Ghana last week with some businessmen and technocrats to explore avenues that would boost co-operation between United Kingdom (UK) and Ghana especially in financial services and education.
He noted that the relationship between Ghana and UK dated back to the pre-colonial era and UK was committed to collaborate with Ghana in all fields of endeavours to further improve on the achievements made in education, financial services and culture.Mr Stuttard said such collaboration, was crucial to eliminate poverty and improve on the living standards of the vulnerable in society and in addition, facilitate Ghana's bid to attain middle-income status by 2015.He commended the Asantehene for his visionary leadership and immense efforts to enhance good neighbourliness among Asantes and other ethnic groups in Ghana, very crucial to consolidate democracy in the country.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said there was the need for stakeholders to evolve proactive measures that would ensure Ghana's democratic dispensation was enhanced."We should commit resources to ensure stability, employment for the youth and improve upon the prudent management of the economy," he added.The Asantehene noted that with the 50th independence anniversary celebration, there was the need for stakeholders to take stock of the past achievements and brainstorm to accelerate development. He appealed to Mr Stuttard to work hard to strengthen the existing relationship between the City of London and Kumasi Metropolis for their mutual benefit.
Mr Andrew Holmes, Managing Director of Taysec, an international road construction firm, who accompanied Mr Stuttard donated 70 million cedis towards the Otumfuo Education Fund. 23 Jan. 07


Welcome home, a distinguished son of Ghana......The land of gold!!!

The immediate past UN Secretary General Kofi Annan would be returning home after years of distinguished service at the United Nations. He sairved as the chief civil servant/diplomat of the world.
For me he served the whole of mankind, but as a Ghanaian, he represented national pride for us. He represented a major free PR image for Ghana in the last decade .

Just as Dr. Kwame Nkrumah became an African icon in the immediate post independence era of the 50s and 60s, Kofi Annan in the closing years of the last century and the beginning of this new century also assumed an equally visible and honourable image for Africa.

As he returns home tomorrow, it is with pride that we welcome him and hope that we will accord him the honour and dignity he deserves.

It is at this point that I humbly request of every Ghanaian to accord our own true son the peace of mind he needs at this time off international diplomacy to rest.
Putting him in a political cloak in my view will be dangerous.

The political temperature in Ghana is very umpredictable and could be unfriendly at most times. I hope Mr. Anna will stick to what he plans to do and not be pushed into taking any political posts at this time of his life.
Welcome Home Sir and all the best.

MCA In Danger?

WASHINGTON (Wall Street Journal) -- President Bush's signature foreign-assistance program is likely to run out of money this year, leaving in the lurch Ghana and several poor countries that have labored to meet its strict eligibility standards, according to aid officials.
Mr. Bush introduced the Millennium Challenge program in 2002 as a new approach to fix the perceived failures of overseas-development assistance.

The grants would be large enough to transform the recipient nations' economic fortunes, he said then, and the money would go only to countries that met quantitative standards for honest government, free-market policies and generous social spending.
Now the program's budget is expected to fall short of its projected needs by $400 million to $1 billion, depending on the outcome of congressional negotiations over the coming weeks. The crunch comes at a time when Morocco, Tanzania, Mozambique and several other developing nations are nearing agreements on huge aid packages.
"At a lower level of funding, [the program] will need to turn away countries that have developed sound proposals designed to assist millions of the poor -- such as microfinance programs that help women, and water, irrigation, and transportation systems that enable poor farmers to participate in the local economy," said John Danilovich, chief executive of the Millennium Challenge Corp., which implements the aid effort.
When the program was launched, the president promised to secure $5 billion a year from Congress for his plan.

