18.12.09

Radio feature : Ghana: Taxation, what's in it for me?

http://www.panos.org.uk/?lid=30199
Click Above For Audio
Ghana: Taxation, what’s in it for me?

Duration: 00:06:20

Reporter: Isaac Tetteh

Studio cue

Ghana's government is keen to raise more income from tax. To achieve this, its president, former tax professor John Atta Mills wants to widen the country's tax base. Over the past 30 years successive governments have pushed through tax reforms - some violently opposed by the public. As a result, governments have been forced to be more transparent about spending.

Isaac Tetteh reports from Accra. He began by asking citizens in Accra whether they think their tax money is being spent wisely.


Vox pop one

Yes and no. Yes some social interventions, for instance health facilities and educational institutions. No, the gap between north and south is too wide a gap.

Vox pop two

Formerly our roads and some of our school buildings here in Ghana were not constructed well but now I think it is okay, they are using it very wisely. As Ghanaians it’s our money, government should come out and let us know what is going on. I think there is nothing wrong with that.

Vox pop three

Our taxes are not being used wisely. Government doesn’t tell us how much, which areas made gains, there are a few of them but there are not enough

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: A few opinions on the streets of Accra about the state of government spending and tax today. Over the last couple of decades, taxation has proved a controversial issue for the public - and they have often made their feelings known.

I'm standing in Holy Gardens, Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Accra. This is where protests in 1995 led to the deaths of three people and forced the government to drop plans for a 17.5 per cent VAT. Right behind me is the podium that the leaders mount to address the protest right before they leave

Abdullah Ali Nakyea, a tax consultant and a lecturer remembers only too well

Abdullah Ali Nakyea: It wasn’t the fact that the tax itself was a bad tax but the timing....one it was new as far as the country was concerned and then secondly the education was not well informed as far as the people were concerned. So we had this problem and it had to be withdrawn.

It was introduced successfully in 1998 with more sensitisation, public education and this time the rate was reduced. And it went down well with the business community and the public as a whole.

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: One consequence of the protests was that government began to make it clear why taxes were being raised

Ali Nakyea: Then along the line there was the need to be able to find money to support the educational system. The educational system was running down – facilities in the educational institutions. So the government of the day proposed that the Value Added Tax should be increased from 10 per cent to 12.5 per cent, so the 2.5 per cent is transferred for the administration of assistance to the educational institutions. And education being key to everybody, it caught on well

Sfx: mobile phone ring tones

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: A tax on mobile phone talk time is the latest tax-rise which was pushed through with the promise of creating jobs for unemployed young people. Rose Abibo who directs traffic at the Hansonic Junction in Accra has the tax to thank for her job

Rose Abibo: I am happy, I have a job, it pays some of my bills and it pays my child’s school fees. I am aware taxes were placed on mobile phone calls to help fund our services and some of us have jobs because of those taxes. And the trouble now is if we start fighting for salary increments, that may lead governments to increase the rates, that is the taxes on the mobile phones. That will be an interesting debate again.

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: Getting tax rises accepted is just one challenge for the government – getting people to pay their taxes is another – as Paul Obing– a former tax official knows

Paul Obing: In my view taxes being collected by governments are being used wisely. We see a lot of improvements and development going on– roads, hospitals and schools. The only problem is people not prepared to pay the correct taxes; lots of people do not disclose their proper income

What do you think they can do, the IRS or the other tax agencies to improve the collection?

It’s all education, it’s education. Tax men have to go to town and meet individuals one-to-one and ask them their problems. It will help you to get the correct assessment. So they should intensify education and I think the tax net will be...

Wide enough so we have more people paying taxes? Yes

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: With the government eager to widen the tax base and stop depending heavily on a few key sectors of the economy, what advice would Ali Nakyea offer?

Ali Nakyea: Govt has a duty to communicate and inform and sensitise the populace as to what their money is being put to use. I remember during the times of the former commissioner we had these billboards which would be pointing at you as you are driving, “Have you paid your income tax”? Then the next billboard you would find “This is what your tax money is used for”.

I believe that tax should be administered in such a way that people voluntarily pay their taxes. Because I remember research work done to look at the way Ghanaians are willing to pay collections in church. A person would throw their last cedi in the church bowl and walk home. Why? Because such a person knows and appreciates what the church does for him. If the people are able to appreciate what they get in return then we can generate that voluntariness in people to run to the taxman and disclose that “look I’ve earned so much, this is your share as tax.”

