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Schedule

  • Sunday - 2:30 pm - 6:00 pm
  • Three policemen arrested for defiling a 14 year-old girl

    Three policemen have been charged with the defilement of a 14-year-old girl and have been remanded in police custody after appearing before the circuit court in Wa on Tuesday.

    Corporal Joseph Kwakoh and Constables Donald Appiah and George Tanoe will re-appear before the court on July 31.

    Police sources have hinted that the three have been interdicted already by the police administration.

    At the hearing, the first appearance by the three, Const. Appiah pleaded guilty to the offence, while the other two pleaded not guilty before Justice I.B. Akwantey.

    Judgment in the case of Const. Appiah will be passed on July 31, while hearing will continue for the other two.

    According to Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Owusu Bempah, prosecuting for the state, the three took turns at different times to sleep with the Primary 6 pupil.

    He told the court that on June 24 this year, the father of the victim reported to the police that one Olly residing in one of the suburbs of the Upper West Regional capital, had defiled his daughter.

    He said while the police were searching for the alleged culprit, the girl left home on the night of June 30 under the pretext of going to ease herself but never returned.

    He said on July 5, the father reported to the police that the girl had been found loitering around the precincts of the Wa Polytechnic, and when she was brought to the police station she mentioned the names of the three as those who had abducted her and defiled her during the period she had been away.

    During investigations, he said, Const. Appiah admitted to the offence, while Cpl Kwakoh and Const. Tanoe both denied the act.

    DSP Owusu Bempah said investigations revealed that at about 9:40pm on 30th June, the girl left home and Const. Appiah saw the girl by the roadside, picked her on his motorbike and sent her to his home where the girl spent three nights.

    He said on July 3, Const. Tanoe visited his friend, Const. Appiah, who sent the former with the motorbike to send the girl to the area where she lived with her family. Instead, he said, Const. Tanoe sent the girl to his home at the police barracks where he defiled the girl before leaving her the next day.

    The girl, however, returned to the barracks the next day to look for Const. Tanoe, but it was Cpl Kwakoh who took advantage of her loitering and lured her into the office of the district commander where he had sex with her.

    Source: Graphic Online

  • World record transfer fee can be broken – Man Utd’s Ed Woodward

    Gareth Bale’s switch from Tottenham to Real Madrid set a new record for the most expensive signing of all time costing £85million.

    Barcelona shelled out £75m to sign Luis Suarez from Liverpool and Real Madrid paid £63m for World Cup star James Rodriguez, United’s executive vice-chairman Woodward insists they can afford such fees.

    “It is in our capabilities to spend £60m, £70m, £80m on a player – and we would not be afraid to do that,” he said.

    “There is no budget. We are in a very strong financial position. We can make big signings.

    “Whether it’s a record or not doesn’t really resonate with us.

    “What resonates is a top, top elite player that the manager wants that is going to be a star for Manchester United.

    “I get pointed in the direction of a target that the manager wants and there is an assessment of what that might cost and I’ll negotiate hard to do the best I can on the trade.”

    Woodward endured a difficult first summer in the transfer market, failing to land a number of targets for then manager David Moyes.

    Moves for Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Gareth Bale and even Cristiano Ronaldo all failed to materialise and Woodward admits he has to earn the trust of fans. “You gain credibility through experience and through time,” he added.

    “You can’t expect credibility from day one and I wouldn’t ask that of the fans.

    “You keep learning on the job and I’ll continue to learn for a long period of time.

    “I don’t mind reading (criticism) because it’s extremely important for me to listen to the fans.

    “Criticism can change into positive comments over a period of time.”

  • Student commits suicide over unpaid fees

    A second-year day student at the Agona Swedru School of Business (SWESBU), Miss Ivy Owusu was on Monday found hanging in an uncompleted building at Agona Swedru.

    A police spokesman who pleaded anonymity told reporters on Tuesday that the mother of the girl, Madam Ekua Amoafowah, told them that the girl did not go to school on Monday because she owed school fees.

    The policeman said the woman claimed that she asked her daughter in the morning to go to school with the promise of looking for a loan to settle the school fees of GHC 190, after which she left for market.

    The spokesman said the woman claimed that she returned from the market and met the girl in the house, and when she was questioned her reply was that she did not get water to bath.

    According to Madam Amoafowah, she later left her daughter in the house and went to town again, in an effort to look for money, but after some few hours, she received a call that the girl had committed suicide.

    Her body has been sent to the Agona Swedru Government Hospital for an autopsy while the police continue their investigations into the incident.

    Credit: Graphic Online

  • Chelsea and Man Utd eye Pogba and Vidal

    Chelsea and Manchester United have both been given a massive boost in the chase to sign Juventus duo Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal as the Italian giants are already searching for replacements.

    According to reports in Italy, the Old Lady are eyeing a move for Inter Milan midfielder Fredy Guarin.

    The Serie A champions tried to swap Mirko Vucinic for Guarin in January before the move was blocked by Inter chiefs but they are back in for the Colombian midfielder.

    Juventus know there is extensive interest in prize assets Pogba and Vidal and that they need to line up replacements to avoid being left short in the middle of the park.

    The Italians have been told to pay £14m for the 28-year-old and director general Beppe Morrata is considering his next move.

    The fact that Juventus are looking at replacements should encourage Jose Mourinho and Louis van Gaal that Pogba and Vidal can be snapped up.

    Former Czech Republic star and now Juventus director Pavel Nedved confirmed on Sunday that a “high bid” would tempt them into selling.

    He said Our strategy is clear; we want to keep all our best players, including Vidal and Pogba.

    “We don’t want to sell anyone, especially Vidal.

    “Certainly, if there were a high bid for them, we’d have to think about it but we don’t want to sell our champions.

    “We want to be competitive in the Champions League and the only sales to be players who are not part of our plans.”

  • Golfer Rory McIlroy to parade trophy at Old Trafford

    Manchester United are planning to invite golfer Rory McIlroy to parade the Claret Jug at Old Trafford, in recognition of his triumph in The Open on Sunday.

    McIlroy braved the Liverpool contingent at Hoylake, on Merseyside, on Sunday when he declared that he was a United fan and the club’s board are ready to acknowledge his success by inviting him in to show off the trophy. Plans are in the early stages but it would seem that McIlroy, a lifelong United fan, will appear on the pitch at the club’s opening home game of the season, the visit of Swansea City on 16 August.

    McIlroy revealed his United affinity moments after clinching his third major – to follow the US Open and USPGA – at Hoylake. He joked: “Even being a Manchester United fan I got great support this week and I want to thank everyone for that.”

    Other athletes have paraded at Old Trafford, including Usain Bolt and David Haye.

    His comments drew ironic boos from fans at the course. The response at Old Trafford will be different, as United launch into a new season in which they hope to put the 2013/14 disaster behind them.

  • Carlos Dunga named Brazil coach again

    Brazil Football Federation have named former player Dunga as their new coach for the second time.

    Dunga was the captain of Brazil’s 1994 World Cup-winning team and coached the national team from 2006 to 2011.

    “I am immensely happy to be back,” said the 50-year-old, who was the favourite to land the job.

    Dunga replaces Luiz Felipe Scolari, who resigned after Brazil reached the semi-finals of the 2014 World Cup, but suffered the joint-heaviest in their history, losing 7-1 to Germany.

    Dunga was in charge at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals.

    Scolari, who guided Brazil to World Cup victory in 2002, and his entire backroom staff have all left their posts since the tournament finished.

    Credit: BBC

  • Occupy Flagstaff group supports Labour’s protest

    The group behind the Occupy Flagstaff House demonstration and the #RedFriday campaign have voiced their support for the mass demonstration organised by the unions on Thursday, July 24, and have urged concerned Ghanaians to join the protest.

    In a statement, the Executive Secretary of the Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance group, Kojo Antwi, said the protest “affirms the numerous demands by CGRG to the present government to be fiscally responsible, monetarily wise” whilst focusing on “actions to bring the Ghanaian economy back on track and to aggressively pursue steps to punish non-performing, inept and corrupt officials.”

    CCRG has urged people to wear red and “join the all-important fight for a Better Ghana”.

    The group has however, cautioned all to exercise restraint and to “exhibit the utmost respect for the law and conduct a peaceful demonstration”.

    Below is the full statement from the Concerned Ghanaians  for Responsible (CCRG)

    FOCUS: IN SUPPORT OF TUC AND ORGANISED LABOUR LED 1-DAY NATIONWIDE PROTEST

    GROUP: CONCERNED GHANAIANS FOR RESPONSIBLE GOVERNANCE (CGRG)

    The Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG) is aware of an intended protest/strike action by the Organised Labour scheduled for Thursday, July 24, 2014.

    The one-day national protest affirms the numerous demands by CGRG to the present government to be fiscally responsible, monetarily wise whilst focusing on timebound actions to bring the Ghanaian economy back on track and to aggressively pursue steps to punish non-performing, inept and corrupt officials.

    Certainly Ghana deserves better than what we are currently experiencing.

    CGRG is fully in support of the declaration by Organised Labour and urges all concerned Ghanaians to join the protest on Thursday, July 24, 2014. Let us come out in our numbers, clad in red, and join members of Organised Labour in this all-important fight for a Better Ghana. In doing so, let us exhibit the utmost respect for the law and conduct a peaceful demonstration.

    We call on the Ghana Police Service to be professional and assist the protesters, by providing security on the day as it did during the Occupy Flagstaff House protest on July 1, 2014. We all have a role to play in ensuring that Ghana works again.

    We stand up, we speak up and we protest because we love Ghana. Let us do this, for the love of Ghana. God Bless Our Homeland Ghana and Make Our Nation Great and Strong.

    …SIGNED…

    George Kojo Anti

    Executive Secretary

  • Asamoah Gyan faces difficult times

    Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan has described the last two weeks as “the most stressful period of his entire life”.

    Speaking on Friday before rejoining with his club Al-Ain, Gyan said he survived the difficult period only due to the grace of God and support from family and friends.

    Gyan was making reference to the loss of his friend, Theophilus Tagoe, a.k.a Castro, who has been missing for two weeks now.

    Castro, a popular hip-life musician, is feared drowned in the Ada estuary, where he had been on a weekend getaway with Gyan, and efforts to find him have been futile.

    However, Gyan is of the view that rescue efforts must continue.

    “I want to thank Ghanaians for the support so far,” he stated on his website.

    “I also want to thank all the authorities involved [in retrieving Castro] and continue to urge them not to relent on their search to recover my brother [Castro] and Jane [Bandu].

    “Special thanks to the families involved who have been so strong during these trying times. They have been a great source of support and encouragement for me to be able to rejoin my club.

    “I am appealing to all Ghanaians, religious leaders, authorities and everyone to continue to help us find my brother [Castro] and Jane [Bandu].

    “The last two weeks have been the most stressful period of my entire life and I have survived only by the grace of my creator and the encouragement I continue to receive from Ghanaians and the persons around me.

    “Although the anxiety within my spirit is eating me up, we have remained united in hope and continue to remain optimistic as we endure these nightmarish periods of painful wait and watch hours turn into days and days turn into weeks.”

    The Ghana captain has now rejoined Al-Ain for pre-season training, after delaying his trip there in order to support rescue efforts for Castro.

  • Don’t interfere in our demo – TUC warns police

    The General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Mr Kofi Asamoah, has warned the police not to interfere in their planned protest on Thursday, July 24.

    His warning comes after the police administration advised Organised Labour to hold its planned nationwide demonstration on a regional basis.

    Mr Asamoah added, it is important that nobody put any spoke in the wheels of the determined workers who want to express their frustrations about the worsening socio-economic conditions in the country.

    The Acting Director of Public Affairs at the Ghana Police Service, DSP Cephas Arthur, on Monday issued a statement asking the Union to organise the demonstration on a regional basis to enable the police mobilise enough personnel to provide security and protection for the demonstration.

    However Mr Asamoah said he is surprised about the excuse the police is giving them, and noted that if the police can provide security during May Day celebrations which are held nationwide; they should be able to do the same when workers want to protest the worsening economic conditions in the country.

    The Ghana Police Service has hinted that they may apply for an injunction on the nationwide demonstration if its plea to have that action organized on regional basis is not heeded to.

  • Heads threaten closure of schools

    The Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHASS) says it is struggling to effectively manage the affairs of Senior High Schools (SHS) across the country due to the delay in the payment of subsidies to schools.

    The Ghana Education Service had earlier stated that the first round of subsidy payments to government-assisted SHSs would be disbursed between July 14 and 19.

    The President of CHASS, Samuel Ofori Adjei, told Eyewitness News said the government has failed to pay subsidies which spans a period of three terms. The money was to cover expenses such as utilities, maintenance of office equipment and other important items.
    “We are in a fix…because if you [government] are not paying us, what do you expect us to do?” he said.

    Mr Adjei announced that all the regional chairmen of CHASS will meet in Accra next week “with their regional positions on the matter”. He suggested that to prevent the annual event where the payment of the subsidy is delayed, measures should be put in place to allow “those who are capable to pay”.

  • Nigerian Air Force helicopter crashes

    Military authorities have dismissed suggestions that a Nigerian Air Force (NAF) helicopter which crashed in Borno State yesterday while searching for the missing Chibok schoolgirls was shot down by Boko Haram.

    While carrying out surveillance, an Mi-35 helicopter crashed in the Bama area of Borno State, leading to the death of two of the three-man crew. Defence headquarters spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade, said that the helicopter developed a technical fault and was not brought down by enemy fire.

    He added: “One of the pilots of the crashed Nigerian Air Force Mi-35 helicopter on a training mission has been recovered alive while the second one as well as the technician on board the three-member crew flight died in the crash.  It is established that the crash is not as a result of any enemy action and the rescue is ongoing.”

    Nigeria has been waging an offensive in the northeast since May last year aimed at crushing the Boko Haram insurgency and of late, Nigeria’s Air Force (NAF) has stepped up its flights in the region as it searches for the Chibok pupils kidnapped in April.

    While Boko Haram is known to have anti-aircraft weapons technically capable of bringing down a helicopter, there was no immediate evidence suggesting the helicopter was brought down by force.

    Military commentators have criticised NAF’s operations as failing to significantly weaken Boko Haram, with the group relentlessly targeting civilians and the security forces across the region. Bama is one of the areas attacked repeatedly by the Islamist insurgents and despite the increased surveillance, their activities have not been brought to a halt.

    Since the abduction of the girls on April 14, several foreign powers, including the US, UK, France and Israel have all offered technical assistance to Nigeria to help with the search.

    Despite several spy planes being used, there has been no definitive sighting of the camps where Boko Haram is holding them.

    Credit: Nigeria Watch

  • Cristiano Ronaldo Jr does not know who his mum is

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s son, Cristiano Jr, reportedly doesn’t know who his mother is and the family don’t want him to ever know.

    The mother of Cristiano Jr, who was born in 2010, has never been revealed and according to reports Ronaldo’s sister confirmed the family have no intention of telling him the truth.

    “Once we told him she was in Heaven, but my brother and mum asked us not to repeat it,” she said as quoted by Eurosport.

    “We say now his mum went travelling. He goes silent, forgets about it and doesn’t ask anymore.”

    Ronaldo had the child with an unknown woman, reported by various sources to be a surrogate, four years ago.

    The latest revelation comes after Ronaldo’s mum, Dolores Aveiro, who looks after the boy often referred to as Cristianinho, released an official biography.

    Ronaldo’s mother confirmed in the book that she travelled to the US to pick up Cristiano Jr after his birth in 2010 and said, “The mum will never be known.”

    However, Ronaldo’s sister allegedly claimed that, “If later on Cristianinho wants to know who his biological mum is, it will be his decision and no one’s going to stop it.”

  • James Rodriguez to be unveiled at Real today

    James Rodriguez, the Colombia international who claimed the Golden Boot at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, will be unveiled as a Real Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, July 22.

    The European champions made the Colombia international their principal transfer target on the back of the 23-year-old’s stellar performances for his country at this summer’s World Cup in Brazil, with the attacking midfielder winning the Golden Boot after netting six times in just five games.

    Real Madrid reached an 88million euros deal with Monaco over the weekend and finalised personal terms with the player and his representatives on Monday.

    James will now be presented to the press and Madrid fans on Tuesday, with the construction of a special stage for the ceremony at the Bernabeu already well underway.

    The club have also confirmed on their official website that the official stadium tour will not follow the usual route on the morning of June 22 as the Presidential Balcony, where Madrid signings usually make their first appearance, will be off limits to the public.

    Meanwhile, the Liga outfit are also still hoping to persuade Monaco to part company with another Colombia international, Radamel Falcao.

  • Government declares July 28 as a statutory public holiday

    The Ministry of the Interior has declared Monday, July 28, 2014 a Statutory Public Holiday.

    A statement signed by Hon. Kwesi Ahwoi, Minister for the Interior, on Monday said the day marks the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.

    The statement said: “The general public is hereby reminded that Monday 28 July, 2014, which marks the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr is a Statutory Public Holiday and should be observed as such throughout the country”.

    Eid-ul Fitr, is an important religious holiday celebrated by Muslims worldwide that marks the end of Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting. The holiday celebrates the conclusion of the 29 or 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the entire month of Ramadan.

  • Steven Gerrard quits international football

    Steven Gerrard the England captain has retired from international football after winning 114 caps.

    Gerrard, 34, won his first cap in a 2-0 win over Ukraine in 2000 and made his last England appearance in a 0-0 draw with Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup.

    The Liverpool midfielder cum captain said: “I have enjoyed every minute of representing my country. It’s a sad day for me.”

    Gerrard will now take on a “high profile” ambassadorial role with the Football Association.

    He retires from international duty having scored 21 goals and played at six major tournaments.

    Credit: BBC

  • Bank of Ghana to issue 3-year bonds

    The Bank of Ghana (BoG) will next week issue a three-year bond aimed at raising GHC 400 million.

    In March, government cancelled plans to issue a five-year domestic bond worth GHC 300 million without giving any reasons. It was reported that government had put on hold the issuance of all short-term and medium-term bonds to avoid a further spike in already high yields.

    This year, there were plans to issue a series of short-and-medium-term bonds as part of government’s debt restructuring. They included the three-year bond coming up next week,  a five-year bond and a seven-year bond auction.

    A notice from the central bank said that the three-year domestic bond would be issued on July 31.

    The proceeds from the bond, which is open to both resident and non-resident investors, will be used to fund government’s budget.

    Finance Minister Seth Terkper last week asked Parliament to approve a supplementary budget estimate of just over GHC 3 billion for the 2014 fiscal year to enable government to effectively run the affairs of the country.

  • Kenya’s Defence Ministry Twitter account hacked

    Activists have hacked into the Twitter accounts of the Kenyan defence forces and its spokesman, Major Emmanuel Chirchir.

    “All of you who have stolen money #Kenya, we are coming after you,” reads one post.

    The hacked posts, which protest about corruption and elitism were signed as being from activist group Anonymous.

    The hackers criticised the government saying it only protected the interests of the elite and was not doing enough to tackle poachers and drug traffickers.

    Major Chirchir often uses Twitter to give updates of the war against Somalia’s al-Shabab militant group.

    However, Col Willy Wesonga told AP that no internal military systems had been infiltrated and that military technicians were trying to find out who was behind the attack.

    Anonymous has been involved in a number of high-profile online protests and attacks in recent years. Last year, a group called Anonymous Africa hacked into the account of Zimbabwe’s defence ministry, and targeted the website of South Africa’s governing African National Congress.

    Credit: BBC

  • Teachers groups threaten strike

    The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) have resolved to stay away from classrooms in their quest to claim what is due them.

    The threat by the two teacher bodies comes at a time when members of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) are on strike due to government’s inability to pay their research and book allowances, compelling the polytechnics to close down.

    According to the Deputy General Secretary of GNAT, Mr Thomas Baafi, teachers who had been transferred for more than three years had not received the transfer entitlement due them.

    He was speaking at the closing ceremony of an in-service workshop organised by the GNAT and the Canadian Teachers Federation (CTF).

    Mr Baafi called on the Regional and District Directors of Education to suspend the transfers of teachers until the Ghana Education Service (GES) had obtained financial clearance from the Ministry of Finance.

    He said the inability of the GES to secure financial clearance from the ministry had resulted in teachers being transferred without the payment of their entitlements.

  • Twitter storm: Ghanaians to petition Obama

    Demonstrators are planning to petition the US President Barack Obama through the US Ambassador to Ghana, Gene A. Cretz, on Friday, July 25, for an apology and action against the Embassy official responsible for a sarcastic tweet aimed at President John Mahama.

    The march in Accra is being jointly organised by the Progressive Socialists Forum of Ghana and the New Politics Network (NPN) – an apolitical grouping.

    The group will also request the Embassy to tell the world who was responsible for the offensive tweet and demand that he or she be transferred from the embassy since the attitude makes him or her a serious threat to the country’s national security.

    “I don’t support any political twist to this reckless action by the US Embassy, we must collectively stand-up against this imperialist’s manipulations and recklessness. We may have our differences and can continue our internal political banter but never must we allow any foreign entity to dictate the pace of our political movement,”  the group’s spokesman told Spy News Agency in an interview.

    Last week, President John Mahama, in his regular conversation with Ghanaians, posted a tweet on his official Twitter handle assuring Ghanaians that the current economic difficulties will soon be over.

    The tweet read: “As a people, we have had to make sacrifices. I wish to assure you that the results of these sacrifices would begin to show very soon.”

    The US Embassy re-tweeted: “And what sacrifices are you making? Don’t tell me that pay cut.”

    Meanwhile, Ghanaian government officials including the Acting National Youth Co-ordinator, Ras Mubarak, and the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs, Hannah Serwa Tetteh, immediately took the issue on, demanding an apology from the Embassy.

    Credit: Spy news

  • Man shot dead in Dodowa

    A 39-year-old man was shot dead in his house at Dodowa last Saturday by an alleged gunman.

    The victim, a sachet water supplier, was shot in the compound of his house where he lived with his wife and children.

    At about 2am on Saturday, Kwesi McCarthy was said to have heard footsteps behind his window and had questioned who was behind his house.

    According to the Dodowa District Police Commander, Superintendent of Police Mr Kwesi Ofori, the wife of the deceased told the police that McCarthy did not get a response and therefore, decided to go out to investigate.

    She told police that immediately her husband stepped out of the door, she heard a gunshot. When she rushed out, she saw her husband lying in a pool of blood while a man was standing in the compound with a gun.

    The shouts for help from the wife of the deceased attracted neighbours who had also heard the gunshot.

    Some of the neighbours called the Dodowa police who rushed to the scene.

    Mr Ofori said the victim was rushed to the 37 Military Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

    The alleged gunman, Kwame Sedewonu, has been arrested in connection with the crime and is assisting the police in their investigations.

    The suspect, 42, a driver, was expected to appear before court today while investigations continue.

    Credit: Graphic Online

     

  • Railway workers on strike

    Commuters who use the train will have a hard time today as railway workers embark on a nationwide strike to protest poor conditions of service.

    The workers served notice last week that they would withdraw services and stage protests today.

    The workers say their conditions of service are poor to the extent that some senior managers after decades of service with the company still receive meager salaries.

    Deputy Transport Minister Joyce Bawa had issued a passionate last-minute plea to the workers to back down as the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission opens negotiations.

    She said the ministry has been holding discussions with them for the past week.

    The National Labour Commission is expected to meet with the leadership of the union to find solutions to their problems and have reiterated that “we have agreed to restrategize their salaries to a certain extent.”

    But the Chairman of the Railways Workers Union, Alex Nana Boateng, said they would not call off today’s strike.

     

    Credit : myjoyonline

     

     

  • Beyonce nominated for 8 MTV awards

    Beyonce has been nominated for eight awards at the MTV Video Music Awards including video of the year, best female and best choreography.

    The awards ceremony will take place in Inglewood, California, on 24 August.

    Beyoncé’s song Drunk in Love, performed alongside husband Jay-Z, is up against rivals including Pharrell Williams’ Happy for best video.

    Rappers Eminem and Iggy Azalea were nominated for seven awards each in key categories including best male and female.

    Others shortlisted for video of the year include Miley Cyrus for Wrecking Ball, Sia’s hit Chandelier and Fancy by Iggy Azalea.

    Michael Jackson’s posthumous hit Love Never Felt So Good, performed with Justin Timberlake, is in the running for best choreography.

    The full list of nominations also includes categories such as best video with a social message and the best videos in rock and pop.

    Last year’s ceremony made headlines for Miley Cyrus’s performance with Blurred Lines singer Robin Thicke in which she wore latex underwear and started the “twerking” craze.

  • Seven killed in Kenya ‘terrorist’ bus attack

    Seven people have been killed after gunmen opened fire on a bus near the town of Witu, about 50 kilometres away from Kenya’s coastal town of Lamu.

    The gunmen then attacked a police vehicle that had arrived at the scene. The bus was travelling from the city of Mombasa to Lamu, when the gunmen blocked its path with their car and opened fire.

    Eight people are said to have been admitted to hospital, most of them with gunshot wounds.

    The attack comes a day after Kenya’s military said its aircraft had bombed jungle bases used by Somali al-Shabab militants in the area.

    A spokesman for al-Shabab, Abdulaziz Abu Musab, however, told Reuters that this was “propaganda”.

    Friday’s attack, he said, was “in response to Kenya’s claim that it deployed more troops in the coast and thus tightened security”.

    Nearly 100 people have been killed in violence on Kenya’s coast this summer and hundreds have fled coastal areas for fear of the attacks.

    The attacks have damaged the local tourist industry, which attracts thousands of visitors during the summer months.

    Source: BBC

  • Walk your talk – Bishop tells Mahama

    The Bishop of the Obuasi Diocese of the Methodist Church, Rt. Rev. Stephen Richard Bosomtwe-Ayensu, has urged the President to ‘walk his talk’.

    He wondered why Ghana was wallowing in abject poverty and queried what had become of the various natural resources the country is endowed with.

    According to him, the president must be seen to be working because Ghanaians are tired of assurances of an improvement in the socio-economic conditions in the country.

    Rev. Bosomtwe-Ayensu made the comment on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen programme on Friday.

    He said Ghanaians are languishing in abject poverty because government has turned a blind eye to what he described as the spiraling increases in goods and services.

    The Methodist Bishop reiterated the urgent need for government to institute more practical measures to revive the country’s economy.

  • Weed-laced biscuit on sale

    Officials have mounted a search for an unnamed vendor said to be distributing cannabis (weed) laced biscuits in the Ashaiman municipality.

    The Greater Accra Regional Director of NACOB, Ms Victoria Esinam Assah-Offei, disclosed this at a sensitisation programme on the dangers of drug abuse among young people for schoolchildren within the Kpone-Katamanso District.

    According to officials, the biscuits, which were being produced locally, were also being offered for sale to unsuspecting members of the public, including school children.

    Ms Assah-Offei said the Greater Accra Regional Office of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) is investigating its production and sald. She added that the sale of the biscuits was making illegal drug use among young people.

    The sale of the marijuana-laced biscuits, she said, was derailing the board’s efforts in ensuring that incidents of illegal drug use among the youth were reduced.

  • Call off strike, Labour Minister pleads with workers

    The Minister of Employment and Labour Relations Haruna Iddrisu has offered to meet with workers in a bid to avert a nationwide mass strike scheduled for Thursday, July 24.

    Organised Labour, comprising various unions, congresses and associations, have said they would take to the streets to protest what they say is the high cost of living, rising food prices, the falling currency and hikes in utility prices.

    The strike was announced at a press conference on Friday, July 18, by the Secretary General of the Teachers Union Congress Kofi Asamoah.

    But Minister Idrissu has said he is prepared to dialogue with workers. He said: ” I am available. We can meet. Even this evening. Anywhere. We can engage with Labour”.

    He added: “We solidarise with the issues raised by Labour but are “appealing to them, a sit down strike and a boycott is not the way to go.”

    The Minister assured the workers that government is putting in place interventions to fix the economy. He said labour “ought to appreciate the constraints of the budget” adding, “government cannot immediately fix the grievances of labour.”

    It appears however, that the Minister’s appeal will not be taken up. Justice Yankson, Deputy Secretary General of the Ghana Medical Association told Joy News that labour has “gotten to its maximum limit. The strike will not be called off today and will not be called off tomorrow.”

    “The people of Ghana keep suffering” and the talk and dialogue which government is offering will not solve their problem,” he added.

    The Secretary General of the Teachers Union Congress Kofi Asamoah asked all workers both in the formal and informal sectors, including media, to stay away from work and assemble at designated locations in Accra and other regional capitals to demonstrate.

    The strike, if successful will ground the country to a halt and would have a huge effect on productivity.

    Organisations that form Organised Labour include the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Industrial and Commercial-workers Union (ICU), Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOSSAG), Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA).

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Asanko Gold approves new mine

    Asanko Gold Inc. has announced that it will go ahead with the construction of Phase 1 of its Asanko Gold Mine.

    Phase 1 is based on the construction of the Obotan Gold Project which was acquired during the takeover of PMI Gold Corporation (“PMI Gold”) in February 2014. Phase 2 anticipates the inclusion of the adjacent Esaase deposit.

    Work has been underway at the project site since April in anticipation that the investment would be approved by the Board of Directors.

    Construction will start shortly, with ground breaking expected within the next month. The first strike of gold is targeted in the first quarter of 2016, with steady stage production anticipated in second quarter of that year.

    Asanko’s President and CEO, Peter Breese, said: “The Board’s approval of Phase 1 of the Asanko Gold Mine is the first step towards achieving our vision of becoming a mid-tier gold producer. Our detailed engineering work to-date has confirmed the robustness of the project, with the CBE (Contract Budget Estimate) in-line with PMI Gold’s 2012 DFS (Definitive Feasibility Study). Now that we have approved the Project, we are targeting steady state production of approximately 200,000 ounces per year in Q2 2016.”

    Projected economic returns are at US$1,300 per ounce.  Around 25 million ounces of gold will be produced over the estimated 11.5 years life of the mine.

    Credit : BF&T Online

  • UN queries mass surveillance by governments

    A UN human rights watchdog has warned that too many governments are allowing ‘mass surveillance programmes’ which allow them access to personal data transmitted over the internet, mobile phone and other technology.

    In a report, the UN body said more needed to be done to ensure that surveillance was balanced against its harm to personal privacy.

    It added that mass retention of data to aid surveillance was “neither necessary nor proportionate”.

    The report was written by the office of Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who said it revealed a “disturbing” lack of transparency about the reasons why governments approve or start large-scale monitoring of what people do online.

    Ms Pillay said governments needed to do more to justify their need to ‘snoop’ on its citizens and prove it was not “arbitrary or unlawful”.

    The report said laws that set out how surveillance could be carried out must be made available to the public and must demonstrate specific reasons why such monitoring was taking place.

    It said measures to force internet companies, telecommunications operators and others to retain data on what people did online and whom they talked to had little justification.

    Credit: BBC

  • Fifa lifts Nigeria’s suspension

    Fifa has lifted Nigeria’s suspension following a court ruling that saw the country’s Football Federation board reinstated.

    The ban, on July 9, would have seen Nigeria’s Women’s Under-20 miss next month’s World Cup in Canada.

    Fifa punished Nigeria for government interfering with the sport when a sole administrator replaced the Football Federation board last week following the national team’s poor performance.

    On Thursday a court order quashed that ruling and a lawsuit was withdrawn.

    Fifa had given Nigeria until 17 July to reinstate the board – extended from 15 July because of a judiciary workers’ strike in the country – in order for the Women’s Under-20 side to play at the World Cup.

    The governing body confirmed on Friday it had reinstated Nigeria’s rights to play internationals.

    A statement read: “Fifa has lifted the suspension that was imposed on the Nigeria Football Federation on account of interference.

    “Fifa has noted that the court proceedings and order preventing the president of the NFF, the NFF Executive Committee members and the NFF Congress from running the affairs of Nigerian football that prompted the suspension have been withdrawn.

    ” It means the Super Eagles will be able to defend their Africa Cup of Nations title when qualifying matches start in September.”

    Credit: BBC

  • Asamoah Gyan becomes father to baby girl

    There is finally some good news for Black Stars captain after a month of gloom following the disappearance of his best friend Castro during a holiday jaunt.

    Allsports.com.gh can exclusively reveal that the striker is the proud father of a baby girl born to his wife .

    Gyan who keeps his family life very private is already the father of three sons with his partner and the newest addition has been received with “joy and celebration in a time of darkness” a family confidant revealed to Allsports.com.gh.

    “Babies are the best gift in life. She will fill my heart with poodles of heart and joy since the last days have been bizzare. Thanks be to God.”

    Asamoah Gyan already has 3 sons to his name. Frederick, the eldest, Floyd and Rafael.

    A lot of soccer fans might be surprised that the publicly ebullient Gyan has been married for almost half a decade.

    He is rarely seen with his wife or children in public and he refrains from speaking about them or being photographed with them in public.

    Credit: allsports

  • Ayew strike makes Fifa top goal shortlist

    Ghana may have lost 2-1 to the United States in its opening Group G match in Fortaleza but Andre Ayew could be a winner from the sad episode.

    His goal, which briefly brought the two teams level, has been selected by FIFA’s experts in a shortlist for Goal of the Tournament of Brazil 2014.

    The goal consisted of a pass into the left hand channel from Kwadwo Asamoah, a back-heeled pass from captain Asamoah Gyan and a shot with the outside of the left boot of Ayew after he controlled the pass.

    But it was not enough to save Ghana as a few minutes later John Brook connected a corner to win the match for the Americans.

    Fans will have the opportunity to choose the strike that tops the lot from the World Cup and will succeed Diego Forlan’s sweet volley against South African from the last World Cup.

    However, Ayew’s goal faces strong competition from the classy volley from Colombia’s James Rodriguez against Uruguay, Robin Van Persie’s audacious header against Spain, the unstoppable free-kick from David Luiz against Colombia, Tim Cahill’s first-time volley against Holland, World Cup winner Andre Schurlle’s left-footed angled shot against Brazil and a host of many others including Lionel Messi’s free kick against Nigeria.

    Fans can visit the FIFA website and make their choice on what they think is the best goal from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Click to vote for their Goal of the Tournament:

    Credit:citifmonline

     

  • Chiefs hit back on gov’t vehicles donation

    The National House of Chiefs’ has issued a press release in response to negative comments in the media about government’s donation of pick-up vehicles to chiefs.

    They criticized media reports that alleged that the donation was done out of a political motive.

    They added that the vehicles recently donated by President John Mahama to the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs were within the law which allows government to resource the House of Chiefs in the same way that any other government institution or agency is resourced.

    The press release, signed by Wulugu Naba Naa Prof John S. Nabila, president of the National House of Chiefs, stated:

    “The donation was done (by the President) on behalf of the Government (State) of Ghana. The critics of the donation have unfortunately not understood why the Government (State) should donate the vehicles to National and Regional Houses of Chiefs.

    “It is very unfortunate that people who are discussing this matter, imputing negative intentions into same, do not know that the Houses of Chiefs are creatures of statute and therefore need to be resourced by the Government (State) like any other Government Institution or Agency or Department. The Houses of Chiefs are Agencies under the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Traditional Affairs.

    “The 1992 Constitution and the Chieftaincy Act, 2008 (1959) provide for the creation of the House of Chiefs. Article 270 (1) of the Constitution provides that “The institution Chieftaincy, together with its traditional councils as established by customary law and usage, is hereby guaranteed. Articles 271 and 274 of the Constitution guaranteed. Articles 271 and 274 of the Constitution and Sections 1 and 6 of the Chieftaincy Act 2008 (Act 759) created the National and Regional Houses of Chiefs, just like other bodies of State.

    “It is therefore unfortunate when without any basis it is taken for granted that it is only for Political reasons that such assistance is given to the Houses of Chiefs. The same issue does not arise when other institutions of State are resourced by the Government

    “What people do not know is that the National House of Chiefs is composed of fifty (50) members and the combined membership of the ten Regional Houses of Chiefs is over 250. It is therefore preposterous to conclude that one pick-up is given to over 300 chiefs. The cars are not for the individual chiefs. They are for the Houses of Chiefs as Government (State) institutions.

    “The National House of Chiefs want to state it categorically that it is the responsibility of the Government (State) to resource the Houses as any other MDA and that is exactly what the President did during his recent meeting with Nananom. It is very unfortunate that people have twisted the position of the law to suit their own limited interest.”

  • Cristiano Ronaldo’s mum claims she tried to abort him

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s mum has admitted she tried to abort the footballer when she was pregnant, according to reports.

    In an autobiography released in Portugal on Friday, Dolores Aveiro claims her doctor refused to go through with the procedure.

    In desperation, she turned to home remedies of drinking warm beer and heavy exercise.
    According to the Daily Star, Ronaldo’s mum wrote: ‘I wanted to abort but the doctor didn’t support my decision.’

    She also revealed Ronaldo found out about the incident.

    She added: ‘He told me when he found out, “Look mum, you wanted to abort and now I’m the one who’s pulling the purse-strings in the house.”’

    Ronaldo, who plays for Real Madrid after a spell with Manchester United, suffered World Cup heartbreak this summer as Portugal were knocked out at the group stage.

  • South African schoolboy aged 9 marries 62-year-old woman

    Nine-year-old Sanele Masilela has become the world’s youngest groom for the second time after remarrying the 62-year-old woman he tied the knot with last year.

    Dressed in a silvery tuxedo, baby-faced Sanele clutched the hand of mother-of-five Helen Shabangu – her children are aged between 28- and 38-years-old – as they repeated their vows a year on in front of 100 guests.

    The schoolboy says he did it to make the marriage ‘official’ but other villagers in Ximhungwe in Mpumalanga, South Africa describe it as “sickening”.

    The ceremony – where guests shared a piece of cake – took place in front of Helen’s long-term husband Alfred Shabangu, 66, who was there last year as well.

    He said: “My kids and I are happy because we don’t have a problem with her marrying the boy – and I don’t care what other people say.”

    Both families claim the wedding is simply another ‘ritual’ after Saneie was told by his dead ancestors to wed last year and his parents forked out £500 for the bride and another £1,000 for the ceremony.

    But the schoolboy – the youngest of five children – wanted to follow South African tradition and insisted they have the second ceremony this week to make their marriage official.

    The young groom said he still hoped he would have a proper wedding to a woman his own age when he was older.

    He added: “I told my mother that I wanted to get married because I really did want to.

    “I’m happy that I married Helen – but I will go to school and study hard.

    “When I’m older I will marry a lady my own age. I chose Helen because I love her and, although we don’t live together all the time, we meet at the dumping site where my mother works regularly.”

    Recycling worker  Helen – who donned the same dress as last year – said: “I’m very happy that the boy chose me and my family support and understand that it is part of making ancestors happy.

    “One day Sanele would grow normally and have family of his own and get married one day, all this ceremony is for making ancestors happy. W

  • Germany’s Merkel says she’ll stay until at least 2017

    Chancellor Angela Merkel says she will carry on leading Germany until at least 2017 — dismissing recent speculation that she may step down before her third term is up.

    Merkel, who won a third four-year term last year, has led Germany since late 2005 and turned 60 on Thursday. Her birthday has been accompanied by a spate of media speculation that she could choose to quit early.

    Merkel noted Friday that she ran last year for a full term. She told reporters in Berlin: “People in Germany can assume that I will do what I told them. Everything else (comes) later.”

    Merkel dominates her conservative Union bloc and hasn’t cultivated any single obvious successor. She hasn’t said whether she would be interested in a fourth term.

  • Berlusconi cleared in sex case

    An Italian appeals court has acquitted former premier Silvio Berlusconi in a sex-for-hire case.

    The court’s decision also throws out his seven-year-prison sentence and lifetime ban on holding political office, handed to him by a lower court when it convicted him last year.

    Mr Berlusconi had been accused of of paying for sex with an under-age prostitute and then using his influence to cover it up.

    The case revealed details of raunchy, sex-fuelled “bunga-bunga” parties at Mr Berlusconi’s private villa attended by a bevy of aspiring showgirls.

    The acquittal came as Mr Berlusconi was leaving a facility for Alzheimer’s patients where he is performing a community service sentence in a separate tax fraud conviction.

    That is the only case finalised against Berlusconi, who faces dozens of trials, mostly for his business dealings.

    He thrust his hand from a car as he was being driven away from the facility and a political supporter grabbed his hand and shook it. The window was then rolled up and the media mogul waved as he was driven away.

    Prosecutors can challenge the acquittal in Italy’s highest criminal court, the Court of Cassation.

    The 77-year-old three-time former premier remains influential on the Italian political scene as head of his Forza Italia party, despite the tax fraud conviction’s ban on holding political office

  • Brazil man could be the oldest in the world

    According to his birth certificate, Aguinelo Jose dos Santos is the oldest person who has ever been documented. But to be very sure, the manager of the retirement home where he lives in Brazil wants to conduct a “carbon-14″ test to determine his exact age.

    Brazil was not only the venue for the World Cup, it might also be home to the oldest man who ever lived. Aguinelo Jose dos Santos is allegedly 126 years old and lives in a retirement home in the Brazilian city of Bauru.

    His health is described as perfectly good and he no high cholesterol nor high blood pressure. However, Aguinelo Jose dos Santos has smoked for 50 years, and does not bathe regularly.

    Aguinelo Jose dos Santos got his birth certificate just last month – he has lived without a single personal identification document to his name. To find out his age, he was interviewed by a team of experts about his earliest memories.

    He could describe exactly in detail what happened after the abolition of slavery in 1888. According to him his father was a slave.

  • Rapper Andre Johnson explains why he severed his penis

    The rapper who mutilated himself and then jumped from a Los Angeles building has broken his silence about what happened.

    Andre Johnson was severely injured in April after he severed his penis and leaped from the second level of a building in North Hollywood. He told Eonline that he was under the influence of drugs at the time but insisted that he knew what he was doing.

    “Yes, I was using drugs that night, but I was in complete control,” he said. “I cut it off because that was the root of all my problems. My solution to the problem was the realization that sex is for mortals, and I am a god. …Those kinds of activities got me into trouble, and I came here to be a god.”

    Johnson performs under the name Christ Bearer and his group Northstar was affiliated with the Wu-Tang Clan. Johnson said he hadn’t spoken out on the incident before because “People perceived me as crazy, so I never wanted to speak wholeheartedly on the matter.”

    Doctors weren’t able to reattach the penis, he told E!.

    He said he had been seeing a psychologist after he was discharged but that he has been deemed okay. He said he was thankful to God when he awoke in the hospital still alive.

    “I didn’t want to kill myself,” Johnson said. “That was just my response to the demons. They were doing their best to get to me, but being alive solidified my thoughts. …I’m alive, penis or no penis.”

  • AIDS deaths down by a third in past decade, says UN

    AIDS-related deaths and the number of new HIV infections have fallen by more than a third in the past decade, a UN report showed on Wednesday, giving hope to the goal that the disease will be under control by 2030 and eventually eradicated.

    In a review of the pandemic released before the 20th International AIDS Conference in Australia next week, the United Nations agency said AIDS-related deaths had dropped to 1.5 million in 2013 from 1.7 million the previous year.

    This was the sharpest annual decline since the peak in 2004 and 2005, and marked a 35-percent drop from the 2.4 million deaths seen in both those years.

    Alongside the falling death toll, new infections declined to 2.1 million last year, a 38-percent fall compared with the 3.4 million people infected in 2001.

    Though the battle is far from over with 35 million people still living with HIV worldwide, the global effort to beat the pandemic has made huge strides, the head of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé said.

    “The AIDS epidemic can be ended in every region, every country, in every location, in every population and every community,” he said.

    Africa hardest hit

    Globally, the report said, 35 million people were living with the virus in 2013, up from 34.6 million the previous year.

    Of those, “19 million do not know their HIV-positive status”, said Sidibé.

    Africa remains the hardest-hit continent, accounting for 1.1 million deaths in 2013, 1.5 million new infections, and 24.7 million people living with HIV.

    Worldwide, South Africa remained the worst-hit country, followed by Nigeria.

    UNAIDS noted that in sub-Saharan Africa, access to condoms remained a major problem, with only eight available per year for each sexually active person.
    In Asia, concerns focus on India and Indonesia – infections in the latter have jumped by 48 percent since 2005.

    More access to treatment

    Efforts to increase the number of people getting access to life-saving anti-retroviral drugs have advanced quickly, with 12.9 million now receiving treatment compared with 5.2 million in 2009, UNAIDS said.

    While the hike is impressive, it falls short of a UN target announced two years ago to reach 15 million people by 2015.

    The international community has expressed repeated concern about vulnerable groups who can miss out on treatment in societies where they are marginalised.

    The World Health Organization (WHO) recently called for greater efforts to treat gay men, transgender people, prisoners, people who inject drugs and sex workers, who together account for about half of all new HIV infections worldwide.

    “Ensuring that no one is left behind means closing the gap between people who can get services and people who can’t, the people who are protected and the people who are punished,” Sidibé said.

    Despite huge progress in funding for the battle against AIDS – which rose from $3.8 billion in 2002 to $19.1 billion in 2013 – the UN is still short of its target of $22-24 billion by 2015.

    It says the investment will pay huge dividends, given that fewer deaths and less sickness takes a burden off the healthcare system, and enables HIV-positive people to work and contribute to the economy for longer.

    Since the epidemic began in the 1980’s, AIDS has killed around 39 million of the 78 million people it has affected.

  • 60-year-old man impregnates daughter

    A 60 year-old man has been arrested in Kenya after he confessed to have defiled, and impregnated his 16 year-old daughter.

    It is reported that the girl was in class 7, at Mirira Primary school before she dropped out two months ago.

    Joseph Waweru, from the Mirira area of Kiharu Constituency, Murang’a County, is now asking for forgiveness, saying he did not wish to conduct the act.

    Confirming the incident, area Chief Bernard Kagotho, said investigations have been launched into the incident.

  • Malaysian plane with 295 passengers shot down in Ukraine

    A Malaysian airliner with 295 people on board has been shot down in Ukraine near the Russian border killing all passengers and crew on board. The plane was flying from Amsterdam to Kuala Lumpur.

    Malaysia Airlines said it had lost contact with Flight MH17 from Amsterdam. The last known position was over Ukraine, it said in a tweet.

    An aviation source in Moscow told Reuters the plane had been found burning on the ground in east Ukraine, where separatist rebels have been fighting government forces.

    Reports confirm that the plane was shot down late yesterday, threatening to escalate tensions in Europe’s worst geopolitical crisis since the Cold War.

    Regional air-traffic manager Eurocontrol has now routed all planes away from the area astride a busy flightpath between Europe and Asia, as Malaysian authorities defended the use of a route that wasn’t blacklisted.

    A number of Ukrainian military planes have been shot down by missiles in recent weeks. Ukraine has accused Russia’s military of supplying advanced missiles to the rebels.

    Earlier on Thursday, Ukrainian officials blamed the Russian air force for shooting down one of its ground attack jets on Wednesday.

    Anton Herashchenko, an adviser to Ukraine’s interior minister, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying the plane had been hit by a missile at an altitude of 10,000m (33,000ft). The claim could not be verified independently.

    The source which spoke to Reuters about burning wreckage on the ground said the plane had failed to enter Russian airspace.

    The UK Foreign Office said it was aware of the reports of the crash and was “urgently working to establish what has happened”.

  • Arsenal strengthen further with Debuchy

    Arsenal FC have further strengthened ahead of their UEFA Champions League campaign with the capture of French international right-back Mathieu Debuchy.

    “Playing again in the Champions League is a big excitement for me,” said full-back Debuchy after joining Arsenal FC from English rivals Newcastle United FC.

    The 28-year-old, who appeared four times for Les Bleus at the FIFA World Cup finals, joins from Newcastle United FC on a “long-term contract” according to the Gunners, who did not release the fee.

    “I’m very proud to be joining a great club like Arsenal and to wear its colours – it is one of the biggest clubs in the whole world,” the former LOSC Lille defender told the club website. “I am looking forward to working with Arsène Wenger and to helping the team build on last season’s FA Cup success. Playing again in the Champions League is a big excitement for me and I will do my best to help Arsenal compete for trophies.”

    The move comes after an 18-month spell in the north east of England, Debuchy signing for the Magpies after helping LOSC to a league and cup double in 2011/12.

    “We are delighted to welcome Mathieu Debuchy,” said Wenger of the 25-time capped Frenchman. “He has shown he can perform at the highest level with his club sides and also for France. He is a quality defender who has good Premier League experience and I am confident he will fit in very well with us.” Arsenal will enter the UEFA Champions League at the play-off stage in the 2014/15 campaign.

  • UEFA names top ten players

    There are no Italian or Serie A based players included in UEFA’s 10-man shortlist for their Player of the Year award.

    European football’s governing body announced the candidates today, with the winner set to be names at the ceremony for the draw for the Champions League Group Stage on August 28.

    Notable absences from the list include Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale and Neymar, but three of Gemany’s World Cup winning squad are included.

    James Rodriguez is also among the nominees, alongside perennial contenders Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

    Nominations for UEFA Player of the Year: Diego Costa, Angel Di Maria, James Rodriguez, Luis Suarez, Philipp Lahm, Thomas Muller, Manuel Neuer, Arjen Robben, Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi.

  • Ghana born Prince Buaben signs one-year deal at Tynecastle

    Prince Buaben has become Hearts’ sixth summer signing after agreeing terms with the Tynecastle club.

    The Ghanaian midfielder signed a one-year deal after impressing on trial.

    Buaben left Carlisle in May and joins ex-Dundee United team-mate Morgaro Gomis and fellow new signings James Keatings, Soufian El Hassnaoui, Neil Alexander and Alim Ozturk.

    “It’s great that Prince has put pen to paper,” head coach Robbie Neilson told the official Hearts website.

    “He’s looking good and he’s a top player. He’s played in the SPL for a long time and he’s played in England at a very high level so I’m pleased to get him.

    “He gives us a bit of strength in there. We’ve got some good options now in the middle of the field. He’s a good character as well.

    “He hadn’t done a pre-season after he finished up last season so I just wanted to see where he was and he’s a fit guy.

    “If this is the condition he’s in, having only trained for just over a week, then I’m looking forward to seeing what we can get out of him in two or three weeks time.”

    Buaben moved to Dundee United in 2007 and was part of the side that won the Scottish Cup in 2010.

    He also had a short spell on loan last season at Partick Thistle.

  • Germany star announces surprise retirement after World Cup win

    Germany right-back and captain Philipp Lahm has made the surprise decision to retire from international football after his country’s victory at the 2014 World Cup, according to German newspaper Bild.

    The 30-year-old, who also captains Bayern Munich, won 113 caps for his country in a glittering career, but has made the decision to focus on club football after his side’s superb achievement in Brazil this summer.

    A player who will no doubt go down as one of the greats for the German national team, Lahm can now celebrate the fact that his final match in the famous white shirt was one that ended in lifting the most coveted prize in the game.

    Lahm also has a runners-up medal from the 2008 European Championships to show for his international career, and is fourth in the all-time list of caps for Germany, behind current team-mates Lukas Podolski (116) and Miroslav Klose (137).

    His Bayern team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger would now seem the likeliest contender to succeed him as skipper of the national side, though no indication has yet been given as to who manager Joachim Low has in mind.

  • Messi’s Golden Ball win backed

    Gerard Houllier has defended FIFA’s controversial decision to name Lionel Messi the best player at the World Cup by saying he “fully deserves the Golden Ball”.

    There was a global outcry from media and fans after Messi was given the award following the defeat of his Argentina side to Germany in the World Cup final in which the Barcelona star had failed to live up to expectations.

    Previously the result of a poll between the world’s press and FIFA’s Technical Study Group, Messi’s surprise win was the consequence of analysis by the latter body solely after football’s world governing body changed the voting process for the tournament in Brazil.

    Even FIFA president Sepp Blatter admitted he was surprised by the decision, which led to fans jeering when Messi walked up the steps to receive his award at the Maracana, but Houllier – a respected member of the Technical Study Group – feels the choice was fully justified.

    “I understand that it has surprised, because everyone only remembers the second half of Lionel Messi in the final,” the former Liverpool and Aston Villa manager told Le Monde. “We, the commission, we look at all the games, and we judge that he was the most important man for his team. He went to the final, which is one of the conditions for the attribution of the trophy.

    “Moreover, Messi was more than decisive in the first four games. In the semi-final against the Netherlands, he took the first penalty and scored. The analysis also takes into account the fact he was the captain of a united team. A team that played well together. That’s something we hadn’t seen for a long time from Argentina. He was more than key in the squad and the way it was set up. For me, he fully deserves the Golden Ball given he took his team through to the final.”

    Critics claimed Dutch star Arjen Robben or the tournament’s top scorer, Colombia’s James Rodriguez, would have been more worthy winners. Houllier, however, explained neither had had a realistic chance.

    He said: “Robben was exciting and very good, but he didn’t carry so much weight with the team. He didn’t score in either the semi-finals or the quarters. Even though he won the penalty against Mexico, he was much less influential in his team’s play.

    “James Rodriguez stopped too soon, just like Neymar or the other key player in the Albiceleste’s performance, Angel Di Maria. Di Maria might have been a very serious contender had he been able to go all the way. He was excellent, and very creative.”

    Houllier added that Germany’s Thomas Mueller, who struck five goals, had pushed Messi for the tournament’s top individual prize.

    “There was a competition between Muller and Messi, but I repeat, we looked at all seven matches. The final counted, but only at the same level as the other games,” he said.

    “Given the whole of the World Cup, the commission was unanimous that Lionel Messi win the trophy. I think public option was ‘biased’ by the anti-Messi strategies of opposing teams, which caused him a lot of problems. Despite that, he almost always managed to get himself out of them. But everyone is entitled to their opinion.”

  • Dazed Kramer ‘forgot he was in World Cup final’

    The full extent of Christoph Kramer’s concussion during the World Cup final has been revealed by referee Nicola Rizzoli.

    The Germany international, only starting due to Sami Khedira picking up an injury during the warm-up, clashed with Argentina’s Ezequiel Garay during the first half and received treatment on the pitch.

    Kramer tried to continue but began to ask questions of Rizzoli which concerned the referee, leading him to recommend the midfielder’s substitution.

    He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “Shortly after he’d been struck by Garay, Kramer came to me, asking ‘ref, is this the final?’

    “I thought he was joking so I asked him to repeat the question, and he said: ‘I need to know if this is really the final.’

    “After I said ‘yes’, he was a bit stunned and said: ‘Thanks, that’s important to know.’

    “I informed [Bastian] Schweinsteiger and they replaced Kramer.”

    Meanwhile, Rizzoli has told of Nigeria goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama’s fear of Lionel Messi when the sides met during the group stages of the tournament.

    “[Enyeama] approached me with a smile on his face, and said: ‘I told my teammates not to commit any fouls near the penalty area,’” Rizzoli explained.

    “[Lionel] Messi puts them all away. He’s phenomenal and he’s going to make a real fool of me. They got my message.’ When I think back to that, it still makes me smile.”

    Argentina went on to win the game 3-2 with Messi scoring twice, including a free-kick from outside the area.

  • ‘Overweight’ Ben Arfa fights Newcastle fine

    Hatem Ben Arfa is likely to be axed from Newcastle’s pre-season tour to New Zealand amid reports he has been fined for putting on too much weight over the summer break.

    Newcastle have refused to comment on the allegations, but France’s Le Parisien reports that Ben Arfa is contesting a £1,580 fine from the club for returning to training 1.5kg over an acceptable weight limit.

    The newspaper went on to report that Ben Arfa denied he was overweight, instead claiming the new bulk was due to extra muscle rather than excess fat.

    Despite once describing Ben Arfa as a “match-winner” capable of taking on the world’s best players, Newcastle manager Alan Pardew seems increasingly keen to get rid of the French winger.

    Ben Arfa found himself frozen out of the first-team squad last season and the arrivals of Siem de Jong and Remy Cabella over the summer means competition for attacking roles in Newcastle’s starting XI is likely to be high when the Premier League gets underway in August.

    Ben Arfa has always maintained that he wishes to stay at Newcastle and is prepared to see out the final year on his contract before moving as a free agent next summer. Reports in France suggest Newcastle accepted an offer for Ben Arfa from a Ukrainian club this month, but the 27-year-old rejected the move.

    Newcastle will take on Sydney FC in Dunedin next Tuesday before facing Wellington Phoenix at the Westpac Stadium the following Saturday. Their Premier League season kicks off at home against reigning champions Manchester City on August 17.

  • Manchester United most valuable team in the world – Wall Street

    Shares of Manchester United surged almost 5% yesterday after Man United  announced its new, $130 million-a-year kit deal with Adidas, which will begin during the 2015-16 season and see the German sportswear maker replace its U.S. rival, Nike.

    Wall Street now affords United an enterprise value of $3.6 billion. Math: market value ($3.05 billion) + long term debt ($613 million) – cash ($57 million). In April, we valued Real Madrid as the world’s most valuable team,worth $3.44billion  , with Barcelona second at $3.22 billion, and United third at $2.81 billion.

    Wall Street may be right. Although United will not participate in the lucrative  2014-15 Champions League due to its seventh place  finish in the 2013-14 Premier League, the team now commands both the richest uniform and shirt deals in the world (the Manchester City $63 million a year shirt deal with Etihad Airlines is excluded from the table because it also includes stadium naming rights).

    It may be tough for RM to catch Manchester United, at least in terms of how Wall Street perceives their valuations.

    Spain is looking to have La Liga teams negotiate their next television deal collectively rather than having the individual teams sell their media rights. This will likely eliminate the huge television revenue advantage RM and Barcelona ($182 million each, with number two Atletico Madrid pulling in just $61 million) currently enjoy over their rivals.

    Also, RM’s shirt with Adidas runs through 2020 and its shirt sponsorship with Emirates Airline is through the 2017-18 season. So those unless categories have a reset written into the deals RM will not get an increase in revenue from them any time soon.

    Outside of soccer, the two most valuable teams are MLB’s New York Yankees ($2.5 billion) and the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys ($2.3 billion). But both of those valuations are likely too low given they were published prior to Steve Ballmer’s $2 billion  offer for the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers in May.

     

    Top Kit (uniform) Deals
    Team Sponsor Avg. Annual Value
    Manchster United Adidas1 $130 million
    Arsenal Puma2 $51 million
    Real Madrid Adidas $41 million
    Liverpool Warrior $39 million
    Barcelona Nike $38 million
    Bayern Munich Adidas $38 million
    Manchester United Nike $37 million
    1: Begins with 2015-16 season.
    2: Begins with the 2014-15 season.

     

    Top Shirt Deals
    Team Sponsor Avg. Annual Value
    Manchester United GM (Chevrolet)1 $80 million
    Barcelona Qatar Airways $45 million
    Bayern Munich Deutsche Telekom $40 million
    Real Madrid Emirates $39 million
    Liverpool Standard Chartered $31 million
    Sunderland Invest in Africa $31 million
    1: Begins with 2014-15 season
  • Ghana face FIFA ban over government probe

    FIFA has given the first hint that it could ban Ghana from all football-related government activities after a three-member commission was set up by the government to investigate the Black Stars’ poor performance at Brazil 2014 and other off-pitch events that embarrassed the country at the tournament.

    In a letter sent to Ghana Football Association (GFA), FIFA sought clarification as to the nature of the investigation and the composition of the commission.

    “We have learnt from media reports that the Presidency of the Republic of Ghana has appointed a Committee of Enquiry and Investigation into the Black Stars’ participation to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil,” deputy general secretary of FIFA, Markus Kattner, wrote in a letter.

    “The composition and the competences of the said Commission are unclear. Provided the reports are true we deem it important to clarify from the beginning the procedures and to ensure that the GFA can operate without interference as required by FIFA statutes. Under this circumstance we kindly ask you to provide us with a report at your earliest convenience.”

    The Commission, which was initially set up as a Committee by President John Mahama, is headed by an Appeal’s Court judge, Justice Senyo Dzamefe, with sports administrator, Moses Foh Amoaning, and Kofi Anokye Darko as members.

    Ghana performed abysmally at the World Cup, crashing out of the competition in the first round with only a point from a possible nine.

  • Toni Kroos joins Real Madrid from Bayern Munich

    Bayern Munich midfielder Toni Kroos has joined Real Madrid for an undisclosed fee on a six-year deal.

    Kroos, 24, was a key player in the Germany side which beat Argentina 1-0 to win the World Cup and scored two goals during the competition in Brazil.

    He will be presented to the Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu on Thursday afternoon after undergoing a medical.

    Kroos joined Bayern from Hansa Rostock as a 16-year-old and has made 176 appearances for the German giants.

    He spent 18 months on loan at Bayer Leverkusen but returned to win three Bundesliga titles and three German cups.

    He was part of the historic treble-winning side of 2012-13 which also lifted the Champions League, before winning the Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup last season.

    Kroos, whose contract with Bayern had one year left to run, had been linked with a move to Manchester United

    Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge said: “We would like to thank Toni Kroos for his time here in Munich.

    “We enjoyed great success here together. We would like to wish him and his family all the best in Madrid and with Real.”

  • Massimiliano Allegri appointed as new Juventus coach

    Juventus have appointed the former Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri as coach to replace Antonio Conte.

    Allegri has been hired on a salary of €2m (£1.6m) on a two-year deal as the club seek a fourth successive Serie A title. Juventus announced that he will be presented on Wednesday.

    Allegri joined Milan from Cagliari in the summer of 2010 and in his first season led them to their first Scudetto since 2004, though the Rossoneri finished second to Juventus the following year.

    Allegri was sacked by Milan in January this year since when they have stumbled through the appointment of Clarence Seedorf who lasted less than five months, and Filippo Inzaghi.

    Conte had his contract terminated by mutual consent amid suggestions that he will succeed Cesare Prandelli, now manager of Galatasaray, in charge of the Italian national side.

    Conte, who had signed a deal through to the summer of 2015 earlier this year, said time had caught up with him at the Turin club and that the moment was right to bid farewell. “It may be more difficult to keep winning with Juventus,” he said.

  • Why Cristiano Ronaldo has no tattoos

    Cristiano Ronaldo does not drink, smoke and have any tattoos, which is very rare for a player at his level. With a resume like his, some might assume the Real Madrid superstar who is also the reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or titile holder and UEFA Champions League winner, would have celebrated his victories with a tattoo or two. But he does not have a single tattoo.

    Not many fans know that Ronaldo abstains from the tattoo in a sport where body art are not only common place, but also a way that many athletes market themselves internationally. So why doesn’t Ronaldo sport any tattoos? Known for his efforts to help children overcome debilitating diseases, the Portuguese superstar has no tattoo so that he can continue to donate blood.

    In many countries, a new tattoo can affect how often a person donates blood, with a waiting period between six months and a year employed as a precaution against cross-contamination and diseases like hepatitis. Since he donates blood twice a year and he does not want to affect that humanitarian gesture.

    He has also confirmed that he does not drink because his father died of alcohol abuse problems, and more importantly, he says he doesn’t want to do something that will hinder his ability to play football. Same reason for not smoking.

    “I don’t have tattoos because I donate blood very often,” he said, according to Diretta News, while also taking the time to share a photo on his Facebook page that showed him donating at a hospital. He reportedly gives twice a year.

    Additionally, he told Spanish radio station Cadena Cope that he became a bone marrow donor after witnessing a teammate’s struggles. “It was the time when Carlos Martins was with us on the national team. He told us about the problem with his son and we, the players, showed great unity to help him and his son because we knew it was a very complicated situation.”

    Donating bone marrow “is something a lot of people think is a difficult thing to do but it’s nothing more than drawing blood and doesn’t hurt.”

  • Ghanaian, Nigerian traders clash in Kumasi over retail trade

    Traders closed down more than 30 shops belonging to Nigerian businessmen in the Suame business area in Kumasi, alleging that the Nigerians engaged in retail trade in contravention of the law.

    But according to the Nigerians, they had fulfilled all the legal requirements before operating their businesses.

    Police visited the area to invite the traders for questioning but were chased away by some Ghanaian traders, numbering more than 70.

    To avoid any confrontation, the armed policemen left the scene.

    The Ashanti Regional Police Command has issued criminal summons for the traders.

    Explaining the ordeal that his members had gone through to the Daily Graphic, Chief Kizito Odiora, the Public Relations Officer of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association (NUTA) in Kumasi said some members of the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) forcibly drove Nigerians trading in the area out of their shops and locked those shops.

    He said when word went round that the Nigerians were being forced out of their shops, he instructed all the members not to react in any manner that would lead to violence.

    He said as law-abiding foreigners, they reported the matter to the police and also informed the Nigerian High Commission in Accra about it.

    Asked if members of his association had met all the requirements, Chief Odiora said they had, and explained that all of them paid Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and Value Added taxes and Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions for their staff.

    According to Chief Odiora, who is a businessman dealing in upholstery fabrics, most of his members had already met the $300,000 minimum capital required for foreigners to engage in retail trade in Ghana, even though that requirement had been abolished by ECOWAS after some Nigerians were allegedly chased out of the country.

    Ashanti Regional Police Public Relations Officer (PRO), ASP Yusif Tanko, said the police would use lawful means to serve criminal summons on all those identified to be involved in the act.

    Mr Tanko said those served would have to appear before the law court and answer charges that would be levelled against them.

  • Money destroying Black Stars – CK Akonnor

    Former Black Stars skipper C.K. Akonnor says the unbridled demands by players of the Black Stars has been the bane of the team, saying the issue has reached alarming levels and needs to be curtailed at a point.

    Even though he admitted money was a key factor for his generation, these days the money demanded by players as incentives was very huge and disturbing.

    In an interview with the Graphic Sports in Accra on the sidelines of the recent two-day retreat of eminent football administrators, the retired football star and coach argued that Ghana missed an opportunity to make it big at the World Cup due to unresolved monetary issues.

    The former Wolfsburg player said “now there is monetary (sic) in the business and it comes with bigger problems” which need to be solved.

    Akonnor who captained the national team from 2004 to 2008, said the problem had given the Stars a bad image and was the root cause of all the challenges that Ghana encountered at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

    Ghana’s campaign at the just-ended World Cup ended ignobly at the group stage where they placed bottom of Group G with only a point, a situation which GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi attributed to “the  money, money craze” among the players.

    Akonnor said although his era witnessed some level of indiscipline, the hefty financial rewards to players these days was “outrageous”.

    The 40-year-old former Accra Hearts of Oak coach lauded the move to organise the soccer retreat, saying it would help identify the solutions to football in the country and expressed the that hope that the recommendations if implemented  would help Ghana make progress.

    Akunnor, who was in Brazil as one of Ghana’s ambassadors to support the national team stated that several other reasons contributed to Ghana’s poor performance and indicated that they should be identified with appropriate remedies prescribed.

    He asked Ghanaians to learn a lesson from what happened in Brazil and return to the drawing board to see what we did wrong and correct the mistakes.

  • Government reshuffle – Info Ministry scrapped

    President John Mahama has scrapped the Ministry of Information and nominated Ekwow Spio Garbrah to join his executive team as part of a realignment of his government.

    Ekwow Spio-Garbrah (pictured), former CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, has been nominated as Minister for Trade and Industry. When approved by Parliament, he will be taking over from Haruna Iddrisu (MP), who has been moved to the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations.

    The President has also appointed Dr Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor (MP) as his new Minister for Defence, replacing Mark Woyongo (MP) who has been reassigned to the Ministry of the Interior. Until his reassignment, Dr Kumbuor was a Minister of State responsible for Government Business in Parliament.

    Alhaji Inusah Fuseini (MP) moves from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and is the new Minister for Roads and Highways.

    Under the new realigned government structure, the Ministry of Communications will now be responsible for the Information and Media Relations functions of government, as it was prior to the year 2001. All agencies under the former Ministry of Information & Media Relations will now operate under the Ministry of Communications.

    Ministers of State 

    • Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration: Hanna Serwaa Tetteh (MP)
    •  Attorney General & Ministry of Justice: Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong
    •  Defence: Benjamin Bewa-Nyog Kunbuor (MP)
    •  Finance: Seth Emmanuel Terkper
    •  Interior: Mark Owen Woyongo (MP)
    •  Food & Agriculture: Fifi Fiavi Franklin Kwetey (MP)
    •  Communications: Dr. Edward Omane Boamah
    •  Education: Professor Naana Opoku- Agyeman
    •  Employment & Labour Relations: Haruna Iddrisu (MP)
    •   Transport: Mrs. Dzifa Attivor
    •  Health: Dr. Kweku Agyeman Mensah
    •  Lands & Natural Resources: Nii Osah Mills
    •  Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation: Akwasi Oppong Fosu (MP)
    •  Local Gov’t & Rural Development: Julius Debrah
    •  Water Resources, Works & Housing: Alhaji Collins Dauda (MP)
    •  Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts: Mrs. Elizabeth Ofosu Agyare
    •  Chieftaincy & Traditional Affairs: Dr. Henry Seidu Daannaa
    •  Energy & Petroleum: Emmanuel Kofi Buah (MP)
    •  Roads & Highway: Alhaji Inusah Fuseini (MP)
    •  Youth & Sports: Mahama Ayariga (MP)
    •  Gender, Children & Social Protection: Mrs. Nana Oye Lithur
    •  Fisheries & Aquaculture: Sherry Hanny Ayittey
    •  Trade & Industry: Ekwow Spio-Garbrah
    •  Minister of State: Alhaji Rashid Pelpuo (MP)
    •  Minister of State: Mrs. Comfort Ghansah (MP)
    •  Minister of State: Dr. Mustapha Ahmed (MP)
    •  Minister of State: Elvis Afriyie- Ankrah
    •  Minister of State: Alhassan Azong (MP)

    Regional Ministers

    • Ashanti – Samuel Sarpong
    • Brong Ahafo – Eric Opoku (MP)
    • Central – Aquinas Quansah (MP)
    • Eastern – Antwi Boasiako Sekyere
    • Greater Accra – Nii Laryea Afotey Agbo (MP)
    •  Northern – Alhaji Limuna Mohammed Muniru
    •  Upper East – James Zoogah Tiigah
    •  Upper West – Alhaji Amidu Sulemani (MP)
    •  Volta – Helen Adjoa Ntoso (MP)
    •  Western – Paul Evans Aidoo (MP)

    Deputy Ministers

    • Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration: Amb. Thomas Kwesi Quartey
    • Attorney General & Ministry of Justice: Dr. Dominic Ayine (MP)
    • Defence: Alexander Segbefia
    • Finance: Cassiel Ato Forson (MP) and Mrs. Mona Quartey
    • Interior: James Agalga (MP)
    • Agriculture: Dr. Hanna Bissiw (MP) and Dr. Alhassan Ahmed Yakubu (MP)
    • Communications: Felix Kwakye Ofosu and Ato Sarpong
    • Education: Sam Okudzeto- Ablakwa (MP) and Alex Kyeremeh (MP)
    • Employment & Labour Relations: Baba Jamal (MP)
    • Transport: Mrs. Joyce Bawa Mogtari
    • Health: Dr. Victor Asare Bampoe
    • Lands & Natural Resources: Barbara Serwaa Asamoah and  Ebenezer Okletey Tei Larbi
    • Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation: Dr. Bernice Heloo (MP) Dr. Alfred Sugri Tia (MP)
    • Local Gov’t & Rural Development: Emmanuel Agyekum (MP) and Edwin Nii Vandepuye (MP)
    • Water Resources, Works & Housing: Samson Ahi (MP) Johnny Osei Kofi
    • Tourism, Culture & Creative Arts: Dzifa Gomashie
    • Chieftaincy & Traditional Affairs: Effah Baafi (MP)
    • Energy: John Abdulai Jinapor and Benjamin Dagadu
    • Roads & Highway: Isaac Adjei-Mensah (MP)
    • Youth & Sports: Vincent Oppong Asamoah
    • Gender, Children & Social Protection: Mrs. Dela Sowah (MP) and John Alexander Ackon
    • Fisheries & Aquaculture: Mrs. Benita Okity Duah (MP)
    • Trade: Kweku Ricketts Hagan (MP) and Murtala Mohammed (MP)
  • Brazil’s World Cup misery could even affect President Rousseff’s re-election

    Brazil’s crushing defeat at the hands Germany and the Netherlands at the just ended 2014 FIFA World Cup has rocked the nation. And it could even affect Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s chances for re-election in October.

    Rousseff once enjoyed a popularity rating of about 80%. This is now down to 40%.

    According to a survey of eligible voters by the Brazilian polling firm Datafolha, 38% said they would vote for Rousseff in the Oct. 5 election. But this rate has been falling, and where Rousseff’s popularity will be in three months is hard to predict.

    The Brazilian economy has been unable to pull out of low growth. Its gross domestic product increased by just 1.9% on the year in the first quarter of 2014.

    The World Cup tournament began on June 12, and took much of the national attention away from politics and the economy. But the country’s loss to Germany could bring this attention back to the government’s poor handling of various issues, such as slow preparations for the World Cup, the country’s high inflation rate and the fact that Brazil has spent more than $10 billion on World Cup-related investments.

    As one Brazilian office worker said: “A lot of money was spent on building stadiums, but it ended up for nothing. I think there will be more anti-government protests.”

    At Mineirao Stadium in Belo Horizonte, where Brazil lost to Germany, spectators booed Rousseff after the game.

    Also, later that day, buses were set ablaze and shops were looted in Sao Paulo and its surrounding areas. If security deteriorates, the government will face even further criticism.

    When during the game it looked that Brazil would not be able to come back from Germany’s offensive onslaught, Rousseff wrote on a microblogging site that she was very sad and rallied the nation to get back on their feet and start over, calling for people to be calm. But it is unknown how Brazilians will react in the weeks to come.

  • Arturo Vidal demands £150,000-a-week from Man Utd

    Arturo Vidal has told Manchester United he wants a salary of at least £150,000-a-week before he’ll consider moving to the Old Trafford club.

    United have been holding talks with Vidal’s agent Fernando Felicevich in the last few days, in the hope of finalising a £35million deal for the Chile international.

    However, Tuttomercatoweb reports that the transfer is stall because Vidal has rejected United’s £100,000-a-week contract offer – and is demanding at least £150,000-a-week.

    United boss Louis van Gaal is said to be desperate to sign the 27-year-old, who he has admired since his days in the Bundesliga.

    Vidal told Chilean TV on Tuesday that he was calm about his future and was not going to try and force through a switch.

    ‘I’m already at a great team, Juventus, so I will be just as calm if the Manchester United option falls through,’ he said.

    Talks over a compromise are expected to continue in the next few days.

  • Tema musicians record tribute song for Castro

    A group of Tema-based musicians have collaborated on a song pleading with missing hiplife musician Castro to return.

    The song, ‘Castro We Need You Back’ is from Octave Music & DS Media, and features Keche, Dadie Opanka, Stay Jay, Vibz, Obiri Yeboah, Dwayne Cash, JJ Gonami, Keemnyce and Mulagad.

    Meanwhile, a candlight vigil planned by the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA)  for Sunday, July 13, was called off at the 11th hour after Castro’s family refused to give their blessing. The family said it was a bad omen to mark ‘one week’, usually associated with funeral rites, when there was no confirmation that Castro was indeed deceased.

    Castro, born Theophilus Tagoe, and his female companion, Janet Bandu, went missing on Sunday, 6 July, while jet skiing in the waters near the Peace Holiday Beach resort in Ada.

    The hiplife musician had been relaxing with Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan and a group of their friends when the unfortunate incident occurred.

    The search for Castro and Janet, which is being undertaken by the Marine Division of the Ghana Police Service, has so far yielded nothing.

  • American man claims piece of Africa for daughter

    American Jeremy Heaton has claimed a piece of land between Egypt and Sudan for his daughter who wants to be a princess.

    Mr Heaton told BBC Radio 5 live that he had travelled from Virginia with his flag to proclaim the area the “Kingdom of North Sudan”. The area is 800 square miles of arid desert and doesn’t belong to any country. He says he has put official requests in with Egypt and Sudan but, as yet, neither have responded.

    Mr Heaton said his daughter, Emily, had asked “if one day she would be a princess”.

    “Being a father, I knew she was serious in her request,” he said. “I researched pieces of land that were unclaimed and was fortunate to discover it.” A territorial dispute between the two countries means the land is one of the last unclaimed areas on earth.

    To celebrate her seventh birthday he made the journey to what locals call Bir Tawil to make Emily’s “dreams come true”.

    On June 16, he planted the flag his daughter had designed in the ground and insists his claim is legitimate. He argues that over the years many countries, including the United States, were claimed by the simple act of planting a flag.

    The difference, he says, is that they were usually acts of war, but in this case he “founded the nation in love for my daughter”.

    Mr Heaton says he’ll reach out to the African Union for support.

    Credit: BBC

  • Andre Ayew to be named Black Stars vice captain

    France-based midfielder Andre Ayew is set to be named the deputy captain of Ghana’s national team following the likely exit of Michael Essien from the Black Stars.

    According to a report on a local radio station, Asempa Leaks, the Marseille superstar will take over the position when the Black Stars assemble for their next assignment.

    The report claimed that AC Milan star Essien will not be invited to play for the Black Stars in the immediate future following alleged acts of indiscipline.

    According to the report, Ghana coach Kwasi Appiah is determined to stamp out all traces of indiscipline from the Black Stars after the indefinite suspension of Kevin Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari.

    This shows that the trio, who were contestants for the Black Stars deputy captain’s position, are unlikely to return to the Black Stars any time soon.

    Ayew, son of Ghana legend Abedi Ayew Pele, has long been touted to lead the Black Stars as a skipper following in the footsteps of his father.

    The Marseille superstar led Ghana to win the U20 World Cup title and he is widely tipped to become a future leader in the Black Stars team.

  • I’m no football fan – Argentina president

    Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez admitted on Monday she had not watched a single one of the country’s matches in the World Cup football tournament, including the final, a blunder that some observers said exposed her as out of touch with the national mood.

    A day after football-mad Argentina lost the World Cup final to Germany by a score of 1-0, Fernandez received the national team in the capital, giving each of the downbeat players, dressed in black suits and ties, a consolatory hug.

    Fernandez had earlier declined an invitation from Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff to attend the final, saying she was recovering from a sore throat. Her counterpart, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, attended the match, even leaping with joy at Germany’s winning goal.

    In a televised speech, Fernandez, flanked by Lionel Messi and the rest of the team, said: “As you know I’m no football fan.”

    “I didn’t see a single match, not even the one yesterday,” she said, adding that she rang Argentine coach Alejandro Sabella after the match because it felt like the team had won.

    “That’s how I felt and how 40 million Argentines felt too.”

    Although not entirely surprising given her well-known disinterest in the sport, Fernandez’s comments will do little to endear herself to a country obsessed by football and left heartbroken by the defeat.

    Despite her best intentions, analysts said Fernandez, who cannot run in next year’s election, failed to capture the national mood.

    “It sort of underscores that she lives in a world of her own more and more,” said Felipe Noguera, a political analyst.

    “This has been a very positive month for the country and for the overall mood. And she’s just not part of it,” he added.

    The team’s run to the tournament final handed Argentina’s 40 million people a rare chance to wipe from their minds the country’s latest debt crisis, surging prices and political scandals.

    Some fans took to social media site Twitter to vent their derision toward Fernandez.

    “There is poverty, she doesn’t see it. There is insecurity, she doesn’t see it. Argentina’s in the final, she doesn’t see it. CFK blind woman,” said one Twitter user, using the president’s initials.

    The players had been expected to head to Buenos Aires’ iconic Obelisk monument in the afternoon to greet fans who partied there until late last night, celebrating their team’s performance with dancing, drummers and firecrackers.

    The festivities turned sour when dozens of hooligans hurled bricks and bottles as riot police replied with tear gas and water canons.

    More than a dozen police officers were injured and 120 people detained, local media said.

    Argentina’s soccer federation said Monday’s homecoming party had been canceled due to transport concerns.

  • United seal world-record £750m kit deal

    Manchester United have agreed the largest kit sponsorship deal in sporting history worth a staggering £750 million with adidas.

    The club have signed a 10-year “global technical sponsorship and dual branded licensing” agreement with the German sportswear manufacturer which begins next season when United’s 12-year partnership with Nike finishes.

    Nike announced it would not be extending their association with United earlier this month because they were unwilling to meet the proposed fees. The US Company had been paying £23.5m a year.

    Champions League winners Real Madrid’s £31m-a-year deal with adidas was previously the biggest club deal.

    The deal should boost United’s outlay in the transfer market this summer, with nearly £60m already committed for Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera.

    Arturo Vidal is also believed to be close to joining the club for a fee in the region of £45m. The Juventus midfielder said at the weekend: “I am very relaxed and all of us would like to be in one of the best teams in the world.”

    New manager Louis van Gaal reportedly remains interested in Borussia Dortmund centre-back Mats Hummels, a World Cup winner with Germany though Arjen Robben turned down his Netherlands manager’s plea to join him at Old Trafford after Saturday’s 3-0 win over Brazil.

  • Maradona, Blatter, Kempes critical of Messi award

    Former Argentina great Mario Kempes has joined the growing criticism of the decision to award Lionel Messi the Golden Ball at the World Cup, declaring that the four-time Ballon d’Or winner was “not up to standard” in Brazil.

    FIFA president Sepp Blatter has admitted he was “surprised” that Messi was named player of the tournament despite failing to score in the knockout rounds, while ex-Argentina star Diego Maradona claimed Messi had been given the award for “marketing reasons”.

    Kempes, top scorer when Argentina first won the World Cup in 1978, gave a harsh critique of Messi’s performances in Brazil during an interview with Radio America.

    “I think that Messi wasn’t up to standard during the World Cup,” he said. “He may have scored four goals in the first few games but I don’t believe he showed he was the best player in the world by the end of the tournament.

    “Argentina needed Messi like a fish needs water but he needed to be more involved. We lacked his footballing brain.”

    Argentina finished the tournament conceding just four goals but lacked spark in attack, scoring just twice in the four knockout games as they finished runners-up to Germany.

    Kempes added: “Our main concern, which was the defence, ended up being the attack. The world seems upside down.”

  • Brazil is last World Cup for top stars

    Brazil will mark the final time several household names appear in the competition. Some of the World Cup’s biggest names are advancing in years, which means they will have graced the competition for the last time.

    Most players don’t get the opportunity to bow out at the top, but Miroslav Klose has waved goodbye to football’s grandest stage in style.

    His goal in Germany’s 7-1 semi-final thrashing of Brazil saw him become the World Cup’s record goalscorer with 16 strikes, in a fitting end to what will be his last appearance in the competition at the age of 36.

    Italy’s Andrea Pirlo continues to defy his years with his brilliance, but given he will be 39 by the time Russia 2018 comes around, he is unlikely to weave his magic in the tournament again.

    Another midfield star bidding farewell to the World Cup is Steven Gerrard. England were dumped out in the group stages in Brazil, and the 34-year-old is highly unlikely to have the opportunity to make amends in four years’ time.

    Spain endured a miserable campaign in Brazil, with their shock exit from Group B set to prompt a changing of the guard, as the veteran trio of Xabi Alonso, 32, Xavi, 34, and David Villa, 32 are replaced by a new breed in 2018.

    With four World Cups under his belt, Cameroon captain Samuel Eto’o has certainly had his fill of the game’s greatest competition, but the 33-year-old would need to display an astonishing durability if he is to appear at a fifth tournament.

    Fellow African icon Didier Drogba was used mainly as a substitute in Brazil and the Cote d’Ivoire star will almost certainly be retired in 2018, when he will be 40 years old.

    That could also be the case for Diego Forlan who, at 35 and now playing his football in Japan, did remarkably well to be selected in Uruguay’s World Cup squad this time around.

    Mexico captain Rafael Marquez became the first player to appear in five World Cups in Brazil, though the 35-year-old almost certainly won’t extend that record in Russia in four years.

    And having failed to reach the tournament at all, Sweden talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic – who turns 33 in October – may not get another opportunity to grace the competition.

  • Fifa boss in ticket scandal surrenders

    The British boss of a Fifa partner firm being investigated over alleged illegal World Cup ticket sales has surrendered to a judge in Brazil.

    Police had tried to arrest Ray Whelan four days ago but he was not at his exclusive Rio de Janeiro hotel.

    Mr Whelan, director of Match Hospitality, denies any wrongdoing.