Instead, he has consistently asked lawmakers for less than that, and lawmakers have consistently provided less than he requested.
The Republican-led Congress failed to complete fiscal 2007 spending bills before this month's hand-over to the Democrats. It appears likely that the Democrats will hold this year's spending largely to 2006 levels and focus instead on the fiscal 2008 budget, which takes effect Oct. 1.
DEVELOPING PROBLEM * What's New: President Bush's program to help the developing world faces a funding squeeze.* What's at Stake: Congress is unlikely to increase funding for the program.* The Bottom Line: Countries that have worked to earn development assistance may be left empty-handed.

"The Republicans' failure to get the job done will unfortunately leave a number of agencies in a situation that is less than ideal," said Rep. Nita Lowey, New York Democrat and chairwoman of the subcommittee that funds the aid effort.
The squeeze will likely provide the aid program with between $1.14 billion and $1.75 billion this year, compared with the $3 billion Mr. Bush had requested. The president again plans to ask Congress for $3 billion for the program when he presents his 2008 budget next month, according to two people familiar with the proposal. Antipoverty advocates are lobbying furiously on the Hill to ensure that request is fully funded.

The Millennium Challenge Corp. was still struggling to get off the ground and facing stiff congressional criticism when Mr. Danilovich, a former oil-shipping executive and Republican activist, took over in late 2005.
He accelerated its grant-giving, and the agency now boasts 11 aid agreements totaling $3 billion, including a $461 million package for Mali and an equivalent deal for El Salvador.
Mr. Danilovich has met with scores of lawmakers to plead the agency's case. The program's demanding eligibility standards, he says, have given countries from Lesotho to Georgia an incentive to crack down on corruption and other impediments to economic growth.

Still, many lawmakers worry that the Millennium Challenge Corp., which is barred by Congress from employing more than 300 people, is paying more attention to signing deals than it is to ensuring that they are implemented well enough to actually promote growth and reduce poverty.
"There are very few champions [on Capitol Hill] and, I think, dwindling support," said Sheila Herrling, senior policy analyst at the nonpartisan Center for Global Development think tank in Washington.

Ms. Herrling said that some key lawmakers want to steer Millennium Challenge aid away from roads, airports and other infrastructure projects and toward health, education and other social programs.


Adansi Traditional Council informs President Kufuor about Adansihene’s death

A delegation of Chiefs from Adansi Traditional Council on Sunday called on President John Agyekum Kufuor at the Residency in Kumasi to officially inform him of the death of Nana Ofori Agyeman II, Adansihene. Nana Agyeman 69, died at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra on July 15, 2005 after a short illness.

Nana Asiama Guahyia Ababio, Adubiasehene and Acting President of the Council who led the delegation said the funeral rites would be observed from Monday, January 29 to Thursday, February 1. President Kufuor expressed appreciation for the information and said the late Adansihene was a brother and his mate in school, adding “his death is a blow to him and the nation.” Nana Agyeman reigned from 1997 to 2005.GNA

Golden Jubilee Inaugural lecture at national theatre

The Ghana @ 50 Secretariat on Sunday announced that venue for the Golden Jubilee Inaugural Lecture scheduled for Thursday, January 25 has been changed to the National Theatre in Accra. A statement issued and signed by Mr HenryWellington Okyne, Public Affairs Officer said the time for the lecture remained the same.
A programme drawn by the Secretariat said it would be delivered by Busumuru Kofi Annan, Former Secretary General of the United Nations under the theme " Championing Africa's Renaissance: In Pursuit of Self-reliance and Sustainable Economic Liberation in Africa".
It said President John Agyekum Kufuor would be the Special Guest of Honour with Professor Adzei Bekoe, Chairman of the Council of State chairing the function. Attendance is strictly by invitation. GNA


Press Release: Dan Botwe For President 08'