Reporter Isaac Tetteh: What’s more, he says tax payers stand to gain more by paying tax than by avoiding it.
Ali Nakyea: Taxation is the first civic duty of a citizen because if you pay your taxes then you have a voice to challenge the government that I’ve paid my taxes so provide me with this and that. But if you don’t pay your taxes or you underpay, I think your conscience will tell you that you have no business challenging government because you are keeping the money.

16.11.09

Rgold @ Egypt 2009 u 20




Pix @ gold

Gold Pix


11.7.09

Obama praises, scolds Africa On Ghana Trip


On his first visit to Africa since becoming President, Obama chose Ghana. This has left many asking why. However, Ghana is seen by many as an example of what African governance should be.



Speaking to Parliament in Accra, President Obama called for 'good governance' in Africa and hailed Ghana thriving democracy. Ghana has created it positive outlook with peaceful transfer of power. It has become a 'model of democracy' in Africa. Obama's visit will be a great boost to what Ghanians have already created: meaningful democracy.
Obama argued that Africa is part of the world and Africa's affairs are relevant to what happens in the world.




"We wanted to make sure to come to an African country after the G8 and after my business in Moscow to emphasise that Africa is not separate from world affairs." Obama said
He acknowleged the colonial contributions to Africa's problem, however, Obama said that the West is not responsible for all that happens in African. He added that the future of Africa is in the hands of Africans.




"...the West is not responsible for the destruction of the Zimbabwean economy over the last decade, or wars in which children are enlisted as combatants."
Obama's visit will be a positive challenge to African leaders who have decided to entrench themselves in leadership, stalling their country's developmen programs. This entrenchment leads to public discontent and wars.




These wars are what Obama called 'millstone around Africa's neck.'
Seeing the program some African nations have made, Obama said that 'despite the progress that has been made - and there has been considerable progress in parts of Africa - we also know that much of that promise has yet to be fulfilled.'




Obama also acknowledge what the world media always ignores: the brighter side of Africa.
"Here in Ghana, you show us a face of Africa that is too often overlooked by a world that sees only tragedy or the need for charity."



Ghanians and African will use Obama's visit as a source of inspiration.
Source:AP

Obama addresses Ghana's Parliament


US President Barack Obama will address Members of Parliament at the Conference Centre, Saturday afternoon.He is to unveil his special policy statement on Africa.



The conference centre as expected is illuminated with shades of all political and social opinions.Ex- Presidents Kufuor and Rawlings are seated in anticipation of the policy statement.Detail of what happens are as follows;12:15 Presidents Obama and Mills walk into the conference room amidst applause from dignitaries.12:17 National Anthems of the two countries are played 12:23 Speaker of Parliament, Joyce Bamford Addo welcomes President Obama and all other dignitaries.12:30 President Mills mounts the dais and formally welcomes the US President and family to Ghana.He thanks the US President for choosing Ghana as his first destination in Sub-Saharan Africa.




He spells out Ghana's dream of building a resilient economy and pledges the new oil find in Ghana will be used judiciously in building the economy.He charges the US President and the International Community to make good their pledges to third world countries.He is sure Africa will employ its imaginative means to solve the teething challenges that confront the continent.Mr. President Akwaba, Akwaba, Akwaba he says.12:39 Speaker thanks President Mills and invites President Obama onto the dais.12:40 Obama takes to the dais in an infectious smile and greets the dignitaries and begins his speech





.The vision of the world would be shaped not only by the things that happen in Rome, but what happens in Accra as well, he says.He calls for mutual respect from all countries in the world.He admits there has been considerable progress made but much more still remains to be done.He lauds Ghana for a peaceful transition even in a closely fought elections, adding minority deserves as much praise as the majority.It is a new moment of great promise but will not be fought by old giants like Nkrumah, Kenyatta, but by new breed of African leaders.






He calls for good governance by Africa.He spells out four main tenets which African leaders must aspire to;(i) Democracy(ii)Opportunity(iii) Health(iv) PeaceDemocracy Africa doesn't need strong men; It needs strong institutions.Opportunity With better governance by African leaders, there is strong opportunity for partnership with the US.We will put more resources into the hands of those who need it, Obama promises, adding the $3.5 billion food initiative is in line to ensuring more partnership between developed and developing countries.






