31.7.07

Godsell Retires as CEO at AngloGold Ashanti

The Chairman of AngloGold Ashanti, Russell Edey, this morning announced that Bobby Godsell would be retiring from the company and the board with effect from 30th September 2007.The board simultaneously announced the appointment of Mark Cutifani as Mr Godsell's successor. Mr Cutifani currently holds the position of Chief Operating Officer at CVRD Inco where he has responsibility for CVRD Inco's global nickel business. He will take up his new position in mid-September.Commenting on the announcement, Russell Edey said, "The board and management of AngloGold Ashanti are very fortunate to have had the benefits of Bobby's inspiration, leadership and innovative flair for the past 12 years. I have no doubt that he will continue to make a contribution to South Africa in whatever course he chooses now to follow. We believe that Mark Cutifani is a person well-suited to meet the challenges which face AngloGold Ashanti and the gold industry at large".Bobby Godsell said today, "It is the right time to change leaders. In Mark Cutifani, a mining engineer with a wide and impressive track record of both operating and executive experience across a range of minerals, including gold, and on several continents, we have a new leader who brings exactly the qualities and experience needed for AngloGold Ashanti's new chapter."For my own part, after 34 years in corporate life I am looking forward to exploring new ways of being a constructive citizen of my country."Additionally, Mr Edey today announced that Roberto Carvalho Silva, after a long and impressive career with this company and its predecessor, spanning more than three decades, has decided to leave AngloGold Ashanti in September. The board and management wish him well in his future pursuits. Neville Nicolau will become the Chief Operating Officer of the company with responsibility for all operations. Mr Carvalho Silva will assist Mr Nicolau in the consolidation of the two operating regions, which will commence as soon as possible.A summarized version of Mr Cutifani's résumé, for information, followsMARK CUTIFANIEducationUniversity of Wollongong, WollongongB.E., Mining Engineering (First Class Honours)Previous Experience2007-date CVRD INCOChief Operating Officer2003-2006 INCO Ltd.Toronto, Ontario2006 Chief Operating Officer2005-2006 President, North America and Europe2004-2005 President, Ontario Operations2003-2004 Vice President, Mines Operations, Canada and UK2000-2002 SONS OF GWALIA LTDWest Perth, AustraliaManaging Director1998-2000 NORMANDY MINING LTDAdelaide, Australia1999-2000 Group Executive, Mining and Development1998-1999 Group Executive, Mining1994-1997 WMC LTD1997 Group Manager, Project Management1994-1996 Manager, Operations - Nickel1993-1994 SAVAGE RESOURCES LTDGeneral Manager, Coal1988-1993 KALGOORLIE CONSOLIDATED GOLD MINES1991-1993 General Manager, Operations, Gold1990-1991 Manager, Business Analysis and Development1989-1990 Manager, Open Cuts Operations1988-1989 Resident Manager, KMA1976 -1988 CRA LTDMelbourne, Australia1986-1988 Manager, Coal, Coalcliff1984-1986 Deputy Manager and Operations Superintendent1982-1984 Engineer, Planning, Coalcliff1976- 1982 Miner/Cadet/TraineePersonal DetailsMark, an Australian, is 49 years old. He and his wife, Luana, have four young children.
Source:John Owusu (GM - Corporate Affairs)

GIA resumes flight operations

Passengers of Ghana International Airline (GIA) who had been stranded for several days are being airlifted to London after the completion of arrangements to clear the backlog.GIA sources told GNA that the Airline encountered some difficulties because the plane, which runs the route, developed a technical fault. Two chartered aircraft brought in two batches of stranded passengers from London on Monday night.Passengers in Accra who were to have departed for London last Friday are expected to leave for London by a chartered aircraft on Tuesday morning, whilst those who should have left on Sunday and Monday are expected to leave for London on another chartered flight on Tuesday afternoon.The sources said the airline expected the situation to return to normal soon.

30.7.07

Parliament rejects President’s nominee, freezes two


Parliament has rejected the nomination of Rev. Dr Akwasi Owusu-Bi as Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and PSI.The House has also deferred until further notice the approval of Mr Kenwood Nuworsu as Deputy Minister of Manpower Youth and Employment and Ms. Victoria Bright as Deputy Minister at the office of the President.The House took the decisions after the Chairman of the Appointments Committee of Parliament; Freddie Blay had moved a motion for the approval of the last 14 Ministerial nominees who were vetted by the Appointments Committee of Parliament last week.The other 11 nominees were however approved unanimously by the House making the total number of approved nominees 23.The rejection of Rev. Dr Akwasi Owusu-Bi’s nomination was based on inconsistent answers he provided to some questions which were asked by the Appointments Committee while the deferment of the nominations of Mr Kenwood Nuworsu and Ms Victoria Bright was aimed at giving the Appointments Committee more time to investigate some issues about the nominees. Hon. Freddie Blay, Chairman of the Appointments Committee described the decision of the House as an evidence of deepening democracy in the country.Parliament rises on Tuesday, and so resumed sitting today in a bid to complete the task of approving the President's nominees for ministerial jobs. The Appointments committee is expected to present its report to the House for consideration today. The Committee sat last Saturday to complete vetting of three nominees; Frank Agyekum for deputy Information Minister, Frederick Opare Ansah for deputy Communications Minister and Maxwell Kofi Jumah for deputy Local Government, Rural Development and Environment.

29.7.07

Nuclear is way out

A committee of experts set up to plot the way out of Ghana's prevailing energy crisis has identified nuclear as the only long-term option. It has, therefore, called for immediate steps to be taken in pursuit of nuclear energy as an alternative source of power. The advice formed part of the recommendations of the committee set up by the President to consider the possibility of Ghana adopting nuclear as a long-term source of power. A source at the committee said that its members felt that Ghana had no choice but to opt for nuclear, since hydro and thermal energy could not provide the required mix needed by the country. Besides, it said, hydro and thermal energy were fraught with natural and operational difficulties from which the current energy crisis resulted. According to the source, members of the committee, chaired by the Chairman of the Council of State, Prof Daniel Adzei-Bekoe, noted that globally countries were opting for nuclear energy as an alternative source of power and cited France, where nuclear energy provided 80 per cent of that country's power, as an example. It said the committee, which would present its report to the President within a month, was now considering the types of reactors to use and where they should be placed. The source said members of the committee were also considering the means of financing the project. The committee was also looking into the legislation guiding the setting up of nuclear plants, it said, adding that "members of the committee are carefully planning" to ensure a smooth take-off. The source said building a nuclear plant was expensive but the cost of operating it was less than that of operating a hydro or thermal power generating system. Besides, it said, nuclear energy could serve as a source of revenue for the nation, since many countries in the West African sub-region lacked electricity. Asked whether Ghana had the financial wherewithal to operate nuclear plants, the source answered in the affirmative. On expertise, it said a core group of scientists could be trained to man the plants, since they would take between eight and nine years to start operations.It said the country could also seek advice and support from the Interna¬tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); In a related development, the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), in collaboration with the IAEA, has developed an integrated nuclear security support plan for the country.Consequently, experts from the !AEA are in the country to discuss the plan with the GAEC on how to implement it. The plan, among other things, seeks to protect the people and the environment from any radiological accident. The acting Director for Radiation Protection Board of the GAEC, Prof Geoffrey Ami-Reynolds, said this in an interview in Accra yesterday. Source: Daily Graphic

28.7.07

Mystery Illness among Global Resources Ghana Staff?