My attention has been drawn to a leaflet that was distributed at the NPP congress with the caption “Declare, Dan Declare!” by a group called Patriotic Force. My office has received several calls and emails to ascertain weather this ‘Force’ causing the “under current” at the NPP delegates congress is in fact affiliated with us.
I wish to state that Patriotic Force is the local and grassroot working team of www. Move4Dan08.org an international campaign aimed at soliciting massive support for Daniel Botwe at the impending NPP delegates Congress to elect a flag bearer.Daniel Kweku Botwe is the immediate past General Secretary of NPP and immediate past information Minister.
He is the current Chairman of the Research and Strategy for NPP.Coordinator!Move4Dan08.org Info@move4dan08.org

I Was Not Responsible For IFC, CNTCI Scam Loans - Osafo-Maafo

Just as Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ for 30 pieces of silver in the Bible, so Yaw Osafo-Maafo, NPP Presidential candidate aspirant, has betrayed his colleague competitor aspirant Alan Kyeremateng for the NPP Presidential candidacy slot by washing his hands clean off the scandalous IFC and CNTCI scam loans which nearly brought down the Kufuor administration on two separate occasions.
Speaking in a Radio Gold interview, Mr. Osafo-Maafo stated categorically that he was not responsible for arranging those two scandalous loans but that he had to present and defend them in Parliament as Minister of Finance in accordance with the principle of collective responsibility.Answering a question by Radio Gold’s James Agyenim-Boateng, that: “Your detractors are likely to say that—CNTCI is a baggage for you, IFC is a baggage for you”, Mr. Osafo-Maafo, who was Minister of Finance at the time the two scandalous loans were contracted by the NPP Government and aborted by the NDC opposition, stated as follows:“People do not understand how Government functions and the role of the Finance Minister and therefore let me explain them further to you. The Minister of Finance is responsible for mobilizing financial resources to run the country.
We have three types of resources.We have bilateral resources, i.e., between Ghana and Germany, Ghana and France, country to country and we have multilateral resources, between a country and groups of countries, like Ghana and the World Bank of Ghana and the IMF. When you are borrowing bilateral or multilateral, it is the responsibility of the Minister of Finance to go and do the borrowing and nobody else can.
Now there are a number of projects which require financing outside bilateral and multilateral resources. Indeed there are much more resources outside the bilateral and multilateral resources than we have there. For example in Ghana, there are about 18 banks and only 4 of those banks are state banks. The rest are all private banks and they are much bigger than the state banks and that’s how the world of financing is.There is a lot of money in the private sector apart from bilateral and multilateral. Now when you need money from the private sector for instance you need money to do the Bui dam.
The Minister of Energy can go and look for money from the private source and bring to cabinet for consideration and approval and therefore any borrowing outside bilateral and multilateral can be initiated by Ministers other than the Minister of Finance and indeed the IFC loan was never initiated by me. Indeed the IFC loan when it was taken to cabinet, I was outside the country.The records are there, I was at the World Bank but cabinet approved it. Once Cabinet approved it, it is the collective responsibility of all of us because Cabinet, about 35 people have said yes. Now according to the rules, it is only the Minister of Finance who can send a loan application to Parliament.
This is very important and you don’t understand it. And therefore when I come and Cabinet has approved a loan, I cannot say I cannot take it to Parliament because I am the Minister of Finance; otherwise I should resign. If I am the Minister of Finance and I should remain as that then I should send it to parliament.So I sent both the IFC and the CNTCI to parliament purely as the Minister of Finance but none of the two was initiated by me.
Ghana Palaver is however aware that both the IFC and CNTCI loans were initiated by Mr. Alan Kyeremateng, Minister of Trade, Industries and PSI when he was Ghana’s Ambassador in Washington, and involved persons like Professor Eddie Ayensu, a garrulous Ghanaian academic on the international circuit who is known to be an adviser to President Kufuor.At the time of the IFC and CNTCI loans however, Mr. Osafo-Maafo and Senior Minister J.H. Mensah not only look responsibility for them but stoutly defended them as the best things that ever happened to Ghana.
Observers of the political scene are certain that Mr. Osafo-Maafo has opened a can of worms and that as the campaign rolls by, IFC and CNTCI will be baggage for him until he has truthfully answered the question—--”Who initiated the IFC and CNTCI loans”?If he should confirm it to be Alan Kyeremateng, that will be the end of the latter’s Presidential ambitions.
Source:Ghana Palaver

Kofi Annan Returns Home On Tuesday

Former United Nations(UN) Secretary General, Kofi Annan, is due to return to home on Tuesday, January 23 night where he is being urged to contest the country’s presidential election in 2008.