    An international gang is suspected of acting at as many as four World Cups, earning about $90m (£52m) per tournament. The gang is believed to have made money by acquiring and illegally selling on VIP tickets and hospitality packages.

    Match held the rights to sell hospitality tickets for the World Cup.

    Mr Whelan turned himself in to judge Rosita Maria de Oliveira Netto. He has been rearrested by police and is expected to be taken to a detention facility.

    According to a spokesperson for Mr Whelan’s lawyer, Fernando Fernandes, Mr Whelan said: “I can finally start my criminal defence.”

    Mr Whelan had left Rio’s Copacabana Palace by the time police called four days ago. He has been indicted with 11 other people.

    He was briefly arrested on 7 July but was released after questioning.

    Then last Thursday, police said they went to Mr Whelan’s room in Rio’s Copacabana Palace hotel but he was no longer there and they were told he had left an hour earlier.

    In a statement, Match said Mr Whelan had simply left the hotel with Mr Fernandes before police arrived.

    It said: “We do not believe that the term ‘fugitive’ is appropriate under the circumstances as he is presently with his lawyer.”

    Hundreds of tickets and large amounts of cash have been recovered during the police operation, which gathered evidence via phone taps.

  • Maradona: Messi didn’t deserve Golden Ball

    Diego Maradona, the 1986 World Cup winner, feels Fifa made the wrong decision to hand the Golden Ball award for best player to Lionel Messi.

    The Barcelona star beat the likes of Thomas Muller, Arjen Robben and James Rodriguez to the prestigious individual award after scoring four goals in seven performances at this summer’s tournament and guiding his team to the final, yet Maradona feels the 27-year-old only won it for commercial reasons.

    “Messi? I would give him heaven if possible,” Maradona said during his show on Telesur.

    “But it’s not right when someone wins something that he shouldn’t have won just because of some marketing plan.”

    Maradona then went on to voice his disappointment with Argentina’s 1-0 defeat in Sunday’s final against Germany following Mario Gotze’s goal in extra-time.

    “I feel sorry for my country. Mario Gotze’s goal really hurt. There’s a huge sadness in my heart that we lost the final.

    “All things put together, I think Argentina deserved at least penalties. That Germany won was the result of a misunderstanding in the Argentine defence.”

    The 1986 World Cup winner also had his say on Alejandro Sabella’s decision to replace Ezequiel Lavezzi with Sergio Aguero at half-time and argued that the Argentina boss got things wrong.

    “I don’t understand the substitution of Lavezzi. He was phenomenal down the wing. Kun Aguero didn’t have the same impact. It was not his tournament.”

  • Fuel hike affects everything – economist

    The removal of fuel subsidies has overburdened Ghanaians, economist and lecturer at the University of Education, Winneba Kumasi campus, Mr Obeng Takyi, has said.
    Speaking to Kessben Television about the recent hike in petroleum prices, Mr Obeng said fuel is a strategic commodity globally and any tax put on it affects everything. He added that this is the reason why most governments subsidise it.
    Mr Takyi appealed to the government to act on the fuel price increment.

  • My son could have been a race driver – Abedi Pele

    Football legend Abedi Pele has revealed that his youngest son Jordan Ayew was close to becoming a Formula One driver before deciding to play football.

    Dede, Rahim and Jordan are the three sons of the football maestro who have followed his footsteps as a footballer. Both Jordan and Dede represented Ghana at the just ended FIFA World Cup in Brazil where the Black Stars exited at the group stages.

    The two brothers who both ply their trade in France with Olympique Marseille enjoyed a good run towards the end of the French ligue 1 season with Jordan on loan at Sochaux.

    “‘I never decided for the future of my boys when they were growing up.

    “They usually used to watch my training sessions back in the days with Marseille.

    “I can say Dede was the one who really wanted to play so much because he was following me everywhere I went and watching my cassettes all the time.

    “For Jordan, he was more interested in car racing because he wanted to be a formula one driver so he was so good in driving when he was a kid. He was a very good driver.

    “It all changed when we came back to Ghana and he saw Dede playing and everybody was talking about Dede, then he said he didn’t want to be left behind so he joined.

    “They have their own individual styles because Dede is more like me and Jordan is in the mould of Christiano Ronaldo, very skillful, strong and fast.”

  • Fuel price is govt’s most sensitive decision – Dr Wereko Brobbey

    The New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) founding member, Dr Wereko Brobbey has said that protecting the price of fuel is the most sentitive decision any government can take.

    According to him, the hardship Ghanaians are experiencing under the Mahama-led administration is now unbearable.

    Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show, outspoken “Tarzan” wondered why the “suffering” Ghanaian was paying higher utilities than the average American.

    “The people of Ghana who earn way less than the minimum wage, pay more than the average American. How is that possible?

    “…if international prices of fuel are going down, prices should go down here (in Ghana). The mechanisms set up are not working as they should. Why do we have to pay for the inefficiency of TOR, BOST, etc.” he lamented.

    Transport operators announced a 15% increment in fares which takes effect from today, Monday, July 14.

    The new fares announced Saturday, July 12, were reached after consultations between the Transport Ministry and transport operators represented by the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC).

  • Stick to golf, Van Persie tells Van Hooijdink

    Dutch skipper Robin van Persie has blasted back at Pierre van Hooijdonk for his World Cup sniping, telling the former Celtic star to “stick to playing golf”.

    Van Hooijdonk, who won 46 caps for Holland, ripped into the Manchester United striker in a newspaper column before Saturday’s clash with Brazil.

    He claimed van Persie should be dropped for a lack of commitment but the striker gave the perfect response by netting in a 3-0 win as Louis van Gaal’s side claimed bronze medals.

    That took his tally for the tournament to four goals and van Persie rounded on his former Feyenoord 
team-mate yesterday.

    He said: “Van Hooijdonk needs to stop. He should stick to playing golf or do something else.

    “Everybody is proud of the team but creates panic without arguments.

    “I gave everything and I don’t understand why van Hooijdonk does this and gets a platform like this.

    “I can take criticism but only when it’s fair. It’s not coming from a good heart. Maybe he’s angry with me, you should ask him.”

    Van Hooijdonk then responded by saying: “This shows that he has bad 
feelings about me, instead of other way around.

    “It’s my job to be critical on the things I see.”

  • Naked selfies extracted from old phones

    Thousands of pictures including “naked selfies” have been extracted from factory-wiped phones by a Czech Republic-based security firm.

    The firm, Avast, used publicly available forensic security tools to extract the images from second-hand phones bought on eBay.

    Other data extracted included emails, text messages and Google searches.

    Experts have warned that the only way to completely delete data is to “destroy your phone”.

    Most smartphones come with a “factory reset” option, which is designed to wipe and reset the device, returning it to its original system state.

    However, some older smartphones only erase the indexing of the data and not the data itself, which means pictures, emails and text messages can be recovered relatively easily by using standard forensic tools that anyone can buy and download.

    The company claims that of 40,000 stored photos extracted from 20 phones purchased from eBay, more than 750 were of women in various stages of undress, along with 250 selfies of “what appears to be the previous owner’s manhood”.

    There was an additional 1,500 family photos of children, 1,000 Google searches, 750 emails and text messages and 250 contact names and email addresses.

    The company said: “Deleting files from your Android phone before selling it or giving it away is not enough. You need to overwrite your files, making them irretrievable.”

    Credit: BBC

  • NPA blames fuel increment on subsidy removals

    The 23% increment in the price of fuel could have been prevented if the fuel subsidies had remained in place, the Public Relations Officer of the National Petroleum Authority, Yaro Kasambata told the CitiFM Online Breakfast Show.

    He said since the government is no longer subsidizing the price of petroleum products, consumers would have to pay the full cost.

    Mr Kasambata added that the prices of crude oil on the international market and the depreciation of the Ghana cedi
    have contributed to the increment.

    About two weeks ago, the National Petroleum Authority indicated it would increase the price of petroleum products after an acute shortage of the product hit various parts of the country, especially Accra.

    The shortage was caused by the inability of government to settle its debts promptly to Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs).

    The shortage reignited the discussion on the payment of fuel subsidies as some consumers indicated their readiness to pay the full cost of petroleum prices.

  • Taliban shooting survivor campaigns for Nigeria’s girls

    Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani girl who survived shooting by the Taliban for attending school, is meeting Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan to press for more action to free more than 200 girls held by Boko Haram.

    Malala, who recently turned 17, met with relatives of the kidnapped girls in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja on Sunday.

    Malala pledged to campaign tirelessly until the return of the girls. She said she believed there is a clear link between poor education and the political violence which the extreme Islamist Boko Haram movement has brought to Nigeria.

    “If you improve the one, you discourage the other,” she has said. “If we remain silent then this will spread”.

    Two years ago, Malala was shot in the head by Pakistani Taliban militants for campaigning for girls’ education.

    She survived after being airlifted to the UK for treatment.

    The Boko Haram leader has said in a new video message that he is prepared to negotiate a prisoner swap for the girls.

    Credit: BBC

  • Ghana’s image is tarnished – Akwasi Osei-Adjei

    The former Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Akwasi Osei-Adjei has said Ghana’s image and position in the international community is deteriorating due to recent events.

    He attributed the deterioration to bad leadership and scandals such as the government chartering a flight to take money to players in Brazil and the report about 200 Ghanaians seeking asylum in Brazil. This, he indicated were features of a failed state.

    The former Minister for Foreign Affairs accused the current government of choosing incompetent people to head various government positions with little or no supervision of their work.

    Mr Osei-Adjei also raised concerns about the role played by the Governor of Bank of Ghana, zeroing in on the issue of the sending of money to Brazil by the government.

    “Does he know anything about banking at all? Because if he does, he will know that there are more effective and efficient ways of sending money rather than loading money in a plane to Brazil,” he said.

    “One may be granted asylum by a different nation when the person faces threat of danger on his life,” he asserted.

    He indicated that no Ghanaian life is in danger, therefore he believes that the economic hardship which has befallen the country has prompted these Ghanaians to seek for asylum in Brazil.

    The former MP who spoke in an interview on Angel FM claims Ghana is no longer pleasant to live in. The 200 Ghanaians therefore saw their appearance in Brazil as an opportunity to escape the economic hardship back home.

    Characteristics of a failing state include:

    • a central government so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory
    • non-provision of public services
    • widespread corruption and criminality
    • refugees and involuntary movement of populations, and
    • sharp economic decline

    The former Minister expressed his disappointment on how national football had previously been used on the international stage as a symbol of unity and pride, but had turned to a symbol of division and disgrace. He concluded his interview by stating that “Ghana is retrogressing”.

    By Evans Osei-Bonsu

  • Anglican Church to vote on women bishops

    The Church of England is voting today on whether to allow female bishops for the first time in its history, ending half a century of bitter divisions over the role of women.

    A yes vote by its governing body, the General Synod, could see the first women appointed to the Anglican Church’s top leadership positions by the end of this year.

    While a yes vote would not force Anglican churches in other countries to allow women bishops, senior clergy say it would send a powerful message which should prompt others to follow.

    The idea of female bishops was rejected in 2012, but senior church figures are optimistic it will go through this time.

    The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will speak in favour of the motion at the meeting in York, northern England, and says he is “hopeful” the vote will pass.

    Other senior clergy share his view, saying they believe another rejection is unlikely following the public backlash against the decision two years ago.

    A string of supporters of the move, many of them younger female vicars, took to Twitter to voice their views under the hashtag #SynodVoteYes.

    If the move again fails to go through with the necessary two-thirds majority in three houses of the Church of England, officials could force through the change.

    This could include introducing legislation to allow women bishops without going through the General Synod.

    Conservative Anglo-Catholics are against the idea of women bishops and believe that only men should be ordained for high church office.

    The Church of England is the mother church of the global Anglican Communion, followed by some 80 million people in over 165 countries.

    There are already Anglican women bishops in countries such as the United States and Australia.

  • Power grid to be set up for West Africa – Mahama reveals

    President John Mahama has revealed that the National Electricity Companies in West Africa are seeking to establish a reliable power grid for the West African sub-region.

    He said this during a courtesy call by President of Sierra Leone at the Flagstaff house in Accra.

    The President expressed the hope that the 450 megawatts of power will help propel economic growth in the sub-region.

    The co-operation, dubbed the ‘West African Power Pool’ will see the establishment of a plant in Ghana to generate about 450 megawatts of power to some selected West African countries.

    He noted that West Africa is currently experiencing fast growth but one of the major constraints is energy supply.

    The President therefore indicated that in his capacity as Chairman on ECOWAS, he will focus on “how we can push through the integration of our infrastructure, most especially, energy.”

    The generated power will then be transmitted through Cote D’Ivoire to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    Credit: citifmonline

  • Deport asylum seekers – gov’t tells Brazilian authorities

    Government has begun diplomatic proceedings to get the football fans who have embarrassed the nation by seeking asylum in Brazil sent home, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has said.

    This is in wake of the recent report that over 200 Ghanaian soccer fans are seeking asylum in Brazil.

    The government has asked the Brazilian government to send the 200 asylum-seekers home as soon as their visas expire.

    The fans who were flown by government to Brazil to support the Black Stars in the 2014 World Cup tournament there, have argued that they are Muslims fleeing inter-religious conflicts in Ghana.

    The Brazilian government is reported to be considering their asylum application.

    However, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in a statement said these individuals simply do not want to return to Ghana and must be deported.

    Government on Friday denied the claim of the fans and ordered the Embassy in Brazil to liaise with authorities there to investigate the development.

    “Government states for the record that the basis for this alleged request is completely false as no religious conflict are taking place in Ghana,” a government statement noted.

    Source: GBC

  • Coach Loew told ‘miracle boy’ Gotze to outshine Messi

    Germany coach Joachim Loew hailed Mario Gotze as the “miracle boy” after his extra-time strike sealed a 1-0 win over Argentina in Sunday’s World Cup final.

    Low also revealed he told Gotze to show the world he was better than Lionel Messi minutes before the substitute came on to score the winner.

    Victory gave Germany a fourth World Cup title and first for 24 years.

    Gotze, 22, said: “It is an unbelievable feeling. You score that goal and you don’t really know what’s happening.”

    Gotze, who began the 2014 Fifa World Cup in Germany’s starting line-up, came on as an 88th-minute substitute for Miroslav Klose in Sunday’s final.

    With seven minutes of extra time remaining, the Bayern Munich midfielder volleyed home with his left foot after controlling Andre Schurrle’s left-wing cross on his chest.

    “He is the wonder who can play in numerous positions, he is the decider who can come on and make a difference,” said Low. “That is what he did.”

    Gotze, who joined Bayern in a £31.5m deal from Borussia Dortmund last summer, added: “It’s indescribable. The dream has become a reality. It is absolutely sensational.”

    Despite being on the losing side in the final, Messi was named as the tournament’s best player.

    Coach Alejandro Sabella said the award was “very deserved”, adding: “He played a great World Cup to get us where he did.”

    Germany counterpart Low, meanwhile, said victory in Brazil was the result of a 10-year project.

    Germany were knocked out at the group stage of Euro 2004 without winning a game but have since reached three semi-finals and two finals at five major championships.

    Before Sunday they had not won a tournament since tasting success in the 1996 European Championships in England.

    “We’ve made constant progress and believed in the project,” said the 54-year-old Low, who became coach in 2006 after stepping up from his role as assistant to Jurgen Klinsmann. “If any group deserves it, it’s this team.”

  • German goalie is Golden Glove winner

    Germany’s Manuel Neuer won the World Cup Golden Glove award for the tournament’s best goalkeeper after helping his side to a 1-0 victory over Argentina in Sunday’s final.

    The 28-year-old Bayern Munich player was presented with the award at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium moments after the triumph. He beat off competition from Argentine opposite number Sergio Romero and Keylor Navas of surprise package Costa Rica.

    Neuer was beaten only four times in the tournament and kept clean sheets in the 1-0 quarter-final win over France and the victory over Argentina in the final. He succeeds Spain’s Iker Casillas, who was voted outstanding goalkeeper at the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

  • Germany are the World Cup champions

    Germany beat Argentina 1-0 to lift the 2014 Fifa World Cup at a packed Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro last night.

    Cheered on by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the winning goal by Mario Gotze came just seven minutes before the end of extra time.

    Typical of the precision that the Germans have shown consistently, Gotze demonstrated perfect technique and control by chesting down Andre Schurrle’s cross before finishing it off with his left foot.

    Despite flashes of talent and promise, four-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi could not lead his side to respond and Germany claimed their first World Cup since they beat the same opponents in Rome 24 years ago.

    The last time Germany won was in 1990 before East and West Germany were reunified.

    Germany became the first European team to win the trophy in South America. This will be their fourth World Cup win – and they are hoping to not have to wait another 24 years for the next one.

    German fans celebrated at the stadium for more than an hour after the final whistle. In Berlin, ecstatic fans waved flags, lit flares, sounded their car horns and danced in the streets.

    A homecoming celebration is planned on Tuesday, July 15, in Berlin.

     

  • Pogba wins Hyundai Young Player Award

    Fifa’s Technical Study Group has named Paul Pogba as Hyundai Young Player Award winner of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

    The 21-year-old Juventus star earned the prestigious accolade after some remarkable performances in the French midfield during his five appearances in the tournament.

    As well as scoring a crucial headed goal against Nigeria in the Round of 16, the energetic Frenchman was an influential figure throughout Les Bleus’ Brazil 2014 venture. Alongside Yohann Cabaye and Blaise Matuidi, he consistently demonstrated his power and ball-winning skills, as well as his excellent technique, dribbling ability and great footballing brain.

    With an 80% pass completion rate – including an assist against Switzerland – in 354 minutes of play, Pogba has continued where he left off at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey, where his displays won him the Golden Ball award. The young midfield dynamo finishes ahead of Dutchman Memphis Depay and compatriot Raphael Varane (placed in alphabetical order).

    The criteria used, apart from the fact that players had to be born on or after 1 January 1993, were as follows:

    • Exceptional level of skill
    • Refreshing and youthful style of play
    • Creativity and inspiration
    • Tactical maturity and effectiveness
    • Fan recognition via impressive performances
    • Role model for young footballers
    • Positive attitude and advocate for fair-play

  • Lionel Messi named World Cup’s best player

    Lionel Messi has won the 2014 Fifa Golden Ball awarded to the best player of World Cup tournament.

    Messi, who won four man-of-the-match awards throughout the tournament but did not influence the final against Germany in Rio de Janeiro in the way that he would have liked, was chosen from a 10-player list of candidates who were announced on the eve of the final, with seven of the nominees coming from the finalists, Argentina and Germany.

    His man of the match performances came early in the competition against Switzerland, Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    Aside from Messi, Argentina had two nominees – Ángel di María and Javier Mascherano. Germany provided four candidates: Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm and Thomas Müller.

    Neymar was the only candidate from Brazil on the list, which was selected by Fifa’s technical study group of coaching analysts. Arjen Robben of Holland and James Rodríguez of Colombia, winner of the Golden Boot as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, completed the list.

    The Golden Glove award for the tournament’s outstanding goalkeeper went to Germany’s Manuel Neuer. France’s Paul Pogba was named the World Cup’s best young player, while Colombia were given the fair play award.

  • Transport fares up from today

    Commuters will be hit by a 15 percent hike in their fares with effect from today, July 14.

    The new fare announced today by the transport operators was reached after consultations between the Transport Ministry and the transport operators represented by the Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC).

    A joint statement to that effect was issued by the General Secretaries of the Ghana Private Road Transport Union (GPRTU) and Ghana Road Transport Coordinating Council (GRTCC), Stephen K. Okudzeto and Alhaji Aliu Baba respectively.

    The new transport fares cover intra-city (Trotro), inter-city (Long Distance) as well as taxi cabs.

    The increment coincides with the price hike in petroleum products.

    Petrol (premium) rose by 23.08 percent and from today will sell at GH¢3.36 a litre instead of GH¢2.73 per litre.

    Kerosene saw an increase of 23.75 percent and diesel 22.01 percent.

    Premix fuel goes up by 25.60 percent to GH¢1.57 per litre. Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) saw an increase of 15.68 percent, and will sell at GH¢3.32 per litre.

    Metro Mass Transit Ltd. has however announced that its transport fares across the country would remain unchanged despite the 15% increment in transport fares.

  • Mourinho: Messi not the greatest of all time

    Jose Mourinho feels Argentina captain Lionel Messi cannot yet be considered to be the best footballer ever.

    Messi has scored four goals at the World Cup in Brazil to help Argentina reach their first final since 1990.

    The Barcelona star has not yet netted in the knockout rounds but has remained an influential figure for his country, who are chasing a first World Cup triumph since Diego Maradona led them to glory in 1986.

    It has been suggested that a World Cup success of his own would see Messi held in the same esteem as Maradona – but Mourinho isn’t convinced it is that straightforward.

    “I think he is a fantastic player,” the Chelsea boss said in his capacity as a global football ambassador for Yahoo!

    “He doesn’t need to win the World Cup to be considered a fantastic player. He doesn’t need to win the World Cup to be considered a historical player in this decade. But for me, he is not the greatest player of all time.”

    Meanwhile, Mourinho said he expected Vicente del Bosque to be the man to help Spain bounce back from the disappointment of their group stage exit.

    He added: “Does Del Bosque have problems to stay in his job? I don’t think so, because the country respects him.

    “The country remembers the fantastic results they had in previous competitions, they trust him, they think he’s the right man. I don’t think he has problems staying in the job.

  • ‘Guardiola or Mourinho should replace Scolari’

    The future of the current national team boss remains in doubt following the Selecao’s humiliating 7-1 defeat against Germany in the World Cup semi-finals in Belo Horizonte last Tuesday.

    Ahead of Brazil’s third-place play off against the Netherlands, Ramalho, who himself has been touted as a possible replacement for Scolari by Zico, has picked several famous names he feels would be suitable for the job.

    “Moments come and I think now is the turn of [former Corinthians boss] Tite. He has been a winner of titles. He must be on the list for selection.

    “If not a Brazilian, it has to be the best. Guardiola would be my preference. Or Mourinho. We have to have a top boss, who has those trademarks. A good operator.

    “Between the two, I’d say Guardiola. But it will be the CBF [Brazilian Football Confederation] that decides. This is my opinion and I’m giving it.”

    Ramalho had the opportunity to become Brazil boss in 2010 but ended up staying with Fluminense and claims he has no regrets or designs on making a move for the job again.

    “I’m not an opportunist,” he said.

    “I’m sad as everyone is. I have my way of thinking in terms of football convictions. I know this Brazilian team is here and there is glamour and vanity taking office.

    “I guess I’m not keen enough on that. I insisted on a few things and felt it would not work. I refused and I do not regret it. That was back then.”

  • Contact me about Castro’s body – Prophet One

    The leader of the Ebenezer Miracle Worship Centre, Prophet Dr Ebenezer Adarkwa Yiadom has said he knows ace musician Castro’s whereabouts and can direct the marine division of the Ghana Police Service and Castro’s family to find the body.

    During his church service on New Mercury FM in Kumasi, the prophet expressed his disappointment in the calls for spiritualists to reveal the whereabouts of Castro whilst he thinks men of God should have been the first point of contact.

    He added that, though he has heard about the sad story on radio and TV, he is waiting for Castro’s family to respect him by coming to his presence to inform him about the incident. He added that until that is done, he will not utter a word.

    He said he had more information to give about Castro to aid in his search, but he is waiting for his parents to visit him before he reveals it.

    The prophet is among the many voices, including mallams, fetish priests and marine agents, who have spoken about Castro’s disappearance.

    The prophet is claimed to be able to raise the dead.

  • President not ready for leadership – Alhaji Bature

    The Managing Editor of Al-Hajj Newspaper, Alhaji Bature Idrissu, has said President John Mahama was not ready to take up the mantle of leadership after the untimely demise of President Mills. He was being prepared and groomed rather for 2016.

    Mr Idrissu added that the President was not prepared for the higher office but only became “president by constitutional arrangement to finish with the unexpired term of the Mills administration”.

    Speaking on Adom FM’s Morning Show, Alhaji Bature, an ardent sympathizer of the Mahama government said the President is in a dilemma.

    According to him, while Mahama is keen on using his own men, he is also trying to ensure ministers in the late President Mills’ administration don’t voice discontentment over being sidelined.

    Bature pointed out that the President has since faced the challenge of even properly selecting ministers to help him to steer the affairs of the country.

  • Brazil fans make us stronger – Zabaleta

    Argentina defender Pablo Zabaleta believes that Brazil fans’ antagonism against them have fired up the World Cup finalists.

    The two nations have long been footballing rivals and local fans have been backing Argentina’s opponents throughout the tournament.

    “It’s special for us to play in this country,” the Manchester City defender said.

    “Especially as Brazilian fans have been against Argentina at this World Cup.”

    When the World Cup draw was made last December, South American football fans dreamed of a final at the Maracana involving the continent’s two super powers.

    But instead of facing Brazil in Rio de Janeiro on Sunday, Argentina will instead take on Germany, who inflicted an embarrassing 7-1 defeat on Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men in the first semi-final on Tuesday.

    And although Argentina go into the game as underdogs after their unimpressive semi-final win on penalties over the Netherlands and Germany’s dominant display, Zabaleta remains unfazed.

    “Sometimes, if you have all the people against you, you feel even stronger,” Zabaleta added. “I think we showed that against Holland and we feel very proud to have made the final.”

  • Harry Zakour blames FA for Black Stars’ dismal performance

    Former Accra Hearts of Oak Chairman Harry Zakour says Ghana’s abysmal performance at the 2014 FIFA World Cup had everything to do with the Ghana Football Association for refusing to listen to advice.

    In Brazil, Ghana failed to replicate her sterling performances exhibited at the past two World Cups in Germany in 2006 as well South Africa in 2010 when they failed to progress past the group stage for the first time, on a campaign rocked by disciplinary issues and bonus rows which undoubtedly affected the team’s output.

    In his speech, the Ex-football administrator placed all blames at the door step of the FA, adding that it was foolhardy to have included the so-called senior players for Ghana’s World Cup campaign.

    “I said it before the World Cup that these boys should not be taken to the tournament but no one listened to me,” he said.

    “Now, look at the shame they brought to us; their indiscipline in camp has embarrassed our nation.

    “For me though, I blame the GFA for all these problems in Brazil as I honestly think there was no need to have sent these three players,” Zakour added.

    AC Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari was dismissed from camp for physically assaulting Black Stars Management Committee member Moses Armah, while Schalke 04’s Kevin-Prince Boateng was similarly sent home on the day of Ghana’s last group fixture against Portugal for verbally abusing Coach Kwesi Appiah during a training exercise.

    Former Chelsea enforcer Michael Essien is also likely to face disciplinary sanctions from the FA for refusing to join the team’s warm-up ahead of the match against Portugal.

     

    Credit: footyghana

  • Brazil’s President says country has proved doubters wrong

    Brazil has proved its doubters wrong by putting on a highly successful World Cup, President Dilma Rousseff said on the eve of the tournament’s final match between Germany and Argentina this weekend.

    Concerns that stadiums and airports wouldn’t be ready or that protests would disrupt soccer’s premiere event dogged Brazil in the years leading up to the event.

    But now, with the Cup almost over, people are hailing it as a sporting success and hundreds of thousands of fans have applauded the warmth of Brazilians and the lively party atmosphere.

    “We showed that our people know how to have good interaction not only among ourselves but with the foreigners that we received,” she said Friday night at the presidential residence during a meeting with foreign journalists. “We competently maintained peace and order, as well as having good airport administration among other successes.”

    The building of stadiums and virtually everything else related to the Cup ran far behind schedule and many planned public infrastructure works tied to the event were scrapped or never completed. Many feared that Brazil’s crowded airports would be overwhelmed as fans moved around the continent-sized nation to attend matches in 12 host cities.

    However, transportation has been far better than forecast, which industry groups have said is partly because the number of air passengers during the month of the World Cup was significantly lower than normal. With Brazil essentially on holiday for the games, there were far fewer business travelers and many ordinary Brazilians avoided trips because of high ticket costs during the tournament.

    Opinion polls have said Brazilians remain evenly split on whether or not the World Cup will bring real benefits for the country. Anger over the $13.5 billion spent on the tournament helped fuel huge protests last year that filled streets in cities across the country as people called for quick improvements to woeful health services, education, transportation and security.

    Protests this year never regained the mass proportions witnessed a year ago, though there was a steady drumbeat of demonstrations, often violent, in the months leading up to the World Cup. Yet during the event itself, the number of protests further dwindled in number and size, in large part because of a heavy police presence on the streets.

    Many soccer fans are calling this one of the best World Cups in decades, given the high-level of play on the field and lack of serious hitches in logistics for fans as they made their way to stadiums.

    That, Rousseff said, bodes well for Brazil as it gets set to host the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. In recent months, Olympic officials from outside Brazil have blasted the country’s preparations for that event, again pointing toward behind-schedule building among other problems.

    But Rousseff met in recent days with International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, who is touring Rio.

    “The IOC president told us that he’s extremely satisfied with our preparations for the Rio Olympics,” Rousseff said. “He said he considers our Olympic village among the best he’s yet seen.”

    Turning back to the World Cup, Rousseff said that she had “never seen such a campaign against something so large, with so many doubts about the success of a Cup as we encountered in Brazil.”

    “Well, we’ve eliminated the doubts of all who didn’t believe in us,” Rousseff added.

  • Maradona: Messi will surpass me if Argentina win

    World Cup winner Maradona says if Argentina win tomorrow’s final, Messi will have surpassed him.

    The Barcelona star will lead Argentina against Germany in the World Cup final.

    “If on Sunday Messi has to overcome Maradona to lift the Cup, I’ll give him the red carpet,” Maradona told De Zurda TV.

    “He will be the player who will define the game. The only fear I have is that he is tired, but in the end you cannot be tired. I think he will understand. If you miss a shot on Sunday, you only resemble the best in the world.”

  • Brazilian Football Federation president-elect backs Scolari

    Luiz Felipe Scolari looks set to keep his job despite Brazil’s humiliating World Cup defeat to Germany.

    Despite Brazil’s crushing 7-1 defeat, the president elect of the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) believes ‘Felipao’ should remain in his post.

    “For me, he stays,” Marco Polo Del Nero, told the Estado de Sao Paulo newspaper.

    “What happened was a tactical error. That was the problem. But we all make mistakes. It can happen to anyone.

    “The important thing is that he did a good job. The campaign and the preparations were good. A base exists.”

    Scolari will meet with Del Nero and current president of the CBF Jose Maria Marin following the match in Brasilia.

    Scolari said he had no idea whether the words of the president in waiting, who takes over next April, meant he would definitely stay on.

    “The first phase of my job finishes on Saturday,” Scolari told a press conference in Brasilia on the eve of the third-place match.

    “After that I will prepare my report and then I will talk with the presidents. They will look at what was right and what was wrong in what I did, but I know in the last year and a half we had several good situations.

    “We have to be ashamed of the 7-1. It was a catastrophe, but I have to ask the media – is everything bad because of one result?”

    Thiago Silva said Scolari had improved Brazil during his time in charge and he urged the Brazilian people not to “crucify” the beleaguered coach.

    “You can’t crucify him for a mistake or any other reason,” the Brazil captain said.

    “We are together. We are one. Everyone is responsible for what happened.

    “The defeat we had wasn’t his fault – the players were playing.

    “My group, we really trust him and we have learned and developed in (the) last year and a half.”

    Scolari sees Saturday’s match against Holland, who lost to Argentina on penalties in their semi-final, as a chance to lift the spirits of the nation.

    “Hopefully we can give the Brazilian people a bit of happiness,” the former Chelsea manager said.

    ”I know my career will be marked by this defeat, but we have an obligation to move on and think about the next goal, which in this case is the match for third place on Saturday in Brasilia.

    ”I know it’s a much smaller dream that we all wanted, but we have to honour the shirt of the national team.”

    Silva called on the fans who booed the team off in Belo Horizonte to get behind the team on Saturday.

    ‘This is a bad time so we need strength from our fans,” the defender said.

    ”I guarantee that we will play this Saturday’s game like it was the final.”

    Silva only did a light training session on Friday, but Scolari confirmed his captain would return to the starting XI after missing the Germany match through suspension.

    Neymar, of course, will miss out because of his back problem.

    As for the rest of the team, Scolari is, unsurprisingly, planning alterations.

    “I will change a few things,” the Brazil coach said.

    “I have some players who have played very little at the World Cup.

    “But I will only put players in who I feel will help us win the match.”

  • Fifa announces Golden Ball shortlist

    Fifa has announced the shortlist for the 2014 Golden Ball, the prize awarded to the best player at the World Cup.

    Argentina have three nominees in Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi, while their opponents in Sunday’s final Germany, have four.

    Mats Hummels, Toni Kroos, Phillip Lahm and Thomas Muller are the players nominated from Joachim Loew’s side.

    Colombia’s James Rodriguez, Brazil’s Neymar and Arjen Robben of Netherlands complete the 10-man shortlist.

    Fifa has also announced the nominees for the Golden Glove competition, awarded to the best goalkeeper at the World Cup.

    Costa Rica’s Keylor Navas, Germany’s Manuel Neuer and Argentina’s Sergio Romero will compete for the prize.

    Meanwhile, Netherlands’ Memphis Depay and Paul Pogba and Raphael Varane of France have been nominated for the best young player at the tournament.

    The winners of each competition are to be announced after Sunday’s final.

     Credit: BBC

  • Italy’s Nicola Rizzoli to be referee in final

    Nicola Rizzoli of Italy will referee the World Cup final between Germany and Argentina.

    With a European and South American team playing, many had expected FIFA to appoint an Asian referee for Sunday’s game. But Rizzoli got the call to work his third Argentina match at this year’s World Cup.

    “It is unbelievable for me,” Rizzoli said in a video interview released Friday by FIFA. “I represent Italy in this moment. I want to be one of the best for sure, and I will.”

    He is the second Italian to referee the final in the past four World Cups. Pierluigi Collina refereed when Germany lost to Brazil 2-0 in the 2002 final in Yokohama, Japan.

    Now head of UEFA refereeing, Collina has been a strong supporter of his compatriot’s career.

    Rizzoli was the referee for the all-German Champions League final in 2013, when Bayern Munich beat Borussia Dortmund 2-1 in London.

    FIFA refereeing committee chairman Jim Boyce said earlier Friday that Rizzoli would get the duty.

    “We choose the best referees for the best matches, and the Italian will referee the final,” Boyce said.

    Rizzoli has already worked three matches at this year’s World Cup, including Argentina’s quarterfinal victory over Belgium and a group win over Nigeria. He also handled the high-profile match between the Netherlands and Spain on the second day of the tournament.

    FIFA head of refereeing Massimo Busacca also said that match officials have improved the football at this year’s World Cup.

    Busacca said their understanding of the game helped increase the number of goals scored and playing time per match from four years ago in South Africa.

    Meanwhile, referees have awarded fewer fouls and yellow cards in Brazil than in 2010.

    “Football won in this competition,” said Busacca, a former World Cup referee.

    FIFA also said the 95 injuries at this World Cup, seven classed as severe, were a reduction of 40 percent.

    “When we compare all the matches we can be really satisfied,” Busacca said.

     

    Credit: AFP

  • Latin America reluctantly rallies behind Argentina

    With a reputation for arrogance and illusions of European-styled grandeur, Argentines have long been the objects of scorn and the butt of jokes across Latin America

    But for at least 90 minutes on Sunday, when Argentina takes on Germany in the World Cup final, most Latin Americans will put aside their irritation with their proud neighbors as they look to Lionel Messi and his teammates to salvage what’s left of the region’s soccer pride.

    A defeat for Argentina would be historic: Never has a European team been crowned champion on this side of the Atlantic.

    But in the wake of Germany’s 7-1 thrashing of host Brazil even the most-devoted believers in the spontaneous and stylish Latin American brand of soccer are wondering if the region is outmatched.

    “My heart wants Argentina to win, but my brain says Germany will,” confessed Alberto Ramos Salcedo, a Colombian journalist and author who frequently writes about soccer.

    That Argentina has stepped into the role as the region’s flag bearer is a cruel reversal for many.

    An online poll in 19 countries taken by YouGov together with The New York Times prior to the World Cup found that in most Latin American countries surveyed people said the team they rooted against was Argentina, which has won the title twice.

    In the early days of the tournament, as Argentina was slow to come to life and underdogs like Costa Rica, Colombia and Mexico rained goals on their opponents, a group of Mexican fans in giant sombreros could be seen on Rio de Janeiro’s iconic Copacabana Beach playfully provoking anyone dressed in Argentina’s blue and white who crossed their path. Their taunt: “Fiesta Latina, sin Argentina, Fiesta Latina without Argentina.”

    The animosity toward Argentina stems from the country’s settlement by waves of European immigrants beginning in the late 19th century, a demographic marker that long fueled perceptions of economic and cultural superiority over their more indigenous or African-descended neighbors. Even the Italian-influenced Spanish spoken on the streets of Buenos Aires is out of step with the language elsewhere.

    Following a humbling 2001 economic collapse, Argentina has courted closer ties with the rest of the region and now looks with envy at Brazil’s economic muscle. Coach Alejandro Sabella’s motto of “humility and hard work” also stands in stark contrast to the flash and brash exuded by Argentina’s manager at the previous World Cup: soccer legend Diego Maradona.

    But not everyone is dancing the tango, least of all fans in Brazil, who are still agonizing over their team’s shocking defeat. The mere presence of their eternal rival playing a final in Brazil’s soccer cathedral, Rio’s Maracana stadium, is for many a pill too hard to swallow even if they would like to see their loss to Germany avenged.

    “There’s no way Argentina can win,” 23-year-old Ingrid Luana said in Rio.

    Brazil’s star striker, Neymar, said he’ll be cheering on Argentina, but only because he wants to see his Barcelona teammates Messi and Javier Mascherano take a world championship.

    For soccer purists, there’s little doubt that Germany is the favorite to win.

    “The truth is the Argentines are overvalued,” said Humberto Melendez, owner of a Mexico City bookstore that specializes in soccer called Futbologia. “But a World Cup in Latin America needs to be won by a Latin American” team.

     

    Credit: AP

  • ‘Dead’ man appears at family gathering

    Family members and friends who had gathered to mourn the death of their beloved took to their heels when the man who was supposed to be dead showed up.

    On Sunday, July 6, 2014, Mr Isaac Asante arrived home from work to find a crowd in mourning clothes in his house.

    A canopy had been erected, while dirges were being sung on mounted loud speakers, but as soon as some members of his family spotted him, they ran helter skelter.

    A surprised Mr Asante tried to find out why they were running from him but no one would stop to answer him.

    A call from the police

    After a while, one of the family members who had mustered courage told Mr Asante that he was supposed to have been knocked down and killed by a vehicle and that they had gathered to mourn him.

    The family member explained that one of Mr Asante’s sisters had received a call, and although the number on the phone showed that the call was from Mr Asante, the caller identified himself as a policeman.

    The policeman was said to have enquired from the recipient of the call whether she knew the owner of the number that had called her, to which she answered in the affirmative.

    She was then directed to report at the Odorkor Police Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) for a piece of information.

    At the station, the sister, who showed up with some family members, was told that the owner of the phone had died instantly on Saturday, July 5, 2014 after he had been knocked down by a vehicle at Bubuashie in Accra.

    The police informed the family that the body had been deposited at the Police Hospital morgue and invited them to the morgue to identify it the next day.

    News Spread

    However, before the family could identify the body, news spread that Mr Asante had died, leading to the gathering of mourners in his house.

    After hearing the reason for the gathering, Mr Asante told the few family members who had returned that his phone had been snatched from him while he was on his way to work the previous day.

    He explained that he had returned home a day after the incident because he had worked on the night shift.

    Phone thief

    The Odorkor Police Commander of the MTTD, Deputy Superintendent of Police Mr Abdullah Mumuni, confirmed the incident and said a man had been knocked down by a commercial vehicle.

    The driver of the vehicle, Mr Benjamin Duku, had told the police, who had rushed to the scene, that the victim was making a phone call while crossing the street.

    Since the victim died instantly and there was no form of identification on him, the police decided to call the contacts on the Nokia phone which was found not far from where he had fallen.

    Later, Mr Asante identified the body of the victim in the morgue as the man who had snatched his phone.

    Meanwhile, the phone snatcher is yet to be identified, as the police were yet to receive any report of a missing person from relations of the victim.

    Credit: Daily Graphic

  • Messi struggling with exhaustion

    Lionel Messi is struggling with “exhaustion” before the World Cup final against Germany, according to his father.

    Messi failed to make an impact in Argentina’s last two matches as the country made it through to Sunday’s showpiece thanks to a penalty shootout victory in their goal-less semi-final against the Netherlands and the game’s solitary goal in their quarter-final against Belgium.

    The pressure of being captain and carrying the hopes of his country appears to have taken its toll on him as he found it difficult to make an impact.

    “He is exhausted,” Messi’s father Jorge said, according to the Daily Telegraph. “He feels as if his legs weigh 100 kilos each.”

    According to FIFA statistics, however, Messi is only ranked the 30th most hard-working player at the World Cup on the basis of distance covered. He has run a total of 32 miles in the six games he has featured in, having played for 573 minutes.

    By contrast, the Netherlands’ Wesley Sneijder has covered 43 miles in 585 minutes and tops the list. Messi is also second-from-bottom on the list of players who have played in all six games of the tournament so far.

    Messi is still in contention for the Golden Boot despite his disappointing form. He has scored four goals and is two behind leader James Rodriguez of Colombia.

    His feelings on fatigue and the final have not been fully examined, though, as Argentina have restricted their media work while in Brazil and earned a fine for the way they have sheltered their players.

    FIFA has handed out a £198,000 penalty to the country’s FA for failing to bring players to pre-match news conferences, with its Disciplinary Committee saying on Thursday that they had breached the competition’s media and marketing regulations.

    Only coach Alejandro Sabella has appeared for Argentina at the last four such news conferences.

    FIFA said the purpose of the regulations is to “allow media, and ultimately fans, to have an opportunity to follow a team’s preparations, while also allowing each team to have the best possible environment for those preparations”.

  • Arturo Vidal set for Man Utd move

    Manchester United are on the verge of signing Arturo Vidal in a blockbuster cash plus payer deal, according to reports in Chile.

    New United boss Louis Van Gaal is keen to bring the Chile star to the north west as he looks to shake things up at Old Trafford.

    And now reports from the Chilean media suggest a deal has been struck for the 27-year-old, with United ready to offer £32m and Patrice Evra in order to get their man.

    Vidal’s performances for his country at the World Cup caught the attention of a host of European clubs.

    Real Madrid, Chelsea and Arsenal have all been linked with swoops for the player.

    However, United appear to have jumped ahead of the pack.

    Juve are keen to bring veteran Frenchman Evra to Turin this summer, and the player is also keen on a switch to Italy.

    United are prepared to include Evra in the deal, despite trying the player to a new one-year deal earlier this summer. The Frenchman is likely to play second-fiddle to Luke Shaw, after the England man’s £27m move to Old Trafford last month.

    Van Gaal has made strengthening the centre of midfield his No.1 priority this summer.

    He has already authorised a £29m deal for Spaniard Ander Herrera, but he is on the lookout for another star name to provide competition for the likes of Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick.

    Marouane Fellaini, who joined from Everton 12 months ago, is available for transfer after the Belgian failed to impress in his debut season at the club.

  • FIFA: Referees were not told to be lenient

    Officials have come under-fire for their reluctance to brandish cards at World Cup 2014 but the vice-president Jim Boyce says there was no directive from above.

    Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce has refuted suggestions that referees at the World Cup have been ordered to be lenient.

    With two matches remaining, the 2014 finals in Brazil have seen 10 dismissals – the lowest figure at the tournament since 1986, when 52 games were played, 12 less than in the competition’s current format.

    But Boyce rejected such claims, though, and praised the officiating seen at the finals thus far.

    “I think the refereeing has been superb, and it has not happened by chance,” he said.

    “I have seen all the courses and seminars, listened to the instructors, and spoken to the referees and they have told me they have never had such good preparation for a World Cup.

    “The referees have been told to only send a player off if they were 100 per cent certain it was a red card, but nothing has ever been said about being lenient.”

    Boyce also believes the tournament as a whole has been a success, after previous concerns surrounding security and the readiness of the stadia.

    “We have seen some tremendous matches,” he added.

    “There were a lot of worries before the tournament, security was a big concern, stadiums were a big concern, but in fairness it has gone a lot better than people expected.

    “Brazil deserves an awful lot of credit because there was a lot of speculation there would be big problems.

  • #Red Friday campaign begins today

    The Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance group, who organized the ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demonstration, are calling on Ghanaians to wear red attire every Friday from today in their latest campaign challenging government to address concerns about the country’s economic hardship.

    The ‘Red Friday’ campaign will continue to highlight the issues raised in the petition handed to government officials as part of ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’.

    The campaign will run on social media under the hash tag #REDFRIDAY which Ghanaians can use to express their opinions about how government is managing the economy.

    “On Fridays, Ghanaians will be encouraged to join discussions on social media. It is important that Ghanaians using social media participate in these discussions use the hash tags #redfriday and #occupyflagstaffhouse, as by doing so, it will be possible to gather important data for the campaign”, said a statement from George Kojo Anti, Executive Secretary of Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG), organisers of the campaigns.

    The campaign is to appeal to Ghanaians to wear their voice until the government pay attention to their problems.

    The colour red is  associated with death and mourning.

     

  • Government must speak on Castro’s disappearance – Wontumi

    The Ashanti Regional Chairman of the National Patriotic Party (NPP) Mr Antwi-Boasiako has said President John Mahama must come out and speak on the disappearance of the ace musician, Castro.

    He lamented that since the Castro’s disappearance, government has refused to comment or issue directives as to what they have put in place regarding the search.

    Speaking on Kessben FM’s morning show, Mr Boasiako also known as  aka “Chairman Wontumi”, who shares the same birth date with Castro says he is disappointed at the way government has kept mute on the issue.

    “It’s been days since Castro’s disappearance and the President hasn’t issued any statement. But this is one person who entertains Ghanaians in these hard times. The least the President can do is to tell us what he’s put in place.”

    Wontumi sent a message of consolation to Castro’s family and asked them to stand firm in these trying moments.

  • Alexis Sanchez ‘passes Arsenal medical’ ahead of £30m move

    Arsenal have taken a step closer to completing the signing of Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez after he passed his medical with the club, according to Sky.

    The Gunners appear to have fought off competition from Liverpool and Juventus for the Chilean star, who impressed at this summer’s World Cup.

    Sanchez is expected to set Arsenal back around £35m as he becomes the second most expensive player in the club’s history, behind last summer’s £42.5m arrival Mesut Ozil.

    Having passed his medical, it is likely Sanchez’s arrival at the Emirates will be completed in the coming days, kick-starting Arsene Wenger’s summer spending.

    The Frenchman is also thought to be nearing deals for Newcastle defender Mathieu Debuchy and QPR striker Loic Remy.

    The former is expected to see Arsenal hand over around £11m, while it will take £8m to match Remy’s buy-out clause.

  • Teenage girl commits suicide over Brazil loss

    A 15-year-old Nepalese girl hanged herself after watching Brazil’s 7-1 humiliation against Germany.

    Pragya Thapa from Sunsari district in east Nepal couldn’t bear the news of favourite team’s loss.

    Nepalese police officer Sharad Thapa said:  “She was anxious to see Brazil in the final, but it went down to Germany.

    “Some of her friends started teasing her for supporting Brazil. Later in the morning, she took an extreme measure by hanging herself in her own room.”

    Pragya lived in a remote village around 250 miles from Nepal’s capital city Kathmandu.

    Her mother found her hanging from the ceiling in her room. She was living with her mother and grandparents while her father was abroad working.

    Her body has been sent for an autopsy.

    Credit : Yahoo Sport

  • Ghanaian football fans seek asylum in Brazil

    Police in southern Brazil say about 200 Ghanaians who entered Brazil as tourists to watch World Cup games have sought asylum.

    Many of these are believed to be part of a government-sponsored delegation, mainly comprising supporters of the ruling party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

    Noerci da Silva Melo, who heads the Federal Police office in the city of Caxias do Sul said on Thursday that over the past week, 200 Ghanaians have asked for asylum. The Justice Ministry will decide whether to grant their requests.

    Melo said the Ghanaians claimed to be Muslims ”fleeing the violent conflicts between different Muslim groups’.

    Police estimate that around 1,000 Ghanaians will claim asylum by the end of the tournament.

    Ghana’s government has however hit back and said the country has no religious violence. Ghana’s mission in Brazil has been asked to liaise with Brazilian authorities to investigate the matter.

    “The basis for this alleged request is completely false as no religious conflict is taking place in Ghana,” said a statement from Deputy Information Minister Felix Kwakye Ofosu.

     

  • FIFA rejects Suarez biting ban appeal

    FIFA has rejected an appeal from Luis Suarez against his four-month worldwide ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini.

    Suarez and the Uruguayan Football Association challenged the ban – and a nine-match international suspension – handed out after the striker bit Chiellini during his country’s World Cup game against Italy.

    Uruguayan FA president Wilmar Valdez called the sanctions “totally exaggerated”, but FIFA’s Appeal Committee has now upheld the original decision.

    A FIFA statement read: “The Appeal Committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 25 June 2014 in its entirety.

    “The Appeal Committee has decided to reject the appeals lodged by both the Uruguayan player Luis Suarez and the Uruguayan FA, and to confirm the decision rendered by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee on 25 June 2014 in its entirety.

    “The terms of the decision taken by the FIFA Appeal Committee were communicated to the player and the Uruguayan FA today.”

    Suarez, who is expected to leave Liverpool for Barcelona in the near future, can still take his case to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

    FIFA head of media Delia Fischer added: “The relevant decision is not yet final and binding, i.e. an appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport is still possible by the player and/or the Uruguayan FA, subject to certain conditions.”

    The disciplinary committee’s initial decision took into account there had been no remorse from Suarez, and the fact it was the third time he had been involved in biting an opponent.

    After lodging his appeal, Suarez did then issue a formal apology to Chiellini and vowed never to bite anyone again.

    Claudio Sulser, the head of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, said last week: “The player cannot have any activity related to football, but a medical examination for a transfer, yes – the sanction is not linked to transfer rights.”

    Asked why the committee imposed a ban that damaged Liverpool, Sulser said: “That’s your opinion. It’s a sanction against the player. That is the risk if you are a player and you are sanctioned at the World Cup.

    “I agree with you it’s a problem for Liverpool, but the sanction is in the disciplinary regulations.”

    Sulser added that the Suarez bite was “a very severe case” but that the sanctions – which also included a nine-match international ban and a £66,000 fine – were not to set an example, but for “justice”.

    “This is still an ongoing case and an appeal has been filed, so I prefer not to give my opinion,” he added.

    “When the committee was analysing this case, one thing I mentioned in my capacity as the chairman is we don’t need to impose an exemplary sanction, we need to have justice and reached the sanction in a very severe case.”

    Suarez’s future at club level has not yet been resolved after Barcelona held talks with Liverpool last week over a deal for the striker.

    But Suarez has previously been praised by Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta for showing humility by apologising for his bite on Chiellini.

    “Suarez has shown he is humble enough to admit an error, which is very important,” Zubizarreta told reporters.

    “He has been humble enough to apologise to those he has affected, because it happened in the middle of a festival of football. In this case it’s the best thing a person can do.”

     

  • Westside Legacy debunks ‘false’ media reports on Castro

    Westside Legacy crew, a group allegedly affiliated to missing musician Theophilius Tagoe aka Castro the Destroyer, have released what they are claiming is the ‘true version’ of events surrounding the musician’s fate.

    A statement by the group’s Public Relations Officer, Nana Kwesi Coomson said: “First of all, Castro is not dead, he is missing; as to whether he will be found alive or dead, no one can pronounce that, until proven otherwise with his body.

    “This piece is the real account of the Westside Legacy crew who are at the Peace Holiday Resort. This is directed to refute the falsehood in the media because if there is a deliberate and orchestrated attempt to deceive the public with unsubstantial allegations, it must be thwarted immediately.

    ACCOUNT OF WHAT HAPPENED

    “Asamoah Gyan, Castro, and their friends were lodging at the Acqua (sic) Safari Hotel in Ada when they arrived at the holiday city and were later transferred to the Peace Holiday Resort. On Sunday 6th July, 2014 when the unfortunate event happened, Asamoah Gyan was in a boat cruising on the Volta River whilst Castro was jet skiing on the same water body. Castro cruised on the river for a while and got closer to where Janet Bandu was sitting with her friends when Janet jumped at the back of Castro’s jet ski and both were jolly skiing on the river.

    “They cruised far beyond anyone’s visual reach. One white man who owns an island at the place saw the empty jet ski afloat near his island. He called Peace Holiday Resort to inform them that an empty jet ski was afloat near his island when they told him it belongs to Acqua Safari Hotel. Reaching Acqua Safari, they noticed that, that was the jet ski Castro was using and the search for Castro began because their attention was drawn to the fact that he was not in his hotel room neither was he anywhere close.

    “It is never true that Janet fell in the river and when Castro was trying to rescue her, he also drowned. As it stands, no one saw how they ‘vanished.’ As to whether the jet ski capsized or Janet fell and Castro was trying to rescue her like the media has it, they are all speculations; no one saw them when they left the Peace Holiday Resort vicinity.

    SECURITY

    “There is tight security at the Peace Holiday Resort restricting people from entering the premises since people who visit the place often spew false information to the media and friends which become the basis of major reports in the media.

     

    THE SEARCH

    “There is an intensive search on the Volta River and the sea for the two bodies (Castro and Janet Bandu). As at now, rescuers have been deputed (sic) by Asamoah Gyan and Castro’s family to search for the two.

    “Janet Bandu’s family was also at the Peace Holiday Resort yesterday. Her elder Sister and Uncle were there to offer support to those there.

    The Westside Legacy is still at the Hotel premises awaiting a positive result. The general environment at the Peace Holiday Resort is one of optimism as family and friends of the two embark on prayer services daily.

    “Westside Legacy can confidently say that until the family comes out to announce anything about the two, the media are only speculating, please note that and treat any news in the media about them beneath contempt.”

  • Mario Mandzukic joins Atletico Madrid

    Atletico Madrid have signed striker Mario Mandzukic from German champions Bayern Munich for an undisclosed fee.

    The Croatia international, 28, has signed a four-year deal with the Spanish champions.

    Mandzukic scored 33 goals in 54 Bundesliga games for Bayern after joining them from Wolfsburg in 2012. He replaces Atletico’s top scorer last season Diego Costa who joined Chelsea for 30million pounds after scoring 36 goals in 51 games for the Madrid club last year.

    Bayern won seven titles during Mandzukic’s stay in Bavaria, including a Bundesliga, German Cup and Champions League treble in 2013. Mandzukic played for Croatia at this summer’s World Cup, scoring twice in their 4-0 Group A defeat of Cameroon, but was unable to help them progress beyond the group stage.

    His move to Spain follows Bayern’s signing of Robert Lewandowski from Borussia Dortmund, who agreed a five-year contract in January.

    “I knew it was time to make the next step,” said Poland international Lewandowski, who scored 74 goals in 131 league games for Dortmund.

    “I know that every new player needs time but I hope the transition won’t take long for me and that I’ll be able to give my best from the first game.

  • Brazil defeat breaks Twitter record

    Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany in the World Cup semi-finals has become the most discussed sports game on Twitter so far.

    A record 35.6 million tweets were sent during the 90-minute game.

    It also broke the tweets-per-minute record, when the fifth goal triggered 580,601 in one minute.

    Six of the 10 top-trending topics on Twitter were references to the match, with #BrazilvsGermany taking the top spot.

    Miroslav Klose was the most tweeted German player, followed by midfielder Toni Kroos. Julio Cesar, Oscar and Fred were the most tweeted Brazilian players.

    The previous record for a sporting event on Twitter was held by another World Cup match, Brazil v Chile, which recorded 389,000 tweets per minute.

    Previous to that the 2014 Superbowl held the record, with 382,000 tweets per minute.

    Fans used their PhotoShop and video skills to post images and footage on various media mocking the Brazilians at the colossal drubbing.

    Source: BBC

  • Hearts to pounce for Didi Dramani

    Accra Hearts of Oak could pounce on rivals Asante Kotoko’s head coach Mas-Ud Didi Dramani as contract extension talks move in a ‘negative’ direction.

    Footy-Ghana.com understands that the former Ghana U-17 female World Cup bronze-winning coach’s contract ends on August 27 with both parties openly committing to renewing their relationship in a new contract but negotiations have taken a nosedive.

    The two-time Ghana Premier League winning coach according to our sources is holding out for a substantial increment in his monthly pay while the club feels their books will not permit them to be able to meet such a demand – thereby offering a little over his old salary.

    This standoff between both parties has alerted the Phobians who have been making overtures to lure coach Dramani since last season to begin knocking at his door again. Hearts of Oak who are in search for a head coach are said to be willing to meet his demands.

    Dramani who scouted the United States for Ghana at the 2014 World Cup is reportedly on a GHc5,000 monthly salary. He is expected to arrive in Kumasi on Wednesday to meet officials of the Porcupine Warriors.

    Credit: footyghana

     

  • Suarez joins Barcelona for €88 million

    Barcelona will imminently announce the capture of Uruguay star Luis Suarez after agreeing to meet the release clause inserted in the striker’s new Liverpool contract last December.

    Suarez is on the brink of officially completing his sensational transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona after the terms of a deal worth just over €88 million were agreed on Wednesday night.

    The agreement comes after a week of negotiations between the clubs, with an announcement expected in the coming days – perhaps even within 24 hours.

    Barcelona have captured Suarez in a straight cash deal after agreeing to meet the release clause in the Liverpool contract he signed last December.

    It is believed that Suarez will undergo initial medical examinations from Barca doctors in his native Uruguay, where he has been staying following his country’s elimination from the World Cup.

    Officials from the Catalan club have been negotiating with their counterparts from Merseyside in the last week over the structure of payments in the deal, with Liverpool pushing for a higher initial sum.

    An agreement has now been reached and the final formalities will be completed before Suarez is announced as Barcelona’s marquee signing of the summer.

    The 27-year-old is currently serving a four-month ban – which runs until October 26 – for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini while playing for Uruguay in his nation’s final World Cup group stage match.

    Under the terms of the suspension, Suarez is not allowed to train with his club or enter the confines of any stadium during his ban.

    Barca will partly fund the signing of the 27-year-old by selling Alexis Sanchez to Arsenal.The Chile World Cup star will move to Emirates Stadium after Arsenal agreed a package worth 31.8million pounds with the Spanish club.

    Liverpool will now look to strengthen their squad using some of the money from the Suarez deal. The Merseysiders are on the verge of completing a triple swoop for Benfica winger Lazar Markovic, Lille striker Divock Origi and Southampton defender Dejan Lovren.

     

  • African conmen in Malaysia target lonely US women

    Hundreds of American women are being conned by Internet scammers based in Malaysia, with some losing over $250,000 as the country becomes an epicenter for online crime perpetrated by Africans, US officials say.

    The mostly Nigerian conmen, who enter Malaysia on student visas, take advantage of the country’s good Internet infrastructure to prey on lonely, middle-aged women, wooing them on dating websites before swindling their savings, they said.

    The scams are more sophisticated than most Nigeria-based operations helped by Malaysia’s advanced banking system, which allows perpetrators to quickly set up accounts and receive international transfers.

    US officials say Malaysian police lack the resources and expertise to tackle the problem and have yet to launch a single prosecution of a case involving a US victim.

    Malaysian police were reported by local media last December as saying that losses from scams had totaled to more than $11 million. A total of 476 Africans had been apprehended for suspected involvement, the report said.

    Tim Scherer, consul general at the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur, told Reuters that complaints about such scams now made up more than 80 percent of inquiries to duty officers at the mission, with a dozen new cases reported every week.

    Citizens of Australia, Canada and Europe had also been targeted, he said.

    “These are not rich widows who are being preyed on, these are middle-class Americans who don’t have this kind of money to spare,” he said. “It can really transform their lives in a very terrible way.”

    Scherer said the total in losses could be higher but many victims are too embarrassed to come forward or do not know who to contact. He said the scammers were highly sophisticated, often grooming victims for months and using convincing techniques such as forging letters purportedly from the US ambassador in Malaysia.

    Large teams of scammers typically trawl dating or Christian websites and contact middle-aged women, the U.S. officials said. They pretend to be a Western man who then gets into legal or business difficulties in Muslim-majority Malaysia.

    The conmen have exploited Malaysia’s drive to become a global education hub, securing student visas to attend college, the US officials said.

    Malaysia has pursued a policy of attracting international students for more than a decade, allowing dozens of foreign colleges to set up Malaysian campuses.

    Source: Reuters

  • Over half of China’s foreign aid goes to Africa

    More than half of China’s foreign aid of over $14 billion between 2010 and 2012 was directed to Africa, the government said on Thursday, underscoring Beijing’s interest in the resource-rich continent to fuel its economy.

    It provided no breakdown of aid recipients or any yearly figures. In 2011, China put its total foreign aid over the past six decades at 256.29 billion yuan ($41.32 billion).

    China says its aid has no political strings attached, unlike many Western countries.

    “China adheres to the principles of not imposing any political conditions, not interfering in the internal affairs of recipient countries and fully respecting the right to independently choose their own paths and models of development,” the government said in a policy paper.

    Aid was given in the form of grants, interest-free loans and concessional loans, the policy paper said, and nine countries, including Equatorial Guinea, Mali and Zambia had been forgiven a total of 1.24 billion yuan in mature interest-free loans.

    Some in Africa say many Chinese projects benefit local people little, with materials and even labor imported directly from China.

    China’s close links with oil-rich African states, including Sudan and Angola, have fueled criticism as well that Beijing only cultivates relations to secure access to energy and raw materials to power its surging economy.

    The Foreign Ministry, however, said China’s relationship with African nations goes well beyond its quest for resources and encompasses agricultural, health and infrastructure-related projects.

    The paper made no direct reference to such criticism, but said China was dedicated to helping economies boost their ability to export by providing infrastructure like roads and railways and by pursuing a policy of aid for trade.

    Investment in Ghana

    China’s total direct investments in Ghana increased to over $500 million by the end of 2012, an official of the Ghana Embassy in Beijing has stated.

    Ghana ranks China first in the number of its registered projects in the country compared with other development partners and sixth in the value of registered investments in 2012.

    In 2012, the China Development Bank agreed to provide $3 billion in loans to Ghana, which was almost 10 percent of Ghana’s GDP.

    Source: Reuters 

  • Klose is no Ronaldo – Mourinho

    Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has said he was disappointed to see Brazil’s Ronaldo lose his World Cup goal-scoring record and says the former Madrid star is the best player of the past two decades

    Jose Mourinho has applauded Miroslav Klose for becoming the top goalscorer in World Cup history, but says he is not on par with Brazil great Ronaldo.

    The 36-year-old’s first half tap-in in Germany’s 7-1 semi-final thrashing of Brazil took his tally to 16 goals in the competition – one ahead of the former Barcelona and Real Madrid star.

    Every one of Klose’s World Cup strikes have come inside the penalty area, in contrast to Ronaldo’s range of long distance hits, solo efforts and close-range goals during a stunning international career.

    As a result, Mourinho was disappointed to see the former Barcelona and Real Madrid star lose his tournament record and revealed there is only one player he rates more highly than the Brazilian in the game’s history.

    “Hats off to Klose,” Mourinho said to Yahoo. “I highly respect the numbers he has achieved but the truth is that a player who I consider the best after Maradona lost a record.

    “I believe that Ronaldo was the best player of the last two decades – at least he doesn’t lose the title of being the best of the past 20 years.”

    Mourinho worked with Ronaldo during his solitary season at Barcelona in 1996-97, as part of Bobby Robson’s coaching staff, with the 37-year-old scoring 34 goals in 37 games at Camp Nou.

  • Mike Tyson defends Suarez bite

    Former world heavyweight champion, Mike Tyson, who himself once bit an opponent in the boxing ring, has defended the Uruguay striker for his actions at the World Cup

    Mike Tyson has leapt to the defence of Luis Suarez following the Uruguay striker’s bite on Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

    Suarez was handed a four-month worldwide ban by Fifa after biting the defender during Uruguay’s Group D clash with Italy a fortnight ago.

    But former world heavyweight boxing champion Tyson, who himself once infamously chewed off part of the ear of Evander Holyfield during a title fight, has empathised with the Liverpool striker.

    “Suarez’s bite? I understand it. It was a blackout moment which can happen at times,” Tyson replied during a Q&A on social networking service Reddit.

    “It was just one moment in which the competition can make the blood in your veins boil and it overpowers your rationality.

    “Sometimes you become something that you are not.”

    Tyson is regarded as one of the greatest heavyweight boxers in history, and still holds the record as the sport’s youngest ever champion in his weight category at the age of 20 years and eight months.

    Suarez, who also incurred a nine-game ban from international matches as a result of the third biting incident of his career, is believed to be closing in on a transfer from Liverpool to Barcelona, despite his suspension from footballing activity.

  • Di Stefano funeral held in Madrid

    The funeral of football great Alfredo Di Stefano took place on Wednesday at La Almudena cemetery in Madrid.

    Di Stefano, widely regarded as one of the greatest players the game has seen, died at the age of 88 on Monday following a heart attack.

    The Argentine enjoyed an 11-year spell at Real, in which he helped the club win the European Cup five years in a row from 1956 to 1960, as well as eight Spanish titles.

    A two-time European footballer of the year, Di Stefano scored more than 300 times in almost 400 competitive appearances for Real, with fans, former players and club officials among those leading the tributes.

    “After the long goodbye to Alfredo Di Stefano at the public viewing in the Santiago Bernabeu, fans have said their final farewells,” read a statement on Real’s official website.

    “They gave him an ovation as he left through the president’s box gate. The coffin was then taken to La Almudena cemetery in Madrid for the funeral, where [president] Florentino Perez and the board of directors accompanied the family of the greatest player in history.”

    Perez visited the public viewing of Di Stefano’s coffin on Tuesday along with first-team players Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal and long-serving goalkeeper Iker Casillas.

    “The Bernabeu was his factory, his home and his sacred ground. It is here we will pay him the tribute he deserves,” Perez told AS.

    FIFA has confirmed there will be a moment of silence ahead of Argentina’s semi-final with Netherlands at the World Cup on Wednesday to honour Di Stefano’s achievements, while black armbands will also be worn by the players.

     

  • Klose calls for calm

    Record-breaker Miroslav Klose brushed off the personal plaudits and reminded Germany their World Cup mission is still far from complete.

    Klose wrote himself into the record books on Tuesday night with the second goal in Germany’s 7-1 annihilation of Brazil in Belo Horizonte.

    The strike was Klose’s 16th in World Cup history, taking him clear of the previous all-time top scorer Ronaldo.

    The former Brazil striker, Germany coach Joachim Loew, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter were among the first people to congratulate Klose on his milestone.

    But the 36-year-old could not care less about personal accolades at the moment. He has only one thing on his mind – World Cup glory.

    “As a team we have an even bigger objective – to win one more game,” Klose said when asked about his record-breaking feat.

    “You don’t experience things like a 7-1 win over Brazil very often and it’s not easy to put in a performance like that in a World Cup semi-final.”

    The message of calm reflection delivered by Klose, whose first World Cup goal came 12 years ago, was echoed by other members of Germany’s triumphant squad.

    Thomas Muller, who is just six goals shy of Klose’s record despite this being only his second tournament, was the next player to emerge from the dressing room with a call for calm.

    “We need to let this all sink in now and then shift our focus to the final,” said the Bayern Munich striker, who kicked off the rout with 11 minutes gone.

    “We want to win the trophy and we’re going to give everything to make that happen.”

    Manuel Neuer, who had a quieter night than expected, echoed Muller’s sentiments.

    “Now it’s very important for us to keep calm,” the Germany goalkeeper said.

    “It’s important for us to not just think that we can beat every team in the world easily, especially as the next game is the final, when we will come up against the best in the world.

    “We have to start again. We need to work hard. We must remember that it is not important what we did in the semi-final.”

    Although Germany have made the semi-finals at the last four World Cups, some 24 years have passed since they lifted the trophy for the third time.

    The Germans came close eight years ago when they reached the last four, but just like Brazil, they buckled under the pressure of being host nation.

    Muller thinks the expectation that comes with hosting the tournament had a big impact on Brazil’s display in the Estadio Mineirao.

    “They were under a lot of pressure in their own country and in front of so many fans,” Muller said.

    “It got to the point where I felt sorry for them because they’ve got so many fantastic players who didn’t deserve to lose like that. Things like this only happen in football.”

    Low deserves credit for developing a good team spirit in the German camp, and for out-witting Luiz Felipe Scolari in Belo Horizonte.

    Low’s assistant Oliver Bierhoff knows how bad it feels to lose a World Cup final, though.

    Twelve years ago Bierhoff’s World Cup campaign ended in disappointment as Brazil beat Germany in Yokohama.

    Bierhoff does not want the players to go through the same experience again on Sunday.

    “The Brazilians lost the plot,” the former striker said in a candid interview with the German Football Association website.

    “I got the feeling that we were the better team today. Their box was always busy.

    “But we have not achieved anything yet. If we win 2-1 or 7-1 it doesn’t matter. You go into the final at 50:50.”

     

  • Nigeria suspended from international football by FIFA

    Nigeria have been suspended from all international football by Fifa amid allegations of government interference in its football federation.

    The ban means no Nigerian team – including club sides – can play internationally.

    FIFA had given Nigeria’s government until Tuesday to reinstate the sacked Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) executive committee.

    The NFF was dissolved last week and replaced by a sole administrator.

    In a statement, Fifa – world football’s governing body – said the suspension will be lifted once the “properly elected NFF executive committee, the NFF general assembly and the NFF administration are able to work without any interference in their affairs”.

    The most immediate effect is that Nigeria will not be entitled to participate in the upcoming Under-20 Women’s World Cup, which starts on 5 August – should the suspension not be lifted by 15 July.

    Nigeria’s government had said their move was essential while legal proceedings against the country’s football authority were ongoing, with NFF President Aminu Maigari arrested upon his return from the World Cup.

    All this comes in the wake of a high court ruling which granted “an interlocutory injunction” to suspend Maigari, his executive committee and the NFF congress.

    An extraordinary general assembly of the federation went ahead in Abuja on Saturday, which voted out the NFF leadership who have been accused of derailing the country’s World Cup campaign in Brazil, despite Fifa’s warning of a possible suspension.

    The government says the NFF have sent documents to show that the general assembly was held according to Fifa statutes and so the vote to remove the board at that meeting should stand.

    African champions Nigeria reached the second round of the World Cup in Brazil for only the third time in their history, after they also did so in 1994 and 1998.

    Credit: BBC

  • Kumasi Mayor in collision course with Assembly members

    Kumasi Mayor Kojo Bonsu’s style of leadership has come under severe criticism from Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly members, with some calling for his resignation.

    According to the members, the Mayor disregards them and looks down upon them. He also allegedly does not consult the Assembly when initiating policies and fails to bring budgets to the Assembly for approval.

    In a media interview, Maxwell Ofusus Boakye, the Assembly member for Abusuakruwa electoral area, indicated that the Mayor also does not obey laws and even uses vulgar language on the Assembly members when they speak their mind and comment on policies.

    Mr Boakye said: “The Assembly Constitution per Act 462 mandates the budget to be brought before the Assembly and the Committee for deliberation and approval, but Kwadwo Bonsu flouts this constitutional regulation.”

    He added that the Assembly has petitioned Ashanti king Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, President John Mahama, and the Regional Police Commander over the Mayor’s conduct.

    Mr Boakye called for the Mayor to be disciplined or else the Assembly would be left with no option but to cast a vote of no confidence in him.

    This is part of an ongoing tussle between the Mayor and members of the Assembly. Earlier this year, the Mayor sued two assembly members for defamation, claiming damages to the tune of Gh¢300,000.

    The two; Philip Addae, Assembly member for Kokoso electoral area and Assembly member for Anomangye, Maxwell Ofosu Boachie, were sued for accusing the Mayor of selling a tract of land opposite KMA to a Korean firm and a precast parcel of land as well.

    They allegedly also made statements on a local radio station in February this year that the Mayor is aware of a Gh¢200 bribe each collected from 286 market women, in his name.

    Speaking to an Accra radio station, the Mayor laughed off both the petition and the calls for his resignation saying the issues raised are “petty and unnecessary”.

    By: Evans Osei-Bonsu

  • Korle Bu educators threaten strike

    The Teachers Educational Workers’ Union, (TEWU) of the College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana Medical School at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, have threatened an indefinite strike.

    They say if management does not pay their interim market premium owed them since last year, they will be forced to strike.

    According to them, the premium, which is an allowance for staff calculated according to basic salary, has not been paid despite a series of meetings with the management and directive from the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC).

    The Korle-Bu TEWU accused the management of the school of paying only the staff of the Dental Clinic, but the rest of the staff were told to hold on while it (management) sought interpretation of the directive from the FWSC which stated that management should pay the clinical staff and others their allowances.

    The group organized a demonstration last year concerning the non-payment of the allowance, but rescinded their decision after talks with management over the issue.

    Sulemana Abdul Karim, Chairman of the Korle-Bu TEWU, said since the meeting with management last year, it (management) had failed to abide by the agreed date for the payment to be made to the staff.

    “When the issue cropped up, a committee set up by the management and the leadership of the group met with the FWSC and agreed for the arrears to be paid by February this year,” he explained.

    Mr. Abdul Karim said that the committee asked the group to provide the necessary documents to facilitate the payment of the allowances but had refused to act on the document received to facilitate the payment.

    Mr. Karim pointed out that he and his colleagues would withhold their services till they hear something positive from management.

  • Concerned Ghanaians introduce “Red Friday” campaign

    Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG), organisers of the ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ demonstration have introduced a new campaign dubbed “Red Friday”.

    The campaign’s aim is to put pressure on government to respond to the concerns listed in their petition to the President. According to the Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG), the main objective of the ‘Red Friday’ campaign is to keep the issues raised in their petition alive until government responds.

    The group embarked on a demonstration on July 1 to complain about the harsh economic conditions of citizens in the country. They subsequently submitted a petition to the Presidency which was received by the Deputy Chief of Staff, Valery Sawyer.

    He noted that the issues raised in the petition they presented to the President on July 1 “are issues that are symptomatic of the hardship of the ordinary Ghanaian.”

    The ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’ protesters, who were largely middle class people, bore placards some of which read, “The King Is Naked”, “Onukpa Be Shia!! Shame”, “Mahama Aden”, “Mahama Fix The Economy” “Mr. President You Have Failed Ghanaians,” and “Y’ayɛ Dɛn”.

    Among the prominent people who participated in the demonstration were former MTN Chief Marketing Officer, George Andah; Vice President of local think-tank IMANI, Kofi Bentil; a lecturer at the Ashesi University, Dr. Esi Ansah, and Yoofi Grant of Databank.

  • President breaks ground for €60 million cement plant in Tema

    President John Dramani Mahama broke ground for commencement of work on a €60-million cement plant in the Tema Free Zone enclave in the Greater-Accra Region.

    The project, which is being constructed by CIMAF and ADDOHA PROJECTS in Ghana, has a production capacity of one million tonnes, and would provide 200 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs to Ghanaians.

    Apart from this project, ADDOHA Ghana Limited has also signed a memorandum of understanding with government to construct 10,000 social housing units over seven years.

    President Mahama also encouraged CIMAF and other cement manufacturing companies to build fully integrated processing plants that would enable them to avoid importing some of their ingredients that results in high cost of production.

    He said in a bid to make Ghana the best destination of investment on the continent, government had embarked on an expansion programme at the Tema Port, to accommodate more businesses.

    President Mahama appealed to investors to partner government under the Private Public Partnership programme, that would create more jobs and wealth for Ghanaians in the coming years.

    The partnership, he said, would concentrate on the provision of a dry dock and maintenance and servicing centres that would attract foreign ships into the country and beyond.

    Alhaji Haruna Iddrisu, Minister for Trade and Industry, warned that government would not spare cement manufacturers and retailers who arbitrarily increased the prices of the commodity to the disadvantage of buyers.

    He said there seemed to be a collusion between manufacturers and retailers, which he described as ‘unfair and unacceptable’ to developers.

    The Trade Minister said government would soon introduce a competition law that would help regulate the sale of the product to investors and ordinary individual developers in the country.

  • Pharmaceuticals give gov’t notice on NHIS supply

    The Ghana Chamber of Pharmacy has notified the government that it will cut the supply of drugs to health facilities that rely on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

    The NHIS was set up to abolish the ‘cash and carry system’ of health delivery that made it impossible for an individual to access health care after initial payments for the services have been made.

    Earlier this month the Christian Health Association (CHAG) withdrew services to subscribers of the NHIS because managers of the scheme are indebted to mission hospitals in excess of GHc 50 million.

    The service providers say the NHIA owes them in excess of seven months service to NHIS clients and are struggling to raise the needed funds to pay for pharmaceutical supplies.

    Meanwhile, health NGO Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign is talking to government to save the NHIS from collapse.

  • ‘Forgive us’ says Scolari after rout

    Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari asked for forgiveness from his countrymen on Tuesday after his team’s historic World Cup thrashing by Germany.

    “We ask for forgiveness,” a shellshocked Scolari said after Brazil were torn apart 7-1 in their semifinal meltdown.

    “To the people, please excuse us for this negative mistake.”

    The winning coach took full responsibility for the performance. and I am to blame for this result,” he said.

    “I’m sorry we could not reach our goal. The fans supported us even when it was five, six, or seven down to Germany.

    “It’s not normal to concede four goals in six minutes but it can happen.

    “Even Germany couldn’t believe what was happening.”

    “Apologies to everybody, apologies to all the Brazilian people,” said a tearful Luiz after the mauling in Belo Horizonte.

    “I just wanted to see my people smile. We all know how important it was for me to see all of Brazil be happy, at least because of football.

    “They were better than us. They prepared better. They played better.

    “It’s a very sad day but it’s also a day from which to learn.”

    The 7-1 drubbing was the worst defeat ever suffered by Brazil in their 100-year history.

  • David Luiz shouldn’t be Brazil’s scapegoat – Mourinho

    Jose Mourinho has insisted David Luiz is not the only one to blame for Brazil’s defensive horror show.

    Skipper Luiz is shouldering the bulk of criticism for the amazing collapse in discipline that resulted in the World Cup hosts exiting in shame after a 1-7 defeat to Germany on Tuesday night.

    The former Chelsea man was caught marauding up the field, missing key tackles and failing to mark German attackers during a historic crash by Phil Scolari’s side. He later apologised to his nation in a tearful interview, begging forgiveness and admitting the performance had shamed his side, who critics always feared were driven to the semi finals on a wave of emotion, rather than flair.

    Chelsea boss Mourinho, who managed to sell Luiz to Paris Saint-Germain for an astounding sum of £50million before the World Cup kicked off, says the entire Brazil team had a nightmare.

    Mourinho said: “I don’t think it’s fair to separate a player from the team, because the team was really bad. “David made mistakes? Yes he did. But, Dante made mistakes, Marcelo made mistakes, Fernandinho made mistakes. The team as a team made mistakes.

    “So I don’t think it’s fair. I think everyone in my situation, everyone that is a player, everyone that is a coach, everyone that is not involved in the World Cup, but could be in that position.”

    Maicon, Dante, Luiz and Marcelo turned in one of the most disorganised performances ever in such a crucial game, allowing Germany to run riot.

    Luiz’s positional heat map shows he wandered way out of position and tried to play as a midfield rather than a stopper, creating havoc. Luiz’s match stats show he did precious little of the defensive dirty work required against such an attacking side as Germany. He only won one header under pressure, and made three successful tackles. He repeatedly sprayed long cross field balls from wide positions, and committed three fouls, not many for an under pressure defender.

    But Mourinho, speaking as Yahoo’s Global Football Ambassador, has sympathy for Brazil. He added: “I think all of us are feeling really sorry for them. Because it is a historical moment.

    “It is a moment that we will remember forever the same way that we all know that once many, many, many years ago, once Brazil lost a World Cup final against Uruguay in America and the same way my son who is fourteen years old son knows that.

    “In fifty years’ time our kids will know that Brazil lost at home against Germany, one to seven. From my point of view, from the professional point of view, it’s heart-breaking and I’m really sorry for them.

    “The problem for them in my opinion was that the spirit they built in the national team. And they probably thought that spirit would be enough, and would be the main quality to win the World Cup was not enough.

    “It was enough arrive to arrive into the semi-finals. In the semi-finals, they face a team that was better than them. A team that behave with a fantastic stability and confidence in this game. Everything went in their direction.

    “They catch Brazil in a very fragile defensive situation. I think it’s just a principle to try to change, in relation to the next campaign they will have, to change their philosophy and believe in the fantastic talent they have, because of players they do what they want because they have dozens and dozens.”

    Credit: The Mirror (UK)

  • Miroslav Klose breaks finals goals record

    Thirty-six-year-old Lazio striker Miroslav Klose put his country 2-0 ahead as they opened up a 5-0 half-time lead in Belo Horizonte. Klose moved level with former Brazil striker Ronaldo by scoring against Ghana earlier in the competition.

    Germany’s leading goalscorer with 71 goals in 136 games, he is the third player to net at four World Cups. Brazil legend Pele and West Germany’s Uwe Seeler both scored at the 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 finals.

    Klose’s goal against Brazil came in his 23rd World Cup appearance, a tally only compatriot Lothar Matthaus has bettered. Germany have never lost a game in which he has scored.

    “Klose is not a Ronaldo, or a Pele or that kind of footballer,” said Match of the Day presenter and former England striker Gary Lineker. “He is a poacher but to break that record is a phenomenal achievement.”

    Former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand, working as a pundit in Brazil, added: “He does not excite you outside the box but he is a pure goalscorer. “When the ball comes into the box, he comes alive.”

    Top five World Cup goalscorers
    Position Name Country Goals Matches Played Goal Average Tournaments
    1 Miroslav Klose Germany 16 23 0.70 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
    2 Ronaldo Brazil 15 19 0.79 1998, 2002, 2006
    3 Gerd Muller West Germany 14 13 1.08 1970, 1974
    4 Just Fontaine France 13 6 2.17 1958
    5 Pele Brazil 12 14 0.86 1958, 1962, 1966, 1970

     

    Source: BBC

  • Brazil boss Luiz Felipe Scolari on ‘worst day’

    Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari described Brazil’s 7-1 loss to Germany as “the worst day” of his life, and said he took responsibility.

    The hosts were 5-0 down by half-time in Belo Horizonte as Germany reached the final in emphatic style.

    “I will be remembered as the coach to lose 7-1 but I knew that risk when I took the job,” said Scolari, who guided Brazil to the 2002 World Cup trophy.

    “The person who decided the line-up, the tactics, was me. It was my choice.”

    Scolari described the result, which surpassed the 3-0 defeat by France in the 1998 final as Brazil’s heaviest World Cup loss, as “catastrophic”.

    “My message for the Brazilian people is please excuse us for this performance,” added the former Chelsea manager.

    “I’m sorry that we weren’t able to get to the final and we’re going to try to win the third-place match. We still have something to play for.”

    Brazil, the first team to concede seven goals in a World Cup semi-final, will play either Netherlands or Argentina in Brasilia on Saturday.

    Scolari has suffered a notable defeat before, when his Portugal side were unexpectedly beaten on home soil by Greece in the final of Euro 2004.

    Brazil were unbeaten in 14 games ahead of the meeting with Germany and Scolari played down the absence of striker Neymar, who fractured a vertebra during the quarter-final victory over Colombia.

    He said: “Let’s not try to find an excuse in Neymar.”

    Thomas Muller’s opener was the first of five goals in 18 first-half minutes, with strikes from Miroslav Klose and Sami Khedira sandwiching a Toni Kroos double.

    Klose, 36, became the record scorer in World Cup history by netting his 16th finals goal – beating the record of Brazil legend Ronaldo.

    Substitute Andre Schurrle added two more after the break before Chelsea team-mate Oscar netted a late consolation.