Fifteen colleagues of an oil services worker who died in Ghana are to be flown home.But Global Resources played down claims of a mystery illness among staff in Ghana after the death of pipe fitter Keith McKintosh, from the Black Isle in Ross-shire.The firm's chief executive Paul Wisely confirmed that some staff had complained of "minor" illnesses but said they did not appear to be related.They are to return to Britain after requesting to do so on compassionate grounds after the death of Mr McKintosh.None had "initially" requested to come home due to concerns about illness among the staff, Mr Wisely said."There have been a number of employees who have reported minor ailments, but there is no common thread to them," he said."These have ranged from sunburn and stomach ailments to mild malarial symptoms. Medical facilities and medical support are provided, and no Global employees were transported home from Ghana due to illness."He added that the cause of Mr McKintosh's death was still under investigation. "We expect to hear the results of the post-mortem soon," he said.His body will be repatriated as soon as possible, and a senior member of the company's management team has arrived in Ghana to offer support.Nine men will fly out of Ghana over the weekend. One has already flown home and flights have been arranged out of Ghana for the remaining five employees. The firm said a "significant number" of staff remained in Ghana.
Source:GHP

Corruption seems to Like the Kuffour Family

Newly unsealed documents in the United States federal bribery case against Rep. William Jefferson, D-New Orleans, describe a plan to steer profits to the son of the president of Ghana and a frantic effort to get the congressman to revive a lucrative deal in Nigeria as it appeared to unravel.
The newly available documents shed light on a telecommunications deal prosecutors say Jefferson was orchestrating in Ghana. They allege that Eddie Kufuor, son of Ghana President John Agyekum Kufuor, was to push the deal inside the government.
"Jefferson has told (the confidential witness) that is it likely the son of the president of Ghana will receive a share of the profits of a joint venture to be set up in that country in exchange for his assistance in obtaining the necessary approvals for the commencement of the business venture there," the FBI wrote in its search warrant application to search Jefferson's New Orleans home and the office of accountant Jack Swetland. Swetland has not been charged.
The documents show that Eddie Kufuor was one of those who traveled from Washington with Jefferson to Ghana, where the deal was pitched to numerous high-level government officials including the vice president and the minister of communications. Kufuor could not be reached for comment Friday.
The papers also state that Jefferson stored some of the of money he took from an FBI informant in soy burger boxes and other food containers in the freezer his Capitol Hill home.
For nearly two years, the Justice Department resisted legal efforts by The Times-Picayune and The Washington Post to open the records of what the FBI found when it searched Jefferson's homes in Washington and New Orleans, his car and the office of his accountant. Last week, more than a month after Jefferson was indicted by a federal grand jury, the government relented, and the documents were available for inspection Friday.
They contain no major revelations in a case that first burst into public view Aug. 4, 2005, when the FBI served its search warrants in a case that centers on Jefferson's efforts to help land African contracts for iGate Inc., a U.S. telecommunications firm. In June, the government indicted Jefferson on 16 counts of racketeering, bribery, fraud and obstruction of justice. He pleaded innocent and has vowed to clear his name in a trial scheduled for early next year.
The documents fill in some of the blanks in the story of how the government thinks Jefferson sought to profit from the African deals and how investigators see him as a central player in engineering the ventures.
The government alleges that Jefferson received more than $400,000 in bribes and millions of shares of corporate stock for helping iGate gain a foothold in Nigeria and Ghana. By 2005, it appeared that Jefferson had persuaded NITEL, the Nigerian state-owned telecommunications company, to use iGate's high-speed Internet technology, a deal he estimated would be worth $200 million or more.
But in June of that year, according to the documents, the deal appeared to be falling apart. NITEL purchased Chinese telecommunications supplies incompatible with iGate's technology. Wiretaps placed by the FBI overheard businessman Suleiman YahYah, who was the Nigerian contact with NITEL, urge iGate CEO Vernon Jackson to get Jefferson involved, the government said.
"The solution to the problem rested with Congressman Jefferson," the government wrote in its search warrant affidavit.
When FBI agents raided Jefferson's Capitol Hill home, they found $90,000 in his freezer. The money had been handed to Jefferson days earlier by an FBI informant, and prosecutors have noted that the money was neatly wrapped in aluminum foil.
Documents from that search show that the money was in frozen food boxes.
According to the FBI, Jefferson placed $20,000 wrapped in foil and rubber bands inside a Boca Burger box. Boca is known for its organic soy burgers. Another $20,000 was stashed inside a Pillsbury Pie Crust box.
Three stacks of cash containing $10,000 each were found inside a bag from the local "Yes Organic Market" grocer. Two more cash bricks, a total of $20,000, were found simply wrapped in foil in the freezer.
Around his house and in his 1990 Lincoln Town Car, the FBI found numerous documents related to iGate, Nigeria and the telecommunications deal. On the coffee table of his home, agents were careful to note they found a box of Reynolds Wrap, 200 square feet.
Source:times-picayune

27.7.07

CJA kicks against sale of ADB to Stanbic


The Committee for Joint Action (CJA) has become the latest group to kick against the request of Stanbic Bank of South Africa to buy the shares of Bank of Ghana in Agricultural Development Bank (ADB).The CJA, a pressure group made up of opposition parties, said: "The CJA is convinced that the grounds for off-loading the shares of ADB are clearly unacceptable. The process is not transparent and could lend itself to fraudulent manipulation by corrupt officials."Staff of ADB, TUC, Socialist Forum of Ghana and various individuals and organisations have voiced their opposition to off-loading the Central Bank's 48 per cent shares in ADB to Stanbic Bank.CJA said in a statement released in Accra on Thursday that, the main rationale for the deal was contained in recommendations from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), which argued that the fact that the Central Bank, being a regulator of banking, was a shareholder in ADB created a conflict of interest situation. "As a result of this blatantly absurd position, the World Bank and IMF are pressuring the Government of Ghana to off-load the Central Bank's share in the ADB."However, CJA said it saw no conflict of interest in the Bank of Ghana (BOG) owning a little over 48 per cent shares in ADB pointing out that BOG had set up an independent trust to manage its equity. The CJA also pointed out that ADB was doing "fairly well", moving to the fourth largest bank in Ghana with net assets of more than 700 million dollars.It said ADB's involvement in Western Union Money Transfer accounted for between 300 and 400 million per annum, while it had also acquired 10 per cent equity in Ghana International Bank and a significant equity in agricultural enterprises."The fact that agriculture, which accounts for 45 per cent of GDP, only receives six per cent of total bank lending is a pointer to a serious policy failure in the management of the sector. It is a matter that requires urgent national attention. That is a job for the Government and not the ADB."CJA said there was no guarantee that Stanbic would continue to maintain all the strategic branches of ADB and focus on agriculture if it was allowed to take hold of ADB.It asked Stanbic to expand its operations into agriculture, if its interest in the sector was genuine, or establish its own agricultural bank without having to take over the assets of ADB.
Source:GNA

PV Obeng denies ever taking bribe from SCANCOM

Mr P.V. Obeng, a former top advisor under the Provisional Defence Council (PNDC) and National Democratic Congress (NDC) administrations, on Friday de nied claims that he took bribes from Norwegian cement giant, SCANCEM."I know nothing of the alleged payments whatsoever and certainly nothing about the alleged Bank accounts in Switzerland or elsewhere," he said in a statement emailed to GNA from London."I wish to state here and now quite categorically that I have never ever made any admissions or any statements, to any person, in whatever shape or form which can even be remotely interpreted as an admission of receipts of any sums of money as consultancy payments from SCANCEM whilst in public office."Indeed I could not have made any admissions to matters which simply did not happen."An official of the Company who is in court in Norway for embezzlement has said he paid bribes into two separate accounts allegedly owned by Mr Obeng and former First Lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings. Nana Konadu has also dismissed the allegations. Giving his side of the story he said he received and completed a questionnaire for a Norwegian newspaper and then received a phone call whilst in London from a journalist in Ghana."In the very brief conversation the reporter sought to know if I knew about a court case in Norway involving Mr. Tor Kjelsaas and his former employers, Scancem."The very poor connection did not allow for any lengthy conversation, which was in any case terminated when the line got cut off. It appears my simple reply to his queries is now what has been twisted or misinterpreted as my alleged admission to the receipt of millions of dollars for consultancy payments."Mr. Obeng said his Company did some consulting work for the Norwegian company SCANCEM after he left public office in December 1996 and had been paid for its services.He said he registered his consultancy company in the middle of 1997 after leaving public office in December 1996, and began a search for clients.He said in 1998 his consultancy firm was retained by four companies; two from Norway one from the United Kingdom and the other from the United States of America"One of the Norwegian companies was SCANCEM with whom my company entered into a retainer agreement which began in mid 1998 and expired in December, 2006."The monthly retainer fees paid by the company was exceedingly low even by local standards but we continued to work for them with the view of building the necessary foundation for the company and to build a good corporate profile." Mr Obeng said he did not work as a consultant for SCANCEM and SCANCEM never engaged him to work for them in any manner while in public office."Indeed I can emphatically say that during my long stay in pubic office I did not accept to serve on boards of companies, whether public or private, foreign or local because I am acutely aware of the conflict of interest situations I might be placed in. It obviously will defy logic to place myself in such a position in relation to SCANCEM".He said he had referred the matter to his solicitors "with firm instructions to take immediate, necessary and prudential steps to redeem the damage done to my image and reputation and certainly to assert the true state of affairs and specifically to circulate this matter to the Ghanaian Press".
Source:GNA