An official statement asked the public to come to the airport to give Annan a hero’s welcome. Annan completed his two five- year terms on December 31.
According to the statement, President Kufuor and Vice President Aliu Mahama, ministers of state, members of the diplomatic corps, leaders of political parties and traditional leaders would be at the airport to welcome the former UN boss.

Annan, 68, who retired from the top position of the world body at the end of last year, is reported to have turned down the advances of the New Life Ghana Movement urging his candidacy.

The movement set up the website draftkofiannan2008.com to campaign for his candidacy.
Kofi Annan, the website, which is not endorsed by Annan, said “is the best qualified person to lead the country “at this crucial time.”
Annan, who was the second African to head the UN after Egyptian Boutros Boutros Ghali, won several honours including the Nobel Peace Prize and he was also the first UN Secretary General to rise to the top through the UN system.

The draftkofiannan2008.com website said its team was calling on Annan “to come and lead us as a nation” and contest the election as an independent candidate.
“We find it necessary that Mr. Annan take up this challenge as an independent presidential candidate so that he can concentrate on building the administrative and managerial competences of our ministries and departments while oversight is provided by political activity, parliament, the judiciary, media, and society at large, without the dangers of a one-party state,” the website said.

Mr Annan became only the second African, after Boutrous Boutrous Ghali to be appointed head of the UN in 1996.
He was also the only Secretary-General who rose through the UN system to become its head


Government protests alleged intimidation of contributor at Assembly

The Government on Tuesday said it strongly protests the allegation of violence against a contributor during the Jubilee People’s Assembly held in Sunyani earlier in the day.

A statement signed by Mrs Oboshie Sai-Kofie, deputy Minister of Information and National Orientation, said if found to be true, government will spare no effort in identifying the perpetrator or perpetrators and bringing them to book.

The alleged harassment reportedly occurred outside the venue of the Assembly, soon after the alleged victim made his contribution. “Government finds the allegation most unfortunate, and if found to be true, would like to re-emphasize that the very idea of the innovative People’s Assembly, is to ensure a consistent deepening and strengthening of our democracy,” the statement said, adding that one of the core values to be defended and sustained is that of freedom of speech.

It said President John Agyekum Kufuor and the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mr Kwamena Bartels spoke at length during the event, about the need for tolerance, even when views and opinions differed.GNA


Ghana-Nigeria: 6th February

The CEO of D-Vision Network Dennis Tawiah has confirmed that the Black Stars of Ghana will now play their Nigerian counterparts on Tuesday February 6 in London.The new venue for the match will be the 19,000 capacity Brentford Stadium in West London.
It might be recalled that the same venue hosted the international friendly between the Black Stars and Togo last August.According to Justin Addo, CEO of Jv2i Consult, organisers of the game, a change of date and venue is the only alternative to ensure the game takes place next month.The English FA ruled that since England play Spain on 7 February in Manchester we need to look for an alternative date," Addo told BBC Sport on Friday.
"We made strong efforts to still have the game played at Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers but the ground is not free for our new date, hence we have to settle for Brentford."The Nigerian FA and the GFA have endorsed this new date we are happy that the match will still take place."Mr Tawiah who is the GFA's match agent in Europe told Metro Sports that both Nigeria and Ghana will feature all their stars. The Tuesday February 6 Match will kick off at 7:45.