    Scolari, who also had captain Thiago Silva suspended for the match, said: “We did our best – but

    Substitute Andre Schurrle added two more after the break before Chelsea team-mate Oscar netted a late consolation.

    Scolari, who also had captain Thiago Silva suspended for the match, said: “We did our best – but we came up against a great German team.

    “We couldn’t react to going behind. Not even the Germans can tell you how this happened – but it’s because of their skills and you have to respect that.”

  • Gyan releases statement, prays for Castro’s return

    Black Stars captain, Asamoah Gyan and his elder brother, Baffour Gyan, have released a statement on the suspected drowning of hiplife artiste, Castro, and Jane Bandu in the Ada estuary on Sunday.

    In the statement dated July 8, 2014 and signed by their Spokesman and Business Development Manager, Sammy Anim Addo, the Gyan brothers confirmed that Castro and Janet were indeed missing.

    They said efforts were underway to locate them, and called on people who have information that can assist the search to make them available.

    Expressing hope that the duo will found alive, the brothers said, “Our prayers and support lie firmly with Castro and Miss Jane Bandu and their families. We pray for strength and fortitude for all engaged in the search.”

    Read the full statement below:

    “On Sunday 6 July 2014 we were on holiday in the company of friends and a few acquaintances on the banks of the Volta River, shuttling between Peace Holiday Resort and Aqua Safari Resort at Ada when we noticed that our close friend and popular musician, Castro (known in private life as Theophilus Tagoe) had gone missing on the Volta River together with an acquaintance, Miss Jane Bandu, who had apparently hitched a ride with Castro on a jet ski rented by Castro.

    “We have made and we continue to make every effort to find them. Several state institutions and officials have been involved in the search, including the Marine Police, the Navy, the Tema Police Command, the Ada Police Command, Ada East District Assembly, local fishermen at Ada and some traditionalists.

    “The jet ski on which Castro and Miss Jane Bandu rode has been retrieved. However, the two are yet to be found. We are keeping hope alive that the two will eventually be found.

    “Our prayers and support lie firmly with Castro and Miss Jane Bandu and their families. We pray for strength and fortitude for all engaged in the search. And we also call on anyone who has useful information to assist in this quest. God bless us all.”

     

    source :graphiconline

  • FIFA: World Cup is drug free

    FIFA have declared the 2014 World Cup ‘drug free’ after the organisation’s medical committee reported that there have been no positive doping tests during or in the build-up to the tournament.

    More than 1,000 tests have been conducted – 777 out of competition and 232 during the tournament – and none have come back with a positive result.

    “We have not found any prohibitive (sic) substances… either prior to or during competition,” FIFA’s chief medical officer Jiri Dvorak told a press conference.

    The four teams remaining in the competition will continue to be tested until the conclusion of the event.

    All tests have taken place at the World Anti-Doping Agency’s laboratory in Switzerland after the agency revoked the license of the drug-testing facility in Rio de Janeiro for failing to meet the necessary standards.

  • Singapore eyeing Ghana’s real estate sector

    The Singapore Government is considering investing some of its foreign reserves into Ghana’s real-estate sector.

    If this becomes a reality, it will provide a big boost to the sector, as demand for housing continues to rise. The housing deficit is now estimated at close to two million.

    Ian Lee, the Centre Director of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore - the investment promotion and facilitation agency of the Government of Singapore - said officials of the real-estate arm of Singapore’s Sovereign Wealth Fund have already been to Ghana to assess the sector for potential investment.

    He said the next step now depends on finding an investment partner in Ghana.

    “The people who came to Ghana are from the real-estate department. Our Sovereign Wealth Fund invests in different sectors including financial assets, real-estate, manufacturing, oil & gas among others. So for the real-estate people, their mandate was to look at Africa; so they are coming here.

    “It might take some months before they come (to invest). It all depends on how and who they can find and partner with. Usually, they leverage on financial institutions like the banks and real-estate developers because they don’t know the market well,” he told the Business and Financial Times.

    Last year, the Singapore government set up an office in the country for its investment promotion and facilitation agency, IE Singapore, to promote and facilitate investment flow from Singapore into Ghana and other West African states.

    According to Mr. Lee, the upcoming Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) on August 27-28 in Singapore illustrates the much-talked about idea of South-South trade, which is seen as the engine of global growth.

    He said IE Singapore will take the initiative to organise strategic Business-to-business meetings for Ghanaian businesses that will participate in the upcoming Africa-Singapore Business forum, as a number of Singapore investors are looking for the right partners in Ghana.

    Credit: B&FT

  • Suspected Ebola case dies

    A man suspected to be carrying the Ebola virus has died at the Nyaho Clinic in Accra.

    Blood tests indicate that he may have had the deadly virus, but this is yet to be confirmed. The man died yesterday afternoon while under quarantine.

    He is said to have arrived from Guinea on Sunday and reported at the clinic for medical attention after suffering from fever.

    The death follows an emergency meeting in Accra last week by health officials from 11 countries to strategize on how to contain the spread of the virus which has spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia.

    There have been some 467 deaths out of 759 cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by the close of June 30, this year.

  • Give us our grants – School heads demand

    Heads of secondary schools have asked government to release the grants earmarked for Senior High Schools.

    Speaking on Angel radio this morning, the spokesperson for the Conference of Heads of Assisted Secondary Schools (CHAS) and headmaster of Tepa Senior High School, Mr Anerfi Mensah said that various secondary schools across the country have not received their government subvensions, some for up to five years. He added that bills and debts have continued to pile up with no funds available to settle these.

    Mr Mensah further explained that because of the delayed in the government’s subsidies, the various Senior High Schools are now solely dependent on school fees and this has led to poor feeding of students.

    “We even feed some students porridge without bread and milk all because the money being used to purchase food items is rather used to pay utilities,” he added.

    However, Mr Mensah stated that, they are still hopeful that the funds will be released to them and are pleading with the government to make it a priority so they can run and maintain their various schools and curtail the increased trailing of students.

    By: Evans Osei-Bonsu

  • Players’ bonus payments to be agreed in advance – FA

    Ghana’s Football Federation has said it will agree contracts with players for their bonuses ahead of future tournaments to avoid problems over payments.

    The move comes after the federation had to fly $3million in cash after the team threatened to boycott play against Portugal in Brazil.
    GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi said Ghana had also used cash ”in order to prevent player revolts” at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, but would now revert to ”signed agreements” and bank transfers for the bonuses.
    The decision follows a series of pay disputes involving African teams at the World Cup in Brazil. Cameroon and Nigeria players also threatened to strike unless they were paid immediately instead of waiting until after the tournament.
    The problems were because informal promises made to African players by their federations had been broken before, former Nigeria captain and FIFA technical study group member Sunday Oliseh said.
    ”You know, promises have been made to them and when it gets to the World Cup some of these promises are not really fulfilled,” Oliseh said.

    ”It’s one of the reasons why I think we have not won the World Cup yet,” the former midfielder said. ”Because when it comes to quality (players), Africa has (them).”

    Ghana’s players didn’t have signed agreements for their bonus payments for Brazil and feared they ultimately wouldn’t see their money.

    Following the Ghana problems, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said that FIFA would now look at becoming involved to ensure teams have bonus agreements in place well before the start of future World Cups.

    Source: AFP

  • Kidnapped women and girls escape from Boko Haram

    More than 60 women and girls are reported to have escaped from Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram, security sources say.

    There are conflicting reports as to how the women managed to escape.

    Initial reports said that the women escaped when the militants went to attack a military base near the town of Damboa in the north-eastern Borno state. The Nigerian military said they killed more than 50 rebels in a clash that night.

    Another account says the women escaped while the militants were asleep. Villagers in Lasa village say that the women narrated how they climbed over a wall on Thursday night and began to run. Dogs then started barking, which woke up the militants who started shooting at them.

    They said they feared a significant number of them were subsequently recaptured.

    The women were among 68 women and girls abducted last month.

    Eighteen women who have made it back to villages around Damboa over the last three days are being treated at a hospital in Lasa village.

    “They’re looking very distressed and very lean… they have gone through a very terrible ordeal,” a Lasa resident told the BBC.

    “We’re waiting to hear from the government whether they will assist with treating and rehabilitating them.”

    Source: BBC

  • Tech giants team up on standards for household gadgets

    Samsung Electronics, Intel Corp and Dell have joined to establish standard ways for household gadgets like thermostats and light bulbs to talk to each other.

    The new Open Interconnect Consortium, like the Qualcomm-supported AllSeen Alliance, aims to establish how smart devices work together in a trend increasingly called the Internet of Things.

    Manufacturers are rolling out growing numbers of Internet-connected burglar alarms, televisions and light switches. But like the early days of video cassette recorders, current smart home products are often incompatible with each other.

    The new consortium, which also includes chipmakers Broadcom and Atmel, was announced in a news release late on Monday.

    Doug Fisher, general manager of Intel’s Software and Services Group, told Reuters that the framework to be developed by the new consortium would address security and other issues not adequately handled by the AllSeen group.

    The potential emergence of smart household products made by manufacturers using two sets of incompatible standards would be incidental, he said.

    “We’re not out to create that. We just think the industry has spoken and there’s this approach that’s needed,” Fisher said. “We’re certainly welcoming others to participate.”

    Last week, Microsoft became the 51st member of the AllSeen Alliance, which also includes Sharp Corp and other consumer electronics manufacturers.

    Rob Chandhok, senior vice president of Qualcomm Technologies Inc, compared the two competing standards groups to walled-off online services in the early 1990s before widespread Internet use.

    “It’s better for us to have an industry-wide shared platform than to be divided,” Chandhok said. “I don’t want to get to a ‘Prodigy and CompuServe’ of the Internet of Things.”

    Technology heavyweights Apple and Google are also pursuing their own ways of interconnecting household devices.

    Apple, known for strictly controlling how other companies’ products interact with its own, in June announced HomeKit, which will integrate control of devices like lights and thermostats.

    Google’s Nest has also partnered with companies including Whirlpool Corp and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with its thermostats and smoke detectors.

    Credit: Reuters

  • Howard Webb retained for last four games

    Howard Webb could be in contention to referee the World Cup final after he was one of 15 officials retained by FIFA for the last four matches.

    The 42-year-old from Yorkshire, whose assistants Mike Mullarkey and Darren Cann are also retained, has taken charge of two games at the tournament.

    He refereed Colombia’s group-stage win against Ivory Coast and also Brazil’s last -16 victory over Chile.

    Webb officiated the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and Netherlands.

    In that game, which Spain won 1-0, Webb made one of the most controversial decisions of his career by not sending off midfielder Nigel de Jong for a high-footed challenge. He has since admitted he should have shown the ex-Manchester City man a red card.

    Brazilian Sandro Ricci is the only referee to be kept on from the four remaining countries – Argentina, Germany and Netherlands are the others – left in the tournament.

    Mexican referee Marco Rodriguez has already been assigned Brazil’s semi-final against Germany on Tuesday.

    Rodriguez was in charge of the group stage game between Uruguay and Italy, when Liverpool striker Luis Suarez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.

  • Alfredo Di Stefano – Real Madrid legend dies

    Real Madrid legend Alfredo Di Stefano, regarded as one of greatest players of all time, has died.

    The 88-year-old suffered a heart attack on Saturday. He had been in an induced coma in Madrid’s Gregorio Maranon hospital.

    Real Madrid confirmed the news, saying Di Stefano, their honorary president, died at 1715 CET (1615 BST).

    A forward, he won five straight European Cups, scoring in each final between 1956 and 1960.

    Sir Bobby Charlton, who played against him for Manchester United, paid tribute.

    “I think Alfredo Di Stefano was one of the best players I ever came across and an extremely intelligent footballer,” said the former England international.

    “He was somebody I really respected, having watched him from the stands at the Bernabeu and then played against him. I have many fond memories of my time with Alfredo and feel privileged to be able to call him a good friend.

    “The footballing world has lost a great player and a great man.”

  • NDC admits hardships, but says they are ‘not deliberate’

    The ruling National Democratic Congress has admitted that there is economic hardship in the country, but says it is not deliberately caused by the government.

    Speaking on Angel FM on Monday, the District Chief Executive of the Obuasi Municipal, Hon. Akwasi Ofori Agyemang Boadi, popularly known as “Zuba”, indicated that although the country is experiencing temporary challenges, government is not the cause.

    He said that the government is earnestly working on measures to redeem the country out of its numerous challenges.

    “We want to capture power again and we will not deliberately spoil the country,” he added.

    Mr Boadi further explained that although the situation is not the best, it is much better than previous administrations, so the country should exercise patience.

    He chastised commentators and political analysts asking them to rather stick to and address the good policies of the government rather than always talking against the acts and decisions of the government.

    The former Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the NPP, Gideon Boako also told Angel FM that he is not comfortable with the unfaithful apology rendered.

    Mr Boako said it was good that the government had realised that the country is being run into a ditch.

    He further explained that, the NPP and some concerned Ghanaians criticize the government because they want the country to be properly managed and therefore should not be labelled “pessimists”, as President has done in a previous speech.

     

    By Evans Osei-Bonsu

  • Suspected Ebola case being tested at Accra clinic

    A US citizen has been quarantined and is being tested for the Ebola virus at Nyaho Clinic in Accra.

    The man is believed to have visited Guinea and Sierra Leone in recent weeks and was said to be suffering from a fever.

    The virus has so far killed more than 460 people since it broke out in Guinea in February and spread to neighbouring Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    It is the world’s deadliest outbreak to date and there is no cure for Ebola.

    The Ministry of Health’s Public Relations Officer, Tony Goodman, said in a statement: “The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the general public that the suspected fever case recorded at the Nyaho Clinic has not been confirmed yet by Noguchi Memorial Research Centre.

    “Meanwhile the Ministry has put in place every precautionary measures at that clinic include additional support of Public Health staff from the Ministry, directive to quarantine patient and clinical staff, supply of protective gowns for staff of that hospital

    “The Ministry has also directed that the case remain at that clinic and retreated until otherwise whilst we wait for the laboratory result from the Noguchi Memorial Research Centre.

    “We expect the general public to remain calm as we wait for the result from the blood sample taken for test

    “We will like to assure the general public that we have everything under control.”

  • Brazil’s chief media officer Rodrigo Paiva punished by FIFA

     

     

    Brazil’s chief media officer Rodrigo Paiva has been banned for three matches and fined around £6,500 by FIFA following a half-time bust-up in their World Cup last 16 match against Chile in Belo Horizonte on June 28.

    FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee handed Paiva the ban – with a further one match suspended – after he was involved in a fracas in the tunnel at the Mineirao stadium.

    Chile striker Mauricio Pinilla accused Paiva of punching him in the face, while Paiva admitted slapping him but denied throwing punches.

    The match ended in a 1-1 draw and Brazil won the shootout to advance to the quarter-finals.

    In a statement issued on Saturday, FIFA said that as he had already missed the match against Colombia on July 4, Paiva would not be able to be involved in Tuesday’s semi-final against Germany or either the third-place match on July 12 or the final on July 13.

    The Disciplinary Committee imposed the fine in accordance with Article 48 of the disciplinary code which stipulates “at least two matches for assaulting (elbowing, punching, kicking etc.) an opponent or a person other than a match official.

  • Sacked Man United boss snubbed

    Turkish giants Galatasaray have appointed former Italy manager Cesare Prandelli instead of David Moyes.

    Galatasary held an “exchange of ideas” with former Manchester United chief Moyes after parting company with Italian tactician Roberto Mancini last month.

    Prandelli resigned as Italy boss after the national team’s 1-0 defeat to Uruguay at the World Cup that saw them exit the competition early.

    A statement on Galatasaray’s official website read: “Galatasaray football team’s new coach Cesare Prandelli is coming to Istanbul this evening.

    “Tomorrow morning at the Florya Metin Oktay [training] facilities, he will be introduced to the players and staff

    “Galatasaray will sign the deal tomorrow at 2pm (local time) at the Turk Telekom Arena.”

    The 56-year-old Prandelli, who had two years left in his contract with the Italian Football Federation, guided Roma and Fiorentina before replacing Marcello Lippi at the helm of the national team in 2010.

    He led the Azzurri to the final of Euro 2012, where they lost to Spain, and a third-placed finish in last year’s Confederation Cup.

    Mancini led Galatasaray into second place in the Super Lig behind Fenerbahce and also won the Turkish Cup, but left after one season in charge.

  • Has Angel Di Maria’s World Cup ended?

    In what could prove to be a tremendous loss for Argentina and the Albaceleste fans, Angel Di Maria’s World Cup could come to a premature end after the player sustained an injury against Belgium.

    The Real Madrid star’s agent has claimed his client will miss the remainder of the World Cup after he sustained a thigh injury in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Belgium.

    The Real Madrid wide man was taken off just after 33 minutes of the quarter-final in Brasilia.

    Di Maria’s agent Eugenio Lopez, who works alongside Jorge Mendes, revealed to Goal Argentina that the winger could be suffering from a case of torn thigh muscle and may not be able to take part in the rest of the World Cup.

    Argentina will face Netherlands in Sao Paulo on Wednesday for the semi-finals, with the final due to take place in Rio next Sunday.

    Di Maria (26), is yet to replicate the red-hot form he showed for Real Madrid this season, but remains a very crucial player for the Argentine.

    Argentina coach Alejandro Sabella admitted that Di Maria’s injury could add to Argentina’s woes.

    “Di Maria’s injury could be costly for us. Angel has a problem with his thigh and will undergo tests tomorrow,” he explained.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • Algeria’s coach resigns despite pleas to stay

    Algeria’s coach Vahid Halilhodzic on Sunday confirmed his departure from the job despite presidential pleas that he stay on after taking the North African nation to the knock-out phase of the World Cup finals for the first time.

    The Bosnian coach confirmed his departure in a statement posted on the website of the Algerian Football Federation (www.faf.dz).

    Halilhodzic received a personal plea from Algeria’s president Abdelaziz Bouteflika to stay after the squad were given a heroes’ welcome in Algiers on Wednesday.

    They were beaten 2-1 in extra time by Germany in the last 16 of the World Cup in Porto Alegre on Monday.

    Halilhodzic confirmed his departure saying “family obligations and the lure of new sporting challenges weighed heavily in my choice”.

    The 61-year-old is expected to be named new coach of Turkey’s Trabzonspor next week.

    Algeria already have Frenchman Christian Gourcuff lined up as Halilhodzic’s successor after he said several months ago he would not renew his contract after the World Cup.

    Halilhodzic, a former Yugoslav international striker, had a testy relationship with the Algerian federation and the country’s media but emerged a folk hero after Algeria got past the group stage of the World Cup for the first time in four attempts.

  • Did Black Stars not believe me? – Afriyie Ankrah

    Outgoing Minister for Youth and Sports, Mr Elvis Afriyie Ankrah has among many questions sought to find out if for any reason the Black Stars doubted him.

    In an exclusive interview with Paul Adom Otchere on Good Evening Ghana  on Sunday evening, the minister said he used all manner of persuasion to let the players know that their appearance fee was ready, but their (players) position was “we need our money”.

    “That was when I began to realise that they had their doubts,” he said.

    Earlier there were reports that members of the management team had been paid out of the money sent to the players, but the Minister denied reports saying that only 23 players and 10 members of the technical team, suming up to 33, were paid.

    “People created all manner of lies against me, its unbelievable. They started with my wife, and when they realised that it wasn’t true they diverted the story to my wife’s family, and then to my Mum, saying that she was selling replica jerseys, which is not true. These were all lies for crying out loud!”

    Mr Ankrah again denied reports that he ate the players’ food. ” I didn’t eat the players’ food. I ate the supporters’ food because I had complaints that the food was bad.”

    Mr Ankrah later thanked the the Ghanaian Ambassador to Brazil, Mr Samuel Dadey for the support he gave them during their stay in Brazil.

  • Ghana FA boss allegedly asked to step down

    Ghana FA boss Kwesi Nyantakyi is to step down from heading the Black Stars after mounting internal pressure, Citi Sports has reported. Nyantakyi has been criticised for biting off more than he could chew since managing the Black Stars is a notoriously detailed job. It is this apparent lack of detail that, internal sources tell Citi Sports, is the reason why the national team has been floundering since Nyantakyi took over in 2011. It is alleged that Ghana FA’s highest decision-making body, the Executive Committee, has asked Nyantakyi to relinquish the position. The Ghana team has in the last three major tournaments seen consistent reports of indiscipline, infighting, bizarre black magic claims and bonus fiascos. This decision could be just one of many internal reforms needed for the Ghana FA to gain public trust  at a time when the country has seen its image dented by the public airlifting of $3m to pay player bonuses in Brazil. But with Nyantakyi even more determined not to resign altogether, despite increasing calls for him to do so, others also believe this move is just a gimmick to keep fans quiet while business as usual continues.

  • Colombia’s Juan Zuniga apologises for Neymar injury

    Juan Zuniga has apologised to Neymar after the Brazil striker was ruled out of the World Cup following the Colombia defender’s challenge.

    Neymar, 22, broke a vertebra in his spine during his side’s 2-1 quarter-final victory over Colombia on Friday. Zuniga insists he did not mean to hurt Neymar in the incident, which Fifa’s disciplinary committee is studying.

    Former Brazil player Ronaldo said: “I don’t think it was normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive.”

    Zuniga said: “I deeply regret the sad injury that Neymar suffered during the match between Brazil and Colombia.

    “Although I feel that these situations are a normal part of the game, there was no intent to injure, malice nor negligence on my part.

    “I want to reach out to Neymar, who I admire, respect and consider one of the best players in the world.

    “I hope you recover quickly and return to the game soon, so we can all support a sport full of the virtues and qualities that I’ve tried to follow in my 12 years as a professional player.”

    Neymar was replaced in the 88th minute of Friday’s game in Fortaleza after Zuniga challenged him for a header, with referee Carlos Velasco Carballo taking no action.

    Brazil legend Ronaldo says Zuniga intended to hurt Neymar. “We could see on TV there was intention by the Colombia player to actually cause some harm,” said Ronaldo.

    “I didn’t like that very high knee so that leads me to believe it was a foul with intention to actually cause harm.

    “I thought it was a highly violent and unlawful move by the Colombia player. We are fearful and sad for the loss of our player.”

    Ronaldo, a World Cup winner in 1994 and 2002 who retired in 2011, was speaking at Fifa’s daily news conference.

    The 37-year-old, who is on the organising committee of Brazil 2014, added: “I don’t think it was normal football play. I do believe it was aggressive.

    “I don’t know whether he had planned this beforehand but I do believe it was very aggressive, very violent.”

    “Brazil will be without their two most important players – leading scorer Neymar and captain Thiago Silva – against Germany.

    “Neymar is a huge loss but it opens up a chance for someone else and I would expect Chelsea forward Willian to get his opportunity now.”

    Barcelona forward Neymar scored four goals in his five World Cup appearances for Brazil, who face Germany in Tuesday’s semi-final.

    Brazil president Dilma Rousseff has written to the home nation’s squad expressing his sadness at Neymar’s injury. She said: “Once again, you have shown talent, determination, fighting spirit and the ability to rise above challenges, which will help make up for the major loss caused by the injury of our dear Neymar.

    “All of Brazil already feels victorious, both because we are hosting the Cup of Cups and because we have the most beautiful, unwavering team of all.”

  • Barcelona will meet Liverpool striker’s release clause

    Barcelona have told Liverpool they will meet the release clause in striker Luis Suarez’s contract.

    The clause is understood to be about £75m, and Liverpool are not prepared to sell the 27-year-old for less.

    After “productive” talks with Barcelona this week, the Reds are trying to establish if Chile forward Alexis Sanchez will move in part-exchange.

    Uruguay international Suarez is serving a four-month ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup.

    Barcelona are willing to include Sanchez as part of the deal, but if the Chile forward opts to stay, Liverpool are prepared to sell Suarez in a straight deal.

    Suarez, who joined the club for £22.7m from Ajax in 2011, has four years remaining on his contract at Anfield.

    Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre spent much of Wednesday in discussions with senior Barcelona officials in London.

    “The talks held were productive,” a senior Liverpool source told BBC Sport. “There are sensible expectations on both sides.

    “Further talks and discussions will take place but no deal has yet been finalised.”

    Barcelona club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Wednesday: “This year we are going to restructure the team in depth and we are working on that.

    “We have been working on that since February, but I can’t reveal things we are doing.

    “We have to be discreet – we can’t give clues to other teams.

    “We do have a lot of negotiations at a very advanced stage, but the World Cup is going on. People are speculating about a lot of players at the World Cup, but there’s a lot of different factors.”

    Asked about Suarez, he said: “He’s a great player, a global star and we want him to play as well as he’s playing up to now. I’m speaking as a football fan.

    “He’s a player who needs to rebuild himself and get back to playing football.”

    Suarez apologized on Monday for biting Chiellini, after which Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said: “Suarez has shown he is humble enough to admit an error, which is very important.

    “Everyone knows Luis is an excellent player, everyone knows last season he played in various positions in attack, but everyone also knows he is a Liverpool player.”

    Bartomeu described the player’s apology as “honourable” and “good for football”.

    “He did something wrong and it’s everybody in football’s responsibility, whether it’s Liverpool or others, to help him to go ahead and press on with his football career. It’s not easy to admit your mistakes,” Bartomeu said.

    Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who completed his move to Barcelona from Sevilla on Tuesday, said: “The fact he has had the character and the strength to go in front of everyone and say sorry says a lot about him as a person.”

     

  • Musician Castro feared dead in jet ski accident

    Hiplife artiste,Theophilus Tagoe aka Castro, is feared dead following a jet ski accident at Ada on Sunday. Sources believe he drowned in the Volta Lake while on a weekend getaway with Black Stars striker, Asamoah Gyan.

    Gyan was taking his friends on a boat cruise in Ada, when the accident occurred on Sunday afternoon, according to the reports. The Black Stars captain usually rents out a yacht to entertain close family members and friends whenever he is in town for holidays.

    However, according to a reports, the said yacht was unavailable this time around, as it had been sent for repairs. The group, therefore, resorted to using jet ski boats. Castro was said to have taken one of the boats out on a ride on the Volta Lake alongside his girlfriend, while the others continued with their relaxation onshore.

    According to the reports, Castro’s female companion, who was not wearing a life jacket, suddenly fell into the lake, prompting Castro to try to rescue her. As  Castro attempted to rescue her, the boat left them in the water, according to the reports.

    Female hiplife artisite, Abrewana, a close pal of Castro, said his lifeless body was washed ashore. However, this has not been confirmed. Castro’s female companion has yet to be recovered.

    Celebrities have taken to social media to offer their condolences, but fans hope that he and his female companion will be found alive.

    Castro, who hails from Takoradi, was born in 1982 to Lydia Tagoe, a trader, and Mr Coffie, an accountant, at the Takoradi Harbour. He attended Anglican Primary and J.S.S in Takoradi.

    Before he launched his debut album in 2003, he had featured on hip-life group 4×4 hit track, “Sikletele” which officially propelled him onto the local music scene.

  • Castro (The Destroyer) has died

    Ace musician and hiplife artist has been confirmed dead after a boat he was riding in together with Black Stars captain and striker Asamoah Gyan capsized on a river at Ada in the Eastern Region. Asamoah Gyan was rescued alive.

  • Sanitary pads not a priority – teachers say

    The Coalition of Concern Teachers has described government’s decision to use part of a $156 million World Bank loan to buy free sanitary pads for school girls in deprived areas as ‘a step in the wrong direction’ adding that it is not a pressing issue.

    According to the group, at a time when the country’s educational system is near collapse, it is embarrassing that money is being pumped into such ‘a wasteful venture’.

    Parliament on Wednesday approved a $156 million World Bank loan facility to finance the Ghana Secondary School Education Improvement Project.

    The loan will, among other things, be used to fund the construction of community Senior High Schools across the country, provide scholarships for students in deprived communities and buy free sanitary pads for school girls.

    However, the distribution of the pads has ignited a public debate with many questioning the importance of such initiative.

    The National President of the Coalition of Concern Teachers, Ernest Opoku said there are more pressing issues confronting schools in the rural areas and “sanitary pad is not one of them”.

    He indicated that in most schools in deprived areas, their greatest need is teaching and learning materials and not this “big joke”.

    Mr. Opoku said he did not understand why government would invest in pads when school children in rural areas study under trees.

    “We can’t afford common chalk and yet we are going to spend this money to distribute sanitary pads?” he asked.

    “We are social partners so government should have involved us; we would have given a more important alternative to the sanitary pad,” he stated.

  • Pro-gay movement sabotaging economy – Allotey Jacobs

    Allotey Jacobs, a former Board member of the Electricity Company of Ghana, has said that the current economic difficulty in Ghana is as a result of “an international conspiracy” against the country.

    The National Democratic Congress Central Regional Chairman aspirant said government’s stance against the practice of homosexuality in Ghana has turned donors away.

    Speaking on Peace FM’s Kokrookoo programme, the ‘educated fisherman’, as he is widely known, said there is no longer inflows of foreign currency and remittances have decreased because Mahama’s government rejected the demands by international bodies for Ghana to legalise homosexuality.

    The country’s economy is in crisis with record depreciation of the currency, high inflation and high budget deficits, among others.

    Government spokespersons have given varied reasons for the economic crisis, but critics, including members of the opposition New Patriotic Party, have been quick to cite corruption and government incompetence.

  • Hands off our pension funds, teachers warn Gov’t

    Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has warned government to keep its hands off the management of the pension contribution of its members or it will take to the streets to protest.

    “We have met with government and have asked that they authorize the transfer of pensions funds to the scheme operated by individual labour unions, but it seems gov’t wants to do otherwise,” Mr. Awotwe Nkansah said

    The Deputy General Secretary in charge of Administration and Labour Relations at GNAT, Awotwe Nkansah, says under Ghana’s new pensions law, the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766)  workers have a three-tier pensions scheme and the individual labour unions must be in charge.

    Meanwhile, government insists it is the employer and should appoint a fund manager, a position the labour unions object to.

    He added that government is trying to impose a fund manager on them.

    “We have our fund managers and trustees…why are they refusing to pay deductions? Not a single pesewa has gone into the pensions scheme”, he lamented.

    He called on GNAT to sit with government to negotiate and decide on who should appoint a fund manager.

  • Nigeria face FIFA suspension

    Nigeria could be suspended from international football by the world football governing body, Fifa, for threatening to remove the country’s Football Federation executive committee for their performance at the World Cup.

    This follows an order from a High Court in Jos, Plateau State barring the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF]) headed by Aminu Maigari, from managing football matters in the country pending the hearing on the Motion of Notice on July 11.

    The order from the court to Maigari and other NFF executive committee members to step aside comes just days after the Super Eagles saw their Fifa World Cup ambition end with a 2-0 defeat to France.

    The latest scenario is a deja vu of a 2010 episode when the NFF was dissolved by the Nigerian government.

    Fifa has written to the Nigerian government to reverse its decision as it frowns at government intervention in running the sport.

    The Nigerian government later rescinded its decision to remove its country’s football managers. It also suspended the withdrawal of its national teams from international football for two years.

    In the wake of the court order, the Nigeria sports minister, Tamuno Danagogo, appointed Lawrence Katken as sole administrator as the High Court instructed in its injunction this week.

    There are now fears that Fifa’s suspension looms on the African champions since the world football governing body prohibits any government intervention with its member association.

    As at Friday, the NFF president, Maigari, had allegedly been picked up by security operatives for questioning and later released while the football federation’s office in the country’s capital, Abuja, was under strict surveillance by security men.

     Credit:  Supersport

  • Man Utd planning £40m move for Di Maria

    Angel Di Maria helped Real win the Champions League last season and scored Argentina’s extra time winner against Switzerland at the World Cup on Tuesday.

    But talks about a new, improved contract for the 26-year-old have stalled amid claims in Madrid he is being too greedy, and Real have decided to test the market for him.

    United have been keeping tabs on Di Maria but value him at closer to £30m.

    He is understood to have reservations about joining a club who will not be playing Champions League football next season though.

    “Sources at Real insist a deal can be done and super-agent Jorge Mendes is working to make it happen”

    But sources at Real insist a deal can be done and super-agent Jorge Mendes is working to make it happen.

    Arsenal, Paris St-Germain and Juventus have also expressed an interest in Di Maria but United are understood to be at the head of the queue.

    Real hope to use the money from his sale to fund a bid for Colombia star James Rodriguez of Monaco, another player in the Mendes stable.

    United have already brought in Luke Shaw and Ander Herrera this summer in deals worth a combined £60m.

    But signing Di Maria would be an even bigger statement of intent for new boss Louis van Gaal.

  • FIFA confirm Suarez can join Barcelona

    FIFA’s disciplinary chief has confirmed that Luis Suarez is free to join Barcelona while serving his ban for biting Giorgi Chiellini, but denied Liverpool had been punished unfairly.

    Suarez, 27, has been banned for four months from all football, and nine Uruguay matches, for biting the Italian centre-back during their World Cup Group D meeting on June 24.

    The Uruguayan FA has already submitted an appeal on the player’s behalf, while Suarez has now apologised for his actions after initially telling FIFA he had lost his balance. His refusal to show any kind of remorse for his actions earned him a longer ban.

    Liverpool remain in talks with Barcelona over the transfer of Suarez, and Claudio Sulser told a news conference that the player would be allowed to have a medical ahead of a transfer under the terms of his ban, which relates to all football-related activities including entering stadiums.

    Sulser, the head of FIFA’s disciplinary committee, said on Thursday: “The player cannot have any activity related to football, but a medical examination for a transfer, yes – the sanction is not linked to transfer rights.”

    Liverpool are reported to have taken advice over the ban, but Sulser insisted it is the actions of the player and the player alone which led to the punishment and FIFA had to act.

    Asked why the committee imposed a ban that damaged Liverpool, he said: “That’s your opinion. It’s a sanction against the player. That is the risk if you are a player and you are sanctioned at the World Cup. I agree with you it’s a problem for Liverpool, but the sanction is in the disciplinary regulations.”

    Sulser added that the Suarez bite was “a very severe case” but that the sanctions – which also include a £66,000 fine – were not to set an example, but for “justice”.

    Sulser said: “This is still an ongoing case and an appeal has been filed, so I prefer not to give my opinion. When the committee was analysing this case, one thing I mentioned in my capacity as the chairman is we don’t need to impose an exemplary sanction, we need to have justice and reached the sanction in a very severe case.”

  • Black Stars goalie considers quitting

    Black Stars goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey says he is considering taking a break from the national team because performance and form does not decide who plays.

    The Stromgodset goalkeeper was Ghana’s first choice in their opening game at the World Cup but was axed for the next two games and replaced with Fatau Dauda after teammates pressured for a change.

    “It’s no point travelling to Ghana if it’s other things than how you perform that decides if you play or not. It was hopeless. We had a match meeting four or five hours before the game. At that meeting I was in the team. Then it was a little bit back and forward. And suddenly I was out. I asked why. The coach didn’t look me in the eyes. He just looked down and said sorry. Then I understood that it probably wasn’t his choice,” he told Norwegian news outlet Verdens Gang.

    Kwarasey told the site the incidents that occurred happened because the players had been pushed to their limits and did not hold suspended team mates Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince Boateng responsible.

    “Things like that happen when it gets to that point. At the end you get fed up. I understand his reaction after what we experienced.

    ”I don’t think any other football player in Norway has experienced what happened with us in Brazil. It was a sick experience. Outside the pitch it happened way too much that a football player shouldn’t have to be a part of. Trouble with the flights, the hotels and internal problems,” he added.

    “I think it was unfair. I don’t think they did anything wrong. They stood up for the rest of the players. They spoke out, they told the truth. The truth was maybe too much for the guys running the FA,” he said.

     Credit: Allsports

  • Luis Suarez apology: Chance for ban reduction?

    Fifa President Sepp Blatter has said Luis Suarez’s apology for biting a fellow player is “fair play” and that he hopes he can have “his soccer career back”.

    This has prompted speculation that Suarez’s ban may be reduced. Suarez was suspended from all football-related activity for four months and banned for nine international games after being found guilty of biting Chiellini during the Group D FIFA World Cup fixture in Natal on June 24.

    The 27-year-old, who was banned for biting an opponent for the third time in his professional career, had initially protested his innocence following fierce backlash around the globe.

    But the Liverpool striker finally apologised publicly in a move many believe was an attempt to help pave the way for a transfer to La Liga giants Barcelona, who are weighing up a big-money offer.

    Regardless of any hidden motives, Fifa President Sepp Blatter told reporters at a seminar in Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday that he was pleased with Suarez’s stance.

    “He said ‘I’m sorry’ to the soccer family, and that’s fair play too,” Blatter said.

    “That shows he’s a great player and I hope he can have his soccer career back.”

    Suarez was first embroiled in a biting controversy back in 2010 during his time with Ajax, when he accepted a seven-game ban for an incident involving PSV midfielder Otman Bakkal.

    The Liverpool frontman was handed a 10-game suspension three years later for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic at Anfield.

  • Japanese politician weeps on TV after public funds misuse probe

    A 47-year-old provincial politician is rapidly becoming an internet phenomenon in Japan on Wednesday after crying as he tried to explain his profligate use of public funds.

    Television chatshows carried looped footage of a press conference  in which Ryutaro Nonomura wails and bangs his fists on the desk as tears stream down his face.

    He shouts incoherent excuses in between gut-wrenching sobs, punctuated by the long intakes of breath necessary to power the next outburst.

    Nonomura, who was elected to the assembly in Hyogo in western Japan in 2011, is suspected of misusing ¥3m (£17,000) of official allowances.

    According to media reports, he spent the money on 195 trips he made to four locations in one year, including 106 visits to the same hot spring resort, all without producing a receipt or a report.

    During the three-hour press conference in Kobe he cried while saying: “I finally became an assembly member … with the sole purpose of changing society … This Japan … I want to change this society … I have staked my life … Don’t you understand?”

    Credit: Guardian.co.uk

  • One dead as Brazil flyover collapses

    A flyover collapsed in the Brazilian World Cup host city of Belo Horizonte on Thursday, killing at least one person and injuring 10 more, an emergency official said.

    Television images showed part of a passenger bus crushed under the flyover and news website G1 said another two trucks and a vehicle were also smashed.

    The accident site is around 3 km from the Mineirao Stadium, where a World Cup semifinal match will be held next Tuesday. The stadium has already hosted five games.

    A fire department official told GloboNews that at least one person was killed and 10 injured. A spokeswoman for the Belo Horizonte fire department told Reuters there were reports of several injuries, although she would not confirm the death.

    The flyover was one of the many infrastructure projects aimed at improving the city’s ailing public transport network. The bridge was to be used as for passenger buses in a system known as BRT/Move, considered a legacy project from the World Cup.

    Heavy government spending on the World Cup and long delays in finishing promised infrastructure projects have spurred violent street protests in Brazil over the past year, although they have died down in recent weeks.

    Credit: Supersport

  • We won’t sack Kwesi Appiah – Nyantakyi

    The President of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Mr Kwesi Nyantakyi has defended the decision of the association’s Executive Committee to retain Kwesi Appiah as coach of the Black Stars, despite his poor showing at the Brazil 2014 World Cup.

    Nyantakyi, who announced the decision to retain Appiah at a post-World Cup press conference on Wednesday, said sacking him “will not solve our problem”.

    “If you go and bring another coach, you are starting from scratch and there is no guarantee for success,” he told Accra-based Peace FM Thursday.

    “Sacking people is not an automatic solution to the problem,” he added.

    Nyantakyi said the FA feels obliged to “help” Appiah and so will work towards upgrading his skills to enable him perform more effectively.

    “It’s not yet time for a change of leadership,” he emphasised.

    The FA boss said Appiah’s immediate task is to rebuild the Black Stars and qualify for AFCON 2015 in Morocco, which he said Ghana will try to win.

    Ghana were eliminated in the first round in Brazil, following a 2-1 losses to USA and Portugal and a 2-2 draw with Germany.

    The Black Stars earned only one point from a possible nine, condemning them to last position in Group G and marking the first time the four-time African champions had failed to progress from the group stage of a World Cup tournament.

    The result angered many Ghanaians who called for Appiah to be sacked by the FA.

    Prior to the tournament, the 54-year-old had gained the confidence of Ghanaians by becoming the first indigenous coach to lead Ghana to World Cup qualification.

    Appiah first let Ghanaians down at the 2013 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) tournament held in South Africa, where Ghana emerged a disappointing fourth.

  • Bouchard through to first Grand Slam final

    World Tennis Association rising star Eugenie Bouchard defeated No.3 seed Simona Halep on Thursday to reach her first Grand Slam final. After taking a tight first set, Bouchard then raced into a 5-1 lead in the second. She experienced some late resistance as Halep fended off five match points before finally completing a 7-6(5), 6-2 victory with a big serve out wide. “It was a little crazy – I’ve never really ended a match like that,” Bouchard said. “I’m just happy I kept my focus and didn’t get distracted or anything and played well in the last game. “I’m not surprised to be in the final, because I’ve put in a lot of hard work and it’s been years in the making. I believe in myself and I expect good results and I always want more. I’ve had a good start to the season, but I expect myself to do even better than that and that’s what I’m going to try and do.” In the final, the Canadian will face 2011 champion Petra Kvitova who was too strong for Lucie Safarova. “I’m really excited. I have a day off tomorrow and I can’t wait to play,” she added. “It’s my first Grand Slam final so I’m just going to go for it. I’ll probably have my toughest match yet and I’m looking forward to the challenge. “She’ll go in prepared and I’ll be prepared as well – my coach will definitely watch her play and give me some tips. I’m just going to go out there and play my game. I think I can play even better today. I want to leave it all on court and we’ll see what happens.” Serena Williams exited a doubles match with sister Venus in a bizarre display of emotions. Sister, Venus, attributed it to a virus.

  • NPA, BDCs call for debate on fuel subsidies

    The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) and Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) are calling for the reopening of debate to scrap subsidies on fuel. Both entities say there is need for a public debate on whether or not the government should continue spending millions of cedis on subsidies, instead of channelling the money into the provision and improvement of infrastructure. The government currently owes bulk oil distribution companies (BDCs) about GH¢1.3 billion, representing subsidies on petroleum products from July 2011 to December 2013. The government’s failure to settle the debt on time has led to the banks withdrawing letters of credit (LCs) for the importation of finished petroleum products. International suppliers of petroleum products placed a week’s supply of petrol and diesel under lock and key until the BDCs settled their debts. This resulted in the acute shortage of petrol and diesel across the country last week and early this week. The problem got so bad that long, winding queues began forming at most petrol dumps across the country.

  • Algeria to donate $9m World Cup prize money to Palestinians

    The Algerian national football team are to donate their entire World Cup prize fund to the embattled people of Gaza, it has been reported.

    According to quotes attributed to Algeria’s star striker Islam Slimani, the team will give up all of the estimated $9 million (£5.25 million) they received as valiant losers in the round of 16.

    Though Slimani himself plays for Sporting Lisbon and is touted for an even bigger move this summer, the reported donation will be a greater sacrifice for members of the squad based at more modest clubs in Algeria, Tunisia, the lower French leagues and Watford.

    Yet according to the Jordanian football writer Waleed Abu Nada, Slimani said: “They need it more than us.”

    The Algerian team had already won support from around the world for their gutsy and creative performances throughout the tournament against more favoured nations.

    They reached the knockout stages for the first time their history when a second-half Slimani goal saw them go through against Russia – and at Russia’s expense.

    And they were actually the better side for large parts of their second round match against giants Germany, only losing 2-1 after extra time.

    If reports of their donation to Gaza are true, it will see Algeria gain a whole new set of fans beyond football around the world. They were also the only African side to make it through past the group stages – and their apparent willingness to give away the prize money is in stark contrast to the reported behaviour of the Cameroon, Ghana, and Nigeria teams.

    But they may also face accusations of bringing politics to the world of sport, as Argentina did when they were investigated by Fifa for showing a banner about the Falklands ahead of the tournament.

    Algeria have traditionally been strong supporters of the Palestinian cause in the long-running Middle East dispute with Israel centred on Gaza, and YouTube footage of the team’s open-top homecoming tour through Algiers yesterday showed at least one Palestinian flag draped from the bus by the players.

    Israel has begun sending troop reinforcements to its border with Gaza and begun intensifying air strikes, while more than a dozen Palestinian rockets struck southern Israel early this morning.

  • Shakira to perform in her third World Cup closing ceremony

    Colombian pop star Shakira will perform at this year’s World Cup closing ceremony, which takes place before the final in Rio de Janeiro on 13 July.

    The singer will perform La La La (Brazil 2014) at the Maracana stadium. It is her third consecutive appearance at a World Cup closing ceremony, after performing in South Africa in 2010 and in Germany in 2006.

    Shakira, whose home team Colombia will face Brazil in the quarter-finals, said she was “thrilled” to be performing.

    “I have an intricate relationship with football for obvious reasons, and I truly understand what the World Cup means to so many people, myself included,” the singer said in a statement.

    “The fans have shown the most incredible support for this song and I can’t wait to perform it for them.”

    The 37-year-old singer, whose hits include Hips Don’t Lie and She Wolf, had a son with Spanish defender Gerard Pique last year.

    She also performed the official song of the 2010 World Cup – Waka Waka (This Time for Africa) – which is reportedly the biggest-selling World Cup song of all time.

    Tknown Brazilian songs, while there will be a Samba performance by students.

    Credit: BBC  

  • Gov’t secures loan to buy sanitary pads for school girls

    Government has secured a World Bank loan, part of which will be used to provide free sanitary pads for school girls.

    Parliament approved a $156million World Bank facility to support construction of Senior High Schools in the country. Of this, around $15million will go into scholarships for over 10,000 students to pursue a senior high school education.

    Part of the $15 million will be used to buy sanitary pads and distribute them free of charge to school girls.

    The policy is in fulfillment of an NDC campaign promise, the Minister of Education, Jane Naana Opoku Agyemang stated.

    Ms Agyemang added that the decision to supply sanitary pads to less privileged students under a scholarship scheme in the Ghana Secondary School improvement programme is aimed at encouraging them to stay in school.

    “The girls seem to be in school up to about class three and four and they begin to drop [out]. A lot of theories have been expounded as to why this is happening. So the issue of girl’s sanitation is not a laughing matter. It’s a very serious issue,” she explained.

    She admonished all to support the policy and “handle it with the sensitivity that it required”.

    But the Minority spokesperson on education, Professor Dominic Fobih and the MP for Weija Gbawe Rosemary Abrah Comfort are questioning the allocation for the sanitary pads.

    “I still feel strongly that taking loans to buy sanitary pads, rulers, pens and pencils is out of place.

    “Why can’t we use our own budget to buy such things?, Prof Fobih suggested.

    “People will not take us serious. Going to borrow money and look at what we are going to use the money for. Sanitary pads? We must be serious,” Rosemary Abrah Comfort chided.

  • Mahama must resign – pressure group says

    A pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), is calling on President John Mahama to resign to save the country from collapse.

    In a statement issued in Accra on Wednesday, the group said, “Ghanaians must not continue to suffer under the precarious economic situation due to ineptitude of government”.

    “Mr President you will save this country a great deal (by resigning). In this difficult moment, it’s not a show of muscle it’s an appeal to your conscience. You have failed Ghanaians woefully,” it said.

    AFAG said it will not hesitate to petition Parliament to evoke Article 69(ii) of the Constitution to impeach President Mahama if he fails to resign.

  • Trainee nurses, midwives to protest over unpaid allowances

    Members of the Ghana Nurses and Midwives Trainees’ Association are set to hit the streets on Monday, July 7, to protest over unpaid allowances.

    This is in wake of an inconclusive meeting they had with the Minister of Health.

    The Association said the former Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Hannah Ayittey was not clear on when allowances owed members will be paid.

    The President of the Association, Emmanuel Geyovo, said members are not happy with government’s lack of commitment and have withdrawn their services with immediate effect, as a first action, awaiting to cap it with the planned demonstration.

    Mr Geyovo lamented that the government is really not “listening to them” and that “that is one of our biggest headache”.

    He added that all efforts to reach consensus with government have been in vain and that the Association has lost confidence in the government.

    Kwaku Asante-Krobea, the President of the Ghana Registered Nurses Association (GRNA), lent credence to the “agreement” between the trainees and the Minister but said his Association is not “too happy” with it.

  • BDCs release fuel

    Bulk Distribution Companies (BDCs) have released a week’s stock of petrol and diesel to the market to mitigate the acute shortage of petrol and diesel across the country.

    The move is in response to the government’s release of GH¢450 million and $100 million to cover part of the debt it owed the BDCs.

    In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Chamber of Bulk Oil Distributors (CBOD), Mr Senyo Hosi, confirmed the receipt of the amount by the BDCs.

    “As we speak, I am at the Bank of Ghana processing the payment,” Mr Hosi said. He added: “We have since located the key that held one week’s stock under lock and key.”

    International suppliers of petroleum products, early this week, put under “lock and key”, one week’s supply of petrol and diesel until BDCs honoured their debt obligation.

    The BDCs on the other hand, were faced with financial problems because banks were unwilling to issue Letters of Credit (LCs) as a result of their huge indebtedness to the banks.

    The situation resulted in a severe fuel shortage across the country. Long queues were sited at petrol dumps.

    Some individuals took advantage of the situation and sold fuel for as much as GH¢50 per gallon.

    To mitigate the situation, Mr Hosi said the BDCs were working around the clock to release petrol and diesel to the market.

    “The first stock has been released from the Tema Tank Farm. More than two million litres have so far been discharged. We will work overtime today (Saturday) to ensure there is enough stock on the market,” Mr Hosi clarified.

    Some banks, he explained had begun issuing LCs to cater for the importation of more petrol and diesel.

    He explained that the financial hold on most supplies would be fully lifted by international suppliers as the banks issued the LCs.

    “Letters of Credit are being issued for new imports. We expect the situation to normalise by Tuesday,” Mr Hosi assured.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • VAT on financial services suspended

    The 17.5% tax on selected banking and other financial services, including closure of accounts, online banking, mobile banking and sale of cheque leaflets, among others, has now been put on hold until further notice.

    The tax was meant to take effect on Tuesday, July 1.

    The Ghana Revenue Authority confirmed the indefinite suspension in an official statement saying the move is to allow more time for public education on the programme and adequate preparation by the banks for a smooth implementation.

    Below is the full statement:

    “After a careful evaluation of progress of the ongoing publicity and education programme on VAT on financial services, and taking cognizance of the request by sections of the banking community for extension of the period of preparation for implementation of the tax, the commencement date of 1st July, 2014 originally set, has been postponed until further notice.

    “The decision, taken in consultation with the appropriate stakeholders is to allow for more education of the general public and adequate lead time for the banks to achieve the level of preparedness that will ensure a hitch-free implementation.”

  • Police clash with Poly students at Education Ministry

    Police have clashed with members of the Central Committee of the country’s 10 polytechnics at the Ministry of Education offices in Accra on Wednesday, July 2.

    The students claim the “visit” was over the apparent disinterest by the Ministry to the issues leading to the strike declared by the Polytechnic Teachers’ Association of Ghana (POTAG) on May 15, this year.

    According to the police, the action of the students was in violation of the Public Order Act.

    The students, on the other hand, complain the police have turned down several requests tendered for escort.

  • Health officials hold ‘crisis talks’ on Ebola epidemic

    Health ministers from 11 African countries are meeting in Accra today to hold emergency talks about the Ebola outbreak in the region, which is the world’s most deadly so far.

    The meeting, convened by the World Health Organization (WHO), will focus on measures to stamp out the virus and stop it spreading to other countries in the region.

    So far, 763 people have been infected with the virus – and 468 of these have died. Most of the cases have been in Guinea where the outbreak started. But it has since spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

    WHO says “drastic” action is now needed.

    “We’re hoping to take decisions about how to enhance collaboration and responses (of these countries) so we can get a grip and halt this outbreak,” said WHO spokesman Daniel Epstein.

    “We need a strong response, especially along the shared border areas where commercial and social activities continue between Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. That’s unlikely to stop.”

    The concerns about the spread of the virus center around the free movement of people within the region, sick people not being taken to the isolation centers, and families hiding sick relatives and bodies to avoid stigmatization by their communities. Public health workers have also urged government to work closely with communities on building awareness about the disease.

    Countries participating at today’s meeting are: Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Senegal, and Uganda.

    There is no known cure for Ebola.

    Ebola symptoms

    Symptoms start two days to three weeks after contracting the virus with a fever, throat and muscle pains, and headaches. This is followed by nausea, vomiting and diarrhea along with decreased functioning of the liver and kidneys. At this point, some people begin to have problems with bleeding.

    How to avoid contracting Ebola

    You can get Ebola by coming into contact with the blood or body fluids of an animal or person who is infected.

    People often get sick with Ebola when they care for or bury a person who has the disease. You can also catch the virus by touching contaminated needles or surfaces.

  • Five injured in Suame Roundabout accident

    Five people were injured in an accident involving an articulated truck and five other vehicles on Tuesday, July 1 at the Suame roundabout in Kumasi.

    A taxi driver was trapped in one of the vehicles for close to two hours before rescuers removed him from the wreckage. It took seven towing vehicles to extract the trapped taxi driver.

    According to Daily Graphic’s Ashanti Regional Correspondent, Donald Ato Dapatem, the incident occurred at around midday.

    He said the articulated truck which was loaded with iron bars fell on the five vehicles while negotiating a curve at the roundabout.

    The injured persons were rushed to the hospital.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Internal Affairs cautions gov’t over public protests about economy

    The Bureau for Internal Affairs (BIA), an anti-corruption organisation, has urged President John Mahama to pay attention to agitations about the ill-health of the economy, which could escalate into national security threats.

    A statement issued by Ms Cynthia Essandoh, Coordinator of BIA in Accra on Tuesday and copied to the Ghana News Agency said the industrial action by workers and the recent agitation of traders as well as the current fuel crisis are signs that Ghanaians are not happy about the economy.

    It mentioned the strikes by Ghana Union of Traders Association, University Teachers Association of Ghana, Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana and petitions by Small Scale Rice Dealers Association for government to introduce friendly policies to traders, as examples.

    BIA said the economic crisis has had a huge negative impact on national life and asked government to act in a timely manner to avert public protests which could escalate into national security threats.

    The statement said called on the country’s leaders to help the poor by initiating pro-poor policies and other social interventions. The BIA said the economic crisis is affecting productivity, hence the need for requisite policies to reverse the situation.

    BIA says it will continue to draw the attention of government to bad policies which do not serve the interest of Ghanaians.

    If you have any genuine concerns contact BIA through: biainfogh@gmail.com or Facebook: Bureau For Internal Affairs.

  • Tariffs increase – PURC justifies decisions

    The Public Utility Regulatory Commission (PURC) has justified its decision to increase electricity by 12.9% and water by 6.1% which takes effect on Thursday.

    It said the increase in electricity tariff is to sustain the load shedding and not to enhance quality of service.

    The Public and External Affairs Director of the PURC, Nana Yaa Jantuah, says the Commission had to implement the second quarter figures of 12.9% for electricity and 6.1% for water instead of the third quarter increase of 31.56% and 14.30% to save consumers the burden of extra hardship.

    In an interview with Radio Ghana, Mrs Jantuah said the Commission could further defer the third quarter figures should gas flow from the Atuabo Gas processing plant delay.

    Meanwhile, a visit to some parts of town suggests that people are worried about the increase in electricity and water tariffs.

    They say with the increase, prices of other products will shoot up, thereby bringing a lot of hardship.

    Source: Radio Ghana

  • Gov’t given July 14 ultimatum over pension funds

    Public sector workers have threatened to go on strike if government does not hand pension funds over to workers for self-management.

    The leadership of Organised Labour has said that if government does not detach itself from the management of its funds under the National Pensions Act of 2008 (Act 766) within the next two weeks, they will embark on industrial action.

    The Act requires workers to contribute 5.5 per cent of their earnings into a private fund as part of mandatory second-tier programme.

    However, at a meeting with journalists on Monday, June 30, in Accra, Organised Labour has asked government to transfer members’ pension funds to them.

    The scheme is managed by the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) under the Temporary Pension Fund Account (TPFA).

    Awotwe Nkansah, the Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) said: “We wish to state that if by July 14, 2014, directives have not been issued for the transfer of funds to the various public sector schemes, we shall advise ourselves.”

    Executive Secretary of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association of Ghana (CLOGSAG) Isaac Bampoe-Addo said they will stick to the two-week ultimatum given government but will begin with withdrawal of some essential services.

  • Mission hospitals to reject NHIS cards from July 2

    Mission Hospitals have said they would not honour National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cards from tomorrow, July 2.

    NHIS subscribers who receive treatment at mission hospitals will be made to pay cash.

    This follows the decision by the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) to withdraw its services to NHIS subscribers because the Scheme’s managers owe mission hospitals more than GH¢ 50million.

    There are 183 mission hospitals in the country which cater for about 42 per cent of the healthcare needs in the country, especially deprived communities.

    A CHAG source said the association had asked the NHIA to pay the arrears but that has not been done.

    The source said public notices would be posted at mission hospitals to inform patients of the decision by the association to revert to the cash-and-carry system.

    It said due to the rising cost of goods and services, high inflationary rates, the depreciation of the cedi against the major currencies and high utility bills, the delay in paying the huge amount owed had made things unbearable for the service providers.

    “If paracetamol cost GH¢ 1 in March 2014 and now costs GH¢ 2 and you have refused to pay the amount owed us today, then anytime the money will be paid, it will mean that the service provider will have to go for a loan to top up before paying its debtors.

    “We cannot afford even simple disposables. What do they want us to do? Fold up or what?” the source asked.

    Members of the association have been threatened with court action due to the huge sums of money they owe their suppliers.

    Last year, the association resolved to withdraw its services because of the NHIS’s indebtedness to it, but the Ministry of Health intervened and promised to ensure the settlement of the arrears.

  • I’m worried about Ghanaians – President Mahama

    President John Mahama says he is worried and shares in the frustrations of all Ghanaians due to the challenges currently facing the country.

    His comments follow protests and demonstrations in Accra and Kumasi focussing on the economic hardship experienced by citizens.

    In the latest of such protests, which took place today, more than 300 people petitioned the President at the Flagstaff House expressing their discontent with the difficult economic conditions in the country.

    Addressing senior citizens at a state luncheon celebrating Ghana’s 54th Republic Day today, July 1, the President said he has not forgotten the promise he made to the people of Ghana when he was sworn in and will continue to listen.

    President Mahama admitted the nation has been hit by “several obstacles and challenges” some of which are still being resolved.

    The President stressed the “time for talking has passed”.

    He urged Ghanaians to work together with him for a prosperous nation.

    Source: Myjoyonline.com

  • Gov’t stops Tema Oil Refinery demo

    A demonstration by three labour unions in Tema was averted after the government’s Chief of Staff, Prosper Douglas Bani, intervened.

    Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) has been shut down for the past nine months because it cannot raise letters of credit to import crude.

    Some oil marketing companies have allegedly been using TOR tanks to store imported refined fuel.

    Consequently, the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), Trades Union Congress (TUC) and the TOR Unions met the Tema Metropolitan Chief Executive in his office last Tuesday, June 24, to share their grievances with him and to formally announce their planned demonstration against the government.

    A reliable source who spoke on condition of anonymity said the following day, Wednesday, June 25, the leaders of the three unions received a phone call from the Chief of Staff asking them to call off the demonstration.

    According to the source, Mr Bani promised government’s commitment to addressing TOR’s problems.

    The source explained that they suspended the demonstrations, but added that if government fails to address their grievances, they would embark on the demonstration unannounced.

    A red banner on a TOR wall read: “TOR/TDCL/TUC: We need crude; TOR must run continuously and Touch one, touch all.”

    Speaking to The Finder, some TOR workers expressed disappointment at the situation, saying if government can raise GH₵1.8 billion for Bulk Oil Distributors, it should be able to assist TOR raise letters of credit to lift crude for processing.

    The workers demanded that government account for the TOR recovery levy.

    In his February State of the Nation address, President John Mahama announced that TOR was close to signing a joint venture agreement with PetroSaudi International and a deal was expected soon.

    He said the deal would revamp the operations of TOR to reduce the huge amount of foreign exchange spent on importing finished products. It is not clear when the deal referred to by President Mahama in February would be reached.

  • Hollywood to cash in on Ghana’s US$3m World Cup fees drama

    An award-winning US writer is planning a Hollywood thriller based on the story of the delivery of Ghana’s World Cup cash.

    Darryl Wharton-Rigby’s screenplay will centre on a courier tasked with bringing US $3m (£1.76m) across the Atlantic to Brazil in an effort to stop the Ghanaian football team quitting the competition in protest at lack of pay.

    It is based on a real-life impasse which affected the west African team prior to their exit at the group stage last week, though fictional elements will be incorporated to further spice up the proposed movie.

    The plot sees the cash stolen after the courier is ambushed. He then has fewer than 12 hours to recover the money or face the wrath of his employers (and presumably the Ghanaian footballers).

    “The world has soccer fever and Hollywood has caught it,” said Wharton-Rigby, a former staff writer for Homicide: Life on the Street, the celebrated Emmy-winning TV series from producer David Simon which predated the even more successful The Wire.

    The screenplay has been optioned by US production company Bugeater, whose founders Dan Mirvish and Barry Hennessey will produce the film. Hennessy, an Emmy winner for reality TV show The Amazing Race, told the Wrap: “I’ve shot extensively in both Ghana and Brazil, and this is a perfect project to capture the raw energy that both countries have to offer.”

    President John Dramani Mahama was forced to send a plane containing US$3m to Brazil for the players to share after a row over appearance fees threatened to see the team go on strike. Ghana, who at one point refused to train due to lack of renumeration, subsequently lost their final group match 2-1 to Portugal and exited the competition.

  • Keshi resigns as Nigeria coach

    Stephen Keshi has resigned as head coach of Nigeria following their World Cup elimination by France.

    The Super Eagles reached the last 16 before losing 2-0 to Didier Deschamps’ side on Monday, thanks to a Paul Pogba header and a Joseph Yobo own goal, both of which came late in the game.

    Yobo, who picked up his 100th cap against France, announced his retirement after the match, before his coach said that he would also step down.

    Keshi, who took over as Nigeria coach in 2011, said: “It’s time for me to go back to my family and face fresh challenges.”

    Keshi, 52, has stepped aside before only be to convinced to return, after the Confederations Cup last summer, but is to move on and has been linked with the South Africa job.

    The defeat to France also spelt the end of Yobo’s long international career. The 33-year-old Fenerbahce defender told the BBC: “It’s time to give a chance to other people to come through.

    “I wanted to leave on a high for my country. Defeat by France was not the right way to go but I’m happy with all I’ve done for the national team.”

    Nigeria reached the last 16 after coming second to Argentina in a group that also included Iran and Bosnia Herzegovina.

  • President calls for investigation into World Cup performance

    Ghana’s disappointing performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil should be investigated, President John Mahama has demanded.

    Ghana finished with only one point from their three Group G games. The national team was also embroiled in a dispute over appearance fees. Midfielders Sulley Muntari and Kevin-Prince Boateng were also expelled from the squad for alleged indiscipline.

    Ghana’s only points in the World Cup came in a 2-2 draw against Germany in which Andre Ayew and Asamoah Gyan both scored.

    Four days later, the national government sent in excess in of US$3m in a chartered plane to Brazil to pay the squad following their threat to boycott their final group match against Portugal if they did not receive their money.

    The players had boycotted training the previous day in protest.

    Cameroon’s President Paul Biya also said an inquiry was needed into his own country’s failure to win a group game.

    Like Ghana, the nation’s reputation has been damaged by match-fixing allegations. The world’s most notorious match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, admitted on Tuesday that he had no evidence to support his claim that Cameroon fixed all three of their matches at the World Cup.

  • Ghana squad arrive back home Brazil

    Ghana’s national team, the Black Stars, have arrived home after going out at the group stage of the World Cup.

    Their flight from Brazil touched down in Accra on Sunday afternoon,  with team captain Asamoah Gyan and some of the squad on board along with the management of the Ghana Football Association.

    Other members of the playing team who did not arrive with the squad to Accra, left for their various bases in Europe.

    Ghana could not progress to the second round after losing their final group game against Portugal on Thursday before leaving their base in Maceio.

    The Black Stars were making their third-straight appearance at the World Cup.

    The team was plagued with controversy, including two  squad members being asked to leave camp just before a crucial match and the appearance fees fiasco which led to the President John Mahama to charter a flight to deliver millions of dollars to the players who had threatened to boycott the tournament.

  • MPs abandon Parliament due to fuel shortage

    Some members of Parliament have allegedly abandoned parliamentary duties due to the fuel shortage that has hit Accra and many towns across the country.

    The 275-member legislative chamber was a pale shadow of itself after barely 60 MPs showed up for business on Thursday.

    Minority Finance Spokesperson, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, attributed the low attendance to the frantic search for fuel. Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu corroborated the explanation with a personal story of his search for fuel.

    Taxis, motorbikes and gallons have been lined up at filling stations this week since the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies warned of a looming fuel crisis if government did not pay them over GH₵1billion in arrears. Government has disputed the amount and insisted the debt was GH₵304 million.

    The President John Mahama has directed the Finance Minister, Seth Terkper to release US $60 million to the Distribution Companies.

    Source: myjoyonline.com

  • “The king is naked”, Occupy Flagstaff House protesters charge

    Over 300 protesters have marched to the Flagstaff House in an unprecedented demonstration summed up in one  protester’s placard –  “the King is naked”.

    The placard draws parallels with the children’s fable. The Emperor’s New Clothes, about a ruler who had an invisible robe made, but no one had the courage to tell him he was naked.

    The protest was organised by a non-partisan group calling itself Concerned Ghanaians for Responsible Governance (CGRG) who were bent on petitioning President John Mahama on what it says are the worsening economic conditions in the country.

    Dubbed ‘Occupy Flagstaff House’, the organisers says they are tired of talking about hardship on social media and have decided to take their issues to the head of state himself.

    The march on the seat of government coincides with Ghana’s 54th Republic Day, the day the country broke away from British colonial rule.

    The march started out modestly small, mainly hampered by rain, but gained momentum, setting off the Efua Sunderland Children’s Park bound for the Flagstaff House.

    Only three protesters were allowed into the Flagstaff House to present their petition to the president.

    Comprising of a middle class and elite gathering, protesters included academics, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs.

    “The things that are happening the perceived corruption should be stopped,” former MTN Chief Marketing Officer George Andah said. “Employers are branded wicked by their staff if they are unable to pay their salaries”.

    Others who couldn’t make the demonstration took to social media to express their disappointment at the country’s current state.

    The President has been heavily criticised for chartering a flight to take over US$6.7million to pay Black Stars players at a time when the country was facing fuel shortages and load shedding.

    The march on the Flagstaff House follows an emotive demonstration last month in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, which drew hundreds of people. At the time, the demonstration was dismissed as a ploy by the National Patriotic Party to tarnish the government’s image.

     

  • NHIS biometric registration begins in Ashanti Region in July

    Biometric registration for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) is set to begin in the Ashanti Region from July 7.

    The exercise is aimed at two groups: those with expired cards and new entrants who are not registered with the scheme.

    The issuing of biometric identity (ID) cards is meant to help address authentication of subscribers, ensure data integrity, and improve linkages between attendance at health facilities and claim management.

    The exercise has already started in three regions, Greater-Accra, Central and Eastern, with a total of about 781,000 subscribers registered and issued with biometric cards.

    At a media briefing in Kumasi, Mr Perry Nelson, Director of Management Information Systems (MIS) of the NHIA, said the Biometric Membership Solution (BMS) allowed for instant issuing of cards at the point of registration or renewal.

    Mr Nelson said these would significantly enhance the sustainability of the NHIS.

    He said registration was a continuous activity, to ensure that all subscribers were captured, adding that, there was no need for people to rush to change their cards.

    Source: GNA

  • Suarez bite – ban is excessive, Chiellini says

    The much anticipated statement from Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has been released on the player’s official website after he was bitten, or appeared to be bitten by Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez during Uruguay’s decisive group D encounter against Italy.

    The statement reads, “Now inside me there’s no feelings of joy, revenge or anger against Suarez for an incident that happened on the pitch and that’s done. There only remain the anger and the disappointment about the match. At the moment my only thought is for Luis and his family, because they will face a very difficult period.”

    He continued, ”I have always considered unequivocal the disciplinary interventions by the competent bodies, but at the same time I believe that the proposed formula is excessive. I sincerely hope that he will be allowed, at least, to stay close to his teammates during the games because such a ban is really alienating for a player.”

    FIFA had earlier announced that Suarez will be banned from all football activities for four months and a further 9 international matches, after he was found in breach of the FIFA Disciplinary Code (FDC) for assault and unsporting behaviour towards another player.

  • Goals record as group stage ends, Algeria make history

    As the group stage reached its climax at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Portugal, Ghana, Korea Republic and Russia were all left facing early flights home along with the 12 sides eliminated before them. The tournament has come to a close too for Luis Suarez, with the Uruguay striker suspended for nine matches and four months for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini on Tuesday.

    Elsewhere, Algeria are revelling in a breakthrough moment after decades of frustration. Les Fennecs (Desert Foxes) recorded a 1-1 draw with Russia to seal their progress to the Round of 16 for the first time in the history, ensuring a place in the hearts of a nation for Vahid Halilhodzic and his men.

    Results
    Portugal 2-1 Ghana (Budweiser Man of the Match: Cristiano Ronaldo, POR)
    USA 0-1 Germany (Budweiser Man of the Match: Thomas Muller, GER)
    Korea Republic 0-1 Belgium (Budweiser Man of the Match: Jan Vertonghen, BEL)
    Algeria 1-1 Russia (Budweiser Man of the Match: Islam Slimani, ALG)

    Memorable moments

    USA and Germany locked horns amid a torrential downpour at the Arena Pernambuco. The grim conditions gave the game an apocalyptic feel, but it was in Brasilia where tournament last rites were being read. 2013 FIFA Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo grabbed a goal against Ghana and was named Budweiser Man of the Match, yet even he could not save Portugal from elimination – goalkeeper Beto’s tears at the final whistle summed up the side’s heartbreak.

    Breaking new ground
    The goals scored in today’s games blasted Brazil 2014 into the record books as a new benchmark was set for group stage strikes. A total of 136 goals were registered in the opening phase, six more than at Korea/Japan 2002. Fittingly, current adidas Golden Boot leader Thomas Muller notched the record-breaking effort, hitting the target against USA with a thunderous side-footed shot.

    Beaten 1-0 by Belgium, Korea Republic were unable to salvage a little late pride for the Asian contenders at Brazil 2014. For the first time since 1990, no Asian hopeful was able to record a victory at the global showcase. In contrast, Africa will have an unprecedented two representatives in the knock-out phase, Algeria and Nigeria combining to blaze a trail for the continent. The tournament has smiled on CONCACAF too, with three of its teams surviving the group stage for the first time.

    The scenes of joy that greeted Algeria’s vital draw with Russia spoke volumes about the scale of the north Africans’ achievement. Having held Fabio Capello’s charges 1-1, Les Fennecs clinched a maiden berth in the Round of 16, leaving them to look forward to the uncharted territory of the knoc-kout phase. Budweiser Man of the Match Islam Slimani delivered the telling blow, heading in from a precision-guided Yacine Brahimi free-kick.
    Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Brazil with one minor consolation. Unable to find the net in his first two outings at Brazil 2014, the Real Madrid forward finally opened his account in Portugal’s farewell match, racking up his 50th international goal in 114 appearances. Only four other players involved in the tournament have also passed the half-century mark.

    70-goal Miroslav Klose will be the sole member of the club in the Round of 16, with Didier Drogba (63), David Villa (59) and Samuel Eto’o (55) all eliminated. Ronaldo has now struck in three separate World Cups, becoming the first Portuguese player to do so after adding to efforts in 2006 and 2010.

    Credit:FIFA.com

  • Boateng and Muntari could return for Ghana

    Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari were sent home in disgrace for separate acts of indiscipline, but the Black Stars coach has left the door open for them to return to the national squad

    Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah insists the disgraced duo could still have an international future despite being sent home before Thursday’s final Group G clash with Portugal.

    Boateng was dismissed from the camp for using what were described as “vulgar verbal insults” towards Appiah, while Muntari was apparently sanctioned for an “unprovoked physical attack on an executive committee member”.

    Neither featured as the Black Stars crashed out of the tournament with a single point after a 2-1 defeat to Portugal, but Appiah is adamant that their suspension from the squad need not be permanent.

    “The letter issued to them was suspension, so it depends,” he told reporters at a post-match press conference. “If they perform well they could be invited back to the national team.”

    On Wednesday, the Ghanaian government sent €2.25 million on a chartered plane to Brazil to pay the players after they threatened to boycott the Portugal match if they did not receive their appearance money.

    Appiah admitted the situation was far from ideal preparation, but insisted he remains determined to continue his work with a young Black Stars squad.

    “No coach loves to be in such a situation,” he added. “Every coach would love to have his players concentrating on games, not on money or anything else

    “As for my future, I have a contract and it’s not ended yet, so I’ll keep building the team.

    “Most of the players in this team are really young and I’m looking at building a team for the future. I believe their confidence will rise with time.

    “The performance level has been really good, but sometimes you can play well and if you don’t take your chances, one opportunity leaves you out of the competition

    “It’s unfortunate we could not get to the second round but performance-wise, Ghana did not do badly.”

    Credit :goal.com

  • K-P Boateng and Muntari banished from Ghana camp

    Head coach of Black Stars has wielded his disciplinary axe on duo Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari from the Ghana World Cup team camp for various degrees of misconduct.

    The decision was finally taken in a meeting on Thursday morning after both players like the rest of the team finally received their much-awaited World Cup appearance fees which has plunged the country into a negative media limelight.

    They have been ordered to leave the team’s Palace Hotel base in Brasilia by 11:00 GMT.

    Kwesi Appiah weeps

    Kevin-Prince Boateng was reportedly involved in a bust-up with head coach Kwesi Appiah where the Schalke 04 player used swear words on his gaffer at the training grounds in Maceio on Monday. Apparently, the coach had stepped in to probe into an altercation between Boateng and his former AC Milan colleague Sulley Muntari during the session.

    Affected by what had happened earlier in the day and the growing pressure from the players regarding their unpaid World Cup appearance fees, Ghana Coach Kwesi Appiah reportedly burst into tears during the team’s dinner that night. He was helped back to his hotel room by the team’s psychologist.

    Muntari madness

    Fast-forward Wednesday, Muntari in what could be described as the height of indiscipline within the Ghana team camp, subjected a Black Stars management team member Moses Armah to slaps during one of several crisis meetings ahead of the last group game with Portugal.

    Credit: FootyGhana

  • Ghana players paid World Cup appearance fees ahead of Portugal clash

    Brazilian news agency portal Globo.com has published exclusive pictures of Black Stars players receiving their appearances fees ahead of Thursday’s final Group G match against Portugal.

    A chartered flight from Accra landed in Brasilia at 8pm (local time) on Wednesday and with police escort, the US$3million  was transported to the team’s Brasilia Palace Hotel.

    The transportation of the money was shown live on TV Globo.

    Shortly afterwards the arrival of the entourage, the players, in turns, entered one of the hotel rooms to receive the money owed by the Ghana Football Federation.

    According to reports, some players kept the amount in their pockets or wrapped in pieces of clothing.

    Others left with the wad of bills in their hand.

    Although unconfirmed, it is reported by the Brazilian news agency that each player was paid US$ 100,000.

    The issue has caused a media circus in Brazil, with the biggest television station running live commentary of the money being transported and subsequently players being paid.

    With criminal bandits in Brazil notorious for attacking people and bank vans, the publication and live transmission on television of the monies to the Black Stars has exposed the team to serious danger.

    Ghana will play Portugal later on Thursday night.

  • Zinedine Zidane appointed Castilla coach

    Former football star Zinedine Zidane has been appointed coach of Spanish third division side, Castilla, Real Madrid’s feeder team.
    The former France midfielder, 42, has been working with Real coach Carlo Ancelotti in developing young players.

    “Zizou, who was Carlo Ancelotti’s first squad assistant coach this year, will start a new stage of his career at Real Madrid,” the club website reported.

    Zidane, a World Cup winner with France in 1998, is a potential replacement for Ancelotti in the future.

    He won two Serie A titles with Juventus, La Liga and the Champions League with Real Madrid, and was the inspiration in France’s 3-0 World Cup victory over Brazil in 1998.

    But he ended his career after the World Cup final defeat by Italy, on penalties in 2006, after being sent off for headbutting defender Marco Materazzi in the chest.

    Zidane has been linked with the manager’s job at former club Bordeaux but elected to stay at Madrid.

  • NPP to meet to resolve security clash

    The opposition New Patriotic Party is holding a crisis meeting today to quell the internal wrangling that is threatening to tear the party apart.

    The crucial meeting called by the National Chairman, Paul Afoko, will discuss recent events in the party which generated huge debate across the country.

    Among the issues to be discussed, according to Daily Guide sources, is the confusion over who gave instructions for security details at the headquarters to be changed.

    Virtually all members of the national executives have denied authorizing the decision which resulted in fiery clashes at the party’s Asylum Down headquarters on Monday morning.

    A group of young men from Magnus Security tried to take over control of security functions at the NPP head office from the regular security, Invisible Forces.

    The General Secretary of the party, Kwabena Agyapong, was nearly assaulted by angry party youth who had gathered there when he arrived.

    It took the intervention of a team of police officers led by the Greater Accra Regional Commander, Christian Tetteh Yehonu to bring the situation under control.

    The police had to provide a police escort to the General Secretary to his office.

    So far, the only person who has sought to give some sort of justification to the change in security at the headquarters is an aide to NPP General Secretary, Davis Opoku Ansah, popularly known as OPK, who wrote on his Facebook wall: “First of all, no security person has been sacked form the NPP headquarters. They were told they will undergo some training to sharpen their delivery.”

    Source: Daily Guide

  • Drivers left ‘high and dry’ as fuel dries up

    Drivers have complained of a severe petrol shortage in some parts of Accra.

    Some fuel stations in Adabraka, Ridge, Osu, Kokomlemle , Abeka Junction, Tesano and the Kwame Nkrumah Circle, and along the Ring Road were displaying a ‘No Petrol’ sign and motorists were being turned away.

    The fuel shortage, which has persisted for the past three days, is particularly affecting commercial drivers who require large amounts of fuel for long journeys.

    Commercial drivers have called on government to urgently address the situation so that they can return to work.
    The shortage has caused some panic buying among motorists who were spotted in some filling stations filling mini gallons of fuel.

    The government owes the Bulk Oil Distribution Companies (BDCs) GHc1.5 billion.Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, Senyo Hosi told an Accra-based radio station that until that money is paid to allow them settle international suppliers, the situation would persist.

    ”There is stock available on the market, on the shores of Ghana; but it is just that it is on a financial hold. You pay you get financial access to it from the international suppliers,” Mr Hosi said.

    There is speculation that a supply of fuel is available but is being held up due to financial reasons.

    Mr. Hosi said the BDCs could not secure fuel supplies because the banks were unwilling to extend credit as the BDCs were already “heavily indebted” to them.

    He also revealed information he has shows that Ghana has just about three days worth of stock remaining.

    Source: GhanaWeb

     

  • 21 killed in Nigeria blast

    At least 21 people have been killed and 17 injured following an explosion near a popular shopping area in the Nigerian capital Abuja during rush hour today.

    The cause of the blast is not known, but witnesses say it shattered the glass of nearby stores and sent smoke billowing into the air.

    The explosion took place near the popular Banex Plaza shopping centre in the upmarket Wuse 2 district at a time when the area was packed with shoppers and rush-hour commuters.

    “After a preliminary investigation, we can confirm that 21 people were killed and 17 injured,” police spokesman Frank Mba told reporters at the scene of the explosion.

    “I heard a loud blast, it shattered the windows of the shop. We ran out. A lot of people ran too, some with blood stains,” said Gimbya Jafaru, who was shopping nearby.

    Emergency services arrived on the scene quickly and the police and army had blocked off the surrounding area. The bomb squad combed the area for explosives.

    In another incident, a roadside bomb blew up in the northeastern Adamawa state, although no one was injured in that explosion, local police spokesman Othman Abubakar said

    Nigeria has been hit by almost daily bomb and gun attacks, which are widely suspected to be the work of Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

    Source: Reuters

  • Tema residents at risk of cholera

    Tema residents stand a high risk of contracting cholera because of the dirty environment in which they live as a result of indiscriminate dumping of refuse.

    The Tema Metro Environmental Health Officer, Mr Edward Kwabla Shardey, told Ghana News Agency that dumping of waste in drains especially during the raining season provides a fertile ground for the spread of germs.

    Mr Shardey said house flies and other insects thrive in dirty places. The flies settle on the food and water that people consume, leading to cholera.

    He cautioned residents to keep their environment clean and to stop dumping refuse, relieving themselves in the open and other unhygienic practices.

    He advised all households to register with the environment health office to have their refuse collected at least once a week, after paying a monthly token fee.

    Mr Shardey advised food vendors and petty traders to buy litter bins for their shops to enhance good sanitation.

  • Electricity and water tariffs to increase

    Water and electricity tariffs will increase in the third quarter of the year, the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission has confirmed.

    The move, which according to the Commission was in line with the automatic adjustment formula, will see a 12 per cent increase in electricity and 6.1 per cent in water for the next quarter beginning July 2014.

    The Commission had initially proposed a 31 per cent increase in electricity and 14 per cent in water, but after meeting on Wednesday, the commissioners decided to review it downward by the amount that it was increased in the second quarter.

    The tariffs went up 12 per cent for electricity and 6.1 per cent for water at the beginning of the second quarter in April 2014.

    Under the automatic adjustment formula the commissioners have the power to maintain the prevailing tariff or review it

    Earlier the Director of Public Affairs, Nana Yaa Jantuah, had asked consumers to expect an increment beginning July 2014.

  • Stop devastating mining practice – Otumfuo

    The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has charged the Minerals Commission and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop the devastation of the nation’s forests and water bodies through mining.

    He said the institutions should properly supervise and monitor small-scale miners, particularly those operating in remote areas.

    “I am saddened by the extent to which our environment is being degraded on daily basis due to the activities of miners”, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II said.

    He said this when the management of the Minerals Commission led by its newly-appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Tony Aubynn, paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace, Kumasi.

    The King said he found it disturbing that in spite of the many laws and policies in place to promote safe mining to protect the environment the nation was far from achieving this.

    He criticised chiefs who aided illegal mining in their communities, and said it was shameful.

    The Asantehene said that as custodians, they had a responsibility to lead the campaign to safeguard the environment and maintain biodiversity.

    Dr Aubynn said the Commission would do everything it could to tackle the illegal mining menace.

  • Ghana president to settle payment row

    President John Dramani Mahama has vowed to settle a payment row involving the country’s national team.

    The debacle has been an unwelcome distraction since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup, with no appearance fees having been paid during the tournament.

    However, Mahama has now spoken to the players to assure them that the issue would be resolved today.

    The government has promised to pre-finance the payments, which will be reimbursed when FIFA’s prize money for participation in the competition is received.

    A statement from the Ghana Football Association read: “We wish to assure the general public following President Mahama’s intervention the Black Stars are in high spirits ahead of Thursday’s match last Group G match against Portugal.”

    Ghana, third in Group G, have to win that fixture to have any hope of qualifying for the second round.

     

  • Ivory Coast coach Sabri Lamouchi steps down

    Former France international Sabri Lamouchi has stepped down as Ivory Coast head coach after the African side failed to reach the knock-out stage of the World Cup.

    The Elephants lost 2-1 to Greece in their final Group C game on Tuesday, a result which meant they finished third with their opponents taking second.

    Lamouchi’s contract ran until the end of the World Cup.

    “I’m deeply disappointed for the players,” said the 42-year-old.

    Ivory Coast needed just a draw to ensure they took second place, meaning they would join Colombia in progressing to the last 16.

    They were were just seconds away from achieving that when Georgios Samaras earned a controversial penalty, which the Celtic forward converted to send Greece through instead.

    “The Ivory Coast is a great football nation and this was a cruel game, a cruel game,” Lamouchi lamented.

