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Latest Ghana Web News - 24.06.2012

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June 24.06.2012 - All Latest GhanaWeb-News -

- Disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine -

  Witness testifies in camera

- Hajj village to be relocated due to plane crash

- Bawumia causes near stampede at

  Madina Mosque

- Don't use Prez Mills' health as a campaign

  tool   *Arthur K

- Hohoe Zongo community apologises to

 Torgbi Gabusu
- 6 killed in Tamale Accident
- Grandma Arrested For Dumping Baby's

  Body At Refuse Dump
- Shoddy State Attorneys must sit up or get

  out - NDC man screams

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Disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine - Witness testifies in camera
* Source: Daily Graphic

A prosecution witness who was initially charged with Christian Asem Darkey in connection with the MV Benjamin cocaine trial Friday testified in camera to bring to a close the hearing of the matter in camera.

The witness, who was said to have come from Accra and believed to be a very close associate of Darkey, had charges against him dropped and instead used as a witness for the prosecution.

At the next adjourned date on July 10, 2012, the hearing of the matter will be done in open court when another prosecution witness will be called to testify.

The testimony of the witness brings to four the number of prosecution witnesses who had so far given their testimonies in camera, away from journalists, family members of the accused person and members of the public.

The names of the witnesses, two fishermen from Kpone, a prisoner from the Nsawam Prison, and the last one Friday, were not disclosed.

Apart from matrimonial cases and juvenile trials, all other matters are supposed to be heard in open court, except for security or other reasons when the court so deems.

Just before the case was called, all persons, apart from the witness, lawyers for both sides and the presiding judge, Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, were asked to leave the court.

Although journalists tried to ascertain what had transpired in camera, the facts were not made available to them.

The case started at the High Court following the decision of the Accra Circuit Court to discharge Darkey because of a nolle prosequi filed by the Attorney-General’s Department.

He was, however, re-arrested and taken into custody at the BNI.

The accused person, who went into hiding from 2006 until February 2, 2012, was arrested by BNI officials at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital upon a tip-off.

Darkey was indicted for allegedly paying $3,000 to a detective sergeant to facilitate his escape.

His charges have been increased to five from an initial three. He is now facing counts of conspiracy, possession, importation and exportation of narcotic drugs and corruption of a public officer, to all of which he has pleaded not guilty.

According to the facts of the case, about midnight on April 26, 2006, a vessel, the MV Benjamin, reportedly carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine, with each parcel weighing 30 kilogrammes, docked at Kpone/Tema and discharged the cocaine.

The 77 parcels were unloaded into a waiting vehicle which carried them away.

According to the prosecution, in the course of investigations, Darkey’s name featured prominently as the importer and/or owner of the drug.

He was said to be the person who had chartered the vessel at a cost of $150,000 to tow another vessel from Guinea to Ghana.

Darkey, the prosecution noted, was the person who carted the 77 parcels on the arrival of the ship at Kpone.

The disappearance of the cocaine led to the setting up of the Justice Georgina Wood Committee and the subsequent trial of persons alleged to have played various roles in the whole saga.

Although the committee recommended that Darkey be prosecuted, he had from 2006 proved elusive until his arrest in February 2012.


Hajj village to be relocated due to plane crash
* Source: Citifmonline

The National Hajj Board has given indications that it would be relocating the Hajj village from its current location to another within the airport premises.

The Board said this has been necessitated by the recent Allied Cargo plane crash that overshot the runway breaking into the Hajj Village.

Ten people lost their lives as a result of the crash. The remains of the aircraft is still at the Hajj village which is currently located near the El-wak sports stadium.

Chairman of the National Hajj Board Alhaji Alhassan Benneh told Joy Fm, “we’re looking for a new location within the airport area suitable for camping the pilgrims and build a new village for them.

“We would not like to bring over a thousand people to the Hajj village for a plane to come and kill them, no, that we will not do. The new village would not be far from the airport but for now we are looking around for a place where we would be able to convey the pilgrims easily to the airport.”

The Board has also however instituted measures to ensure that this year’s pilgrimage is incident free where would-be pilgrims would have a more comfortable and smooth process before leaving Ghana to the Holy land of Mecca.

This year’s pilgrimage begins on October 25.


Bawumia causes near stampede at Madina Mosque
* Source: Joy Online

There was near stampede at the Madina Zongo Central Mosque where the Vice –presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) observed his Friday prayers.

The unannounced visit got men, women and children jostling to catch a glimpse of Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

After the prayers had been said, the Imam of the mosque, Sheikh Abdallah announced to the congregants that the NPP running mate had joined them for prayers and prayed their indulgence for a few words from their guest.