115 billion cedis for Accra High Street Project

The Government of Ghana (GOG) has allocated 115 billion cedis towards the construction of selected roads within the Accra Central Business District.The projects include the reconstruction of the Korle Lagoon Bridge, a four-kilometre road stretching from the Lavender Hill near Korlegonno to the Independence Square and one-way pedestrian schemes within the Okaishie Sub District.
The Department of Urban Roads (DUR) is supervising the project, which is being undertaken by China Railway Wuju Group, a Chinese construction firm. Tahal Consulting Engineers (TCE) from Israel through their local subsidiary, Alpha Consulting is the consultant for the project.
Diversions on the road project on Monday worsened the traffic situation in Central part to Accra and the Korle-Bu areas and when the Ghana News Agency visited the project site, roadblocks were mounted at various points within the area, and personnel from the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) were directing traffic.Hundreds of commuters opted to walk to work instead of going on commercial vehicles that were stuck in heavy traffic.
Mr Kwesi Nuama, Road Development Engineer from DUR, who is in charge of the Project told the Ghana News Agency that so far the Government had released a 22 billion cedis as Advance Mobilization Loan (AML) to the consultants to re-start the Project.
He said the project, which took off several years ago but was halted due to lack of funding would now be completed in the next 18 months, adding that the bridge bit of it would be completed in eight months.
Mr Adrian Frantescu, Chief Executive Officer TCE, also told the GNA that as part of the Project, the bridge at Lavender Hill would be expanded and raised up to accommodate the back tides from the sea waves and also be lengthened from the current 30 metres to 66 metres.
He said the bridge would be converted into double dual carriageway to ease traffic to and from Accra.Mr Frantescu noted that the current state of the bridge at Lavender Hill was a death trap, saying that it was on the verge of collapse and that structurally it had failed.
"The bridge is too short and narrow - we are lucky that articulator vehicles do not use this bridge, otherwise it would have collapsed long ago," he said."We will construct a three span bridge, taller enough, with several outlets to ensure easy flow of the back tide from the sea waves." He said in the course of the road construction only the City Engineers office building and the walls of the Customs, Exercise of Preventive Service offices in James Town would be affected. "We need to preserve the historic buildings along that corridor and so we would not touch any of them," he said.
Mr Frantescu said the Project promises to create jobs for both skilled and unskilled personnel in the country, saying that at the moment all the 200 persons employed for the Project were Ghanaians and there was a prospect of an additional 150 jobs for the people in the James Town, Ga Mashie, Chockor, Korlegonno.He said while the Project was underway, the Police Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) would assist to ensure the smooth flow of traffic.
Mr Frantesacu said efforts were being made to prevent the reoccurrence of heavy traffic jams but noted that during the project period traffic would be considerably slow within that area.

Corruption is Ghana’s biggest headache - Boateng

The Chief Executive Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and presidential aspirant of the New Patriotic, Party (NPP), Professor Dr. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, says bribery and corruption is about the biggest problem facing the country.
He said corruption accounts for about 75 percent of the nation’s problems and has therefore called on all Ghanaians to help find a lasting solution to it.Dr. Frimpong-Boateng who was addressing a cross section of the press in Kumasi at the weekend on why he was in politics and his vision for the nation, said he was in politics because he had realised that “we have not done well collectively as a people in terms of development.
”He said in spite of this predicament “we are not addressing the problems that would help to move us forward.“We are not a determined people and not dispassionate as compared to our peer countries like Singapore, Cuba and Malaysia who started their development efforts with us on the same note”, he observed.
He said there was the need for all Ghanaians to find solutions to the problems facing the country to help its socio-economic developmentHe said if developed countries were suppressing the developing nations, then it was all because their survival and well being were not being addressed properly by themselves.
Dr Frimpong-Boateng said the time has come for the nation to have selfless and disciplined people to move the nation forward stressing that Ghanaians have something in them, which when tapped can help the nation to advance.The presidential aspirant said when the time comes to elect leaders for the country Ghanaians should look out for leaders who have good track records, consider their religious principles, character and integrity.