Public Health Too many people die of diseases which should'nt kill them.Obama promises to continue ex-President Bush's $63 billion to pursue the goal of ending deaths from polio, AIDS and other minor diseases in Africa.Conflicts Conflicts has become too akin to Africa.Diversity should not be the source of conflict but rather to uniteStrife for peace which is necessary for development.Welcomed steps by AU, ECOWAS to bring the peace needed in AfricaCharges Ghana to lead the fight for continental peace.To the youth of Ghana, Obama says the world is what you make of it.





He charges them to hold their leaders accountable for their actions.1:14 Obama ends his address and takes his seat amidst a thunderous applause from dignitaries.1:15 Speaker thanks Barack Obama for his policy statement.1:17 Anthems for the two nations are played as Obama exchanges pleasantries with the MPs and dignitaries present.1:20 Obama departs the hall of the International Conference Centre.

6.7.09

Notice to Prospective Gold & Diamond Buyers

Ghana is endowed with mineral deposits such as gold, diamond, manganese and bauxite. There are also unexploited economic deposits of iron ore, limestone, kaolin, feldspar and silica sands. We welcome all prospective investors including persons who wish to deal in gold or other precious minerals in Ghana and are indeed prepared to offer the necessary assistance.

In Ghana, one can only deal in gold or other precious minerals upon the grant of a valid license by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. Anyone offering such minerals for sale should therefore hold such a license.

For the avoidance of doubt, all prospective buyers of gold or other precious minerals and their foreign business collaborators are hereby advised to, in the first instance, contact the Minerals Commission in exploring or confirming business opportunities relating to the purchase and export of gold or other precious minerals from Ghana.

To verify the authenticity of any company or individual proposing to sell gold or other precious minerals from Ghana to you or your company, you may contact:

The Chief Executive Officer,

Minerals Commission,

P.O. Box M248, Accra, Ghana.

Tel: (233-21) 772783,779823,773053,771318.

Fax: (233-21) 773324.

E-mail address: mincom@mc.ghanamining.org

URL: www.ghana-mining.org

Source:

Minerals Commission,

Minority walkout of parliament over $ 5,000 allegation

Minority MPs on Monday staged a walk out in Parliament following a repeated accusation that they (Minority) received a $5,000 bribe to approve last years’ purchase agreement with Vodafone.

The minority in a heated debate over a loan agreement had questioned government’s commitment to apply the funds for the purposes for which the loan was contracted.

They cited the over ¢100,000 spent on snacks during the transition period, fearing the loan when approved would be misused.

According to Joy FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent, Sammy Darko, this did not go down well with the Majority in Parliament.

MP for Sene, Twumasi Appiah, in a rebuttal accused the Minority MPs for taking $5,000 as compensation before voting for the sale of 70 per cent shares of Ghana Telecom to Vodafone.

The Minority were outraged by the repeated accusation, more so when it had not been proven by the accuser, P.C. Appiah Ofori, himself a Minority MP for Assikuma-Odoben-Brakwa.

According to Sammy Darko, the minority demanded for a retraction and an apology, something Twumasi Appiah was not ready to render.

The Minority subsequently staged a walkout after the Sene MP failed to apologise.

The speaker has thus referred the accusation to the Privileges Committee for investigations to be conducted on the allegation.

Meanwhile, the House has deferred the approval of the loan agre
ement because it could not raise the numbers for a vote.

8.6.09

Opening A Bank Account 101

It is absolutely important that you have a bank account of some kind. This helps immensely in building your credit rating and overall management of your money. It also prevents you from having physical cash-on-hand that exposes you to thieves. It makes direct deposit possible from your employer and helps you get a cheque book with your name on it!
How do I know the right one for me

There are many banks and there are even many more account types. Branch Tellers/Sales persons will try to “download on you” their sales pitches when you visit. This will certainly get you confused the more. Remember the bank is in Business to make money! And the salesman/woman wants to maximize their sales commissions at the end of the month, so they will sometimes “sell” the account that you really do not need. Sometimes, they also say nothing at all about the account they are signing you on, but simply give you a heavy load of document (Disclosures) to read. Well, they know you will not read, so they will get away with it.