Parliament approves nominations of 12 Ministers

Parliament on Friday approved the nomination of Mr Akwasi Osei Adjei as Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and NEPAD and Mrs Oboshie Sai-Cofie as Minister of Information and National Orientation.The House also approved the nominations of 10 newly appointed ministers after the Appointments Committee of Parliament presented its report to the House after vetting the nominees.The Ministers are: Mr Ben Aggrey Ntim, Minister of Communications, Nana Akomea, Minister of Manpower, Youth and Employment and Mr Joe Baidoo-Ansah, Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and President's Special Initiative.Others are: Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei, Minister of State in- Charge of Public Sector Reforms, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister of State at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, Nana Obiri Boahene, Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior and Ms Cecilia Dapaah, Minister of State at the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing. The rest are: Mr George Benson, Upper West Regional Minister, Mr Kwadwo Affram Asiedu, Eastern Regional Minister and Mr Alhassan Samari, Upper East Regional Minister.The House later approved an increase in the District Assemblies' Common Fund from the current five per cent to 7.5 of the total national revenue. It takes effect from January 1, 2008.Increasing demands on the assemblies by government institutions such as the Police Service, the creation of new districts and the implementation of the National Youth Employment Programme are some reasons for the upward adjustment of Fund.Members of Parliament called for effective monitoring and oversight responsibility over the Assemblies to ensure the proper utilization of monies sent them.They said the monitoring role of Members and auditing by the appropriate agencies must be strengthened.Meanwhile, the House is expected to rise next week Tuesday after an address by former UN Secretary-General, Busumuru Kofi Annan, at a special meeting to be held in his honour.
Source:GNA

26.7.07

Legon Lecturers Have no Place to Sleep?

The acute accommodation problem at the University of Ghana, Legon, has compelled some lecturers to live in boys' quarters.
Professor Kwesi Yankah, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the University, said this on Thursday at a ceremony to formally hand over 11 bungalows at Kisseman in Accra acquired from the defunct Ghana Airways.
Professor Yankah said out of about 800 lecturers, the University had been able to accommodate only 330, adding that the rest were still living with friends and families with some facing possible ejection from their landlords.
He said the concerns showed by the public on accommodation problems of students must equally be demonstrated in the plight of lecturers' accommodation to help boost their morale in the discharge of their duties.
Professor Yankah said the acquisitions of the bungalows were some of the steps taken by the University towards alleviating lecturers' accommodation problems on campus to enhance service delivery.
He said the ability of the University to attract young lecturers to replace the ageing ones was dependent on the provision of decent housing units for them and thanked government for its support towards the acquisition of the bungalows.
In a related development, a delegation from the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) in Saudi Arabia, paid a courtesy call on the Pro-Vice-Chancellor to look at the possibility of areas of cooperation with the University.
Professor Khalid Alujaimi, leader of the delegation, said WAMY had offered to sponsor three students to the doctorate level to any University in the world to enhance the study and teaching of Arabic. Professor Alujaimi said WAMY had already signed a Memorandum of Understanding with over 20 universities in Africa.He added that any cooperation with UG would help afford its students to interact with other sister-universities on the continent and beyond to sharpen their Arabic skills.
Source:GNA



We are not Recruiting People to Work in USA

The US Embassy in Accra on Thursday denied that that it was recruiting people to work in the US. A statement issued in Accra by the US Embassy said: "It has come to the attention of the United States Embassy that certain individuals are disseminating erroneous information about job opportunities in the United States.
"The flyers that have been posted in the Kwame Nkrumah Circle area contain the following information: 'Work in United States: An American Consular Requires 90 Ghanaian workers urgently to be employed in our new Industries....'"The Embassy said it wished to inform the public that it had no knowledge of any on-going recruitment exercise and that persons who dealt with such individuals did so at their own risk. The Embassy said it was working closely with the Ghana Police Service on this issue.

Satellite transit tracking system for trucks begins on August 1

The Satellite Tracking System to monitor operations of transit vehicles would become fully operational by August 1, 2007, the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) said in Accra on Thursday.It said in a statement signed by Ms. Annie Anipa, Assistant Commissioner/Public Relations, that under the new system, which was in line with CEPS' modernisation and reform programme, devises, known as Satellite Tracking Units (STUs), would be attached to all transit vehicles to monitor their movement along the approved transit routes."Each transit vehicle will be required to attach a tracking unit to the roof of the vehicle using its magnetic mounting and wire strip," CEPS said."Vehicles without a normal horizontal metal roof will be required to have a horizontally welded metal plate of at least 25 cm x 25 cm attached to the top of the vehicles," it added. CEPS told transit vehicle operators that the attachment of an STU would be a pre-requisite for the vehicle to embark upon a transit journey through Ghana.It said the administrative fee per vehicle for the STU was GH=A2 50 (50,000 cedis), adding that any breach of the directive would constitute an offence punishable under the laws of CEPS. CEPS said with the operation of the Satellite Tracking System now in place, its transit escort would be disengaged from accompanying vehicles on their journeys.
Source:GNA

24.7.07

Halt the sale of ADB- Adu Amankwah

The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) said on Tuesday it could not accept that the fortunes of agricultural credits be entrusted into the hands of a foreign private bank which is essentially motivated by its desire for profit. "We are firmly convinced that a nationally owned and controlled Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) is important for the appropriate financial intermediation in the agricultural sector". Mr Kwasi Adu Amankwah, Secretary General of the TUC was speaking at press conference in Accra on the union's position on the proposed sale of Bank of Ghana's (BOGs) shares in the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to Standard Bank of Africa (Stanbic Bank). He called on government to immediately halt the process because the motive behind the proposed sale of ADB was doubtful. He said while the current acquisition bid was for BoG's 48 percent stake, sources indicated that Stanbic Bank was actually working to secure some, if not all, of the remaining 52 percent shares that were held directly by the government of Ghana on behalf of the people of Ghana. He said the TUC was opposed to the bid and any such deal leading to the sale of government's majority stakes in such a strategic national asset to a foreign bank which sought to monopolise banking in Africa through acquisition instead of growing through competition with existing banks on the continent. He said the TUC was also concerned about the issue because of the strategic position of ADB in the economy of Ghana and the potentially negative implications of the acquisition of such an important and strategic national asset by a foreign bank which was simply motivated by its desire for profits. Mr. Adu-Amankwah said the ADB's financial intermediation in the agricultural sector average nearly 600 billion cedis between 2001 and 2006 whiles that of Stanbic's share total in the same sector had hovered around just three percent since the year 2000. He cited for example Stanbic's commitment in agriculture in 2006 which was only 45 billion cedis, about eight percent of ABD's total commitment of 544 billion during the same period. He said ADB held shares in the Ghana International Bank and financed export activities of major agricultural exporters in the country as well as initiated money transfer services with Western Union which had earned the country about 1.334 billion dollars between January 2000 and May 2007. He said currently ADB has 49 branches and 14 agencies across the country, particularly in the northern part of the country and in remote communities where no foreign bank or purely commercial bank was willing to operate. "We have no reason to believe that Stanbic Bank will perform better that ADB which has, since its establishment over 40 years ago, built its human resource and financial intermediation capacity in Ghana's most important sector". The TUC Secretary General further questioned the rationale behind government's intended sale of ADB because of the importance of agriculture and agric credit in Ghana, the risk involve in financial intermediation of the agricultural sector and the strategic importance of ADB in the economic development of the country. "We wonder why government should even contemplate the sale of its stake in ADB in the first place, let alone consider selling it to a foreign bank whose overriding profit motives are clear" he added. Mr Adu Amankwah also threw a challenged to Stanbic Bank to use its financial expertise and the genuine commitment it proffers to develop the agric sector to compete with existing banks in the country and to monopolise the banking sector through acquisitions just because of its financial clout. GNA