I am in the Presidential race to move the Nation forward- Professor Boateng

Professor Dr Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Chief Executive Officer of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and presidential Aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) says he is in politics because he has realised that “we have not done well collectively as a people in terms of development.
He said in spite of this predicament “we are not addressing the problems that would help to move us forward. Dr. Frimpong-Boateng was addressing a cross section of the Press in Kumasi on Saturday on why he was in politics and his vision for the nation. “We are not a determined people and not dispassionate as compared to our peer countries like Singapore, Cuba and Malaysia who started their development efforts with us on the same note”, he observed. He said if developed countries were suppressing the developing nations, then it was all because their survival and well being were not being addressed properly by themselves.
Dr Frimpong-Boateng said the time has come for the nation to have selfless and disciplined people to move the nation forward stressing that Ghanaians have something in them, which when tapped can help the nation to advance. The Presidential Aspirant said when the time comes to elect leaders for the country Ghanaians should look out for leaders who have good track records, consider their religious principles, character and integrity.
He said there was the need for all Ghanaians to find solutions to the problems facing the country to help its socio-economic development. Professor Dr. Frimpong-Boateng spoke against bribery and corruption in the country and said corruption accounts for about 75 per cent of the nation’s problems and called on all Ghanaians to help find lasting a solution to it.GNA

Veep opens website to promote transparency in mining industry

Vice President Alhaji Mahama on Monday launched a website to promote efforts to ensure that transparency and accountability become the hallmark of the mining industry in Ghana. The website: http://www.gheiti.gov.gh/, which was the brainchild of the Executive, with support from Germany would showcase information on fiscal inputs and outputs of the industry.
Vice President Mahama launched the Information, Communication and Technology facility in Accra at day's international workshop on Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), launched by the British Prime Minister in South Africa in 2002 to among other things ensure greater transparency and accountability in the exploitation of natural resources. "We all know that this website will be inaccessible to the average Ghanaian.
However, they listen to radio and read local newspapers," he said. Vice President Mahama, therefore, challenged the Independent Aggregator to publish its reports in the mass media or bulletins and newsletters of the district assemblies to "constitute a veritable part of the transparency and accountability process in governance". He said the setting up of a National Steering Committee and the establishment of a Secretariat on EITI called for accountability and transparency in the management of forest resources.
Vice President Mahama said: "Ghana as a signatory to the EITI concept has to ensure that things are done right on the part of the investor, operator and government in a collaborative manner. "To this end, a legislative framework will soon be put in place to give legal backing to the concept, which will then enable Government to give regular budgetary support to the initiative." Referring to the publish-what- you- pay media concept adopted by the Ghana Chamber of Mines for mining companies, Vice President Mahama asked the Chamber to improve on the notion by adding: "Restore -what-you damage" in order to reduce tensions associated with mining activities in some local communities.
This attracted cheers. He said Ghana had introduced generous incentive packages and a fiscal regime to boost the mining industry. Some of these incentives include royalty payments of three per cent on production; loss carry forward for five years and capital allowance of 80 per cent in the first year of operation while the rest is spread over the lifetime of the mine.
"Its is common knowledge that the price of gold has increased steadily in recent times, yet mining companies continue to pay three per cent royalty to Government. One would have expected an increase in royalty payments based on the sliding scale of three and six per cent. "This is not being done and it is of concern to Government," he said.GNA


African Heads of State arrive for forum

A number of African Heads of State have started arriving in Accra to attend the second conference of the "Partnership with Africa" from the January 12 to January 14 at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Teshie, Accra, on the theme: "Two Generations-One Future."Organised under the auspices of German President Horst Kohler, the conference is a sequel to the first Africa Conference he convened in Bonn in November 2005, where he launched the Africa Partnership Initiative.President Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria was the first to arrive. He was followed by President Festus Mogae of Bostwana and President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.
Mr Alpha Oumar Konare, President of the African Union Commission has also arrived.They were all met by President John Agyekum Kufuor of the Republic of Ghana, Ministers of States, members of the Diplomatic Corps and Senior Service Personnel at the Kotoka International Airport.


