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Latest Ghana Web News - 04.07.2012

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- South African company buys Accra Mall
- Job 600 project to be completed in August -

- Gov't Accused of Breach Of Confidence
- MPs Cry For Court To Try Corrupt Officials
- Ghana Police arrest '419' kingpin
- Three Spaniards arrested in Atiwa for alleged

  involvement in Galamsey
- Akufo-Addo Plots Against Judge
- No Politician Is Worth Dying For - Abu Foster
- EC: We will certainly create 45 new

- 1BN Michel Camp deteriorating - soldiers

  want immediate renovation

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South African company buys Accra Mall
* Source: Francis Xavier Tuokuu

A South African Commercial and Retail Developer, Atterbury has in partnership with Sanlam, an Insurance Company acquired about 85% of Shareholding in Accra Mall, which is Ghana’s first A-Grade shopping centre.
The remaining 15% of the shares is being held by the late family of Joseph Owusu-Akyaw, founder of the Accra Mall.
The purchase according to the new owners was part of their policy to expand their operations to other African countries. This was contained in an article published by the PRETORIA NEWS.
The publication also added that, the new company intends to embark on expansion works in the Mall and this will be done in partnership with the Social Security and National Insurance Trust of Ghana (SSNIT).
Atterbury other businesses include among others, a mixed-use hotel, retail and office development in Lusaka, Zambia. They have businesses in Mauritius and other African countries as well.
According to the Managing Director of Atterbury Property Development, “Our purchase of the lead stake in the Accra Mall meets our investment criteria and furthers Atterbury’s goals of providing excellent total returns to investors. It also helps achieve a healthy measure of international geographic diversification in our portfolio.


Job 600 project to be completed in August - Mensah
* Source: GNA

Work on the conversion of the State House Tower Block (Job 600) into offices for Parliamentarians would be completed in August, Mr. Enoch Teye Mensah, Minster of Water Resources, Works and Housing announced in Accra.

Addressing the media at the meet-the-press series on Tuesday, Mr. Mensah said work on the offices was progressing steadily and expected to be completed for use by Parliamentarians with most of them “having their offices in the boots of their cars”.

He said the project showcased the Government’s bid to strengthen the structures of democracy and institutions of State as well as providing permanent offices for Parliamentarians.

On the Government’s affordable housing programme, Mr. Mensah said a committee had been set up to reactivate the project and ensure that initial investment would not go to waste, explaining that, the Ministry had constituted a Housing Project Committee to evaluate proposals so far received from partners and recommend the most feasible for implementation.

He said the housing deficit in Ghana is 1.7 million housing units and to be able to address the deficit and accommodate new households, there was the need for annual delivery of about 150,000 units over the next 20 years.

The Government, he said, was partnering the private sector to help deliver housing units for the people considering that the provision of housing was a critical factor in tackling poverty and social stabilisation.

The Ministry in collaboration with the Ghana Housing Finance Association was developing a proposed legislation on condominium property to be passed into law to respond to the increased demand of development of high rise properties and its implications for shared ownership or common areas, he said.

On problems related to Rent sub-Sector, Mr. Mensah announced that the Rent Control Department, established by Rent Act 1963, (Act220) received 13,603 complaints in 2011, out of which 2,875 had been disposed off with 10,728 outstanding.

The establishment of that Department has contributed tremendously to reducing the social tension that existed in that sector.


Gov't Accused of Breach Of Confidence
* Source: PravdaradioOnline

The family of the late Kennedy Hlordzi, one of the victims of the El-Wak plane crash have expressed disappointment in government for breaching an earlier agreement it went into with them. Kennedy was a final year student of Nungua Senior High School who was killed in the June 1 Allied plane crash on his way from school.

Mr. Isaac Hlordzi Mawulor, father of Kennedy said after the fatal accident of which ten people died including his son, the government promised to cater for the funeral and also give them money to support the family.

He Pravda news that after the government gave the family $2000, it has no longer paid attention to them.

According to Mr. Hlordzi, the $2000 is not enough for the funeral because of some rituals that must be performed before the burial. He told Pravda news that after the Minister of Transport, Alhaji Collins Dauda gave them the money, he asked them to use it for the burial but according to him that was not the initial agreement between them.

"The sudden turn of events has made the family surprised and unhappy" he said.


MPs Cry For Court To Try Corrupt Officials
* Source: daily Guide

Members of Parliament (MPs) are calling for the setting up of the Financial Administration Court to prosecute corrupt public officials who are being exposed by reports of the Auditor-General.