Lufthansa Pmokes Peace Pipe with Ghana

Lufthansa German Airlines is to resume daily flights between Accra and Frankfurt “within the next few days” after the resolution of problems that led to the suspension of the flights, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and Lufthansa announced on Monday. A joint statement by the two parties said a mutually beneficial resolution of the pending issues involving Ghana Airways, the defunct national carrier, had been agreed. “Lufthansa will do its utmost to start operating again between Ghana and Germany within the next few days to the benefit of its customers,” the statement said. Lufthansa Airlines said it was looking forward to celebrate its 40 years of long and dedicated commitment to Ghana in grand style. Reliable sources told Ghana News Agency that flights between Accra and Frankfurt would resume on Thursday. Lufthansa Airlines last week said it had been forced to suspend flights between the two cities after the Ghanaian authorities refused to approve a license securing daily flights, citing technical difficulties. However, Ms. Gloria Akuffo, Minister of Aviation, lashed out at Lufthansa for its withdrawal from the Accra route saying the manner in which it was executed smacked of bad faith. "Lufthansa's withdrawal and the manner in which it was executed smacks of bad faith which the Ministry regards as rather unfortunate," she said in a statement issued in Accra." She stressed that the Ministry of Aviation did not order either the stoppage or withdrawal of Lufthansa's operations into Accra. A number of business travellers and holiday makers the Ghana News Agency spoke to at the Kotoka International Airport and some travel agencies expressed delight at the news. They said they were happy that the situation had been resolved and flights were going to resume. “I am glad that our authorities, who were not happy initially, have now been able to smoke the peace pipe. But we must make sure that we do the right things at the right time to ensure we are not overtaken by events,” Mark Asante a traveller said.GNA

I have been let down by the Police and NACOB - Abass

Alhaji Issah Abass, who is being held with Kwabena Amaning, aka Tagor, for narcotic offences on Tuesday expressed his disappointment over the conduct of the Police and Narcotic Control Board (NACOB) after agreeing to their requests to help unravel the mystery surrounding the missing 76 cocaine on board MV Benjamin. Abass, 59, Chief Executive Officer of Gazimbex Ghana Limited and Issadies Company, both in Tema, said: "Mr Lord I feel I have been let down by the Police and NACOB. I thought I was helping mother Ghana but here I am in custody." Wiping his face with his handkerchief Abass said: "I am now being called names such as (drug) baron among others." Abass said thse when Mr Mohammed Attah, one of his counsel, led him in evidence at an Accra Fast Track High Court in Accra. Alhaji Abass and Tagor, 34, alleged self-confessed drug barons, are jointly charged for conspiracy and are being tried for drug-related offences. Abass is also being held for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs and supplying narcotic drugs while Tagor has additionally been charged for carrying out prohibited business relating to narcotic drugs, buying and supplying of narcotic drugs. They have pleaded not guilty and the court has remanded them in prison custody. Narrating how he recorded the Kofi Boakye tape, Abass told the court that on the day in question he placed the recorder under his belt. "When I got there, I met Tagor and Kwabena Acheampong already seated together with some bodyguards at the meeting place," he said. Abass said while the meeting was in progress he went out ostensibly to urinate but he actually wanted to find out whether or not the micro cassette was recording. The accused said as soon as the meeting was over he played the tape and handed it over to the NACOB office and requested for a copy of the transcript. When asked who he specifically handed over the tape to at NACOB, Abass said when he went to the office of Mr Ben Ndego, former Deputy Chief Executive (Operations) who in turn took him to Colonel Issac Akuoku his boss's office. Abass said Colonel Akuoku after listening to some portions of the tape, thanked him for good work done. "Ndego in the company of one Lassey gave my driver Mohammed Salifu a copy of the transcript which I later showed to my lawyers." Abass said when ACP Kofi Boakye returned from the Soccer World Cup tournament in Germany, he quizzed him (Abbas) about the recorded tape and he denied ever recording the conversation. The accused alleged that he reported to the police threats he received on telephone suggesting that he and Inspector-General of Police were trying to destroy ACP Boakye. Abbas said he did not tell the Georgina Wood Committee that he was the one who recorded the conversation at ACP Kofi Boakye's house because, "we were asked to keep our lips tight". He said when he asked what kind of support NACOB was going to offer them when they appeared before the Georgina Wood Committee, he said Mr Ndego assured him that they would be taken care of. When the accused was asked what kind of assistance he offered the police, he said after his arrest by the Police, he was taken to his office in Tema where they saw a vehicle belonging to the Police. Explaining how the Police vehicle got there, he told the court that the Police was not paying for some services his company was offering them hence when the vehicle was brought for repairs he impounded it. Abass said while at his office with the policemen, including Detective Inspector Justice Nana Oppong, Sergeant Asante and Sergeant Mahama, he called two persons - Nana Yaw and one Konu - who were well versed with activities at the Tema Harbour to assist them (the Police) with information. He said he did this for the Police because they had asked for his assistance. He said he gave Nana Yaw and Konu two million cedis to obtain the information. Abass said for the good job done by Nana Yaw and Konu, the police gave them two mobile phones and later promised them 40 million cedis. The accused said two days later, Nana Yaw and Konu visited him at the Cantonment Police Station and informed him that they knew the whereabouts of "Killer" and Sheriff Asem Dake aka "Limping man," who reports indicated were behind the importation of the cocaine. Abbas said according to the information provided by Nana Yaw and Konu, Asem Dake was attending a funeral at Ada. This information, Abass said, was relayed to the Police at Cantonment. Abass alleged that the Police followed up to Ada and met Asem Dake at the funeral but they failed to arrest him and questioned why the Police discharged Asem Dake's driver and his wife as well as Killer's wife. " Nana Yaw and Konu showed the Police Asem Dake and the Police told them that they know how to strategise to arrest him but they did not, until Asem Dake boarded his four wheel drive and left only for the police to chase him to no avail," Abass said. Answering questions under cross-examination by Ms. Gertrude Aikins, Abass denied that his evidence before the court was an afterthought. The accused said it was not true that he and Tagor had conducted drug business together. "My Lord it is never true that I trained Tagor in any drug business." When the prosecution suggested to him that the recorded conversation was not staged managed, Abass said that was the opinion of the voice forensic expert. He debunked the prosecution's assertion that he and Tagor agreed to look for the missing 76 missing parcels of cocaine, adding all that was part of the baiting game. "My Lord it is not true that we were going to spend money to retrieve cocaine on board MV Benjamin," Abass said. When the prosecution demanded to know what they meant by "goods and keys" Abass said they referred to drugs explaining that because ACP Boakye had made those references. The case of the prosecution is that the accused are self-confessed drug barons who since 2004 had been actively engaged in activities of promoting and establishing various enterprises relating to narcotic drugs. The case was adjourned to July 25, for further cross-examination of Abass. GNA

Supreme Court adjourns Tsatsu's appeal to Oct 30th

The Supreme Court on Tuesday adjourned to October 30, an appeal filed by Tsatsu Tsikata, a Former Chief Executive of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), against the Court of Appeal's judgement.In its judgement among others, the Court of Appeal upheld the trial court's (Fast Track Court) failure to compel the attendance of the Country Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) as a witness for the Defence (Tsatsu).When the case was called on Tuesday, Major Rowland S. Agbenato (rtd), one of the Defence Team, told the five-member panel, presided over by Mr. Justice William A. Atuguba that the applicant was served on a short notice - on Friday, July 20 at about 1043 hours.Counsel stated: "Sub-Rule 5 does not dispense with the 14 days", adding that the rule was valid on the period of service. Mrs. Gertrude Aikins, representing the Republic, explained Section 2(5) of the rule, and said: "The court may hear cases not listed on notice the board, but may appear before the court through the office of the Registrar".The court noted that the '14 days' was related to the publication in the gazette and that the period and place of publication moved together.The Court then announced the adjournment for the process in respect of hearing and submissions to start on that date, when the applicant would file his grounds for the reply by Respondent. Other members of the panel were Mr. Justice Steve A. Brobbey, Mr. Justice Julius Ansah, Mr. Justice R.T. Aninakwa and Mrs. Justice Sophia O. Adinyira.Professor E.V.O. Dankwa is leading the Defence Team.Tsatsu, dissatisfied with the decision contained in the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which sat on December 19, 2006, had appealed to the Supreme Court.The decision was that the Court of Appeal misconstrued the provision in the Legislative Notification (LN) 9, 1958 Schedule, Article VI, Section 8 of the IFC Article of Agreement as providing immunity to the current Country Director of the IFC from being summoned to give evidence, even though the testimony being sought by the Defence did not relate to acts of the Country Director performing in the official capacity of the Country Director.The Court of Appeal, in upholding the trial court's decision, erred in failing to recognize and enforce the fundamental human right of the accused as expressed in clear mandatory language in Article 19(2)(g) of the 1992 Constitution.This was explained as: "To obtain the attendance and carry out the examination of witness to testify on the same conditions as those applicable to witnesses called by the Prosecution". The Court of Appeal misinterpreted the statutory provisions in respect of the immunity of the International Finance Corporation.The Court of Appeal in dismissing Tsatsu's appeal, stated further that the motion to join the IFC to the appeal challenging the lower court's decision not to call the IFC to testify was not grounded on any rule.Tsatsu is accused in the substantive trial at the Fast Track High Court (FTC) of willfully causing financial loss of 2.3 billion cedis to the State.The accused is also charged on four counts of causing financial loss and intentionally misapplying funds totaling 2.345 billion cedis, property of the State.The offence, according to the Prosecution is contrary to Section 1(2) of the Public Property Protection Decree 1977 (SMCD140). Tsatsu has denied the charges and has been admitted to a 700 million-cedi self-recognisance bail.Mrs. Gertrude Aikins had earlier told the Fast Track Court, Tsatsu had caused financial loss to the State through a loan he, on behalf of the GNPC, guaranteed for Valley Farms.Valley Farms contracted the loan from Caisse Francaise de Development in 1991, but defaulted in the payment, compelling the GNPC, which acted as the guarantor, to pay in 1996.
Source:GNA