The first thing to do is your homework. Go to the website of the bank you like. All banks are different (in terms of size, customer service, location, ATM access, service charges etc) so take your time and search the few in your locality.

Select account type that meets your needs.
Calculate about how much cash you need in a month.
Figure out how many times you may want to use the ATM.
Also how many bills you will be paying in a month from your account.

The bank calculates all DEBIT TRANSACTION and charges you for all overages on the allowable debits for your account type. Some could be as high as $2 per transaction. If you do few debit transactions, i.e 15 or less, you probably do not l need to pay more than $9 monthly for your account. Your local banks may have varying amounts so do your search well.

Also do not ask for a savings account if you plan using the account for your everyday banking needs. Savings accounts are for SAVING money. They therefore have a very low limit of debit transactions. The highest I have seen is 3. Any transaction over the limit could be very costly. I recommend a current/checqueng account if its your everyday account.

If you know of a corporate plan or employee discounts with the bank, definitely go for it. It saves you a lot of money. Some discounts could give you free cheques, unlimited transaction, interests and lots more.

There is no point spreading your money with many financial institutions. My maximum will be two. The first one for my regular banking needs and the next for my investments (details will be in subsequent publications). Do not misunderstand this to mean that if you are getting poor service from one institution or the other, you should stay with them. I demand good service from all service providers. You are the customer and you do have a choice. Switch if you have to.

Whats neede for An accout to be Opened

1 Two pieces of Identification with at least one with a photograph
2 Your physical presence in the bank or branch
3 A co-signer if the account is joint or you are under the age on majority in your province or state.

Remember the bank can always refuse to open an account for you based on sevaral factors that will be talked about in detail in other posts.

Good Luck, and stay out out of trouble!


Source: Isaac TETTEH

3.6.09

Ghanaians loose confidence in government's ability to fight corruption

A survey conducted by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), a civil society organisation fighting corruption, indicates that the trust Ghanaians have in the government ability to fight corruption had dropped from 67 per cent in 2007 to 58 per cent in 2009.
The survey which saw a total number of 1,190 respondents randomly selected from all the 10 regions was aimed at covering all categories of the society.The survey also portrayed public officials or the civil service to be the most corrupt institution in the country, with a score of 4.2 followed by the Judiciary with a score of 4.1 then political parties with a score of 3.6.The rest are the business and private sector with a score of 3.3, Parliament with a score of 3.1 and then the media with a score of 3.0.
Addressing the media on the survey on Wednesday, Mr Vitus Azeem, Executive Secretary of the GII, called for a very strong Code of Conduct and its enforcement for civil and public servants as well as political appointees."Furthermore GII calls for more civil education to sensitize Ghanaians on the deleterious effects of corruption. Ghanaians must learn to be loyal to the state rather than to friends, relatives and members of their ethnic groups," he added.
Mr Azeem said shoddy works on the roads, lack of potable water, education and health care, were the by-products of kickbacks and bribery.He appealed to those in the private sector to sign onto the Ghana Business Code, where companies are furnished with detailed policies with regard to bribery-related issues.Mr Azeem urged the government to impose penalties such as blacklisting, fines and contract cancellation on firms whose employees engage in acts of corruption.The Executive Secretary called for the passage of the Right to Information legislation without further delay, as it would prove to be an effective anti-corruption tool.
He called for adequate resources for all accountability institutions to enable them to perform their duties effectively and also for a political leadership that has no "cobwebs in its cupboard", to lead the fight against corruption.On the 2009 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB), he noted that 68 per cent of the respondents perceived political parties to be the most corrupt institution in the country, followed closely by the civil service (public officials and civil servants) and parliament with percentages of 63 and 60 respectively.
He noted that the 2009 GCB which was carried out by Transparency International, the parent organisation of the GII, surveyed a total of 73,123 people in 69 countries and territories around the world including Ghana and nine other African countries. 03 June 09
Source:GNA