    “After so much hard work and so much sacrifice, all of us and everyone in the Ivory Coast is very sad.”

    Lamouchi, a former Auxerre and Monaco midfielder who also had spells in Italy with Parma and Inter Milan, was appointed Ivory Coast head coach in May 2012 in what was his first managerial role.

    He was in charge when they reached the quarter-finals of the African Cup of Nations.

     

  • Colombian goalkeeper breaks Roger Milla’s age record

    Colombia goalkeeper Faryd Camilo Mondragon Ali became the oldest player in Fifa World Cup history after appearing in a 4-1 win over the Blue Samurai (Japan’s National football team) aged 43.

    Mondragon celebrated his birthday three days before the match and came on for David Ospina after 86 minutes with his side 3-1 up.

    It was his first competitive appearance for his country since 2005.

    Cameroon’s Roger Milla was the previous oldest player at a World Cup, appearing at the 1994 tournament aged 42.

     

  • Luis Suarez bites: Uruguay striker in World Cup controversy

    Uruguay’s Luis Suarez was involved in another World Cup controversy after he appeared to bite Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini.
    Suarez pushed his head towards Chiellini in the penalty area just before Diego Godin’s Uruguay winner.
    It is not the first time Suarez has been involved in controversy.
    • July 2010 – Handles on the line to deny Ghana a winner in the last minute of extra-time in the World Cup quarter-finals. Asamoah Gyan misses the resulting penalty and Uruguay win the shoot-out to reach the semi-finals.
    • November 2010 – Given seven-match ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder while playing for Ajax.
    • December 2011 – Given eight-match suspension and fined £40,000 for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.
    • February 2012 - Refuses to shake hands with Evra at Old Trafford and is described as a “disgrace” by Sir Alex Ferguson.
    • April 2013 - Suarez apologises for his “inexcusable behaviour” for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic and receives a 10-game ban.

    Chiellini then pulled his shirt down to show the referee an apparent mark on his shoulder made from the clash.

    “It was ridiculous not to send Suarez off. It is clear, clear-cut,” Chiellini told Italian television station Rai TV.

    “Then there was the obvious dive afterwards because he knew very well that he did something that he shouldn’t have done.”

  • President Mahama pleads with Black Stars to play on

    President John Mahama has pleaded with the Black Stars not to abandon their final group game against Portugal.

    The players reportedly threatened to boycott the trip due to non-payment of allowances and appearance fees.

    FA spokesperson Ibrahim Sannie Daara has confirmed that the players have not been paid since they arrived.

    He would not confirm a planned boycott but said in a Whatsapp message to Joy Sports’ Benedict Owusu that the players are upset by the broken promises made by officials.

    The players failed to turn up for training on Tuesday morning in protest over delays in payment of their appearance fees.

    The players were promised an appearance fee of $75,000 each for qualifying for the tournament in Brazil to be taken from monies FIFA paid to Ghana for qualifying for the World Cup.

    Almost two weeks into the tournament the players have not received the fees. On Tuesday they vowed not to travel to Brasilia for the game against Portugal if the appearance fee was not paid to them.

    The situation was so volatile, President John Mahama had to intervene. The president is said to have promised that the amount would be paid by close of today.

    According to Tony Bebli who is with the team in Brazil, John Mahama spoke to the players on FA Chairman Kwasi Nyantakyi’s phone.

    Ghana is scheduled to meet Portugal in a ‘do or die’ final Group G  match and could go on to the next round if results in the US-Germany game are in their favour.

     

    Source: GhanaWeb

  • Yaya Toure claims Man City denied him time with ill brother

    Yaya Touré has claimed Manchester City denied him the chance to spend time with his brother Ibrahim, who died of cancer last week.

    Touré took part in the Premier League champions’ end-of-season tour to Dubai before flying to the World Cup with Ivory Coast  while his family tended to Ibrahim in Manchester.

    In an interview with France Football, Touré said: “I confess that I am still very sad. I’m suffering because I feel I have done nothing useful for him the last few weeks.

    “At the end of the season, I wanted to stay for four or five days with my brother before I flew to prepare for the World Cup with Ivory Coast, except that City did not want to give me a few days.

    “I went to celebrate the title championship in Abu Dhabi while my brother was in his sick bed. By fortune, Kolo was at his bedside. After that I blame myself for not insisting and for not leading them to respect me.

    “However, club officials knew that I had been suffering for a few months seeing the health of my brother decline. This is the reason I had several injuries at the end of the season, because my head had taken control of my body. These last four months have probably been the hardest in my life.”

    Relations between City and Toure have been strained of late and the Ivorian midfielder’s assertion will fuel speculation the 31-year-old’s future lies elsewhere.

    Credit: The Guardian

     

  • Substitute see off Chile as Oranje take top spot

    The Netherlands dug deep to edge Chile 2-0 and progress to the knockout stages as FIFA World Cup Group B winners.

    With two wins apiece, both sides were already assured of a place in the round of 16, yet the intensity of proceedings was not compromised. It did, however, require two substitutes to get Louis van Gaal’s men over the line, as effervescent midfielder Leroy Fer struck 13 minutes from time before Memphis Depay added a simple second.

    Without suspended captain Robin van Persie, the Oranje initially wilted under Chile’s relentless pressing. Buccaneering full-back Eugenio Mena optimised the South American’s endeavour, concluding a lung-bursting run with an inviting cross for Eduardo Vargas, who glanced over. There was no lack of ingenuity from Jorge Sampaoli’s side, either, as Felipe Gutiérrez drilled Alexis Sánchez’s low corner into Jasper Cillessen.

    The Netherlands seldom threatened until Arjen Robben’s inswinging free-kick had Chile’s back line scrambling and Stefan de Vrij headed wide on the stretch. A trademark Robben run then set pulses racing, but his finish lacked punch as it trickled past the far post. Back came Chile, Gutiérrez touching Marcelo Díaz’s set piece off target when unmarked inside the box.

    The second half was slow to ignite until Alexis Sánchez – seemingly trapped on the byline – weaved inside Jeremain Lens and stung the palms of Cillessen. At the other end, Chile custodian Claudio Bravo cradled a speculative effort from Robben as the FC Bayern München winger continued to probe.

    The goal the match had been threatening shortly arrived as Fer met Robben’s pinpoint cross with equal precision. Robben was again the architect in added time, sweeping across goal for Depay to tap in.

  • Cristiano Ronaldo insists he is giving his all for his country

    Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo insists he is giving is all to the team following their last-gasp draw against the United States but also revealed he never anticipated he would be lifting the World Cup this summer.

    The Real Madrid forward had been labelled as Portugal’s big hope heading into the competition but a long-standing knee injury has seen his contribution in the first two Group G fixtures curtailed.

    Following a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of Germany, Portugal almost slipped to defeat to the United States despite Nani giving them an early lead in Manaus.

    Jermaine Jones hammered in an equaliser before Clint Dempsey bundled in what looked like being a winner nine minutes before full-time, only for Ronaldo to deliver a perfect cross for substitute Silvestre Varela to head home an equaliser deep into stoppage time and keep Portugal’s slim hopes of reaching the knockout rounds alive.

    Ronaldo had struggled to make an impact until that point but the reigning FIFA Ballon d’Or winner refuted suggestions he is holding anything in reserve.

    “I’m here, I’m fighting, I’m trying to do my best, I’m running, and obviously it’s no use talking about my issues,” he said.

    “I don’t want to justify myself by talking about my physical problems, that’s water under the bridge.

    “Every day there’s something new in the papers about my knee, and about this and that. That’s why I don’t want to justify myself. I’m here body and soul to help the national team.”

    Whilst other teams tipped for success in Brazil have a stand-out player, none are as seemingly reliant on that individual performing as Portugal but Ronaldo believes their World Cup chances were always slim.

    “Maybe we’re an average team,” he added.

    “It would be a lie to say that we are a top team. We have a very limited team and we are not at the best level. This does not enable you to beat top teams.

    “There are no miracles. We knew we would have a tough group, with perhaps teams better than us. I never thought we could be world champions, we have to be humble and know our level.

    “I’m not a hypocrite, I never thought we could win the tournament.”

    Despite their late leveller, Portugal are still reliant on other results helping them qualify through the group and if Germany and the United States draw, they will both advance at the expense of Paulo Bento’s side.

    Tim Howard may have been beaten in the 94th minute but the United States goalkeeper feels they are in a place where they wanted to be heading into the tournament.

    “We’re a little disappointed, but still optimistic,” Howard told FIFA.com

    “We thought we’d put one foot in the Round of 16, but we are where we’d aimed to be before the tournament: going into the final game with a good chance of progressing.

    “The coaching staff put in place a great game plan. Portugal didn’t cause us too many problems and we could have avoided both their goals.”

  • Oops! Queen Mathilde of Belgium wrongly congratulates Romelu Lukaku

    Belgian monarch Queen Mathilde made a gaffe while congratulating squad the national team for qualifying.

    The monarch, who has been in the job for just under a year, accompanied her husband, King Philippe, to congratulate Marc Wilmots’ squad after they qualified for the knockout stages with a 1-0 win over Russia.

    Teenage substitute Divock Origi scored the crucial goal, firing home in the dying moments from Eden Hazard’s superb cut back.

    Queen Mathilde thought she was congratulating the 19-year-old when she met the squad – but in fact she was actually speaking to Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku.

    The Belgium No 9 was gracious when speaking to Her Majesty, pointing out that it was not he who had scored the goal.

    Belgium will play an opponent from Group G in the next round.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Ghana FA president denies match-fix claim

    The president of the Ghana Football Association has denied agreeing for the national team to play in matches that others were preparing to fix.

    The GFA has also called in the police to investigate the allegations.

    The allegations were made following a joint undercover investigation by the UK’s Channel 4 programme Dispatches and The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

    “The contents of the publication are not wholly true,” GFA president Kwesi Nyantakyi told the BBC World Service.

    The undercover investigation identified two people, one a licensed agent of world governing body Fifa and the other a Ghana club official, who allegedly said they could fix friendly matches involving the national side, who are currently involved in the World Cup.

    None of the claims involve matches at the World Cup. The report claimed that Nyantakyi had agreed for Ghana to play in two proposed matches after the World Cup.

    “I have not agreed to any match-fixing deal involving the GFA,” he said.

    “I was given a draft contract which I indicated to their agent that I hadn’t read and I also had some issues with it and so it will be premature for anybody to say the GFA is at fault.”

    When news of the investigation first broke on Sunday, the GFA issued a statement saying it had called in the police to investigate two people for misrepresentation.

    A statement from the GFA said: “The Ghana Football Association has requested the Ghana Police Service to investigate two persons for misrepresenting the GFA with an attempt to defraud.

    “The two were also allegedly filmed claiming that they would bribe GFA officials to ensure that the contract is signed.

    “We wish to state that the GFA did not sign the contract as we waited for the response from the legal committee and that the two gentlemen did not make such corrupt offers to the GFA or its officials.

    “We wish to assure the public that we will not tolerate such misrepresentations and we will seek strong sanctions against such individuals if such claims are found to be true.”

    The GFA added the matter had been reported to FIFA and the Confederation of African Football.

    Ghana have drawn with Germany and lost to the United States so far at the World Cup but could still qualify from Group G if they beat Portugal on 26 June.

  • Leading Ashanti Muslim leader passes on

    The Head and Missionary- in-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, Maulvi Dr Wahab A. Adam, has died at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra after a long illness.

    The General Secretary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission, Ahmed Anderson, who confirmed the sad passing of one of Ghana’s peace icons, said a formal announcement will be made shortly.

    Dr Wahab was born in December, 1944, at Brofeyedur – Adansi in the Ashanti Region.

    He studied at T.I. Ahmadiyya Secondary School (Kumasi), and then proceeded to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Seminary and Ahmadiyya Theological University, in Pakistan, where he received a Diploma in Arabic and an Honours Degree in Theology and Islamic Jurisprudence in 1960.

    After serving as the Brong-Ahafo Regional Missionary of Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission from 1960 to 1969, he became the Principal of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Missionary Training College at Saltpond. In 1971, he was appointed to the high office of the Deputy Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission of the United Kingdom.

    He was subsequently promoted to the position of Ameer (Head) and Missionary-in-Charge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana. He has steered the affairs of the Mission with distinction since 1975.

    A book of condolence will be opened at the Muslim Mission headquarters in Osu at 10 am today.

  • Algeria makes history in FIFA World Cup

    The Desert Foxes picked up their first World Cup victory in 32 years after a three-goal first-half blitz at Estadio Beira in Rio.

    Man of the match Islam Slimani, defender Rafik Halliche and forward Abdelmoumene Djabou gave the North Africans a convincing lead as they overpowered the 2002 semi-finalists.

    Son Heungmin pulled a goal back for South Korea at the beginning of the second half before Yacine Brahimi - who switched allegiance from his native France last year - restored Algeria’s advantage with a tidy finish after a one-two with Slimani on the edge of the area.

    South Korea captain Koo Jacheol then pulled another back with 18 minutes remaining, but Algeria held on for the historic win.

    Coach Vahid Halilhodzic, who guided Ivory Coast to the last World Cup but was fired before it started, knows his team can reach the second round for the first time by beating Russia on Thursday.

    Russia can also progress with a win if South Korea fails to defeat Belgium.

    If Algeria and Russia draw, South Korea can go through by beating Belgium.

    If Russia and South Korea both win, the Asian side will have to do so by two more goals to overcome its differential deficit.

    Algeria became the first African country score 4 goals in FIFA World Cup.The match ended 4-2 in favour of Algeria.

  • Nationwide agriculture audit to take off soon

    The agriculture sector will soon undertake a nationwide audit aimed at providing complete and reliable data for effective decision-making on policies.

    The exercise will be conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service together with the Food and Agriculture Ministry, with funding from the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).

    The Ashanti Regional Statistician, Mr Emmanuel George Osei, said in a statement that the audit would involve the collection, processing, publishing and dissemination of information on the structure of agricultural sector and the state of development in rural areas.

    The data would be taken directly from households and other information from the communities includes:

    • geography
    • availability of basic facilities
    • socio-economic conditions
    • transport infrastructure
    • community services
    • potential for development, and
    • constraints.

    In preparation towards this a “users and producers dialogue” will be held in Kumasi on Monday, June 23.

  • Mines and Energy Committee to query NPA’s ‘value for money’

    The Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament has summoned the National Petroleum Authority to answer to accusations by the Minority in Parliament that the state is not getting value for money in the transaction.

    The National Petroleum Authority will this week provide justification for the payment of $63,000 a month as rent for its office at East Legon in Accra.

    Chairman of the committee, Dr Kwabena Donkor says critics should also be curious about “the floor space, [as well as] price per square meter”.

    He said the Authority should be made accountable if the rent does not give value for money.

    Dr Donkor believes after 10 years of existence, the NPA should be in position to have its own office building.

    “I am all for accountability, I am all for value for money. That is what we should be asking for; that we don’t think there is value for money to continue renting.”

    In a related development, he said there is nothing wrong with decision by the Bui Power Authority to construct a golf course and recreational center for its staff at Bui.

    He explained that it is a norm for a company of such a nature to put up facilities for their staff. He wondered how many Ghanaian engineers would “ideally leave the comfort of Accra to live in Bui without these recreational facilities, appropriate schools for their wards and hospital”.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Source: Joy News

     

  • US imposes sanctions on Uganda for anti-gay laws

    The US has announced a raft of sanctions against Uganda because of the country’s ‘anti-gay’ laws. This includes barring entry to Ugandans involved in human rights abuses against gay people and slashing funds to programs it is running with Uganda’s government.

    In February, Uganda passed a law allowing life imprisonment for acts of “aggravated homosexuality”. The law also criminalises the “promotion of homosexuality”.

    The White House said this has raised serious questions around Uganda’s commitment to protecting human rights.

    “The Department of State is taking measures to prevent entry into the United States by certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals,” said National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden Hayden in a written statement.

    “The US will also discontinue or redirect funds for certain programmes involving the Ugandan Police Force, National Public Health Institute and Ministry of Health, and has cancelled plans to conduct a US military-sponsored aviation exercise in the African nation.”

    It is the latest effort by US officials to challenge Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act.

    Last week, US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand decried the nomination of Uganda’s foreign minister Sam Kutesa as president of the UN General Assembly, given his country’s treatment of gay people.

    More than 9,000 people signed a petition urging UN states to block the appointment, but it went ahead.

    The World Bank postponed a $90m (£54m) loan to Uganda to improve its health services after the law was approved.

    Several European nations including Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands and Sweden have cut aid to Uganda to show their opposition to the law.

    Uganda has said it will not change the laws and will not bow to “Western pressure and provocation”.

    Source: BBC

  • Boateng brothers in ‘fight to the death’ as Ghana & Germany clash

    Ghana’s Kevin-Prince Boateng has predicted a “fight to the death” when he faces his sibling – Germany’s Jerome Boateng – in Group G tonight.

    The half-brothers normally talk to each other daily, but say they have cut off communication as they prepare for the clash in Fortaleza, Brazil.

    “We’ve had no contact recently, each of us is just concentrating on himself,” said Bayern Munich’s Jerome.

    Kevin-Prince has predicted a fierce battle not unlike the gladiatorial fights in ancient Rome.

    “There will be people around the pitch who want to see how two teams fight,” he said. “The team who wants it more will win and we will fight to the death against Germany.”

    The half brothers were both born in Berlin to separate mothers, but in 2009, Kevin-Prince, 27, opted to play for Ghana.

    At the World Cup in South Africa, the siblings set a record by becoming the first brothers to play against each other at a World Cup finals and their father, Prince, says he is looking forward to seeing his two sons go head to head in Brazil.

    Although it will be awkward to cheer both teams, whichever team wins, Prince will be happy as one of his sons will be celebrating.

    “Regardless of what happens, I can only win. My only wish is that nobody gets hurt,” he said.

    Source: BBC

  • NPP National Council meeting postponed

    The much-anticipated National Council meeting of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) was called off at the last-minute due to unforseen developments.

    Though party sources would not disclose to the reason for the postponement, it was believed it is due to an injunction blocking elections for the selection of a presidential candidate. The writ for the injunction was filed by Mr David Hoezame from Mafi Akyemfo in the Volta Region.

    Other sources at the party’s headquarters, however, attributed the postponement to the absence of the General Secretary of the party, Mr Kwabena Agyepong, who has travelled outside the country.

    The party is yet to appoint some officers, such as deputies for the General Secretary, the National Organiser, the Women’s Organiser and the National Youth Organiser.

    The National Council meeting yesterday was to firm up arrangements by the party for the presidential primary scheduled for not later than December 6, this year.

    Top on the agenda included the consideration of a suggestion for the party to go to an early congress by September this year to reduce attacks between supporters of presidential hopefuls.

    Some are against the proposal, describing it as not being in line with the party’s constitution.

    This is the second time the NC, the second highest decision-making body of the party, is meeting under the chairmanship of Mr Paul Awentami Afoko. They first met on June 6, 2014, when they endorsed a number of issues, including the date for opening of nominations for the presidential primaries.

    The NPP constitution mandates the party, when it is in opposition, to open nominations six months before a presidential primary and two years before a general election.

    So far, seven aspirants have picked nomination forms to contest the flag-bearer position since nominations opened last Friday, June 6, 2014:

    • Mr Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen, popularly called Alan Cash
    • Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and MP for Essikado-Ketan, Mr Joe Ghartey
    • a former Information Minister Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo
    • Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng
    • MP for Mampong, Mr Francis Addai Nimoh.
    • former MP for Offinso North, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku
    • MP for Asuogyaman, Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw

    Both Mr Kyerematen and Dr Konadu Apraku contested the position in 2008 and 2012 but lost to Nana Akufo-Addo.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Minority threatens court action over new VAT on financial services

    The Minority in Parliament are threatening to drag Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ministry of Finance to court if they insist on implementing a controversial VAT on financial services.

    The Minority spokesperson on finance, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei has warned that the “government will be perpetuating an illegality in the implementation of that law”.

    “But when the bill came to parliament we opposed it on the grounds that it will impose additional burden on consumers and businesses,” he told Joy News.

    He was convinced that the best option was for the government to withdraw the law due to its complexity.

    The Ghana Revenue Authority has announced 35 services likely to attract a 17.5 percent VAT charges in the financial services sector.

    The 17.5 percent increase will affect transactions such as stopped and returned cheque, clearing charges, standing orders, commission on take-over for corporate bodies as well as statements and certificates of balance.

    The proposal, which is expected to take effect from the July 1, has been greeted with many objections from both the general public and the minority in Parliament.

    Dr Anthony Akoto Osei advised the Ministry of Finance to re-introduce it to Parliament for amendment before the changes are effected.

    Meanwhile, the Ghana Revenue Authority says it has done the necessary education and work to implement the Value Added Tax on financial services from July 1 even though the banks say they are still not prepared for it.

  • Apraku promises clean campaign

    New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential hopeful Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku has promised delegates a clean campaign ahead of the party’s presidential primaries scheduled for early December.

    Dr Apraku is among seven people who have picked nomination forms for the presidential primaries of the party.

    In an interview with Today, he said he had confidence that NPP’s delegates would give him the flag-bearers mantle to lead the party to power against the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC).

    “I know our delegates and I can tell you that they are hungry for power: therefore they will not do anything that will cause them defeat again,” the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Offinso-North stressed.

    Dr Aparku said NPP needs a leader who can bring the party together after the primaries. He noted that the party needs to put its house in order so as to win the confidence of voters, especially swing voters.

    ‘’It is our (NPP’s) responsibility to save Ghana from its economic mess else the country is doomed forever,” he cautioned.

    According to Dr Apraku there was need to instil discipline in the party, particularly in its supporters, to avoid flouting the party’s constitution during campaigns for their candidates.

    He was also optimistic that the NPP would go through its presidential primaries successfully and emerge more united to win the 2016 elections.

    Dr Apraku cautioned those bent on washing the party’s ‘dirty linen’ in public in the name of supporting their candidate that this would hurt the party’s cause.

    Source: Today

  • Kumasi Military Hospital to be completed in 36 months

    Works on the Kumasi Military Hospital will be fast-tracked with a view to be completed in 36 months instead of the original 42 months, Deputy Defence Minister Ebenezer Okletey Terlarbi has said.

    Mr Terlarbi said the contractor had been encouraged to reduce the original time frame for delivery of the project.

    He said: “In the contract, the project is to be completed within 42 months. However, at last site meeting held on Wednesday, June 11th 2014, the contractor was encouraged to aim at executing an average of 4% of work per month”.

    Answering a question from the floor at Parliament yesterday on when the Military Hospital project would commence, the Deputy Defence Minister said the contractor was already on site and had started work on May 1, 2014.

    He added that settings for the administration block, OPD building, mortuary and the incinerator have been completed and that excavation and buildings for the listed buildings are about 60% complete.

    When complete the Kumasi Military Hospital is expected to have a fully-equipped 500-bed facility with 154 units of residential staff housing and ancillary facilities at Afari lands.

    He also assured members of the House that compensation of land owners have been worked out prior to contractors taking possession of the land.

    The Minister further assured the MPs that the quality and cost of work would not compromised by the early deadline.

    Source: Daily Heritage

  • Ashanti NDC begins biometric registration

    The Ashanti regional branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has begun a biometric registration of its members as part of a data collection drive.

    This is in a move to strengthen its grassroots base towards the 2016 general elections and root out imposters.

    Materials have already been distributed to the 47 constituencies in the region for the exercise to commence in the party’s 4,628 wards.

    NDC’s Regional Organiser, Alhaji Sannie Abdulai, told the Daily Graphic on Wednesday that the exercise was part of the party’s contribution to ensuring violence-free elections in 2016.

    He said the exercise was also a prelude to the constituency elections planned for August this year.

    The party has asked all ward-level executives to conclude their elections by July 19, to ensure a smooth constituency election.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • More electricity for Ghanaians from July – VRA announces

    Two hundred and fifty megawatts (MW) of power is expected to come on stream by the end of July this year, the acting Director of Thermal Energy Generation of the Volta River Authority (VRA) at Aboadze, Mr Oppong Mensah, has said.

    Mr Oppong Mensah announced this during a visit by the Minister of Energy and Petroleum, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah, to facilities at the VRA Power Enclave in the Shama District in the Western Region yesterday.

    Currently, the country’s total power deficit is estimated at 300 MW.

    Mr Mensah explained that two units of the thermal plant at Aboadze would produce 100 megawatts each, while the steam turbine of the plant would generate additional 50 megawatts between June 23 and July 1, 2014.

    The Managing Director of Takoradi International Company (TICO), Nana Osafo Adjei Kantanka, said some of the parts disassembled at the thermal plant during a recent routine maintenance exercise were currently being reassembled.

    Nana Adjei said, “all things being equal, by July 1, 2014, the unit will be completed and synchronised onto the national grid with additional 100MW.”

    He said completion of the work on the unit would bring TICO’s installed capacity to 220MW, while work would continue to gradually increase output to 330MW by the end of the year.

    TICO’s Managing Director explained that TICO had a long-term service agreement with the Wood Group of the United Kingdom for the maintenance of its plant, and denied media reports that Wood Group carried out shoddy works on the plant which resulted in its inability to generate the required capacity.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • GH¢100 million pledge to improve power supply in Ashanti Region

    Just over a week after protesters took to the streets of Kumasi, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG)  has pledged to invest about GH¢100 million to improve power supply to consumers in the Ashanti Region.

    This involves renovation and upgrading of sub-stations, construction of additional bulk power supply points and district offices, and installation of more transformers to ensure efficient service delivery.

    Speaking at a news briefing in Kumasi, ECG Managing Director Mr William Hutton-Mensah announced measures the company is taking to stabilise power supply in the region.

    He said even though the current energy generation challenges are affecting its operations, it is working hard to make things better. Mr Hutton-Mensah said the company was working to improve its revenue generation through a series of measures including:

    • a nationwide mass disconnection exercise to retrieve unpaid bills from customers
    • introduction of a pre-paid metering system for all customers to reduce the cost of revenue collection
    • tackling illegal power tapping and prosecuting offenders in court

    Mr Hutton-Mensah was positive that consumers would eventually see an improvement in power supply. He asked the public to do more to conserve energy as well as reducing their power bills.

  • Don’t withdraw from NHIS – Outgoing Health Minister appeals to service providers

    Outgoing Health Minister Mrs Sherry Ayittey has urged the Christian Health Providers Association of Ghana not to withdraw their services from the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

    Speaking at a ‘Meet the Press’ event in Accra on Tuesday, Mrs Ayittey reassured providers that government is mobilising funds to clear all outstanding arrears under the Scheme to ensure its smooth operations.

    The Health Minister also announced that the NHIA has concluded a review of its medicine list and has revised its rates to reflect market realities.This will take effect from September 2014.

    She urged service providers to exercise restraint as government works to ensure the sustainability of the scheme as well as create a win-win situation for all parties.

    Source: GBC

  • Nurses and midwives threaten strike action

    The Ghana Nurses and Midwife Trainees Association (GNMTA) has said it will declare a nationwide strike at the end of June if government does not respond positively about their delayed allowance.

    If the strike takes place, nursing students will quit working in the various hospitals during vacation.

    At a press conference addressed by the national president, Emmanuel Geyevo, GNMTA said several petitions have been sent to the Ministries of Health and Finance for redress, to no avail.

    The press conference was attended by nursing trainees across the country who were clad in red band to show their seriousness.

    According to the association, government has failed to honour its part of the contract by not paying the allowances of trainee nurses since 2012.

    They said the situation is creating financial difficulty among the students nationwide, aggravated by the high cost of school fees, adding that the students who depend on the allowances to pay their fees are now resorting to “inappropriate means of generating money to survive.”

    Source: Daily Heritage

  • I want a kiss from the Queen if we beat Costa Rica – Balotelli

    Football bad boy Mario Balotelli has asked for a special reward if his team helps England stay in the World Cup – a kiss from England’s Queen.

    The flamboyant star made the proposal on his Twitter account just minutes after the Three Lions crashed to a 2-1 defeat against Uruguay.

    Mario, who scored against England as Italy won the first  Group D game 2-1, said he wanted to receive the royal reward if his side win their game tomorrow.

    He tweeted: “If we beat Costa Rica I want a kiss, obviously on the cheek, from the UK Queen”.

    The cheeky comment went viral and was soon re-tweeted a staggering 85,000 times – with thousands of people responding.

    Belgium skipper and former team mate Vincent Kompany was among those who replied to the colourful star, saying:

    “Wouldn’t even surprise me.

    Derek Wilson said: “If you do we will knight you to a Sir as well”

    Duncan Moris replied: “Got to beat Costa Rica and Italy for that, Mario. And by a clear 2 goals each.”

    The former Manchester City striker, who is rumoured to be joining Arsenal in the summer, was referring to England now needing other results to go their way to ensure they stay in the competition.

    Source: The Mirror UK

  • Sani Abacha loot to be returned to Nigeria

    Liechtenstein will return $227million to Nigeria that was siphoned by former military ruler Sani Abacha in the 1990s, Nigeria’s finance ministry has said.

    This follows a 16-year effort to retrieve the money. The bid to recover the money was blocked through legal action by companies linked to members of the Abacha family. The companies’ complaints were withdrawn following negotiations between the governments of Nigeria and Liechtenstein last month.

    “We can confirm that Nigeria will on 25 June 2014 receive the sum of euros 167m ($227m) from the government of the principality of Liechtenstein, part of looted funds recovered from the Abacha family,” Nigeria’s finance ministry said in a statement.

    So far, Nigeria has recovered $1.3 billion: $500 million in Switzerland in 2005. A further $1.1 billion in France, the UK, Luxembourg and the Channel island of Jersey is still tied up in legal proceedings. In March, the US froze more than $458million linked to Abacha in Jersey and France.

    Abacha ruled Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998 and is thought to have siphoned up to $5billion into bank accounts across Europe.

    Nigeria says it plans to invest the recovered money in a sovereign wealth fund.

    Source: BBC & Financial Times

  • Health insurance capitation to hit three other regions

    The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will by the end of June extend the second phase of the capitation programme to the Upper East, Upper West and the Volta regions after the pilot phase in Ashanti Region.

    The exercise, which will be under Ministry of Health supervision, will take on another set of regions till the whole country is covered.

    This was announced by Ms Sherry Ayittey during a “Meet the Press” series organised by the Ministry of Information in Accra. She explained that the introduction of capitation was not to punish any group of people but to clear the system of corruption. She added that “the pilot has proven successful in achieving that”.

    She noted that healthcare utilisation of the NHIS rose from 16.6 million in 2009 to 27.4 million in 2013.

    The Health Minister said NHIA in 2013 paid GH₵ 748 million in claims as compared to GH₵ 362 million in 2009 and explained that the growing utilisation of services under the scheme is overstretching the financial status of the policy.

    She commended the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Medical and Dental Council and the Pharmacy Council for their hard work in improving service delivery to Ghanaians and called for all to make good use of the limited resources.

    Ms Ayittey encouraged the FDA to do more training of regulatory staff and expose them to international best practices to enable them deal with effectively with the issue of counterfeit medicines.

  • New prescription form introduced by MoH

    The Health Ministry, in collaboration with its stakeholders, has developed a new prescription form with unique features to control the prescribing and dispensing of medicines throughout the country.

    The new features include serial numbers, provider codes and unique identifiers for prescribers.

    The new prescription form will replace the existing MoH form currently in use.

    The outgoing Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, who announced this at the meet-the-press series in Accra yesterday, disclosed that the new form would be available soon.

    The new form will be valuable for issuing ‘rational’ prescriptions, which is currently a problem for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS). Rational prescription requires that patients receive the appropriate medicine, in the proper dose, for an adequate period of time, and at the lowest cost to them and their community.

  • Mahama’s 5,000 megawatts promise impossible – Energy experts say

    Experts at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy have declared President John Mahama’s promise to add 5,000 megawatts of power to the national grid by 2016 “impossible”.

    The Centre’s analysts say this promise comes at a time when sector managers are struggling to keep available power plants running.

    The country currently relies on about 1,600 megawatts of electricity, out of a possible 2,845 megawatts, due mainly to fuel supply challenges and maintenance and expansion issues.

    That notwithstanding, in an interview with the B&FT, Deputy Energy Minister John Abu Jinapor said: “We are committed to that (5,000 megawatts by 2016) timeline.

    “We have 2,845 megawatts of installed capacity currently. We have some other projects that we are bringing on board: the TiCO expansion (120 megawatts), the KTTP project (220 megawatts) and other private projects that we have commissioned; and so we are determined to ensure we bring that on board. We are committed to that timeline.”

    The President has talked about making Ghana a net exporter of power by increasing its power generation capacity. Breaking ground for the expansion of the Aboadze Thermal in April 2013, he said that the project to add 5,000 megwatts by the set date was on course.

    A senior researcher at the Africa Centre for Energy Policy, John Peter Amewu, said: “It will be very difficult to say within the remaining period you’ll come out with 2-3,000 megawatts of power. That is not achievable. It takes not less than three to four years to put up a power plant of even about 200 to 300 megawatts. If the Americans came and promised a thousand megawatts, it is just on paper. What do we have to show that we will have 5,000 megawatts by 2016?”

    Mr Amewu’s reference to the “Americans” is with regard to General Electric’s proposed 1,000 megawatt project in Ghana to be built within a seven-year period. The first phase, involving some 240 to 360 megawatts, is expected to be complete by 2016.

    He said even that depended on a number of factors, including party agreement on regulatory issues and a power purchase agreement with the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG).

    General Electric is particularly concerned about the credibility of the ECG as a partner. The company was described by the World Bank in a 2013 report as “a large, top-heavy, over-centralised organisation with significant weaknesses in its management, corporate governance, and institutional culture that call for a profound change”.

    Source: B&FT

  • Young leaders arrive in USA for skills training

    Eighteen promising young Ghanaians have arrived in the United States for an intensive six-week leadership skills training program.

    Hillarius Asiwome Abiwu, Harriet Yayra Adzofu, Regina Agyare, Johannes Arthur, Lily Asare, Ethel Cofie, Ruka De-Liman, Frank Akowuge, Kwasi Owusu, Araba Hammond, Oteng Karikari, Williams Kwarah, Laud Boateng, Christiana Okyere, Afua Prempeh, Dziedzorm Segbefia, Moses Tia, Valerie Larbie are the finalists of the Young African Leaders program, supported by US President Barack Obama.

    The finalists are drawn from six of Ghana’s 10 regions from among entrepreneurs, public servants and civil society.

    For the next six weeks, they will explore and develop leadership skills, public-private partnerships and community service at the following host institutions: Morgan State, Florida International, Dartmouth, Wagner College, University of Minnesota, Yale, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Arizona State University, Notre Dame, Tulane, UC Berkeley and Clark Atlanta University.

    Around 500 Young African Leaders in Washington DC from July 28 to 30 for the Presidential Summit for the Fellows convened by President Obama.

    The Washington Fellowship is a key part of President Obama’s commitment to invest in the future of Africa.

    The initiative was created by the White House out of recognition of the critical and increasing role that young Africans are playing in strengthening democratic institutions, spurring economic growth, and enhancing peace and security in Africa.

    Source: GNA

  • Vodafone outlines remedial measures on network problems

    Vodafone Ghana has outlined a series of remedial measures it will take to ensure the resilience of its network going forward.

    This follows an outage on June 3, which led to communications problems for customers across the network.

    In a statement, the telecom operator said that it had conducted a thorough analysis to identify the cause of the problems leading to the outage.

    It explained that the network issues were caused by an electrical surge, which resulted in six boards in three of its routers not responding correctly.

    According to the statement, the company had not only replaced these six boards, but had also taken additional steps to further improve the reliability of the network in future.

    Vodafone said it will also undertake a detailed technology and power audit to ensure the future strength of the network.

    Mr Haris Broumidis, Chief Executive Officer of Vodafone Ghana, said the systems have been performing well since the remedial steps were introduced.

    The company, he said, had conducted several network performance tests, which show the network experience is “back to normal”.

    Mr Broumidis added that network traffic rapidly recovered following the incident, and that the company had begun compensating customers for the outage on June 5.

    A majority of prepaid customers have already received compensation. Enterprise customers will receive a discount on their bills at the end of June.

    Source: GNA

  • ECOWAS judges sworn in

    President John Mahama has sworn in seven newly selected ECOWAS Community Court of Justice judges at the Flagstaff House.

    The judges, who will serve for the next four years, are:

    • Mr Jerome Traore of Burkina Faso
    • Mrs Maria Do Cue Montero Silva of Guinea Bissau
    • Mr Yahaya Boiro of Guinea
    • Mr Micah Wilkins Wright of Liberia
    • Mr Hamaye Foune Mahlmadane of Mali
    • Mr Friday Chikoje Nwoke of Nigeria
    • Mr Alioune Sall of Senegal

    The President charged the judges to use their positions to enhance peace, security and stability in the sub-region and promote the development of member states by applying the law without favour.

    He said they should also use the courts to promote fairness and unity to avoid grievances from contending parties within their jurisdiction.

    He added that the judges will also be called upon to advise on interpretation and application of ECOWAS treaties, protocols, conventions and decisions.

    The court, which became operational in 2001, is mandated to interpret and apply community texts and human rights. It also plays the role of arbiter and serves as a public service court for the community on matters between the community and its staff.

    The judges were selected from a pool of 300 eligible individuals from across the sub-region.

    Source: GNA

  • Ebola cases now reported in Liberia

    Seven people have died after contracting the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia’s capital Monrovia, health officials have said.

    These are the first deaths reported in the city since the outbreak of the contagious virus in several West African states.

    Among the dead are a nurse and four people from the same household, including a baby, officials said.

    Liberia’s Deputy Health Minister Tolbert Nyenswah said the nurse died on Saturday at the state-run Redemption Hospital in the densely populated township of New Kru Town, west of Monrovia.

    “When we knew that the nurse was confirmed [to have] the disease, we isolated her and started to provide protective treatment and supportive treatment and all of that to her. But unfortunately she died,” Mr Nyenswah said on local radio.

    The four members of the same household are said to have contracted the virus from a woman who had travelled from Sierra Leone.

    The outbreak in the region has been traced to Guinea, with 208 deaths recorded there since the outbreak was first reported in March.

    Source: BBC News

  • President Mahama will fulfill his promises – Tourism Minister

    The Minister of Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Mrs Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare, has assured Ghanaians that President John Mahama’s government is committed to fulfilling its campaign promises by the end of his term in 2016.

    Mrs Ofosu-Agyare gave the assurance at the close of the 80th anniversary celebrations of the Have Agadevi festival, under the theme, “Agadevi at 80: Our Citizenship and Development – A Shared Responsibility”.

    The Minister said government would redeem “every single pledge” it had made, including the construction of a hospital at Have.

    She indicated as part of the “Better Ghana” development strategy, a new police station to guarantee the safety of the residents would be constructed by the end of this year – work has already started.

    Mrs Ofosu-Agyare said some feeder and link roads in the area were being reshaped to make accessibility easier and to improve the lay-out. She urged residents to be patient as modalities for the commencement of projects yet to be started are finalised.

    She commended the festival’s founders and Have residents for maintaining the socio-cultural heritage, which she said was still relevant to nation-building efforts.

    In an address read on his behalf,  the Paramount Chief of Have traditional area, Togbega Asemtsyra called on the Afadzato South District, philanthropists and corporate entities to come to their aid to complete a community library project, town hall and offices for the traditional council.

    He said that there was need for a health facility at Have as the distance between the Peki and Hohoe hospitals on the main Accra-Hohoe highway was quite far.

    Agadevi was instituted in 1933, when a landslide struck the Have segment of the Akwapim-Togo ranges. There were surprisingly no casualties. This event has since become the rallying point for the socio-cultural development of the area.

    Source: Ghana News Agency

  • Parliament summons EC chair over limited voter registration

    Parliament has summoned the Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), Dr Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, to brief the House on initiatives being undertaken by the Commission to increase public confidence in Ghana’s electoral process.

    He is expected to appear before Members of Parliament (MPs) on Wednesday, 18 June.

    Although the Majority Leader, Dr Benjamin Kunbuor, who announced the meeting with the EC Chairman on Friday, did not provide further details, the meeting is expected to focus on the EC’s intention to open the voters roll in order to register those who have attained the age of 18 since the last registration exercise.

    The announcement by the EC to open the register has generated much debate.

    Some political parties have argued that the voters register has not been cleaned since the 2012 elections and so adding more names to it would bloat it.

    In their view, the EC must first remove ghost names and the names of deceased people from the register before embarking on an exercise to register new voters.

    Other issues relating to the electoral process are also expected to come up for discussion.

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Islamist militants kill 48 in Kenya attacks

    Suspected Somali Islamist militants have attacked a Kenyan coastal town, killing at least 48 people.

    The attack took place on Sunday evening as locals were watching a football World Cup match on television.

    Witnesses in Mpeketoni, which is near the tourist resort of Lamu, said gun battles went on for several hours and reported seeing buildings set on fire.

    Local residents said gunmen hijacked a van and used it to attack various locations across Mpeketoni, which are used by tourists on their way to resorts on the island of Lamu.

    The gunmen, who had their faces covered, threw explosives into the local police station before entering and stealing weapons.

    District deputy commissioner Benson Maisori said several buildings in Mpeketoni had been burned down, including hotels, restaurants, banks and government offices.

    This is the most deadly attack in Kenya since at least 67 people were killed during a siege at Nairobi’s Westgate shopping centre last September.

    Kenya has suffered numerous militant attacks since 2011 when its forces entered neighbouring Somalia to combat al-Shabab fighters.

    Source: BBC

  • Swede to handle Ghana v USA match

    Jonas Eriksson has been handed the match between Ghana against the USA as center referee in Natal in the two countries World Cup opener today.

    FIFA announced its referee selections on Saturday for the Group G match.

    Eriksson, who is 40 years of age, officiated two matches at Uefa EURO 2012 and second leg of the CONMEBOL/AFC play-off between Uruguay and Jordan in November 2013.

    He is a full-time referee and will be assisted by fellow nationals Mathias Klasenius and Daniel Warnmark.

    Tahiti’s Norbert Hauata is the fourth official.

  • Brazil 2014 World Cup – records set so far

    Records have been set as the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup enters its fifth day.

    General statistics after match day 3:

    • Total number of matches played so far: 8
    • Total number of goals scored after 8 games: 28 goals, an average of 3.5 per game. In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the first 8 games produced 13 goals, which is an average of 1.6 per game.
    • The first goal of the on-going tournament was scored by Marcello of Brazil in the 11th minute for Croatia, becoming the first own goal ever in the opening game of the World Cup.
    • The first player to score a brace is Neymar of Brazil
    • The fastest goal in the tournament so far was scored by Pablo Armero of Colombia in the fifth minute against Greece
    • A total of 25 yellow cards have been shown in 8 games
    • Maxi Pereira (Uruguay) is the first player to be sent off (red card) and is the only player so far in the tournament
    • Marco Ureña (Costa Rica) scored the fastest goal by a substitute in the tournament, scoring in just 90 seconds after coming on
    • The nation with the highest number of goals: Netherlands with 5 goals
    • The nation with most goals conceded: Spain with 5 goals

    Statistics on only match day 3

    • Costa Rica beat Uruguay three goals to one to earn their first ever win against the two-time world champions in 8 matches
    • Costa Rica also secured their first World Cup victory against South American opposition
    • England lost 1-2 to Italy in their opening group ‘D’ game, which is their second loss in their opening World Cup games, since 1962. They last lost a group game in 1986 against Portugal.
    • Italy ensured that since France denied them from scoring in 1998, they have always scored at least a goal in every World Cup game and they continued that against England
    • Wayne Rooney is without a World Cup goal in 10 games.
    • Ivory Coast won their first World Cup opener in three attempts, by beating Japan by 2 goals to 1.

     

     

     

  • World Cup – what the world really wants to know

    Black Stars forward Asamoah Gyan and midfielders Michael Essien and Sulley Muntari are the Ghana players attracting the most interest online, data by search engine Google reveal.

    Polls also show that although 79 per cent of Ghanaians are positive about the outcome of the Ghana v USA match later today, they are more concerned about the outcome than the Americans.

    One may think it’s all about the football, but internet searches indicate that fans are more interested in learning more about the players and other unrelated issues.

    A look at trends from the 403.9 million Google searches since the World Cup started reveal the following interesting facts:

    • People were more interested in finding out about Neymar’s new yellow hair and his neck tattoo than about the yellow card he got in the Brazil v Croatia game and the impact it may have on his style of play in the forthcoming Brazil v Mexico game on 17 June.
    • Even with the NBA Finals still in progress, USA searches are 10 times higher for the World Cup ahead of the US v Black Stars clash today.
    • After dislocating his ankle to celebrate England’s goal, physiotherapist Gary Lewin attracted two times more England search interest than goal scorer Daniel Sturridge.
    • Worldwide searches for Mario Balotelli are 90 times higher than for the videogame, Super Mario Bros.
  • Big Brother Africa – Ghana audition dates announced

    Auditions for the ninth edition of Big Brother Africa will take place at the Accra Holiday Inn Hotel Airport on 5 and 6 July, organisers have announced.

    Africa’s biggest reality series kicks off in September, and those who think they have what it takes to be housemates are invited to audition for the role.

    Previous editions of Big Brother Africa have boasted huge cash prizes for winners and propelled them to celebrity status. This year’s prize money is US $300,000.

    Those wishing to audition should be aged 21 or above. They must be citizens of a participating country and have a valid passport.

    Entries are open to the following 14 countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    M-Net Africa Regional Director (West Africa) Wangi Wa-Uzoukwu said: “We are very grateful and remain pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response that the show has been receiving over the years.

    “We look forward to the selection of our potential housemates coming in large numbers to auditions at the specified venues and take that chance at being the next Big Brother star.

    “The fact that the fans truly adore the show is all the motivation we need to keep it fresh and that is always made possible by the enthusiastic and fun-loving young Africans who will answer to Big Brother.

    “We are rearing to go and we know that this will definitely be another exciting season that is full of quality entertainment!”

  • Former Ivory Coast president faces charges in the Hague

    Former Ivory Coast President Laurent Gbagbo is be tried at the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

    Gbagbo is accused of plunging his country into civil war after losing a presidential run-off vote in 2010. The post-election violence is said to have resulted in the deaths of around 3,000 people.

    In a 131-page ruling, judges found there were “substantial grounds to believe” Gbagbo was criminally responsible for the crimes committed during the violence, singling out supporters of his political rival Alassane Ouattara for “systematic attack”.

    Prosecutors say he devised a plan with co-conspirators including his wife Simone, who remains under house arrest in Ivory Coast, and youth leader Charles Ble Goude, currently in ICC custody, to stoke the violence and benefit from it.

    “It’s the first victory for the victims of the post-election crisis,” said Issiaka Diaby, who heads a collective of victims of the violence. “From today, people will know you can no longer kill and burn people with impunity.”

    Lawyers for Gbagbo could not be immediately reached for comment and it was unclear whether they planned to appeal the judges’ decision that prosecutors had submitted enough evidence to justify pursuing the case.

    “Obviously the decision that was taken was the one we were hoping for, because the evidence was there,” Ivorian government spokesman Bruno Kone said. “I think it is a good thing for the victims.”not immune from justice”.

    Gbagbo has been in custody since 2011, when Ouattara handed him over to the Hague-based court. Gbagbo could face a maximum prison term of life imprisonment if convicted. No trial date has yet been set.

    Source: Reuters

  • Google to launch health app

    Google is developing a new service that will combine information from health apps and personal fitness devices, according to Forbes.

    The new service, to be called Google Fit, will be revealed at the company’s developer conference later this month

    This is seen as a competitive move against Apple and Samsung.

    Health data is seen as the next battleground among tech companies as a new generation of wearable electronic gadgets allow users to measure heart rates, sleep patterns and exercise activities.

    Last week Apple announced “Healthkit,” which will pull together data such as blood pressure and weight now collected by a growing number of healthcare apps on the iPhone or iPad.

    In May, Samsung launched a health platform for third-party app developers.

    Source: Reuters

  • Waris returns to training

    Black Stars striker Abdul Majeed Waris looks set to feature in the team very soon as he took part in Ghana’s training on Friday in Maceio.

    The striker got injured in Ghana’s warm-up friendly with South Korea in Miami. His recovery will give coach Kwesi Appiah a full squad to choose from ahead of Ghana’s opener on Monday, June 16 against the USA in Natal. His injury initially raised doubts over his availability for the opener.

    The 22-year-old striker’s quick return is a welcome boost to the coach and the team’s bid to make it out of a tough group.

  • Van Gaal overwhelmed by huge scoreline

    Louis van Gaal, the Dutch national team’s head coach, has told his side to keep their feet on the ground following the stunning 5-1 victory over holders Spain in their FIFA World Cup opener.

    Van Gaal’s team equalised after going one goal down by  striker Robin van Persie with a stunning diving header just before the interval and ran riot with four unanswered goals in the second half in Salvador.

    Van Persie grabbed a second after Iker Casillas’ error, Arjen Robben added two more and defender Stefan de Vrij completed the scoring.

    Van Gaal, who takes over at Manchester United at the end of the tournament, cut an animated figure as the goals poured in but was eager to focus minds afterwards. “I did not expect that it would go this way, it could have been 6-1 or even more, and we had a very happy feeling,” he said.

    “This is a nice start, but we have nothing. If we do not win our next game against Australia we have made no progress, but now we are obviously in a good position.”

    Van Gaal shared a high-five celebration with United striker Van Persie after his first goal. “The pass from Daley Blind for Van Persie was fantastic, the finish was great,” he said.
    “There was so much feeling. If you can make a goal in that way it’s great…really fantastic. It was great that he (Van Persie) came to me. That is a sign of appreciation and that appreciation is mutual,” Van Gaal added.

    The 30-year-old Van Persie was eager to share in some mutual back-slapping with Van Gaal, giving him the lion’s share of the credit for the result. “This is incredible and inexplicable,” Van Persie told Voetbal International. “For us, this is a dream come true and we have to enjoy it – everyone in Holland must too.

    “This is because of the coach. He has prepared us great and he predicted how the game would go. It’s incredible, because it was exactly as he and the staff predicted for us.”

  • Hygiene gone to the dogs at Asafo Market

    Unsanitary conditions at Kumasi’s Asafo Market are threatening to drive away customers.

    The market, a popular destination for shoppers looking for African products and a busy trading site, is increasingly becoming filthy and unhygienic.

    A regular visitor to the market, Mrs Linda Aquah Larbi, told Kessben FM that the conditions are now scaring her away from patronising the market.

    The market has only three public toilets which are in a deplorable state. Traders at the market do not use refreshing or splashing water and are often found urinating in the open. Refuse is also dumped anywhere.

    Mr Douglas Ogyam, a banker and an environmentalist, has appealed to the Ministry of Health to develop a clear plan to improve the conditions under which the traders sell foodstuffs and other consumables.

    He said: “After 27 years of independence, most market women still sell food items on the ground and under unsanitary conditions, which make it easier for the food to be contaminated with bacteria.”

    Mr Ogyam suggested that the Ministry of Health and the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly should intervene to improve the poor sanitation at the market in the interest of consumers.

    By Evans Osei-Bonsu (Kessben FM)

  • Obama threatens strikes as rebels capture Iraqi towns

    US President Barack Obama has threatened military strikes against Sunni militants who have seized key towns in Iraq and are advancing towards the capital, Baghdad.

    The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) captured two more Iraqi towns overnight in the south. This follows their capture of Mosul in the far north, the late Saddam Hussein’s hometown of Tikrit, and two towns in Diyala province bordering Iran.

    Saadiyah and Jalawla had fallen to the Sunni Muslim insurgents after government troops fled their positions, along with several villages around the Himreen mountains that have long been a hideout for militants, security sources said.

    Obama said on Thursday he was considering “all options” to support Iraq’s Shi’ite Muslim-dominated central government that took full control when the US occupation ended in 2011, eight years after the invasion that toppled Saddam.

    “I don’t rule out anything because we do have a stake in making sure that these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria,” Obama said at the White House, when asked whether he was contemplating air strikes.

    “In our consultations with the Iraqis, there will be some short-term immediate things that need to be done militarily,” he said. A US defence official said the United States had been flying surveillance drones over Iraq to help it fight ISIL.

    Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces seized control of Kirkuk, an oil hub, as Iraqi government troops abandoned posts in panic over ISIL’s advance.

    The UN Security Council has met on the crisis, highlighting the growing international alarm over the advances by militants.

    Source: Reuters

  • Joe Kpengeh appointed National Sports Authority director-general

    The Director of the Winneba Sports College, Mr Joe Kpengeh, has been appointed Director-General of the National Sports Authority.

    He takes over from Madam Alice Atipoe, who until recently, had been acting director-general for almost three years after Worlanyo Agra retired from the position. Madam Atipoe is being moved to the Civil Service Commission.

    Mr Kpengeh confirmed his appointment to the Daily Graphic yesterday in a telephone interview, but did not give any further details.

    Erasmus Adorkor, who was the deputy director-general at the Sports Authority, will take over as Director of the Winneba Sports College.

    Source: Ghanaweb

  • Ghana’s colours featured on Google’s opening page

    The image that will greet Google users around the world today will be that of an animated drum decked in Ghana’s colours. The doodle, which is dedicated to the World Cup, also features a dancing tree, in Brazil’s national colours.

    Doodles are the fun changes that are made to the Google logo to celebrate holidays, anniversaries and the lives of famous or historically important people.

    Origin

    In 1998, before the company was even incorporated, the concept of the doodle was born when Google founders Larry and Sergey played with the corporate logo to indicate that they would be out of office attending the Burning Man festival in Nevada, USA.

    They placed a stick figure drawing behind the 2nd “o” in the word, Google, and the revised logo was intended as a comical message to Google users that the founders were “out of office”. The idea of decorating the company logo to celebrate notable events was born.

    Over time, the demand for doodles has risen, and a dedicated team of illustrators or “doodlers” are responsible for creating the images that liven up the Google homepage and bring smiles to Google users around the world. The team has created over 2,000 doodles for Google’s home pages around the world.

  • Mobile app to tackle power cuts

    A mobile app developed by local technology start-up Kode Fusion GH will help Ghanaians be better equipped to deal with power cuts.

    The app is named “Dumsor” after the local term for power outage. It works on mobile phones with android operating systems, converting the in-built camera flash into a flashlight.

    The app, was recently launched and is available on Google Playstore.

    Future updates of Dumsor will include a feature to notify users of an imminent power outage in their area, based on the Electricity Company of Ghana’s load shedding schedule. There will also be a feature that will turn on the flashlight automatically when power goes off based on a set time.

  • Ghana’s economic woes to peak in July – economist

    A cocktail of economic challenges, including declining GDP growth, rising inflation and high unemployment will peak in July, according to economist and financial analyst Mr Kusi Boafo.

    Speaking on Kessben FM’s political program, Democracy, the chartered accountant, who has provided financial advice to Rwanda’s government, said that Ghana will reach “a crescendo of problems” next month.

    He added that other issues, such as central bank financing of government through treasury bills, the possible printing of money, a massive increase in public debt, and the weakening currency could see the economy at its worst within weeks.

    The lecturer at the Kumasi Polythenic further indicated that it would take the country at least five years to recover from the economic mess, which he attributed to bad government.

    “The confusion is still galore after Senchi Consensus with mounting debt; we are still searching for the routes.

    “By July, the electricity problem is going to be at its worst and the government will not be able to pay statutory funds to district assemblies. It will take a minimum of five years to resurrect, and not six months as speculated by government officials.

    “There is massive declining consumer confidence and by July, the currency of the country will be more weakened.”

    Mr Boafo said that Parliament appears to be paralysed and unable or unwilling to act on the challenges the country faces. “There will come a time when Parliament will sit under trees,” he teased, saying that they cannot currently afford to fix leaks on the roof of the House.

    Mr Boafo urged Parliament to sit up and hold leaders to account in order to save Ghanaians from further hardship.

    By Evans Osei-Bonsu (Kessben FM)

  • Ghana’s top musicians present World Cup theme song

    A host of Ghana’s top musicians will present the official theme song for the Black Stars’ Brazil 2014 World Cup Campaign, to the Ministry of Youth and Sports and Stanbic at the Bank’s Head Office  today.

    ‘Shine-4-Africa’, which was produced by Showbiz Africa and MUSIGA, features leading musicians such as Kojo Antwi, Sarkodie, Samini and Efya.

    Other artistes who collaborated on song include Edem, Sherifa Gunu, Noble Nketsiah, Obour, Qweci Oteng, Chemphe, Nana Boroo, Skinny Legend and Tic Tac, with a poetic interlude by Nenebi.

    Shine-4-Africa was produced by three-time Vodafone Ghana Music Awards-winning producer, Kaywa, with support from Oteng.

    The Black Stars had already been presented with 100 copies before they left Ghana for the World Cup.

    Asamoah Gyan who received the CDs on behalf of the players said, “I am very grateful at this gesture, that our friends in music, who I am also part of, have made this great song for us. We will listen to it before every match.”

    Stanbic Bank paid for the technical production of the song. The artistes offered their services at no charge.

  • Nigeria shuts venues amid fears of World Cup attacks

    Soldiers in Yola, Nigeria, have shut down all venues preparing to screen live World Cup matches, in a bid to avoid attacks by militants.

    Nigeria has seen an increasingly bold series of attacks over the past five years by the Islamist militants called Boko Haram, including the kidnapping of 30 women last weekend and more than 200 schoolgirls in April.

    Since then, militants have set off a car bomb that killed 18 people watching a game on television at a centre in the Adamawa settlement of Gavan, on June 1.

    A week before, a suicide bomber killed three people on the way to an open-air screening of a match in Nigeria’s central city of Jos.

    Such assaults on often-ramshackle television viewing centres across Africa have raised fears militant groups will target supporters gathering to cheer on the global soccer contest.

    “Our action is not to stop Nigerians … watching the World Cup. It is to protect their lives,” Brigadier-General Nicholas Rogers said on Wednesday in Yola, the capital of northeastern Adamawa state, which has been hit regularly by Boko Haram raids.

    Source: Reuters

  • GM mosquitoes answer to malaria?

    Scientists have created mosquitoes that produce 95% male offspring in a bid to reduce malaria.

    By destroying the X chromosome during sperm production, the exercise leaves very few sperm carrying the X chromosome to produce female embryos.

    This could drastically reduce mosquito populations, according to science journal Nature Communications.

    Although trials are not expected to take place soon, researchers say this marks an important step in the bid to produce a malaria control strategy that targets the genes.

    Malaria is transmitted exclusively by mosquitoes. Despite measures such as nets or spraying homes with insecticides, malaria continues to kill hundreds of thousands of people annually, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Source: BBC

  • NDC hiding behind Senchi Consensus – POTAG vice president

    Mr Kusi Boafo, the vice president of the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), has accused the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) of being cowards.

    Speaking on Kessben FM ‘s Democracy show, Mr Boafo said that the ruling government lacks the courage to implement very important decisions and was hiding under the Senchi Consensus.

    He went on to say that the forum was of no relevance particularly as delegates included personalities such as Madam Akua Donkor, the 2012 presidential candidate for the Ghana Freedom Party (GFP), who has no economics background.

    “After all, the NDC government are the cause of the economic hardship and must come back to correct their mistakes rather than being indecisive and hiding under the concept of this unproductive economic forum so as to save their face when crisis arises. Ghana must be serious as a country”, he added.

    Mr Boafo is an accountant and a lecturer at the Kumasi Polytechnic.

    By Evans Osei-Bonsu (Kessben FM)

  • Don’t hinder if you’re not helping – NPP’s Freddie Blay tells President Mahama

    The national vice-chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Mr Fredrick Worsemao Armah Blay, has said that President John Mahama should not deny Ghanaians the opportunity to improve their lives if he is not prepared to help them.

    In an interview with Kessben FM, the former first deputy speaker of Parliament, popularly known as Mr Freddie Blay, said: “Ghanaians are really suffering and the government is doing nothing to cut down on their hardship, so if they (Ghanaians) are restlessly struggling to earn a living, the government should not further subject them to economic difficulties.

    “The government is putting extra cost on Ghanaians and I am not happy about it. If he (the President) can’t help them, he shouldn’t deny them the opportunity.

    “Dumsor dumsor” and the devaluation of the Ghana cedi is crippling local industries.How can you tell Ghanaians to be productive and patronise local goods when there are no industries and power to feed the market with local goods?”

    When asked about the next initiative after the “YA Y3 D3N” demonstration, Mr Blay said he couldn’t predict what would happen next, but urged the government to formulate and execute good policies to improve the life of Ghanaians, “not just their own families”.

    Credit: Evans Osei-Bonsu (Kessben FM)

  • Fifa President told not to seek re-election next year

    Fifa president Sepp Blatter has been urged not to seek re-election next year by European football chiefs because of Fifa’s damaged reputation from recent corruption allegations.

    Dutch FA boss Michael van Praag told Blatter, 78, that he should not seek re-election in 2015.

    FA chairman Greg Dyke said Blatter’s assertion that allegations were racially motivated has some propagandist connotation. Fifa is investigating allegations around Qatar’s 2022 World Cup bid.

    Blatter met Uefa officials at the Fifa congress in Sao Paulo on Tuesday after winning support from the world governing body’s five other confederations.

    The FA told Blatter: “The allegations being made are nothing to do with racism; they are allegations about corruption and need to be investigated.

    “Mr Blatter, many of us are deeply troubled by your reaction to these allegations.

    “It’s time for Fifa to stop attacking the messenger, and consider and understand the message.”

    The Fifa president is said to have told delegates he still wished to stand for a fifth term in next year’s election. But Uefa executive committee member Van Praag told Blatter it was time to end his reign as Fifa’s boss because its image has been damaged.

    “People link Fifa to corruption and bribery and all kinds of old boy’s networks. You are not making things easy for yourself and I do not think you are the man for the job any longer,”Van Praag said.

    England’s Uefa vice-president David Gill also called for Blatter not to stand again.

  • Women kidnapped by suspected Boko Haram militants

    At least 20 women have been abducted by suspected Boko Haram militants close to where 200 schoolgirls were kidnapped in northern Nigeria.

    The women were ordered to board trucks at gunpoint and driven away to an unknown location in Borno state. The incident took place on Thursday in a nomadic Garkin Fulani settlement.

    Despite a state of emergency in place in the region, residents say the army is inactive or even absent, allowing the Boko Haram militants to continue their attacks.

    The army has not commented on the incident.

    Thousands of people have died and the security situation in northern Nigeria has deteriorated since Boko Haram launched its insurgency in 2009 in an attempt to create an Islamic state in Nigeria.

    The insurgents are using a mixture of village raids and city attacks to destabilise the country.

    Source: BBC

  • Demonstrators take to streets on ‘Black Tuesday’

    Thousands of demonstrators brought the Kumasi town centre to a standstill as they took to the streets to protest against a range of grievances from capitation to corruption.

    Wearing red and black funeral colours, the demonstrators waved placards and sang, chanted, danced and even wept to lament the “dark days in Ghana”.

    The “YA Y3 D3N’ demonstration was intended to highlight the concerns of the Ashanti Region to the President, and appears to have drawn people from across the political divide.

    The placards enumerated the many issues people are aggrieved about: “STUDENTS DESERVE BETTER”, “WHERE IS THE BETTER GHANA”?, “KUMASI PAA NIE!”, “ECONOMY IS BROKE” and “WE NEED JOBS”.

    Others were however directed at the President: “MR PRESIDENT RESHUFFLE YOURSELF”, “PRESIDENT IS A CURSE TO THE NATION, WHY JM”? “WHAT A SHOCK ANTI-CHRIST”, “MAHAMA IS A THIEF”, OPPRESSORS RULE IS FORBIDDEN, GOD HELP US TO RESIST IT” and “YABR3!!”, among others.

    Kumasi demo 2

    One demonstrator said he was protesting against the government’s “selectiveness”. He felt that the Ashanti Region was bearing the brunt of the current economic situation and that the region had been targeted with capitation and load shedding.

    Although there were some political undertones, the main issues cited are facing Ghanaians across the board – capitation, the ailing economy, jobs, the collapse of the National Health Insurance Scheme, students’ fees and ‘dumso, dumso’ (load shedding) and corruption, among others.

    The demonstration attracted top National Patriotic Party personnel including Chairman Freddie Blay, Chairman Wontumi, Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu, Akoto Osei, Elizabeth Agyemang, Isaac Osei, Isaac Asiamang, Kwadwo Baah Agyemang, Owuraku Aidoo and many civil personnel.

    Meanwhile, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser for the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Anthony Kwaku Boahen has described the demonstrators as irresponsible, jobless and having nothing more meaningful to do.

    In response to Mr Boahen’s comment, senior lawyer, Kwame Adom Appiah said: “Looking at the number of Ghanaians present, it clearly proves that indeed Ghanaians are jobless and the President is incompetent.”

    The demonstration attracted people from across the Ashanti Region and beyond.

    With Evans Osei-Bonsu (Kessben FM)

  • Ayew’s hat-trick boosts Ghana’s confidence

    Ghana international Jordan Pierre Ayew has scored a hat-trick against South Korea in Ghana’s final pre-World Cup friendly, giving Ghana a 4-0 win.

    The win, in Miami in the United States, comes as a boost to the player’s confidence as he has been castigated in matches that he has played for the Black Stars.

    The 22-year-old entered the game in the fourth minute for Majeed Waris, who suffered a leg injury.

    Ayew told the Ghana Football Association website: ‘It’s fine we won, but we still have some work to do.

    ”South Korea attacked really well. Playing against players with good pace, you have to be cautious in the back. We made good use of the counter-attack chances we got.

    “The score line didn’t matter to me. I am not looking at the score line, I am looking at how best I will prepare my team and how we played individually and as a team.

    “If my team had lost by four goals it would maybe help me to look at the mistakes and correct them before the World Cup.”

    The Olympic Marseilles striker who played on loan at Sochaux in the French Ligue 1 under former Ghana assistant coach and Afcon 2012 winning coach with Zambia had a great deal of playing time with the relegated Ligue 1 club.

    Jordan Ayew becomes the third son of African football legend Abedi Ayew Pele to appear on the world’s biggest football stage after siblings Rahim and Dede Ayew featured in the South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup.

    The team now moves to Brazil for Monday’s World Cup opener against the “Stars and Stripes” (USA) on June 16 at 10pm Ghana time.

  • ‘Akufo-Addo for 2016′ campaign to launch in London

    Nana Akufo-Addo is to launch his 2016 presidential bid in London on Sunday, June 15.

    According to an invite issued for the event by ‘Akufo-Addo for 2016′ UK campaign coordinators, the launch will take place at the Chestnuts Community & Arts Centre in Tottenham, North London, from 6pm.

    The special guest of honour will be Nana Akufo-Addo himself. Guest speakers include Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko and Hon Samuel Atta-Akyea, MP for Abuakwa South.

    The invite stated: “Indeed, Ghana deserves a leader who thinks of the next generation, not just about winning the next elections.

    “It is incontestably clear that majority of Ghanaians have seen that the adventurous change of NPP government in 2008 has been a bitter failure and very disappointing. Today, the level of despondency amongst the majority of Ghanaians everywhere is immeasurable.

    “We, Ghanaians cannot afford to deny our next generation of the best architect of their dream by denying Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo the leadership of Ghana. It’s time to go for the man of vision, the vision of good hope that is coming with a promise of excellence.

    “The vision of Nana Akufo-Addo and his promises are full of plenary inspiration that will make no room for failure.”

  • Student nurses give ultimatum over arrears

    The Ghana Nurses and Midwife Trainees Association (GNMTA) has issued a June 30 ultimatum to government to urgently address their grievances or face their wrath.

    This is to drum home their displeasure for the non-payment of their allowances over a two-year period.

    According to the National President of GNTMA, Emmanuel Geyevo, “The undue delay has brought unbearable effects on students.”

    Speaking at a press conference on Friday in Koforidua, Mr Geyevo said that out of frustration, some students have resorted to unconventional means of getting money to settle their school fees whilst some have dropped out of school, adding.

    “This is unfair to students who are being starved of their allowances,” he said.

    Students who are in debt are being denied access to register for their external examinations.

    Mr Geyevo also added that some graduates of the Seikwa Health Assistants Training School in the Brong-Ahafo Region have not been posted to any health institutions.

    He called on government, as a matter of urgency, to release funds for the payment of the two years’ arrears and further post the Seikwa graduates.

  • Maintenance works at Weija postponed

    Maintenance works at Weija have been postponed. The Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) has rescheduled the restoration of water supply to parts of Accra following the shutdown of the Weija Dam on Friday for maintenance works.

    However, the GWCL has failed to announce a new date for the restoration of water to the affected areas and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

    A statement issued by the management of GWCL said that the delay is as a result of technical challenges encountered during the replacement of a faulty section of the Weija Transmission line at Kokroko, near Awoshie Junction.

    It further assured members of the public that GWCL engineers and technicians are working around the clock to rectify the fault to ensure that water supply is restored to the affected communities as soon as possible.

  • Cape Coast Poly closed

    The Cape Coast Polytechnic has been shut down following the strike action embarked on by POTAG. This is in compliance with the Polytechnic Act which says that a school will be closed down after 21 days of continuous strike.

    The Polytechnic Teachers’ Association of Ghana (POTAG) embarked on a nationwide strike over a month ago to protest the scrapping of their unpaid book and research allowance.

    It has been four weeks since the Cape Coast branch of POTAG began their strike.

    According to the acting Registrar for Cape Coast Polytechnic, Emmanuel Agborvi, the decision for the shutdown was taken after an emergency board meeting of the school on Friday.

    The final year students of the school have been told to go home and return at the beginning of the next academic year to write their final exams, while continuing students have been directed to proceed on attachment.

    The Commission dragged POTAG to court for failing to call off their strike which they described as illegal.

    Source: Citifmonline

  • KMA prepared ‘to sacrifice’ over floods

    The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) is prepared to perform sacrifices, including the slaughtering of sheep, to stop the flooding at Ahonmaso, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

    The Subin River at Ahonmaso usually overflows its banks when it rains, causing destruction to houses located close to the river. Extensive work, including dredging, is crucially needed to avert the flooding which creates problems for residents.

    Kumasi Mayor, Mr Kojo Bonsu, said the traditional authorities consider the river sacred as they performed rituals in it periodically.

    Mr Bonsu said the assembly would liaise with the chiefs to see to it that the dredging was done to prevent the river from overflowing its banks when it rains.

    The Kumasi Mayor stated that even if “sheep should be slaughtered to pacify the gods before the dredging could be done, then we shall do it.” He said the assembly was ready to bear the cost of the sheep and all the items that would be used to perform sacrifices to pave way for the dredging to take place.

    Kojo Bonsu was at Ahonmaso Saturday morning to assess the extent of damage by the flooding.

    Source: Daily Guide

  • Kwarasey becomes a father on Fathers Day eve

    Black Stars goalie Adams Kwarasey became a father on Saturday as his wife, Malin, delivered in Norway.

    Kwarasey, who initially had a tie injury in the Black Stars training camp in their Miami training base in the United States, recovered on time to train with his colleagues.

    His colleagues in camp subjected him to some ‘water- boarding’ as a custom of welcoming the newborn baby boy.

    The Black Stars plays South Korea in their pre -World Cup friendly at 11pm this evening before taking on the USA on June 16 in a World Cup opener.

  • Senchi consensus: NPP offers alternatives

    The National Patriotic Party (NPP) has accused the Mahama-led administration of being in a state of denial and has downplayed the effectiveness of the Senchi Consensus.

    At a press conference in Accra on Monday, the party said “the Senchi Consensus failed to address the issue of corruption as a bane of the country’’.

    The NPP, therefore, outlined alternatives which they say will turn the economic fortunes of Ghana around.

    Addressing the press conference, dubbed “The true state of the economy and a government in a state of denial: The NPP’s response to the Senchi Consensus, and connected matters’’ Minority Leader of the NPP, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, said, “assessment of the Ghanaian economy so far points to an economy with weak and deteriorating fundamentals.”

    He noted that the economy is saddled with increasing inflation, high interest rates, declining real GDP growth, massive increase in the public debt stock and huge and increasing central bank financing of government, among others.

    The NPP further offered policy proposals which they advised the government to implement as soon as possible to deal with the current crisis facing the economy.

    “The government has to admit that the economy is in crisis so that it can carry the country along and get public support for the tough remedial measures it may have to take. The treatment of an ailment is as good as its diagnosis. The denial must stop. The problem will not go away by refusing to acknowledge it,’’ the NPP noted.

    Source: citifmonline

  • US announces $1bn to light up Africa

    The US government has announced that American companies have earmarked US$1 billion for off-grid power projects in Africa.

    The US energy secretary Ernest Moniz made the announcement on Thursday during a visit to Ethiopia. Investments will go into solar and small-scale hydro power stations, training of African specialists and crowd-sourcing of funds to support local power providers.

    Mr Moniz observed that up to 600 million people on the continent have no access to  electricity, and that centralised grid access is not a comprehensive solution.

    “But through solutions including off-grid and small scale energy projects, we can bring electricity to these rural areas,” he added.

    Speaking during his visit to Africa a year ago, President Obama announced that the United States would mobilise $7 billion over five years to bring electricity to at least 20 million more homes and businesses.

    Alternative sources of energy would be welcome news for countries like Ghana, who are currently suffering the effects of demand for power far outstripping supply.

  • Ronaldo absent from Portugal warm-up match

    Cristiano Ronaldo once again sat out a World Cup warm-up match as his side earned a late win against Mexico.

    The reigning Ballon D’or winner and Portugal captain, 29, is suffering with tendinosis in his knee and also missed the draw with Greece.

    A  93rd-minute header from a Bruno Alves header gave Portugal a win over their fellow World Cup finalists.

    Portugal coach Paulo Bento said he “does not know” if Ronaldo will be fit for their World Cup opener on June 16. The Portuguese are paired with Ghana, Germany and the USA and they begin their campaign in Brazil against Germany, before matches against Group G rivals USA and Ghana respectively.

    Ronaldo’s final chance to prove his fitness before the tournament could come in a warm-up game against the Republic of Ireland on Wednesday, June 11.

  • Ho Polytechnic closed down

    Ho Polytechnic in the Volta Region has officially been closed down, becoming among the first casualties of an on-going strike by lecturers at polytechnics across the country.

    After several hours of meeting, the Executive Committee of the Academic Board asked students to go home until further notice.

    The decision was taken after the expiration of the 21 days grace period allowed for students to stay on campus when their lecturers are on strike.

    The members of Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) embarked on an indefinite strike over three weeks ago in protest against the government’s unwillingness to pay book and research allowance for the 2013/2014 academic year.

    The Education Ministry has declared the strike illegal. The strike has disrupted the end of semester examination scheduled for this month.

    Admissions for the 2014/2015 year are open. It is not clear what impact the strike will have on the new intake and the academic year.

  • Sarkodie crowned hip hop king at MTV Awards

    Ghana’s Sarkodie has been named best hip hop artist at the MTV Africa Music Awards (MAMAs) this evening.

    The MAMAs were compered by US comedian Marlon Wayans of the Wayans brothers fame.

    Songstress Efya was nominated for the Best Female category, but lost out to Tiwa Savage of Nigeria.

    The awards, held at the Durban International Convention Centre, drew the best artists from across the African continent and beyond across 15 categories.

    The evening’s winners were:

    • Best New Act – Stanley Enow (Cameroon)
    • Best alternative – Gangs of Ballet (South Africa)
    • Best Group – Mafikizolo (South Africa)
    • Best Male – Davido (Nigeria)
    • Best Live Act – Flavour (Nigeria)
    • Best Lusophone – Anselmo Ralph (Angola)
    • Best Francophone – Toofan (Togo)
    • Artist of the Year – Davido (Nigeria)
    • Best Collaboration – Y Tjukuta
    • Song of the Year – Mafikizolo (South Africa) featuring Uhuru
    • Personality of the Year – Lupita Nyong’o (Kenya)
    • Leadership award for under 35s making a contribution to development – Ashish Thakkar (social entrepreneur)
    • Transform Today award for bringing about social transformation – Clarence Peters (Video Director – Nigeria)
  • Strikes in World Cup host city

    Police in Brazil have used tear gas to disperse protesters outside the Ana Rosa metro (public transport system) station, as a workers’ strike entered its second day, causing chaos in the largest city, Sao Paulo.

    Nearly half of the stations were closed and traffic choked the streets of the city, which will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup next Thursday. There were more than 200km of traffic jams in the morning rush hour.

    Metro workers are demanding a pay rise of at least 10%. A new round of negotiations has failed and the strike will continue. A military police spokesman said officers intervened after clashes broke out as commuters tried to get through the picket line of striking workers to enter the station.

    Brazil has seen a year of street protests against bad governance and perceived excessive spending in preparations for the World Cup and the Olympics, which Rio de Janeiro will host in 2016.

    Football’s world governing body, Fifa, said on Thursday it was confident the World Cup would go ahead and would be a success. “I’m an optimist. After the tournament kicks off, I think there will be a better mood,” Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

    Source: BBC

  • Germany’s Reus out of World Cup

    Germany’s 6-1 win over Armenia in a World Cup warm-up game was the stage that got Marco Reus his ankle injury which has ruled him out of the World Cup.

    The Borussia Dortmund midfielder, 25, sustained a partial tear of an ankle ligament and is expected to be out for six or seven weeks.

    “For him and for us this is extremely regrettable,” said Germany coach Joachim Low.

    Sampdoria’s former Everton defender Shkodran Mustafi has replaced Reus.

    Reus’s withdrawal is a major blow to Germany’s World Cup preparations. But despite losing another midfielder, Low has decided to call up defender Mustafi, who was at Goodison between 2009 and 2011 but made only one substitute appearance before moving to Italy.

    “Our quality in the position behind the strikers is very high. We have Lukas Podolski, Andre Schurrle, Mario Gotze, Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Julian Draxler and Toni Kroos to give us plenty of alternatives,” Low said.

    “That’s why we decided for another option for the defensive area. Shkodran impressed us in training camp, he’s fit, we have confidence in him.”

    Germany are among Ghana’s group G opponents at the World Cup.

  • Some gov’ts have direct access to communications – Vodafone

    Vodafone has said that a small number of governments have direct access to communications flowing over its networks.

    In its first-ever transparency report, the telecoms firm has revealed in which countries it is obliged to hand over communications.

    Most countries Vodafone operates in need a warrant to intercept communications. However, in some countries police have a direct link to customer’s phone calls and web communications.

    Regarding Ghana, Vodafone states that so far it has ” not implemented the technical requirements necessary to enable lawful interception and therefore have not received any agency or authority demands for lawful interception assistance”.

    It goes on to say that Ghana’s “legal position is unclear regarding whether or not it would be lawful for Vodafone to disclose statistics related to agency and authority communications data demands”.

    The general principle behind disclosing private communications to government and other state agencies is that it should only be done in the interests of national security and public protection. However, what constitutes a threat to these is relative and varies from country to country.

    On this, Vodafone states: “Under the Electronic Communications Act, 2008 (“ECA”), certain classes of information which are deemed to be of importance to the protection of national security may be declared to be critical electronic records and subject to restrictions in respect of access, transfer and disclosure. Under section 56 of the ECA, the Minister for Communications may by notice in the Gazette (the official government publication) declare certain classes of information which are deemed to be of importance to the protection of national security to be critical electronic records. Section 59 of the ECA therefore provides for the setting of minimum standards in respect of access to, transfer and control of a critical database.

    “Additionally, section 60 of the ECA imposes restrictions on the disclosure of information in a critical database to persons other than the employees of the National Information Technology Agency, a law enforcement agency, a ministry, department or other government agency. As a result, if the aggregate data in respect of the above agency and authority demands are designated as critical electronic records, the government will be able to prevent Vodafone from publishing them”.

    In the report, the telecommunications firm, which operates in 28 other countries, said that they had requested Ghana’s authorities to provide further guidance, but had not received a reply as yet.

    Vodafone said it values customer privacy, but it must comply with laws in the countries in which it operates.

    In most of the 29 countries where Vodafone has major operations, law enforcement and intelligence agencies must have a warrant to listen to phone calls or look at text messages, emails or web chats.

  • Weija Treatment Plant shuts down

    The Weija Treatment Plant has been shut down by the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) .

    The shutdown is to last from Friday, 6th June to Saturday, 7th June 2014.

    According to Management of GWCL, the shutdown is to allow the company replace a faulty section of the Weija transmission line at Kokroko near Awoshie Junction, install a production meter and undertake other maintenance works.

    As a result of the shutdown, there will be no water supply in western and central parts of Accra.

    Areas that will be affected include Kasoa, CP, Nyanyaano, Amanfro, Obom Road, Weija, Tetegu, McCarthy Hill, SCC, Tuba, Brigade, Bortianor, Mallam, Gbawe, Odorkor, Awoshie, Sowutuom, Israel, Achimota, Ofankor, Galilea, Abeka, Lapaz, Tesano, Darkuman, Bubuashie, Kaneshie, Awudome, Industrial Area, Mataheko and Abossey Okai.

    Other areas to be affected include Dansoman, Laterbiokorshie, Chorkor, Mamprobi, Korle-Bu, James Town, Okaishie, Adabraka, Asylum Down, Circle, Kokomlemle, Accra New Town, Alajo, Abelemkpe, Kotobaabi, Pig Farm, Maamobi, Nima, Kanda, 37, Ridge, Ministries, Osu, La, Cantonments and surrounding areas.

    Meanwhile, Management of GWCL has appealed to customers in the affected areas to store enough water to last them for the period.

    To minimise the impact of the shut down and the attendant water interruption on consumers in the western parts of Accra, management of GWCL has mobilised its own tankers and hired additional ones to supply water to priority institutions such as hospitals, polyclinics, boarding schools and even worst hit residents in the affected communities when the need arises.

  • “My signature was forged” – Energy Minister maintains

    Energy Minister Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah has maintained the claim that his signature was forged to obtain drilling rights for a Canadian oil company.

    According to Buah, the main suspect has been arrested and he has confessed forging the signature and expressed regret.

    “Both the BNI (Bureau of National Investigations) and the police are handling the matter, which is purely a criminal one,” Mr Buah said, in an interview with a private TV station in Accra on Thursday evening.

    Charles Andoh, an employee of Muira Energy is alleged to have forged his boss, Mr Kareem Abu’s signature to request for drilling rights at Cape Three Points from the Energy Ministry.

    He then allegedly forged Mr Buah’s signature in a letter granting the concession.

    This letter was then used to lure Canadian oil firm, Gondwana Oil Company, into the country by offering them a deal in the concession.

    Mr Abu is said to have contacted called for Andoh’s arrest when he got wind of his actions.

    Mr Buah is then said to have forwarded all the documents to the Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) for investigation.

  • Mahama visits Accra’s flooded areas

    Thursday’s floods in Accra have prompted President John Dramani Mahama to visit areas affected.

    The floods destroyed several properties, leaving residents stranded and frustrated. The President visited the areas affected to assess the extent of damage to property and lives.

    So far President Mahama has visited Mallam and South Odorkor. He offered his sympathies to the flood victims and emphasised the need for a drainage system to be constructed across the NI highway to address the problem.

    The Ministry of Finance is to release funds for the drain to be constructed immediately.

    The President also called for extensive education of residents by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly and all other state agencies involved to effect behaviour change in waste management practices.

  • Denmark to move from aid to trade

    Denmark plans to cut aid programmes to Ghana and focus more on areas of trade and investment.

    Ghana is considered a lower middle income country so a new strategic partnership between the two countries is underway.

    This forms part of a comprehensive Danish country policy (2014-2018) to consolidate its programmes in Ghana and support the transition to trade and investment and strengthen political co-operation.

    The Danish Ambassador to Ghana, Ms Margit Thomsen, said: “Danish companies can provide many of the solutions that Ghana needs in areas such as climate change, water, agriculture, health and infrastructure.

    “We will use our many years of successful development co-operation and close ties as a springboard to create a smooth transition from development co-operation to increased commercial co-operation for growth and employment in Ghana”.

    Among other areas that Denmark is targeting its support include reforms to improve the business environment and reduce barriers to trade and investment, sustainable investments and green growth.