JJ Bribe Allegation: Lawyer Responds to Statesman

July 24, 2007 THE EDITOR THE STATESMAN P. O. BOX DTD 10 ACCRA
A REJOINDER "NORWEGIAN COURT SAYS: PRESIDENT RAWLINGS TOOK BRIBE PV OBENG ADMITS BUT CALLS IT CONSULTANCY" We act as Solicitors for Former President Jerry John Rawlings and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, whose attention have been drawn to the front page article in the Monday July 23rd, 2007 Edition of your newspaper with the headlines quoted above.
We believe you may have gathered your information from the same source that my clients have, that is, the 22 April, 2007 Edition of the Norwegian Newspaper, "Dagens Naeringsliv". If you did, then let it be said straight away that to the best of our clients’ knowledge no Norwegian Court has made any findings that either Former President Rawlings or his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings, took bribe from anybody. What you describe as the findings of the court were actually pieces of evidence given by a gentleman called Gerhard Heiburg. To the best of our clients’ knowledge, the findings made by the Norwegian Court were to the effect that it was difficult making any findings, in circumstances that were described by Gerhard Heiburg, that indeed the monies that were allegedly paid were indeed paid to and received by the recipients named by him. It was the newspaper that drew the conclusion that Mrs. Rawlings was the beneficiary of slush monies from Scancem. Your story, deliberately perhaps, failed to give a full background that led to the conclusions drawn by the Norwegian Newspaper.
Ownership of Scancem, manufacturers of cement, changed hands a few years ago. The new owners were concerned about the disbursement of certain funds by its previous directors in Africa towards consolidating their foothold in various markets in the region. To put it bluntly, these were bribe monies. The new owners took the view, after undertaking a thorough internal investigation, that contrary to what they thought, the monies, or at least substantial portions thereof, did not get to the intended recipients but had been stolen by Tor Egil Khelsaas, who was at the material time the Director in charge of African, and the one directly responsible for the disbursements. They therefore initiated a case against Tor Egil Khelsaas. It was in a bid to explain away what he did with the monies that evidence was given on behalf of Tor Egil Khelsaas by Gerhard Heiburg, mentioning names of persons that they alleged the monies had been paid to. Gerhard Heiburg was also implicated in the allegation of theft. It should be pointed out that none of the persons mentioned by Gerhard Heiburg appeared in court to deny or corroborate the evidence of Gerhard Heiburg. In the case of our clients, they were not even aware of the case until the Norwegian publication came out.
It was in these circumstances that the court took the view that the nature of the operations described by Gerhard Heiburg made it difficult for any findings to be made to the effect that indeed those monies had been given to and received by the recipients. That was the only reason why Tor Egil Khelsaas was let off the hook. Indeed it would have been an incredible feat of judicial reasoning for any court, particularly one situate in Europe, to have made findings of bribery against a former head of state and his wife without hearing any word from them and without their involvement whatsoever in the case.
It may interest you to now that the new owners have appealed against the judgment of the court of first instance, and that the matter is coming on for hearing on or about September 9, 2007.
It would appear that it was from the evidence of Gerhard Heiburg that the Norwegian newspaper decided to conduct their own investigations and then drew the conclusions that you have boldly quoted in your publication. We have also noted from your publication that Mr. P. V. Obeng was interviewed by the Norwegian newspaper. Strangely, though, the same courtesy was not extended to our clients, whom one might think would have been the real "scoop".
In specific response to your publication, we have our clients’ instructions to state as follows: To the best of their knowledge, no Norwegian court has made any findings to the effect that they had received any bribes from Scancem;
They are unaware of any secret account anywhere and indeed would welcome any information on the details of the accounts;
Our clients had never at any time asked for or received any monies whether directly or indirectly from Scancem in order to further their corporate objectives;
Former President Rawlings would like to state that the underlying yardsticks that informed the June 4, 1979 uprising that brought him to power, were integrity, dislike for corruption and the desire to improve the welfare of the ordinary Ghanaian. Those yardsticks were his guide throughout his almost two decades in power. He still lives by them. It would have been sheer betrayal of those who sacrificed their lives for the attainment of those goals for him to turn round and take bribe from anybody while in office. He would not have demeaned himself and what he stood for to that extent;
The Former President says further that he has had occasion to throw a challenge to the present government and to the world intelligence community to unearth any bank account that they may discover belonging to him into which he has paid stolen money.
To date, he has not received any response. The truth is that there is none. He would like to throw the same challenge to them and Transparency International (regarding the so-called secret accounts that are being mentioned in your publication in connection with him and his family), to conduct a thorough investigation if only to prove that they have at last got something against him. He would only ask for one indulgence: that they should make their findings public;
The final challenge, I am instructed to say, is to the present government, and I will very respectfully like to quote former President Rawlings: "Tell Ghanaians, tell President Kufour, tell the NPP Government, that at last they have got what they have been looking for for so long: some information that shows that I have stolen and hidden money, and that Jerry Rawlings is corrupt. Tell the President to get his Attorney General and all experts and financial wizards, and use all the diplomatic and political leverage that it has at its disposal, to investigate these allegations and prove that I am corrupt. And when they are ready, I will be ready too."
While the Former President and his wife are preparing an appropriate response to the Norwegian publication, they have instructed me to say as a general response to the allegations contained in the publication that they are wholly untrue and that they have absolutely no connection with Scancem and remain faithfully to their belief in the ability of the Ghanaian public to spot political mischief whether emanating from home or abroad.
On our part we hope, relying on Article 162(6) of the Constitution, that you would publish this rejoinder un-edited and would give it the same prominence you gave your own publication.
Yours faithfully Tony Lithur Cc 1. His Excellency Flight Lieutenant Jerry John Rawlings 2. Mrs. Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings
Source:Tony Lithur