Scandal at Sports Ministry: Mills seeks answers

President Mills has instructed the Minister of Sports, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak, to present a detailed written response to an alleged gross financial malfeasance he has been involved in at his ministry.
In a report addressed to the President John Evans Atta Mills, a copy of which was intercepted by Asempa FM, the Principal Accountant at the Sport Ministry, chronicled a long list of transactions and requests made by the minister since assuming office three months ago.The minister is said to have demanded monies amounting to several thousands of Ghana cedis in lieu of expenses made on behalf of the Black Stars. He allegedly made requests for monies for unofficial expenses.
The minister is also said to have travelled with his girlfriend to the finals of the CHAN tournament played early February in Abidjan and charged the cost to his ministry, contrary to advice from his office.The document also mentions the minister as allegedly taking $2000 as imprest to cater for hotel bills and other expenses at the tournament but made the imprest holder of this Sports Ministry pay for the expenses.According to the document, while the minister claimed top guns of the NDC government had paid $10,000 as landing charges for the aircraft which conveyed the government officials to the CHAN, he turned round to demand a refund of the amount from the ministry.
“The accountant released the money ($10,000) to him through the Chief Director. The minister could not produce receipt to date,” the report claimed.It continued that the minister had taken per diem of GH¢2,000 for the Ghana-Benin match in Kumasi “though he was told that his maximum per diem entitlement was GH¢1,120.
In what appeared to be the biggest transaction entered on the instruction of the minister, the document said Mr Mubarak had signed a covering letter to the Ministry of Finance demanding the release of a whopping GH¢1,410,051.58 to the National Sports Council (NSC) when the Office of the Chief of Staff had not been consulted.
The report also mentioned the minister to have personally arranged accommodation and feeding expenses of the Black Stars players and officials in Kenya and Sudan in pre-match campings, without the involvement of any other official of the his ministry.The last charge in the six point report claimed the Hon Mubarak had requested a refund of GH¢674.02 as expenses for baby oil, baby food and other household items although he was advised against such requests.
The minister is said to have presented an oral response to the president Tuesday but was asked to return with a more detailed written response.The unfolding saga is reminiscent of the story of Mallam Issah who was jailed on charges of theft during the previous administration.

20.5.09

Obama to Reward Ghana's Democratic Strides

In a country like ours, good news is hardly heard. Or to put it better, bad news sells!! I normally do not sound this pessimistic, but its good to call a spade what it is and not a big spoon .
Ok...so Obama is coming to Ghana in July...! Good News isn't it?


I think it is, and we as Ghanaians and Africans in general must be glad the president of (arguably) the most powerful country in the world is visiting. This is not the first time a sitting US president will be visiting Ghana. I remember with fond memories President Clinton's visit during president Rawlings' time. It was a sight to behold! President Bush followed up with another one during President Kufours time and now Obama in Prof. Mills' reign......that amazing!


To whom much is given, much more is expected

The statement form the White House on the visit could not have been clearer, “ the purposes of the forthcoming Obama visit to Ghana’s is for ”strengthening the US relationship with one of our most trusted partners in sub-Saharan Africa,” and also for ” highlighting the critical role that sound governance and civil society play in promoting lasting development.”



As small as we are, with our National growth rate stuttering, and our national coffers almost dry, we still do have an exportable commodity. Who would have thought that Ghana would be the beacon of hope for democracy in the sub-region and Africa as a whole?



We have come this far, not because we have better humans than the countries in turmoil, but because we have decided that leadership matters and democratically electing our leaders, is the way to ensure lasting development. Lessons from our recently held elections point to a somewhat tolerating citizenry. We have showed that we are willing to respect the voice of the masses even if we think their choice is wrong.



That is what America is built on and we are on our path to replicating that with success. This puts enormous pressure on all as a people to be mindful of the position we occupy in the eyes of the world. Often, countries start on this path and loose sight of who they are. The result is what we see in places like Kenya, Ivory Coast and some other previously stable states. Ghanaians, must be schooled to know that elections are not about life and death and its definitely not worth it dying for any politician.


Opportunities


Mr. Obama will not bring a big sack of US Dollars to Ghana. He certainly will not be signing any fat checks to us either. Don't let this disappoint you because he is bringing something more than money. He is a president with popular appeal. A man many can hardly say NO to. He has such charisma and presence and eloquence that cannot be ignored. Ghana should cease the moment and profit from this visit. The economic, social, cultural, and political ramifications are countless. This is the only way we can get real results or benefits.



I urge our ever enterprising women and men who take advantage of all occasions to make some money on the side. This is a huge moment for market. Anything about the Obama's is sellable. Just make sure you don't infringe on any copyright laws. The US hates that.