His appeals for people to remain in their seats fell on deaf ears as everybody surged forward.

Addressing the congregation, Dr Bawumia said he had reversed an initial decision not to get involved with politics because of a realisation that he could not significantly bring about the needed change in conditions of fellow humans if he simply stayed on the sidelines and didn’t get involved in the decision making process.

He said having been born in conditions and under circumstances not very different from those of many Zongo dwellers, he understood and appreciated better, the problems confronting the Zongo communities in Ghana.

Dr Bawumia said this knowledge informed the decision of the NPP to draw up a Zongo Development scheme to apply targeted measures aimed at addressing some of their problems.

Touching on the NPP’s signature policy for the 2012 elections campaign – free senior high school education – the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana said the current situation where education was becoming the preserve of a privileged few was dangerous because it could deepen social exclusion and its attendant repercussions for peace and unity.

The policy, according to him, was designed to provide social safety net in that all children regardless of their social and economic circumstances of their parents could access secondary education which would brighten their chances of making a decent living.

He said given that education was central to the attainment of a decent living and given also that the Zongo communities constituted some of poorest in the country, the policy was one they should embrace.

Dr Bawumia said growing the economy in real terms would be at the centre of every government action if the NPP won the 2012 elections.

He insisted that an NPP government would not do propaganda with the economy.

This year’s elections, he said, must not witness any violence. He said it was against the dictates of Islam to perpetrate violence against one another.

The Chief Imam of the Mosque, Sheikh Abdallah, in his sermon, said Muslims must not allow themselves to be divided by politicians for politics was only about choices.


Don't use Prez Mills' health as a campaign tool - Arthur K
* Citifmonline

A former Communication Director of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Dr. Arthur Kennedy, has called on politicians from both divides to desist from using the health of President John Evans Atta Mills as a campaign tool.

According to Dr. Kennedy, such a move is frowned upon by the Ghanaian culture, adding that campaigning in that regard will be seen in the public eye as immoral.

Dr. Kennedy’s advice comes on the back of controversies surrounding the visit of President Mills to the United States for “routine medical check-up.”

Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis program, ‘The Big Issue’ on Saturday, the University Lecturer stated that the politics being played with the health of the President is totally immature and ought to be shunned.

Dr. Kennedy, who himself is a medical practitioner, said “we as members of the public must be compassionate because we all can get sick. Since we started talking of the President’s demise, we learnt of Honourable Owusu-Ansah passing away – may he rest in peace.”

He added: “But when we started about the President being dead or not being dead, he was alive and now he is gone and the President is still alive so let us be careful.

“In 1979, a lot of people were talking about Paa Willie and the Osu Cemetery, he lived to attend the funerals of a lot of those saying that, so I want to appeal to my fellow Ghanaians, we should not play politics with health or death because it would appear to me that there has been a little bit of politicisation of this issue and very few people have clean hands.


Hohoe Zongo community apologises to Torgbi Gabusu
* Source: JoyOnline

The Zongo community of Hohoe has rendered an apology to the Gbi traditional council for the recent impasse and clashes that have rocked the Hohoe Township.

At a press conference today in Hohoe, Spokesperson of the Muslim community, Battuta Ibn Alhassan says the Zongo community is ready to broker peace in the area and restore calm and order to the Hohoe township.

“We very much regret the unfortunate incidents like the burning of the lorry tires and the blocking of the Hohoe Jasikan roads, the vandalization of Torgbiga house of residence and parts of the Hohoe government hospital by our youths among others.

“We wish to express our heartfelt sympathy to the chiefs and people of the Gbi Traditional area especially Torgbiga Gabusu VI and his elders for the irreparable damage done to the Gbi state.

Ibn Alhassan also reiterated the commitment of the Zongo community to seek lasting peace in the area.


6 killed in Tamale Accident
* Daily Guide

One more person was confirmed dead Friday afternoon at the Tamale Teaching Hospital after being involved in the fatal accident that occurred between Tamale and Yapei on the dawn of Thursday, killing 5 instantly.

The latest death brings to 6 the number of persons who died after a tipper truck with registration number AS 1276 S collided head-on with a Bolgatanga-bound Neoplan bus with registration number UE 187N.

The cause of the accident is unknown but preliminary investigations point to the fact that the driver of the Neoplan bus tried overtaking another vehicle, resulting in the collision.

The latest deceased was among the initial 10 persons who were severely injured after the incident and were rushed to the Tamale Teaching Hospital.

Three of the 6 bodies, including the driver of the tipper truck, Alhassan Iddrisu, have been identified by their respective families, and have been released to the bereaved families by the hospital authorities for burial.

The other persons who are yet to be identified have been left on the floor at the hospital mortuary following reports that cabins of the morgue are not functioning properly.