23.7.07

Former First Family cited in bribery allegation

The newspaper, Daily Graphic, says a bribery case being heard at the Asker and Baerum High Court in Norway has implicated former President Jerry Rawlings in a bribery case.Also alleged to have received monies thought to be bribes is Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, the former First Lady, and Mr. P.V. Obeng, a special adviser to the then PNDC government.
The case, according to the publication, started in October 2005, and involves one Tor Egil Kjelsaas who had been sent to court by his employers, SCANCEM of Norway, the founders of GHACEM in Ghana, over an alleged bribery of some West African Heads of State involving huge sums of dollars.GHACEM, the, cement com¬pany in Ghana, until 1991 was owned by Norwegian investors, SCANCEM.Since the 60s, SCANCEM controlled the cement production in Ghana, Liberia, Togo, Sierra-Leone and beyond, often as a monopoly.
Kjelsaas who has been accused by his employers of theft was stationed in Africa to represent SCANCEM's interest.According to an investigative article published by a Norwegian Magazine – DN Magasinet – in April this year about the bribery allegedly perpetuated by Kjelsaas and titled, “Gray Cement - Black Money”, the magazine stated that proceedings from the court indicate an alleged bribery at the highest levels in Ghana, Togo and Nigeria.According to the report, Kjelsaas was believed to have paid huge sums of money to some African leaders in order to sustain SCANCEM's monopoly over supply of cement to the countries mentioned.The report went further to state, according to the court proceedings, that “in the mid 1990s, there were two anonymous bank accounts in Unibank S.A. Luxemburg and Barclays Bank S.A. in Geneva, Switzerland.
"These two accounts were earmarked for Ghana and huge sums of US dollars were deposited by SCANCEM in them.It said between 1993 and 1998 a total of US$1,690,000 was transferred to the Barclays Bank account and a total of US$2,460,000 was also paid into the Unibank account during the same period.The proceedings showed that SCANCEM management believed that the money deposited in the Barclays Bank account went to Nana Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings, and that of the Unibank went to Mr P.V. Obeng, then a special advisor to the PNDC regime headed by J.J. Rawlings.Testifying, however, Gerhard Heilberg, a SCANCEM official based in Ghana at the time, said Rawlings and his wife were among those who received money from SCANCEM.A testimony by former SCANCEM Finance Chief, G. Jacobsen, also said bribery in Ghana and Africa for that matter was done by cash payments.
The report further said a testimony by Tor Nygarrd, a management staff of SCANCEM who paid out the monies said they paid politicians, the party which is believed to be the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Ghana Port officials.He said special code forms were developed in Ghana for those who received the monies.
He said 14 of such coded forms were used and the date and amount for each recipient were recorded in Ghanaian cedis as well as US dollars.P.V. Obeng, however, in an interview with the magazine is reported to have claimed the monies were paid to him by SCANCEM for consultancy services.GHACEM had for a long time enjoyed a monopoly status in the production and supply of cement in Ghana.
Source:Daily Graphic

Kofi Annan To Address Ghana's Parliament

BUSUMURU Kofi Annan, the immediate past Secretary General of the United Nations, is expected to address Parliament as the house rises on Tuesday, July 31.The House is expected to rise on July 31 after completing the second meeting of the third session of the Fourth Parliament.Felix Owusu-Adjapong (NPP – Akyem Swedru), Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, who announced this on Friday, when presenting the business statement of the House, urged Majority Leader and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, who announced this on Friday, when presenting the business statement of the House, urged members to be present for the special occasion.He said, during this week, the House would debate a private member’s motion requesting "government to take appropriate measures to remove the algae in the marine waters of Jomoro District since they have greatly affected the livelihood of the people of the area". The motion was filed by Lee Ocran (NDC Jomoro).He brought the issue to the attention of the House in a statement on the floor of the House, two weeks ago.Mr Owusu-Adjapong said the Appointments Committee would meet to consider the President’s nominees for Ministerial and Deputy Ministerial appointments and also debate the motion for the adoption or otherwise of the committee when they are presented.
Source:Times

21.7.07

MTN Areeba pledges Support for festivals and cultures in northern Ghana

Mr. George Andah, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN (formerly Areeba), said on Saturday that the company would support traditional authorities in the north to celebrate their festivals and also help them to preserve their culture. He said this would become fully accomplished when MTN Foundation was launched in the country before the end of the year to focus on education, health, economic empowerment and arts and culture especially in the northern sector.
Mr. Andah said this in Tamale when he paid a courtesy call on the regent of Tamale, Alhaji Abdulai Ziblim, and added that Areeba supported vocational education in the Northern Region and would build on it for further improvement. Mr. Andah said MTN, sponsors of CAN 2008, would collaborate with the Tamale Metropolitan Assembly and traditional authorities to ensure that Tamale hosted the event successfully. Areas of collaboration would include decoration of roads from the Tamale Airport to the games venue, some major roads and roundabouts to ensure that visitors and investors appreciated the beauty of Tamale and the country.
Alhaji Ziblim commended MTN for the projects and pledged his full support to their activities in the region. He said Tamale was now a haven of investment and that MTN's presence in the region would encourage other investors to focus attention on the Northern Region. Mr. Andah earlier presented a cheque for 41.1 million cedis to the Northern Regional Coordinating Council as MTN's contribution to the Tamale Disaster Fund.GNA

Otumfuo sets up committee to facilitate cocoa processing factory in Ashanti

Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Asantehene, has set up a committee to select a suitable piece of land for the establishment of a cocoa-processing factory in the Ashanti Region within the next six months. This followed the conclusion of an 18-month feasibility study by the ADM Cocoa International that had expressed interest in setting up the factory in the region at a meeting with Otumfuo Osei Tutu.
This was contained in a statement issued in Kumasi and signed by Mr G.B. Osei-Antwi, Media Relations Manager for Manhyia Palace. Oheneba Atwereboanda II, Hiahene, heads the committee. Otumfuo Osei Tutu charged the committee that has officials of the Environmental Protection Agency, the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly and the ADM Cocoa International as its members to work with dispatch and submit a report to him within two weeks.GNA

Fire devastate Tema ECG panel

Technical personnel of the Electricity Corporation of Ghana (ECG) Tema, on Saturday afternoon acted promptly to put out fire that had swept through one of its equipment at the Community one substation to save a national disaster.
Within 30 minutes the men led by the Regional Engineer, Mr. Delali Oklu brought the fire in one of its panels at the material division of the ECG opposite the old Ghana Textile Manufacturing Company under control.
The incident has placed part of the city in total darkness but Mr Oklu assured the public that power would be restored after the situation had been rectified soon. Mr Oklu could not tell the cause of the fire, saying they were still investigating. When Ghana News Agency arrived at the scene ECG personnel were still working on the burnt panel.
Their equipment, together with others in other sub-stations in the municipality were recently installed by the Tema Office of ECG from its own internally generated funds, costing millions of cedis. Meanwhile the early morning rains caused havoc in part of the communities in Tema. Many roads at Community 12 got flooded, making it unmotorable some residence near Good News Mission were flooded. The situation was not different at Community five as the frontage of some houses got flooded whiles pools of water had collected in the middle of the road, making driving uncomfortable.GNAREA

Veep commends health workers for promoting health delivery

The Vice President, Alhaji Mahama on Saturday commended the efforts health workers are making towards the promotion of quality health care delivery in the country. He said the contributions of health workers and other service providers were supplementing the government efforts at addressing the welfare needs of Ghanaians.
The Vice President was addressing the management, nurses and staff of the Obuasi Government Hospital as part of his working visit to the Obuasi municipality. The Vice President had earlier inspected a 1.5 billion cedis, 25-bed children's ward being built by the Municipal Assembly for the hospital. Messrs George Senefo-Antwi, the Project Manager and Patrick Thompson, Project Engineer of the Mining and Building Contractors (MBC), the contractor of the project told the Vice President that the project was about 80 per cent complete. Alhaji Mahama commended the management, nurses and staff of the hospital for their contribution towards the health care delivery of the people in the municipality.
"Let us all see how we can bring quality health care to our people", he said. He gave the assurance that the Kufuor administration was doing everything possible to ensure that health workers were motivated to enable them to carry out their good works to the nation. The Vice-President was hopeful that the children's ward was going to add value to the operations of the hospital and further help to improve health care delivery services at the municipality. Alhaji Mahama called on all Ghanaians to embrace the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) since it was the easy way to access affordable health care.
The Vice President said as part of the government's efforts to create jobs for the country's unemployed youth and also support the expansion of the health sector, health extension workers had been engaged under the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) and called on the nurses to give them the maximum encouragement and support in their duties.GNA