Man of Words and Action

The president of the free world is unique in his ability to back all his words with action. He is a gifted orator. He speaks of the same things you have said before, but when he speaks of things you hear them as though they were new.


That's not all that he is. He takes action and makes him and his words relevant. Ghana has over the years become a country of “big talkers”. Lots of words with no action. Talk is cheap...fellow Ghanaians! Lets learn this gift from the US president. Again, we must take steps to advertise our good wares to the world.


If you do business in the dark, you are probably selling something illegal and people will buy/bid you at the price you are advertising. We have used our media to largely advertise our country negatively. We are all to blame because if there are no buyers, there will be no sellers. Lets project our nation positively.



Lets tell our story without necessarily degrading the Ghanaian and Africans in general. Ghana will be representing tho whole continent on this visit. I urge all the put our best behavior. We are known for our hospitality. Lets showcase that too.
I urge all political party leaders to make this a thing for Ghana, and not something for the NDC or NPP or CPP or KVI...
May God Bless our homeland Ghana, and make our Nation Greater and Stronger.

Source:- Isaac TETTEH

15.5.09

Keeping your credit record clean

Only take credit or loan if you are sure you can pay it back.
Its important to know what you make right now and how much you stand to make in the near future. Its easy and very enticing to accept an offer. They normally call them pre-approved offers.


These offers are sometimes too good to be true, but that's the way they get you to sign up for a loan/credit product.

You have the option to accept only the amount you genuinely think you can pay back with a considerable ease.

You have a sturdy income now


You will be having an income soon......if a student and will be working afterwards
Always leave about 30% of your total credit unused.

Credit companies may not want you to know this but its a good thing to do. Paying back your minimum balance on time and in full is recommended. But a “maxed-out” loan/credit should be avoided always. Reason is, it will decrease your credit rating, make it difficult to pay back and most likely trigger a call from you credit card company about your spending habits. Close
Your debt/income ratio must be good.


If you plan taking on new or additional credit first check if you will get an approval. This is something you can do on your own without paying to get your credit score from a credit reporting agency. You can do this by Looking at your current income/s.......Assets. Add up all the credits/ loans on your name and those you guaranteed for others........liabilities. Don't forget to add credits that you are not using, they still count as your liabilities. Do the Math and if you are within 50% positive, you are likely to get a loan. If not, you are likely to be declined. Now the story even gets worse. The moment you get a DECLINE, your credit score is affective NEGATIVELY.
Check your credit rating/score once every year.

Do not check your rating or score needlessly. If you are following all the steps mentioned above, you are probably in good standing. Do not request for loans/credits repeatedly in a short span of time. This tells the companies that you are desperate and a high risk customer.



They are likely to decline your request and that will further reduce your overall score. I recommend that you check once every year to ascertain that the information you have about your credit products match what is on your file at the reporting agency. This is to look out for incorrect information, e.g. Misspelt name, address, etc., and also to look for identity theft issues.



Remember your score means could help you with a lot of things. If you have a bad score i.e below 650, you are likely not in the good books of lenders. Anything up to 900 above 650, is good. Equifax and TransUnion are responsible for monitoring our scores.



These scores are also affected by our payment of other bills e.g utility bills, cell phone bills etc. The fastest way to build up credit is to start paying down all the loans and close them off if done. Keep a low limit VISA and a low limit MasterCard, as a back-up. If you do not need more credit, do not accept offers over the phone. Also open a savings account.



You probably have a chequeing account. Start paying yourself before you pay the bills. Star small and make it constant. You can set up a “personal transfer service” to this savings account. This is good if you know your pay cycle. Set it up on the day you pay check comes in. The bank will automatically deposit money into your savings for you. Do not make your savings account accessible through the ATM.



Good Luck on building your credit and stay away from profligate spending!
Source: Isaac TETTEH

14.5.09

Gambian government held liable for 44 Ghanaian deaths


The Gambian government has been found liable for the mass murder of some 44 Ghanaians and natives of other West African countries, a joint UN and ECOWAS investigative team has disclosed.

The deceased, mostly immigrants, were found dead, 2005, in the Tangy forest in Banjul in what the Ghanaian government said was state sponsored killing.