According to DAILY GUIDE’s checks, only 6 out of the 25 cabins in the mortuary are functional, compelling mortuary attendants to put more than 3 bodies into one cabin, a situation some relations of the deceased persons have complained about.

At the time of DAILY GUIDE’s visit, a number of the bodies had started discomposing, producing a horrible smell in the area.

It is unclear when hospital authorities intend working on the cabins in the mortuary to accommodate more bodies, but fears are that it could affect the health of residents and passersby if the situation is not immediately rectified.

All attempts to talk to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tamale Teaching Hospital, Dr. Ken Segoe, proved futile as he was reportedly in a management meeting.


Grandma Arrested For Dumping Baby's Body At Refuse Dump
* Daily Graphic

A 75-year-old woman has been arrested by the Korle Bu Police in Accra, for allegedly attempting to dump the body of an eight-month- old baby at a refuse site at Korle Gonno in Accra.

A frail-looking Esther Tackie, who claimed the baby was her granddaughter, told the police that the baby had died earlier and was buried but the body had to be exhumed because the owner of the land got angry with them.

According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Mr Freeman Tettey, the Accra Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Police Service, the suspect, who lives close to the Korle Gonno Tuesday Market, had gone to the dump site on Thursday night ostensibly to dump refuse.

While trying to dump the contents of a basket she was carrying, her presence aroused the suspicion of Zoomlion Ghana Limited employees.

They got closer to her and realised that what she was passing off as refuse, was a dead girl dressed in a green sweater and concealed in a cloth. She was therefore arrested and taken to the police station.

During interrogation, she told the police that the child who was the daughter of her son, whose name she gave only as Okaidja, had died after an illness.

According to her, the collective decision taken with the parents of the dead baby was that she should be buried immediately so they buried her behind the house of a man named Gaddafi but Gaddafi got angry and asked them to exhume the body.

It was therefore in the process of dumping the body at the refuse dump that she was arrested.

Mr Freeman said the police were investigating the matter while the suspect had been provisionally charged with murder and the corpse sent to the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital for autopsy.

He said the police were yet to get into contact with the parents of the child to assist in investigations and urged the public to desist from burying their relatives who did not die in health institutions without reporting to the police, since such deaths were subject to inquest.

An inquest is an enquiry to ascertain the facts concerning a death of an individual but it does not apportion blame to any individual.

“Failure to report such matters to the police is a breach of the law,” he added.


Shoddy State Attorneys must sit up or get out - NDC man screams
* JoyOnline

A member of the government’s communication team has taken the Attorney General’s department to the cleaners, describing it as the most inept and inefficient institution in the country at moment.

Samuel George Nartey is angry at the repertoire of defeats suffered at the law court merely because state prosecutors have been shoddy in their jobs.

He was discussing the controversial Kennedy Agyapong case on Joy FM and MultiTV Newsfile programme, Saturday.

The state has filed a writ of certiorari at the Supreme Court, praying the court to quash the proceeding currently at the High Court.

Some legal minds have described the action by the prosecution as alien to the law, more so when the state could easily have filed for a nolle prosequi.

George Nartey appeared to support that line of argument, accusing the Attorney General’s department as grossly inefficient.

He said it cannot be the case that people have not amassed wealth illegally; nor can it be said that people have not engaged in corruption. What it is, is that the AG's office has been grossly incompetent in handling the cases and has left criminals go scot free, he averred.

“I still have a problem with the Attorney General’s Department, not necessarily the AG himself but the department and the support staff who are there.

“…If you carry out a survey as to the most dysfunctional state institution it is going to be the AG's department.

“The AG's department has failed the people of this country. It is not that we don’t have criminals who have looted state resources. It is not that we don’t have people who have sat in government and used cronyism, arbitrariness and abuse of office to amass state property for themselves. It is not that these people don’t exist in this country. It is simply because the AG's department which is vested with criminal prosecution has done a very shoddy job. They must bow their heads in shame,” Samuel George Nartey snapped.

He said the comedy of errors by the state attorneys are one too many and lawyers must sit-up and work or get out of the department.

But the Editor in Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Kweku Baako Jnr said state attorneys cannot be blamed for serial defeats the government is suffering.

“When the charges are politically procured, regardless of the professional competence of the attorneys, it will end up in a cul de sac [or a dead end]."

He said “there is too much partisan politics informing the charges going to court and that is why they are having no positive report.

Another member of the panel, Mathew Opoku Prempeh is wondering why the Attorney General has not been to court to defend the state against the ¢51 million paid to Woyome but was able to go to court to set aside a ¢5 million slapped on the state for not appearing before the court.

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