Joseph Yieleh Chireh, MP for Wa West, who is also a former minister of state at the Ministries of Local Government and Rural Development and Health, said the time has come for Parliament to remove all the bottlenecks that hinder the establishment of the court.

Under the Financial Administration Act (Act 654, 2003) as amended by (Act 760, 2008), the Chief Justice (CJ) is supposed to set up the Financial Administration Court to enforce recommendations of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Auditor-General’s reports as approved by Parliament.

The court also has the jurisdiction to make such orders as it considers appropriate for the recovery of monies, assets or property due the state and to prohibit any individual, whether a public officer or not, from managing public accounts or funds if the individual is unqualified professionally or has been persistently negligent in the management of public funds.

However, the court has not been set up after several years, allowing corrupt public officials who are recommended by PAC for prosecution to virtually walk away.

“Those who enrich themselves through financial malfeasance should be punished. They should not just appear before the Public Accounts Committee and be named and shamed without legal sanctions,” PAC Chairman, Albert Kan-Dapaah stated.

He indicated that 95 percent of his committee’s recommendation did not need the courts for enforcement, pointing out that they could be dealt with through administrative processes.

Kan-Dapaah explained that recommendations were forwarded to the Audit Report Implementation Committee (ARIC) of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) for implementation.

The PAC chairman indicated that because members of ARIC are part of the civil service, they find it difficult to discipline nefarious colleagues.

This, according to him, poses as a challenge and that compels people to call for the financial administration court to prosecute corrupt public officials

Re-echoing Kan-Dapaah’ observations, the PAC ranking member, Alhaji Amadu, said it was about time state officials were held accountable so as to halt financial hemorrhage in the public sector.

While considering the reports of the PAC on the report of the Auditor-General on the Public Accounts of Ghana (Pre-University Educational Institutions) for the year ended December 31, 2005 and 2007, MPs were furious that their recommendations on corrupt public officials had not been enforced.

Significant findings pervasive in almost all the Auditor-General’s reports, which have been captured in PAC’s report included misappropriation and loss of funds by state officials, unsubstantiated payments as well as tax, procurement and payroll irregularities.

DAILY GUIDE has learnt that the financial administration court had not been instituted because the CJ had problems with a section of the law, which states that its panel should consist of a High Court Judge as chairman with a Chartered Accountant and Management Consultant or a Professional Valuer.

The CJ, the paper further learnt, was at a loss as to why she should set up a court in which non-lawyers are to give judgment on legal matters and sentence offenders.

Consequently, Speaker Justice Joyce Bamford-Addo directed the leadership of Parliament to consider what should be done to make to the Act operational.

In furtherance of the enforcement of Parliament’s recommendations, the Minority leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah- Bonsu, urged the House to activate Article 187 (6) of the constitution.

The afore-mentioned provision states that “Parliament shall debate the report of the Auditor-General and appoint if necessary, in the public interest, a committee to deal with any matters arising from it.”

Supporting Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, Deputy Majority Leader, Alhaji Abdul-Rahid Pelpuo, suggested that the PAC should come out with modalities to set up the committee to deal with the implementation of the recommendation of Parliament.

Speaker Bamford-Addo endorsed the suggestion and directed the PAC to come out with the modality within one week.

However, Joseph Yieleh Chireh insisted that notwithstanding the parliamentary committee, the financial administration court will still be needed to do prosecutions since the House’s committees do not have prosecutorial powers.


Ghana Police arrest '419' kingpin
* Source: Daily Graphic / 04.07.2012

An expatriate alleged to be the mastermind behind a number of business frauds and 419 cases has been arrested by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service.

The suspect, Sohiel Issah Arbid, 59, a Palestinian-born American, was arrested when he and his Ghanaian accomplices, who are currently at large, allegedly defrauded a Japanese consultant of $120,000 under the pretext of selling gold to him.
The suspect and his accomplices lured the Japanese, Kaya Yusuke, 36, from South Africa to Ghana to fleece him of his money.

According to the Director in charge of the Vetting and Crime Analysis Unit of the CID, Chief Superintendent Dennis Abade, the suspect had been on the police wanted list for quite some time now.
He said to carry out the business fraud, the suspect met his victims at hotels to verify samples of products they had been asked to buy.

After that, he informed the victims that he had just flown into the country from abroad to purchase the products.
Chief Supt Abade said his presence alone was enough for people to part with huge sums of money, only for them to realise later that they had been duped.