After years of near diplomatic row between the two countries dotted with several failed commissions of enquiry, the UN and ECOWAS investigative team say the Gambian government should be held accountable.

The Government was not found directly responsible for the murders, but it failed to protect the lives of the immigrants in its jurisdiction.

By international law, countries must take responsibility for protecting the lives of its residents.

In a detailed report handed to Ghana's Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammed Mumuni in Nigeria, two persons, one Captain Taylor and Gambian resident, Laminu Tunkara must be hunted and prosecuted for their role in the murders.

The two allegedly lured the victims from Senegal to Gambia with the promise of providing a vessel to ferry them to Europe, but that turned out to be a scam.

The stranded victims were arrested, later released but were found dead in the Gambian forest in a murder suspected to have been carried out by some gang element.

The committee has recommended the Gambian government pays compensation to the families of the victims. The two governments must however agree on the amount to be paid.

The bodies are to be exhumed and given a befitting burial in their native countries.

Ghana's Interior Minister Cletus Avoka told Joy News he is satisfied with the recommendations even though there are still some unanswered questions.

According to the Minister, the Gambian government has expressed reservations over payment of compensation claiming that that will amount to complicity in the murders.


Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline

NDC Canada regroups


The British Columbia Branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Canada Chapter is inviting members, sympathizers, well-wishers and the Ghanaian community in and around the Province of British Columbia to a meeting Sunday, May 17, 2009, at 14455, 78th Avenue, Surrey, BC (near the Surrey Newton bus exchange).

A statement issued by the branch said the meeting is one of many geared towards constituting the British Columbia Branch of NDC Canada Chapter ahead of its official inauguration slated for June 6, 2009.

“The meeting is being organized by Friends of His Excellency Prof. John Evans Atta Mills, President of the Republic of Ghana resident in Vancouver BC,” the statement explained, and listed six main issues to be discussed at the meeting;
  • The Interim Executive Committee of the BC Branch
  • Identify a venue and plan activities for the joint inauguration the BC and Alberta Branches of NDC Canada Chapter
  • Logistics for the joint inauguration
  • Familiarization visit of NDC Canada National Executives to Vancouver, BC from June 3 -7, 2009
  • Visit of Hon. Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, MP (NDC) for Ayawaso East to Vancouver, BC
  • Outreach programs in the BC and Alberta Provinces of Canada.


The statement further explained that “The BC Branch Meeting is being organized with an open mind. This meeting however, is not a public forum. It is an NDC party meeting and there are expectations that those who will attend, do so because they are interested in joining the NDC or renewing their support for the NDC. All NDC members, well-wishers, sympathizers and the entire Ghanaian community in and around the BC Province are cordially welcome.”

Contacts: NDC Canada Chapter’s BC Representative Dr. Clement Apaak on 778-895-9242 or e-mail caapaak@yahoo.ca

General Secretary of NDC Canada Chapter, Mr. Charles N. Nkansah, on 514-999-9194 or email: info@ndccanada.com.


Source: NDC Canada Chapter (info@ndccanada.com)

26.4.09

Otumfuos 10th Anniversary celebrations Pix

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, on Sunday called for due recognition for the chieftaincy institution, explaining that the noble traditional organ has a critical role to play in national development and cohesion.He said Ghana has demonstrated to the world that central governance can partner very effectively with traditional governance, and since his ascension of the Golden Stool as king, he and his elders have emphasized both locally and internationally, that traditional rule has a responsibility to partner central government and all its agencies.


Otumfuo made the remark when he addressed a grand durbar of chiefs and people of the Ashanti Kingdom, which was also attended by President J.E.A. Mills and several former heads of states and government, including Jerry John Rawlings, Festus Gontebanye Mogae of Botswana, Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria, Ahmed Tejan Kabbah of Sierra Leone and Jose Mario Aznar, former Prime Minister of Spain.

Dressed in splendid kente cloth and several golden adornments and carried in a palaquin through some principal streets of Kumasi, Otumfuo, also called for the celebration of African civilization for its immense but inadequately documented contribution to world civilization, said Africans must be proud of their culture.

“In the past ten years, we have strengthened the institution of traditional leadership. We have used all the opportunities available to preserve and protect our culture and all its values. We have taken the institution outside the borders of Ghana and shared views and ideas with our counterparts in various parts of the world.