Ghana is grateful for Germany's development support

President John Agyekum Kufuor has expressed Ghana's appreciation to Germany for its development support to the country, which crossed the billion Euros mark last year. In addition, a 270 million Euro debt owed her by Ghana was also cancelled, something, that significantly contributed to the turn around of the country's economy. President Kufuor conveyed the country's appreciation at the opening of bilateral talks with the visiting German President Horst Kohler at the Castle, Osu, on Thursday.
Accompanied by the wife Eva and a 170-member delegation, made up of Government Officials and businessmen, he is in the country for a four-day visit during which, he would participate in the Partnership with Africa Forum. The last time Mr Kohler came to Ghana was about four years ago when he was then the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
President Kufuor noted that apart from development assistance, there were technical and economic cooperation between the two countries in the areas of education, agriculture, good governance as well as the fight against the HIV-AIDS pandemic. He recalled the encouragement President Kohler as Managing Director of the IMF gave to the country, when it opted for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative. "It is a credit to you. The encouragement you gave to us to go through the HIPC has helped to turn the economy around. It is now strong, stable and showing a lot of hope."
President Kufuor also referred to the "Initiative on Partnership with Africa", a baby of President Kohler, and his decision that Ghana should co-chair the Forum, which seeks to promote understanding among peoples of the world, in Accra from the January 12 to January 14 and said: "This reflects the confidence you and your Government have in Ghana." He said it was significant the Forum was being held at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPC), which the Germans helped to established to assist to restore peace and security to the West African Sub-Region.
President Kohler said his country was impressed with President Kufuor's leadership which, has led to high economic performance and stability of Ghana's economy. He also lauded President Kufuor for his role in the African Union and said he saw it as a privilege to be one of the first leaders to visit Ghana as it celebrated its 50 years of nationhood.
President Kohler said his Partnership with Africa Initiative was meant to find ways and means of promoting dialogue based on equal footing. He noted that through joint effort and activity by the rich nations and Africa, the Continent would be put on a path of prosperity.

Bailiff breaks into Eva Lokko’s office to take inventory

After over a year of being under lock and key, Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC) Former Director-General, Eva Lokko's office was on Thursday broken into to allow an inventory to be taken. The entry into the office was necessitated by the refusal of Ms Lokko and her Legal Team, Bentsi Enchill and Letsa to open the door to enable Mr Franklin Duncan-Williams, the Bailiff to carry out a high court order given on January 8, 2007, consequent to a judgement by Mr Justice E. L. Dzakpasu on November 6, 2006.

The Court ordered Ms Lokko and her Legal Team to open the doors to her office for the Bailiff to take inventory of items in the office on Thursday, January 11, 2007 at exactly 11:00 hours. Contrary to the Court’s order, neither Ms Lokko nor her Legal Team showed up at the premises of GBC with the keys to the door.

When GBC Lawyers, Matthews Consult represented by Mr Michael Anokye managed to get Mr Ace Ankomah on phone at about 11:30 hours, he (Mr. Ankomah) claimed he had gotten the High Court Registrar, Mr S. B. Issaka to postpone the implementation of the order to January 12, 2007 at 15:00 hours. The GBC Lawyers contacted the High Court Registrar on phone and he vehemently denied ever postponing the effective date for the office to be opened.

After waiting for about one-and-a-half hours, Mr Anthony Matthews, Chief Executive Officer of Matthews Consult, showed up with a faxed letter from Ms Lokko's legal representatives stating their request for the postponement, but Mr Matthews insisted that the letter arrived at 10:50 hours, 10 minutes before the effective time and moreover it was not legally binding on them.