  • NPP presidential nominations open today

    The New Patriotic Party is expected to open nominations later today for presidential aspirants to pick up their forms to contest the elections scheduled for December this year.

    Before the nominations are opened later this afternoon, the National Council (NC) of the party will meet to affirm it, as well as other arrangements and proposals put forward by the National Executive Committee (NEC) and the National Steering Committee.

    This is the first time the NC is meeting since the new national executive members, under the chairmanship of Mr Paul Awentami Afoko, were elected into office.

    Nominations will remain open for a month at a fee of GH¢10, 000 for the forms, while filing of the papers will attract GH¢ 75,000.

    The NEC has also concluded arrangements for nominations to open for the presidential primary on 6 December. These include the approval of guidelines and code of ethics for the conduct of the campaign leading to the primary.

  • Adams Kwarasey trains with the Black Stars

    The Black Stars goalkeeper Adams Kwarasey trained with the team on Thursday ahead of their final warm-up game against South Korea in Miami.

    The Ghanaian side’s goalie suffered a suspected thigh injury during training on Tuesday and was pulled out for medical assessment.

    He is now in contention for the starting role in Ghana’s final warm-up friendly with the Koreans on Monday, 9 June in Miami, USA.

    Kwarasey’s return has now cleared any injury doubts in Black Stars camp.

    Credit: Ghanafa.org

     

     

     

     

  • Emir of Kano dies

    One of Nigeria’s most revered Muslim leaders and a vocal critic of the Islamist Boko Haram militants, the emir of Kano, has died, aged 83.

    Al-Haji Ado Bayero, who has been on the throne of the northern city of Kano since 1963, died after a long illness.

    He was the longest-serving emir in Kano’s history and sought to reduce tensions with Nigeria’s Christians. Last year, he survived an attack on his convoy by suspected Boko Haram fighters.

    He will be buried after Friday prayers in Kano, according to Islamic tradition.

  • Africa’s top artistes collaborate

    Ghana’s hip-hop/hip-life musician Sarkodie is among a team of six of Africa’s top artistes collaborating on a song as part of a forthcoming MultiChoice Africa campaign.

    Sarkodie is joined by Lola Rae, a British singer of Nigerian/Ghanaian descent who gained recognition as a dancer in the street dance group “Myztika”.

    Others are Davido, a Nigerian/American recording artist, performer, and record producer, Bongo Flava recording artist, Diamond Platnumz from Tanzania, Tiwa Savage, a Nigerian singer-songwriter, and Mi Casa, a South African band.

    The campaign will be unveiled in Mauritius on a date to be confirmed.

    MultiChoice Africa’s CEO Nico Meyer said that the “campaign provides the ideal platform to showcase meaningful change among the people of Africa”.

    He added that the collaboration of award-winning African artists “will be the glue that binds communities together creating a catalyst for change”.

     

  • World leaders mark key date in World War II

    US President Barack Obama, President Francois Hollande (France) and Prime Minister David Cameron (UK) have joined the last remaining veterans to mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

    D-Day, on June 6, 1944, marked the beginning of the Allied forces’ final assault to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe.

    The heads of state, who recently attended a G7 meeting in Brussels, also paid tribute to those who died on a day that “changed the world”.

    They, other world leaders and veterans will attend remembrance services and visit Ouistreham, one of the beaches where Allied troops landed.

    By the end of D-Day, the Allies – who included Britain and France  –  had established a foothold in France – an event that would eventually help bring the war to an end.

     

  • Platini calls for re-vote of Qatar 2022 World Cup if claims are proven

  • Corruption today far exceeds June 4 revolution trigger: Rawlings

    Former President Jerry John Rawlings has questioned why Ghanaians tolerate corruption in spite of its negative effects on national development and morals.

    He said that as a nation, we know corruption is killing us in many ways, and he wonders why we tolerate it to the extent of sometimes idolising those who are corrupt.

    In a statement he issued on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the June 4 uprising, he said only recently Ghana was the world’s fastest growing economy, and has also been applauded as one of a few to achieve ahead of time, the UN’s Millennium Development Goals of halving poverty. However in spite of all the high accolades, the masses can hardly feel the improvements.

    “Corruption hurts us because it takes out of the public purse scarce resources that could be used to turn our economy into an engine for sustained growth.

    “Corruption hurts us because it siphons out of the economy the substantial investment that is needed in the social sector to pay the salaries of doctors, nurses and teachers, build more and better schools and hospitals, and create the physical infrastructure needed to take our nation to a greater level of human and economic development.

    “And finally, corruption hurts us because it is destroying the moral fiber of our nation. That was the message of June 4th, 1979. The attack on the moral fiber of Ghanaians was what led to the popular uprising of June 4th,” the former president said.

    He said while there are no food shortages because food is plentiful, the desperation that the sustained rise in food prices is creating has resulted in a situation where cheating is becoming the order of the day

  • Black Stars are youngest squad at Brazil 2014

    Kwesi Appiah’s Ghana squad is the youngest amongst the 32 sides named for the World Cup in Brazil.

    The Black Stars team has an average age of 24.9 compared to Argentina, who have the oldest with an average age of 28.4 years. The youngest player selected for the World Cup is Cameroon forward Fabrice Olinga, who turned 18 on May 12.

    Colombia have the two oldest players – reserve goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon, who will turn 43 during the group phase of the tournament and defender Mario Yepes, who is 38.

    Although Asamoah Gyan and Sulley Muntari are playing their third World Cup, they trail Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who joins Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and German Lothar Matthaeus in being selected for five World Cups.

    Uruguay, Ivory Coast, Bosnia and Ghana have the most foreign-based players with 22, while Fabio Capello’s Russia side have none.

    Germany’s Miroslav Klose is one goal short of Brazil striker Ronaldo’s all-time World Cup scoring record of 15.

    Source: ghanafa.org

  • Ronaldo in injury scare

    Cristiano Ronaldo is suffering from tendinosis in the region around his left kneecap, the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) revealed on Wednesday.

    The FPF said the 29-year-old forward, who missed last week’s 0-0 draw with Greece, underwent “specially adapted, individual” training on Monday.The World Player of the Year had minor injuries last season but scored in Real Madrid’s Champions League final win.

    Portugal’s opening World Cup match is against Germany in Salvador on 16 June.

    BBC Health and Science reporter James Gallagher explained that there were significant differences between tendinosis and the more commonly known tendonitis.

    “Tendons attach muscles to bone and are a common source of injury in sport,” Gallagher says. “Tendinosis is caused by long-term wear and tear of the tendon. Low levels of damage build up if there is insufficient recovery time between matches.

    “It is not the same as tendonitis, which is the result of overloading the tendon, resulting in inflammation.Pain and difficulty moving are common to both injuries and rest is the main treatment. Recovery times for tendinosis depend on the scale of the damage, but in the most severe cases could be several months.”

    Source: BBC

  • Polys likely to close as POTAG – Labour Commission negotiations fail

    Some polytechnics are likely to close due to on-going strike by the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), the President of the Ghana National Union of Polytechnic Students, Sulemana Hakim has confirmed.

    Speaking to Radio Ghana, Mr Hakim said quite a sizeable number of students have left for home while others are engaged in various other activities.

    Students hit the streets on Wednesday to protest against the long-running strike and other government policies. He added that students are hopeful that government would listen to their plight.

    Meanwhile, the president of POTAG, James Dugrah, confirmed the Association’s decision to continue with the strike since negotiations with the National Labour Commission have failed.

  • Atsu – the African Messi

    An attacking player nicknamed ‘The African Messi’, Christian Atsu got two goals in qualifying for the World Cup and played a big part in helping Ghana get back to the finals after they did so well four years ago in South Africa.

    Atsu has been playing in the Netherlands with Vitesse on loan from Chelsea. Chelsea signed him from Porto in 2013, beating off a host of top clubs to get him.

    He was loaned to the Dutch side without playing a game for the Blues, but has been in outstanding form this season and could make a big impact coming off the bench in Brazil.

  • Vodafone’s Black Tuesday: Four houses burnt due to system failure

    Residents of Kromoase New Site in Kumasi were unable to contact the Fire Service due to the faulty Vodafone network services, and as a result, they watched on helplessly as four shops and a car were burnt to the ground.

    For close to three hours, residents fought to bring the fire under control after realising their lines weren’t working. Two siblings who were asleep in one of the shops at the time of the incident narrowly escaped unhurt.

    A reporter at the scene contacted the Ghana National Fire Service Regional Public Relations Officer Fire Officer Desmond Ackah on his personal MTN line. The PRO got back later to confirm he wasn’t getting through to any fire office in the region.

    Mr Ackah later apologised for the occurrence blaming it on the poor communication network.

    He said: “I must apologise for us not being able to turn up. Unfortunately early this morning we had problems with our lines especially with that of Vodafone. I received the call and tried getting to the nearest fire station and all the other stations but the calls weren’t just going through.”

    Mr Ackah appealed to residents to report all fire incidents directly to their office due to network failure.

  • Kumasi Polytechnic students protest over gov’t policies, POTAG strike

    Kumasi Polytechnic students have hit the streets to express their displeasure over recent government policies and the ongoing strike by their lecturers.

    This is one of many protests that have taken place in the Ashanti Regional capital in the first quarter of the year, mostly affecting the education sector.

    Speaking to Kessben Television, the Public Relations Officer of the students body, Mr Opoku Agyemang, says they feel left out by some government policies. He says the two years work experience before employment and the utility bills they have been asked to pay by government, coupled with the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG) strike action prompted them to take to the streets.

    He added that the recent comments made by the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Okudjeto Ablakwa, that the Polytechnic is a stepping stone to university makes them feel been discriminated.

    “We have rights like other university students, why are we asked to get two years working experience before employment?”

    Touching on the admittance policy, Mr Agyemang says polytechnic students have increased in number, yet there no jobs in the country.

    “Does that mean the government wants to close down the polytechnics,” he asked.

    He threatened court action against government if their pleas are not heeded.

    Polytechnics in Ho, Tamale and Cape Coast were also invited to take part in demonstrations in their respective areas.

  • Forbes ranks Otumfuo Africa’s 5th richest king

    The Forbes rich list has named the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, as Africa’s fifth richest king.

    The Ashanti King is estimated to be worth $10 million. His source of wealth, according to Forbes, is from mining equipment, an extensive real estate in Ghana and South Africa, and gold jewellry. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II came behind King Mswati III of Swaziland, Oba Okunade Sijuwade of Ile-Ife, Nigeria, Oba Obateru Akinrutan of Ugbo Land, Nigeria and King Mohammed VI, Morocco in the ranking.

    King Mohammed VI, Morocco was named Africa’s richest king with an estimated net worth of $2 billion. He made his wealth from investments and owns a large stake of the world’s phosphate reserves.

    Oba Obateru Akinrutan of Ugbo Land, Nigeria, came in second with an estimated net worth of $300 million. He owns Obat Oil, one of Nigeria’s largest privately-held oil trading companies, and an extensive portfolio of prime commercial and residential real estate in London and Nigeria.

    In third place, Oba Okunade Sijuwade from Ile-Ife, Nigeria, made his $75 million fortune in construction, property and  oil.

    King Mswati III of Swaziland’s $ 50 million wealth has been generated by investments in sugar, beverages and dairy products.

  • Former AG’s home burgled, he suspects foul play

    A burglary at the home of former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Martin Alamisi Amidu, during which no valuables were stolen has led him to suspect foul play.
    Intruders who broke into his property allegedly took just two cushion covers on the sofa and an old car battery.
    Coincidentally, Mr Amidu had, on the day of the burglary, removed flower pots near the front wall of the house as a security measure to make it more difficult for burglars to gain access to the property.
    Mr Amidu has been involved in a high-profile fight against corruption. Since he took up the battle against payment of fraudulent judgment debts to certain individuals and corporate institutions, the former Attorney General has been distanced from National Democratic Congress (NDC) government and party supporters.
    Mr Amidu suspects possible assassination attempts and State surveillance.
    The former AG is currently at the Supreme Court seeking a judicial review of the Isofoton and Woyome cases.
    Madina police are investigating the incident.

     Source: Daily Guide

  • Nigerian villagers killed in suspected Boko Haram church attack

    Suspected Boko Haram militants have killed dozens of villagers in fresh attacks in Borno state in north-eastern Nigeria.

    In one attack, gunmen disguised as soldiers fired into a crowd in a church compound, local MP Peter Biye said. He said he had warned the army that the area was at risk after troops stationed nearby were withdrawn three months ago.

    The latest attacks come as the army denied that several generals had been found guilty of aiding the militants.

    Nigerian media reported on Tuesday that 10 generals and five other senior military officers had been tried before a court martial for supplying arms and information to the Islamist militant group.

    However, a military spokesman called the reports “falsehoods”.

    The first attack was on a village church on Sunday when reportedly 20 people died. Villagers retaliated and some militants were allegedly killed.

    This seemed to prompt a revenge attack on Tuesday when militants dressed as soldiers pretended they had come to protect the village, Mr Biye said.

    Source: BBC

  • Ghana to exit at the first round in Brazil 2014: Mourinho predicts

    Chelsea manager, Jose Mourinho says Ghana and USA cannot make it beyond their Group G campaign at the 2014 World Cup.
    The two teams are in the same group with three-time world champions, Germany and his own country, Portugal.
    The former Real Madrid manager who is Yahoo’s resident analyst for the World Cup says Germany and Portugal will seal the knock-out tickets in the group.
    “It is a very difficult group, it’s a group I can say for sure nobody will finish with zero point, so one point here, one point there.

    “I’m sorry but Germany first and Portugal runner-up.

    “But I’m afraid for the USA, I’m really afraid of our (Portugal) game against US,” the 51-year old told Yahoo Sports.

    Mourinho is well known for his pre-clash mind games.

  • Illegal fishing could see Ghana’s catch banned from EU markets

    The European Commission (EC) has warned that any incident of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing by a Ghana-flagged vessel will result in a total ban on fish products exported from Ghana to EU markets.

    The Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development (MoFAD) has threatened to sanction any local vessel found to be engaged in IUU fishing.

    Addressing stakeholders in the fisheries sector at a press conference in Accra yesterday, sector minister, Mr Nayon Bilijo, said the EC issued the warning in May this year.

    Mr Bilijo said that Ghana and the EC had been discussing a range of corrective actions that Ghana needed to take to meet its obligations as a trading partner.

    “These corrective actions are: enhancing the fisheries legislative framework, the adoption of a national plan of action against IUU fishing, the adoption of a fisheries management plan and strengthening of our monitoring, control and surveillance systems”.

    Measures to address IUU fishing

    Mr Bilijo outlined some of the measures MoFAD had put in place to address IUU fishing along Ghana’s shores. These include:

    • strengthening fisheries legislation with adoption of new regulations by the end of 2014
    • imposing severe sanctions on IUU fishers and repeat offenders
    • introducing new control measures on Ghana-flagged vessels that intend to fish in neighbouring countries
    • requiring all semi-industrial and industrial Ghanaian-owned fishing vessels, including trawlers, to use satellite vessel monitoring systems

    According to the Minister, MoFAD had also adopted a national plan of action to combat IUU fishing and added that Ghana now had the arsenal to deal squarely with any IUU incidents.

    Credit: Daily Graphic

  • Ghana medics to assess Kwarasey’s injury

    Ghana goalkeeper Adam Kwarasey will be assessed by medical staff after leaving training early with a suspected thigh injury on Tuesday in Miami.

    The medical team will monitor Kwarasey in the coming hours as they continue with their assessment to determine the degree of the injury.

    Kwarasey pulled out of the Black Stars’ training at the Florida International University early on Tuesday after suffering the injury.

    Ghana will play South Korea in their final warm-up match on Monday before jetting out to Brazil for the World Cup.

     

    Source:ghanafa

  • Government backs diasporan housing scheme

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration is backing a new housing scheme that will allow Ghanaians in the diaspora to own properties back home.

    The new scheme, known as the Diaspora Housing Scheme, is expected to curb the widespread social fraud associated with remitting monies through relatives for construction projects, and will also help expand the country’s economy using expected remittance inflows.

    The Director of the Diaspora Affairs Bureau (DAB) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a speech read on his behalf by Mr Solomon Korbieh, the Deputy Director, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, realising the need to support Ghanaians in the diaspora to own their own houses in the country, has established the DAB to facilitate home ownership, among other things.

    “The Ministry is therefore prepared to partner all such initiatives to engage Ghanaians in the diaspora,” Mr Korbieh said.

    The Diaspora Housing Scheme, pioneered by the Ghana Home Initiative (GHI), will serve as a bridge between real estate developers and Ghanaians in the diaspora by securing mortgage facilities from GHI’s partner bank, Unibank. The facility is then paid over a period of about 15 years by the homeowner.

    To be part of the scheme, Ghanaian citizens living abroad will have to register their interest with GHI by filling out a form on GHI’s website. GHI then peruses the application to ensure the applicant meets the required conditions.

    The application and other details are then used to open a bank account at Unibank on behalf of the applicant. The applicant is then required to operate the account for a minimum of six months to raise at least 20 percent of the price of the property they intend to buy from a pool of carefully selected developers.

    GHI then liaises with Unibank to provide a mortgage for the selected property, which the applicant is expected to pay over a period of about 15 years.

    Mr Dan Botwe, Chairman of GHI, said the scheme “is one of the best mechanisms of home ownership by Ghanaians abroad that we have today. This scheme provides a direct link between the diaspora and developers.”

    “It represents an opportunity for diasporans to be sure that the money they send down is used for the purpose for which (it is) sent, in a formalised, disciplined, and independent way for people in the diaspora to own their own houses in Ghana.”

    Ekow Dennis, Head of Finance, Unibank, said: “We believe that there is enormous potential in the real estate sector. The Ghana Housing Initiative (GHI) will put an end to those who misappropriate diaspora funds. Whatever GHI will be doing, Unibank is prepared to support the scheme.”

  • FA boss confirms: I once paid GH₵10,000 for “spiritual help” on Black Stars

    Ghana Football Association President  Kwesi Nyantakyi has revealed the Black Stars budget for the 2014 FIFA World Cup did not include any “spiritual expenses”. He however confirmed that he did at one time pay Gh₵10,000.00 for a spiritualist from his own pocket.

    Although the Ghana FA has continuously denied budgeting for unseen help from various religious leaders, the Ghana FA boss has revealed paying a spiritual leader to aid the Black Stars in one of their past matches.

    “God doesn’t charge anybody. People charge money, people perform sacrifice. It cuts across the various religions be it traditional, Christian or Islamic,” he said.

    “We at the GFA don’t make provisions for “juju”. If you can’t get a receipt for any business that you have done for the GFA, we will not approve that. So in the budget, there is nothing like money for “juju”.

    The Wa All Stars owner, however, acknowledged that he’s issued money on for spiritual services.

    “I used my money to take care of some of these things and I remember paying Gh₵10,000.00 to a spiritual man to aid the Black Stars some time ago.The GFA capo made these revelations on Hot Issue, a program hosted by ace journalist Kwesi Pratt on TV3.”

    Many pundits have questioned the input of spiritual practices in football and Kwesi Nyantakyi’s revelation is set to heat up the debate.

  • Ghana FA confirms 2014 COSAFA Cup participation

    The Ghana Football Association has confirmed its participation in the 2014 Council Of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA Cup).

    Ghana is the only side from outside the southern region to join in the tournament to be staged by Botswana from 13-27 September.

    Acting General Secretary of the GFA, Emmanuel Gyimah confirmed Ghana’s inclusion in the 14-team regional tournament.

    According to organisers, there will be two first-round groups, and the winners will proceed to the knockout phase of the competition.

     

    Source:ghanafa.org

  • Ghana Telecom Awards names 2014 winners

    The leading ICT and telecoms companies have been awarded for their innovation. leadership and quality at the 4th Ghana Telecoms Awards held at the Movenpick Hotel on Saturday, May 31.

    There were a number of multiple winners: Vodafone picked up seven awards: Mobile Broadband Internet of the Year; Telecom Wholesale Provider of the Year; Best Use of Social Media; Mobile Operator of the Year; Telecom Business Service of the Year; Marketing Campaign of the Year and Telecom Brand of the Year.

    Another telecoms giant Airtel picked up three awards: Best Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Company; Best Mobile Money Service of the Year 2013; and CEO of the Year.

    Smaller firms gave the giants a run for their money. ICT firm ZIPNET scooped four awards: ISP of the Year Award; ICT Company of the Year Award; ICT Entrepreneur of the Year (ZIPNET Founder and Executive  Chairman, Mr Osei Owusu Korkor) and ICT Personality of the Year (ZIPNET Executive Director Mr Ernest Brown).

    There were awards in 38 categories, including new categories under Retail, Telecoms, Financial Services, Apps and Cloud services.

    The awards were organised by Mobile World.

     

  • Government faces millions in pay-outs over building rights

    The government could find itself having to pay out millions of dollars in compensation to oil company A.I. if its agencies halt the construction of a filling station next to the Teshie Family Hospital.

    The Hospital and the oil company are locked in a battle over whether the latter has a right to build and operate a filling station next to the hospital.

    A.I. was last year granted a permit by authorities to construct a two-story office, which includes a banking hall, restaurant, lounge, shops and filling station, among others.

    The project is expected to service residents of the Ledzokuku- Krowor Municipal Assembly (LEKMA) and beyond, and create hundreds of jobs.

    Documents seen by Citi News reveal that in October 2013, LEKMA gave the oil company the green-light to construct the facility, while the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the same month also granted the company a permit.

    The National Petroleum Authority (NPA), as well as the Ghana Fire Service also granted the oil company license to build the facility.

    However, the hospital’s management raised objections to the construction of the facility on the grounds of the potential for fire out-break or explosion and respiratory problems caused by the constant inhalation of fumes from the fuel station by patients and workers.

    The hospital’s application seeking for an injunction to stop the construction of the filling station while the court decides on whether the station should be located there or not was turned down by the court.

    If the construction is halted by any of the government’s agencies, the state would have to bear the costs incurred by the oil company in putting up the project, which is at an advanced stage.

  • NPP to take to the streets over non-performance of government

    The Ashanti Region will be hit by a massive demonstration against the Mahama-led administration for its non -performance.

    The demonstration, led by the National Patriotic Party, has been dubbed “ya y3 mo d3n demo” which literally means, “What have we done?” and is scheduled to take place in Kumasi, on Tuesday, June 10.

    For sometime now, Ghanaians have been experiencing erratic power supply due to the failure of power generation companies to meet the nation’s growing energy demand.

    Ghana’s current electricity demand stands at over 2,000 megawatts (MW)  and is growing at a rate of 10%.

    This situation is however expected to worsen in coming weeks after authorities at the Bui Dam announced plans to reduce production capacity due to low water levels at the Bui reservoir.

    This decision, according to the Bui Power Authority, is to protect the turbines at the Bui Dam from any potential damage.

    Speaking to Citi FM, the Ashanti Regional Secretary of the NPP, Samuel Payne, disclosed that “the Ashanti region has been singled out as the worst affected place where the load shedding is taking place”.

    He added: “Business are collapsing, private properties are being destroyed, there is absolute hardship in the region”.

    Source : citifmonline

  • Bui Dam: Authorities monitoring reservoir level

    Bui dam authorities say they are monitoring the reservoir level to prevent a shutdown of the dam and the low generation of power.

    Speaking to Radio Ghana, the Assistant External Communications Officer of the Bui Power Authority (BPA), Mawuli Fui Kwadzovia, said the situation at the dam is as a result of a natural cause.

    Mr Kwadzovia said the dwindling level of water in the dam has reduced the generation capacity to about 1.44 million kilowatts a day.The BPA had been operating at a rate of 3.66 million kWh/day since November 2013 – about 2.5 times the target rate.

    Energy expert Kwame Jantuah also expressed worry at the way the dam has been over-stretched. He said the energy crisis could have been prevented if the dam had been properly managed. He called for effective planning and foresight to prevent and avoid future problems.

  • We won’t pay utility bills – National Students Union

    The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has given government a two-day ultimatum to revoke its decision to pass on the full cost of utility bills to public universities and other tertiary institutions.

    In an interview with Citi News, NUGS president, Samuel Darkwa Binfoh, said: “The government should come out and withdraw that letter it wrote to ECG, we gave them two weeks and the two weeks ends on this very Thursday.”

    Meanwhile Government has directed public tertiary institutions and state agencies to pay the full cost of their utility bills. But tertiary students are kicking against the move saying it will burden them financially.

    Binfoh added: “Things are difficult in the nation to the extent that the government itself has come out to say that things are not going well. How much more our parents who are sitting by the road side selling and using their meagre income to take care of us to come to school?”

    He indicated that NUGS will eventually demonstrate if the government does not heed to their call.

  • The Era of “Dumso Dumso”

    The regulated power outages and load management program – named dumso, dumso to imitate the on-off nature of our supply – looks like it has come to stay.

    People are aggrieved, especially when it comes after the heels of utility tariffs increment of over 50% in October 2013.

    Although various reasons have been given by the bodies responsible for the production, transmission and distribution of power in Ghana, namely Volta River Authority (VRA), Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCO) and the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) respectively, the situation is acutely felt in businesses, industries and by all Ghanaians.

    The shortages in the amount of power that is available to distribute have led to a limited power supply to consumers during peak times and even during off-peak times. This has called for an announced load management program to be publicised.

    Some have blamed these shortages on the government’s incompetence, while others blame it on the power suppliers. To many, the power suppliers and the government have not fulfilled their part of the bargain. Government recently sent a directive to the ECG to publish guidelines for the planned load-shedding exercise. It was done for a few days and presently majority of consumers have become indifferent to the erratic power supply situation.

    On Tuesday 27th March 2014, the Al-hajj newspaper published an article, and I quote : “With independent power producer, Sunon Asogli now producing at full capacity of 200 MW and TICO set to come on stream with another 200MW of power which will bring total restored generation to 400MW, Ghana’s energy challenges popularly christened “Dumso Dumso” barring any unforeseen challenges, would be a thing of the past by Monday, March 31, 2014″.

    I can guess by now you are checking what date it is today on your calendar. And to your utmost surprise we are more than halfway through 2014. This is just but one of the many polished lies we keep hearing every day.

    However undesirable this situation is, it offers the country a way forward to using this opportunity to correct our energy sector. There is no denying the fact that sustainable energy is the basis of industrialization and that the economy cannot be effectively restructured without an efficient energy sector, both on the demand and the supply side. But for once Ghanaians must be told the truth no matter how bitter it is. For some time now, the power companies have taken their customers for granted and do not tell consumers when to expect power and when they will be sleep in darkness. For such consumers, when power is available, so be it.

    After paying high utility bills, the ‘ordinary Ghanaian’, as the politicians call us must be told the hard truth. In a few weeks, the biggest global soccer tournament will kick off in Brazil in which Ghana is participating.

    We will need power to be part of this historic event. After all, soccer unifies the political divide. This is our appeal.

  • Malawi election: Peter Mutharika sworn in as President

    Peter Mutharika has been sworn in as Malawi’s president after the High Court rejected a request for a recount following allegations of vote-rigging.

    The leader of the Democratic Progressive Party urged the 11 other presidential candidates to “join me in rebuilding the country”.

    Outgoing President Joyce Banda had alleged ballot fraud but has now admitted defeat. Mrs Banda tried to annul a vote she said was marred by rigging, but was overruled by the High Court.

    Mr Mutharika is the brother of the late President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in 2012, and had served as his foreign minister.

    He obtained 36.4% of the vote, according to the Electoral Commission, and said he felt “very humbled” to become Malawi’s fifth president.

    “It’s obvious we are facing serious problems in this country. All of us together, let us build the country which is almost on the verge of collapse,” he said.

    Former preacher Lazarus Chakwera came second in the election with 27.8% of the vote. He represented the Malawi Congress Party, which governed from independence in 1964 until the first multi-party poll in 1994.

    Mrs Banda, who came to power after the death of Bingu wa Mutharika two years ago, was third with 20.2% of the vote. Her administration had been hit by a corruption scandal dubbed “cashgate”, which led donors to cut aid.

    Mrs Banda had attempted to have the polls declared “null and void” on the grounds of “serious irregularities”.

    But she made no mention of this in a statement congratulating Mr Mutharika on his victory in a “closely contested election” and urging “all Malawians to support the newly elected president… and his government as they take on this foundation of progress and endeavour to develop Malawi even further.”

    The Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) had asked for a 30-day extension to declare the results so that a recount could be carried out.

    However, the High Court refused to delay the release of results and ordered the Commission to make its announcement on Friday.

    Source: BBC

  • Teachers’ unions satisfied with negotiations with Labour Commission

    The National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers (CCT) have expressed satisfaction – for now – with the ongoing negotiations to address their concerns.

    The teachers’ unions were up in arms against government for failing to pay their allowances and salaries in arrears. They also want bottlenecks with their second tier pension scheme resolved.

    After a spirited national demonstration in Kumasi last week, the teachers called off their strike to allow for negotiations with the National Labor Commission (NLC).

    The NLC has called for a meeting involving the Commission, the teacher’s union leaders and relevant government agencies and ministries on Wednesday.

    Speaking to Ultimate Radio after the meetings, national president of the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ernest Opoku, said: “The meeting went on “successfully” with all parties present for the fruitful discussion.”

    He added, however, that several issues could not be concluded and have been rescheduled for next week.

  • Gov’t apologises for traffic jam during ECOWAS summit

    Government has apologized to drivers in Accra for the inconveniences caused by the traffic jam as a result of Friday’s ECOWAS meeting.

    The nation’s capital came to a standstill as about 100 Heads of State and senior government officials from the West African sub-region descended on the capital.

    President John Dramani Mahama, who is the Chair of ECOWAS, summoned the region’s leaders to discuss the current security crisis in Nigeria and the threat of insurgent militant group, Boko Haram.

    Speaking on Radio Gold’s current affairs programme, Alhaji and Alhaji Saturday, Presidential Staffer, Dr Clement Apaak, said the government regretted any inconvenience caused due to the event.

    “It is significant that we apologize for any fallout or any unintended pressure that may have come to the good people of this country as a result of the event that we all agree was very important.

    “…Anyone who knows the nature of our President and this government would know that this was not intended but sometimes situations occur and we just have to accept them for what they are and then learn from those experiences as a way of putting in place mechanisms,” he explained.

    He said that although the event caused clogged up traffic in the capital, the turn out was good, adding that the emergency ECOWAS meeting was worthwhile.

  • Power crisis to worsen as Bui cuts production

    The ongoing power crisis is set to worsen as the Bui Power Authority (BPA) has announced a reduction in its current generation capacity.

    The BPA has been operating its generation plant at a rate of 3.66 million kWh/day from November 2013 – about 2.5 times the target rate – in order to supplement existing generation.

    However officials of the Authority say the dwindling level of water in the dam has forced authorities to limit the generation capacity to an average of about 1.44 million kWh/day.

    “The Bui Generating Station is unable to maintain the high rate of power generation and production has had to be reduced in order to protect the turbines from potential damage,” a release signed by Mawuli Fui Kwadzovia, Assistant External and Communications Relations Officer said.

    “This is necessary because it is imprudent to operate the generating plant below the minimum operating level of the reservoir (168 masl) as this unduly exposes the turbines to higher risks of cavitation damage.

    “The current situation is also not favored by the hydrology of the Black Volta River as expected inflows in May and June are usually very low.  BPA is monitoring the reservoir level and will revise the production plan in conjunction with GRIDCo as soon as it is prudent to do so”.

     

  • Health risk: Fishermen in Lower Axim use DDT for fishing

    Fishermen in Lower Axim in the Western Region have resorted to the use of DDT, carbide, dynamite and light for fishing.

    The result is that most of the fishes are brought ashore dead and discolored, with broken flesh and sunken eyes, which indicates that they are not fresh.

    People fear that the practice may be widespread along the west coast of the country.

    According to the Chief Fisherman at Lower Axim, Nana Kojo Eshun, the fishermen usually use light to attract the fish, while DDT, carbide and dynamite are used to increase the catch.

    Apart from that obvious health implications for fish consumers and processors, the practice is also deepening poverty among fishermen and fishmongers, largely women, as the quality and quantity of fish is adversely affected after smoking.

    Fishmonger Madam Hannah Donkor said: “The fish caught using light are okay but the ones by chemicals are creating a lot of problems for us.”

    She said some of the fishmongers had incurred huge debts as a result and explained that the dynamite and carbide methods of fishing caused fishes to rot soon after they are caught.

    According to Madam Donkor, fish caught with such chemicals also breaks into pieces when exposed to smoke and heat, affecting prices and sales.

    The use of chemicals such as DDT and carbide poses a serious health hazard to fish consumers. Some of the chemicals have had adverse effects on the fingers of some fishmongers.

    Health experts say eating food with large amounts (in grammes) of DDT over a short time will most likely affect the nervous system.

    Source: Graphic

  • Local government minister sacked

    The Minister for Local Government and Rural Development has been replaced by the Eastern Regional Minister Akwasi Oppong in the latest ministerial reshuffle.

    It is unclear yet whether President Mahama relieved Mr Akwasi Oppong-Fosu of his post because of the current waste management crisis in the country. The Local Government and Rural Development Ministry has also been in the news for awarding the National Street Naming exercise to an I.T firm, Subah Infosolutions.

    Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations Mr Antwi Boasiako-Sekyere has been nominated to replace Mr Julius Debrah in the Eastern Region.

    A statement from the Flagstaff House stated that former Deputy Chief of Staff, Alex Segbefia has also been nominated as a Deputy Minister for Defence.

    President Mahama’s appointment is in accordance with Article 79(1) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.

     

  • Ghana Export Promotion Authority targets $3.1billion from non-traditional exports

    Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA) says it is targeting US$3.1 billion in earnings from the export of non-traditional products in 2014 in line with the National Export Strategy.

    The target represents a 30 per cent increase in earnings compared with the US$2.436 billion raked in for 2013.

    The US$2.436 billion in 2013 is an increase of 3.05 per cent over the previous year’s earnings of US$2.364 billion.
    In August 2013, the government launched the National Export Strategy, aimed at raising the level of export proceeds from the non-traditional exports to US$5 billion by the year 2017.

    Mr Gideon Quarcoo, Acting Chief Executive Officer of GEPA, told the 75th National Exporters Forum that to achieve the 2014 target, as well as the achievement of the US$5billion in 2017, there must be an aggressive implementation of GEPA activities and programmes.

    There must also be the execution of the various projects lined-up in the National Export Strategy by GEPA in collaboration with other key export stakeholders.

    He added that the Government must work towards the realisation of good macro-economic conditions such as the stabilisation of the currency, reduction in inflation, and making funds available to the sector.

    Mr Quarcoo said the Export Trade, Agricultural and Industrial Development Fund must also continue with its expansion of credit facilities to exporters and export facilitating institutions to help them carry out their activities to help increase the earnings of the sector.

  • Medeama loses protest against Aduana Stars

    Medeama have had a protest against Aduana Stars for failing to pay a cost awarded against them within the stipulated time dismissed by the Disciplinary Committee.

    In dismissing the protest, a cost of GH¢3,000.00 has been awarded against Medeama.

    Medeama claimed that the conduct of Aduana contravened Article 39(8) (b) and 34(I) (L) of the Ghana Football Association Regulations after they failed to pay a cost of GH¢5,000.00 in their protest against Hearts of Oak.

    But Aduana backed their defence with proof of receipt received from the Ghana Football Association confirming payment.

    The Disciplinary Committee confirmed that Aduana paid the cost on on 30 April, 2014, thus before their Premier League fixture with Medeama on the same day.

    Source: ghanafa.org

  • World Cup 2014: Cameroon agree fees with players

    Cameroon’s Football Federation and the country’s government have agreed to pay FCFA 50m (US$104,000) to each player in the final 23-man World Cup squad.

    The figure was arrived at after lengthy negotiations but falls short of the FCFA 80m-100m ($166,000-207,000) reportedly sought by the players. It is, however, FCFA 5m more than players were paid at the previous World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

    The players had wanted to ensure money coming in was being fairly divided. Captain Samuel Eto’o believes the players are entitled to know how the money being earned by their performances and progress in the competition is being utilised.

    In an interview with Mboafootball.com , Eto’o said: “What is the quota for players who work for this money that goes into the coffers of the Cameroon Football Federation (Fecafoot)? This is the question. We hope the government will help us get our due and clarify the situation.”

    The problem of fees resurfaced during the Indomitable Lions’ training camp in Austria, where they are preparing for their World Cup matches against Mexico, Croatia and hosts Brazil in Group A.  Rumours started that the players were demanding up to FCFA 150m from the authorities.

    Cameroon coach Volker Finke has distanced himself from the situation because he feels it is an issue for the authorities and the players. “I concentrate on football, fees are between the players and the authorities, I am not concerned by this issue,” he said.
    “I am hopeful it will not affect the harmony in the group and the training ahead.”

    It is not the first time a row over payments has erupted. The most recent episode was in 2011 when players went on strike during the LG Cup over FCFA 500,000 they said they were owed.

    Source: BBC Sport

  • Joseph Minala: Italian FA confirms Lazio youth player is 17

    Lazio midfielder Joseph Minala did not lie about his age, an official Italian Football Association (FIGC) investigation has ruled.

    An African football website stated in February that Cameroon-born Minala was 42, but was claiming to be 17.

    The accusation led to an official investigation which saw him questioned by the league’s federal prosecutor.
    “The investigation did not show any need for disciplinary action,” an FIGC statement read.

    Minala joined the Rome club last summer and played for them in the Viareggio Cup youth tournament in February.

    This is not the first time questions have been raised about the ages of African-born football players.

    Former Nigeria international Jonathan Akpoborie, 45, says age fraud is “rampant” in African football and describes it as the “biggest problem” the game faces.

    The use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was introduced by FIFA in 2009 for the Under-17 World Cup in Nigeria to help work out whether players were over age or not.

  • Black Stars medic allays Adams injury fear

    Black Stars team doctor Adam Baba has played down concerns over Stephen Adams after revealing the lip injury he suffered on Monday was not too serious.

    The goalkeeper clashed with Asamoah Gyan when he went for an aerial ball during training in Arnhem, Holland.

    Adams had his lower lip plastered after the clash but was able to continue with training.

    “Adams suffered a cut on his lower lip after the clash with Gyan. It is nothing too serious that’s why he was able to continue with training. He will have treatment to heal the cut,” Adam Baba said.

  • Cocoa comes to the rescue of sinking cedi

    In a bid to recapture its position as world largest producer of cocoa, Ghana’s cocoa industry regulator, COCOBOD, is about to sign a $2billion syndicated loan facility with international financial firms for the purchase of this year’s crop.

    While the initiative is geared towards Ghana securing its previous number one spot in world cocoa production, the move is also targeted at shoring up the nation’s reserves and arresting the fast depreciation of the national currency, the cedi.

    The $2billion syndicate loan is expected to hit COCOBOD’s account by the end of the third quarter of this year. Financial analysts say it will fill the big hole in the country’s almost depleted foreign reserves at the Bank of Ghana and help the Bank to ‘fight’ the cedi depreciation.

    COCOBOD aims to raise the country’s annual average cocoa production from the present 800,000 tonnes, which makes Ghana trail behind neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire as the world’s leading producer of the crop, to 1 million tonnes.

    The Chief Executive Officer of COCOBOD, Dr Stephen Opuni, and Board Chairman, Ambassador Daniel Ohene Agyekum, have confirmed the loan in separate interviews.

    According to the two senior government officials, the decision to increase the yearly syndicated loan from last year’s figure of $1.2billion to about $2billion would position Ghana to reclaim its position as the leading producer of cocoa in the world.

    The decision, the duo noted, is also geared towards achieving President John Dramani Mahama’s vision to make the cocoa sector attractive for investors and to sustain it beyond the present generation.

    The COCOBOD syndicated loan, a yearly initiative by the industry regulator, is used to purchase cocoa beans from farmers ahead of each crop year. The loan is obtained through local and international financiers.

    According to players in the cocoa industry, the high participation of international and local banks in the annual phenomenon is as a result of Ghana’s integrity and image of producing quality cocoa beans.

    In its heyday, Ghana was the world’s leading producer of cocoa but lost that position to Cote d’Ivoire due to factors such as unimproved farming methods, smuggling and low incentives to farmers.

    Source: El Hajj newspaper

  • Former military chief Sisi is Egypt’s new president

    Early results show that former military chief Abdul Fattah al-Sisi is set to become Egypt’s next president after winning by an overwhelming majority.

    Mr Sisi gained more than 93 per cent of the vote, but analysts say this does not necessarily reflect the will of the people, as Islamist and secular groups are known to have boycotted the vote.

    The former field marshall deposed President Mohammed Morsi in July 2013 after mass protests.

    He has overseen a bloody crackdown on Mr Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood movement in which more than 1,400 people have been killed and 16,000 detained.

  • Pakistani woman stoned to death by relatives in front of court house

    A Pakistani woman was stoned to death by her family in front of a court house in the capital Lahore, with neither the police nor passers-by intervening.

    Farzana Parveen, who was three months pregnant, was pelted with bricks and beaten by relatives because she married against their wishes.

    The “honour killing” - so named as it allegedly restores the honour of the family - has caused disgust across the country, with people taking to social media to decry the act.

    Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif described the incident as “totally unacceptable” and has ordered the chief minister of Punjab province to take “immediate action” and submit a report by Thursday evening (May 29).

    Her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, told the BBC that the police and passers-by simply stood by during the attack.

    “They watched Farzana being killed and did nothing,” he said.

    Hundreds of “honour killings” are carried out in Pakistan and India every year.

  • Fashionable send-off for the late Kofi Ansah

    Mourners dressed in high fashion instead of the traditional red, black or white attire, and a catwalk display will form part of the final send-off for the late Kofi Ansah.

    The late Ghanaian fashion designer and promoter had asked that he be celebrated rather than mourned upon his death. And the family have honoured his wishes by asking funeral-goers to dress in high fashion that depicts “tradition and fashion” to the funeral ceremony on Friday, May 30.

    kofi4

    Ansah, who died aged 62 from a heart-related illness, helped raise the profile of fashion couture in Ghana and beyond and was the principal at high fashion house, ArtDress.

    “We want a ceremony that will reflect the man that he was, and also to celebrate his legacy. So, we are not wearing mourning clothes for the event, no black, no white, no red. Everybody can come in any attire that depict tradition and fashion,” said his elder brother, film maker Mr Kwaw Ansah.

    The funeral ceremony will be held at the forecourt of State House from 8am, where Ansah’s body will lie in state for public viewing. A short inter-denominational service will follow, and thereafter, the burial, which will be attended only by close family members.

  • Ghana Health Service warns of possible cholera outbreak in Accra

    The Ghana Health Service has warned of a possible cholera outbreak, given the current sanitation conditions in the capital coupled with the onset of the rains.

    The Greater Accra Regional Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Service said waste disposal in the capital has become a major challenge following the shutdown of the Accra Compost Plant. The Directorate’s Head of Health Promotion, Honesty Attah Mensah, said residents should play their part to protect themselves against contracting the disease.

    Cholera is caused by the bacteria Vibrio cholerae which causes acute diarrhoea. This can lead to rapidly progressive dehydration and even death. Drinking contaminated water or eating food contaminated by infected human faeces is the most common method of being infected by the disease.

    The main symptoms are profuse painless watery diarrhoea without fever and (often) accompanied by vomiting clear fluid. These symptoms usually start suddenly, one to five days after ingestion of the bacteria.

    In January 2013, the Ghana Health Service declared a cholera outbreak in the Ashanti Region. Around 18 people died and 310 cases were registered in the region, with a majority of  cases being women and children.

  • Ronaldo is the world’s most marketable footballer

    With over 82 million Facebook likes and 26m Twitter followers,  Portugal international Cristiano Ronaldo, has been described as “an endorser’s dream”.

    Repucom, a top global sports marketing research group, described Ronaldo as the most marketable footballer in the world.

    The Real Madrid attacker pipped Lionel Messi to the Ballon d’Or in January and edged out the Argentine from Repucom’s top 10 trend-setters in the game.

    Repucom’s CEO, Paul Smith, said: “His value is as important to the teams he plays for as they are for the companies that endorse him.

    “Global awareness of Ronaldo is what drives his commercial power and with over 82 million Facebook likes and 26m Twitter followers, he is also one of the most liked in the business.”

    Messi is a close second to Ronaldo, while the Argentine’s Barcelona team-mate, Gerard Pique, who has a child with pop star Shakira, occupies third place.

    Even more surprisingly, Chelsea’s much-maligned forward Fernando Torres is fourth in the rankings, just ahead of England international Wayne Rooney.

    Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta is sixth, just ahead of another Blaugrana player (the fourth in total), Brazilian superstar Neymar.

    Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas stands eighth, ahead of the only two players in the top 10 not plying their trade in either Spain or England: Paris Saint-Germain ace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and New York Red Bulls veteran Thierry Henry.

    Repucom use a marketing measurement tool that analyses the perceptions of over 6,500 people in 13 countries, which is taken as a representative sample of the views of more than 1.5 billion people worldwide.

  • We need our lecturers in 48 hours – Poly students charge Government

    The nation is to be hit by yet another protest, almost the seventh to be staged in the first quarter of the year. The Ghana Union of Polytechnic Students (GNUPS) has declared its intention to demonstrate on Thursday, May 29, 2014 to draw government’s attention to their plight and compel lecturers to go back to work.

    On May 16, the Polytechnic Teachers Association of Ghana (POTAG), began an indefinite strike to highlight their demand for the restoration of their Book and Research Allowance scrapped by the government in favour of a newly established National Research Fund.

    But the students who are bearing the brunt of the strike action are unhappy with government’s stance in addressing the concerns of their lecturers.

    Speaking at a press briefing in Accra on Monday, the National President of GNUPS, Sulemana Hakim, argued that students had paid their fees and demanded that government act to ensure that lecturers were fully remunerated so they could to attend to their classes.

    Mr Hakim stated that the students have fulfilled their part of the deal by paying their fees and availing themselves for training, therefore the least they expected was government’s refusal to settle its indebtedness to their lecturers.

    He said their 48-hour ultimatum was due to government’s inaction after three months of advance warning that their lecturers would strike.

  • Christian groups declare June 30 – July 6 a National Week of Prayer & Thanksgiving

    A group of Christian church associations have declared a National Week of Prayer and Thanksgiving from June 30 to July 6.

    The event is being organised by the Christian Council of Ghana in collaboration with the National Catholic Secretariat, Council of Independent Churches, National Association of Charismatic and Christian Churches and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council.

    The church leaders are organising the prayer and thanksgiving session to show appreciation to God for his mercies and goodness even in the midst of the country’s challenges. Rev. Dr. Kwabena Opuni-Frimpong, who is also the General Secretary of Christian Council of Ghana, disclosed this at a press conference held in Accra.

    He quoted 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 which reads: “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks for this is God’s will in Christ Jesus” as an exhortation from the Apostle Paul emphasising the need for prayer and thanksgiving, irrespective of what we are going through and where we find ourselves.

    Rev. Dr. Opuni-Frimpong leading the various councils for the crusade said Christians must always acknowledge their relationship with God as prayer is pivotal to their spiritual journey, national life and development, adding Christians must never stop depending on God for  their survival.

  • Call your supporters to order – Sammy Awuku charges NPP flagbearer hopefuls

    The National Youth Organiser of the New Patriotic Party, Samuel Awuku, has appealed to the party’s flag bearer hopefuls to call their supporters to order.

    Speaking during a panel discussion on Peace FM’s morning show program, Mr Samuel Awuku said he was worried about the activities of the aspirants and said the party would not allow anyone to make their work difficult.

    Commenting on some remarks being made by groups and individuals rooting for some flag bearer hopefuls of his party on social media ,he said: “The aspirants should be mindful of the fact that whatever they say against each other will be used against them by the ruling National Democratic Congress because they also did the same thing to them”.

    He refused to mention exactly what has been said by some of these supporters.

    He added: “We suffered problems when about 17 people contested in the past; at the end of the day, we had to heal many wounds. It is not illegal to go beyond five, but I personally think that with our current situation; it will be better that we don’t get a lot of people contesting. However if that happens then….”

    So far, NPP would-be presidential aspirants include two-time presidential candidate Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, twice flag bearer hopeful Alan Kwadwo Kyeramaten, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku and Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

    Others are Mr Stephen Asamoah Boateng, a former minister of state, Mr Kofi Osei Ameyaw, MP for Asuogyaman, and Mr Isaac Osei, MP for Subin.

    Other names that are also emerging are: Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Attorney General in the Kufuor era, Mr Joe Ghartey, Mr Francis Addai Nimoh, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Mampong among others.

    I would have wished that only five candidates contest.

     

  • Political parties call for emergency meeting to discuss June voter registration

    The General Secretaries of various political parties in the country have demanded an emergency Inter-Party Advisory Committee (IPAC) meeting ahead of the Electoral Commission (EC) voter registration next month.

    The political parties said they needed to discuss issues and terms before the exercise commences.

    The registration is expected to start on Friday, June 20th, 2014 to Sunday June 29th, 2014. It is intended to register those who have attained the voting age of 18 years since the last registration in 2012, and those who were above 18 years but who could not register as voters during the last registration exercise.

    IPAC is made up of representatives of all registered political parties and the EC.

    Although the EC is yet to respond to the request by the political parties, the CPP General Secretary Ivor Greenstreet said he is hopeful the Commission will heed their call.

    Source: MyJoyOnline

  • Brazil, Argentina Final: Goldman Sachs predicts

    Rivals Brazil and Argentina are set to meet in the World Cup final in July, with the host country winning the title for a record sixth time, US investment bank Goldman Sachs has predicted in a report.

    Goldman sees a 48.5 per cent probability that Brazil will win the 13 July final, with Argentina and Germany the next most likely teams to succeed with a 14.1 per cent and 11.4 per cent chance respectively.

    The predictions were based on a statistical model that analysed about 14, 000 competitive international matches since 1960.

    “Of course, it is hardly surprising that the most successful team in football history is favoured to win a World Cup at home,” the Goldman report, written by Chief Economist Jan Hatzius, Sven Jari Stehn and Donnie Millar, stated.

    “But the extent of the Brazilian advantage in our model is nevertheless striking.”

    South American teams have won all four previous World Cup tournaments held on the continent.

    Goldman’s predicted a 3-1 victory for Brazil would add to the decades of rivalry with neighbouring Argentina, who have won the World Cup twice previously.

    Brazil are predicted to reach the final after overcoming the Netherlands, Uruguay and Germany in each of the knockout phases, while Argentina is forecast to beat Ecuador, Portugal and Spain.

    However, Goldman’s model is not foolproof.

    Using data ahead of the 2010 World Cup, it had predicted Brazil, with a 26.6 per cent chance, would win in South Africa. They crashed out in the quarter finals.

    Andres Iniesta’s extra-time goal gave Vicente del Bosque’s side a 1-0 victory over the Netherlands in the final and their first World Cup title.

    Source: Reuters.

  • Campaign promises on 200 SHS: Parliament’s Committee to grill Minister

    Finance Minister Seth Tekper will appear before Parliament’s Committee on Government Assurances to answer questions on promises to build 200 senior high schools across the country.

    The Committee intends to start the public hearing to track promises made by ministers of state.  In his 2014 budget statemetPresident Mahama in the 2014 budget promised to construct the schools in fulfillment of his 2012 campaign promise to Ghanaians.

    The Chairman of the Committee, Emmanuel Bedzrah, told Joy FM’s parliamentary correspondent Elton Brobbey that the Finance Minister will also disclose how much he has collected from the 10 per cent pay cut undertaken by the president and ministers of state towards the construction of more CHPS compounds.

    The Minister was initially scheduled to meet the parliamentarians on May 28 but he informed the Committee that he was out of town compelling them to postpone the meeting.

    Mr. Bedzra said the Committee will meet after Parliament reconvenes on June 3 to set another date.

    Source: myjoyonline.com

  • Alan Kyeremanteng’s special aide denies GAKE’s statement discouraging Akufo-Addo from running for the third time

    Nana Yaw Adutwum, special aide to Alan Kojo Kyeremanteng, has distanced himself from statements made by “Get Alan Kyeremanteng Elected” (GAKE), a group championing for the election of Kyeremanteng as the 2016 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party.

    A statement, which was issued and signed by Katakyei Kwame Opoku Agyemang, national coordinator of the Alan Kyeremanteng campaign group and featured in The Statesman newspaper said: “If Akufo-Addo wins like Mills he would die like Mills”.

    The statement added: “GAKE contends that ever since Nana Akufo-Addo, the 2008 presidential candidate of the NPP lost two successive elections, series of blame have been levelled against prominent people and institutions in the country for no justification.

    “For after blaming everybody – Afari Gyan, Mahama, Kufour, Alan , Supreme Court, Polling Agents, except himself, Akufo-Addo and his supporters are now saying that Prof. Mills won the presidency on his third attempt – 2000, 2004 and 2008, so the NPP delegates should allow him a third time chance as NPP’s flag bearer.”

    In an interview with Kessben FM’s morning show host, Omanhene Yaw Adu Boakye, Mr Adutwum says no one has yet been appointed officially to communicate for Alan’s campaign team, and that he finds it a bit difficult to believe a group would come out in public with such statements. He says though he believes in intra-party politics, people with the love for Alan should not come up with statements that could cause stir in the party.

    Finally, he called on party members to be circumspect and put the party first so they could move forward as one people.

  • Hundreds of casual workers to be laid off – MoH

    An estimated 300 casual workers in public hospitals and health centres across the country are to be laid off, following a directive from the Ministry of Health (MoH).

    A letter dated April 14, 2014 and signed by the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, is said to have directed the management of public hospitals and health centres throughout the country to outsource some services and use nurses already on the government’s payroll, to fill healthcare roles.

    The letter was copied to the Chief Director of the Ministry of Health, the Director-General of the Ghana Health Services (GHS) and the Directors of Human Resources for the Ministry’s Health Directorate and the GHS.

    The letter has also been distributed to all regional directors of health services, all chief executive officers of the teaching hospitals and the medical directors of the psychiatric hospitals.

    Even though the total number of workers to be affected is unknown, at least 300 of them work in the nine health facilities in the Accra metropolis.

    The directive follows recent efforts by some of the casual workers, who have been employed for between four and 12 years, to get their employment status regularised.

    The letter said the move to lay off the casual workers was “to ensure continuity of quality care provision”. It added that some staffing, including labourers, security guards and cleaners could be outsourced “in line with the laid down procurement procedure”. Hospitals will need to seek approval from the minister before engaging companies to provide these services.

    Health assistants would have their employment terminated after paying them their three-month salaries. Nurses trained at public health training institutions who were already on the payroll would fill existing healthcare gaps.

  • Make clearing of the nation’s filth your priority not free SHS – Deputy minority leader challenges Gov’t

    Deputy Minority Leader Dominic Nitiwul has said the president should clear the nation of filth, rather than making the Free Senior High School (SHS) Policy his priority.

    He said Ghana has serious sanitation problems which need much attention that should attract government’s commitment instead of looking for money to provide freebies to schools to score political points.

    “Every part of Ghana is engulfed in filth six years after the NDC government promised to clear the country of filth within 100 days,” Mr Nitiwul said. “Government must prioritize its activities. Government must stop looking for money to be able to do free education, when you don’t have money to even clear the filth.”.

    Mr Nitiwul added: “Government must stop giving more promises that we are going to give free shoes to school children when you don’t have money to clear the filth.

    “That you promised to clear the filth you have not been able to clear, and what government is doing is that ‘well we are going to look for votes so we will give free education, free shoes etc’.”

    The capital, Accra, and other cities across the country are facing serious waste management problems due to government’s inability to pay waste collectors and lack of adequate landfill sites.

    Mr. Nitiwul warned of a possible outbreak of disease if sanitation issues are not well managed and called for a change of attitude among residents.

  • Big Brother Africa 9 audition dates to be finalised in June

    Audition dates for Big Brother Africa Season 9 are to be finalised in June. Contestants from Ghana will once again be able to apply to participate.

    Entry is open to 14 countries: Botswana, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. This year, newcomers Rwanda replace Angola as a participating country.

    Africa’s biggest reality show hits the screens on 6 September 2014, drawing the some of the continent’s most weird and wonderful personalities.

    As always, Big Brother is expected to change the fortunes of its contestants. Previous housemates have gone on to lucrative showbiz and entertainment careers and achieved celebrity status.

    Entry is open to over-21s who are citizens of one of the participating countries. Entrants must have a valid passport and be fluent in English. Producers are also looking for characters who are entertaining and who can captivate the interest of millions of Big Brother viewers across the continent and beyond.

    More details will be made available over the next month on DStv, via Twitter and Facebook and on the Big Brother website, www.africamagic.tv/bigbrother.

  • ‘We know where kidnapped girls are, but rescue would be too dangerous’, Nigerian military claims

    The Nigerian military say they know where the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram are, but they will not attempt a rescue as it could put the girls’ lives at risk.

    Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff said this was “good news for the parents”.

    Reports say that a deal to release some of the girls was about to be finalised, when it was called off by the government. The deal was allegedly to free some of the girls in exchange for the release of 100 Boko Haram members being held by government.

    But the government cancelled the planned agreement shortly before the swap was due to take place. It is thought that a meeting in Paris where Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan and other leadersagreed a global and regional action plan against Boko Haram may have influenced the decision to call off the deal.

    The 200 girls, who were mainly Christian, were taken from their school in Chibok, in north-eastern Borno state in April and are thought to be held in a remote forested area of the state, close to the border with Chad and Cameroon.

    The UK, the US, China and France are among the countries have sent teams of experts and equipment to help to locate them.

  • Ebola virus spreads to Sierra Leone from Guinea – West African death toll now nearly 300

    Five people in Sierra Leone have died so far after contracting the deadly Ebola virus, the World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed.

    The virus is thought to have spread from a remote area in the southeast of Guinea to the capital, Conakry, as well as to neighbouring Liberia and now to Sierra Leone. A total of 258 clinical cases have been recorded in Guinea since the outbreak in February this year. These include 174 deaths – 95 confirmed, 57 probable and 57 suspected, according to WHO. A further 11 people have died in Liberia from the deadly virus.

    “Preliminary information received from the field indicates that one laboratory-confirmed case and five community deaths have been reported from Koindu chiefdom,” the  (WHO) stated on its website.

    The WHO has deployed six international experts to the area with essential supplies and reagents.

    Ebola has been more commonly found in Central Africa including Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon, and in Uganda and South Sudan, however the latest research shows that it was not introduced from this region, indicating a new strain of the virus.

    Symptoms include fever, headache, and joint and muscle pain, followed by diarrhoea and vomiting, and eventually rashes and internal and external bleeding.

    There is no cure or vaccine for Ebola. The infection is transmitted by direct contact with the blood, body fluids and tissues of infected animals or people.

  • LG and Somotex launch world’s first OLED TV

    LG Electronics and Somotex, both global leaders and technology innovators in consumer electronics, have launched the world’s first largest and slimmest curved OLED (organic light-emitting diode) TV into the Ghanaian market.

    With the World Cup just weeks away, the launch of the 55-inch OLED TV marks a new era in home entertainment with its curved screen which combines the company’s industry-leading Cinema 3D technology with smart TV capabilities.

    The new OLED TV follows the introduction of the world’s first 84-inch Ultra HD TV in 2012 and compliments the LG core OLED TV family’s unique design.

    Only 4.3mm thick and weighing just 17 kg, the Curved Oled TV  also features a transparent crystal stand and forward-facing speakers aimed at delivering flawless audio with remarkable fidelity in the mid to high frequency ranges.

    Technically, the response speed of the LG OLED TV is over 100 times faster than LED TV, allowing fast-moving scenes to be completely blur-free and for crystal clear pictures.

    “With more than five years of research dedicated to develop the optimum curvature, the entire screen surface is equidistant from the viewer’s eyes eliminating the problem of screen-edge visual distortion and loss of detail,” Pallav Rastogi, senior manager at Somotex, said at the launch of the product in Accra.

  • Government to distribute free fertilizer to cocoa farmers to boost crop yields – Cocobod

    Ghana will begin the free distribution of fertilizer to cocoa farmers this year in a renewed effort by the world’s second largest exporter to boost crop yields, industry regulator Cocobod said on Thursday.

    Cocobod Chief Executive Stephen Opuni said the government had ordered $200 million worth of farming inputs, mainly in the form of chemicals and fertilisers. He said the government and Cocobod were financing the programme. Ghana produces an average of 800,000 tonnes of cocoa a year. In the past, it has subsidized inputs including fertilisers.

    “It (fertiliser) used to be subsidised and sold to farmers but for the first time they will have it for free,” Opuni told a meeting of leading members of the World Cocoa Foundation, adding that an initial consignment had already been sent to growers.

    The Foundation members, comprising senior executives from 12 of the world’s top chocolate and cocoa companies, signed an agreement with Cocobod to support initiatives aimed at cocoa sustainability in Ghana.

    Cocobod plans to raise the price at which it buys from farmers at the start of the 2014/15 crop year in October, he said, without giving details of the price.

    Source: Reuters

  • Coach Kwesi Appiah gets two-year contract extension

    Ghana’s national football coach Kwesi Appiah has received a two-year extension on his contract, which will take him to July 2016.

    The Ghana Football Association agreed the contract extension with the 53-year-old coach, who will be the first Ghanaian coach to lead the national team at a World Cup.

    GFA president Kwesi Nyantekyie said: “By agreeing the deal we are demonstrating our faith in Appiah beyond the World Cup. We are saying that we believe Appiah is the right man to take us forward.”

    Appiah, a former Black Stars captain, was appointed in April 2012 and tasked with winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and qualifying the side for the 2014 World Cup.

    While Ghana fell at the semi-final stage in South Africa, the side recovered to reach this summer’s tournament in Brazil with victories over Zambia and Egypt.

    The Black Stars and their coach have a formidable task in the first stage of the Cup, taking on opponents such as Germany, Portugal and United States in Group G.

    Source: BBC Sport

  • Internet has changed Africa – World Wide Web celebrates 25th anniversary

    The internet has changed Africa and is creating jobs that never existed, the honorary chair of the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Mr Bitange Ndemo has said.

    As the web celebrates its 25th year has Africa really benefitted from its existence?

    Mr Ndemo thinks the answer is an emphatic ‘yes’. “It has deepened financial services in the continent beyond the imaginations of many people globally. Africa is talking its way into productivity with services now closer to citizens. Farmers are getting value out of their produce as they receive pricing information on their mobile phones. Governments in Africa are also gearing up to use the mobile platforms to offer government services.”

    He added: “The mobile internet is delivering many more services to the people than was envisaged just a few years ago. Young people are leveraging broadband to innovate. Less than 10 years ago, you would not have found the words “Africa” and “innovation” in the same sentence, but now new applications have changed this and Africa is truly making major contributions globally.”

    Social media has also been instrumental to creating accountability by government and mobilising for social change.

    The recent McKinsey report, “Lions go Digital: The Internet’s Transformative Potential in Africa” estimates that in the next 10 years, the internet will contribute as much as $300-billion in gross domestic product and a similar amount in productivity gains. E-commerce will grow to more than $75-billion.

    Mr Ndemo pointed out that challenges still remain. Most rural places still do not have access to the internet, and infrastructure and affordability are challenges. Its impact may also be hindered by over-regulation by governments and cyber security remains a global worry.

  • South Africa’s Jacob Zuma sworn in for second term

    President Jacob Zuma has been sworn into office for a second term, after his party, the African National Congress (ANC), swept to victory in the general election on May 7.

    Heads of state attending the colourful swearing-in ceremony, included Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, Nigeria’s Goodluck Jonathan, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

    Both the US and the UK were not be represented.

    Mr Zuma faces the uphill task of stimulating South Africa’s economy – almost a quarter of all South Africans are unemployed.

  • ICC hands Congo ex-milita leader 12-year prison sentence

    A former Congolese militia leader known to his supporters as Simba or “the lion” has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for his involvement in war crimes by the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

    Germain Katanga was implicated in the 2003 massacre of hundreds of villagers in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo, This sparked tribal conflict, resulting in the deaths of around 50,000 people.

    In a statement read out to the court in The Hague, presiding Judge Bruno Cotte said that the more than six years the 36-year-old former militia leader had spent in ICC custody would be taken into account.

    “The scars of the fighting that occurred that day are still be seen today,” Judge Cotte said.

    Katanga was found to have procured the weapons – including guns and machetes – used to kill more than 200 of the villagers, but he was acquitted of direct involvement.

    He was convictedof being an accessory to one crime against humanity (murder) and four war crimes (murder, attacking a civilian population, destruction of property and pillaging). Katanga was acquitted of one crime against humanity (sexual slavery) and three counts of war crimes (using child soldiers, sexual slavery, rape).

  • Real chasing 10th Champions League trophy

    Cristiano Ronaldo is hoping to crown the season, which has brought a record UEFA Champions League goals tally and the FIFA Ballon d’Or, with a Champion’s League trophy for Real Madrid.

    “It is a moment that all Madridistas are dreaming about – the ‘décima’,” said Cristiano Ronaldo, with anticipation reaching fever pitch in the Spanish capital ahead of the UEFA Champions League final. “We are all very excited, so we have to win.”

    The Portuguese forward has a scored a record 16 goals in the competition this season and collected the FIFA Ballon d’Or. The icing on the cake would be a win in Lisbon.

    “It will be a special game. I will be playing in my home country,” said the 29-year-old. “It is my first final with Real Madrid, so that will be special too and it will be against a great team, Atlético. They have had an amazing year. But we are going to try and win.”

    With Real chasing an elusive tenth title, Ronaldo knows history can be written at the Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica. “It is a trophy we have been looking to win for many years. Real Madrid have wanted it for a long time. Since the first day we came here, we’ve felt that positive pressure to win the Champions League. We feel like we are now one small step away from winning.”

    Source: UEFA.com

  • Erratic power supply threatens livelihoods in Ashanti Region and countrywide

    The continuous erratic power supply is stalling businesses at Suame Magazine in the Ashanti Region, causing many traders to close early.

    Mr Kwesi Adjei, a car spare parts and electricals trader, said: “Most of our work depends on electricity. The current power outages are making it very difficult to do business, and as a result we are losing most of our customers.”

    In an interview with Kessben Television, some business men described as appalling the rate at which the lights go on and off and have appealed to the government to do something about it urgently.

    Meanwhile, the government has assured the nation that very soon the power outages will be a thing of the past.

  • Energy minister battles alleged forged signature

    The Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has maintained that his signature was forged to secure an oil block for Miura Petroleum and Gondwana Oil Corporation.

    The culprit is allegedly one Charles Andoh a 35-year old, a former staff member of Miura Petroleum Limited, who is currently on the run after being granted bail.

    According to the Minister, Charles Andoh had admitted to the forgery, but Miura Petroleum has denied having employed anyone by the name of Charles Andoh.

    The Energy Minister revealed that his attention was drawn to the forged document when he realised that although the Ministry started dealing with Miura Petroleum in December 2013, the company had come up with documents which were dated 0ctober 2013.

    The inconsistencies led to the matter being investigated by the Economic and Organized Crime Office (EOCO).

    Meanwhile, an Accra Circuit Court has begun hearing the case in the accused’s absence.

    The court has ordered his surety, Tonya Abela, and another to produce the accused before May 28.

  • Ayew savours first career title

    Midfielder Rahim Ayew is savouring his first-ever title triumph having helped Asante Kotoko retain their Premier League title.

    The 26-year-old will be receiving his first medal in his professional career when Kotoko are crowned league champions for the 23rd time after building an unassailable lead at the summit of the Ghanaian signed for Kotoko last year but was only able to play for the side in the second half of the season.

    The oldest son of Ghana legend Abedi Pele is delighted to have played a role in helping the Kumasi-based club in the defence of their Premier League title.  “This is special for me personally because this is my first ever title,” he told GHANAsoccernet.com.

    “I am happy I was able to play a part in the team’s success in the second half of the season. Some had doubts about my coming here but I have been able to prove myself, playing in various positions just to help the club. And now we are the champions and it is such a special feeling…”.

  • Ghana has squad quality for World Cup – Essien

    Michael Essien says the current Black Stars squad possesses quality and is the best the nation can take to the World Cup.

    The AC Milan player named in Ghana’s  preliminary squad could be making his second appearance at the World Cup if selected for the final 23.

    The 31-year-old is one of the few experienced heads in the Ghana team that will be expected to play an integral role in the Black Stars’ third appearance at the Mundial.

    “The squad for this tournament is the best Ghana has to offer, and the quality in depth is extremely good, especially in midfield. We have multiple options in most positions which is always a plus for any side,” Essien told fifa.com.

    Essien, who played in Ghana’s debut World Cup in 2006 in Germany admits the national team has been on the rise over the last decade.

    “I think we have done well for a nation that made its debut on the world stage in 2006. We did okay in our first outing and went one further in South Africa, and that says a lot about the players and the nation as a whole. Our desire to do well spurred us on in both World Cups, and I think it is fair to say we have done better than some of the nations who have been to three or more World Cups.

    “Germany 2006 was very good, and we had a great time throughout the tournament. We were a young, talented group with no World Cup experience and in some way that helped us because we were fearless and had nothing to lose. Throughout the qualifiers we played very well and bonded as a team, as brothers. When we got to Germany we were ready to deliver and we did our best. I am proud to be one of the first players to be at Ghana’s first World Cup.”

    Placed in a tough Group G with Germany, Portugal and USA, the Black Stars are aware of the high stakes in reaching the second round.

    “Our initial aim will be to get out of the group into the second round, and then take it from there game by game. Who knows? We are certainly capable of going one better and making it to the semi-finals or even finals. Anything can happen, but we are realistic enough to know we cannot aim that high from the start. Get the first objective of making the second round out of the way, and we will see how far we can go. It will be a journey without doubt, one we are looking forward to,” said Essien.

  • CR7 recovers, Pepe and Benzema still in doubt

    La decima campaigners Real Madrid finished their training session before travelling to Lisbon this afternoon.

    Cristiano Ronaldo’s recovery continues to go well, as he seeks to be fully fit for Saturday’s champions league final showdown with their city rivals Atletico Madrid.

    However, the good news for Carlo Ancelotti about the Portuguese captain’s availability wasn’t accompanied by similar information about Pepe and Karim Benzema, who continue to be a cause for concern.

    The coach is beginning to face the prospect of having to do without the central defender, with Raphael Varane starting in Lisbon. He hopeful, however, that Benzema will be ready in time.

    At the last training session at the club training ground, the Valdebebas, Pepe and Benzema were in the hands of physiotherapists.

     

     

     

  • Expectant mothers urged to take advantage of free maternal health

    The Director of Family Health at the Ghana Health Service (GHS), Dr Patrick Aboagye, has advised expectant mothers to take advantage of free services available before and after the birth of their child.

    The free maternal healthcare policy gives pregnant women free access to services including antenatal visits, ultrasound scans, postnatal visits, delivery and care for the first three months of the baby’s life.

    He added that expectant mothers were not expected to pay premiums for registering with the scheme, which is covered under the National Health Insurance Scheme.

    His advice follows the release of 12 recently delivered mothers detained at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital for failing to settle medical bills amounting to over GHc12,000. They were discharged following a directive from the Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey.

    The Ministry’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) Mr Tony Goodman, said the decision had been taken to help decongest the maternity ward of the hospital and make room for expectant mothers.

    Although MOH will absorb the costs, which are expected to eventually be recovered from NHIS, Mr Goodman hinted that discharging the women free of charge was not sustainable, but had been carried out in line with commitments to lower the country’s maternal and infant death rates.

    Ghana is expected to reduce its maternal mortality rate, which stands at an estimated 350 deaths per 100,000 live births, by 75% by 2015 in order to meet Millennium Development Goal (MDG) five, aimed at reducing maternal deaths.

  • ‘Ghana Meets Naija’ to show UCL match

    Organisers of ‘Ghana meets Naija’ have thrown in another sweetener for concert-goers by offering to screen the finals of the UEFA Champions League.

    The match is between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, both of which have a huge following.

    In addition to the football experience, VVIP and VIP ticket-holders stand a chance of winning a trip to the Brazil 2014 World Cup, sponsored by Unibank, or a beach-front property at Prampram, courtesy of MegaLife Investments.

    An impressive line-up of musicians is billed for the 4th edition of the friendly sing-off, which takes place this Saturday, May 24. Sarkodie, Shatta Wale, Castro, Guru, AK Songstress, Davido, Kcee, Wizboyy and Selebobo are among those performing at the event at the Accra International Conference Centre.

  • Facebook to introduce video adverts

    Facebook is to roll out video adverts which play without sound unless clicked on.

    The social network initially trialled the features in the US and are set to activate the feature in the UK within weeks.

    The latest move is expected to attract even more advertising revenue, which has seen a significant rise in the past 12 months.

    The company said on Wednesday that it would be introducing the ads with a “limited group of advertisers” in the selected countries, including the UK, Australia and France.

    Premium Video Ads will also be rolled out in Brazil, Canada, Germany and Japan. But Facebook did not reveal the companies that would be advertising.

    “We’ll roll out Premium Video Ads slowly and monitor how people interact with them,” said Facebook in a statement.

    “This limited introduction allows us to concentrate our efforts on a smaller number of advertisers with high-quality campaigns.”

    Each video advert will be 15 seconds long .The ads will stop playing if users scroll past them. But, if people tap or click on the video, it will expand into a full-screen view and sound will start.

    Facebook’s raised over $2 billion from advertising in the first quarter of 2014, an 82% increase on the same quarter last year.

  • Malawi polls marred by ‘serious irregularities’ – Prez alleges

    Malawi’s President Joyce Banda has called for a manual audit of election results, alleging “serious irregularities”, including vote-rigging and computer-hacking.

    In a statement about the elections, Mrs Banda said irregularities included:

    • The arrest of presiding officers who were “caught in the act of rigging
    • Some people voting up to three times
    • Serious anomalies” where some candidates won more votes than the number of registered voters
    • Discarded and tampered ballots
    • Communication devices of some monitors being blocked.

    Mrs Banda also accused an unnamed party of hacking into the Malawi Electoral Commission’s (MEC) counting system. However, MEC chairman Maxon Mbendera denied this, saying the system had crashed.

    “Our electronic counting system has crashed, yes, and last night we migrated to our Plan B – manual counting of the results, so I wonder why the People’s Party [of Mrs Banda] is complaining since we have not announced any results yet,” Mr Mbendera said.

    The incumbent is up against three main contenders, including ex-Foreign Minister Peter Mutharika, brother of former President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died in office in April 2012.

    Voting continues at polling centres in Blantyre and Lilongwe two days after election day, due to the late arrival of polling material.

  • Fake textile imports risk to local industry

    Fake textile imports have brought the local textile industry to the verge of collapse, Northern Regional Minister Alhaji Mohammed Limuna Muniru has said.

    Mr Muniru pointed out that up to 40% of imported textiles were not genuine and said the seizure of fake textile imports is not enough of a deterrent to rid the market of fake goods, as the pirates almost always contrive to bring into the country more fake materials even when their goods have been impounded before.

    “There should be stiffer punishments for importers and manufactures who have been contributing to collapse of the local industry for their selfish gains.

    “Because those apprehended are not punished enough - only get their goods are seized - they continue to seek funds from other places to import more. If they are really punished it would deter the recalcitrant importers from bringing pirated materials into the country,” he said.

    The Northern Regional Minister was speaking at a Tamale workshop for textile dealers. He explained that the over-reliance of consumers on imported textiles frustrated the government’s efforts to promote made-in-Ghana goods as a way of sustaining the production capacity and profitability of domestic textile manufacturers.

    “This is a worry to government, as a number of companies in the textile and garment sub- sector are closing down and laying-off their staff,” he said.

    Local textile manufacturers consider fake textiles the biggest challenge to their business, as the price of the imported products makes it uncompetitive for local firms.

    There are now 3,000 jobs in the textile industry — down from about 30,000 a few years ago. Over the years, attempts to minimise pirated textiles on the market have not been entirely successful.

    Last year, the Joint Anti-Piracy Taskforce set up by government to inspect pirated textiles suspended its work on the orders of President John Dramani Mahama following complaints of harassment from market traders.

    Some textile workers groups have called for an outright ban on the importation of textiles into the country as a protectionist measure.

    However, Alhaji Muniru explained that ECOWAS protocol on trade forbids member-countries from imposing an absolute ban on the import of competitive goods and services.

    He said revamping of the cotton industry in the Garu-Tempane District in the Upper West Region will be a boost to the local textile industry and create jobs for many others.

    “The potential of the cotton industry contributing to the manufacturing sector is high, which will promote the textile industry and create jobs in the country,” he said.

    The Chairman of the Tax Force on Seizure and Disposal of Pirated Ghanaian Textile Designs, Appiah Donyina, said members of the Task Force — with assistance from the security agencies, will intensify operations and track traders who stock and sell pirated goods.

    An official of the Ghana Standards Authority, Eugene Adarkwa Addai, expressed regret at traders’ desire to continuously import counterfeit textiles into the country and emboss them with imitated Ghanaian logos to make them look like made in Ghana textiles.

    He described such activities as not only criminal but dangerous to the health of consumers, as most the chemicals used to treat such fake textiles can cause harm to users.

    He appealed to textile manufactures to ensure that their products are brought before the Vetting Committee on the Importation of African Textile Print for certification before allowing them onto the market.

  • Balotelli subjected to racist chants at Italy base

    Police intervened after Mario Balotelli was subjected to racist chants at Italy’s World Cup training base on Wednesday.

    A group of youngsters outside the Coverciano complex were responsible for the chants, and Balotelli appeared visibly disturbed.

    The training session was open to media, and Balotelli could be heard by reporters saying as he ran, “Only in Rome and Florence are they that stupid.”

    While most of the fans cheered for Balotelli, police approached the area where the chants came from and they quickly ended.
    Balotelli was born in Sicily to Ghanaian immigrants and brought up by an Italian foster family. He has faced racist chants throughout his professional career.

    “It’s unbelievable that in 2014 we still have this form of racism,” Balotelli’s fellow forward, Ciro Immobile, said. “It’s not great for the nation. We represent Italy.”

    Immobile, from the Naples area, noted how insulting anti-Naples chants have pervaded Serie A stadiums recently.

    “When I hear that it saddens me, because I have a lot of pride in my city,” Immobile said.

    Balotelli was also the focus of much speculation on racist abuse before the 2012 European Championship, and UEFA placed spotters inside stadiums, resulting in fan misdemeanours by Spain and Croatia being sanctioned.

    FIFA claims it will have zero tolerance for racism at the World Cup but has not announced plans yet on how it will control such behaviour inside stadiums.

  • Smuggled cocoa from Ghana intercepted near border with Cote d’Ivoire

    More than 130 bags of cocoa beans have been intercepted by an anti-smuggling task force at two different places near the border with Cote d’Ivoire in the Aowin District in the Western Region.

    The a task force, put together by the Aowin District Assembly and the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD), is to deal with the alleged increase in cocoa smuggling to neighbouring countries because of higher prices the commodity can fetch in those countries.

    District task force member, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mr Ebenezer Anim Ofori said the team seized 60 bags of cocoa on the Adonikrom-Motoso road leading to Cote d’Ivoire.

    Andrews Adjei, a cocoa purchasing clerk said to be an employee of the Produce Buying Company (PBC), was driving the truck carrying the cocoa beans when he was arrested.

    Mr Ofori said the task force intercepted another 72 bags of cocoa at Boinso also bound for Cote d’Ivoire.

    He said the driver and his assistant escaped arrest and abandoned the vehicle.

    The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Aowin who led the operations, Mr Oscar Ofori Larbi, said the task force were determined to deal with cocoa smuggling to neighbouring Cote d’Ivoire.

    He gave the assurance that the task force would collaborate with other districts that shared borders with Cote d’Ivoire to make smuggling unattractive to smugglers.

  • Fund research to address food insecurity in the sub-region, crop improvement don urges

    ECOWAS countries should invest in research funding to address the issue of food security, the Director of the West Africa Centre for Crop Improvement (WACCI), University of Ghana, Professor Eric Y. Danquah, has urged.

    The don said the sub-region needs scientists focussed on national breeding programmes, and that the private sector in their home countries needs to develop improved varieties of staple crops needed for food security, sustainability and economic development.

    Prof Danquah made the appeal during a presentation at the World Bank’s Africa Centres of Excellence (ACE) project meeting in Abuja, Nigeria, which brought together over 100 eminent academics and researchers from the sub-region.

    Food security is a major challenge in West and Central Africa, due to a number of constraints resulting in low breeding capacity, low productivity, and a mix of factors, including high population growth rates, deteriorating soils, land grabs, water scarcity and climate change, which are putting pressure on global food supply systems.

    The WACCI Director said that food insecurity is a chronic problem that is likely to worsen in the coming decades.

    He added that there were limited human resources with the skills and expertise to develop the improved varieties urgently needed in farmers’ fields. As a result, the majority of farmers rely on their own varieties, which are low yielding and susceptible to a-biotic and biotic stresses.

    Prof Danquah said WACCI was established to address the shortage of plant breeders in the sub-region, with initial funding from the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, at the University of Ghana, to train plant breeders at PhD level with the aim of improving the sub-region’s indigenous crops.

    He said plant breeding is widely recognised as a means for increasing agricultural productivity by improving genetic make-up.

    Source: GNA Special Correspondent in Abuja

  • Entrepreneurship is the way forward for Ghana – US Secretary of Commerce

    The United States Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker, has commended the Government’s decision to redesign the National Service Scheme in a manner that will re-orient new graduates in the direction of entrepreneurship.

    She has also lauded Government’s efforts to encourage start-ups through small seed investments, saying that the initiative is important to Ghana’s economic success.

    The Secretary of Commerce made these remarks on Monday when she led a delegation of American companies focused on the energy sector to pay a courtesy call on President John Dramani Mahama at the Flagstaff House in Accra.

    A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Accra signed by Jeanne L. Clark, Information Officer, said the 20 firms on the Commerce Secretary’s entourage were genuinely committed to finding the partners needed to re-energize Ghana’s developments in the energy sector.

    “Together we can power Ghana and help alleviate one of the key constraints here to economic growth”, Madam Pritzker said.

    She paid tribute to the strong bond of friendship between Ghana and the United States, and said the two nations shared a commitment to democratic values, which formed the basis for cooperation on a range of issues that will promote economic growth for Ghana and its people.

    “Our commitment to Ghana and the entire continent is also demonstrated by the work of our Department’s Commercial Service, which is expanding its footprint in Africa. We have just announced that we will grow our services and personnel in Ghana, and more than double our presence in Africa as a whole in the coming months.”

    “Another value our nations share is a mutual focus on spurring a culture of entrepreneurship. We jointly recognize that small and medium-sized businesses are the backbone our respective economies,” she further stated.

    The Commerce Secretary expressed the hope that the visit by her delegation would send a clear signal that the United States is committed to a positive future for Ghana, which is a critical and strategic market for American businesses.

    She encouraged more Ghanaian businesses to work together with the United States and with the companies that were part of her delegation.

    She also expressed her preparedness to partner with the Government of Ghana in its efforts to address the impediments to trade and investment “and turn it into a productive business relationship.”  Ghana is the United States fourth largest export market in Sub-Saharan Africa.

    U.S. foreign direct investment amounted to $3.6 billion dollars in 2012, with Ghana attracting a growing list of U.S. firms including CMS Energy, Coca Cola, Motorola, Cargill, and Newmont Mining, among others.

    Source: GNA

  • Kotoko win 23rd Premier League title

    Asante Kotoko have won the Premier League title for the third time after beating New Edubiase 2-1 on Wednesday.

    The victory at the Gyamfi Park hands the Porcupine Warriors their 23rd title success in Ghana’s elite competition as they are the champions of the First Capital Plus Premier League. Needing three points to lift the title, the celebration and chanting started well before the final whistle as Seidu Bancey opened the scoring in the 41st minute.

    And on the stroke of halftime, Prince Baffoe doubled their advantage to give Didi Dramani, who will celebrate his second consecutive title at the helm a great opening half. After the break, Edubiase, struggling to beat the drop mounted the pressure to draw a goal back.