“During the period, we used various platforms offered to us in other parts of the world to emphasie the important roles traditional institutions in Africa, especially chieftaincy, is playing and can play in an era of so-called globalization.”

AU must recognise traditional leaders

Myjoyonline Ghana News Photos |
He said apart from initiating debates at various forums on the need to position African traditions and culture in the dynamics of the globalization position.

“In fact we have even proposed elsewhere that the African Union should consider giving traditional authorities in Africa, a seat in their deliberations,” he said.

Otumfuo expressed disquiet over what he said was the impact of ‘modern journalism, where activities of traditional institutions such as in resolving disputes, receive inadequate coverage relative of the law courts.

He said he will soon outdoor a 10-year development package, explaining that it will serve as his kindgdom’s contribution to national development. They package will include ambitious programmes for Economic Development, a Savings and Loan Agency to help small scale entrepreneurs, ICT Education among the youth and the aged, Tourism, Sports and a private Royal University.

8.4.09

Pix



Mills Returns





7.4.09

Mills Flies Out



31.3.09

Otumfuo Vists JJ






30.3.09

Rawlings: No vendetta, yes, but justice must prevail

Ex-President Jerry John Rawlings says the failure of leadership to sanction wrong doing is what corrupts societies more, and not the mere aberrations.

He said he agrees perfectly with President John Evans Atta Mills in denouncing vendetta by his administration, but it would be wrong and dangerous on his part to also let perpetrators of infractions escape justice.

Ex-President Rawlings who made the comments at his Ridge residence during a courtesy call on him and his wife, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawalings by the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, said so many people, including him, have suffered unnecessary vilification and wrongs for which there should be justice.

He said on leaving office as president, he and others were perceived as wrong doers and made to suffer some aberrations, describing the instances as unfortunate.

“Nobody is asking for vendetta, we all want peace. But we must seek too for the wrongs.”

The Asantehene, accompanied by a retinue of his chiefs, was in Accra to visit President Mills at the Castle to congratulate him on his election victory and assumption of office as President of Ghana, and to invite him to Kumasi on April 26, 2009, to attend a durbar being part of activities marking his (Otumfuo’s) 10th anniversary since his ascension of the Golden Stool.

Otumfuo extended a similar invitation to ex-President Rawlings, who expressed his profound visit to the king for his noble visit, and described it as a symbol of the unity, peace and sense of purpose Ghanaians need to cultivate for nation building.

He implored President Mills to recognize the enormity of work on the hands of his administration, and urged him to seek the counsel of the nation’s elders, including chiefs, in seeking the best for the people.

Ex-President Rawlings gave hints of agitations in the ruling National Democratic Congress, and said he had just returned from a meeting of the party’s leadership where he reminded them that the party was voted into power by a party machinery run both by visible party people, and several others from without the party, and counseled against disunity.

On behalf of his family and party, he expressed gratitude for the King’s visit and promised to honour his invitation.



Story by Isaac Yeboah

5.2.09

Victorious Satellites present trophy to President Atta Mill

Players, management and technical teams of victorious African U-20 champions, Black Satellites on Tuesday arrived in Accra on Tuesday from Rwanda, and later presented the trophy to President John Evans Atta Mills at the Castle, Osu, in Accra.
The President warmly received the team and congratulated the players on their spectacular performance in the tournament.
”On behalf of the people of Ghana, we recognize your unique achievement.
“Rest assured that, we’ll give you some special bonus for winning this trophy,” President Atta Mills assured the team.
The President, a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of Accra Hearts of Oak praised the Satellites for their unrelenting spirit, which, he said, proved the kind of mettle they were made with.
He paid tribute to the past government for initiating the process that
led to the victory of the gallant boys.
President Atta Mills said the Satellites had done, not only themselves
honour by the triumph but also their families, friends and the nation.
“Ghana thanks you,’’ the President said.
Satellites Skipper, Dede Ayew said the team was happy to have brought the cup home.
He expressed thanks to the President for giving them the qualification bonus and said the team would work hard to clinch the World Under-20 tournament scheduled for Egypt next September.
The Satellites Coach, Sellas Tetteh said the win showed the determination of the boys to win the World Cup.
It was also a mark for many of the boys to graduate into the senior team, Black Stars and prepare for the World Cup next year.
GNA



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"Agbenaa"





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