He said almost all the units investigating fraud cases, such as Visa Fraud and Commercial Crime, had cases involving the suspect.
Following Arbid’s arrest, a number of victims went to the CID Headquarters to identify him as the person alleged to be at the centre of a number of business fraud and 419 cases.

Chief Supt Abade said on June 25, 2012, Yusuke was lured into the country by Arbid and his Ghanaian accomplices through another Japanese businessman.
On arrival in the country, Yusuke met the said Japanese, who introduced Arbid as a businessman who could supply any quantity of gold.

He said unknown to Yusuke, his Japanese friend had also been lured by the suspect and his accomplices into the country, for the same purpose of duping him.
The director said Arbid told the complainant that he knew some Ghanaian gold dealers who could supply any quantity of gold at a cheap price and the victim decided to buy three kilogrammes of gold at a cost of $120,000.

He said on June 28, 2012, the suspect introduced two Ghanaians to Yusuke as the suppliers of the gold and the three presented three bars of gold which they claimed weighed three kilogrammes.
But Yusuke insisted that he wanted the transaction to pass through the Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) Limited and Arbid agreed.

Arbid took Yusuke to the PMMC, where another accomplice, posing as an official of the PMMC, took the gold bars into one of the offices of the company and returned shortly to confirm that the three bars had tested positive for real gold.
Convinced that he had done the right thing, Yusuke then paid $120,000 to the two men, who in turn handed over the gold bars to him.

When Yusuke requested for the assayer’s report, the suspects directed him to go personally to the PMMC for it.
Chief Supt Abade said Yusuke went back to the offices of the PMMC to get the necessary documentation to have the gold exported to South Africa but it was there that he detected that the three bars were fake gold.

After realising that he had been duped, Yusuke made a report to the police, who traced the suspect to one of the plush hotels where he was arrested.
He said unknown to Yusuke, his Japanese friend had already been duped and wanted to return home but had no money to buy a ticket, and so he was made to lure another victim as a condition to get him a ticket back home.

According to Chief Supt Abade, while Arbid was being led away to the cells, a number of victims identified him


Three Spaniards arrested in Atiwa for alleged involvement in Galamsey
* Source: JoyOnline

A task force detailed from the Eastern Region has arrested three Spaniards for their alleged involvement in illegal mining activities.

The three Spaniards Abril Mayorga Sergio Gustavo 37, Cueva Herrera Marco Mauricio 34, and Aragon Prieto Gustavo 49 were arrested with their Ghanaian accomplice Nana Boateng Dateng 37, at a mining site.

Their arrest followed a complaint by one Yirenkyi Antwi to the Police that his land had been encroached upon by illegal miners.

The Eastern Regional Minister Ambassador Victor Smith issued a directive to Security Agencies in the region to clamp down on foreigners who engage in illegal mining activities which is becoming prevalent in the region.

Police narration of the issue revealed, Abril who was arrested while busily directing operators of some excavators being used in the illegal mining activities, “tried to escape upon seeing the Police Officers, however, luck eluded him when he tried to escape”.

The other Spaniards Cueva and Aragon, who were named as Abril’s accomplices, were also accosted by the Police when they visited Abril at the Police cells in disguise.

A passport with ninety days stay permit was found on Abril while a driver’s license issued by the Koforidua offices of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) on 16th June 2011 and due for expiration on 16 June 2017 was also found on him.

A company called Pala De Oro Limited was also found to have been registered by the Spaniards with their Ghanaian accomplices to engage in export services, food production, agriculture, road and building construction, real estate and civil engineering.

Ambassador Victor Smith in a press briefing in his office after the arrest, issued a stern warning to Ghanaians encouraging foreigners in the illegal mining activities in the region, to desist from the practice because the Regional Security under his watch will not condone any form of lawlessness in the region.

It will be recalled that Mr Victor Smith upon assumption of office a couple of months ago, made known his determination to clamp down on all forms of lawlessness in the Eastern Region; the latest being the stopping of the people of Saamang in the Fanteakwa District from preventing a legally registered company from operating in the area.

The austere Regional Minister is also on record to have descended hard on some Funani herdsmen who allegedly raped, molested and in some cases murdered local Ghanaian farmers over grazing misunderstanding in the Kwahu areas of the Eastern region.


Akufo-Addo Plots Against Judge
* Source: Daily Post

Even first year law students know that one of the basic principles in their field of endeavour is that a person is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So, no lawyer worth his sort will go out to pronounce guilty a person who is now on trial.

Yet, that is exactly what Nana Akuffo Addo, flag-bearer of the NPP has decided to do in an obvious plot against the sitting judge in the on-going trial of Alfred Agbesi Woyome, a businessman and financier of the NDC in the matter of the GH ¢51 million paid to him as judgement debt.