We will Not Shutdown Akosombo Dam---VRA


Contrary to speculations that the Akosombo Dam would soon be shut down due to declining low water, the Volta River Authority (VRA) on Friday said the two generating units were running reliably.A statement signed for Ms. Abla Fiadjoe, Acting Director of Corporate Affairs, said with the technical analysis carried out and the critical monitoring system put in place, VRA had taken measures to operate the Station with two of the units at a level lower than 235 feet in "a technically safe but professionally cautious manner". "The VRA wished to assure all electricity consumers that and the general public that the two generating units currently at Akosmbo are being operated reliably and that we have no plans to shutdown the Akosombo Generating Station," it said.The statement said the VRA would continue to run the two generating units and review the situation at the end of July. "We wish to stress that this is not the first time the Akosombo Generating Station is being operated at levels below 235 feet," stressed.Going back to history, the VRA said in March 1966 it operated at 234.60 feet and for about three months to as low as 234.0 feet on June 8, 1966 when it reached the lowest ever levels with the units. "This is compared to the 126 Megawatts being produced from each of the units at this time following the successful retrofit of the Akosombo Plant," the statement said.The Authority said it had also taken requisite action to ensure that water for the reservoir, which was not only meant for power generation, was available for other uses, including water supply to the communities in the catchment area downstream Akosombo."The VRA wishes to assure the general public that it has the matter in hand and is with the assistance of Government, implementing various emergency measures which have to date helped to contain the situation albeit at lower than normal water levels," the statement noted. The Authority said it had also taken note of certain public sentiments expressed largely through the media that the VRA was telling a different story to the Government than it was telling the public explaining that: "This is patently false."It said Ghanaians and consumers of electricity on the other hand needed to appreciate the fact they could contribute to improving the situation by adopting serious energy conservation measures. 20 July 07
Source:GNA

20.7.07

Bill to Bring Ghanaians Prisoners Abroad Passed

Parliament on Friday passed the Transfer of Convicted Persons Bill, aka "Amoateng Bill" into law after taking it through the Third Reading.The Bill, yet to receive Presidential assent, would enable Ghanaians convicted outside the country serve their sentences in Ghana and other foreign nationals convicted in Ghana serve theirs in their home countries.
Although debate on the bill was non-partisan, the passage of the bill was preceded by days of heated arguments and sharp divisions. Those against the bill said it was a waste to spend resources on transporting convicted Ghanaian prisoners back home.They argued that the country's prisons were already choked with a large number of prisoners sharing limited facilities. Members who supported the bill, however, countered those arguments, saying convicted Ghanaian prisoners were kith and kin and needed support from fellow countrymen.
A report of the Committee on Legal, Constitutional and Parliamentary Affairs presented to the House said: "The Commonwealth Secretariat has proposed a scheme to enact legislation to facilitate the transfer of convicted prisoners to address issues where extradition does not respond to the transfer of convict.""So far not less than 25-member countries of the Commonwealth have enacted legislation in this regard," it added.The Report said President J.A. Kufuor continues to receive persistent request during his visits abroad from citizens abroad for Ghanaian convicts to serve their prison terms in Ghana.
"The introduction of the Bill for consideration of this House was informed by the above stated concerns," it explained. It said the Extradition Act 1960, (Act 22) only permitted a person accused of an offence committed outside Ghana to serve the term of imprisonment in Ghana where the Republic of Ghana has an extradition agreement with the other country."Further to this, the request for extradition of the accused person can only be made where the act or omission in question constitutes an offence in both jurisdictions.The above specified conditions for the transfer of accused or convicted person under the Extradition Act poses severe limitation, the report said.
Meanwhile, the number of Ghanaians serving prison terms outside is not known, however, it is on record that there were about 100 prisoners from Ghana in Thailand prisons in relation to narcotics crimes.Earlier, Members of the House called for urgent response from regulatory bodies and the assemblies to check the activities of food vendors and others who sell consumables.They touched on the way food and drugs were being sold under unhygienic conditions and said it was compromising the health of the public.
They were contributing to a statement by Ms. Akua Sena Dansua, (NDC-North Dayi) on the poor handling of comsumables. Ms. Dansua said exposure of food items and poor handling of foods were compromising the health of everybody in the country. Mr. Stephen Asamoah-Boateng, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Environment, said the ministry was working at addressing the problem and was set to design markets that enhance the protection of the handling of food in a better way.
Source:GNA/GHP

19.7.07

Ghana Police;Cotract Killings.....TOO EARLY TO SAY THAT

The Police administration on Thursday said it was too early to conclude that the recent spate of murders in the country were cases of 'contract killing' because motives of the killings had not yet been established.
"Investigation has also not been able to establish or suggest the motives for any of these killings. The result of the investigations would help us classify them appropriately", Deputy Inspector General in-charge of operations, Dr. Kofi Kesse Marfo said.
Speaking at the press conference on the current spate of murders in the country in Accra, he said the motive for the killings might be varied citing chieftaincy disputes, economic, land, and political reasons as some of the many motives for 'contract killings'.Dr. Marfo announced a 20 million cedis (GH 200 Cedis) reward for information that will lead to the arrest of the killers.The police he said, was doing everything possible to stem the tide of 'these regrettable incidents' he said, adding that the police were following some interesting leads to their logical conclusion. Citing the murders of Mr Boateng, former Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Telecom, Mr. Rokko Frimpong, Deputy Managing Director of the Ghana Commercial Bank, Mr Samuel Ennin, Ashanti Regional Chairman of the Ghana Journalists Association, Nana Brentuo III, Chief of Nyankumasi- Adansi among others, he noted that some suspects in some of the murders had been put before court and were on remand.
He said for security reasons the police could not make public inroads that had been made until investigations were completed.He mentioned the revamping of community policing activities, intensified patrols, more cordon and searches of known and reported criminal bases, intelligence collection of criminal activities and gangs and increased snap checks as some of the measures being put in place by the police.Dr. Marfo urged people in communities to come out with their peculiar problems that were potential threats to the peace and tranquillity in those areas.The Deputy IGP asked the public to report real threats of death and harm to the police without hesitation but was quick to caution that people should not take advantage of the opportunity to make hoax and frivolous calls."Person who advertently abuse the facility by sending the police on a wild goose chase would be held for deceit of public officer," he said.
Source:GNA

Illegal mining affect nation's image - Aryee

Ms Joyce Rosalyn Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines has observed that activities of illegal miners on concessions of mining companies adversely affected the country's image as a safe investment destination. She said such activities also adversely impacted on the companies' ability to contribute to national development.Ms Aryee made the observation during a courtesy call on Mr Abraham Kwadwo Kwakye, Deputy Brong Ahafo Regional Minister in Sunyani.
She suggested that part of the Mining Development Fund should be used to promote small-scale mining to prevent activities of illegal miners."Weaning the youth from illegal mining activities into small-scale mining has been one of the key challenges," she said and called on Government to facilitate the implementation of the law since small- scale mining would generate more jobs.Ms Aryee explained that small-scale mining would not only provide employment for the youth in mining districts but engaged them in lawful commercial enterprise to contribute to national revenue through taxes and reduce environmental degradation.She noted that activities of illegal miners was threatening lives of people in mining areas because the appropriate methods and chemicals were not used in their operations and degrade their operational areas and the environment.Ms Aryee said illegal miners were found in underground operations of AngloGold Obuasi Mine as well as Bondai Shaft in Prestea and appealed to the Brong Ahafo Regional Co-ordinating Council to collaborate with the Mining Commission to stop the practice in the region.Ms Aryee observed that many benefits could be derived from mining when the appropriate linkages were exploited because the industry created more social and employment opportunities in the development of human resources and other industries in rural communities. However, she called for policies and strategies to deepen the multiplying effects and benefits of the industry because of the positive impact of mineral export earnings on the balance of payment, foreign exchange reserves, monetary policy and business activities in the country.Ms Aryee said mining would continue to play a central role in economic development and called on mining communities to endeavour to implement significant institutional restructuring and corporate principles of co-operative and shared responsibilities in the management of social and environmental issues.She said the Chamber would continue to work with Government, chiefs, NGOs and stakeholders to promote environmental and socially responsible mining operations in the country. Mr Kwakye expressed appreciation for her visit to the region, saying contributions of the mining industry could not be underestimated since its revenue was crucial in the country's socio-economic development process.He urged mining industries not to limit their social responsibilities to mining communities but endeavour to enhance development in other communities outside their operational areas. Mr Kwakye called on the public to co-operate with mining companies for smooth operations. 19 July 07
Source:GNA