    Their efforts earned them a penalty in the 82nd minute but former Kotoko striker, Stephen Manu missed from 12 yards. Despite Manu’s miss from the spot, Nti Mensah scored what could only be a consolation for Edubiase in the closing stages.

    The league title looked destined for Kumasi but poor results seem to put their ambitions out of reach as teams below them mounted the pressure. But with two games to go now, Kotoko will celebrate the title ahead of their ‘Super Clash’ against rivals, Hearts of Oak in Kumasi. The victory hands Kotoko a return to the CAF Champions League after they were eliminated in the first round in their campaign this season.

  • Build SME’s capacity for efficiency – Government

    A three-year pilot project has been launched by government to improve the efficiency and performance of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) in the Ashanti Region.

    The project, led by National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI) with financial support from the Japanese government, involves training and improving the technical, financial and customer service skills of business operators.

    The Trade and Industry Minister, Hon. Haruna Iddrisu announced this in a speech read on his behalf at the opening ceremony of the 1st Ashanti Business and Investment Fair at the Golden Tulip Hotel in Kumasi. He urged the SMEs to take advantage of the project to strengthen and improve their operations.

    The Fair, organised by the Business and Financial Times (B&FT) in conjunction with BIA Conferences from May 15-18th, was themed: “Promoting Trade and Investment Through Effective Business Networking”. It brought together businesses from within the region to interact, network and share ideas.

    Hon. Iddrisu said his Ministry was also in the process of developing serviced industrial zones nationwide to provide a platform for businesses to grow. He reiterated government’s determination to create the right investment climate to sustain business growth and development.

    The Ashanti Regional Minister, Hon Samuel Sarpong noted that, despite its strong history of entrepreneurship, the region was not attracting business investments as expected. He cited the processing activities at Soboba, the metal fabrication and engineering at Suame magazine, wood carving at Atonsu, kente weaving at Bonwire, palm oil processing at Anwiankwanta as some of the business opportunities available for expansion in the region aside from tourism and opportunities in the service industry.

    Mr Sarpong said the region is strategically located for business, commerce, tourism and culture adding: “…the fact that it is the most populous region in the country makes it a hub for businesses of all types”. He, therefore, welcomed the organisation of such fairs to brainstorm on how to make Ashanti a preferred destination for local and foreign investors.

    Mr Sarpong said the Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA), through its Kumasi City Project, was working with the Earth Institute, under the Millennium Cities Initiative, to implement a number of activities to create a more business-friendly environment.

    These include publication of an updated investors’ guide for Kumasi, setting up of the Kumasi City Investment Promotion Unit at the KMA, establishment of an investment technical committee and the development of a dedicated website for the promotion of investment opportunities in and around the city.

    Mr Sarpong said Kumasi was positioning itself well and providing a serene atmosphere for entrepreneurs to plan and act purposefully.

    Mrs Edith Dankwa, Chief Executive Officer of the B&FT, said the Fair would help unearth investment opportunities, which abound in the region, but had largely not been explored.

  • Current presidential democratic system halting fight against corruption – MINORITY LEADER

    The Minority Leader in Parliament, Mr Osei Kyei- Mensah-Bonsu, has stated that the presidential democratic system of governance currently being practiced by Ghana is halting the fight against corruption.

    He said the continuous holding of primaries by their respective parties to change experienced Members of Parliament was also rendering Parliament weak at the end of every election with the entry of inexperienced new members.

    In his opinion, parliamentary style democracy was the best way to go since it had the tendency to help eliminate corruption compared to the current presidential democracy.

    huge expenditure that characterized presidential campaigns in Ghana had created avenues for corruption to flourish he said.

    He explained that in a Westminster style of democracy, the Prime Minister did not spend much money during the campaign season as a President would due to the relative difference in the size of the constituencies for the two heads of government.

    He disclosed this at a media interaction in Takoradi, at the launch of the rules and procedure and an electronic platform for citizens’ engagement with the Government Assurances Committee (GAC).

  • NAGRAT, CCT Stage Joint Demonstration in Kumasi over Poor Conditions of Service

    Thousands of National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Coalition of Concerned Teachers, Ghana (CCT) members have staged a joint demonstration in the Ashanti Region. The demonstration took place amidst heavy police presence.

    NAGRAT Demonstration Kumasi

    The two teachers unions are protesting poor conditions of service especially non-payment of the incremental allowance under the Single Spine Pay Policy and payment of their 3 months salary arrears. Leadership of both NAGRAT and CCT led Tuesday’s demonstration, which began at the Kumasi Children’s Park.

    The demonstrators brandished placards including: “Remit our pension contributions to GES trustees,” “Pay Teachers, Salary Arrears,” “Teachers Abrɛ”,Yentie Obiara”, “Pay teachers’ car maintenance arrears”, “Our pension, our future” and “Pay Promotion Arrears”.

    NAGRAT Demonstration - Plycards

    The two bodies are expected to present a joint petition to the Ashanti Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong, at the Regional Coordinating Council. Mr. Kofi Jumah Asuboteng received the petition in the absence of the Regional Minister. Already NAGRAT members in the Greater Accra and Brong Ahafo regions have laid down their tools.

    Meanwhile, the National President of NAGRAT, Christian Addai-Poku, has lashed out at leadership of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), saying GNAT’s posture suggests teachers in the country have no grievances. Mr. Addai-Poku said insofar as teachers have challenges in the discharge of their duties, NAGRAT will continue to fight for their cause.

     

    NAGRAT - Demonstration Plycards 1

    In an interview with Kessben Television, Mr. Addai-Poku said the union will use both a physical approach and a tactical employee approach to battle out their grievances until a consensus is reached. He added that serious demonstrations will continue if government refuses to heed their plea.

    He later appealed to their members to remain calm and resolute and expect a positive outcome from the government and their employers.

    NAGRAT Demonstration - Members Of CCT

  • Opposition mourns PV Obeng

    The New Patriotic Party (NPP) is mourning Paul Victor ‘PV’ Obeng, the veteran politician who was the chairman of the National Development Planning Commission and senior presidential advisor.

    PV Obeng reportedly collapsed at the Agape Filling Station along Spintex Road in Accra on Saturday, May 17, and died from what is suspected to be either an asthma attack or a heart attack.

    Speaking on a morning radio show, Hon Osei-Kyei Mensah Bonsu described the death of the politician PV Obeng as a big blow to the NPP party and Ghana as a whole.

    “I am shocked, because the last time I met him, he had no taint of illness. Besides he drove his own car indicating that he did not feel unwell,” Mr Bonsu said.

    “Paul Victor Obeng was a very honest and affable man who always sought other people’s opinions and promoted participation. Ghana has lost an astute personality.”

    Former Ghanaian ambassador to America and currently COCOBOD chairman, Mr Daniel Ohene Agyekum described PV Obeng’s death as a “tragedy” and a “blow to the face”.

    Speaking on Kessben FM morning show “Maakye”, Mr Agyekum said: “Paul Victor Obeng was a very noble and decent man – why did he have to die?”

  • Akunnor applauds Black Stars Farewell Match initiative

    Ex- Black Stars captain Charles Kwabena Akunnor has asked Ghanaians to embrace the upcoming Black Stars Farewell Match adding that it is a laudable idea.

    The Farewell Match will take place this Friday, May 23, at the Accra Sports Stadium is being put together by Primeval Media in collaboration with the Ghana FA, and this, according to Akunnor, deserves the needed support.

    “When I heard it for the first time, I asked myself what is this all about, because I haven’t seen anything like this before and have not heard of any country doing a thing like that,” Akunnor said.

    “I think these bunch of Black Stars players are very blessed and there is no way they can fail.”

    “But after looking at the concept and the manner in which it will help both the players and the local fans, I decided to participate. It’s a very good initiative and I want all Ghanaians to embrace it and support the departure of the Black Stars as they leave for the World Cup.

    “My colleagues and I will tell you, we talk about this all the time because nothing of that sort was ever done for us during our time with the Stars and I think these bunch of Black Stars players are very blessed and there is no way they can fail.”

    The 26-man squad will leave Ghana 24 hours after the event to Holland for an international friendly

    Source: sportscrusaderonline.com

  • Lionel Messi signs new contract

    Four-time world player of the year Lionel Messi has signed a new contract with Spanish runners-up Barcelona.

    Highest-paid footballer?

    Lionel Messi’s new deal looks set to see him eclipse Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney as the world’s highest-paid player.

    Rooney signed a new £15.6m-a-year deal in February to top the reported salaries of Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo (£14.25m) and Messi, who was thought to be earning £12.08m a year before agreeing his new deal, according to the 2013 Forbes rich list.

    Barca said Messi “repeatedly expressed his excitement” while signing the new deal at the Nou Camp on Monday.

    They have yet to release details about the length of the new deal with the 26-year-old forward, who scored 41 goals in 44 games last season.

    The Argentina international’s last deal, agreed in February last year, was due to run until 2018.

    Barca announced on Friday that the revised contract had been agreed following lengthy negotiations, during which it was reported that Messi wanted to become the best-paid player in the world.

    He signed the paperwork on Monday, less than 48 hours after the Catalan club were beaten to La Liga by Atletico Madrid.

    Sport’s top earners

    • £25.75m – American footballer Aaron Rodgers is the world’s highest paid athlete, based on wage/winnings, say Forbes.
    • £19m – The amount boxer Floyd Mayweather earned for his April fight with Marcos Maidana before pay-per-view money was added.

    Claims in the Spanish media suggest Messi, a four-time Ballon d’Or winner, will be tied to the club for a further year – until June 2019 – and will be paid €20m (£16.3m) a season, plus performance-linked bonuses.

    Ex-Newell’s Old Boys youngster Messi, who moved to Barcelona’s La Masia academy as a 13-year-old, has scored 342 goals in 406 appearances for the club since making his first-team debut in October 2004.

    During that time he has helped the club win 21 major titles, including six La Liga titles, three Champions Leagues and two Copa del Reys.

  • CR7 shares Golden Shoe with Luis Suarez

     

    Liverpool’s Luis Suarez and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are joint winners of the European Golden Shoe. This is the third time the accolade has been shared between players.

    The last time the Golden Shoe had to be shared among two winners was the 2004-2005 season, when Arsenal’s Thierry Henry and Villarreal’s Diego Forlan each netted 25 goals.

    In fact, so far, the prize has only been split twice – the first instance occurring during the 1989-1990 season when another Real Madrid star, Mexican international Hugo Sanchez, grabbed 38 goals and had to share the coveted prize with the Bulgarian Hristo Stoichov who was plying his trade in his native country.

    Despite the Uruguayan (Suarez) and Portuguese (Ronaldo) stars each firing in 31 strikes, neither was able to help his side win their respective leagues. But in the absence of a league title, they will surely be pleased to have won the much sought-after trophy.

  • Drogba leaves Galatasaray

    Now 36 years old, the Ivory Coast international announces his decision to move on from the Turkish giants

    With Galatasaray’s season now over, Didier Drogba has announced his intention to leave the Turkish club when his contract expires this summer.

    The 36-year-old moved from Shanghai Shenhua in January 2013 and helped the side to the Super League title the Turkish Super Cup the same year.

    Speaking to the club’s official TV channel, the former Chelsea icon issued a heartfelt goodbye.

    “Galatasaray will always be in my heart, I’m very proud to have represented this team.

  • Messi, Ronaldo ones to watch at World Cup

    The iconic Dutchman has nothing but praise for both La Liga stars and sees Brazil and Spain as the teams to beat at the World Cup

    Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff believes Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are arguably the two best players in the world at the moment, but feels the Argentine mainly relies on his technique, whereas the Real Madrid forward is additionally physically strong.

    Ronaldo beat his La Liga rival to the 2013 Fifa Ballon d’or after Messi had won the inaugural three editions of the prestigious individual award and Cruyff has stressed that he thoroughly enjoys watching both players when they’re at their best.

    “Messi and Ronaldo are the two most beautiful players now and with distinctive styles. One is purely technical while the other is physical as well,” Cruyff told Times of India.

    “And I like to watch both of them since this tells you clearly how different the game can be. Football is such a wonderful game because of its variations and its acceptance of every style. I like watching both at their best.”

    Cruyff then went on to discuss this summer’s World Cup and stressed that several teams have a chance at winning the tournament, although he doesn’t expect England to make much of an impact.

    “There are quite a few teams that can win the World Cup. Brazil is one of the contenders. They are the hosts and they have shown in the Confederations Cup what they can do. Yes, the pressure of expectations will be there,” Cruyff said.

    He added: “Spain has not lost their aura, although those champions are four years older now. Germany and Italy are always considered big threats since they do play well in the World Cup. Argentina with Lionel Messi and Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo are among the favourites, too. However, I don’t think England will be able to surprise.”

  • Churches Operating Businesses Must Pay Tax – Finance Minister

    Churches engaged in profit- making businesses must fulfill their tax obligations to the state or face the full rigours of the law, says Mr. Seth Terkper the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning.

    He cited profit making ventures such as schools, micro finance institutions, transportation as some of the profit making businesses that religious organisation were engaged in, and yet failed to honour their tax obligations.

    The minister made the observation, yesterday when he inaugurated Ga Presbyterian (GAP) Micro Finance Limited of the Ga Presbytery Church of Ghana in Accra.

    “Jesus Christ instructed His followers to pay tax and obey the laws of the land. So religious bodies that operate profit making businesses must respect the laws governing the country,” he said.

    Mr. Terkper said the numerous challenges such as unstable power supply, water shortages and the lack of infrastructure in schools and hospital could have keen resolved if religious organisations paid the necessary taxes due to the government.

    He said although the government acknowledged the efforts of religious institutions in national development, their contribution to government through the payment of taxes, could have improved the current status of the economy.

    He said even some religious institutions who honour their tax obligations had not been paying the appropriate amount to the state and warned that the government, through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) was developing a mechanism to deal ruthlessly with such organisations.

    “In order not to embarrass any religious organisation at the law court, I am urging all of them to fulfill their tax obligations which is a social responsibility of every citizen,” he said.

    Mr. Terkper commended the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for its continuous contribution towards the development of the country, adding that the establishment of the GAP micro finance would have a positive impact on the economy.

    “Whether Ghana is a developing or a middle income country, small and medium enterprises actually build the pillar of the economy,” he said.

    The chairperson of the presbytery, Dr Nii Noi Odorkor, noted that the establishment of the micro finance was to meet the financial needs of members of the church and the nation at large.

    He said the Presbyterian Church would continue to implement projects that would positively impact the lives of its members and the nation and urged other religious groups to emulate them.

    The board chairman of GAP Micro Finance, Mr. Joe N.B. Tetteh, said that GAP micro finance would use the Presbyterian Church of Ghana’s leverage of discipline, conviption, integrity and commitment to help its members and the public at large.

    Speaking to the Ghanaian Times, the Moderator of the Global Evangelical Church, Reverend Dr Edem Kwaku Tettey, said it is against the doctrine for religious organisation to ignore tax.

    He quoted Roman’s Chapter 13 to back his assertion, adding that “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority that God has not established. The authorities^that exist have been established by God”.

    He explained that the above quotation, encourages religious group to pay tax to authorities who give their full time in governing the country stressing that “ the Bible continue to say that give everyone what you owe him if you owe taxes, pay taxes if revenue, then revenue, if respect then respect, if honour then honour”.

  • Diesel Price Goes Down By 3.94%

    The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has revised downwards the price of diesel price effective today, April 16, 2014.

    The NPA in compliance with the automatic adjustment formula, revised petroleum prices, which saw all prices remain the same, except diesel which dropped by 3.94 percent.

    This means diesel will now sell at 268 pesewas per litre.

    Meanwhile the prices of petrol, kerosene, premix fuel and Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) saw no change.

  • Komenda Sugar Factory To Be Restored By June

    Mr Haruna Iddrisu, Minister of Trade and Industry on Tuesday announced that work on the restoration of the Komenda Sugar Factory in the Central Region will commence by June this year.

    He said a $35 million loan had been acquired from the India Government in addition to one million dollars being raised by the Ghana Government for the project.

    Government, he said, was still negotiating with India for another $24 million to support sugar cane farmers to produce the raw material locally for the factory.

    Mr Iddrisu made the disclosure in Accra during a breakfast meeting with editors of the various media houses in the country to appraise them on trade and industry issues.

    The Minister said another sugar factory would be established at Depale in the Northern Region where research had shown that the soil in the area is very good for sugar cane production and that several companies have expressed interest in the project.

    He recounted that in 2013, the Ministry was able to see to the passage of the revised Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act, which now empowers the GIPC to give a minimum capital requirement of GH¢1 million, stating that, Ghana is now a preferred priority destination for investment.

    He said the passage of the revised Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF) has empowered the EDAIF to be able to give loans and credit facilities to local industries.

    Mr Iddrisu said in line with government vision of empowering local pharmaceutical companies, the EDAIF had disbursed GH¢ 50 million to local pharmaceutical companies to help them in their expansion drive.

    He said funds would soon be released for the irrigation sector to promote the production of vegetables and other horticulture crops both for the local and export market.

    He said the Ministry had tasked EDAIF to identify about 1,000 to 2,000 small scale holder farmers be assisted.

    The Minister said government would be establishing the International Trade Commission before the close of the year, adding that, Ghana would be opening an International Trade Offices in countries such as China, Japan and South Africa, to boost its trade.

    He noted that the Ministry had put in place a new export strategy in order to increase the volume of export this year and beyond.

    He said a committee had been put in place to ensure that Ghana becomes self sufficient in rice production, explaining that it was only when the country attains that level, before “we can think of banning the importation of rice.”

    He said this year, “EDAIF would be able to make available GH¢ 20 million to rice farmers, but the mechanization of the farms rests on the shoulders of the Ministry of Food and Agriculture.”

    The Minister said three companies had expressed interest in investing in the jute factory but they were now waiting for assurance from the Ghana Cocoa Board that their produce will be purchased by them.

    He said the ban on the export of ferrous metals was to rescue the local steel industry and to assure them of regular supply of scrap metals for their production.

    Mr Iddrisu said the regulation banning the export of ferrous metal would be revised, adding that, it was not meant to punish anyone.

    On the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the Minister said, Ghana was awaiting the final decision of the sub-regional body, ECOWAS.

    He said the EPA could be likened to a double edged sword and that the nation stood both to gain and loose when it signs it.

    He explained that Ghana in 2007 signed the EPA with the European Union, but the current one being handled by ECOWAS was far better than it.

  • The West’s tricky trade relationship with Russia

    The risks of a blow up in China’s property market are rising, threatening a slowdown that could hurt global growth.

    The sector is second only to the related problem of credit growth on a list of threats to China’s economy — according to economists surveyed by CNNMoney.

    Talk of a property bubble in China is nothing new — economists have long fretted over the meteoric rise of home prices, and the runaway pace of new construction.

    Media reports on “ghost cities” — newly constructed Chinese municipalities that were never occupied — led to frequent warnings of a crisis, which has not yet materialized.

    The sector’s continued strength results in a kind of Rorschach test, where the same image is perceived very differently: Pessimists say real estate is emblematic of problems such as rapid credit growth and backward economic incentives. Bulls counter that the boom is sustainable, especially as hundreds of millions of Chinese migrate into urban areas.

    The sheer size of the real estate sector — some 16% of GDP — underscores the importance of the debate for a world economy that is increasingly connected to China.

    The fears of a slowdown have now returned, sparked by a flurry of reports from third and fourth-tier cities that suggest ailing developers are offering big discounts to unload property quickly. Even in some major cities, sales have slowed and homeowners are fretting over lower demand.

    The far flung smaller cities account for almost 70% of all home sales, according to Japanese brokerage Nomura.

    “In China, the true risks of a sharp correction in the property market fall in third- and fourth-tier cities, which are not on investors’ radar screens,” Nomura analysts wrote recently.

  • We won’t charge customers for use of social media – Tigo

    One of Ghana’s telecommunication giants, Tigo has stressed that it has no plans of charging its valued customers for the use of social media.

    The announcement follows an article in the Daily Express, and on some news websites, on the intentions of Telecom operators (including Tigo) to charge customers for the use of social media.

    Tigo said in a statement, issued Tuesday and signed by Kwamena Buckman, PRO for Tigo, that “We wish to clarify the following; Tigo Ghana has no intention to charge customers for use of social media platforms.”

    According to the telecommunications network, “Like we have currently, customers will only have to pay for the internet service that enables them to access the internet and all other social platforms there.”

    Tigo said users of the Blackberry Q and Z series no longer have to pay for specific BB services because the BBM service has been made free by RIM (Manufacturers of Blackberry).

    “All they need to do is to subscribe to any of our data packages to enjoy their Blackberry service. Users of old Blackberry models however, will still have to subscribe to specific Blackberry packages because charges for BB services on older devices,” the statement added.

    Tigo customers, the company noted, with mobile devices running on Android, Apple IOS, Microsoft Windows or Blackberry are not charged special fees “for APP downloads. Only relevant internet charges apply.”

    “We wish to assure our customers that we are committed to providing the best quality of service at the most affordable rate in the Ghana,” Tigo assured.

  • Director of Vodafone Business Solutions to head Airtel Ghana

    The Director for Vodafone Business Solutions, Lucy Quist is heading for Airtel Ghana as the new Chief Executive Officer. She is due to take over from Philip Sowah who has been with Airtel right from its birth in Ghana as Zain in December 2008.

    Her appointment takes effect from May 01, but Mr. Sowah is expected to be around and assist with the transition before handing over completely in the same month.

    Madam Quist would become the first Ghanaians female CEO in the telecoms industry but the second female CEO after TIGO’s recent appointment of a Swedish, Roshi Motman.Lucy Quist joined Vodafone Ghana in 2011 as Head of Strategy and Planning before her role was expanded to include Managing Director of Vodafone Wholesale where she led the company’s Fibre network connection from Bolgatanga to Onatel in Burkina Faso and Togotel in Togo through Cinkasse – the first of its kind in West Africa.

    She moved to head Vodafone Business Solutions in January 2012 and is credited with increasing its visibility by extending the focus from corporate to SMEs which saw the enterprise’s business unit’s revenue grow by over 20% year on year.

    Before joining Vodafone, Lucy held various positions at Tigo, including head of the Northern sector and later, Chief Marketing Officer in the Democratic Republic of Congo where she led the company to number one position in mobile data. Her efforts saw the country grow in Facebook usage rankings in Africa. She is therefore expected to bring her expertise in driving data (which is the new paradigm for Telcos) to bear at Airtel to help in the company’s growth.

    She also has vast experience in product design and manufacturing in the automotive industry. At Ford Motor Company in Europe, she was one of the youngest female engineers and led several major projects. She subsequently worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland in London where she successfully implemented operational transformation initiatives and was part of the post-acquisition ABN AMRO integration team.

    Lucy is a Chartered Electrical and Electronic Engineer and holds a first class degree and an MBA from INSEAD. She is passionate about developing leaders to achieve their full potential.

    Together with her husband they are raising two sons and a niece. The family loves to travel and experience different cultures.

  • Missing Malaysia plane: Search ‘regains recorder signal’

    Teams searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have reacquired signals that could be consistent with “black box” flight recorders.

    An Australian vessel heard the signals again on Tuesday afternoon and evening, the search chief said.

    Signals heard earlier had also been further analysed by experts who concluded they were from “specific electronic equipment”, he said.

    Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March, carrying 239 people.

    It was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it lost contact with air traffic controllers.

    Malaysian officials say that based on satellite data, they believe it ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometres from its intended flight path.

    “I believe we are searching in the right area,” said Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who heads the joint agency co-ordinating the search.
    “But we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370.”

    The Australian vessel, Ocean Shield, has been towing a US Navy pinger locator to listen for signals from the plane’s flight recorders in waters west of the Australian city of Perth.

    On Tuesday, it located the signals again, the first time for five minutes and 32 seconds, and the second time for around seven minutes, said ACM Houston.

    “Ocean Shield has now detected four transmissions in the same broad area,” he said. “Yesterday’s signals will assist in better defining a reduced and much more manageable search area on the ocean floor.

    The signals have been heard in sea with a depth of 4,500 metres (15,000 feet).

    ACM Houston said it was important to refine the search area as much as possible before sending down the Bluefin 21 underwater drone to search for wreckage.

    “Now hopefully with lots of transmissions we’ll have a tight, small area and hopefully in a matter of days we will be able to find something on the bottom,” he said.

    Other key points made by ACM Houston:

    The more signals received the easier it is to pinpoint a location. Signals seem to be fading, which is consistent with black box batteries going flat
    Vessels on the surface can cover the same search area six times faster than those underwater
    The ship that is searching for the signals has switched everything off apart from its engines to avoid noise
    Searchers have no idea what the sea bed looks like in the search area. They think it may be silty
    Silt is bad news. It can be thick and can hide things in a way that rock does not
    Dozens of sonar buoys with microphones attached will now be dropped 304m (997ft) below the surface to help listen for signals

    Experts at the Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre had also analysed the first two signals heard over the weekend, he added.

    Their analysis showed that a “stable, distinct and clear signal” was detected. Experts had therefore assessed that it was not of natural origin and was likely to be from specific electronic equipment.

  • Israel PM Netanyahu curbs contacts with Palestinians

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told his ministers to stop high-level meetings with their Palestinian counterparts.

    The order follows “Palestinians’ violation of their commitments under peace talks”, officials said.

    It comes after a request by the Palestinians to join 15 UN treaties and conventions as a state party.

    Correspondents say Mr Netanyahu’s action has dealt another blow to the faltering US-brokered peace process.

    The government officials said Israel’s chief peace negotiator, Tzipi Livni, would be an exception from the PM’s edict.

    Defence and security officials will also be allowed to continue to engage with the Palestinians, according to reports.
    Otherwise, only low-level co-operation will be permitted.
    On Tuesday, the US Secretary of State, John Kerry, said the US would continue to promote the talks despite recent setbacks.

    He blamed both sides for taking “unhelpful” steps.

    The peace talks resumed in July under US auspices after a three-year hiatus.

    Each side blames the other for violating previous promises.The Palestinians were furious when Israel did not sanction the release of a fourth batch of prisoners, as agreed in principle under the terms on which the Palestinians returned to peace talks last year. The Palestinians wanted the group to include a number of Israeli Arab prisoners.

    They were further angered by Israel’s approval of about 700 new settlement units in East Jerusalem.

    Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Middle East war and formally annexed the area in 1980. Settlements built there and elsewhere in the occupied West Bank are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

    Israel stressed that it had predicated any prisoner release on progress being made in the negotiations and on the Palestinians abiding by a commitment not to seek membership of international agencies.

    Cabinet members also said they would block a release unless the Palestinians agreed to extend the talks beyond 29 April, the date by which the US had said it had hoped to reach a full agreement.

    However, the Palestinians said they would not agree to extend the talks unless the prisoners were freed and accused Israel of reneging on the deal.Last week, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas signed applications to join 15 international conventions which Palestinian officials said was a response to Israel’s failure to release the prisoners.

    Israel fears the Palestinians will use the treaties as a legal tool against it and to further enhance statehood which is subject to the negotiations.

    Despite the acrimony, Mr Kerry said that neither side was abandoning the process.

    “The truth is the parties say they want to continue these talks,” he told the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Tuesday.

  • Venezuela president and opposition agree formal talks

    The Venezuelan government and a coalition of opposition parties have agreed to enter into “formal talks” to end weeks of anti-government protests.

    At least 39 people, both opponents and supporters of the government, have died in protest-related violence.

    Venezuelan Vice-President Jorge Arreaza said the two sides had agreed to hold talks “in public”.

    The opposition coalition had demanded that any negotiations be broadcast live on television and radio.
    Respectful dialogue

    Following preliminary talks on Tuesday, the opposition Democratic Unity coalition (MUD) and the government said they would meet more formally under the mediation of representatives from the Vatican and regional body Unasur.

    President Nicolas Maduro said the talks had been tentatively scheduled for Thursday. “We spoke frankly, directly and respectfully. There were moments of tension, but we agreed to start a cycle of meetings,” the president said.

    But he ruled out any changes to the course of what he calls the Bolivarian revolution, the distinct brand of socialism created by his predecessor in office, Hugo Chavez.

    “This is not a negotiation, nor a deal with anyone. What we will have is a debate, a dialogue, which is different. Neither will we try and convert them [the opposition] to Bolivarian socialism, nor will they convert us to capitalism,” he said.

    MUD Executive Secretary Ramon Guillermo Aveledo said a Vatican representative would act as a mediator “to help us in this difficult path”.However, the Popular Will party which is part of the opposition MUD coalition, expressed scepticism about the formal talks.

    Its leader, Leopoldo Lopez, who was detained in February on charges of inciting violence, said they were just for show.In a series of messages sent from jail and published by his wife on Twitter, he said: “I believe deeply in dialogue, but in a dialogue of equals, not [with one side] on its knees.

    “For 15 years, we have seen how the dictatorship conducts dialogue.”

    His party said it would not take part in the talks unless Mr Lopez was released.

    The anti-government protests started in early February. with demonstrators demanding an end to Venezuela’s high crime rate, its growing inflation and shortages of certain food staples.

    They have since grown into a wide opposition movement and many of the protesters say they will not stop until the government of President Maduro resigns.

    There have also been demonstrations in support of the government, with tens of thousands of people clad in red, the colour associated with the Bolivarian revolution, taking to the streets.

  • South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius quizzed over Reeva Steenkamp killing

    South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius has faced hostile questioning about his version of events on the night he shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

    Prosecutor Gerrie Nel began his cross examination by pushing Mr Pistorius to acknowledge the full magnitude of his actions on 14 February 2013.

    The athlete said he made a “mistake” when he shot Ms Steenkamp in his home.

    “You killed a person, that’s what you did! You shot and killed her, won’t you take responsibility?” Mr Nel said.

    A graphic picture of Ms Steenkamp’s head was shown to the court for the first time, prompting anguish from Mr Pistorius and a further adjournment of proceedings.

    The court was shown a Sky News report showing Pistorius at a shooting range

    Later, the prosecution sought to highlight what they said were inconsistencies in Mr Pistorius’ statements, questioning his claims that police tampered with items in his home after the shooting.

    “I am not pleading not guilty because the scene was contaminated,” Mr Pistorius countered. “I am pleading not guilty because what I’m accused of didn’t happen.”

    The athlete denies deliberately shooting dead his girlfriend, arguing he mistook her for an intruder.

    Prosecutors contend he intentionally killed her in the toilet of his bathroom after a row.

    The 27-year-old Olympic and Paralympic sprinter, who is a double amputee, faces life imprisonment if convicted of murder.

    If acquitted, South African law stipulates that the court must consider the separate, lesser charge of culpable homicide, or manslaughter, for which he could receive between six and 15 years in prison.

    Mr Pistorius also faces charges of illegally firing a gun in public and of illegally possessing ammunition, both of which he denies.

    There are no juries at trials in South Africa, and his fate will ultimately be decided by the judge, assisted by two assessors.

    Gerrie Nel

    Gerrie Nel is known for his no-nonsense attitude inside the courtroom and is one of South Africa’s most respected legal minds.

    With more than 30 years’ experience he has a string of successful prosecutions under his belt and is no stranger to high-profile cases. He prosecuted former police boss and Interpol’s ex-head Jackie Selebi on corruption charges, once calling him an “arrogant liar” during cross examination.

    Those who know him praise his meticulous attention to detail and his “fearlessness”. He was junior prosecutor in the murder case of anti-apartheid activist Chris Hani in 1993.

    He was also the founding head in 1999 of the Gauteng province division of South Africa’s elite police and prosecution unit the Hawks, then known as the Scorpions.

    After the opening exchanges, Mr Nel asked Mr Pistorius whether he knew about a “zombie stopper”. Mr Pistorius said he did not, but – following legal arguments – Mr Nel showed video footage of the athlete at a gun range where he is heard saying the word after shooting a watermelon.

    Mr Nel then said the watermelon exploded in the same way as Ms Steenkamp’s head – and showed a graphic picture of Ms Steenkamp’s head after the shooting.

    He asked Mr Pistorius to look at it and take responsibility for his actions.

    “I’ve taken responsibility… but I will not look at a picture where I am tormented by what I saw and felt that night. As I picked Reeva up my fingers touched her head, I remember, I don’t have to look at a picture I was there,” he said sobbing.

    It was the first time a graphic photo of Ms Steenkamp had been deliberately shown in court.

    During a brief adjournment Ms Steenkamp’s mother, June Steenkamp, told journalists she understood why it had to be shown, the BBC’s Pumza Fihlani reports from the court.

    Earlier while being questioned by his lawyer Barry Roux, Mr Pistorius described the moments after paramedics had arrived at the scene.

    “They asked for some space to work so I stood up. Reeva had already died whilst I was holding her before the ambulance arrived. So, I knew there was nothing they could do for her,” he said.

    Before Mr Roux ended his questioning he asked Mr Pistorius if he had intentionally killed Ms Steenkamp.

    “I did not intend to kill Reeva or anybody else for that matter,” he replied.

    Ms Steenkamp, a 29-year-old model, reality TV celebrity and law graduate, was hit by at least three bullets while in the toilet cubicle of Mr Pistorius’s home in Pretoria.

  • Pakistan market bomb ‘kills at least 20′ in Islamabad

    A deadly bomb blast has struck a busy market on the outskirts of Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad, killing at least 20 people, police and medics say.

    The high intensity blast at the fruit and vegetable market left as many as 100 injured, reports say.

    The Pakistani Taliban denied involvement. No other group has said it carried out the attack.

    There is currently a ceasefire between the Pakistani Taliban and the government as part of peace efforts.

    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif condemned Wednesday’s bombing.

    In comments released by his office, he said it was an effort by Pakistan’s enemies to destabilise the country, but that the government would remain resolute in its efforts for peace.

    Visiting the scene, Interior Minister Chaudry Nissar told the BBC the attack was “a dastardly act by criminals against some of the poorest people in the community”. He said it was too early to know who was behind it.
    Crater

    Reports from hospitals in the area say as many as 100 people were injured.

    The bombing happened in the Sabzi Mandi area of the capital about 08:00 local time (03:00 GMT), one of the busiest times of day for the wholesale fruit and vegetable market.

    As a steady stream of casualties arrived at the two main hospitals nearby, reports of the number of dead and injured climbed and an appeal was made for blood donations.

    Police said about 5kg (11lb) of explosives were hidden in a fruit box.

    The BBC’s Mike Wooldridge, at the scene, said the bomb left a deep crater in the thick concrete in the fruit section of the wholesale market, with boxes of guavas scattered all around.

    Eyewitnesses and survivors spoke of carnage.

    “I saw body parts flying in the air,” one fruit trader, Afzal Khan, told the Associated Press. “People were dying. People were crying. People were running.”

    after bombing inccident
    Police sources at the scene say the bomb contained nuts and bolts, the shrapnel adding to its capacity to kill and maim.

    In a statement, the Pakistani Taliban (TTP) said it strongly condemned the attack.

    “The killing of innocent people in attacks on public places is regrettable and prohibited by Islam,” it said.

    Correspondents say the TTP sits at the helm of a loose network of territorially independent militant groups who have different agendas. Not all of them will favour peace talks.

    Asked whether he accepted the Taliban denial, the interior minister said it was too early to make a judgement. He said he did not want to make any accusations until the investigations were completed.

    The blast comes a day after 13 people were killed in a bomb attack by separatists in Balochistan province. The long-running insurgency in Balochistan is separate to the Taliban campaign which has raged in Pakistan since 2008.

    Except for an attack on a courthouse last month, the Pakistani capital has been relatively peaceful in recent times, our correspondent reports.

    Eleven people were killed in the assault on the judicial complex, for which a splinter group of the Pakistani Taliban admitted responsibility.

    The casualty toll in the latest attack makes it the deadliest in the capital since the bombing of the Marriott Hotel in 2008, our correspondent adds.

    The peace talks with the Taliban were a key campaign pledge for Mr Sharif before he was elected to office for a third time last year.

  • Apple iWatch Will Monitor Your Exposure to Harmful UV Rays

    If all the reports turn out to be true, Apple’s first wearable technology device could well be a wrist-worn virtual doctor rather than just a second screen for the iPhone.

    In a note to investors seen by Apple Insider, Barclays analyst Blayne Curtis says the iWatch will be able to monitor the wearer’s exposure to potentially harmful UV light and therefore know when it’s time to reapply sunscreen or cover up completely. In February, Silicon Labs, a Texas-based tech company, became the first to successfully build a single-chip digital UV index sensor, and Curtis believes that they could well be integrated into the Apple iWatch.

    “These chips measure UV exposure to aid those with elevated risk of sunburn or just a general concern about excessive sun exposure, and we believe they may be … appealing to OEMs looking to differentiate in a crowded market,” Curtis wrote.

    Adding weight to these claims is the fact that the sensors are multipurpose. They can also track other health and vital signs and, since the beginning of 2014, the reports, leaks, and whispers surrounding the iWatch have been focused on health and well being rather than push notifications and being able to dictate emails.

    It started in earnest in January with a report in The New York Times that senior Apple executives had met with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to discuss regulatory hurdles to launching a health-focused device.

    Since then, sources in China have claimed that the iWatch will be able to monitor both heartrate and blood-oxygen levels and that Apple was even toying with the idea of applying optoelectronics in order to read the wearer’s blood glucose levels.

    Meanwhile, in February, a story in the San Francisco Chronicle claimed that Apple was looking to create a device that can predict a medical emergency and that a team, headed by Tomlinson Holman, was “exploring ways to predict heart attacks by studying the sound blood makes at it flows through arteries.”

    The iWatch is tipped to launch in September 2014, by which time the Moto 360 and LG G Watch, the first smartwatches running Google’s new wearable device-focused version of Android, will already be on sale.

  • Facebook tweaks its privacy settings

    Everyone has that friend or family member who unwittingly still posts publicly on Facebook. It’s not that they’re over-sharers, they just haven’t bothered to keep up with the social network’s ever-changing and often confusing privacy settings.

    Facebook highlighted some of its minor new and future privacy features on Tuesday, including one aimed squarely at the people left behind by complicated settings.

    A new pop-up message featuring a cartoon dinosaur will appear for Facebook users who haven’t tinkered with their privacy settings in a while. When someone who always shares publicly posts a link or update, Facebook will double check that they really want to share it with that audience.

    The company’s privacy team is also testing other tweaks, including updating mobile and Web designs with more prominent audience controls, a new default privacy setting for cover photos (old images used to be public, now they’re private), and a message clarifying who can see an image you post when your friends re-share it.

    In its 10 years, the social media company has amassed more than a billion users. That’s a lot of people to please, but one area that has received consistent cries of dissatisfaction is privacy.

    When Facebook updates a setting or adds a feature, there is often a privacy backlash, especially when new sharing settings make information public by default. The company’s motto, “Move fast and break things” led to broken trust with users.

    To counteract that sense of wariness, Facebook is making sure future privacy considerations aren’t just part of a settings screen, but also taken into account by engineers making new features and at the infrastructure level.

    “We understand that some people have felt that Facebook privacy has changed too much in the past,” said Mike Nowak, a product manager on Facebook’s privacy team.

    Not changing settings ever again isn’t an option, so Facebook is searching for new ways to improve the experience that won’t anger or alienate users. The company has been running extensive surveys to find out what kind of privacy experiences people are having on the site and in the app. It currently runs 4,000 surveys a day in 27 languages.

    Squeezing useful information out of these surveys can be difficult. Facebook engineering manager Raylene Yung said people will commonly just write in the word “privacy” when asked what they want to improve. However, enough users have managed to articulate what situations upset them. People said when they share things on Facebook they feel their info is shared with more people than they wanted. Facebook knows giving those people a sense of control is key to keep them from leaving the service.

    “At the end of the day … when people have an unpleasant surprise like this it’s bad for them and it’s bad for us,” said Nowak.

  • Payzone wins Best Technology Initiative of the Year Award in Africa

    Ghana once again affirmed its supremacy in technology as a local company outshined a number of well-known and respected global brands to annex the coveted Best Technology Initiative Award in Africa for the year 2013.

    It was all joy in the South African city of Sandton at the 2014 Card & ePayment Africa Awards, an annual event to recognise and reward excellence and cutting–edge innovation in the card and electronic payment market in Africa as a definitive platform to celebrate unparalleled excellence and outstanding achievements in the industry across Africa.

    It was attended by an array of dignitaries representing renowned brands and technology driven blue chip businesses across the continent and beyond.

    The awards ceremony was organised by the Card & e-payment Africa Awards Secretariat in South Africa.

    The Ghanaian IT company, Innovative EPS Ltd operating the PAYZONE brand, which has been in existence for only three years, beat high profile companies including British banking giant, Barclays Bank and Access Bank Plc with its much hailed PayZone e-payment platform.

    For a company to qualify for the annual award, it must first be nominated by public voting and verified later by a highly renowned panel of judges.

    Briefing journalists after the awards ceremony, the Chief Operations Officer of Innovative EPS, Mr. Bernard Anyan-Mensah said “the honour will definitely spur us on to higher heights”.

    The Executive Chairman of the company, Mr George Boateng predicted high economic boom should the government take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by technology in various economic fields.

    He told a section of South African media that technology is the only solution to Africa’s economic woes and therefore asked governments on the continent to pay greater attention to that sector.

    Payzone Ghana AD

    “The PAYZONE platform alone is more than capable of becoming the single largest fund mobiliser for central government aside the huge potential to generate jobs for between 500,000 and 1 million people in Africa within the next 5 to 10 years”, says Mr Boateng who led a three-member Innovation EPS delegation to the awards ceremony in South Africa.

    He likened the platform to google, whatsapp, facebook and other ICT companies, stressing on their ability to accelerate economic transformation within the shortest period.

    Innovative EPS Ltd has been working on developing virtual business transaction payment systems, using its PayZone payment platform, all in their bid to help create a cashless society.

    Even though PayZone is yet to be officially launched, many patrons have lauded the convenience and proximity advantages the platform provides for its growing customers.

    The PayZone platformwhich currently hosts all the telecommunication networks in Ghana, facilitatesthe purchase of direct airtime top-ups on its Self–Service payment kiosk and are currently deployed at various locations in the Greater Accra Region (e.g. 37 military hospital, GHAPOHA, Accra Mall, University Campuses, etc.).

    The company is currently holding discussions to enrol Electricity Bill Payment (Post & Pre-paid), Ghana Water Bill Payment, hosting of Internet Service Providers Payment, Lotteries, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Tax payment, Banking & Finance, Micro Finance & Insurance, Airline and Event Ticketing, among others.

    The platform is capable of hosting 1,600 services concurrently.

    It currently has a growing patronage of about 80,000 to 100,000 per month and in the next 5 years, Innovative EPS hopes to expand to other African countries”.

  • Vodafone builds additional network sites in Ashanti Region

    Vodafone Ghana has built additional sites in the Ashanti region to improve customer experience as part of its network expansion.

    Vodafone’s voice and internet services are now available to customers living in and around Mpasatia, Akora and Abusuakrowa. Additionally, Vodafone customers in areas such as Buoho, Sepe, Sokoban, Anwomaso, Obuasi-Bogobiri, Nyinahin and Jacobu can now experience an improvement in voice and internet quality as the telecommunications giant has upgraded its 2G sites.

    According to the telcom operator, the additional sites are to offer stable and consistent service to customers in the region and improve customer experience. Both enterprise customers and consumers will have a faster and seamless experience for both voice and internet quality.

    The expansion which begun in November 2013 saw a total of 403 coverage and capacity sites going up countrywide and was completed in March 2014.

  • MICROSOFT cuts technical support to ATMs running on Windows XP

    Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) of commercial banks still running on Windows XP stand the risk of being exposed to a new kind of cyber attacks. This is because today, 08 April, 2014 marks the deadline set by MICROSOFT to cut off technical support for Windows XP to all such institutions.

    MICROSOFT had therefore urged the banks to upgrade their systems to WINDOWS 7 to avert such occurrence.

    The Chief Executive of the Ghana Interbank Payment and Settlement Systems, Archie Hesse explained to Joy Business Banks and ATM service providers need to upgrade their ATM’s before they become hot targets for hackers.

    “What is happening is that from today Microsoft will no longer be issuing any security updates. What that means is that, if there are any new bugs in the system, Microsoft will not be issuing any reffixes for it. And it will increasingly expose your ATMs. So there’s an urgent need for all banks to have a plan to migrate from the current operating system XP to Windows 7,” he said.

    “There’s nothing really that customers can do. The vulnerability is not to the customers but to the bank’s ATM, they will be exposed. The onus lies on the banks and ATM service providers to ensure they have actually migrated to a safer operating system which is Windows 7,” he added.

    Inside every ATM casing is a computer and like all such devices, each one run on an Operating System and Microsoft’s 12 year old windows XP dominate the ATM market, powering more than 95% of the world’s ATM machines.

    The Advanced ATM fleets operating systems can be updated remotely over their network whilst older ATMs must be upgraded one by one. It noted further that some older ATMs might either have their components upgraded or discarded altogether if they do not have enough computing power (memory) to run the newer OS, windows 7.

    There is a lot of pressure especially from China on Microsoft to continue to provide support for XP beyond 8th April, 2014 but the pressure has not really yielded any practical results. However Microsoft will continue to release patches that will protect computers running on XP for malware until July 2015 but only for Microsoft security essentials. Users will need to have down loaded Microsoft security essentials before April 8 if they require access, the statement added.

    Bank and ATM service providers in Ghana will therefore have to ensure that they comply ahead of the date. Some of the providers have begun and are even pairing the operating system upgrade with the upgrade to support EMV.

  • Alan Kyeremanteng arrives home for NPP contest

    Kessben Fm has gathered that Mr. Alan John Kwadwo Kyeremanteng will arrive home in the coming days as he prepares to contest the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Flag bearer race.

    Even in his absence, Mr. Kyeremanteng’s surrogates are doing the underground works to ensure their preferred candidate gets the nod as the next NPP Presidential candidate for 2016.

    Mr. Philip London, a special Aide to the NPP Presidential hopeful told Citi News Mr. Alan Kyeremanteng’s 2016 Presidential bid is real.

    “For now there are a lot of vibrant activities going on and all the various people in the party who are various anxious to see him as the next Flag bearer are busily working.”

    He gave the assurance that Mr. Kyeremanteng will announce his Presidential bid when he arrives in the country.

    “I am telling you on authority that he will be in the race and he is aware that I have given this confirmation on his behalf and so be assured that he will be in the race.”

    Meanwhile, the NPP General Secretary, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie said preliminary internal elections ahead of the main national delegates’ congress were on course.

    According to him, the polling station elections are expected to end on November 23and that by December 14 the constituency elections will be conducted.

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Dept. Sports Mins.: I Would Have Been A Fool To Exclude NDC Supporters To Egypt

    Deputy Sports Minister, Joseph Yamin has debunked claims that only National Democratic Congress (NDC) foot soldiers were airlifted to Egypt to cheer the Black Stars in their FIFA play-off World Cup qualifier in Cairo.

    According to him, the alleged “foot soldiers” were rather delegations from various Supporters’ Unions and some selected journalists.

    In an attempt to justify his claims, he opined that, it would have been an indictment to his office to exempt NDC supporters the trip to Cairo.

    “I will be a fool as a minister to exclude the people who ensure that I am who I am today to Egypt. I can’t say I will not have any feelings for them (NDC supporters) and say I will not allow them to go when such opportunity is available.

    “…But I can confidently tell that only a few of them (NDC supporters) had that opportunity. Majority of the delegation to Cairo were from various Supporters’ Union and Journalists,” he noted on OKAY FM.

    300 soccer fans, selected from across the country, were handled by the office of Hon. Joseph Yamin prior to their departure to Egypt.

    Government sponsored the 300 soccer fanatics to Cairo but the Deputy Sports Minister rubbished claims that, customized “Mahama T-shirt” which the supporters donned were distributed by government officials to cheer the senior national team, the Black Stars in the second leg World Cup play-off against Egypt.

     

    Credit: Peacefmonline

  • I Can Beat Alan Hands Down But Nana Addo Will Be Difficult – Kennedy Agyapong

    “I can tell you that, I have what it takes to become NPP Presidential Candidate even more than many of those names out there and I can beat Alan Kyeremanteng hands down but with Nana Akufo-Addo it will be a little difficult,” says Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, NPP MP for Assin Central Constituency in the Central Region.

    The vociferous Assin Central MP told listeners on HELLO FM, a Kumasi-based radio station that he is more than capable to lead NPP as a flagbearer to deliver power to the party but that is not his focus now.

    To him, many of those aspiring to lead the party are not popular.

    To another question whether he can beat Nana Akufo-Addo and Alan Kyeremanteng, the Assin Central MP said “I can beat Alan hands down but with Nana Addo, it will be a little difficult for me.

    “I can also tell you that I will not contest for the Assin Central seat again because of too many demands from many Ghanaians across the country. I want to have enough time for my business and also follow the next flagbearer of the NPP to campaign for power come 2016 across the country,” he explained.

    Mr. Kennedy Agyapong said what was currently happening in the National Democratic Congress government led by President Mahama was clearly the hands of God.

    According to him, the corruption in the government and the system has reached apex level to the extent that government officials like Mr. Alban Bagbin and others can no more keep their silence.

    The Assin Central MP said he now understood why former President Kufuor didn’t appoint many young Ministers and Deputy Ministers due to what he described as “massive grabbing of public money by the young Ministers and Deputy Ministers under President Mahama’s administration.”

    He suggested that current and subsequent Presidents should only appoint people who have already made it in life or persons who are already well to do as Ministers and Deputy Ministers of State to avoid or reduce the gargantuan looting of the state funds.

     

    Source: The Daily Dispatch

  • I’m Shocked…Has Vicky Stolen From Gov’t Or Laundered Funds? Why Probe Her Bank Accounts?

    Immediate former Communications Director of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Nana Akomea, is questioning the legality of the decision by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to investigate the bank accounts of Victoria Hamah, former Deputy Minister of Communications for suspected money laundering activities.

    Nana Akomea claims going by the constitutionally, any organization who deems it of importance to investigate a government appointee’s bank account(s) must first seek an order from a court of competent jurisdiction before proceeding.

    According to the former Member of Parliament (MP) for Okaikoi South Constituency, parliament has indicated that the court is the sole institution that can give the “go ahead” for a probe into someone’s bank account.

    He therefore expressed bewilderment that the state has launched an investigation into the entire former deputy Communication Minister, Ms. Victoria Hammah’s bank accounts, to find out if she indulged in any financial impropriety while in office after she was heard on a leaked tape saying she will not leave politics until she earn US$1Million.

    “Normally when parliament is drafting a law for an organization to interfere in the privacy of a citizen, parliament normally insists that that organization must be instructed by the court before it does so,” he said.

    The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the FIC-Ghana, Samuel Thompson Essel, apparently acting on portions of the leaked tape which captures Ms. Hamah saying she would not pick up fights with her superiors and risk her appointment as deputy Communications Minister if she could not boast of a million dollars, sent a letter to all banks nationwide titled “Request for information on Victoria Hammah”, demanded details of her financial transactions since the former deputy minister “has come under security notice”.

    It said “Pursuant to section 28 of the anti-money laundering act 2008, Act 749, please furnish us with the following on her; Mandate and account dating forms, Evident on know your customer and customer due diligence, Legible copy of photo identity. All transaction statement (bank and investment statements)”The said letter wants replies from “all banks” by close of business Friday, November 15, 2013.

    Discussing the “Vickyleaks” brouhaha on Adom FM, Nana Akomea questioned the basis of investigating Vicky Hammah’s account wondering if the beleaguered former deputy minister had embezzled state funds.

    “I am very much surprise why the Financial Intelligence Centre is allowed to investigate someone’s account without seeking orders from court. I am again amazed as to why government is investigating Victoria Hammah’s account, has she stolen from government coffers? If not, why the probe into her bank accounts?” he quizzed.

     

    Credit: Peacefmonline

  • Prez Mahama Orders: Retrieve €25M, US$325k From Waterville, Isofoton…Suspend GYEEDA Payments

    President John Dramani Mahama has directed the Attorney General and Finance Ministry to “do all in their power” to retrieve all judgment debts paid foreign firms Waterville and Isofoton.

    Outlining a series of stringent measures to control corruption in the country in a statement issued today, President Mahama noted that accusing someone or an institution of corruption “is an easy one to make“, but if the country is serious about eradicating the cancer, “then we must start talking about it rationally, realistically and responsibly.”

    It also takes transparency, accountability and leadership—all of which, as President, I am committed to giving our nation and our people. I do this not because it is required of me as President. I do this because I am first and foremost a Ghanaian—and like any other Ghanaian from Bawku to Berekum, from Kumasi to Axim—it is my civic duty,” he said.

    President Mahama also disclosed in the statement that he has directed the “scrapping” of the policy “that allows public officers to purchase state bungalows allocated to them as official residences”.

    Touching on the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) programme, the president stated that he has “asked the Ministry of Youth and Sports to suspend with immediate effect all payments under all GYEEDA contracts except payments of arrears to workers, beneficiaries, up to the end of the year”.

    I’ve the Ministry of Youth and Sports to complete a review of all modules and accompanying contracts under GYEEDA by the 15 of December and before 31st December to cancel all contracts that do not pass value for money test,” adding that he has also “placed a moratorium on the creation of any new module under GYEEDA”.

    He also revealed that he has received an update from the Economic and Organised Crimes Office (EOCO) boss “on the status of their investigation (SADA, GYEEDA and the Ghana Revenue Authority). I’ve asked EOCO to make that update known to the public in order for the public to know what action is being taken”.

    On the buying of state properties by public officials, Mahama said: “I’ve directed the Minister of land and natural resources to present a plan within weeks for ensuring transparency under the Accra redevelopment policy and in the spirit of transparency, to publish the names of all beneficiaries of the policy by 16th of December 2013”.

    “…To review all the transactions involved in the implementation of the policy within three calendar months from today and to scrap the policy that allows public officers to purchase state bungalows allocated to them as official residences”.

    On the buying of state vehicles, he said: “I’ve instructed the Chief of Staff, as from today, not to grant any request by any government official to purchase any state vehicle that was assigned to them for official use. Disposal of state vehicles must be publicly done and as transparently as possible”.

    “I’ve directed for the re-registration with GV number plates, of all government vehicles, including project vehicles to proceed in earnest and be completed in first quarter of 2014”, he stated.

    Below is the President’s full statement

    I am happy to have this opportunity to speak candidly on the issue of corruption and the way it attempts to pervade every layer of our society, from the political to the personal. Corruption takes an enormous toll on the ability of a government to function effectively, on the hopes and dreams of individual citizens, and, ultimately, on the morale of an entire nation.

    It is an issue that we all agree must be addressed aggressively but in order to do that, we must also recognise that corruption is an issue that must be defined and discussed responsibly.

    Corruption has been high on the national agenda for many years; but long before that, it was a central theme of gossip and rumours, public finger-pointing and partisan acrimony. It has in our present day become something of a political club that opposing parties use to beat each other over the head with.

    Since the time of Ghana’s First Republic, there has not been a single president or presiding government that has not been accused of corruption. This makes sense, given the history of post-independence Africa and the pattern of behaviour that was set from country to country by the governing elite; that pattern being win or seize power and then “to the victor go the spoils.” And the losers, were the average hardworking citizens, families, communities, and countries that, for decades, were crippled by the greed of other people’s individual self-interest.

    Given this history, it makes sense that our citizens are often very mistrustful of those in positions of power and access. And they have cause to be. But times have changed; Africa has changed; Ghana, which has also been no exception to the continent-wide syndrome of seize-loot-and-leave, has changed.

    Democratic governance, a free independent media, vigilant civil society, bold anti-corruption institutions have all combined to check the impunity with which corruption was perpetrated in the past. Pillars of Good Governance are being erected, pillars that are firmly anchored by the Rule of Law and a constitutional democracy. Strong anti-money laundering legislation, an active Financial Intelligence to track transfer of “dirty money” make it more difficult to hide the proceeds of corruption. Nonetheless, corruption persists. It still persists, right alongside those institutions, as though it is an institution in and of itself.

    The accusation of corruption against an individual is an easy one to make. However, if we truly wish to rid our societies of this cancer, then we must start talking about it rationally, realistically and responsibly. Over the years, we have seen different governments take measures to fight the corruption that exists within. Sometimes those measures were drastic; people were shot dead, jailed, or censured. Sometimes those drastic measures were indeed effective, but by and large they were not viable long-term solutions.

    In other words, corruption, when defined not as the action of a single individual but as an institution, cannot be fixed with ad hoc knee-jerk reactions. It takes an approach that is also systemic; an approach that focuses on education as much as punishment; an approach that encourages a societal abhorrence for corruption on any level. It takes sustained vigilance.

    It also takes transparency, accountability and leadership—all of which, as President, I am committed to giving our nation and our people.

    I do this not because it is required of me as President. I do this because I am first and foremost a Ghanaian—and like any other Ghanaian from Bawku to Berekum, from Kumasi to Axim—it is my civic duty.

    Ghanaians are no longer satisfied with palliatives and long-winded statements, or with one-off solutions that do not address the problem as something systemic. We want, and we need, action now. We need action to curb the corruption that currently exists and we need action to prevent corruption from flourishing and impeding our national progress.

    Over the years, I have made several appeals to the institutions responsible for fighting corruption to promptly investigate allegations of corruption and taking swift action to honor the public’s trust in them. We know our institutions are weak and are facing major challenges. They lack adequate manpower, expertise and resources. However, for our institutions to remain relevant, they must show that they are doing the maximum they can with the little they have.

    As a Ghanaian, I share the anxiety and frustration that our people are expressing every day. There can be no justification for any official or public employee to take advantage of the weaknesses in the institutions they are to serve in to facilitate the crimes they are paid to prevent. Neither can there be any justification for blatant institutional negligence.

    Succeeding in the fight against corruption requires agencies in various autonomous institutions -the executive, legislature and judiciary- as well as, the general public to play their part and play it well and we must think outside the box because the old ways will not meet the expectations of our people.

    As a people our ability to fight corruption is weakened and limited when we entrust it to only the political elite or limit our social responsibility only to talking about it. We need a paradigm shift.
    I am of the strong opinion that the key to resolving the corruption problem is strengthening our capacity to prevent, and where it has already happened, detect, investigate, retrieve and successfully prosecute.

    Every corrupt act has multiple witnesses who may have nothing to gain from it and are prepared to contribute to fighting it. So, we must create the enabling environment that empowers such people to contribute their quota. In essence, there is an urgent need to broaden the framework for fighting corruption. We must break the syndrome of sympathy for perpetrators who got caught, and muster the courage to report acts of wrong-doing.

    My Government is ready to engage the various independent Anti-Corruption and Governance institutions, including the CHRAJ, EOCO, etc. That is why, under the umbrella of the CHRAJ, we have developed and adopted, at Cabinet level, this new anti-corruption instrument, the 10-year NACAP (2012-2021).

    Let me take this opportunity to say a big THANK YOU to all of you for your immense sacrifices towards the completion of this national agenda. I am looking forward to a new partnership with the various institutions and organizations you all represent.

    Let me take this opportunity to appeal to our friends in the media, all religious organizations, traditional leaders, and indeed, the entire Ghanaian public, to see this new instrument as a window of opportunity for us all to develop our country through a collective effort to tackle the canker of corruption.

    Two important instruments in the fight against corruption are still pending in Parliament: One is the Right to Information Bill. I hereby call on Parliament to treat this bill with the urgency it. I undertake to give my assent expeditiously as soon as this bill is approved.

    The other is the National Anti Corruption Action Plan (NACAP), which work I had the privilege of commissioning while I was still the Vice President. The NACAP spells out specific activities for sustained transparency and anticorruption. The NACAP was laid in the house in April and is currently awaiting adoption by Parliament. Here again I call for urgent action by Parliament in the adoption of this plan.

    Considering the extended period between the completion of NACAP and its adoption, the budget of GHC65m that was proposed would certainly need to be revalidated following its adoption by Parliament.

    Government also signed up to the Open Government Partnership Initiative. On the national action plan and implementation road map, we have made progress in achieving many milestones in the 4 thematic areas. On Transparency we are on track and work is ongoing on the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. RTI bill is before Parliament. The PIAC is being given every support and space to do its work. And we are working with the CRC Implementation Committee to amend CHRAJ’s constitutional provisions.

    We believe issues of strengthening CHRAJ and effectively resourcing it should be taken out of turn and dealt with. In the meantime I am speaking with the Minister for Finance to, within the constraints of the budget, increase funding to anti-corruption agencies.

    Also, a percentage of proceeds of corruption when recovered should be paid to anti-corruption agencies to resources them.

    On participation, the Minister for Local Government and rural development and the Decentralization oversight C’tee are working on processes to improve participation of not only CSO’s but all resident of the district in the work of the Assemblies.

    On Accountability, Cabinet has passed the Public Officers Code of Conduct Bill and it is undergoing final redrafting before being laid in Parliament.

    On technology and innovation work is advanced on the E-Immigration project. Work on GIFMIS has taken off and is progressing steadily.
    We will also be launching an online complaints platform in the next few weeks.

    I commit again to work hard to achieve the milestones we set ourselves in the initiative within the agreed 2013-2014 time frame.
    However while awaiting the NACAP, RTI and other anti-corruption instruments we cannot treat that as an excuse for any delay in our fight against corruption. There are a few administrative actions that I have taken to keep us marching forward in this mission, and I am happy to be able to share them with you today:

    I have instructed the Minister for Youth and Sports to:

    · Suspend with immediate effect, all payments under all GYEEDA contracts, except the payment of arrears to workers up to the end of the year.

    · Complete the review of all modules and accompanying contracts under GYEEDA by the 15th of December and, before 31st December 2013, to cancel all contracts that do not pass the “value for money” test.

    · Place a moratorium on the creation of new modules under GYEEDA.

    I have instructed the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General/EOCO and the Minister of Finance to work with the Minister for Youth and Sports to achieve the following by 31st December 2013:

    Secure refunds of monies wrongfully paid to or appropriated by any individuals or companies from contracts with SADA, GYEEDA, and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and to retrieve the monies wrongfully paid to Waterville and Isofoton;Initiate legal action against the individuals or companies to secure the refunds and/or to punish them for wrongdoing;

    I just received this morning, an update from the boss of EOCO on the status of their investigations. I have asked EOCO to make that update known to the public in order for the public to know what action is being taken.

    I have instructed the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General to expedite work on the GYEEDA Bill for submission to Parliament. The Bill is expected to ensure proper oversight, efficiency in management of GYEEDA. The bill must focus on decentralizing the program to ensure local ownership and real benefits to our communities.

    I have instructed the Minister for Finance and Minister for Justice and Attorney General to review and advice on a suspension of the contract with Subah Infosolutions seeing us the contract was not signed by the appropriate authorized Government representative.

    I have directed the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to:

    · Present a Plan within 2 weeks for ensuring transparency under the Accra Redevelopment Policy;

    · In the spirit of transparency publish the names of all beneficiaries of the policy by the 16th of December 2013;

    · Review all the transactions involved in the implementation of the policy within 3 calendar months from today; and

    · Scrap the policy that allows public officers to purchase state bungalows allocated to them as official residences.

    I have instructed the Chief of Staff, as of today, not to grant any request by any government official to purchase any state vehicle that was assigned to them for official use. Disposal of aged government vehicles must be publicly and transparently done. A scheme is being discussed under which Senior Public Officials will be able to acquire their own vehicles under hire purchase from vehicle dealerships.

    I have directed for the re-registration with GV number plates of all Government vehicles to proceed in earnest and be completed by the 1st quarter of next year.

    As of last week, I have constituted a Committee which will determine as one of the factors for the continuous stay in office of a Minister of State or head of any government Department or Agency, an annual report on the extent to which the recommendations of the Auditor-General’s Report have been implemented in your MDA.

    Under my instruction the Minister for Justice and Attorney-General has submitted a first series of cases from the Auditor General’s Report to EOCO for investigation and possible prosecution before the Financial Tribunal.

    All MDAs must present justification for application for any sole sourcing to cabinet for scrutiny before submission to the PPA.

    Any contracts above GHC5m recurring in multiple budgets must be made public through publication in the newspaper or on the new contract management database portals to be launched soon.

    I am awaiting anxiously the report of the Sole Commissioner on Judgment Debts and pledge to deal firmly with the report when it is presented.

    Finally, I have requested the Minister in Charge of Government Business in Parliament to rally his colleagues in Parliament to:

    · Ensure the quick approval of the National Anti-Corruption Action Plan;

    · Ensure the early Passage of the Right to Information Bill;

    · Ensure the passage of the Whistleblower (Amendment) Bill; and

    · Ensure the passage of the Public Officers Code of Conduct Bill.

    If we are to sustain this fight against corruption, I expect the support and involvement of all Ghanaians. We must disrupt the status quo and create a paradigm shift. We must create the sort of environment in our society that empowers people to take a stand.

    Every corrupt act has multiple witnesses. You may have had nothing to do with it, and you may have nothing to gain from it, but you must be prepared to contribute to fighting it. As citizens of this country each of us has a voice, and each voice carries weight. What we say matters. What we do matters.

    Our ability to fight corruption is weakened when we entrust action to only the political elite, and when we limit our social responsibility to only talking and gossiping about it, making casual allegations and ignoring our call to action. The more people who get involved in this fight against corruption, the stronger our chances of success.

    My government is determined to bring the maximum transparency and accountability to the public processes that have been a fertile ground for the germination and growth of corruption. If we stand side by side in this and work in partnership—government agencies, private sector businesses and organizations, as well as individual citizens working within their communities—we will be able to bring an end to the institution of corruption in this country and perhaps even serve as a model for other countries on the continent to emulate. I look forward to your cooperation.

    Thank you for your kind attention.

  • Minority walk out of Parliament over increase in VAT threshold

    The Minority MPs in Parliament have walked out of Friday’s sitting over moves by government to increase the Value Added Tax (VAT) threshold from a current 12.5 percent to 15 percent.

    Minority MPs are outraged that the motion for the increase was not seconded but taken by the First Deputy Speaker as having been passed. Minority MPs have since walked out!

    Citi FM’s Parliamentary Correspondent, Richard Sky says the Majority side shouted “away! away!” as opposition MPs stormed out of the House!

    Richard Sky noted that “ the allegations from the Minority side is that when the Deputy Minister moved the motion, there was no member from the other side who supported or seconded the motion for it to have been put to a vote but somehow the first deputy speaker of parliament, Hon. Barton Oduro put the motion to a vote and it was carried.”

    According to Richard Dela Sky, “the minority’s position was that  if you look at the provisions of the constitution and media policy decision as increasing the tax rate as far as VAT is concerned, what would have widely been debated among the public in Ghana and in parliament before the increase was done ,but that did not happen again.They called what happened in parliament disgraceful”

    Addressing a press conference after proceedings in parliament, the Member of Parliament for the Sekondi constituency, Paapa Owusu Ankomah and then the Minority leader, said the move was symbolic of stone-age politics which had been introduced via nocturnal means by the government in power.

    “ I must say that the bill in question has been passed and we expect that the president of the Republic will file it into law before it defectively moves to become law,”Mr. Owusu Ankomah added.

  • Bawumia Was Intellectually Dishonest; He Lied To Ghanaians…His Credibility Is Eroding

    A member of the Government’s Communication Team has slammed the 2012 Vice Presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, for spewing lies and desecrating the memory of the late former Vice President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, during the maiden Memorial Lecture of the late Vice-President.

    Dela Edem accuses Dr Bawumia of intellectual dishonesty and exhibited gross incompetence of current economic issues during his address.

    According to him, Dr. Bawumia only mounted the platform to ‘disgrace’ the memorial service by engaging in “petty politics.”

    Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, on Wednesday, dented the credentials of the ruling NDC as a social democratic party and was of an earnest view that with the incumbent government in power, Ghana risks making no significant strides as a nation.

    Dr. Bawumia, delivering a speech at the Alhaji Aliu Mahama Memorial Lectures under the topic; “DISCIPLINE IN ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT: THE KEY TO SUSTAINABLE GROWTH AND PROSPERITY” described the NDC’s socialist agenda as an “Akonfem Socialism.”

    According to him, the current government abandoned all fiscal discipline in an attempt to win the 2012 elections.

    “Ghana’s total public debt has increased from GHC 9.5bn in 2008 to GHC43.9 billion as at August 2013 (an increase of 357% in less than 5 years)! Mr. Chairman, the NDC government has borrowed the equivalent of $20 billion in just the last five years!…

    “What is worrying is that they tell us that this is only the first gear! Can you see or feel that $20 billion dollars has been pumped into this economy in the last five years? Where are the projects to show for the $20 billion? Just imagine the transformational effect if every region were given $2 billion for development projects…

    “At the end of 2008, the government budget deficit to GDP ratio stood at 6.5% (after the rebasing of GDP). This outcome was described by the NDC as bad fiscal management. By the end of the election year 2012, the budget deficit had reached some 12% of GDP (after rebasing of GDP). This is double the deficit in 2008 which the NDC described as reckless! Interestingly, Mr. Chairman, today the NDC government’s objective in the medium term is to get to a budget deficit to GDP ratio of 6.5%, the same as was the case in 2008, which they called reckless! This is what is called reverse gear, not first gear,” the former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana said.

    But his address appears not to have gone down well with the NDC Communicator who believed Dr Bawumia ‘massaged’ figures to suit his party.

    He discounted claims that the economy’s 91day Treasury bill rate stood at 23% as stipulated by Dr. Bawumia in his address. According to him, it is “a palpable lie” coming from the renowned economist since the rate is rather 19%.

    “He was intellectually dishonest on the occasion…Dr. Bawumia portrayed himself as an “economist who did not know his figures and was lying to the people,” he opined.

    Contributing to discussions on PeaceFM’s “Kokrokoo” Morning Show, he stated; “Dr. Bawumia during the occasion came to do petty politics. He drag the programme through the mud…messed up the solemn nature of the occasion and used words that on an ordinary occasion, a gentleman like Bawumia should not have used…His credibility is gradually being eroded, honestly.

    He was just joking. He didn’t know what he was talking about…What kind of joke was that? An occasion like that, a memorable occasion like that we were observing the memorial service of such a prominent personality; then you broach such issues on the platform?” he rhetorically asked.

    To him, if Dr. Bawumia claims the NDC government’s Socialist Democratic System is an “Akonfem socialism”, then the Kufour regime was also a “Wa waaa Capitalism.”

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Kennedy Agyepong Is Like A Kid In A Candy Shop

    You can’t carve an image from a rotten wood-Anonymous.

    Please raise your hands if you know the name of the most disgraced and out of line politician that was birthed as a result of the fourth Republican Constitution and a big prize is yours. The clock is ticking, am counting down, one, two, three, four. Five. Correct, the name is Kennedy Agyepong, the Member of Parliament (MP) for Assin Central and owner of Kent media.

    It was Plato who said that Wise men speak because they have something to say; Fools because they have to say something. I think he made this statement with Kennedy Agyepong in mind. He foresaw a loose cannon even before he was born. He has infected his poisonous venom on the good people of this country, for a long time.

    He even made history as the first Ghanaian to be reported to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in Hague, for his genocidal comments, when he asked Akans to kill Gas and Ewes.

    How does he wish to be remembered?

    Kennedy Agyepong is an interesting character; he lives, eats and breathe on controversy. He cannot stay away from controversy. Anytime he opens his mouth, what comes out is always unbecoming of an MP.

    “I can tell you that, I have what it takes to become NPP Presidential Candidate even more than many of those names out there and I can beat Alan Kyeremanteng hands down but with Nana Akufo-Addo it will be a little difficult,” says Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, NPP MP for Assin Central Constituency in the Central Region.

    This is a report I saw on Peacefmonline.com, attributed to the Daily Dispatch. Kennedy Agyepong was quoted in the Newspaper as having made this remark on a Kumasi based radio station, Hello FM.

    Kennedy Agyepong is orally fixated and can’t control himself when a microphone is put before him, he us like a kid in a candy shop.

    How can anyone in their right senses, possibly compare themselves to Alan kwawdo kyeremanteng, who came close in 2007 to leading the New Patriotic party (NPP) for the 2008 elections, but for his peaceful and gentlemanly nature, he accepted that Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo should go to keep the party intact.

    Despite Nana Addo going back on his promise of allowing Alan Kyeremanteng to go after him, as John Kufuor said to him, he (Alan) is still keen in entering into a fair contest and hopefully will beat the old and tired Nana Addo this time around.

    Why am I not in the least surprised, Kennedy Agyepong’s sudden outburst and dislike for Alan is borne out of the recent exposure by the office of ex-President John Agyekum Kufuor that Kennedy Agyepong benefited immensely during his stewardship as President, he got juicy contracts running into millions of Ghana Cedis from the Ministry of Energy, some of which he never executed, but yet got paid.

    As an opportunist that he is, he is trying so hard to catch the eye and attention of Nana Addo, so that when he becomes a President, any sensible person know that projection is impossible, the same spoils that he got under Kufuor, will be extended to him.

    The good news for Alan kyeremanteng is that the inability of Nana Addo to make any good showing in both the 2008 and 2008 elections, aside his own personal attributes is because of people like Kennedy Agyepong, whose public utterances stinks and pushed people away from the party, so yes Alan does not need Ken’s support.

    Might I remind him (Kennedy) that the only person, who has the capacity to deliver victory and the Flagstaff House to the NPP, is Alan Kwawdo Kyeremanteng not Nana Addo.

    Nana Addo has both in the 2008 and 2012 elections told them that he does not have what it takes to win national election.

    The Delegates of the NPP can throw him up, for as many times as they want, Ghanaians have unequivocally told them that they don’t want him to lead them. The presidency is a serious business not an inheritance for people who are ill equipped for the exigencies of the office, but only on an ego trip.

    I don’t think Dr, Kwame Nkrumah, our founder; know this country more than Nana Addo. Even sitting Presidents, who had eight years, do not know the nooks and cranny of this country than Nana Addo, his campaign and the various tours that he embarked upon prior to the 2008 and 2012 elections was enough to secure him the victory that he so much desired, yet on both occasions, Ghanaians said no way. With all apologies to Kwame Pianim, a renowned economist and a member of the NPP, any idiot can hold a flag, but not rule a country.

    Kennedy Agyepong is an ungrateful being, despite the help and the business opportunities that ex-President Kufuor gave him, like a fowl after eating; he is using his mouth to scratch the ground.

    The last time I checked, he struggled to win his Seat in the last elections. The writing is clear on the wall that his people have had enough of his buffoonery and loose talk.

    “I can also tell you that I will not contest for the Assin Central seat again because of too many demands from many Ghanaians across the country. I want to have enough time for my business and also follow the next flagbearer of the NPP to campaign for power come 2016 across the country,” he explained.

    This is a smokescreen to prevent a disgrace, but not a question of demand from anybody. If he so much has faith in Nana Addo, I think he will advance the same advice to Nana Addo that he should not contest again.

    Ghanaians politics have had enough of the two of them, so if he is contemplating leaving Parliament, that is a relieve, not only to his Constituents, but the whole country. Nana Addo has also overstayed his welcome and relevance; we can’t wait to see these two personalities leave politics for good.

    The abhorrent politics of whitewashing bad people and throwing mud at good people has made the political sphere unattractive to some patriotic, selfless and visionary Ghanaians. For us to build a society where credible and competent people are willing to serve, we must desist from politics of patronage.

    Nana Addo can be whitewashed to look like a calico, he still does not appeal to Ghanaians. There is a saying in Ghana that goes like, if you know somebody; you do not need light to identify that person at night.

     

     

    Source: The Herald

  • TUC under fire for calling off Nov. 18th strike

    The decision by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) to call off the planned November 18th nationwide strike and demonstration has drawn serious criticism from some labour unions.

    According to the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL), they are not in support of the decision and actions of the Chairman of the TUC, Kofi Asamoah.

    Speaking on Eyewitness News, a member of the TDCL, Fredrick Ebo Quansah said the Chairman of the TUC did not consult the various unions that form the TUC before he called off the 18th November, 2013 planned strike.

    “Per our structure if you activate the district council, you need to come back us and tell us, so that both can sit down and then evaluate the 25 percent and see whether if workers can actually pay and survive. Mind you the issue is water and electricity, it is not only about electricity; Kofi Asamoah only came out talking about electricity which has been reduced by 25 percent, which we have not accepted and that is not how the system operates.’’

    Mr. Ebo Quansah further stated that the TUC chairman should have come to the TDCL to discuss the reduction before he confirmed the strike call off.

    “As at now Kofi Asamoah has no right to per the constitution and the structures to go and then agree on any percentage without consulting the TDCL; we totally disagree with him and disassociate ourselves because that is not the mandate that is given to him.’’

    ‘’Before Kofi Asamoah will say anything on behalf of the workers of Ghana he must come back to the constituency to discuss the issue with us before…,’’ Mr Ebo Quansah emphasised.

    He said as far as the Tema District Council is concerned, the strike will be coming on 18th November.

    Also in disagreement with the action of the Chairman of the Trades Union Congress is the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union. The group like the TDCL has also expressed their dissatisfaction with Mr. Kofi Asamoah.

    General Secretary of the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union, Solomon Cottey said “the Industrial and Commercial Workers Union is really feeling peeved by the action of the Executive General of TUC, Kofi Asamoah.’’

    He explained that, for the TUC chairman to issue a press statement all by himself is a betrayal of labour movement trust. “This is quite unfortunate and we are not taking it likely at all…’’

    “The funny document we sited was on the internet and we do not know where it is coming from; that is not how it is done,’’ he lamented.

    The Trade Union Congress (TUC) boss, Kofi Asamoah on Sunday signed a press release calling off the November 18 nationwide labour strike.

    Meanwhile a labour analyst, Kofi Davor has stated that the leadership of organized labour (TUC) should be commended for their good leadership and arriving at a consensus with government.

    “I do not think my brothers and sisters at the Tema District Council of Labour (TDCL) and other district council of labour are suggesting that every decision that the leadership will make will have to be subjected to a kind of referendum.’’

    “We should rather examine the substance of what they [TUC leadership] have done; I think they should be judged on the basis of their negotiations with government,’’ he said.

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Ghana unlikely to meet MDG 4 target

    Even though Ghana is largely on track to achieve most of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), it is unlikely that the 2015 target on MDG 4 will be met unless coverage of effective child survival interventions is increased, the Minister of Health Sherry Ayitey has said.

    MDG 4 demands governments to reduce by two-thirds the under-five mortality rate by 2015. To reach this goal, Ghana must cut under-five mortality to less than 50 deaths per 1,000 live births, but the ratio is currently above 70 per 1,000 according to the African Development Bank (AfDB).

    “Reaching the MDG on reducing child mortality will require universal coverage with key effective, affordable interventions: care for newborns and their mothers; infant and young child feeding; vaccines; prevention and case management of pneumonia, diarrhoea and sepsis; malaria control; and prevention and care of HIV/AIDS. In countries with high mortality, these interventions could reduce the number of deaths by more than half,” said Ms. Ayitey, speaking at the launch of Cerelac Millet, a new product that has been added to the Cerelac baby-foods brand of Nestlé Ghana Limited.

    Ms Ayitey lauded strategies and efforts by multinational organisations in collaboration with governmental institutions to reduce diseases associated with infant mortality such as iron-deficiency anaemia.

    “Iron deficiency-anaemia can impair cognitive performance at all stages of life, can increase the risk and severity of other morbidities, and can ultimately result in death,” she said.

    She said interventions specifically directed at nutrition and health, dietary diversification and fortification, and other public health interventions that result in improvements in iron nutrition are a step in the right direction.

    According to the World Health Organisation, 6.6 million children under five died in 2012. Almost 75% of all child deaths are attributable to just six conditions: neonatal causes, pneumonia, diarrhoea, malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS.

    Sub-Saharan Africa has achieved only about 30 percent reduction in under-five mortality, which is less than half of what is required to reach MDG 4 by 2015.

    Mrs. Rosanna Agble, a nutrition consultant, called for collaborative efforts between government and the private sector to enable the country to attain MDG4.

    She said research has shown that in Ghana only 30 percent of infants aged 6-8 months receive iron-rich foods, compared to 90 percent of those above 2 years.

    “Iron deficiency anaemia during infancy may have long-term and irreversible adverse effects on cognitive development.

    “In the first six months of life, the infant’s nutritional requirements can be totally satisfied by breast milk; but after the initial six months, the baby needs a supplementary food that contains iron and other necessary nutrients for it to grow well.

    “The problem is multi-sectoral, and the private sector should be part of the discussion to reduce anaemia in infants,” she said.

    She also advised government to intensify the education campaign for mothers to learn the need for giving their children the necessary balanced diet to help them grow well.

    Nestlé’s new Cerelac Millet is fortified with iron and — according to the Brand Manager for Nestlé Nutrition Ghana, Grace Nkrumah, it will help reduce anaemia in infants and curb under-five mortality.

    She said because the growth and well-being of children are at the heart of the company, it ensures that infants and children, regardless of their social, economic or cultural situation, receive the best quality nutrition to live a fruitful life.

    She said the necessary resources are invested into research using local raw materials to bring innovation and provide the best infant foods with long-term nutritional benefits.

    She urged all nursing mothers to use the new Cerelac Millet to improve their children’s health and well-being and also help their cognitive development.

     

    Source: B&FT/Ghana

  • NDC Man Calls For ‘State Ban’ On Airing Of Leaked Tapes

    A member of the National Democratic Congress is calling on the government to seek a court order banning the airing of leaked controversial tapes on radio.

    Kakra Essamuah, who is also a lawyer, says he has heard there are several other controversial tapes, akin to what has been described as the vikileaks, waiting to be played on air and the government must be proactive.

    “They [the tapes] cannot be played because the state can take an order from the court against the publication or dissemination [of a tape] that was obtained without legal authority,” he told Kojo Asare Baffour Acheampong, host of Asempa FM’s political talk show programme, Ekosii Sen, Monday.

    Describing the content of the leaked tape as a “gossipy bombast,” the NDC man said the government should not allow any further airing of such tapes. Mr. Essamuah dismissed accusations of cover up if the government were to take such an action.

    Kakra EssamuahThe NDC man is convinced beyond every shadow of doubt that the leaked tape which has caused the deputy Minister of Communication her position, was procured criminally.

    He said the driver, Lawrence Quayeson, accused of recording the conversation of Ms Victoria Hamah in the famous vikileaks saga must be prosecuted. Quoting portions of the Electronic Communications Act, 2008, Kakra Essamuah maintained, the conduct of Quayeson was criminal, improper and must be brought to book.

    “(e)A person who knowingly obstructs or interferes with the sending, transmission, delivery or reception of communication.

    “(f) Intercept or procures another person to intercept without the authorization of the provider or the user or a court order…commits an offence and is liable to conviction” he quoted Act 775 Section 73 of the Electronic Communications Act as saying.

    He expressed surprise about the posture of the police in dealing with the controversial matter. The police after initially arresting Lawrence Quayeson, released him without a charge but Kakra Essamuah said the police erred and must take a second look at the law.

    Meanwhile, a private legal practitioner, Samson Lardy Ayenini insists the driver has committed no criminal offence to be prosecuted.

    He said the laws quoted copiously by Essamuah do not apply in this case. Mr. Ayenini said at best, Victoria Hamah can seek a civil suit against the driver.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • More Explosive Vickyleaks Out – Victoria Hammah Recorded For 90 Days

    Credible information available to the New Statesman indicates that the private conversations of the embattled former deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Hammah, were recorded continuously for a period spanning three months.

    The New Statesman can also report that certain persons are in possession of all the recordings for the period, which they say contain more “explosive materials which can bring down the entire Mahama administration in a second.”

    Indeed, as of yesterday morning, the New Statesman had gathered that President John Dramani Mahama had allegedly “pleaded” with an owner of media networks not to allow any of his stations to air the 3-month long recordings.

    The said owner (name withheld), who is said to be a friend of President Mahama, according to sources at the radio station, ordered his staff not to air the other sections of the 3-month long tape in deference to President Mahama’s request.

    It remains unclear if President John Mahama has made similar requests to other media networks in the country. But a radio programme producer we contacted yesterday confirmed his station had got the entire tape and would soon be releasing the recordings in batches.