A few weeks ago, Akufo-Addo, asked by press men to comment on the genocidal pronouncements of his party member, Kennedy Agyapong, said he could not make any comment because the matter was before court.

“It’s in court! It’s in court! I will not comment on a case when it is in court” he told the media men. Yet, last Monday, at the Taifa rally to launch Adwoa Sarfo’s campaign, he commented on the Woyome judgment debt case though he was very much aware that the matter was in court.

An NPP insider and this paper’s source in the Akufo-Addo campaign team told the paper that Akufo Addo’s prejudicial comments about the Woyome case while the trial is on is meant to incite NPP supporters against the verdict should the businessman be acquitted and discharged at the end of the trial.

“Of course, it is deliberate. It is a strategy that aims at putting pressure on the sitting judge and secondly to prepare the minds of NPP supporters to believe that justice has not been done if Alfred Woyome is pronounced not guilty” the source said.

Explaining further, the source said Nana Akuffo Addo is aware that as leader of the biggest opposition party in the country, his comments will put pressure on the judge and incite NPP supporters to violence if a particular verdict is not pronounced at the end of the trial. Some lawyers the Daily Post talked to but who declined to have their names mentioned because they did not want to be drawn into the political fray opined that as a lawyer who knows very well that a person is assumed to be innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, Akufo Addo’s comments on the Alfred Woyome matter while it is still in court is a shame, a slap in the face of the rule of law and a danger to Ghana’s democracy.

“Serial callers and social commentators can be pardoned for making such prejudicial comments but not a lawyer like Akuffo-Addo who is also flag-bearer of a political party” one lawyer said.

Another lawyer told the Daily Post that clearly, Akufo Addo’s prejudicial comments means he is not interested in the truth or otherwise of the case so far as it serves a political end.

“It also means that he cannot be fair to all manner of persons if he becomes the leader of this country. If he cannot comment on a case in court involving one person (Kennedy Agyapong), then he should apply the same principle to any other case which is before a court, including the Alfred Woyome one,” the lawyer said.

Akufo-Addo’s prejudicial comments on Alfred Woyome case is not the first time that he has made such statements. He has made it on several occasions.

“Akufo-Addo has spared no effort in telling Ghanaians that he is a defender of the fundamental human rights of all persons, but this single act on his part, criminalizing Alfred Woyome when no court has found him guilty of any crime leaves a big question mark against Akufo-Addo’s so-called human rights record. No apostle of the rule of law will act this way. Clearly, he is in contempt of court. His utterances are also a coup plot against the sitting judge” another lawyer told this paper.


No Politician Is Worth Dying For - Abu Foster
* Source: CPP

The 2012 Presidential Candidate of the Convention People’s Party Dr Abu Sakara has stated that no politician is worth dying for adding nobody should fight the other just because he/she wants a political party to win power.

“No one is worth dying for, don’t fight for any political party, the fight is in the hands of God” Dr Sakara lamented.

He was addressing a congregation at a thanks giving service held for him at ST. Kizito Catholic Church situated at Nima-a suburb of Accra last Sunday.
He urged all Christians to pray for continuous peace before, during and after the December election. He stated that Christians have a major role to play in ensuring that the Presidential and parliamentary elections are devoid of violence and acrimony.

“We can’t afford to let the peace we are enjoying today slip off our hands, let us all remember we need peace to be able to worship our God we serve.” Dr Sakara said.
He added that it is not by accident that he and the CPP are at St Kizito on Republic Day, which he said was representative of the entire country. He asked that the church prays for the wellbeing of the nation.
The CPP Flagbearer cautioned that no one should allow themselves to become anyone’s agent of violence in the coming elections as no one was worth dying for the election.
Dressed in all white, Dr Sakara charged Christians not to look unconcerned about who is elected to lead the Country but rather participate fully in the elections to choose the right person for the development of the Nation.
The CPP delegation were attending the Mass also as Thanksgiving for its successful congress which elected Dr Abu Sakara and to mark 52nd anniversary of Republic Day.
It may be recalled that it was on the 1st July 1960 that the CPP Government of the first republic gained republican status for the country.
Dr Sakara was accompanied by Abu Fogor, National Organizer, Susan Adu-Amankwah – 1st National Chair; Rodaline Imoru-Ayarna – 2nd National Vice Chair; Eunice Ametor-Williams; Prof Agyeman Badu Akosa; Dr Kwaku Osafo; Hon Kojo Armah; Kosi Dedey – Director of Party Education; Nii Armah Akomfrah – Director of Communication; Paul Anaman – Greater Accra Regional Secretary; Koo Mensah Frimpong – Greater Accra Regional Organiser and a host of Constituency Executives as well as party members.
The CPP received warm reception from the Clergy and the congregation, wishing the CPP well for election 2012 with prayers for Dr Sakara and the CPP entourage.