18.7.07

Go beyond oil and minerals extraction in Africa - Kufuor

The Sixth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum opened in Accra on Wednesday with a demand by President John Agyekum Kufuor on private sector operators in the United States (US) to increase their investments in Africa beyond the extractive industries of oil and precious minerals. He identified agro-processing, manufacturing and tourism as some key areas they could put their money into to assist in technology transfer and build the Continent's capacity to become more competitive and effective partners in trade.
Additionally, they should also look at the re-location of industries and outsourcing Information Communication Technology (ICT) contracts to the Region. The programme ends in 2015 and this, President Kufuor said, must be extended by five years to give Africa space to take full advantage of the opportunity. "Given the time constraint and the very serious capacity challenges, we must admit, Africa can hardly exploit the benefits of this huge initiative anywhere to the full. "I will therefore appeal, first to the US Government to extend the time of AGOA to 20 years, then to the countries in Africa as well as our development partners in the US to design and implement a specific and efficacious vehicle targeted at empowering African nations in terms of capacity building." President Kufuor said AGOA benefits must not be seen only from the perspective of the African.
He quoted the statement made by US President George Bush, while signing the AGOA Acceleration Act in 2004: "When America sells to Africa, it means employment for somebody in America" and said the programme, should, therefore, work both ways to everyone's advantage. President Kufuor noted that AGOA complemented by the Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) assured Africa of America's goodwill. The three-day forum is providing the platform for Trade Ministers from the 39 AGOA qualified countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, representatives of the private sector, Civil Society groups and US officials to discuss ways of increasing US-Africa trade. The theme is: "As Trade Grows, Africa Prospers: Optimising the Benefits under AGOA." AGOA, a legislative initiative, opens up the US market to eligible countries to export over 6,400 duty-free and quotation-free products, estimated at more than 10 trillion dollars without reciprocity. Imports from Africa under this initiative totalled 44.2 billion dollars in 2006, a five-fold increase over 2001, when the programme began.
The increase involved mostly crude oil and apparel exports. The Head of the US Delegation, Ms Susan Schwab, said her country, was determined to serve as a strategic partner with Africa and would not stop, until the Continent has realised its enormous potentials. She noted that if the Region could increase its share of the global trade, which stood at two per cent, by a single percentage, it would be generating 70 billion dollars annually. This would be about three times the amount of development assistance it has been receiving. Ms Schwab spoke of the need for enhanced intra-African trade and South-South trading and re-affirmed the US commitment to reducing agricultural trade distortions. Ms Schwab, who is the Trade Advisor to President Bush, described the future of Africa as full of hope saying, there was now a new breed of political leaders, who were determined to turn the economic fortunes of the Continent around.
Mr Allan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, in a welcoming address called for a conscious effort to coordinate and tailor US technical assistance programmes to support the capacity requirement of African countries to implement AGOA related activities. There was also the need to reinforce measures to draw more foreign direct investment from US companies to the continent. Mr Kyerematen, who is also responsible for Industry, Private Sector Development and President’s Special Initiative, suggested the establishment of an AGOA Fund and other financial instruments to support small and medium scale enterprises.
US President Bush in a pre-recorded message to the forum said this was a time of promise to the people of Africa and that the US would stand with the Region.GNA

Saudi Embassy hands over medical supplies to MOH

The Saudi Arabian Government on Wednesday handed over about six tonnes of medical supplies to the Ministry of Health to support health care delivery. The supplies included antibiotics; cough syrups; oral re-hydration salts (ORS); surgical antiseptics; measles vaccines and painkillers.
Mr Sameer Mahmoud Aggad, Ambassador of the Royal Saudi Arabia, said the presentation formed part of a free two-week medical outreach programme organised by the Saudi Government. The 20-member health team had camped at Nima in Accra for the past two weeks where it provided general health care and other specialized services such as Ear Nose and Throat (ENT) and paediatrics. He said the team, which included three women gynaecologists and a paediatrician, treated about 200 people daily during their two-week programme.
Mr Aggad stated that the medical outreach programme and the presentation of the drugs signified the strong relationship that existed between the two countries and pledged his country's support to assist Ghana in ensuring quality health care delivery. Major Courage Quashigah (rtd), Minister of Health, thanked the Saudi Government for the gesture and appealed to the Ambassador to negotiate for a possible exchange programme between the two countries to ensure expanded knowledge of health professionals from both countries.
He commended the Embassy for being the first donor country to abide by the rules spelt out in the donation manual of the Ministry. "Previously, the Ministry was receiving expired drugs and obsolete equipment, which became a nuisance so we decided to come out with a donation manual to guide benevolent organizations who want to donate such items to us and the Saudis have followed the instructions in the manual and we are grateful," the Minister said.GNA

17.7.07

Lufthansa's Comments, Pure Mischief -Aviation Minister

Aviation Minister, Honorable Gloria Akuffo has described as unfortunate and mischievous a statement from Lufthansa Airlines saying they have cancelled all flights to Ghana.
The German Airline issued a statement yesterday saying that they have no option but to take Ghana off their destination map since government has indicated that it is giving them only one option of flying twice a week from Accra to Frankfurt and vice versa.
This follows the expiration of government’s certification for the airlines’ daily flights to Accra.
The directive left several passengers stranded at the Airport in Frankfurt unable to connect a flight to Accra on Saturday.
Speaking to CITI FM, Aviation Minister, Gloria Akuffo says negotiations are still on-going and government has no intention of turning its back on Lufthansa. She emphasized that the airline’s behavior is mischievous and unfortunate, insisting that under no circumstances did government send a directive to the airline canceling their relationship with them.
‘INSIDE STORY’‘Lufthansa had an outstanding relationship with the then Ghana Airways which allowed them five additional flights from Ghana to Germany, outside their already established two flights from the country.
The arrangement was to give Lufthansa more visibility in the country as well as to afford Ghana Airways some royalties.
When the royalties were not forthcoming, Ghana Airways took the issue up after which Lufthansa agreed to pay an amount of $1.2 million dollars to settle the issue.
Lufthansa, apparently, did not take kindly to a new arrangement by the Official Liquidator of Ghana Airways, allowing Ghana International Airlines to fly to Frankfurt and giving Lufthansa only two flights to Ghana.
They therefore wrote a letter to the Official Liquidator asking them to cancel GIA’s flights to Germany and allow them that privilege’.
Honorable Gloria Akuffo said the airline cannot use this mechanism to serve as a threat to the Aviation Ministry to cow in to their demands.Meanwhile, Travel and Tour Agencies in the country say they have still not received any official notification from Lufthansa concerning their decision to cancel their flights to Ghana.
They maintain that they are currently having problems with their clients since some of them have booked on the airline.
Mr. Johnny Nezer Moreau of Graceland Travel and Tours and former President of the Ghana Travel and Tour Agencies said the move by Lufthansa will surely tarnish the image of the airline in the country.
Lufthansa ends route to Ghana after disagreement with government Deutsche Lufthansa AG said it will stop flying to Ghana, following a disagreement with the Ghanaian authorities.
Lufthansa said the Ghanaian government had refused to renew the licence authorising it to fly every day to Accra international airport.
'Instead, Lufthansa was only authorised to fly two flights per week between Accra and Frankfurt. Unfortunately, the company cannot accept this proposal, as it is not financially viable,' the airline said.
Lufthansa's last flight serving Accra will run on Saturday evening. The company said it 'sincerely regrets being forced to withdraw Ghana from the map of countries which we serve'.
Ghanaian Aviation Minister Gloria Akuffo said Lufthansa could still fly to the country. She told Agence France-Presse that her government had not forced the airline to halt its flights, and that Lufthansa had sent her ministry draft agreements to be signed.
Source:CitiFM

16.7.07

Two Nigerians arrested with fake new Ghana cedi notes

Two Nigerians were arrested on Saturday by Customs officials at the Aflao border for possessing fake new Ghana cedi notes.
The watermark and the silver lining, the two main security features of the new Ghana Cedi note, were not on the notes found on them. The suspects - Michael Akinniyi Adetayo, 35, and 36 year-old Sunday Olaole Ogundeyi, have since been handed over to the Aflao police for further investigation.

Mr Ahmed Issah Yakubu, Assistant Superintendent of Police in charge of Aflao district, told the Ghana News Agency that the two Nigerians arrived at the last departure checkpoint at about 0630 hours on Saturday.
He said Customs officers, who had been on the alert for fake notes, examined the two thoroughly and found the fake currency in GH(1 and GH(10 denominations.
Mr Yakubu said the two claimed the notes were given to them when they went to exchange Naira into cedis while on their way to shop in Accra.

The Police have impounded their luggage.
Mr Yakubu said the two would be put before court on Tuesday for conspiracy and possessing fake notes.
Source:GNA