    The New Statesman can also report that prior to the airing of what has now been termed as “Vikileaks”, a staff at the radio station in question called Victoria Hammah to inform her about the existence of a recording of her.

    However, according to the staff, who spoke to the New Statesman on condition of anonymity, Victoria Hammah dared the station to go ahead and play the tape, allegedly insisting that she had nothing to hide because she had not been involved in any scandalous affair.

    The New Statesman is also reliably informed that the 30-minute long tape in circulation has been edited, as the original tape spans a total of 42 minutes. Very sensitive portions, according to our source, have been taken out from the recording, where names of very prominent Ministers in the Mahama administration were allegedly mentioned by Victoria Hammah to have indulged themselves in dubious deals, and amassing millions of Ghana Cedis as a result.

    What has been aired so far captures the dismissed deputy communications minister telling a friend that Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Nana Oye Lithur, played instrumental role in securing victory for President Mahama and the National Democratic Congress in the 2012 presidential election petition trial and that she even saw the judges before the judgment was given.

    Mrs Oye Lithur, wife of the president’s counsel, Tony Lithur, has denied the claims made against her, describing them as “outrageous and preposterous.”

    Those in possession of the entire 90-day recordings say other information on the tape is more implosive than what is now in the public domain.

     

    Source: thestatesmanonline

  • Four arrested over assassination of Seikwa chief

    Police have arrested four suspects in relation to the assassination of the paramount chief of Seikwa traditional area in the Bono Ahafo Region.

    Nana Kweku Gyimah Ankoana was gunned down at his residence by unknown assailants last week forcing the police to begin investigations.

    It was not clear the motive for the assassination even though police conceded the late chief had his cars vandalised three months ago.

    The District Police Commander of Seikwa ASP Christopher Tawiah told Citi News four suspects have been arrested after three days of investigation.

    According to him, the four have been transferred to the Police HQ in Accra as investigations continue.

    Due to the volatile security situation in Seikwa, ASP Tawiah did not mention the names of the suspects but insisted four suspects are in police custody.

    He said Seikwa remains calm after the incident.

     

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Reduction in electricity tariffs sad for Ghana – Tarzan

    Energy Expert, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby has described as “sad”, government’s decision to cut utility tariffs by about 25 per cent.

    He said the action was an unnecessary inteference with the work of the Public Utilities Regulatory Commission (PURC), the constitutionally mandated body to set utility prices in consultation with the relevant stakeholders..

    “This is a sad day for Ghana”, Dr. Wereko-Brobby, who is also the Chief Policy Analyst at the Ghana Institute for Public Policy Options (GIPPO), said on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM, Monday.

    The decision of government to bow to the pressure of organised labour which threatened a nation-wide demonstration if nothing was done about the tariffs, Tarzan argued, “undermines the independence of the PURC. You cannot start talking about automatic adjustment and people taking steps to interfere in the original jurisdiction of the PURC.”

    The former Chief Executive of the Volta River Authority, the national power generator, said Ghanaians paid far less for water and electricity compared “to what we pay for mobile phone calls.”

    Government on Sunday announced it had slashed the 79 per cent increase in electricity tariffs announced by the PURC in September by 25 percent.

    It said the measure was to minimise the impact of the new utility tariffs on consumers. This means consumers will now pay 59.18 percent and not the 78.9 per cent originally announced by the PURC.

    Government also asked the regulator to start with the implementation of the Automatic Tariff Adjustment Formula (ATAF) from January, 2014. By this formula, utility tariffs will be reviewed on a quarterly basis.

    Dr. Wereko-Brobby said if at all government wanted to intervene in the pricing of the utilities, the subsidy should have gone to the manufacturing sector to generate growth and expand the economy.

    Also speaking on the Super Morning Show, Dr. Tony Aidoo, the Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation at the Presidency, commended government for the intervention.

    He said it was necessary that all citizens benefited from the subsidy irrespective of their social and economic status.

    “I believe that it is the business of government to make sure that there is redistribution of opportunities for the purpose of closing the inequality gap,” he explained.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Prez Mahama “Incompetent” And “Unqualified” – PPP

    The Progressive People’s Party (PPP) says the exercise of a lack of due diligence by President John Dramani Mahama in determining whether his appointees were “qualified” or “intelligent” enough to occupy the positions entrusted to them, can be equated to mean the President himself is “incompetent” and “unqualified”.

    Expressing its disquiet over the gross incompetence being demonstrated by some of the president’s appointees in a statement issued today on behalf of the Youth Wing of the Party, Divine Nkrumah, the National Youth Coordinator of the PPP opined that such conduct by the appointees “only discredits the image of the youth in this country”.

    We find it difficult to understand why the NDC government is unwilling to make competence its hall mark but rather uses other considerations in determining who should be in charge of what,” the PPP Youth Wing said.

    It therefore wants the president to conduct a “fresh reshuffle” to “rid his government of all the corrupt, incompetent and selfish ministers”.

    We wish to ask him to look beyond his comfort zone in the NDC and look far in all areas before appointing another set of young unintelligent people who might end up disgracing this country again,” the statement read.

     

    Read the full statement below…

    PREZ MAHAMA MUST LOOK ELSEWHERE FOR INTELLIGENT AND COMPETENT YOUTH IF …………

    The Youth Wing of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) is not surprised a bit by the recent twist of events that has brought shame on the Mahama led government. They have been forced by negative circumstances to relieve Victoria Hammah of her position as Deputy Minister of Communications just to save their face. Everybody in this country is familiar with the issues relating to the appointment of Victoria Hammah and others. A lot of concerns were raised about competence at the time and indeed, time has really exculpated those who did.

    Our only disquiet has to do with the fact that the incompetence that has been demonstrated by appointees in Mahama’s government only discredits the image of youth in this country. In a way, this gives credence to support the perception that all young people are not just inexperienced but not ready to handle significant responsibility. This we find rather unfortunate.

    The dismissed Deputy Minister of Communications, Victoria Hammah on her leaked tape insistently said that she, Victoria Hammah including other ministers in Mahama’s government are unintelligent. Also, Kwesi Pratt among other social commentators have come out heavily to impugn her competence, saying that Victoria Hammah was not qualified to be minister in the first place. If that is the case, then the question that immediately comes to is, who appoints ministers? What does this scenario connote of the person who does the appointment? It clearly smacks of the point that the President who has the mandate to appoint ministers can equally on this occasion be considered “incompetent or unqualified”. He failed in his duty to exercise due diligence to determine whether the people he was appointing were qualified or intelligent enough to occupy such positions.

    We are all aware of the tedious processes and scrutiny that one has to go through before he/she gets to work in a small private company in Ghana here. So how come the same level of scrutiny was not applied in the selection of people to occupy Ministerial positions, considering the magnitude of work of a Minister? What were the criteria? Was it just about ‘foot-soldierism or cadreship’? Our concern is the fact that, the continuous appointment of young incompetent people into government seems to be creating the impression that there are no competent young people in Ghana. We find it difficult to understand why the NDC government is unwilling to make competence its hall mark but rather uses other considerations in determining who should be in charge of what.

    We from the PPP, made competent leadership the trump-card of our campaign message in the 2012 elections. We believe that it is only when the president decides to put party, family and personal connections and colours aside and use the best people in Ghana that we shall achieve an optimal condition for growth and development in this country.

    We find the misconduct of Miss Hammah as an exposure of the weaknesses in the appointment processes of ministers in this country. We would like to bring to the attention of the good people of Ghana that if the NDC lacks credible and competent youth to help in the governance of this country, then they should look nowhere else than the young astute people in the PPP.

    In the interest of mother Ghana, we wish to respectfully ask president Mahama to be AWAKE and conduct a fresh reshuffle that will rid his government of all the corrupt, incompetent and selfish ministers. We wish to ask him to look beyond his comfort zone in the NDC and look far in all areas before appointing another set of young unintelligent people who might end up disgracing this country again.

    Signed:

    Divine Nkrumah

    National Youth Cordinator, PPP

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Prez Mahama calls off India visit

    Information reaching Kessben Fm indicates that President John Dramani Mahama has cancelled his three-day India visit which was supposed to have begun on Sunday, 10th November due to “pressing” domestic developments.

    The Ministry for External Affairs Spokesperson, Syed Akbaruddin told the Indian media that the government of Ghana had conveyed to India that the President will not be able to visit India and new dates for the visit will be worked out.

    “We have received a communication from government of Ghana that due to pressing domestic developments, President of Ghana John Dramani Mahama will not be able to visit India,” he said.

    Specifics of the pressing domestic developments were however not been stated.

    President Mahama’s government has faced several corruption allegations in its short period of being in power with the recent one being the GRA/Subah scandal in which the Ghana Revenue Authority allegedly paid almost GH¢144 million to Subah Infosolutions LTD, for no work done.

    On Friday, President Mahama sacked Deputy Communications Minister, Victoria Hammah over what is believed to be comments she is said to have made about internal government and party issues in a leaked tape.

    On the said tape, the voice purported to hers, is heard telling the person on the other side, that she will not quit politics until she makes at least US$1m.

    The tape went viral on the internet and social networking sites with newspapers quoting verbatim the comments contained thereof.

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Nollywood actress Cossy Orjiakor insures boobs for $1.6million

    Nollywood actress, Cossy Orjiakor who has gained a sensational sex identity is currently a happy woman as she is set to hit another gold mine with her endowment.

    The actress was reported to have agreed to a deal to insure her bloated mammary glands for a whooping $1.6million amounting to N256million.

    The deal according to source, was introduced to her by an American friend who also dragged Enhanced Silicon Inc. responsible for insuring breasts of famous foreign celebrities into the deal.

    The company, which  insured the bosóms of Pamela Anderson and Dolly Parton agreed to the deal just before Cossy’s recent birthday bash, where she displayed her endowments for the world to see. The booby actress will be travelling  to Los Angeles in two weeks to sign on the dotted lines. “I specifically asked for $1.6 million,” Cossy was quoted as saying.

    As part of the deal awaiting her signature, there will be limits on how many men and women who would touch her bósoms each month. Also, the bósoms have all been given names and must now be treated as people in future movie roles. That means that Enhanced Silicon Inc. will determine how much a movie producer will pay each bosóm for an appearance in a movie. “The downside of the deal is that I may get dressed’, Cossy added.

    Cossy seems pretty excited about the deal as sources maintained that each of the endowment will be named and anyone who prefers to touch will have to pay for it just as Enhanced Silicon Inc. will henceforth, decide the amount producers will pay per breast, for appearance in a movie.

     

    Source: Vanguardngr.com

  • FIFA provides Ghana with Egypt match security plans

    FIFA has informed Ghanaian authorities about the comprehensive security plans to ensure the safety of the Black Stars for next week’s World Cup qualifier in Egypt.

    The world governing body was responding to a request by Ghana’s Minister for Youth & Sports Elvis Afriyie-Ankrah to have the security plans for the match to be played on 19 November in Cairo.

    FIFA revealed that a Ghana security delegation sent to Cairo to peruse the plans laid out by the host nation was satisfied with the preparations done by the Egyptians.

    “We take this renewed opportunity to confirm FIFA’s captioned qualifying match will be held in Cairo on 19th November, 2013 as per the initial calendar,” FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke wrote in a letter to the GFA and Ministry of Youth & Sports.

    “The security plan has been designed in order to ensure total protection for all the delegations (Ghana, Egypt and FIFA) from arrival up to departure.

    “Police escorts will permanently cover each and every transfer of these delegations, as well as an ambulance, while the hotels will be totally secured by the deployment of sufficient security guards.

    “The training sessions will also be taken care of in the most thorough and comprehensive security approach and delivery. The different security perimeters will filter the ticket-holders who will be searched individually before accessing the inner perimeter.

    “The accredited media representatives will also be thoroughly screened as part of the security plan. The latter will be delivered in accordance with the provisions laid down by FIFA’s Stadium Safety and Security Regulations.”

    Despite insisting that the match will be played in Cairo, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke will meet Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah, GFA President Kwesi Nyantakyi and other officials from the Ghana Football Association in a meeting in the Togolese capital Lome on Monday morning to discuss the plans for the match.

    This comes after the GFA protested over hosting the second-leg match in the volatile Cairo before Mr. Afriyie-Ankrah demanded the comprehensive plans to ensure that the Black Stars will be safe when they play the match in the Egyptian capital.

    The Black Stars have a 6-1 advantage going into the second-leg of the match.


    Source: Ghanafa.org

  • Dishonesty In Governance Is At Its Peak… We Need A Revolution – Chief

    The Paramount Chief of Essikado Traditional Area, in the Western Region, Nana Kobina Nketsia V, has bemoaned the unbridled corruption in the country.

    The Chief says he is even more worried about the excessive politicization of almost every corrupt act.

    The academician, who was speaking at a public lecture organized by the Western Regional Branch of the Old Vandals Association at the Takoradi Polytechnic auditorium, says there is the need for a massive revolution in the consciousness of Ghanaians.

    The public lecture is the second to be organized by Western Regional members of the Commonwealth Hall on the theme, “Mining and Development The Perspectives of the Western Region”.

    Nana Kobina Nketsia V, who chaired the occasion, said dishonesty in governance was at its peak.

    The Paramount Chief in an angry tone called for a massive revolution in the consciousness and attitudes of Ghanaians if there is to be a change in the country’s governance system.

    “We need a revolution in this country, and unless we can do that, what is happening will keep on happening and we won’t have any future because we have reached a point in our country where people try to lie to make profit. I saw a fleet of V8s tooting their horns around, at very top speed. About four of them were empty. I looked at them and I could see my wealth being drained up by very stupid people who you and I are more intelligent than. We pay them, we elect them to serve us and they come and sit on us. And you are busy dividing yourself into NDC and NPP, for what? I am a Vandal and a Ghanaian and it matters much more than all these things that are going on”.

    “When somebody is corrupt, you find one party defending him, and another party says no. So even corruption we can’t get the mind that this is bad and so we should not do it? So if we can’t govern a country in truth, then what are we doing? And this has been going on for too long,” he stated.

    Commenting on the theme for the lecture, the chief bemoaned the low levels of development in the Western Region in the midst of vast natural resources.

    “I went to school free. What have I done to Ghana? When you see my eyes red, they are as red as the flag of the vandals. In the whole of the Western Region, there are no motorable roads. Yet we sit down and say that the Western Region is the richest, richest in what? Poverty,” he asked. This region has the kind of resources that we Africans can use to develop to become the hub of development for the whole of the West African sub-region. Japan has no gold or oil, we have the gold and yet we say we are poor. Who are we? What did we go to school for? I am sorry that I am bringing some of my anger but you need to be angry with your country in order to put it right. You need this revolution in consciousness” he asserted.

    A mining specialist in charge of Extractive Industries with the Non- Governmental Organization, Friends of the Nation, Solomon Ampofo, who delivered the lecture, said the impact of mining on the Western Region, which produces the highest amount of minerals, is largely negative. He warns Ghana could repeat mistakes in the oil and gas sector.

    He cautioned, “If we don’t learn the lessons from the mining sector, then I am also afraid we are going to repeat it in the petroleum sector, because mining has come with huge social and environmental cost. If we are doing cost benefit analysis of mining, it will be negative because we don’t have anything to show for it. All that we have to show is extreme social and environmental damage. And I am afraid if we don’t put in the legal and necessary regulatory framework, if we don’t build strong institutions and utilize the revenue effectively, then we might repeat the mistakes that we have done in the mining industry”.

     

    Source: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/Radio Maxx/Takoradi

  • Ghana Is 3rd Most Corrupt Country – Latest Poll Report

    Ghana has been ranked third most perceived corrupt country among 129 countries with free press.

    This is the latest corruption perception index report issued by Gallup. Ghana scored 89 percent behind Czech Republic and Lithuania.

    The Gallup report comes on the back of series of investigative reports pointing to corruption in various sectors.

    The latest Gallup poll was conducted between April and May 2012 on perception of countries with free and limited press around the world. Ghana was recognized among the countries with free press.

    The report shows that majority of people in the 108 out of 129 countries surveyed in April and May 2012, view corruption as widespread in their government. Ghana scored 89 per cent alongside Portugal, South Africa, Italy, Costa Rica and South Korea, all of which are recognized as free press countries.

    Among countries with a free press, the percentage of adults who say corruption is widespread in their government reaches as high as 94% in the Czech Republic and as low as 14% in Sweden.

    The ranking means that Ghana is now placed third among free press countries with the highest corruption perceptions worldwide.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Alleged votes buying hits NPP in the north

    A youth group of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) calling itself the Concerned Patriots has raised alarm over alleged vote buying in the Northern Region.

    According to the group, some aspiring NPP candidates vying for positions at the regional and national levels are bribing delegates to vote for them during the NPP’s delegates’ congresses.

    As part of their modus operandi, those involved in the alleged votes buying spree are buying nomination forms and sponsoring potential candidates to contest the upcoming NPP election, the group claimed.

    Spokesperson for the Concerned Patriots, Yussif Danjumah in an interview with Citi News threatened to expose those involved in the deal if they don’t stop the practice.

    “Not only the national executives, those who want to contest for the constituency and regional executive positions are manipulating the system to the favour them and we will expose them if they don’t stop their secret deals.”

    He complained that the situation was deepening the seeming factionalism in the NPP.

    “We cannot have transparency in that regard and this is deepening the factionalism we are talking about in the NPP; it is also going to deepen moneycratization in the party’s internal electoral system.”

    He lamented, “They are buying forms for their associates to contest the various positions at the grassroot level to help them succeed at the regional and national levels.”

    Yussif Danjumah therefore called for a reduction of the filing fees pegged at GHC4 cedis to GHC2 cedis to make it possible for competent but needy aspirants to contest the race at the grassroot level.

    “Some people in the party find it difficult to get one cedi a day and they have to file for four cedis, where will they get the money to pay?”

    Meanwhile, first national Vice Chairman of the NPP, Fred Oware has condemned such practice and said the party was yet to receive official complaint from the group raising the concern.

    “As a matter of fact the party frowns on votes buying; I do not have names, places and amounts that have been paid; these are matters that I have also generally heard but I am yet to receive further details.”

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • TUC delacres nationwide strike

    The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has declared a nationwide strike action expected to take effect on November 18th over what it calls an “astronomical increase in utility tariffs”

    This comes after it rejected the report of the technical committee set up by President John Mahama to assess the impact of the recent hikes in utility prices.

    The workers are protesting the increase in utility price hikes announced on October 1. Electricity was adjusted upward by 79% while water went up by 52 %.

    A statement issued by the TUC among other things called on all Organised Labour Groups to “convene emergency meetings as soon as possible to adopt the necessary resolutions to back the planned nationwide industrial actions.”

    Below is the press statement issued after the meeting

    PRESS STATEMENT BY ORGANISED LABOUR

    The Leadership of Organised Labour met, once again, today, Tuesday, 29th October, 2013 to deliberate on recent developments since the PURC announced increases in utility tariffs on behalf of the Government. You may recall that, following Organised Labour leadership meeting held on Tuesday, 8th October, 2013, a ten-day ultimatum was issued to the PURC and the Government to reduce the tariffs or face the wrath of workers.

    Following the ultimatum, Government constituted a Technical Working Group (TWG) to, among other terms of reference, “examine mitigating measures that would allow industry and consumers to adjust to any new level of tariff adjustment”.

    After a thorough examination of the TWG report, we have come to the conclusion that none of the scenarios presented in the report addresses the concerns of Organized Labour. For example, the TWG’s best possible scenario which proposes 60 percent increase in the end-user-tariff for electricity implies an effective increase of76 percent as a result of the additional levies and charges.

    We, therefore, have no option but to call on all the working people of Ghana, their families and the good people of Ghana to express their dissatisfaction about the failure on the part of Government to reduce utility tariffs to affordable levels.

    The following are the actions we have planned to back our demand for the reduction of utility tariffs:

    1. On Monday, 18th November, 2013, all workers in both the formal and informal sectors are requested to stay at home in protest against the astronomical increase in utility tariffs.

    2. Organised Labour groups in all the 10 regions are requested to convene meetings to plan and stage demonstrations in all the Regional Capitals before 18th November, 2013.

    3. All Organised Labour Groups are requested to convene emergency meetings as soon as possible to adopt the necessary resolutions to back the planned nationwide industrial actions.

    We call on all workers to participate fully in these actions in order to send a clear message to Government that Ghana is not for the few politicians who are making decisions and choices on our behalf and that we cannot tolerate such insensitive actions on the part of the so-called independent state institutions who are established to make decisions on our behalf.

    We will continue to keep workers updated on all developments. We thank all workers for their support so far. We are, once again, appeal” to you to sustain this struggle until we achieve our aim.

    We continue to count on your support.

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • MP Sues Foreign Oil Companies Over Local Content

    The Member of Parliament for Obuasi West, Hon Kwaku Kwarteng and Development Data (a policy research organisation) have filed a writ at the fast track high court to compel Total, Vivo Energy, Oando and Engen to have the 50% Ghanaian ownership required by law.

    The four foreign-owned oil marketing companies have been buying and selling fuel in Ghana in spite of the licensing requirement that any company operating in fuel retail business should have at least 50% Ghanaian
    Also cited in the suit is the National Petroleum Authority, the national regulator of the petroleum download industry. In the writ, the complainants have accused the regulator of failure to enforce its own requirements against these offending foreign-owned companies.

    In many countries, the petroleum retail sector is the exclusive preserve of local people. In Ghana however, the licensing regime allows foreigners to do business in petroleum retailing but are obliged to partner Ghanaians in doing so.

    According to the complainants, the four foreign-owned companies have failed to comply with this requirement, and are therefore praying the court to compel the companies to cede 50% of their shareholding to Ghanaians. The complainants are further challenging the lawfulness of NPA’s “no objection” to the takeover of Shell Ghana by Vivo Energy earlier this year, since Vivo Energy did not have the requisite 50% Ghanaian ownership.

    The outcome of this case could have a revolutionary effect on the petroleum retail sector of Ghana since many of these foreign companies have access to cross subsidization opportunities from their controlling parent companies. This could allow them to dominate the market and give them an unfair advantage that will eventually push indigenous Ghanaian retailers out of business.

    Lawyer for the complainants is the renowned Mr Alexander Abban of Akufo-Addo, Prempeh and Co chambers. Hearing will begin next week.

    Writ

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Parliamentary staff to lock out MPs if…

    Workers of Ghana’s Parliament are planning what insiders are calling an “industrial action” if their conditions of Service are not improved.

    Speaking on Eyewitness News, Chairman of the Parliamentary Workers Union, Maxwell Tetteh said ‘’our issue has to do with our condition of service for the past nine years. Since the time of Former Speaker Ala Adjetey, we called the management to come and review our condition of service but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears’’

    Citi News’ investigations revealed that the angry workers are planning to lock out Members of Parliament (MPS) if the Parliamentary Service Board fails to improve their conditions of Service. According to Citi News sources, the plan to lock out MPs is said to be the only option left to get positive results.

    ‘’We cannot hold on much right now because our conditions of service is deteriorating and we cannot continue with the suffering again; if by the end of this particular month [October] we don’t hear anything then we will also advise ourselves as to what to do,’’ said the Chairman of the Parliamentary Workers Union.

    Mr. Tetteh also intimated that those in management positions are given preferential treatment compared to the rest of the staff.

    “I have worked in Parliament House for more than thirteen years and my salary is not even up to a GHC 1,000; I can send you my pay slip for you to clarify,’’ he added.

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Exclusive…Exclusive…Exclusive… EVIDENCE: SG RECEIVED $19.5m….In Settlement of Dispute With GNPC !

    It’s official! It’s factual! It’s undisputable! The French Bank, Societe Generale was indeed a receipient of the sum of US$ 19,500,000.00 in full and final settlement of GNPC’s indebtedness to the bank as a result of a hedging transaction the two entities( SG and GNPC) had entered into between October 1996 and July 1998.

    The testimony of Mr. Gilbert Hie, Managing Director of Societe Generale(SG),Ghana Limited at the Judgment Debt Commission when he appeared before it on September 17, 2013, to the effect that Societe Generale had no records of the payment of $19.5 million to the French Bank as settlement of its dispute with the GNPC in 2001, raised a cloud of doubt over some assertions made by top officials of the Kufuor Administration, particularly Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah and Mr. K.T. Hammond, then Minister of Energy and Deputy Minister Of Energy respectively in connection with the settlement payment made to SG in 2001.

    Mr. Hie explained that by French Law, documents were required to be kept for a maximum of 10 years, beyond it the law did not require them to continue keeping the documents/records, and was therefore not surprised that the documents/records could not be found.

    Against the backdrop that Mr. Kan Dapaah had at a press conference held in Accra on August 8, 2001, told the media and the nation that “after almost six weeks of intensive negotiations Societe Generale agreed to accept $19.5 million in full and final settlement” of GNPC’s indedtedness to the bank(SG), coupled with his( Kan Dapaah’s) “open communication” to the Sole Commissioner, dated September 13,2013, to the effect that ” following extensive negotiations with SG, GoG managed to reach an agreement with SG to pay it Nineteen Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$ 19,500,000.00),thereby saving GoG Twenty Seven Million Five Hundred Thousand United States Dollars(US$27,500,000.00)”; Mr. Hie’s testimony at the Judgment Debt Commission on September 17, 2003 raised serious ” credibility and integrity challenges” for Mr. Kan Dapaah in particular and the Kufuor Administration in general.

    However, the cloud of doubt generated by Mr. Hie’s testimony has began to dissipate into thin air as the relevant documents and records emerge into the open. Painstaking investigations by The New Crusading GUIDE over the last few months both in Ghana and abroad, have led to the “interception” of some very critically vital financial and banking documents/records on the settlement negotiations between Societe Generale(SG) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation(GNPC) which clearly confirm that SG was indeed paid $19.5m in July 2001.

    Published/scanned on the frontpage of this edition of The New Crusading GUIDE is the documentary evidence of the “Payment Order” from the Den norske Bank ASA,London Branch which effected the payment of the $19.5m telegraphically to the New York account of SG on July 16, 2001.

    The “Payment Order” under reference which was signed by Anthony Manston-Edwards and Christopher Tregoning (both as Authorised Signatories) read: “We hereby irrevocably and unconditionally confirm that we have telegraphically remitted the following payment:

    *Amount: US$19,500,000.00

    *Value Date: 16 July 2001

    *Beneficiary: Societe Generale

    *Account No: Societe Generale New York

    * SWIFT: SOGEUS33

    *Favour : Societe Generale, Paris

    * SWIFT: SOGEFRPPHCM

    *Account : 150371

    *Ref: OPER/CTY/COT/BAC

    *By Order Of: Frontier Drilling ASA

    *Details: Part settlement of purchse price of “DISCOVERER 511

    The “Payment Order” dated 16th July 2001 was formally addressed to Societe Generale, 17, Cours Valmy, 92987, Paris La Defense, France.

    The above details clearly corroborate the assertions made by Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah and Mr. K.T. Hammond that the French Bank, Societe Generale did indeed receive $19.5m ” in full and final settlement” of its dispute with GNPC in July 2001. They also effectively bury the cloud of doubt generated by the testimony of Mr. Hie at the Judgment Debt Commission, and of course, “kill off” the propaganda mischief unleashed to assassinate the characters and reputations of top officials of the Kufuor Administration whose responsibility it was to negotiate the GNPC out of the financial and managerial abyss that the Tsikata-led Management had thrown the Corporation into by January 2001 when the Kufuor Administration assumed the reigns of power in Ghana.

    Please stay tuned for more on the results of our financial trail relative to the whereabouts of the balance of $3.5m banker’s draft in the name of the Government of Ghana (GoG) and related matters.

    GNPC

     

    Source: New Crusading Guide

  • ‘NPP’s non-Akan members are not being ostracized’ – Ayikoi Otoo

    A former Attorney General, Joseph Ayikoi Otoo has denied media reports that non-Akan members within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) are “ostracized and sidelined” within the party.

    Media reports suggested that Mr Ayikoi Otoo, who is also vying for the chairmanship slot in the party has advised the party leadership to quit isolating the NPP’s non-Akan members to help shed the widely held perception that the party was solely for the Akan ethnic group

    But speaking on Eye Witness News, Mr Ayikoi Otoo denied those allegations adding that he had not granted any media house an interview in that regard.

    “I’m sorry the media got everything wrong. I was only addressing TESCON members on the election petition at Cape Coast when we had an open forum and somebody asked a question on how the party was addressing disunity within the clan and I just responded to that question in that context.”

    He noted that “his response was just a direct explanation to a question asked.”

    “I just said this was a propaganda that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) is using against us so we should not give credence to this propaganda by our own actions. I do not know where all these allegations are coming from.

    I did not even know that media houses were around to confer the program since I was just addressing TESCON students but unknowingly some media houses had recorded general comments I made earlier. I declined all the interviews so I don’t have any idea about this issue,”he added

    Citing an example in that regard, he said: “If you don’t market the NPP to the people of Accra then people will think the party falls within only the Akan tribe”

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • UK court ruled $40.8m plus interest against GNPC

    There is a determined effort out there to create the impression there was no judicial determination of the dispute involving the French Bank, Societe Generale (SG) and the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) which was heard in a London High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom (UK) between 1999 and 2001, the Crusading Guide newspaper reports.

    Apparently, the paper said, this impression has become even more manifest in the wake of some of the answers provided by a former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNPC, Dr. Amos Ofori-Quaah to questions posed to him by the Counsel for the Sole Commissioner on Judgment Debts during the former’s recent testimony at the Commission.

    The Counsel for the Commission had asked Dr. Ofori-Quaah how the problems of the hedging transaction between SG and GNPC were related to the Drillship, Discoverer 511, and Dr. Ofori-Quaah in response, said “apparently, as a result of the hedging, there was an indebtedness. GNPC was indebted to Societe Generale to the tune of $40 million with $7 million interest and cost, so the total was $47 million. The case was in court. Societe Generale had sued GNPC in court on this matter”.

    “Where was this court?”, probed the Counsel for the Commission. “In London. At the same time the case was running in the court, they were also trying to settle outside of the court. So eventually, the rig had to be sold to pay off the indebtedness of GNPC”, replied Ofori-Quaah.

    The Counsel for the Sole Commissioner continued to probe further: “Was this debt payment related to a judgment that was obtained by Societe Generale against GNPC?”. In response, Ofori-Quaah said “To the best of my knowledge I have never seen any judgment.”

    “You have never sighted any copy of the judgment?”, queried the Counsel for the Commission. “Not to the best of my knowledge”, repeated Ofori-Quaah.

    Dr. Ofori-Quaah was further asked whether “to the best of your knowledge before the Deputy Minister K.T. Hammond was asked to go and handle this settlement, had there been a judgment or was the settlement done before the judgment?”.  “To the best of my knowledge. No. I don’t. I have never sighted anything in the terms of a judgment”, emphasized Ofori-Quaah.

    Apparently, it was this encounter between the Counsel for the Commission and the former GNPC CEO which provided the ammunition for some media and political circles to speculate and insinuate that former Minister of Energy, Mr. Albert Kan Dapaah and his deputy, K.T. Hammond had engaged in some dubious deals relative to the payment of $19.5 million to SG in settlement of the dispute between the SG and GNPC which was before a High Court of Justice in London, United Kingdom. Indeed, the entire Kufuor Administration, and particularly, Nana Akufo-Addo, then Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, were accused of having “swindled” the country over the SG/GNPC palaver.

    To bring clarity to bear on the issues at stake, The New Crusading GUIDE takes a trip down memory lane to recapture exactly what Kan Dapaah told the nation about the outcome of the SG/GNPC dispute at a press conference held in Accra on August 8, 2001.

    “On 6th June this year, the London High Court ruled in favour of Societe Generale for the full $40 million sum, together with interest and costs totaling a further $7 million; bringing Mr. Tsikata’s total indebtedness to the bank to $47 million. In order to get its money, the bank decided to sell the drillship and to pursue the GNPC for any balance, should the proceeds of the sale not be able to cover the full amount of indebtedness. Faced with imminent loss of the drillship, the government dispatched the Deputy Minister of Energy, on June 13, to London and Paris to try and reach a negotiated settlement with the bank. The Deputy Minister was also to ensure an orderly sale of the ship to obtain proper market price, if it became inevitable that it had to be sold “, articulated Kan Dapaah.

    He continued: “After almost six weeks of intensive negotiations Societe Generale agreed to accept $19.5 million in full and final settlement of Mr. Tsikata’s indebtedness to the bank. The bank however, would not release the ship from arrest until the settlement figure was paid in full and immediately. Under the circumstances, the Government directed the Deputy Minister to sell the drillship at the best price that could be obtained on the international market. Consequently, the ship was sold to Frontier Drilling of Norway for $24 million, with the formal transaction for the sale being concluded on 17th July 2001″.

    It is obvious from the preceding submission by Kan Dappah that there had never been a claim that the $19.5 million paid to SG was as a result of a specific ruling/order by a court. Indeed, all along, the nation and the media were told in clear terms that while there had been a June 6, 2001 court ruling of $40 million plus interest of $7 million in favour of SG, the $19.5 million paid to SG was as a result of “almost six weeks of intensive negotiations” after the June 6, 2001 Court judgment, a copy of which was published on the frontpage of today’s edition of The New Crusading GUIDE.

    The said June 6, 2001 judgment delivered by Justice Thomas in the High Court of Justice, Queen’s Bench Division( Commercial Court), read as follows: “And upon the Defendant having failed to comply with the order of Mr. Justice Thomas dated 5 June 2001 and the Defendant’s amended points of Defence and Counter-Claim having been struck out pursuant to the said Order; and upon the Claimant having abandoned its Claims under paragraphs 3,4,and 6 of the Prayer to the amended points of Claims; it is this day adjudged that the Defendant do pay the sum of US$40,820,781( or sterling equivalent as at the time of payment ) together with interest to be assessed and costs to be the subject of a detailed assessment”.

    To be fair to Mr. Tsatsu Tsikata, it must be put on record that he had questioned the circumstances which led to the delivery of the June 6,  2001 Judgment in favour of SG. At his “counter” press conference held in Accra on 6th September, 2001, he contended that SG had obtained the June 6, 2001 Judgment because ” there was no representation by or on behalf of GNPC…”.

    He recalled that GNPC’s Lawyers had made some applications before the court, affidavits filed in support, including one by him (Tsikata) but GNPC was subsequently instructed by the Kufuor Administration to notify the Corporation’s external solicitors who were representing GNPC in court that ” the case would no longer be handled by them but by the Attorney-General’s Department in Ghana”.

    “The solicitors for GNPC therefore obtained permission from the court to withdraw from acting for the Corporation. The important applications they had made to the court were therefore not pursued. Obviously, taking advantage of this situation, Societe Generale applied to the court to make certain amendments to their case and then, thereafter, applied for judgment against GNPC. There was no representation by or on behalf of GNPC, and judgment was entered against the Corporation”, clarified Mr. Tsikata.

    Mr. Tsikata underscored that GNPC had been contesting the claims of Societe Generale since the bank instituted their action in 1999. He recalled that a statement of defence and counter-claim were filed on behalf of GNPC. These steps, according to him, “were based on the fact that Societe Generale had provided negligent advice to the Corporation with regards to the strategy it recommended for the Corporation to hedge its anticipated production of oil and gas from the Tano Fields”.

    Drill ShipHe claimed “an important element of the GNPC case was the testimony of an expert on derivatives based in Chicago, Dr. Culp, who wrote a report showing that Societe Generale had acted negligently in its advice to GNPC…”.

    Mr. Tsikata also drew attention to the fact that Societe Generale had lost two previous lawsuits against the Corporation in the United States of America (USA). According to him, before SG brought their claim in the London High Court, they had earlier in 1998 filed a suit in the United States- in the District Court in Houston- seeking an order to have the GNPC drillship, D511, moved to the US and detained by them upon conclusion of its contract in Mexico.

    “This suit was brought against the US Company that had chartered the drillship as well as GNPC. The case of Societe Generale was thrown out and when they appealed to the Court of Appeal in New Orleans, they were again unsuccessful…”, emphasized Tsikata, adding that “it emerged at those proceedings that Societe Generale had sought legal advice about taking action in Mexico, where the drillship was operating, or in Panama where the drillship was registered, and they realized that they could not succeed in either jurisdiction if they filed a suit”.

    The Discoverer D511, which GNPC under Mr. Tsikata’s management had used as mortgage in their hedging transaction with SG, was eventually arrested and detained in Oman where SG, as registered mortgagees obtained an order for the “precautionary arrest of the vessel Discoverer 511( the Vessel) in respect of SG’s claim against the Vessel’s owners, Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC)”.

    A July 9, 2001 letter sighted by The New Crusading GUIDE which was jointly signed by Brian Kaye, Head of Commodities, Societe Generale and K.T. Hammond, Deputy Energy Minister, representing GNPC, and addressed to the President of the Commercial Court, Ruwi, Muscat, Oman, referred to the ” legal proceedings currently in existence before the Commercial Court in Oman” and informed the Court that ” It has now been agreed between SG and GNPC that the Vessel shall be released from the precautionary arrest. The Court is hereby requested to release the Vessel from such arrest, on the basis that the exact timing of the release shall be fixed in consultation with Messrs. Trowers & Hamlins. Messrs. Trowers & Hamlins are authorized by SG and GNPC to arrive at an agreement with the Commercial Court and/or the Royal Oman Police regarding the timing of the release of the Vessel from arrest”.

    “It is also agreed by GNPC that they have no claim against SG arising out of the precautionary arrest of the Vessel and GNPC accordingly hereby consent to the release of the counter-security which was provided by SG to the Court in connection with the precautionary arrest of the Vessel”, concluded the letter to the President of the Commercial Court, Muscat, Oman.

    Seasoned oil Industry Analysts have questioned Mr. Tsikata’s confidence of a possible legal victory in the London litigation simply because SG had failed in its attempts to get the drillship arrested and detained in the United States, Mexico and Panama. They underscored that apart from jurisdictional challenges or hurdles in the USA, Mexico and Panama, the litigation in London was broader than the specific issue of the “status” of the drillship relative to the settlement of the dispute. In the London Commercial Court, the wider issue of GNPC’s $47 million indebtedness was the focus of litigation, and not the “narrow” issue of “arrest and detention” of the mortgaged drillship. As it were, eventually the order for the arrest and detention of the drillship was obtained in the jurisdiction of Oman, and not in the United Kingdom.

    The Oil Industry Analysts also found it intriguing that Mr. Tsikata appeared to have put so much faith in the purported testimony of an expert on derivatives based in Chicago, Dr. Culp relative to the “negligent advice to the Corporation with regard to strategy it (SG) recommended for the Corporation to hedge its anticipated production of oil and gas from the Tano Fields”.

    “The critical questions are these ; whose anticipation was it that Ghana would strike oil and gas in commercial quantities in January 1998 and on basis of which GNPC entered into the hedging transaction with SG in the first place? Was it not clearly a risky gamble to hedge a non-existent resource? Was it within the competence of SG to determine or project ‘ start-up date for production’ of oil and gas at the Tano Fields? Who was really in charge of affairs at GNPC at the time of the hedging transaction and who had the capacity to monitor and evaluate progress in the area of exploration, production and development of Ghana’s oil and gas? GNPC or SG? “, posed the Oil Industry Analysts.

    Reference was made to Mr. Tsikata’s own 15th December, 1998 memorandum to the Chairman and GNPC Board of Directors on “Societe Generale Transactions” in which he admitted that “there was no reason to believe that the projected start-up date for production from the Tano Fields would not be met. As things turned out, however, by the end of 1997, it was clear that the projected start-up date of January, 1998 was not being realized and that the physical transactions intended to underlie the positions were not going to be in place. The end of 1997 was also when oil prices began to decline significantly….With the continuing uncertainty over actual start-up date for production, Societe Generale would not expand the credit line to address this price situation pending the start-up of production. They required the positions to be closed and this was done in July, 1998″. It is significant to note that Ghana discovered oil and gas in commercial quantities in June 2007 and began commercial production in December 2010, a far cry away from Mr. Tsikata’s “projected start-up date for production of January 1998″ !

    “At the time of the closure of the positions, the decline in overall value was at the level of US$ 35,203,700.00. However, as GNPC had earlier received premium income of almost US$ 5 million the total amount due to Societe Generale came to US$ 40,181,155.00″, revealed Mr. Tsikata to the GNPC Board on 15th December, 1998. It was this indebtedness which had grown to US$47m by the time the London High Court delivered its June 6, 2001 in favour of SG.

    During his September 6, 2001 press conference, Mr. Tsikata disclosed that discussions regarding settlement of the claims of SG had gone on both before their court actions and after. “These discussions had not reached a conclusion. Societe Generale’s settlement proposal was for US$ 20 million. This led to counter-proposal from the GNPC Lawyers for a US$ 12 million settlement payable in instalments from the EXPECTED COMMENCEMENT DATE OF PRODUCTION FROM THE TANO FIELDS. Societe Generale Lawyers asked for certain clarifications on this proposal and that is where things stood”.

    Enter the Kufuor Administration on Janaury 7, 2001. GNPC was found in a state of complete mess, financially and administratively. The Corporation had lost focus and deviated from its core function of exploration, development and disposal of hydrocarbons. Over the years, it had extended its operations into other non-core areas like cocoa farming, salt and gold mining and telecommunications. The Corporation was also saddled with a large portfolio of non-profit making assets including drilling rigs and marine equipment that served “no practical economic purpose”.

    It was against this backdrop that the Kufuor Administration initiated a programme to restructure and re-focus GNPC. According to the Executive Summary of “GNPC STATUS REPORT AND PROJECTS : 2001 – 2008″ (HANDING OVER REPORT) presented by the Board and Management of the Corporation to the Mills Administration on January 15, 2009, “In December 2001, the Government concluded the implementation of its decision to restructure the Ghana National Petroleum(GNPC) . The over-riding objective was for the Corporation to focus on its core business and make the Organization more efficient and productive. Non-core activities undertaken by the Corporation were to be discontinued and the Corporation right-sized to carry out its mandate. The Corporation embarked on its new mission in January 2002″.

    As part of the “conditions- precedent” for the “new mission”, the Kufuor Administration decided to quickly settle the dispute with SG. The Minister of Energy, Albert Kan Dappah, as part of the restructuring exercise, also submitted a memorandum to the Cabinet on May 8, 2001, requesting his colleagues to consider and recommend certain propositions. Kan Dapaah recalled that ” with the view to restructuring the operations of the GNPC, the Government recently set up a Committee to review the Corporation’s activities, both core and non-core. The object of this is to restrict the operations of the Corporation to its core objects of exploring and developing hydrocarbons”.

    He noted that the interim report of that Committee issued on May 3, 2001 “was greatly alarmed that several of the Corporation’s drilling rigs and marine assets were maintained at great cost to the nation without any equivalent revenues accruing to it and recommended immediate action on the disposal of these assets”.

    The Committee, according to Kan Dapaah, had observed that since 1991/92, when most of those marine assets were purchased, they had not been put to any use by the GNPC. “They have also earned very little revenue. The D 511 drillship is about the only exception, which has earned the Corporation US$14.6m. What is critical in the Committee’s observation is that notwithstanding the fact that these assets are not earning any revenue for the Corporation, a staggering amount of US$248,430 is expended every month to maintain them. In addition, all the rigs have no current insurance covers. They serve no practical economic purpose”.

    “In view of the Committee’s observations, and the parlous state of the Corporation’s finances, and indeed the drain on the national economy, the following recommendations are hereby made for Cabinet’s consideration: (i): The Ministry be given the authority to immediately dispose of these non-profit making assets; (ii) : A Committee be put together by Cabinet to work out the modalities for the disposal of same”, concluded Kan Dapaah in his May 8, 2001 Memorandum to the Cabinet.

    The Cabinet subsequently granted approval and the drilling rigs including the drillship, Discoverer D511 were disposed off. The disposal of the latter of course followed a different trajectory in view of the fact it had become part of the SG/GNPC litigation in the UK and had been arrested and detained in Oman.

    The Kufuor Administration having opted for an out-of-court negotiations to settle the dispute between SG and GNPC, directed the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Nana Akufo-Addo to initiate action to bring the litigation in the London High Court to a speedy end. It was within these circumstances that the Power of Attorney and a Resolution was put together; and duly signed by the then Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GNPC, Dr. Amos Ofori-Quaah to empower K.T. Hammond, Deputy Minister for Energy represent the interest of the GNPC and the Government of Ghana (GoG) in the settlement of the dispute with SG.

    “Why are some pro-NDC media circles and party/govt functionaries crying foul that the Kufuor Administration opted for an out-of-court negotiated settlement of the dispute between SG and GNPC? In anycase, was Mr. Tsikata and the GNPC lawyers not in settlement negotiations with SG and their Lawyers parrellel to the litigation in court? What was wrong if Nana Akufo-Addo, after examining the merits and demerits of the case within the context of general government policy direction, decided to cut our losses and run? How was the earlier Tsikata/GNPC counter-proposal of US$12m settlement payable in instalments from the EXPECTED COMMENCEMENT DATE OF PRODUCTION FROM THE TANO FIELDS going to lead to an early resolution of the stalemate with SG? Did the EXPECTED COMMENCEMENT DATE OF PRODUCTION come to pass? Didnt Ghana begin to produce oil in commercial quantities in 2010, after the commercial discovery in 2007? How realistic and practicable was the ‘Tsikata/GNPC counter-proposal’, in the face of the hard reality? The Kufuor Administration was damn right in cutting our losses and running from the ‘SG albatross” the GNPC’s ill-fated, poorly-crafted hedging business had placed on the shoulders of both the Corporation and the Country and no amount of rationalization and/or distortions will indict that Administration for the action it took in rescuing GNPC from financial and managerial abyss in 2001″, emphasized a highly placed source at GNPC who preferred not to be identified.

     

     

    Source: New Crusading Guide

  • GHC 144m GRA/Subah Scandal: Where the monies went

    Further digging by Citi News into the unfolding GHC 144 million scandal, involving the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Subah Infosolutions Ghana Limited, has exposed curious payments by the latter to a tall list of individuals and companies.

    Subah Infosolutions was contracted by the GRA in 2010 to provide telecom traffic monitoring services for the Tax Agency.

    Over the last two years, the company received up to GHC 144 million from the GRA, mostly in monthly instalments.

    Our investigations found that the GRA funds were paid into the company’s Stanbic Bank Account number 0140002687401.

    Available evidence shows that the company did absolutely no work for the people of Ghana to merit the average GHC 4 million it received monthly from the tax watch dog.

    Our crack team of investigators looking hard at piles of files and account records of Subah InfoSolutions, has uncovered various payments by the company to a number of institutions and individuals.

    Some of the Payments
    Key payments went to institutions such as C.A Nzema Oil, Local Enterprises and skills Development Programme [LESDEP]; China-based ZTE and the Road Safety Management Services. The Chief Executive Officer of Jospong Group and officers of the Ghana Police Service also received payments, according evidence seen and analysed by our team.

    The Breakdown

    C.A Nzema Oil is a subsidiary of Jospong Group. It was incorporated in Ghana in July 2011. In all, Subah Infosolutions paid a total 1,936,750 Ghana Cedis to C.A Nzema Oil. The Local Enterprises and skills Development Programme (LESDEP) is a public-private partnership under the auspices of the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development. It seeks to;

    Create and facilitate the acquisition of technical, entrepreneurial and other specialized skills that lead to the creation and management of sustainable businesses by the unemployed youth in the country
    Provide start-up equipment and post-set-up support services.

    We found that LESDEP received two payments, 2,000,000 Ghana Cedis on December 28, 2012 and another 2,000,000 Ghana cedis on 21 January 2012 from Subah Infosolutions.

    The two payments were described by Subah InfoSolution’s cash books as “loan repayment,” implying that LESDEP has been dolling out cash in loans to the company it contracted to support its training activities. Our findings show all two payments were bank transfers.

    Total payments to JOSPONG Group, Subah InfoSolutions’ mother company, totalled 5,831,246 Ghana Cedis. Chief Executive of the Group is captured on the company’s account books as having received various payments between February 2011 and March 2012.

    China-based ZTE, a company listed by Subah Infosolutions on its website as one of its five international partners, also received up to 200,000 Ghana Cedis for equipment it provided.

    Other international companies listed on Subah Infosolutions’ website as partners are: India’s VNL, K.S. Infosystems also of India and Germany’s DocuWare.

    Again, our investigations uncovered various payments to Road Safety Management Services (RSMS), another Subsidiary of Jospong Group. In all RSMS received a total of 4,067,277.93 Ghana Cedis from Subah Infosolutions at various times. For instance, evidence seen by our team shows that in December 2012, Subah Infosolutions released a total of 27,000 Ghana Cedis to pay the salaries of staff of its sister company.

    The SSNIT Contributions of staff of RSM were also paid from Subah Infosolutions’ accounts. Also, in January 2012, Subah Infosolutions paid contract staff and national service persons of the same company from its pocket.

    On the 19th of March, 2012, Subah Infosolutions wrote five different cheques, each of an amount of 200,000 Ghana Cedis captured on its books as loans refund to the Chief Executive Officer.

    On the 29th of March 2012 the company wrote a cheque for 1,000,000 Ghana Cedis to the CEO. The payment was captured as “Payment to Cash Refund of loan to CEO.” A year earlier, the company wrote three cheques the value of which totalled 1,107,580 Ghana Cedis.

    All three cheques were captured as “Payment-Loan to CEO.” Five days later, the company wrote another cheque for 200,000 for the CEO. It was captured as “Payment- Loan to CEO”.

    Again, on May, 30 that same year, the CEO received another 17,000 Ghana Cedis which was also captured as “Payment-Loan to CEO”. Several other such payments run through the records of the company.

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Mahama: I’m Just In 1st Gear; Will Soon Change To 4th

    President John Mahama says his critics should be patient with his Government because the bus of his administration is currently travelling in its “first gear”.

    Mahama told a gathering at Awutu Senya in the Central region on Friday that he will soon change to 2nd, 3rd and 4th gear to accelerate developments in the country.

    He has been harshly criticised for the wobbly economic outlook of the country.

    Political critics like the Convention People’s Party (CPP) say the country is broke.

    Some Economists from the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) of the University of Ghana, including Dr. Robert Osei, have warned that Ghana risks going into a highly indebted poor country state if the economy of the country is not steered back onto the road.

    Ghana’s donor partners recently suspended aid budget support aid to West African nation over concerns with the country’s expenditure of 70 percent of tax revenue on the wages of about 700,000 workers.

    They also raised issues with the high budget deficit of 12.1 percent for 2012.

    The President’s critics are also angry with him over his handling of major corruption scandals, particularly, the rot at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA).

    The Government also uncovered recently that about 280 private and state organisations, including some Ministries and the Electricity Company of Ghana, connived with some customs officers at the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to defraud the state of over Ghc144 million in tax revenue between 2005 and 2012.

    President Mahama has however assured his critics that they will soon start seeing some transformation.

     

     

    Source: Radioxyzonline

  • Egypt to get 30,000 fans boost against Ghana

    Egypt’s Ministry of Defence has given the green light for 30,000 supporters to attend the second-leg of the World Cup qualifying playoff against Ghana.

    The Pharaohs, who experienced a 6-1 humiliating defeat in the first-leg in Kumasi last week, are due to host the Ghanaians at Cairo’s Air Defence stadium on 19 November.

    Earlier in September, Sports Minister Taher Abou-Zeid announced that fans would be allowed to attend the match after being banned from recent games due to security concerns.

    “The ministry of defence informed us in an official letter that the full capacity of Cairo’s Air Defence stadium (30,000 supporters) will be allowed to attend the match,” the Egyptian Football Association (EFA) spokesman Azmy Megahed said on Tuesday.

    Earlier this month, the Ghanaian Football Association (GFA) demanded FIFA move the second-leg outside Egypt due to the country’s ongoing security difficulties.

    FIFA has given Egypt until 28 October to provide “comprehensive security assurances” for the match.
    Egypt’s dream of reaching the first World Cup since 1990 is almost out of sight after the heavy defeat in Ghana last week.

    The Egyptian team will be seeking a win in the second-leg to boost millions of Egyptians who were shocked by the heavy score and dismayed at losing their World Cup dream.

     

    Credit: ahramonline

  • NPP calls for the dismissal of Gen. Nunoo Mensah

    The New Patriotic Party has described comments by the National Security Advisor, General Nunoo-Mensah (rtd), as highly inappropriate, distasteful, and disrespectful.

    The National Security Advisor, General Nunoo-Mensah (rtd), during the inauguration of a nine-unit classroom block at the O’Reilly Senior High School directed members of labour unions who were dissatisfied with their conditions of service, to pack their bags and leave the country.

    But the NPP in a press statement signed by the AG Director Communications, Perry Okudzeto stated that the comments are unfortunate, considering an era where the nation constantly wakes up to news of crass managerial incompetence and scarce national resources that have been invested in guinea fowls and ornamental plants.

    According to him, Ghanaians are only demanding what is due them, by the use of legitimate means.


    Below is the full statement from the NPP

     

    The New Patriotic Party wishes to express its shock and disappointment at the recent reckless outburst of the National Security Advisor, General Nunoo-Mensah (rtd), during the inauguration of a nine-unit classroom block at the O’Reilly Senior High School where he directed members of labour unions who were dissatisfied with their conditions of service, to pack their bags and leave the country.

    The NPP finds the message of the National Security Advisor highly inappropriate, distasteful, and disrespectful to the platform on which he made the statement, considering the fact that the statements were made in the presence of the President amidst laughter. Unfortunately when the President got the opportunity he did not condemn the comments.

    The NPP also considers as most unfortunate, that in an era where the nation constantly wakes up to news of crass managerial incompetence, in an era where the government drags its feet in recovering dubious judgement debt payments, and in an era where scarce national resources are invested in guinea fowls and ornamental plants, the National Security Advisor of the President will choose to vent his anger and frustration at innocent and hardworking Ghanaians who only seek to demand what is due them, by using legitimate means.

    By his careless outburst at organized labour which will only create a platform for further tension and animosity between government and unionized labour, Gen. Nunoo Mensah has exhibited to all, his incompetence in advising both Presidents Mills and Mahama on national security matters.

    Indeed if his recent call to members on the labour front to pick their passports and get out of the country, is reflective of the kinds of advice he has been giving the President on national security matters, then it is no wonder that the national labour landscape is what it is today.

    Finally in terms of National Security, if we have 3200 Doctors and over 200,000 teachers alone, deciding to lay down their tools, what will be the implication for national security as he suggests these bodies do?

    Accordingly we call on the National Security Advisor to resign his position or be shown the exit by the President to show that he, the President does not endorse this kind of irresponsible conduct in his government.

     

     

    Signed
    Perry Okudzeto
    AG Director Communications

     

     

    Credit: Citifmonline

  • Gov’t To Use Black Stars To Re-Brand Ghana

    The Minister for Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu, has hinted that government would this time round, take the opportunity that was likely to be offered by the senior national team, the Black Stars to market Ghana, when they qualify to play on the international stage at next year’s World Cup competition in Brazil.

    This assurance comes on the heels of concerns and sharp criticisms that for the two occasions that Ghana had qualified to play at the world’s most patronized soccer tournament, it had failed to cash in on the tournament, the many prospects the platform offers, by selling the country to the world, through a well structured initiative by institutions such as “Brand Ghana”.

    Many have questioned the priority of Ghana, when the team on two successive occasions, was offered the chance free, when it could have caused the nation millions of United States (US) Dollars to buy space in the world’s leading media organizations to advertise Ghana’s economic potentials.

    Following the Black Stars huge defeat of the Pharaohs of Egypt at Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi last Tuesdays, already, people have started questioning if the nation is going to allow such an opportunity once again to slip by.

    Leading the debate is the former Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Ghana Football Association (GFA), Randy Abbey, who as host of Metro Television’s Good Morning Ghana programme yesterday, queried the Minister of Trade and Industry, if government was gearing up to seize this rare opportunity to advertise the nation worldwide.

    In allaying the former PRO’s fear, Mr. Iddrisu, said what government was doing differently this time round, is to utilize the giant platform the stars are likely to be offered come 2014.

    The sector Minister who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for the Tamale South Constituency in the Northern Region, entirely agreed with Mr. Abbey’s submission by hinting that government through its agencies and other interested private organizations, would commence an aggressive branding of Ghana, both locally and internationally, to attract investors into the country with the Black Stars qualification to Brazil.

    “Coming forward in 2014, we will embark on aggressive branding of the country, in order to build a compelling image for the country both nationally and internationally in order that we will attract the needed investment into the country.

    “So as you indicated, we would position agencies, such as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), Free Zones, Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA)and other private sector players to take advantage of it.

    “Even just the symbol of a Ghanaian player being used in an advert itself can be a way of promoting Ghana. We are working on something in relation to that”, he noted.

    It will be recalled that in 2006 and 2010 when Ghana successively qualified for the World Cup for the first and second time respectively, Ghanaians expressed regret about the country’s inability to create an avenue to harness the huge potentials the tournaments presented by designing deliberate programmes to rake in foreign exchange.

    In South Africa 2010, where Africa was for the first time, given the singular honour to host the rest of the world on one stage, most Ghanaians who followed the Black Stars to participate in the tournament complained about how we woefully failed to utilize the opportunity.

    Example was how other nationals, especially Africans who were impressed with Ghana’s performance, and wanted mere paraphernalia like T-Shirts, flags from Ghana, found it difficult to get some to purchase on the South African market as they were very scarce.

     

     

    Source: The Herald/Ghana

  • ‘Turn Your Lights Off, If Electricity Is Expensive’ – Energy Minister

    The Minister for Energy and Petroleum, Emmanuel Armah Kofi Buah, has broken his long silence on the rising outrage triggered by the recent 78.9 percent rise in electricity tariff.

    “…Electricity is no more going to be some free water flowing. It is expensive; it is going to be expensive going into the future and the reality is that we must begin to understand that,” the Minister bluntly told Citi FM’s Richard Dela Sky in an exclusive interview to be aired later tonight on Point Blank on Eyewitness News.

    The Minister somewhat echoed a member of the legal team of ruling National Democratic Congress, Abraham Amaliba, who told Citi FM listeners on Saturday that critics of the recent electricity tariff hike should try using candle if they believe the power tariffs was too high.

    “We need to understand that there is balancing act to do as a government. The survival of the utility agencies is also vital and critical. What would we prefer? Would we prefer the collapse of ECG, the collapse of VRA, to having these agencies provide us with the services that we have? So government has to balance the situation and ensure that these services are at least floating and providing us with what we want but a situation where people want to see the utility services being deprived and at the end of the day collapsed. If anybody thinks that electricity is very expensive to consume, they should resort to buying candles and see how it is” Mr. Amaliba said.

    Mr Amaliba’s Saturday morning comments came shortly before National Security Advisor, Brigadier General Nunoo Mensah, went on a public platform in Accra to slam critics of the government who say Ghanaian workers were suffering under the Mahama Presidency.

    “If you don’t want the job, Ghana is not a police state. Take your passports and get out of this country and don’t destroy the country for us; if you can’t sacrifice like what some of us have done, then get out. If the Kitchen is too hot for you, get out,’’ the retired Army Chief said in Accra, provoking a storm of public anger.

    This morning’s edition of the Citi Breakfast Show aired excerpts of the Energy Minister’s interview in which the Ellembele Constituency Member of Parliament minced no words about what he called the dire need for consumers to reduce power consumption if they want to pay less for energy.

    “One of the ways to avoid paying high electricity (bills) is to make sure you turn the lights off and conserve energy…” he said, adding “the electricity we produce, almost 40 percent is wasted (so) turn it off.”

    His comments follow a wave of public anger after recent utility tariff increases that saw water tariff rise by 50 percent and electricity tariff climb by nearly 80 percent.

    Since the raise in tariffs, organised labour, represented by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has slammed the decision to raise tariffs as insensitive.

    In a statement to issue a ten day ultimatum to government to reverse the tariff increases, the TUC said: “We have made it clear to the government that the prevailing income levels in the country do not allow us to pay such exorbitant increases; we simply cannot afford to pay.

    “We are therefore left with very little choice to implement our own roadmap for getting the tariffs down to levels that are consistent with the income of Ghanaians.”

    The ten day ultimatum expired last week Friday and expectations are high that the TUC will soon call a nationwide strike, although President John Mahama has appealed for calm.

    Last week, President John Mahama announced that his government has set up a technical committee to review the recently announced tariff hikes after threats and ultimatums issued by organized labour since the Public Utility Regulatory Authority (PURC) announced the increases late September.

    “We have tasked a technical team to consider the issue and make recommendations to government,” the President said.

    “I want to take this opportunity to appeal to organized labour to allow the committee time and space to finish its work and present its report to government,” he added.

    In his exclusive interview with Citi FM’s Richard Dela Sky, the President’s Minister for Energy and Petroleum Minister stressed the point that Ghanaians must be more than ready, going forward, to pay realistic tariffs for energy, dismissing claims that the tariff increases have expose the Mahama administration as insensitive to the plight of Ghanaians.

    “This argument about not being sensitive has been made before to almost every government that has come so because of that we postpone the decisions…that is why President Mahama has to deal with it. And I dare say President Mahama must make those decisions today so that those decisions do not surface again for another government to worry about…”

    Later tonight, listeners of Citi FM will hear the Minister throw out a string of statistics on power tariffs in other countries in the West African sub region to explain why the view that Ghanaians are paying too much for power is, to him, misleading.

     

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Doctors Warn Nunoo-Mensah To Be Mindful Of His Language

    Latest to condemn Brigadier-General Joseph Nunoo-Mensah on his suggestions that government shouldn’t pay striking workers, is the General Secretary of the Ghana Medical Association, Dr. Frank Serebour.

    Brigadier Nunoo-Mensah advised government not to tolerate the occurrence of workers laying down their tools instead of using dialogue to resolve their grievances. But Dr. Serebour observed on Okay FM that it is highly unpatriotic for a person close to government in power to speak in this manner.

    He advised that rather than speaking in this manner, Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah should have reminded government to make efforts in settling debts owed various workers on strike.

    According to him, doctors have served the country with their hearts and despite their payment woes, have remained in the country to assist sick persons.

    He ended by reminding Brigadier-General Nunoo-Mensah to thoroughly evaluate his words before saying them to avoid incurring the wrath of government workers on strike.

     

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Alban Bagbin, E.T. Mensah, Cletus Avoka’s Job In Limbo

    There are strong indications that the presidential task force (three wise men) on government priority projects would have a tough time implementing their projects due to the current precarious nature of the economy.

    The three wise men include Mr. Alban S.K. Bagbin, a member of parliament (MP) and former Minister of Health; Mr. E.T. Mensah, an MP and former minister of Water Works and Housing and Mr. Cletus Avoka, an MP and former Majority Leader in Parliament.

    They are supposed to co-ordinate the realization of priority objectives in the areas of education, healthcare and transport that President John Dramani Mahama PROMISED Ghanaians in the run-up to the December 7, 2012 elections.

    However, there are serious concerns that the projects, which include 200 community senior high schools (SHS) and a university in the Eastern Region, construction of a new international airport, the expansion of domestic airport and the construction of railways and roads, Regional hospitals, clinics and heal; the centers, could face massive implementation challenges due to the dire sate of the economy.

    It will be recalled that, at his last press conference, Finance Minister Seth Tekper admitted that the economy was facing serious challenges to due short falls in revenues coupled with the ballooning budget deficit.

    Addressing the media last Thursday, the Minister noted that “although measures are being implemented to ensure the achievement of the deficit target for the year, there remain risks to the achievement of the fiscal deficit target for the year. These include; the huge shortfalls in revenue resulting from the slowdown in economic activity and recent global development as well as higher spending on the wages due to the implementation in-target cost.”

    The World Bank has also painted a gloomy picture saying that the economy was being pummeled by huge budget deficit as a result of overspending during last year’s election making it the fourth country in Africa with a huge public debt.

    With this starting admission by the Finance Minister and confirmation by the World Bank, there are fears that the presidential priority projects may not see the light of day just many campaign promises made by previous government unless government exhibit a high sense of commitment and aggressiveness in maximizing revenues.

    Donor funding has reduced in recent times due to Ghana’s new status as Middle Income Country. Many of the country’s donor partners believe the country was now self-sustaining and has thus reduce the amount of aid and support they give it and this has stalled many projects including the withholding of salaries of some government organizations.

    When his reporter contacted Mr. E.T. Mensah, a member of the task force about the progress of the projects, he said the group was almost through with the final document that would set the ball rolling and that the group would soon make public when the projects would begin.

    The task force among other issues was mandated to draw estimates and cost of various Senior High Schools, district and regional hospitals, polytechnics and tertiary educational institutions.

    Currently, Ghana has been ranked as the fourth country in Africa which has the highest public debt in relation the total value of the economy. Ghana was ranked fourth after countries like: Cape Verde, the Gambia, and Sao Tome and Principe.

    The Africa Pulse Report by the World Bank tracks the economic growth of various countries. According to figures from the Bank of Ghana, Ghana’s debt as at August this year stood at almost 44 billion Ghana.

    This is about a half of the country which us valued 85 billion Ghana Cedis. Speaking to journalists in Accra from Washington, lead economist, for the bank says current situation can be attributed to as excessive spending during the elections last year.

    The report is also worried that Ghana’s earning from its traditional exports could be declining sharply. Ghana must also look at alternative sources to fund its budget, it recommended.

     

    Source: The Independent

  • TB Joshua Was Behind Black Stars Victory: Richard “Olele” Kingson

    Ghana goalkeeper Richard Kingson has paid a glowing tribute to Nigerian prophetTB Joshua, claiming the controversial pastor prophesied the Black Stars heavy win over Egypt in the first leg tie of the 2014 World Cup play-off on October 15 in Kumasi.

    The West Africans hammered the Pharaohs 6-1 in Kumasi in a humiliating defeat which has triggered massive gloom and confusion in the North African country with fans yet to come to terms with the embarrassing thrashing.

    Kingson was recalled into the Ghanaian national team exactly a year after he visited the renowned pastor’s church in Nigeria to testify about his wife’s deliverance at the Synagogue Church of All Nations.

    The Doxa Katokopias shot-stopper has attributed the Black Stars success to the televangelist, claiming he played an influential role in the BIG win.

    “Before the Egypt game he called me often to encourage me and he told me you will qualify – those were the words he used, you will qualify,” Kingson told Oman FM.

    “He called me about three times on the day of the match, even a day before the match that was Monday night he called me and he said everything is ok, everything is alright you guys will do well.

    “I will attribute this victory to the God of Prophet TB Joshua. TB Joshua has played a big role in my life, he prophesied to me that my brother you will play again and your people (Ghana) will come for you and you will go to the World Cup.

    Richard Kingson“These were his words and it has come to pass, I believe we are there even though we haven’t played the 2nd leg, I believe strongly that we are there and we will qualify and what he (Prophet TB Joshua) said has come to pass.”

    The former Blackpool glovesman was full of praise for the Nigerian for the role he’s played in in life.

    “I would like to thank the God of Prophet TB Joshua who has made it possible for me by bringing me back into national team,” he added

    “He used his servant Senior Prophet TB Joshua to speak to me, He is a real man of God, he has been playing many roles in my life, encouraging me, sharing the word of God with me, his teachings and everything about him.”

    “So I would like to thank the God of Prophet TB Joshua, he has done it for me Richard “Olele” Kingson and Ghana.”

    The controversial preacher-man, who has drawn praise and condemnation in similar measure, has predicted the outcome of many matches globally in the past.

    But he has since stopped releasing prophecies relating to the game after he came under a lot of flak for predicting Zambia’s victory over Ghana in a World Cup group D decider – an allegation that he angrily denied.

     

     

     

    Source: Sportsfilla.com

  • Sir John – I am the “anointed” General Secretary

    General Secretary of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie says  he is the anointed scribe for the party.

    He said nobody in the NPP can match up his courage, hard work and dedication in party as a General Secretary.

    Sir John as he is popularly called is seeking to retain his position. But he is being challenged by some party bigwigs like Yaw Boabeng Asamoah and possible former presidential spokesperson Kwabena Agyapong.

    But an optimistic Owusu Afriyie says the rank and file of the “elephant” family will not make a mistake of replacing him at the NPP’s upcoming delegates congress in 2014.

    He maintains that his good works for the past years as General Secretary follows him everywhere he goes.

    Sir John bemoaned the needless allegations leveled against decent people in the name of electoral contest.

    Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie advised all persons interested in the various party positions to embark on issues based campaign in order not to discredit people.

    Meanwhile the timetable for the NPP’s internal elections are as follows: Polling stations elections 30th November, constituency elections 14 December 2013, with exception of Eastern Region which will take place on 15th December.

    Also all regional elections shall take place on January 25th 2014 across the country; while the crunch national executives’ elections come off on 1st March 2014.

     

    Source: Ramatu Isaka/Ghana

     

     

  • Asantehene has no authority over New Juaben – Daasebre Oti Boateng

    The embattled paramount chief of the New Juaben traditional area says his paramountcy does not swear any oath of allegiance to any chief beyond the boundaries of New Juaben.

    According to Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng, the New Juaben state in the Eastern Region is autonomous, explaining that they only relate to the Asante Kingdom by blood.

    Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng has been a subject of destoolment by some aggrieved sub-chiefs who have cited the powers of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II as their source of authority.

    He was addressing a news conference to respond to rituals performed by the sub-chiefs to invoke the great oath (Ntamkese) of Otumfuo on him.

    Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng further warned that the traditional council will not entertain anyone planning to create a bad blood between him and the Asantehene, whom he regards as a relative.

    He explained that he will ensure that the peaceful co-existence between Asanteman and New Juaben is sustained.

    Meanwhile a statement read by the Asomkahene of the area, Nana Adjin Asamoah on behalf of the New Juaben traditional council condemned the actions of the sub-chiefs who embarked on what the council describes the conduct of the sub-chiefs as unlawful which also contradicts the Chieftaincy Act.

    He said the response by the Eastern Regional House of Chiefs, condemning the actions of the dismissed sub-chiefs was in the right direction.

    The traditional council has however, lodged a formal complaint with the police to cause the arrest of the chiefs.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Obrafour is my dad, he is the best rapper in Ghana – Sarkodie

    Ghana’s fastest rapper Michael Owusu Addo known on stage as Sarkodie has disclosed that, considering the musical influence rapper Obrafour had on him as an up and coming artiste, he believes he is the best rapper in Ghana.

    Sarkodie stressed that Obrafour’s rap and musical prowess is unparallel and believes that till date he still reveres him as a rap genius.

    Speaking in an interview on the Cosmopolitan Mix on Joy FM Wednesday with Kwame Sakyiamah, the Tema-based rapper disclosed that Obrafour is the best rapper in Ghana and he sees him as his “dad”.

    “He’s my dad… I am still not used to [him]. We have songs but I cannot have a normal conversation with him. I respect him so much I cannot even take him as a normal human being because he inspired me when I was a kid,” the ‘Illuminati’ hit singer said.

    The Black Entertainment Television (BET) award winner revealed that he used to ‘steal’ mobile phones for call minutes just to call Obrafour “and I will mention my name that I want to rap to him, I want to meet to him one day.”

    Now arguably one of Africa’s finest rappers, Sarkodie said he still finds it very difficult to ask Obrafour, known in real life as Michael Kwabena Okyere Darko, for a collaboration.

    According to him, “I normally don’t call Obrafour that I want to feature you, he is not my age mate, so I do the song and intentionally try to make Hammer get him to come to the studio to listen to it. If he likes it,” he does a hook for the song.

    “He [Obrafour] is out of this world,” Sarkodie said and added that, “I wish I could do an album with him,” something he hopes will come to pass soon.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • GYEEDA report: EOCO’s arrest of the indicted is weak – IMANI Ghana

    Policy think tank IMANI Ghana has described the arrest of 12 persons by the Economic Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in connection with the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency (GYEEDA) report as weak.

    “So arrest is action but it is very little action and as far as the legal process is concerned, it is very weak,” Vice President of IMANI, Kofi Bentil said.

    The suspects who were indicted in an investigative report submitted to the President on alleged fraud at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency were invited for investigations and later granted bail.

    But speaking to Citi News the Vice President of the IMANI, Kofi Bentil stated that since “an arrest constitutes action … arresting somebody and having the person bailed is so ordinary, it means really nothing.”

    In his opinion however, although the arrest by EOCO has made many people happy, “as far as the legal process is concerned, it is very weak.”

    According to Mr. Bentil, what we (as a country) expect is that some serious prosecution would be carried out.

    “We are hoping to see some serious prosecution, we want to see the matter come to court, we want to see the nature of charges that will be preferred against these people and some seriousness on the part of the Attorney General to bring the matter to court and really fight it out,” he said.

    He also tasked the Attorney General to deal with the matter seriously adding that money that belongs to the state has been misappropriated.

    “What we need to know is who is to answer for these things and what remedies will come to the state in terms of recovering some of the monies that we have lost,” he added.

     

    Source: Citifmonline/Ghana

  • Asantehene to meet disgruntled ex-chiefs over Daasebre Oti Boateng’s destoolment

    A “destooled”  Omanhene for the New Juabeng Traditional area will be the subject of discussion when those who claim to have destooled him meet the Asantehene Thursday.

    Ex-Nseniehene, Nana Yaw Annor Boateng, Spokesperson for the aggrieved group of 10 destooled sub-chiefs says in accordance with custom, they would have to officially go the Manhyia palace to inform the overlord of the Asante kingdom- Otumfuo Osei Tutu II that, Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng ceases to hold himself as Omanhene for the area.

    Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng was allegedly destooled by the aggrieved ex-sub-chiefs because, they claim he is autocratic and has contravened some traditions of the area.

    At a public ceremony last Monday, the sub-chiefs slaughtered a ram, poured libation and invoked their ancestral spirits to signify their destoolment of the chief.

    Nana Yaw Annor Boateng says they expected the Omanhene to make a counter invocations but to date, he has not. Daasebre Dr. Oti Boateng has rather reported the matter to the Police.

    Nana Yaw Annor Boateng told Joy News “we will be meeting tomorrow by all means. We have to go to Manhyia through the Juabenhene to go and tell Otumfuo through his linguist”.

    Daasebre Oti Boateng has denied the chiefs’ claims and maintains the chiefs have no locus standi to perform such a ritual.

    The Eastern Regional House of Chiefs says it still recognizes him as paramount chief of the area.

    But ex-Nseniehene rebuts that the Regional House of Chiefs’ recognition for the Omanhene is only “institutional” because as far as customs are concerned, Daasebre Oti Boateng is no longer Omanhene.

    It will be up to the Asantehene to determine the way forward after he is informed, he said.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • I’m Rock Of Gibraltar Nobody Can Destool Me-Daasebre

    The Omanhene of New Juaben, Daasebre Prof. Oti Boateng says he is traditionally strong as the rock of Gibraltar, therefore, calls it a bluff attempts made by ten sub-chiefs to destool him as the Omanhene of New Juaben Traditional area.

    He said nobody or group of disgruntled sub-chiefs can destool him, adding that the New Juaben State Council will continue to uphold the sanctity of the stool and deal with any chief who shows gross misconduct to the stool.

    Daasebre Oti Boateng said this in an interview with the Daily Heritage in Koforidua after then aggrieved Chiefs of the New Juaben traditional area on Monday invoked the great oath, Nantehene on the Omanhene not to hold himself as paramount Chief.

    To seal the invocation of the sacred oath, a ram was slaughtered by the Chiefs led by Baffuor Akwasi Adarkwa II, Abisimhene of New Juaben and the thigh of the slaughtered ram was sent to eh Omanhene signifying his destoolment even though the Omanhene rejected it.

    According to the Chiefs, Daasebre Oti Boateng has opportunity to also invoke the same great oath to acquit and discharge himself from the allegations leveled against him if he is not guilty.

    The decision is to prompt the Asantehene to summon the two factions to the Manhyia Palace to commence hearing of the dispute. Last year, similar attempt was made by the same chiefs to invoke the great oath on the Omanhene, but was foiled by the Police at Daasebre’s Palace having embarked on series of press conferences, demonstrations, and petitions.

    The Chiefs prior before their action held a press conference and accused Daasebre Oti Boateng of being dictatorial and witch hunting his sub-chiefs by melting out suspensions on over ten sub-chiefs in the traditional area on maters without merit.

    This according to them is a breach to the oath sworn by Daasebre and complete violation of traditions and customs bringing the New Juaben Stool to public ridicule, hence, the need to invoke the great oath as their last resort to get him destooled.

    In a related development, the head of Agona Family, Elders and Kingsmakers of Amakye Ansah stool being the authentic royals of the Abesim Family of Koforidua, old Tafo and Akokoaso, led by Abusuapanyin Oduro Aborokwa also invoked the great oath at the Omanhene’s palace destooling the Abesimhene, Baffuor Akwasi Adarkwa II explaining that, he is not a member of the Abesim royal Family, hence, cannot hold himself as Abesimhene.

     

    Source: The Daily Heritage

  • Middle-aged man beheads man, 37; butchers another

    A middle-aged man has beheaded a 37 year old man and butchered another at Akwansrem in the Adansi North District of the Ashanti Region.

    The deceased has been identified as Philip Dome.

    The suspect, whose name was given as Otabil, was said to have been angered by a conversation between the deceased’s brother Benjamin Dome and another person.

    Otabil, Joy News gathered, accused the two of making noise and threatened to kill them if they did not stop disturbing him.

    On Monday evening Otabil attacked Benjamin with cutlass but the latter escaped with deep cuts. The suspect then turned his attention on Philip who was sitting somewhere. He pounced on him and started slashing him with the cutlass.

    Medical Superintendent of New Edubiase Government Hospital Dr. Manya Mensah who narrated what happened to Joy News said Philip Dome was rushed to the hospital dead.

    “He cut the neck, the bone is also cut with severe lacerations of the muscles and the blood vessel, and blood was gushing, gushing, so before they came [to hospital] there was no life.”

    He said the only thing connecting the hanging head to the body was a tiny flesh.

    Benjamin Dome, who is receiving treatment for the severe cutlass wounds he sustained, told Joy News he wants the law to deal with the culprit.

     

    Source: Joyfmonline

  • Fatau, Essien, Muntari Start For Black Stars

    Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien will start in midfield for Ghana against Egypt in Tuesday’s World Cup playoff match.

    The pair get to make their first start together for the national team in over two years.

    Black Stars captain Asamoah Gyan and Majeed Waris will partner up-front against the North Africans in the first-leg qualifier at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

    Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah starts Rashid Sumaila and Jerry Akaminko in central defence as the Black Stars need a massive win to enhance their chances of qualifying for the tournament in Brazil next year.

    Starting line-up: Fatau Dauda, Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila, Michael Essien, Andre Ayew, Sulley Muntari, Abdul Majeed Waris, Asamoah Gyan, Kwadwo Asamoah.

     

    Source: Ghanafa.org

  • NPP: Early Congress Proposal Was Jake’s Idea – Gambila

    Boniface Gambila a leading member of the New Patriotic Party has set out to clarify recent controversial calls by the party’s National Chairman, Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey.

    According to the Member of Parliament for Nabdam in the Upper West Region, the idea to allow incumbent MP’s to go unopposed as well as calls to have an early congress, were opinions by the party chairman and nothing more.

    He said these suggestions were open to deliberation but were unfortunately misconstrued by media.

    Earlier on Wednesday, aggrieved NPP supporters marched to protest these claims at the headquarters of the party, where the National executive committee were meeting on new proposals for the 2016 elections.

    However, Mr. Gambila, on Radio XYZ’s Strict Proof programme said, “I think it is just how the information got out. I believe these were suggestions made by the national chairman in an effort to be innovative and creative.

    “I don’t see a problem with that. However I think the message that was put out there was simply misconstrued”

    Meanwhile, NPP has issued a press release after the meeting, denying claims of imposing MP’s on their various constituencies.

    According to the statement, the NPP believes that elections are the best way to judge one’s electability.

    It further read “The second misinformation was that the National Executives are seeking to extend their mandate. This too was summarily dismissed. The National Executives are working towards its replacement in March 2014 and the Constituency and Regional elections to precede the National Delegates Congress”.

     

    Source: Radioxyzonline.com

  • Akwasi Appiah’s Defensive Headache

    This week, Black Stars Coach Kwasi Appiah released his 25-man squad to prepare for the crucial first leg of the 2014 World Cup playoff which saw the return of veteran goalkeeper Richard Kingson, Sulley Muntari and Jordan Ayew.

    For close followers of the national team, the return of the trio was to be expected, given the clamour by Ghanaians, the media and subtle hints dropped by leading figures within the country’s football governing body because of the importance of the September 15 clash in Kumasi which could concretise or derail Ghana’s quest for a third successive World Cup appearance.

    Coming barely a month after players such as Michael Essien, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Andre Ayew had ended their self-imposed exile, it is gratifying to note that Coach Appiah would have his strongest possible squad for the final World Cup hurdle against no mean a side than seven-time African champions, Egypt, who are desperate to make another World Cup appearance since 1990.

    A closer look at the squad reveals a dearth of options in defence, as suspension and injuries have robbed Coach Appiah of dependable players such as Harrison Afful, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah and Isaac Vorsah.

    And with Kingson recalled after a two-year hiatus following concerns over the form of first-choice goalie Fatau Dauda, who has been inactive since moving to South African side Orlando Pirates, there is little doubt that Ghana’s technical handlers have a difficult job at hand.

    This is not the kind of situation any coach preparing for a World Cup playoff against an experienced Egyptian side would be comfortable with and Appiah faces perhaps his biggest test yet to provide a solution to what appears to be the weakest link in his team.

    Only yesterday, former Black Stars player Yaw Preko also expressed his concern over the alarming rate of injuries and the prospect of Ghana going into the first leg without the first choice central defensive pair and the instability that will be brought to the back four.

    The long absence of defender John Mensah meant that at different times Coach Appiah was compelled to experiment with John Boye-Jonathan Mensah; John Boye-Isaac Vorsah or John Boye-Jerry Akaminko.

    As Preko, like many connoisseurs of the game, noted, a solid back four was vital to keep the experienced Egyptian forwards in check throughout both matches.

    In Ghana’s last competitive game against Egypt in the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations final in Angola, a moment of defensive lapse cost Milovan Rajevac’s team a fifth continental glory.

    Fortunately, Appiah was deputy to the Serbian coach and is very much aware of the importance of defensive discipline against experienced sides like the Pharaohs.

    It is, however, the Graphic Sports’ hope that in spite of Ghanaians’ trepidation and the red flags being raised over the Stars’ defensive woes, Coach Appiah and his technical team will find suitable replacements in the likes of Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila and Mohammed Awal to help put the Egyptians in check and maintain Ghana’s impressive defensive record in the qualifiers.

     

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Reality Check Has Set In For NDC – Kweku Baako

    Kweku Baako, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper has stated that the admissions by the Finance Minister with regards to the current state of the economy is at a variance with unrealistic claims of a buoyant economy made last year by the ruling government.

    The Senior Journalist said, “I think it is reality check. It’s time for reality check because not too long ago the impression we were given was that, the economy was doing very well. You should go back and listen to the campaign themes of election 2012”.

    “A very rosy picture was created but post-election, reality check came right in there and you could see that times were rough”.

    Mr. Baako further debunked the claim that the economy has taken a nose dive due to the just ended election petition trial. In his view, the indicators being pointed to as the rippling effects of the eight month long legal battle in the apex court of Ghana were there even before the commencement of the case.

    “Felix (Kwakye Ofosu, a deputy Minister of Information) also talked about the water crisis, the energy crisis, the revenue deficit, which resulted in our inability, if you recall; to even pay the NHIS. Those things came before the election petition. The fiscal deficit and all those things that we are talking about preceded the election petition,” he argued.

    He made these comments on Metro TV, on Thursday, during a panel discussion on the press briefing by Hon. Seth Tekper, the Minister of Finance, on the country’s economic performance, wherein he revealed that though it will be difficult for the government to achieve its “deficit targets for this year”, the “objective of reducing the fiscal deficit to lower levels over the medium terms still remains and will be pursued” vigorously nonetheless.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • NPP’s Rivals Are Brains Behind Creation Of MPP – Opare Hammond

    The issue of who is behind the newly yet to be outdoored political party, Miracle People’s Party (MPP) has been the subject for discussion for some Ghanaians including some prominent political pundits.