Thomas Ntumy
National Campaign Manager


EC: We will certainly create 45 new constituencies
* Source: CitifmOnline

The Electoral Commission has emphasised its decision to go ahead with the creation of additional 45 constituencies before the December elections, despite a court action against it.

The creation of the constituencies would bring to 275 the total number of constituencies in the country. The EC was dragged to court to answer questions as to the method it is employing in the creation of these new constituencies.

But the Chairman of the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, said the Commission is proceeding with its legal mandate of creating constituencies as and when it is necessary.

"It’s not a question of whether somebody likes it or doesn’t like it, I’m not at liberty to wait until next year before I do it so as soon as practicable, we will create the constituencies,” the electoral referee pointed out.

He said this when the Electoral Commission led executives of all political parties of the two most controversial regions, Volta and Ashanti, to tour its ‘Strong Room’ at the EC’s headquarters.

The tour, however, is part of moves to demystify the secrecy surrounding the EC’s strong room where final results are collated, verified before it is released to the public.

Interacting with the media after the tour, Dr. Afari-Gyan questioned “why should I wait until next year before I do it? We will do. We don’t just wake up and say the following constituencies have been created, we go through processes and even the names we give to the constituencies are not just forced on them.”

He added: “We have to be careful, even the names that we give, sometimes they say there are three big towns here and the name of all the three should be in there etc, so it will be done but there is no rush but we will create the constituencies.

“We’re in court, somebody says that the formula we use is bogus. Interestingly we used the same formula in 2004, it wasn’t bogus in 2004, but it is bogus in 2012?


1BN Michel Camp deteriorating - soldiers want immediate renovation
* Source: Joy Online

The First Infantry Battalion, which was once an enviable unit of the Ghana Armed Forces, is now in a very deplorable state.

Most facilities and structures have broken down due to lack of maintenance.

The facilities that were put up by Ghana’s first President Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah has been left to its fate without any form of renovation by successive governments.

A visit by Joy News to the barracks saw almost every structure in a deplorable state.

What is more disturbing is the several unapproved routes linking the barracks (Michel Camp) to other surrounding villages including, Gbetsiley, parts of Ashiaman, Community 22 and Kakasunanka No 1.

Road network within Michel Camp are in very bad shape and does not befit the Ghana Armed Forces which tout itself as a disciplined institution.

Joy News can count at least 16 unapproved routes to the Military barracks.

The land has also been encroached with criminals invading the barracks.

In June this year, more than seven thieves were arrested by the Military Police at Michel Camp, a source disclosed.

They stole items including laptop computers, cell phones; DVD players among other valuables with impunity.

Some of the criminals were minors and were handed over to the police.

Some of the soldiers who spoke to Joy News said their life is in danger because these criminals were bold to carry out their operations even at the Officers Quarters with one Major Nkansah’s residence being ransacked and some valuables taken away, a soldier lamented.

The over five decade military facility has a weak medical center which is referred to as the Medical Reception Station (MRS).

Soldiers and their families are no longer patronizing the MRS because they lack modern medical equipment for effective health care. One of the mandate of the MRS is to give quality health care to personnel of the military as well as surrounding villages so as to reduce the pressure on the 37 Military Hospital.

The Medical Reception Station has now become “a white elephant” and soldiers with their families prefer to seek medical attention in private hospitals and clinics in Tema.

Furthermore, soldiers are faced with serious accommodation problems. The quality of most of the buildings in the barracks is nothing but death traps. There are cracks on the walls of most of the buildings a situation that needs serious attention.

Joy news tour of C Company showed damaged sewerage system, which has been there for several months without maintenance. Also, most of the manholes in the barracks are damaged and overflow sometimes in the vicinity and onto the roads, posing health hazards. The situation worsens when there is a downpour.

The newly appointed Commanding Officer at the 1st Infantry Battalion Lt Col Fred Ntri has started a move to put in place measures that will bring some level of order and discipline in the barracks.

As a first step, soldiers who have developed additional structures to the existing ones because of space have been asked to remove them.

What is more pressing is how to deal with the persistent crimes. It is however imperative on the government to embark on massive renovation of the barracks.

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