    Grapevine reports indicate some bigwigs of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in an attempt to sabotage Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s presidential ambition, if he considers contesting as NPP’s flagbearer in 2016, formed the party (MPP).

    But speaking on OKAY FM’s “Ade Akyea Abia” show, the NPP’s Director of Finance and Administration, Hon. Opare Hammond, accused its party’s political rivals of masterminding the circulation of posters of the new party seen at some vantage points across the city of Accra.

    MPPOpare Hammond was emphatic that no functional NPP activist will do such a thing to destroy that party’s unity, knowing very well how determined the NPP is to win back power in 2016.

    “The MPP party is not from the NPP. We (NPP) have political detractors who are trying to sow all kinds of discord to divide the NPP party and to mount tension. The truth is, no NPP member is behind this so-called Miracle People’s Party (MPP).

    “All those mentioned in the NPP as founders of MPP under no circumstances would they even think of forming a new party (MPP) after their toil to see the NPP grow. I can say categorically that the MPP is not from NPP. Our opponents are behind this, though I will not mention names, but it’s clear who they are,” he said.

     

    Credit: Okayfm/Gh

  • Irate Youth Besiege NPP NEC Meeting

    Irate young men and women besieged the headquarters of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in Accra yesterday, where the National Executive Committee (NEC) was meeting over fresh proposals to prepare the party for the 2016 general election.

    The demonstrators were there to protest against the proposals and their activities temporarily disrupted the committee meeting.

    At about 11 a.m. yesterday, while members of the committee were in the meeting, the youth, with red bands around their necks and arms, forced their way into the premises of the party’s headquarters even though security guards at the entrance tried to stop them.

    Holding placards with inscriptions such as “Jake, don’t kill our party; “Moko Aya ne Moko Aba”, which means older hands should make way for the new; “We need accountability”; and “No early congress,” they chanted war songs and danced, while party leaders tried for over an hour to control them. Finally, the police were called in to help.

    Achibold Cobinnah, who spoke to the Daily Graphic, said they were against the top-down approach being proposed by the leadership of the party.

    “We prefer the bottom-up approach where we contest elections at the polling station level then to the constituency level, regional, national and then finally the presidential candidate is elected,” he said.

    He urged the leaders to consider solidifying the internal structures of the party to enable them to win the next general election in 2016.

    After close to four hours of closed-door meeting, members of the NEC announced they had dismissed the claim that there were plans to extend their mandate and impose Members of Parliament (MPs) on constituents.

    “There is no such plan. The party continues to believe that elections are the best way to judge one’s electability,” the members said after the NEC meeting.

    Some party members had proposed an early congress to elect the party’s presidential candidate to permit enough time to sell the presidential candidate and also recommended that sitting MPs were retained and not contested in an election at the constituency level.

    The NEC leaders resolved to finalise the issues raised at the meeting next week and tasked members to consult their constituents on the issues raised and then submit feedback at the next meeting.

    A statement signed by the Deputy General Secretary of the Party, Mr Adbulai Fuhlanba, noted that the national executive members were working towards a replacement of NEC members in March 2014, while the constituency and regional elections would precede the national delegates’ congress.

    National Organiser, Mr Muctar Bamba, told the Daily Graphic that the leaders would “only abide by the stipulations of the party’s constitution.”

    The MP for the Nabdam Constituency, Mr Gambila Boniface, assured party faithful not to see the issues raised by the chairman as an imposition on the party.

    “It is only an idea that has been proposed. Unless it is accepted, it cannot be the party’s position. But there has been a misconception and people think Mr Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey wants to use it to entrench his position.”

     

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Breast milk becoming contaminated – CSIR

    Breast milk, which is deemed the most hygienic and nutritious food for babies, is becoming contaminated from chemicals found in e-waste and plastics.

    A research by the Water Research Institute (WRI) of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has revealed that the harmful chemicals found in plastics, electricity transformers, paints, capacitors and from bad disposal of electronic waste cause birth defects.

    They also cause cancers, as well as defective neuro-development in children, among other things.

    Dr Kwadwo Ansong Asante, a Senior Scientist at the CSIR, made this known when briefing his fellow scientists during an internal seminar on the research in Accra yesterday.

    The research assessed levels of halogenated contaminants in human breast milk in Ghana.

    Some of the analyses were done in Japan.

    Halogenates consist of brominates flame retardants (BRFRs) such as polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDEs) and hexabromocyclododecanes (HBCDs) which are widely used in polymers and consumer products to minimise the extent of fire or slow down combustion of these materials.

    The other is polychlorinated biphenyl (PCBs), which also contaminates the environment and is used in hydraulic fluids, insulating oil for electricity transformers, capacitors, plasticisers, adhesives and paints. Plasticisers are added to make plastic products soft.

    Dr Asante explained that the research, which was done at the various e-waste points in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale, indicated that due to the poor disposal of such chemicals, they found their way into the food of some mothers.

    “Estimated hazard quotient via human milk showed that all the PCBS values exceeded the threshold of one, indicating potential health risk for newborns,” he said.

    Dr Asante said although breastfeeding should be encouraged because of the well-documented benefits, efforts must be made to lower contaminants in breast milk, so that protective measures would be initiated to avoid potential harmful effects to the newborn.

    He said although Ghana did not produce PBCBs, the illegal and uncontrolled usage of PCB oils also known as “dirty oil” and obsolete equipment should be of concern as potential sources.

    He said they were also in high quantities during the disposal of e–waste and also contaminated water from textile coating and production of insulation boards.

    Another research revealed that pollution from the burning of e-waste at Agbogbloshie was highly cancerous through inhalation and skin contact.

    Mr Samuel Obiri, another scientist with the CSIR made the revelation when he presented another finding on “Human health risk assessment as a result of exposure to e-waste at Agbogbloshie Scrap yard, Ghana”.

    He said the cansogenic substances were released into the water bodies which run to the sea, thereby contaminating the fish in the sea and those who took such fish were prone to cancer and children would also have very low intelligent quotient.

    He said the worst affected were those who undertook recycling of materials through burning, and added that they were seriously susceptible to cancers.

    Mr Obiri said the entire test conducted indicated that the level of pollution in the area and its surroundings far exceeded World Health Organisation (WHO) permissive levels.

     

    Source: Daily Graphic

  • Spiritualist jailed 10 years for fraud

    A Tarkwa circuit court has sentenced a 31 -year-old spiritualist, Noah Bayone, to 10 years imprisonment for defrauding by false pretence.

    He was convicted on his own plea.

    Prosecuting Police Detective Chief Inspector Oscar Amponsah told the court presided over by Mr Samuel Obeng Diawuo that the complainant, Thomas Owusu Washington, is a businessman who deals in gold and resides at Tema Community 2 while the offender is a resident at Ackoon a suburb of Tarkwa.

    According to the Prosecutor, in 2011, the complainant noticed that his business was going down, so he decided to seek the assistance of a juju man (spiritualist) to help him reverse the financial difficulty he was going through.

    He said when the complainant contacted Bayone he promised to help him and negotiated with the complainant to bring sufficient money to enable him buy an item from India to perform some rituals for the complainant to get either gold or money.

    Detective Amponsah said after the two had interacted on phone, the complainant upon the request of the convict sent a total sum of GH¢107,156.96 through Western union, Ghana post and Ghana Commercial Bank.

    The Prosecutor said after Bayone collected the money he failed to honour his promise and went underground.

    He said the complainant reported the incident to the police on September 22, this year, which led to the arrest of the convict on September 24.

     

    Source: GNA

  • Planned award for Akufo-Addo stirs up confusion among NUGS executives

    A decision by the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) to confer an award on the 2012 Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party, Nana Akufo-Addo, has been condemned by some executive members of the student’s body.

    The Graduates Students Association of Ghana (GRASAG), Teacher Trainees Association of Ghana (TTAG), University Students Association of Ghana (USAG), Ghana Union of Professional Students (GUPS) and the National Health Students Association of Ghana  (NAHSAG), all factions within NUGS say they were not consulted before a decision was taken to bestow the Statesman of the Decade award, the highest award of the students body, on Akufo-Addo.

    According to heads of the fIve NUGS factions, laid down procedure have been breached since a quorum consisting of the NUGS President and six other members of the National Executive Commission (NEC) was not established before the award decision was taken.

    According to a press statement signed by the Presidents of the five groups, say in “article 27(28) and 29 of the Constitution of NUGS, the Presidents of the blocs [GRASSAG, TTAG, USAG, GUPS and NAHSAG] and/or their representatives are members of the National Executive Committee”, adding that the constitution demands that they be consulted on such matters.

    NUGS President, Andrews Kofi Gyan, and the General Secretary, Louisa Ata-Agyemang, issued a statement on Wednesday October 2, 2013 indicating that the students body, among other things have decided to acknowledge Akufo-Addo’s statesmanship due to how he conducted himself in the 2012 Election Petition.

    But the Presidents of the five NUGS factions say “in the Election Petition, there were other petitioners who are equally worthy of praise. The respondents played a vital role as well…We are all happy about the reforms this petitions will bring to the Electoral Commission and how elections are conducted in Ghana. We will not support any action that will polarise the front of Ghanaian students.”

    Asiwome Kodjo Tsamenyi, GRASAG National President, Steve Kubate Salifu, GUPS President, Comrade S A Karim, USAG General Secretary,Yakubu T. Yusuf, President, NAHSAG, Seidu Ahmed, and TTAG National Coordinating Secretary have also questioned the criteria used by the President and General Secretary of NUGS to select the awardees.

    They are certain the move to award Nana Akufo-Addo is political motivated.

     

    Credit: Myjoyonline

  • Ghana is ill-prepared for terrorist attacks – Security Analyst

    Security Analyst, Emanuel Sowatey has stated that security agencies in the country are not adequately prepared to deal with activities of terrorists should the unfortunate happen in Ghana. 

    On Saturday, a Somali based terrorist group called Al-Shabab attacked a Kenyan mall which claimed over 60 lives including that of Ghana’s former Chairman of the Council of State, Professor Kofi Awoonor.

    The attack has raised serious questions concerning the readiness of Ghana to combat any such attacks in the country.

    Speaking to Citi News on the issue , Mr. Sowatey noted that security personnel in Ghana are ill-equipped to deal with similar attacks.

    He advised government to as a matter of urgency, put in place measures to well develop the capabilities of security forces in the country.

    According to him, the existence of the Special Forces in Ghana is not enough to guarantee absolute protection for Ghanaians, saying “You don’t say you have special forces by the uniform or by just saying special forces.”

    He suggested that Ghanaians should serve as cardinal agents “to understand and pick up information and relay it at the right time to the right person and I think that if you put these things together, it will help.”

    Mr. Sowatey further added that government officials must consult security agencies when formulating foreign policy for the country in other to prevent such situations.

    “Your foreign policy pronouncement has a bearing on internal security and anytime politicians are making international pronouncements, interviews and commitments, they should check with their security to see how o put in place measures to prevent any negative consequences,” he added.

     

    Credit: Citifmonline/Ghana

  • Nana Addo Has No Option Than To Contest

    Managing Editor of the “Ghanaian Observer” newspaper, Egbert Faibille Jnr., has pontificated that the New Patriotic Party’s (NPP) 2012 Presidential candidate, Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, has no choice but to contest in the upcoming flagbearership race.

    According to Lawyer Egbert Faibille, the two time presidential hopeful has no alternative but to put himself up for election, despite the fact, he is yet to announce his decision on his political future.

    “I have heard Nana Akufo Addo’s position on the matter, that, he wants to go on a break and do some introspection and comeback. Well, as far as I’m concerned, Nana Addo has no option than to contest. As far as I’m concerned….so he would contest,” he said.

    Egbert Faibille, who was part of the Legal Team of the Petitioners in the just gone by Election Petition suit, made these remarks on Citi Fm’s ‘Big Issues’, during a panel discussion on the projected 15 persons likely to contest the NPP’s flagbearership race.

    His pronouncement comes on the heels of a similar statement by the NPP Chief Scribe, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie who claims Nana Addo is the most marketed person in the NPP and would make sure Nana Addo runs for re-election as the presidential candidate, even if he (Nana Addo) is in a wheelchair.

    Lawyer Egbert Faibille also opined that in the event that Nana Akufo Addo decides not to contest, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, the second petitioner in the election petition case, is his best candidate to lead the NPP.

    “I think that Dr. Bawumia has acquitted himself very well. I think that Dr. Bawumia represents an emerging force in the New Patriotic Party and in the event that Nana Akufo Addo doesn’t run, the man to look out for, is Dr. Bawumia,” he intimated.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Throw away Ghana’s poorly written Constitution – Prof. Baah

    A lecturer at the political science department of Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Prof. Amoako Baah wants the 1992 Constitution discarded, simply because it was “poorly written”.

    He told Joy News on Thursday that some provisions in the Constitution are inapplicable in real time, and in his words the constitution that has been the guiding principle for the country over decades is “flawed, we need to throw away and write a new one”.

    He cited Article 60 of the Constitution as case in point: it stipulates that in the absence of the president and the Vice, the Speaker of Parliament shall take and subscribe the oath set out in relation to the president.

    In accordance with Article 60 (12) the Speaker of Parliament Edward Doe Adjaho was Thursday sworn in as the president of Ghana: President Mahama and vice president Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur are attending official duties out of the country.

    But Prof. Baah argued that the swearing in of the Speaker was needless, explaining it presupposes that the nation has two presidents. He clarified that when the president is out of the country, he will be performing a duty on behalf of Ghana as the president, but in the same vein the Speaker would also be expected to perform the functions of the president in the country.

    He therefore posed a question as to who will call the shots in case of a crisis under this situation: would the nation obey the elected president who is outside or the president in Ghana?

    “That is the problem. We are not reading the Constitution properly, it is poorly written but we who are interpreting it is making it worse.”

    He argued, just because the president is absent from Ghana does not mean he is unable to perform his function as the president of Ghana.

    But a senior lecturer at the University of Professional Studies and lawyer, Godwin Adawine said he agrees with Prof. Baah to some extent that we cannot have two presidents at the same time.

    He however brought to the fore the Letter and Spirit components of the Constitution. One will “run into difficulties” if the letter alone is considered, and it would obviously not” make sense”, he pointed out.

    To make any sense out of the constitution, one must also take the spirit into consideration, he submitted.

    “The spirit of the law says at any particular point in time, there should be a person in Ghana and performing the functions and exercising the powers of the president in Ghana. Framers of the Constitution did not foresee the tactical difficulties we are witnessing now in the implementation of that provision.”

    He suggested that a “caretaker” president would have been more appropriate. Nevertheless, the inability stated in Article 60 (8) should be looked in a broader sense.

    But as it stays now, the Speaker of Parliament, he stressed, “Can perform the basic functions, he is as the president as the elected president because that is what he has been sworn in to be. Legally speaking he can take whatever action, he can exercise whatever power, and perform whatever function the elected president would have exercise or perform like reshuffle.”

    Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Offinso South in the Ashanti region Ben Abdallah has told Joy News the Speaker of Parliament, having been sworn in, can exercise the powers of the elected president.

    But he advised such a person should take minor decisions and refrain from taking drastic decisions like reshuffling the ministers.

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • AG files process to retrieve Waterville, Isofoton judgment debts

    The state has in connection with a judgement secured by the former Attorney General, Martin Amidu, filed a process to retrieve the judgement debts paid to Isofoton SA and Waterville Holdings.

    The Supreme Court on 14th June unanimously ruled that Waterville Holdings should refund an amount of €47 million paid to it as judgment debt by the state.

    On June 21, the Supreme Court again ruled that Isofoton SA should also refund about $325, 472 that was paid to it as judgement debt.

    Citi News’ Umaru Sanda Amadu who was at the High Court confirmed that the Attorney General “has filed the process to the High Court” to enforce the order by the Supreme Court for the retrieval of the monies.

    According to him, the process was filed in August “and so the High Court is yet to enforce that order…so that the state will get a refund of the said amount.”

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • We are a better side than Egypt – Andre Ayew

    Ghana midfielder Andre Ayew says the Black Stars is a better side than World Cup final qualifying round opponents Egypt.

    He told Kumasi-based Kessben FM that even though the Pharaohs have a healthy mix of youth and experience, Ghana has what it takes to eliminate Egypt and qualify for the World Cup.

    “They have a lot of new players, the team has changed, a lot of the old players are old and they have a lot of experience, confidence in themselves and they want to go to the World cup but we are Ghana. I believe we are a better side and we need to make it to the World Cup.”

    The Olympique Marseille playmaker also told Kessben FM that the fixture evokes memories of the 2010 African Nations Cup final in Angola as well as the 2009 World Youth Cup in Egypt, adding that the Black Stars players need to have confidence in themselves to beat the Pharaohs.

    “I think it’s going to be a difficult game. Egypt is a very good side but we have the quality to win. This fixture gives us good memories. We lost to Egypt in the 2010 Nations Cup final Angola and we won the 2009 World Youth Cup in Egypt so I believe that we need to take them very seriously, have confidence in ourselves and I believe that we can do something good over there.”

     

    Credit: Footy-ghana

  • Stop “Harassing” Mahama’s Gov’t – ‘Asa B’ chides NPP

    Former Information Minister in the Kufuor Administration, Stephen Asamoah Boateng, says he abhors the “harassment” of the current Government by his own party.

    “…Give the Government some space”, he admonished the biggest opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) when he spoke in an interview with XYZ Breakfast Show host Moro Awudu on Monday.

    According to him, “[whether] we like it or not, the election [dispute] has been settled; the NDC – our Cousins we call them – are in government. Let’s give them space. If we were in government, we would request space and time to implement our programmes, so why won’t we give them space”.

    Mr. Asamoah Boateng, who is speculated to be one of 15 persons hoping to run for President in 2016 on the ticket of the NPP said: “It’s fair because at the end of the day, we are trying to serve the Ghanaian public and if you are just chasing and harassing the government and all that, it’s not good for the nation”.

    “I do not think if the NDC fails, it’s to our advantage, no”, he observed.

    He added that: “If the NDC fails, it’s to the disadvantage of all Ghanaians and if the NPP comes after their failure, we might struggle to pick it up and help Ghanaians, so let them get to a certain point and then everybody will know their capacity cannot go beyond that point, then they will look for the NPP and we’ll build it better than the NDC, that is my view of politics”.

     

    Creidt: XYZ  News

  • Ignore Sir John, Supreme Court’s decision is final – Arthur Kennedy

    A former flagbearer aspirant of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Arthur Kennedy has said that the comments made by the NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie (Sir John) indicating that the election petition was won by the petitioners should be ignored since the judgement by Supreme Court is final.

    “Sir John is Sir John but as far as I am concerned the Supreme Court is final and if they say we lost the election then we lost it.”Dr Arthur Kennedy said.

    Dr. Arthur Kennedy’s comments comes in the wake of Sir John’s statement that indicated that petitioners won the election petition case in the Supreme Court contrary to the verdict read by the President of the panel of Justices, William Atuguba.

    Dr. Arthur Kennedy futher stated on Eye Witness News with Richard Dela Sky that the attitude being exhibited by the party towards the verdict has “made the Electoral Commission, the Asantehene and the Supreme Court enemies of the NPP although they initially supported the party.”

    Dr. Arthur Kennedy in that regard entreated the NPP to accept the fact that it lost the election and move forward to plan for 2016.

    “We need to look forward instead of looking backwards, we need to think of the factors that caused our defeat and plan ahead.”

    Meanwhile, the Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Kofi Adams has condemned the comments made by Sir John.

    According to him, the comments by the NPP General Secretary exposes the lack of checks and balances in the NPP.

    Expressing his shock at Sir John’s behaviour, he remarked that Sir John had forgotten that there was a possibility that he could be sentenced by the court since he was serving a six month bond of good behaviour.

    “Sir John has attacked the constitution and subjected the party to suffering,” he added.

     

    Credit: Citifmonline

  • 15 eye NPP presidential slot; Oboshie Sai Cofie, Asa B to feature

    Fifteen persons have so far been nurturing the ambition to contest the flagbearership position of the New Patriotic Party for the 2016 presidential election, pollster Ben Ephson has gathered.

    Mr Ephson, who is also the Managing Editor of Daily Dispatch newspaper told Myjoyonline the tall list has only one woman featuring – Oboshie Sai Cofie, a former Minister of Information.

    The remaining 14 include: Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, 2008 and 2012 NPP Vice presidential candidate; Mr Dan Kwaku Botwe, Minority Chief Whip and Member of Parliament (MP) for Okere; Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen (popularly called Alan Cash); Mr. Isaac Osei, MP for Subin; and Mr. Boakye Agyarko 2012 Campaign Director of NPP.

    Others are: Papa Owusu-Ankomah, Member of Parliament (MP) for Sekondi and former Attorney General; Mr Joe Ghartey, the Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament and former Attorney General; Arthur Kobina Kennedy onetime NPP presidential aspirant and Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, a cardiothoracic surgeon and former CEO of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

    The rest are: Richard Winfred.(Dr) Anane. MP for Nhyiaeso and former Minister of Health; Stephen Asamoah Boateng former Minister of Information; Joseph Ayikoi-Otoo, a former Attorney-General; and Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, 2008 and 2012 presidential candidate.

    According to Ben Ephson, many of the candidates can be associated with the two main camps in the NPP – Nana Akufo-Addo and former president John Agyekum Kufuor camps.

    He said for those who believe it is time for the party to choose a neutral candidate, only three candidates appear to offer this preference – Frimpong Boateng, self-acclaimed party dove Nii Ayikoi Otoo and Arthur Kennedy.

    He said there is a perception within the party that an ideal candidate must come from Central, Greater Accra or Northern Regions. An Ashanti Regional candidate may not be favoured for the prized ticket.

    The undercurrent manoeuvring for the party flagbearership would be akin to what transpired in 2007 where 17-all-male slugged it out. Nana Akufo-Addo was declared winner after a magnanimous concession by his close contender Alan Kyerematen.

    The NPP after the 2007 presidential primary received intense flak for the sheer number of persons who contested for the presidential slot. It therefore amended its constitution and reduced the number of persons eligible to contest for that position in subsequent elections to five.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Ghana’s Poor Record-Keeping Malaise…A Recipe For Mischief – Kweku Baako

    So far, proceedings at the Judgment Debt Commission presided over by Justice Yaw Appau has revealed that Ghana is poor in keeping records especially when it comes to institutions, according to Abdul Malik Kweku Baako.

    The Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper was reacting to persons who have appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission as far as the controversies surrounding Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) other judgement debt related issues are concerned.

    Even though there has been several instances of poor record keeping at the Commission, the recent one was when GNPC told the Commission that it could not find documents which attest to the fact that there was a transaction between them and Societe Generale, and that the drill ship, Discover 511 was sold to defray a judgment debt of $19 million owed Societe Generale as ordered by a High Court in London.

    Later, they (GNPC) appeared before the Judgment Debt Commission and indicated that they have unearthed some of the documents relating to the sale of Discover 511.

    To make matters worse, Managing Director of Societe Generale Bank-Ghana, Gilbert Hie told the Commission that both their offices in Ghana and France did not have any record on the $19.5 million judgment debt reportedly paid to the company after the sale of the oil ship.

    According to him, as a policy of Societe Generale, all documents relating to commercial transactions are destroyed after 10 years of the transaction.

    Speaking to the issue in a panel discussion on ‘Kokrokoo’, Kweku Baako said: “a typical example is Societe Generale saying they don’t have any records as far as the transaction is concerned. But does no record say that they did not receive money? Out there, it provides the basis for people to think that the transaction did not take place…

    If the records are missing does it mean the transaction at their bank is also lost? Assuming without admitting that the document on the transaction is lost, how about their bank? We can blame ourselves as a nation that our record keeping is poor. It didn’t start today…we should not be proud of that. It is a self-indictment after so many years of Independence. It can even be a cover for people to create mischief. The earlier we cure that the better for us.”

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Programme released for 2013-14 season

    The complete programme ahead of the start of next season’s Premier League has been released by the Ghana Football Association.

    The detailed scheduled for the 2013/2014 season will see the first transfer window end on 30th August, 2013 for all 16 Clubs.

    But prior to the shutting of the transfer window, Clubs competing in the League are mandated to declare their match venues by Wednesday 31st July, 2013.

    PROGRAMME FOR THE 2013/2014 PREMIER LEAGUE

    1. Registration Ends – 30th August, 2013

    2. Publication Starts – 2nd September, 2013

    3. Publication Ends – 6th September, 2013

    4. Verification Starts – 9th September, 2013

    5. Verification Ends – 13th September, 2013

    6. Declaration of Venues for league matches latest by Wednesday 31st July, 2013

    7. Submission of Audited Accounts for the 2012/2013 Season latest by 09/09/13

    8. Declaration of clubs strips -Official and Reverse with pictorial replica of the strips (Declaration Strip Form is attached to this letter) latest by 9th September, 2013.

    9. Name and contact address of Accra Representative and Chairman of Club (Telephone, Fax and E-mail) latest by 9th September, 2013.

    10. Seminar for Premier League Clubs – 5th August 2013 for two (2) personnel (an Administrator and one Computer Literate with a Lap top).

     

    Source: Ghanafa.org

  • Appeal against Ken Agyapong won’t materialize – Ayikoi Otoo

    Lawyers for Assin Central MP, Kennedy Agyapong have stated that the decision by the State to appeal against the discharge and acquittal of their client will not see the light of day.

    State Attorney, Rexford Wiredu filed the application on behalf of the state praying the court to permit the state to file an appeal at the Court of Appeal.

    On 2nd July this year, the circuit court in a ruling of summation of no case made by counsel for the MP acquitted and discharged Mr. Agyapong on all the charges.

    Mr Agyapong reportedly committed the offense on April 13, 2013 when he called into a radio program and directed Ashantis to attack Gas and Ewes.

    However in an interview with Citi News, lawyer for the Assin Central MP, Ayikoi Otto in an interview pointed out that appealing the case in the Court of appeal is a wrong step because “the court of appeal has no jurisdiction in such criminal matters.”

    Mr. Otoo explained that he opposed the application because “the court of appeal has jurisdiction to hear decisions on appeal only in civil matters and that all appeals in criminal matters from the Magistrate and the Circuit Court go the High Court and therefore if you want me to appeal to the Court of Appeal, I believe that you may find yourself in the wrong court.”

    He insisted that “jurisdiction is fundamental so before a court embarks on a hearing, the court must first satisfy itself whether or not it has jurisdiction.”

    The former AG however alleged that he senses some political interference in the work of the Attorney General “to file an appeal against the decision… there is extreme pressure being mounted on her to file an appeal.”

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Nana Akomea, Akoto-Osei & Others Also Cited In Controversial GYEEDA Report

    …Elvis Afriyie Ankrah Reveals

    The Minister of Youth and Sports has given the biggest revelationinto in the infamous ‘chop chop’ at Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA) captured in the report of the committee, which investigated the state-run special employment programme.

    Elvis Afriyie Ankrah, who raised doubts over media publications purporting to be excerpts of the report, said the original report fingered not only officials of the incumbent government, but also top notch officers in the erstwhile ex-President Kufour’s administration, under whose tenure the programme started.

    The Minister disclosed that the committee’s findings captured the names of New Patriotic Party (NPP) stalwarts, such as Nana Akomea, Dr. Anthony Akoto-Osei who served under the Kufuor regime as Employment and Youth Minister and Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, respectively.

    Apart from the two, he said the original GYEEDA report also cited many other officers of the Kufuor regime and wondered why the media reports have only focused on only elements of the present administration.

    The Youth and Sports Minister, who spoke on Accra-based Radio Gold’s morning show on Wednesday, on several times during the interview, expressed deep doubt over what is being circulated in the media as being the content of the report.

    Mr. Afriyie Ankrah who supervised the investigative committee and later submitted the report to President John Dramani Mahama insists that the original report is with President John Mahama.

    He indicated that the original report went as far back as President Kufour’s era, when GYEEDA was the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).

    Mr. Afriyie Ankrah, however, expressed shock about those especially serializing the report, asking whether they did not find anything “dirty” about the NPP officials from what they are quoting in the supposed report.

    He told host of the programme, Alhassan Suhuyini that government is studying the original report and without any delay would come out with certain steps to address the lapses in the GYEEDA programme as well as re-engineer it.

    The Minister maintained that there would not be any cover-up on the findings published in the original report adding, that President Mahama meant well when he personally directed an investigation into the workings of the programme.

    He punched opposition critics that the current government is not like the Kufour government where investigations into Cocaine and other matters were done, but it findings and recommendations were mysteriously covered up.

    According to the Minister, all recommendations and findings in the report would be implemented, and insisted that the government will not be rushed into taking any hasty and irrational decisions.

    Meanwhile, former Executive Director of GYEEDA, Mr. Abuga Pele who is said to have been indicted by the Committee report, has lamented the failure of journalists in not reaching him for his side of the story before rushing to publish.

    He said, ever since the report was presented to the President, some media outlets began serializing the supposed Committee’s report damaging his reputation, however, no journalist from those media houses called him for his side of the story for clarification.

    According to Abuga Pele, he met with the Committee during the investigation. And the issues being published by the media did not come up for discussion.

    Besides, since the publications he has spoken with some members of the committee who assured him that the committee has no adverse findings about him in its reports.

    The Accra-based Joy FM, last Wednesday reported among other things that the Ministerial Committee set up to investigate the activities of GYEEDA, has fingered three government officials and wants them to answer significant questions in the award of contracts it says, lack transparency.

    The immediate past Minister of Youth and Sports, Clement Kofi Humado; immediate past National Coordinator of GYEEDA, Abuga Pele; and the Chief Director of the Youth and Sports Ministry, Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu are the topmost officials mentioned in the report as having questions to answer.

    According to the report, the committee could not lay hands on contracts awarded between 2006 and 2009. It therefore based its scrutiny mainly on contracts signed between 2009 and 2012.

    The committee said these officials “have significant questions to answer on the operations of GYEEDA particularly during the time of their mandate.”

    The report says Mr. Humado and the Chief Director need to explain the “lack of any transparency in the choice of service providers, the award of contracts and the visible breaches of the 1992 Constitution, the Public Procurement Act, the Internal Revenue Act and the Financial Administration Act.”

    They must also explain why they approved “significant sums in interest free loans without parliamentary approval.”

    The committee also questions what it calls “hasty signing of numerous contracts” between December 12, 2012 and December 31, 2012, as the National Coordinator when he had at the time resigned.”

    The Committee also wants Mr Pele to explain why he approved “payments of over $2.3m to Goodwill Consulting Limited for no work done” as well as “the lapse in leadership and effective management of modules during his tenure”.

    Unlike the junior officials of GYEEDA who have been specifically cited for prosecution, the committee is not explicit on what should be done to Mr. Humado, Abuga Pele and the Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu.

    But the first recommendation in the executive summary of the report states that “all cases of the violation of the laws of Ghana, particularly, in the contracting and procurement processes are referred to the Office of the Attorney General and Minister for Justice for necessary action.”

    According to the radio station, government is also to recover over GH¢200 million, constituting unlawful payments, from service providers with GYEEDA.

    it said that the investigative committee set up by the Youth and Sports Minister, Afriyie-Ankrah found that service providers took advantage of lapses within GYEEDA to overcharge the state and received payments they did not deserve.

    Three companies from the AGAMS Group owned by Roland Agabire are to refund a total of GH¢55.5 million to the state. This amount is made up of an overpayment of GH¢5.5 million GYEEDA made to RLG Communications Limited.

    The report says lapses in the finance department of GYEEDA are partly to blame for the overpayment. The three companies; Craftpro, Asongtaba Cottage Industry and Exchange Programme and RLG Communications also owe the state interest-free loans to the tune of GH¢50 million.

    Officials of the AGAMS Group have confirmed to Joy News that some of the unpaid loans were due for payment two years ago.

    The companies, according to the investigative report, have not paid a pesewa to the state.

    The committee also said, the loans were illegal because they did not received parliamentary approval as provided by Article 181 of the 1992 Constitution.

    Another company, which must refund money to the state, is the Goodwill International Group.

    It is to refund an amount of GH¢2.4 million to the state. The company is also to refund over US$2 million it took from GYEEDA but did not render any service.

    The Better Ghana Management Service, a subsidiary of Zoomlion Company Limited, is also to refund money to the state, according to the report. The two companies and others operating under GYEEDA are owned by Joseph Siaw Agyapong.

    The company was paid GH¢58.1 million to train GYEEDA beneficiaries, a training described as unnecessary by the committee training but it failed to provide the service. It also overcharged the state by about GH¢9 million for garbage collection tricycles it purported to have supplied GYEEDA beneficiaries.

    Better Ghana Management Service is also expected to refund GH¢67.1 million to government.

    The worst culprit, according to the report, is Zoomlion Ghana Limited. The company is said to have overcharged the state for tricycle and motorbike to the tune of GH¢74.2 million.

    The report says; “the management fee schedule provided by Zoomlion, suggests a serious misuse of the public purse and was based on erroneous mathematics”.

    The committee blames the financial mismanagement partly on the incompetence of the Head of Finance at GYEEDA, Alhaji Sulemana Ibrahim.

    According to the report, Alhaji Ibrahim admitted he is not capable of preparing financial statements.

    The committee, therefore, recommended his removal from office.

    In all the state will retrieve over GH¢203 million if the report is implemented.

    The committee also suggested that the state would save huge sums of money every month, if government cancels the contracts with the service providers.

     

    Source:The Herald

  • Rot at GYEEDA: Gross breach of procurement laws through unsolicited proposals

    All proposals leading to award of GYEEDA contracts are unsolicited and the process of awarding the contracts breaches the Public Procurement Law.

    This is according to the report of the ministerial committee set up to investigate activities of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agency, GYEEDA.

    The report says GYEEDA does not call for proposals. The service providers initiate their own proposals and the contracts are awarded without regard to the Public Procurement act.

    The report states that ‘all proposals submitted to GYEEDA are unsolicited. There is no evidence of any competitive process leading to the selection of any of the beneficiaries.”

    It says “single source procurement under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) is regulated by section 40.” It says and I quote: “Under section 40 of Act 663, a single source procurement may be undertaken by the Procurement entity with the approval of the Board of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) after some stringent requirements.”

    These requirements the report says include “restricted availability of the goods, works or services, or the exclusive right of the single source over the goods, works or services and the absence of a reasonable alternative.” The report says “there is no evidence of approval by the PPA for most of the procurement of SPs by single sourcing.”

    It says “even when the PPA Board attempted to approve the procurement of ACI Construction Ltd with GHS 48,852,000.00 at stake, in a letter dated 13th December, 2012, the PPA went under section 72(5)(c) of the Act 663. Section 72(5)(c) provides “the procurement entity may select consultants by inviting proposals from a single consultant where it is a follow-up assignment.”

    ACI Construction cannot qualify as consultants and the contract is certainly not a follow up one. There was no original or initial contract regularly obtained through the normal procurement processes between GYEEDA and ACI.” The MOUs contain provisions in breach of the 1992 Constitution and legislation such as the Financial Administration Act, 1993 (Act 654).

    For instance, several MOUs (especially those in connection with AGAMS Group of companies including Rlg, Craftpro and Asongtaba) contain interest free loans granted and disbursed to the SPs without recourse to Parliament as required by the Constitution and the Financial Administration Act. The report blames these breaches on little or no consultation with the Attorney General’s Department. It says in the rare circumstances in which the A-G’s department was consulted, the legal advice was not enough.

    Meanwhile the report has praised the Eastern Regional Coordinator of GYEEDA, Joshua Attah Mensah for his dedication to duty. The Committee said Joshua Atta Mensah made strenuous efforts “to establish systems to protect the public purse which is highly commendable.”

    The report says one such effort led to the retrieval of “GHS54,000.00 of unclaimed allowances from one bank.”

    Joshua Atta Mensah also made “several attempts to ensure that exited beneficiaries were cleaned from the payroll.” The committee observed that this efforts were hampered by the Better Ghana Management Service “resulting in for example allowances being paid into the accounts of exited beneficiaries in November and December 2012 even though a list of 262 beneficiaries was provided for deletion in October 2012.”

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Abuga Pele: How Are My Character Assassinators Going To Repair The Damage Caused To My Image?

    Former National Coordinator of the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Agency (GYEEDA), Hon. Abuga Pele, has hit back at critics who have accused him of being part of the alleged corruption and financial malfeasance cited in the report by the five-member ministerial committee that investigated his outfit.

    The committee’s report is said to gravely indict Hon. Abuga Pele. He is alleged to have paid monies to a tune of 2.3 million dollars to a consultant who did not work to merit such an amount.

    He is also accused of involving himself in other dubious activities when he was head of GYEEDA, formerly the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).

    Though Hon. Abuga Pele has discounted the claims, he appears dissatisfied and gob smacked that his name was included in the report submitted to the Presidency for appropriate sanctions to be meted out to the culprits.

    Addressing the issue in an interview with Radio Gold on Thursday, he stressed that there was no way he could have engaged in any financial misappropriation since every activity he undertook in paying the monies was sanctioned by the Ministry of Employment.

    He further intimated that he did not dole out the monies on the blind side of the Ministry because the said consultant at the center of the malfeasance worked with Management Development and Productive Institute (MDPI) which, he added is a governmental consultancy under the Ministry.

    Though he admitted administering the monies, he maintained that “they were paid only when some tasks had been done and these were submitted, which were then forwarded to the Ministry and a Memo which was critically examined before any payment was being done…So, I am a bit surprised…”

    He further explained the circumstances that led to his indictment in the GYEEDA report.

    “It was when I was at post within that period that some of these contracts that have been signed were brought to me and once I was still at post, I had to witness them. I didn’t expect somebody else who probably will come in later on to come and witnessed them. So, that was the condition under which I witnessed them. And I was not even asked this question by the Committee anyway.

    “The second aspect has to do with the payment of 2.3 million to a supposed consultant for no work done…This was so serious that I expected that at least if it is true that this is the report or this what is contained in the report that is yet to be made public, at least the Committee…would have asked me; why did you authorize payment to this tune?”

    He therefore issued a stern warning to his critics to stop the character assassination, saying “supposing it turns out that this is not true, how are they going to retrieve the loss of image and the insults that have hurled all over the place against me?”

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • President orders Accra mayor to reverse hockey pitch renaming

    The Presidency has directed the Chief Executive of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), Alfred Oko Vanderpuije to reverse the decision to change the name of the National Hockey Pitch.

    According to information released to the Flagstaff House Press Corps, the Presidency was not aware of the decision to change the name from ‘Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium’ and has thus directed a reversal of the decision forthwith.

    The AMA Chief Executive was summoned to the Presidency over the decision, taken without recourse to the Presidency.

    The Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) at an emergency meeting on Tuesday voted to rename the facility which had been named after the designer of the flag of Ghana, Madam Theodosia Okoh.

    According to the decision, the edifice was to be renamed after the late President, Prof John Evans Atta Mills.

    The swift response from the presidency is believed to be a result of outrage from the general public and Madam Okoh.

     

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Ailing 70 yr old remand prisoner abandoned in police cell

    A 70-year-old remand prisoner has been abandoned at the Accra Central Police Station in a condition some police personnel say could kill him.

    The man is said to have been lying on the floor at the charge office since Monday.

    Apart from his name, which was given as Simon Adjokatcher, not much is known about the man and why he is left on the bare floor for days.

    Joy News’ Manasseh Azure Awuni visited the Accra Central Police Station reported that though no official at the charge office would speak on record, they are worried about the man’s condition and the mess he creates.

    Shivering, on the cold, bare floor of the charge office, the old man defecates and urinates on himself, a police officer told Manasseh.

    The station officer says the man’s case is being handled by the Regional Police Command and he doesn’t know anything about it.

    The station officer at the regional headquarters also said he could not comment about the old man when he was contacted.

    But a police officer at the charge office says the man was seriously ill in prison and was admitted at the Police Hospital for two weeks.

    Though, he was yet to fully recover, the hospital authorities discharged him and he has been lying at the charge office since Monday.

    The police officer says sometimes those on duty at the charge office feed him.

    He said the man has been a remand prisoner for seven years but his case cannot proceed because the docket on his case is missing.

    He said the old man has been left there to die and described his condition as worrying to those at the charge office.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Are They Waiting For Me To Die…Designer Of National Flag Laments

    Designer of Ghana’s National Flag, Madam Theodosia Salome Okoh has lamented over the change of the name of the country’s National Hockey Pitch which she pioneered in constructing during the era of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.

    Madam Theodosia Okoh who was a former chairperson of the Ghana Hockey Association bemoaned that it was unfair for her name to be changed when she is still alive.

    Mr Alfred Oko Vanderpuiye disclosed on Thursday that the facility’s name had not been changed.

    According to her, the hockey pitch is still in the name of Madam Theodosia (Theodosia Oko Hockey Pitch) while the building and other facilities was in the name of President John Evans Atta Mills (John Evans Atta Mills National Hockey Stadium).

    Prior to that, as part of activities to commemorate the one year anniversary of late Prof. Mills, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) on Tuesday, decided to honour his memory by re-naming the National Hockey Stadium after him.

    The ninety-one-year old woman told Kwami Sefa-Kayi: “…Are they waiting for me to die before they will look for what to name me after? It is so annoying that the name has been changed. Where was he (Prof. Mills, late) when the place was being constructed? If I have been honoured, you are telling me that because he (late Mills) is dead, you are re-naming it after him…”

    She was displeased that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly did not ‘even’ give her due respect by informing her of the change of name, adding, “I was not informed…I am not happy about it because when he (late Mills) was alive, he (late Mills) knew the facility was named after me and that was why he (late Mills) didn’t change it: so why now?”

    Madam Okoh disclosed that the venue which is now being used as the hockey pitch was muddy and neglected until government gave them the permission to construct the facility.

    The venue according to reports was going to be used as an extension to the lorry station popular known as Tema Station but plans did not fall through until a decision to construct a hockey pitch was birthed.

    Reminiscing how she designed the National Flag, she said there was an Advertisement in the local newspaper calling for a design of the National Flag for Ghana and so being an artiste, she submitted her design and consequently, was selected.

    “I am an artiste and so when I heard of the advertisement, I did my design and gave it to the then government. My design was subsequently selected and that was how come I am known as the designer of the National Flag…We used to play hockey way back in Achimota and so I felt that if the country gets such facility, it would be helpful and that was why we constructed the Hockey Pitch…” she recalled.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • My Father Was President And He Died Of Cancer…What About Mills?

    It has often been the culture of Ghanaians not to pass any bad comment about the dead. A person might have little respect while alive, but becomes the most respected when he suddenly stops breathing. This has been our practice.

    Before the 2008 elections, Dr. Sekou Nkrumah, reveals he got to know about the “serious” health challenges of the late former President Atta Mills. “People within the NDC were coming to tell me that when they went campaigning with Prof, there were serious health issues…it was clear he was ill and could not continue; yet he said he had good health and could continue”.

    The late former president, we are told, died out of massive stroke by his brother, Dr. Cadman Mills. Ghanaians are yet to get official details about his death from government and this makes Dr. Sekou Nkrumah feel the current administration has poorly handled the whole matter.

    He says that although it is no shame to die or fall ill, government had made the late president’s death look like one. “It is shrouded and unclear” as to why government would still hide details of his death, he stated on OKAY FM.

    “Any of us can fall ill and get health complications and so on. It isn’t something that anybody can fault you or blame you for. It is no shame to fall sick and to die.

    Part of the blame should fall on the late former president because he had been economical with the truth. Dr. Sekou Nkrumah revealed that unlike President Mills, when his father, who was Ghana’s first president passed on, details surrounding his death was made known.

    “I recently gave an example of my old man; he died of prostate cancer. He developed the cancer in 1970 or so and by 1972, it had become so wide spread and he died of complications related to that”, he said.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • We Didn’t Criticise Mills’ Person But His Presidency – NPP

    The opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) has reiterated that its criticism of the late President John Evans Atta Mills was on his performances as a president of Ghana and not as a person.

    Speaking on TV3’s News 360 on Tuesday, July 23, 2013, Fred Oware, Vice Chairman of the party, asserted that the third president of the Fourth Republic was a “fine” gentleman as a person.

    “As a person, he was a fine gentleman, but as a president, there is very little one can say for what he did during his term,” Mr Oware told Tv3’s Edward Kwabi.

    He said the problem was that NPP’s criticism of him as a president was confused by Ghanaians with his “fine” personality.

    “I think people confused those issues and said the man is a president, he is a nice man and you don’t criticize him. He is Asomdweehene. But…you don’t go into office on the basis of that. Otherwise, the best place to look for people will be the church,” Mr Oware stressed.

    He disclosed that most of the critics of the late president were “…not against the person, but he was criticized as president and what we expected out of a president”.

    “Those were the areas that we criticized him,” he emphasized.

    The Minority in Parliament were very critical of the late president, heckling him especially during his appearances in the House to deliver the state-of-the-nation addresses.

    Late President Atta Mills’ final appearance in Parliament was capped with the brandishing of red cards by the opposition Members of the Fifth Parliament, and most of them were clad in mourning garbs.

    The late president admitted after delivering his address that “I did not expect the heckling to be this gargantuan”.

    But Mr Oware stressed: “A man’s record speaks for himself and so if he was being criticized then perhaps his people were taking account of his record in making criticisms”.

    Prof. Mills died on July 24, 2013 after being taken ill at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.

     

    Source: Tv3network.com

  • Mahama Will Beat Nana In Any Election –Jinapor

    The Deputy Minister for Energy and Petroleum, John Abdulai Jinapor is convinced that twice defeated presidential candidate of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) can never beat President John Dramini Mahama in any election.

    Mr. Jinapor who until his appointment was the spokesperson for the President, both at the time he served as vice-President to President John Mills to his transition to the highest office of the land, said that William Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo, would be whipped anytime he stands any national election with his former boss.

    The former spokesperson who was an integral part of the National Democratic Congress’s (NDC) campaign, which lasted for only forty (40) days as against the NPP’s over two years, was contributing to a newspaper discussion on Metro TV’s “Good Morning Ghana” programme hosted by sit-in presenter Samuel Agyeman on Monday.

    Having in mind the petition at the Supreme Court, with the nine judges led by Justice William Atubiga, are yet to make pronouncement on, Mr Jinapor believed that the attributes of President Mahama could not be matched by Mr Akuffo Addo who was for the first time beating in 2008 by late President Mills.

    He was speaking ahead of declaration by the Supreme Court who were petitioned by Mr Akufo Addo, his vice-presidential candidate, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia and party Chairman Jacob Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, demanding to annul over four million valid votes.

    In a sharp rebuttal, the representative from the NPP, Eugene Asante Antwi, could not let the statement pass without disputing it, said the statement by Mr Jinapor can happen only when the elections are stolen for Mr. Mahama, but not on a clear, fair and transparent manner.

    The NPP is in court seeking to over-turn a declaration by the Electoral Commission (EC) led by its Chairman Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan that the 2012 general elections were conducted amidst irregularities, which largely benefitted President Mahama.

    After listening to both petitioners and respondents make submission on the case, the Supreme Court has adjourned sitting till July 30, when they shall re-convey to hear the final addresses by the actors in the petition, to enable them determine the true winner of the 2012 general elections.

     

    Source: The Herald

  • I’m Disappointed In Pratt…Who Was More Prayerful Than Mills?

    “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge attractive, but the mouth of fools blurts out foolishness”, National Women’s Organiser of the NPP quotes Proverbs 15:2 as her word of advice to Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr.

    The National Women’s Organiser of the main opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP), Otiko Afisa Djaba believes that Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Mr. Kwesi Pratt Jnr has lowered in integrity in the minds of right thinking members of society with his choice of words in recent times.

    According to her, politics of insults which appears to have dominated the country’s political terrain over the years should not be directed to Men of God.

    She expressed worry to have heard Mr. Pratt linking the Founder and Leader of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Pastor Mensa Otabil intercession prayers to a case of ‘High Fever’.

    Mr. Pratt has consistently denied he was referring to the ICGC Pastor when he touched on his allusion to ‘High Fever” and pastors being human and therefore vulnerable to all ailments that befall mortals.

    But speaking on Adom FM, the NPP’s Women’s Organizer accused the Senior Journalist of setting a bad example for young up and coming one’s in the profession and prayed such ‘irresponsible’ behaviour is not copied.

    She noted that Mr. Pratt untrustworthiness is now obvious to all and advised him to render an apology to Pastor Otabil as well as the ICGC congregation.

    “I pity Mr. Kwesi Pratt for making such a comment looking at the kind of person he is. What does he (Kwesi Pratt) want in this world for him to have labeled a man of God as suffering from a case of “high fever”? Even if he apologizes, he can’t retract that comment. I don’t and will never agree with Kwesi Pratt for passing such remarks. Increasingly, Kwesi Pratt is losing his credibility. He is a grown up and must be circumspect in what he says. He should be the one to correct the young ones not the other way round. Who was more prayerful than the late Prof. Mills?

    “…so was he (Late Prez Mills) also suffering from high fever? Pastor Otabil is a mentor and must be treated like one. I used to have a lot of respect for Mr. Pratt but he is proving to be a disappointment and not being of help to the nation anymore,” she bemoaned.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Prez Mills Died Out Of Pain In His Heart…He Never Wanted To Be President – Anyidoho

    Today, marks exactly one year after the death of President John Evans Atta Mills at the 37 Military Hospital in Accra, and the man who served as his Director of Communications while in opposition and at the Presidency, has broken his long bottled silence on his years with the man many hold as a symbol of peace.

    Mr. Koku Sitso Anyidoho, revealed how he had to abandon his lucrative bank job to join the Mills Campaign, ex-President Jerry John Rawlings’ betrayal of Mills, Kufuor years of terror, Kweku Baako’s hate journalism and how John Mills saved Kwabena Agyapong over the Justice Sule Gbedagbe report on player transfers scandal among other issues.

    The ex-Director of Communications, who spoke on Accra-based Radio Gold’s 60 Minutes programme, told the host Alhassan Suhuyini, President Mills died with a heavy pain in his heart on the maltreatment visited on him by ex-President Rawlings, a man he reluctantly partnered as his second Vice-President under the Forth Republic after the Ekow Nkensen Arkaah fiasco.

    “President Mills’ died out of pain in his heart” Mr. Anyidoho, revealed in tears but avoided mentioning specifics instances when President Mills felt stab in the back by his ex-boss, Mr. Rawlings.

    The die-hard aide of the late President, while crying amidst huffing told listeners that President Mills having lost most of his schoolmates, dearest friends and close family members from Fante bloc, because of his loyalty to President Rawlings and his decision to go into politics and partner Rawlings as his vice- president, expected a better a treatment but got the opposite.

    According Mr. Anyihodo, the late president once disclosed to him that he never wanted to be President, but only wanted to serve a four-year term in office as Rawlings’ Vice-President and return to the classroom as a law lecture. He was, however, persuaded to accept the National Democratic Congress (NDC) 2000 Presidential Elections flagbearer slot.

    This according to Mr. Anyidoho made many Fantes from the Central Region unhappy with him, because the same Mr. Rawlings, had maltreated the late Ekow Nkensen Arkaah, when he was his Vice- President.

    This was in spite of Rawlings’ advice to him and others in the NDC youth wing at his private residence, never to let down Mills because he was a good man. For that reason, he together with some youth in the party developed strong loyalty for the late President.

    Years later, he was shocked how Mr. Rawlings stormed the Mills Campaign office at Kuku Hill Campaign demanding certain things to be done by Mills, forcing he (Koku) to personally disagree with Mr. Rawlings during a meeting attended by Dr. Don Arthur, Ato Ahwoi, Silvanus Tamakloe and many others.

    The former Communications Director also recalled how Professor Mills refused to step down on his Presidential ambition after many party bigwigs have lost confidence in him and asked him to step aside.

    Mr. Anyidoho said, “but some of us the youths namely; Elvis Afriyie Ankra, Fiifi Kwetey, Nii Lante Vanderpuye, Ludwig Hlodze, Mahama Ayariga, Dzidzoe Tay and many others stood for him”.

    To him President Mills’ deep passion for the young people was what spurred him on to the Presidency, but for that he would have returned to the classroom as a law lecturer, adding the man had no “selfish interests” suggesting Prof. Mills never wanted to become President.

    He recalled many instances when Mills listened to his attackers who were mostly his students insulting him on radio, and asked him: “Koku what did I do to deserve that? Have I disgrace myself like that? Why would people I taught in class, marked their scripts and pass them myself be disgracing me in that manner? Or was I stupid while marking their scripts at the time I taught them?”

    When asked how closed he was to Mills, Mr. Anyidoho answered – am extremely closed to Mills. Our relationship was just like father and son relationship.

    According to Mr. Anyidoho, he often see President Mills in his dreams. “Yes, Mills comes to me in my dreams”.

    He told the programme host that “about three days ago, Mills said to me, Koku, I appreciate your loyalty to me.”

    He mentioned humility, kindheartedness, appreciative and forgiveness as virtues of Mills.

    He said the day he saw Mills’ lifeless body at 37 Military Hospital, I saw peace written all over his face “Koku, am at peace myself”.

    The aide to the late President also disclosed that prior to the demise of his boss, he told him, “If for any reason you have to serve John Mahama, serve him loyally, just as you did to me”.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Anyidoho said he has started writing a book about his rapport with Mills titled “An Earthly Mentoring Saint – My Times With Mills” and had done about 100 pages.

    On what drove him into politics, he mentioned how Kweku Baako directed his hate journalism towards his father, General Anyidoho, falsely accusing him of mismanaging and running down Ghana Telecom (GT). This he said, forced him into writing and eventually into politics on the invitation of Prof. Mills to join his campaign.

    Ex-Director of Communications, many times mentioned Kweku Baako, Managing Editor of the New Crusading Guide newspaper during yesterday’s interview.

    Deeply buried was Mr. Baako in the Kufuor administration that he could questioned very learned scholars, such as Prof. E. V. O. Dankwa and Tsatsu Tsikata, on legal matters, calling them names and even predicted court judgments, despite admitting he was academically challenged.

    Another thing which forced him into politics was Kufour’s horrifying rule, where many including, Ato Ahwoi, ex-President Rawlings, ex-First Lady Naadu Mills and many others who served in the Rawlings regime were hounded, terrified with invitations to Security Installations, including the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI).

    He also disclosed how Prof. Mills told him how as a Vice-President, he saved ex-Presidential Press Secretary, Kwabena Agyapong, over his involvement in player transfer deals, which could have landed him in big trouble.

    Mills’ views at time were that Mr. Agyapong had seen many troubles. His father had been killed and to issue a white paper indicting him, was going to compound his woes, hence saved him. Mills, he said, was shocked to hear Mr. Agyapong insulting him many years later, while serving as President Kufuor’s Press Secretary.

     

    Source: The Herald

  • Gov’t satisfied with country’s security

    Government has declared its satisfaction with the security of the country.

    This was after president Mahama met security chiefs in the country on Monday.

    It was disclosed at the meeting that crime rates had significantly fallen.

    Speaking at the daily press briefing, Deputy Minister for Information and Media relations Felix Kwakye Ofosu said measures are being taken to ensure Ghanaians live in safety.

    “It [report] also took note of measures that have been rolled out to ensure Ghanaians live in safety and also challenges which have to be dealt with,” he stated.

    Mr. Kwakye Ofosu further stated, “the President went ahead to make some proposals that he believes could strengthen the work that the security agencies are carrying out and further consolidate the gains that have been made.”

    “He [president] is even more determined to ensure that further assistance is given to the various security agencies to boost their capacities to tackle emerging security challenges. It is believed that these measures will go a long way to help us achieve even greater results,” he added.

     

    Credit: Citifmonline

  • As Filing Of Addresses Draw Near, Respondents To Rely On…”BAD FAITH”

    As the final day for filling of addresses by both the petitioners and the respondents as ordered by the nine member panel of the Supreme Court hearing the ongoing election petition inches to a close, legal pundits and analyst say the respondents will rely heavily on the allegations of ‘bad faith’ on the part of the petitioners to prove their case.

    According to legal luminaries who spoke to The Al-Hajj in separate interviews on conditions of anonymity, both the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents have consistently and strongly raised the point of “bad faith” throughout the 46 days that the case has traveled so far in an attempt to discredit the petitioner’s claims.

    Though the petitioners will relentlessly try to demonstrate in their address why the Justices should uphold their reliefs that seeks to annul over four million votes, the learned legal pundits predicted that the respondents will argue along the lines of ‘bad faith’ to whitewash all the claims by the petitioners.

    Citing reasons for this stanch legal projection when the respondents have kept the content of their respective addresses to their chest, a legal luminary, who is well vexed in constitutional law, stated that the respondents in their respective answers to the petitioner’s claims have tagged the petition as an act of bad faith and brazen attempt by the petitioners to find some reason to question the validity of the December 7 and 8 presidential elections after they had lost.

    The legal heavyweight explained that in the 1st Respondent’s answer to the petitioners’ amended petition filed on February, 26, 2013, the 1st respondent averred that the petition seeking to annul the “eligible votes cast was brought in bad faith.”

    “If you have been following the case closely, you will realized that during the cross examination of Dr. Bawumia, both the lead counsels for the 1st and 3rd respondents made the arguments that the pink sheets the petitioners were relying on were largely from the 1st respondents’ strongholds; that was what prompted Tsatsu Tsikata to try to tender the pink sheet from the Asokwa constituency, a stronghold of the petitioners to prove the case of bad faith.”

    “In the case of the 3rd respondent, which is the NDC, they even elaborated on the allegation of bad faith. In their answer to the petitioners’ amended petition, the NDC argued that the petitioners are acting in bad faith and that the petition is frivolous, vexatious and an abuse of the court,” the legal pundit added.

    The learned constitutional lawyer quoted a paragraph of the NDC’s amended answer, which reads “The results of the parliamentary elections that were also held on the same days were announced by officials of the second respondent in the various constituencies and showed that the third respondent won 148 out of 275 seats in Parliament, thus attaining a clear majority, and that the NPP won 123 seats.

    “Members of Parliament, including those who stood on the ticket of the New Patriotic Party, have taken up their seats in Parliament,” the NDC’s response pointed out adding, “the petitioners cannot consistently claim that the presidential elections were conducted irregularly, in respect of voter verification, for instance, while acknowledging the validity of the parliamentary elections on the basis of which members of parliament from their party have taken their seats in Parliament.”

    Another legal analyst stated that, the 2nd respondent in their response to the petition and throughout the three month trial, have consistently referred to the petitioner’s claims as a “mischievous attempt” to buttress baseless accusations the petitioners made to their supporters and the media.

    Collectively, the legal luminaries stated that, drawing from the respondents’ answers to the petition and also following their star witnesses’ evidence in chief, and the cross examination of Dr. Bawumia, “any experienced lawyer worth his sort will know that the respondents’ address will heavily center on the allegations of bad faith to prove their case.”

    “Any lawyer following what has transpired in court so far knows the direction in which the addresses of the respective lawyers will go…they have argued their case in open court and in their affidavits, so from a legal point of view, the respondents’ lawyers have constantly maintained the issues of bad faith as their trump card and if they succeed in convincing the Justices to uphold their argument, it could rubbish all the claims of ‘over-voting’, non-signing of pink sheets by presiding officers, voting without biometric verification and duplicated serial numbers of pink sheets.”

    Another legal opinion proffered by an expert in constitutional law suggested that, though article 64 (1) of the 1992 constitution guarantees the right of any citizen of Ghana to proceed to court within 21 days of the declaration of a presidential election result if he or she feels aggrieved, the testimony of the Electoral Commission, the constitutionally mandated body to manage elections in Ghana, insofar as they don’t conflict with any constitutional provisions and electoral laws would play a key role in the determination of the petition.

    According to the legal expert, Dr. Afari Gyan’s suggestion in court, which was occasioned by a question from Tsatsu Tsikata that if the court should uphold any of the reliefs sought by the petitioners, then he would have to apply it to all the 26,002 polling stations indicate the extent to which the respondents are bent on shooting down the various allegations with their “bad faith” trump card.

    The only constitutional violation so far, clearly and partly admitted to by the 2nd respondent and to some extent by the 1st and 3rd respondents was that of unsigned pink sheets by presiding officers, even that, the EC admitted having in its custody only 905 unsigned pink sheets as against the petitioners claim of 2,009 unsigned pink sheets”.

    Our legal analyst stressed that the issues of presiding officers signing pink sheets is a constitutional requirement under article 49 of the 1992 constitution, but was quick to add that “the difficulty is that, the constitution did not state what will happen in the case of pink sheets not signed by presiding officers”, adding that “it is a matter for determination by the Law Lords.”

    In a bid to counter this claim, the respondents are expected to quote article 42 of the constitution which guarantees the right to any citizen of Ghana of eighteen years and above the right to be registered and to vote.

     

    Source: A A Yayra/Al-Hajj/Ghana

  • GYEEDA report is horrible, stinky – Sam Pee Yalley

    A senior member of the ruling National Democratic Congress Sam Pee Yalley has described as “stinky”, a report by the committee that investigated alleged fraud at the Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development (GYEEDA).

    Mr. Sam Pee Yalley further described as “horrible”, aspects of the report in which some officials allegedly falsified documents in order to draw huge sums of money on the accounts of GYEEDA.

    Speaking on Bawdwam on Adom TV Tuesday, Mr. Yalley said the report confirmed how some state officials colluded with private organisations to loot the state of millions of cedis.

    Meanwhile, the Member of Parliament for Tema East, Nii Kwartei Titus-Glover has challenged president John Mahama to demonstrate his pledge to fighting corruption and sanction those indicted within a month.

    Mr. Titus-Glover claimed the president has delayed in making the report public in an attempt to protect persons indicted in the report, including his appointees.

     

     

    Credit: Adom Tv

  • Rev. Owusu Bempah Cautions Kwesi Pratt

    Founder and leader of Glorious Word Power Ministries International, Reverend Isaac Owusu Bempah has advised Kwesi Pratt Jnr, Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, to evaluate his utterances about men of God.

    “It is dangerous for Kwesi Pratt to be hiding behind politics to demean men of God for reasons best known to him. He should know that God cannot be mocked.”

    Mr. Pratt reportedly said Pastor Mensah Otabil, founder and General Overseer of ICGC of International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) was suffering from ‘high fever’ in a reaction to his recent declaration.

    “I have a sense of heaviness in my spirit concerning the destiny of this country that there is something heavy ready to fall upon this country that, if we don’t take charge of that we will be in a different state a month from now,” Pastor Otabil told his congregation at Christ Temple on Sunday, July 14, 2013.

    Even though Mr. Pratt has since denied making disparaging comments about Pastor Otabil, Bishop Owusu Bempah told Daily Guide that the attacks on men of God by so-called social commentators and surrogates of political parties must cease.

    “Men of God, including myself have become targets and you have these people raining insults on us anytime we try to offer our opinions on national issues.

    “We should not take some of these prophesies for granted. We have politicized everything and it is affecting our country seriously.”

    Bishop Bempah urged all pastors to speak against the ills in society, adding, “For instance, I will not be perturbed because one day my maker would want to know from me why I did not speak out when things were going wrong,”

    Turning to the ongoing presidential election petition, Bishop Bempah made a passionate appeal to the nine justices hearing the case to consider Ghana first and deliver justice that will be acceptable for all the parties in the petition.

    “Ghana’s destiny at the moment is in the hands of the judges and I know they will not let the people of God down.

    “I know our eminent judges are capable of delivering justice and we will continue to ask for God’s special protection for them to work hard and put Ghana on a sound footing.”

    He said “there is a lot at stake in this case and we have to prepare ourselves toward the day of the verdict.”

     

    Source: William Yaw Owusu

  • Where are the principal actors in the Woyome scandal- Martin Amidu roars

    Former Attorney General is astounded by attempts to rope him in as a villain in the Woyome judgement debt scandal which has rocked the nation.

    Martin Amidu says if Woyome is in court today for conspiracy to commit crime, and defrauding by false pretense it is because of his vigilance.

    His comments to Myjoyonline.com come shortly after Ahmed Sulemana, Acting Chief Director at the Attorney General and a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Woyome testified in court on Monday that Amidu had prior knowledge and approval of the payment of judgement debt to Alfred Woyome.

    Sulemana, in a cross examination testified that a substantial amount of the 51 judgement debt paid to Woyome had been paid under the tenure of Martin Amidu as Attorney General. The first installment of 17, million cedis was paid under the instruction and supervision of Mrs Betty Mould Iddrisu, he noted.

    But Martin Amidu told Myjoyonline.com authorization for the payment was made before he was appointed as Attorney General in 2011.

    “The letters authorizing payment from the Attorney General were dated 15th November 2010 in the case of Waterville, and 9th December 2010 in the case of Woyome. The letters were each addressed by the Minister of Finance to the Accountant-General for payment. There was nothing in my handing over notes on these cases. How was I to stop payments of monies which were authorized before I was appointed to the office and nobody had even briefed me about them?” he asked.

    According to him, he suspected an attempt to use him as a “scape goat” when he was asked by the Solicitor General to withdraw the case because of lack of merit, a proposal he objected.

    Scuttled case?

    Martin Amidu is all the more worried about the quality of prosecution by the Attorney General’s department in the controversial matter.

    He wondered how, the Acting Chief Director who is only in charge of purely administrative matters at the Ministry of Justice will be asked to defend the state on a matter as crucial as the Woyome scandal, when in fact the Solicitor General who was key player in the scandal could have been a better witness.

    “How come that the Chief State Attorney, Samuel Nerquaye Tetteh who handled this case throughout and is still at post, not a witness? How come that the Senior State Attorney, Mr. Adadevoh who was always in Court not a witness? How come that Mrs. Afriyie-Ansah who is the Chief State Attorney handling the case in the High Court since I sought the amendment not a witness?”He said he has made it palpably clear in a June 10, 2013 letter to the Attorney General, his displeasure about how the prosecution is conducting the case.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • NPP Wants 4m Votes Cancelled

    The petitioners in the landmark Presidential Election Petition are calling on the Supreme Court to cancel nearly 4 million votes in the December 2012 presidential contest.

    The New Patriotic Party (NPP) presidential candidate in the election, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his running mate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia and the party’s Chairman Jake Otanka Obetsebi-Lamptey, specifically want the Supreme Court to strike out 3,916,385 votes due to what they said were statutory violations, irregularities and malpractices.

    The violations being complained about by the petitioners included over-voting, voting without biometric verification, same serial numbers on pink sheets, as well unsigned pink sheets by Electoral Commission (EC) officials.

    At the close of evidence last week, Philip Addison, lead counsel for the petitioners, put it to Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan, Chairman of the Electoral Commission (EC), that President John Dramani Mahama was the ultimate beneficiary of the violations, malpractices and irregularities complained about.

    He said out of the 3,916,385 votes the petitioners were seeking to annul, 2,612,788 went to Mr. Mahama whom the ECC boss, Dr. Afari-Gyan declared winner, while Nana Akufo-Addo, the lead petitioner, got 1,228,229.

    Dr. Afari-Gyan, in response said “I have no basis in knowing this.”

    Giving a breakdown of the violations, malpractices and irregularities, Mr. Addison, who was winding up his cross-examination of the EC boss, said out of a total of 10,081 polling stations, over-voting alone totaled 742,492; but Dr. Afari-Gyan replied, “Unless I know the specific polling stations, it will be difficult to say yes or no.”

    Mr. Addison stressed that out of 742,492 being the over-voting figure, 502,013 inured to the benefit of President Mahama (1st respondent) with 225,155 going to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (1st petitioner).

    Dr. Afari-Gyan replied, “I don’t know the basis for this. It can’t be…If there is an over-vote there is no way you can say it belongs to one candidate…It is wrong to say because someone won an election he is the beneficiary…I can’t answer that question.”

    Mr. Addison pressed further, alerting the court that in the “No Verification” category, the total votes affected was 810,827 but Dr. Afari-Gyan insisted that “as far as the EC is concerned everybody who voted was biometrically verified.”

    Counsel said in that category alone, 558,236 of those who voted without biometric verification were attributable to President Mahama while Nana Akufo-Addo got 234,161, but the commissioner again said, “I can’t answer the question.”

    Mr. Addison said that in the “No signature” category the total valid votes affected was 659,135 and 447,655 were attributable to President Mahama while Nana Akufo-Addo got 197,628; and again, Dr. Afari-Gyan replied that “I have no basis of knowing that.”

    On the issue of duplicate serial numbers, Mr. Addison said that 3,499,308 valid votes were affected and 2,338,993 were attributable to President Mahama while 1,093,661 were given to Nana Akufo-Addo and Dr. Afari-Gyan again said “I don’t know that for a fact.”

    Mr. Addison: The major beneficiary was the 1st respondent.

    Dr. Afari-Gyan: That is not correct.

    Mr. Addison: Do you have figures to the contrary?

    Dr Afari-Gyan: I announced the results of the election as presented by the various returning officers and those figures have already been made public.

    Mr Addison: But it is precisely those results that you announced that are being challenged in this court?

    Dr Afari-Gyan: Yes my Lords.

    Mr Addison: So I am asking you, do you have any other figures apart from the ones I have just quoted to you?

    Dr Afari-Gyan: I’m saying that I have no basis to change the results as announced.

    Mr Addison: My question was not whether you had the basis or not.

    Dr Afari-Gyan: I don’t have any figures other than the ones that I announced.

    Mr Addison: I have given you a set of figures and I also followed that by saying that the first respondent is the major beneficiary of these violations. What do you have to say to that?

    Dr. Afari-Gyan: And I said that I denied the first respondent is the beneficiary.

     

    Source: Daily Guide

  • Substantial part of Woyome cash paid under Martin Amidu; witness tells court

    The Chief Director at the Attorney General’s Department has said a substantial part of the controversial 51 million cedis judgement debt paid to business man Alfred Woyome was paid under former Attorney General Martin Amidu.

    According to Ahmed Sulemana, two of the three 17 million cedis installments were paid when Mr. Amidu was in office as A-G.

    He made the revelation on Monday during cross-examination in a case in which Alfred Woyome is being prosecuted for conspiracy to commit crime, and defrauding by false pretense.

    Woyome caused to be paid him an amount of 51 million cedis in judgement debt between 2010 and 2011.

    He claimed he was entitled to the money because they were incidental losses he suffered when the erstwhile Kufuor administration abrogated contracts he validly entered into with the government.

    The ‘contracts’ were in relation to the building of stadia for the CAN 2008 finals in Ghana in 2008.

    Following his claims, Woyome entered into an agreement with the Attorney-General, Betty-Mould Iddrisu to be paid an amount of 51 million as damages. The parties filed same before the High Court, with the state agreeing to pay the money in three separate installments of 17 million cedis each.

    The A-G’s department later filed a case in court suggesting it was wrong in entering into the agreement with Mr. Woyome.

    The asked that since due date for the payment of the first tranche of 17 million had passed, the state should pay that money whilst its case was being heard. It later transpired that inspite of this directive by the court, the entire amount was paid.

    Some critics have chided Mrs. Mould Iddrisu for failing to adequately defend the state.

    After persistent criticism, Woyome was arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit crime and defrauding by false pretense.

    At the cross examination on Monday, one of the Prosecution witnesses and chief Director at the Attorney General’s Department, Ahmed Sulemana disclosed that two of the 17 million cedis installments were paid under Martin Amidu who took over from Betty Mould Iddrisu as A-G.

    Betty Mould had paid the first installment before leaving office.

    His revelation comes at a time when Martin Amidu is in court as a “citizen vigilante” challenging the payment made to Woyome, Waterville and Isofoton and seeking a refund of monies paid illegally to them.

    Joy News’ Anny Osabutey also reported Ahmed Sulemana as saying, whilst in office, Martin Amidu had been cautioned by the Solicitor General, Ama Gaisie that the case against Woyome was weak and should be withdrawn, a suggestion he flatly rejected.Even though Martin Amidu will not speak publicly on the matter, sources say the former Attorney General was not aware of the payment to Woyome and could not have stopped a payment he knew nothing about.

    He reportedly did not also withdraw the case against Woyome as suggested by the Solicitor General because he was convinced his predecessor was well grounded before proceeding to court.

    The case has meanwhile been adjourned to October 16, 2013.

     

    Credit: Myjoyonline

  • I’d Support Nana Addo..Should He Be Declared President – Yaw Boateng Gyan

    The world would not come crushing down on Yaw Boateng Gyan should Nana Akufo Addo be declared as president of the republic of Ghana by the Supreme Court.

    In an interview with OKAY FM, the National Organizer for the National Democratic Congress revealed that he would wholeheartedly welcome Nana Akufo Addo and regard him as his president, should the Supreme Court declare him as winner of last years’ election.

    His comments were aimed at toppling the strings of warnings and harsh comments he received from the Let My Vote Count Alliance (LMVCA ) for alleging that he is preparing the grounds for violence.

    On 18th July, 2013, Mr. Boateng Gyan emphatically stated that he believes the current election petition before the Supreme Court would only rake in electoral reforms and not a change in government.

    In view of the convictions expressed by Mr. Boateng Gyan, Mr. David Asante believes it is contemptuous. As spokesperson for the LMVCA, Mr. Asante claims Mr. Boateng Gyan’s comment has the potency to fuel a degree of apprehension in the country if not dealt with.

    “He has given a ruling and if his supporters expect nothing but a win for the NDC, this can spark violence”, he said.

    But Mr. Boateng Gyan reemphasized that all the parties involved in the election petition believe they would emerge victors after the case has been finalized. “It is predictable to tell that everyone who goes to court believes the ruling would favour him. The NPP believe they would win, likewise the NDC and the Electoral Commission”, he said.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • IGP, Finance Ministry to appear before Judgement Debt Commission

    Representatives of the Inspector General of Police and the Chief Director, Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning have been invited to appear before the Judgement Debt Commission to assist in its work. 

    A statement signed by Mr George William Dove, Public Relations Officer of the Commission said his outfit will resume public sittings on Wednesday July 24.

    The Commission of Inquiry was set up by President John Mahama to inquire into Judgement Debts Payments and other related matters.

    It said they were at liberty to appear with their lawyers; and that sittings would be held at 1000 hours each day. 

    “Members of the public who wish to testify or volunteer information are first to report at the Commission’s office to give their statements. The Commission will then schedule a date for them to give evidence.”

    “All those who intend to testify or volunteer information to the Commission but are unable to be present in person are requested to submit memoranda to the Commission. All such memoranda will be treated confidentially,” the statement added.

     

    Source: GNA

  • Giuseppina Baafi Crowned Miss Ghana 2013

    Miss Giuseppina Baafi is Miss Ghana 2013.

    The twenty two year old accounting student beat of competition from 20 other ladies in this year’s edition of the contest.

    Magaret Kuma-Mintah and Crystal Selorm Amudzi took 1st and 2nd runner up respectively.

    The winner will walk away with a brand new car, cash prize, one year full-time service with Miss Ghana Foundation, one year accommodation at the Miss Ghana House donated by Manet Properties among other prizes.

    The first runner-up will also have an official car to be used for one year, a year full time service with the Miss Ghana Foundation, a year accommodation at the Miss Ghana Official House and a cash prize.

    The second-runner up will receive an official car to be used for a year, a year accommodation at the Miss Ghana Official House and a cash prize.

    The contest, which took place at the Banquet Hall of the State House, brought together the creme de la creme of entertainment fraternity in Ghana including some A-list celebrities and politicians.

    The former first lady of the Republic, Nana Konadu Agyemang Rawlings; Minister for Tourism, Culture and Creative Arts, Elizabeth Ofosu-Agyare; Miss World 2012, Wenxia Yu plus several captains of industry were there to grace the occasion.

    The night saw captivating performances from thrilling Sherifa Gunu, saxophonist extraordinaire Steve Bedi and smooth crooner, Kwabena Kwabena.

    Miss World, Wenxia Yu also performed a popular Chinese ballad with sheer elegance which got the audience clapping in appreciation.

    The event also saw several amounts of money being raised through auctions for the several causes including the refurbishment of the children’s block of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

     

    Source: Citifmonline

  • Abdul Razak Claims Manhyia Approach For Kotoko Job

    Kotoko legend Abdul Karim Razak claims he is in line to be named next Kotoko coach after meeting with the club’s Life Patron, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.

    Head coach Didi Dramani has expressed his desire to leave but reports claim he has been told to stay.

    RTU coach Roberto Carlos Paul was linked with Kotoko but fans met the rumours with furious with some pleading with Otumfuo.

    However, Abdul Karim Razak who has coached the club in the past and is also a former player for the Porcupine Warriors told Ghana Sports’s Abdul Toufiq Kadir he has been promised the Kotoko job.

    New Edubiase assistant coach Michael Osei has also revealed there is an ongoing talk to become the assistant trainer at Kotoko.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Clueless Mahama gov’t is behaving like Beyonce-Abu Ramadan

    The National Youth Organizer of the Peoples National Convention (PNC), Abu Ramadan has likened the Mahama government’s level of spending to that of American hip pop artistes Beyonce and Lil Wayne.

    According to Abu Ramadan the government is spending recklessly like “Beyonce” who has no priority with how to spend her hard earned money.

    Speaking on Asempa Fm’s Ekosii-Sen on Friday, Abu Ramadan flayed government for a proposed tax on condoms and farm inputs, insisting, government is clueless about how to manage the economy.

    “I think the government is clueless. It is just behaving like a Beyonce or Lil Wayne who does not know what to use money for and spending recklessly” he bellowed.

    The member of pro-opposition pressure group, Alliance for Accountable Governance (AFAG), claimed the government is confused and does not know the button to punch in order to get results.
    “Spending GHC15million on phantom guinea fowl project, GHC33 million planting trees during dry seasons among others,… I think the government is at a loss and doesn’t even know [which] button to punch to get results”.

    He accused government of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” by taxing poor people without using it to their advantage. “The government is taxing the poor to the advantage of the rich. What the government knows is to tax condoms, cutlasses, and others which the poor benefits from.
    “This tactic is robbing Peter to pay Paul and this has been the bad management [practices] of the NDC administration we are talking about. They inherited a petrol price of GHC3.20.00 but it is now GHC10.00. What kind of government is this?”

     

    Source: Asempa News

  • FULL STATEMENT: Rawlings’ Speech At National Peace Summit

    ADDRESS BY H.E. JERRY JOHN RAWLINGS AT A HIGH LEVEL SUMMIT BY NATIONAL PEACE COUNCIL AND MANHYIA PALACE

    THEME: JUSTICE, PEACE AND REFORM WILL STRENGTHEN GHANA

    BANQUET HALL, STATE HOUSE, ACCRA – JULY 19, 2013

    His Majesty Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Most Reverend Professor Emmanuel Asante, His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, Naa Professor John Nabila, the Inspector-General of Police, Nananom, Niimei, Honourable Members of the National Peace Council, representatives of Civil Society and Political Parties, Distinguished Guests, members of the Media, Ladies and Gentlemen:

    Issues of national importance and perhaps international relevance have again brought us together to participate in a forum on justice, peace and reform with the goal of further strengthening our democracy and political development.

    Ghanaians have been witnesses to the fascinating spectacle of our electoral process being placed under judicial scrutiny over the past few months. As we inch closer to the conclusion of the process there are natural concerns that the high-adrenalin that characterises our political competitiveness and discourse may spill over when a verdict is finally given.

    Allow me to commend our Supreme Court justices for their composure and moderating influence throughout the hearing process. Their performance so far, under the scrutiny of television cameras, is worthy of mention.

    At a similar forum in November 2012 ahead of the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, I counselled that our political leadership have a huge responsibility to give proper direction and guidance to their supporters across the country, to desist from acts of reckless impunity.

    Today, I can only reiterate that our political parties, especially the two who are opposing each other in the law courts, have a patriotic responsibility to protect the sanctity of our democratic process by properly educating their supporters on the role of the judiciary and the fact that decisions may not automatically go in favour of their party.

    Our weakness when it comes to politicking is the impression political leadership often creates that their individual party has to win at all costs and failure to win means something untoward may have taken place. We cannot allow such attitudes to affect supporters’ perceptions in the run up to the Supreme Court ruling.

    Ladies and gentlemen, for us to achieve an incident-free post court-ruling scenario we need the full support of the media and indeed every citizen of this country. We have to concede that some of our media have not helped to objectively disseminate news about the on-going judicial process but have contributed to unduly raising the political temperature.

    The media have to revise their approach to reporting electoral disputes and be guided by the principle that their agenda-setting role should always protect the national interest and not be tarnished by the petty, biased and parochial political agenda some of them pursue.

    Many Ghanaians now have access to various social media forums so this admonishment does not only go to the mainstream media but also to all those who have taken it upon themselves to abuse their freedoms in chat rooms by pursuing a vitriolic political agenda that has the capacity to negatively influence unsuspecting users of such forums.

    Hiding behind the Internet to pursue a dirty political agenda is cowardly. And this is no less cowardly than those journalists who boldly fabricate stories as a way of protecting their paymasters.

    Our political leaders, traditional leaders, opinion leaders and indeed every Ghanaian, has a part to play in ensuring peace and unity for our country. Let us not relegate the responsibility to a select few. We can all play our part within our communities and circles of family, friends and associates.

    At the end of the day our response to the ruling will indicate how mature we are as a people and how our political process has evolved. We cannot afford to fail this test.

    We will of course also expect our judiciary to deliver a ruling that will inspire the confidence of both the winners and losers and further go to strengthen and protect our political process, national cohesion and self-belief. Justice is perhaps one of the most essential and intrinsic contributions to the internal equilibrium of the soul.

    There are serious battles ahead of us – corruption, economic battles, the burning down of our markets and crime. Let us get this one out of the way and take on the others. We need to move on.

     

    Thank you.

     

    Credit: Peacefmonline

  • Yaw Boateng Gyan must speak wisely or remain silent – LMVCA

    The Let My Vote Count Allaince (LMVCA) has served notice to the National Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Boateng Gyan to desist from making unguarded statements as the country waits for the final verdict on the Election Petition case.

    The group is alleging that Mr. Boateng Gyan on an Accra based radio station; Okay FM reportedly said that “the panel of nine Justices will effectively ignore all the evidence before it and rule against the petitioners, adding that there should rather be electoral reforms.”

    A statement signed by the spokesperson for the group, David Asante stated that this unguarded statement “have the potential to give his party supporters false hope albeit not based on evidence but on what his party supporters want.”


    Below is the full statement

    We wish to draw the public’s attention, as well as serve a warning to Yaw Boateng Gyan and all who may want to make irresponsible and unguarded statements as we await the verdict of the Supreme Court on the Presidential petition to be reminded of the chaos such ugly comments would likely lead us.

    The National Organizer of the National Democratic Congress appears to be setting the stage to pre-determine for the justices what decision they should take or rule as far as the Presidential petition is concerned.

    Mr. Boateng Gyan is reported to have said on Okay FM, that the panel of nine Justices would effectively ignore all the evidence before it and rule against the petitioners, adding that there should rather be electoral reforms.

    He might not be aware of the level of anger his comments have invoked within the NPP, with some supporters asking if his comments could be informed by information gathered by the NDC from the quarters of the Justices.

    His unguarded statements also have the potential to give his party supporters false hope albeit not based on evidence but on what his party supporters want.

    The whole world heard and saw what happened during this trial. If his strategy is to use such communication to motivate his low-spirited supporters, then he should do so with facts and without prejudice to what the constitution has mandated the Supreme Court to do, which is to determine the validity of the presidential election.

    The two specific reliefs petitioners are seeking in accordance to CI74 and constitution are:

    That John Mahama was not validly elected as president

    But rather, Nana Akufo- Addo was validly elected as president

    In addition, the petitioners say any other relief the court in its wisdom recommends including electoral reforms after considering the two primary reliefs sought would be welcome.

    We will also warn Yaw Boateng Gyan to desist from using the name of Jesus Christ in vain. He should remove the Son of God from his plot.

    …signed……
    David Asante
    Spokesperson, LMVCA

  • Think war, and you will get war – Concerned Clergymen

    The Concerned Clergymen of Ghana say the organization of the National Peace Summit was misplaced because, “the atmosphere we are creating in Ghana will rather generate more fear and fear is the platform for the enemy to do evil.”

    “If we are all thinking evil and we are all thinking war, war will happen.”

    The National Peace Summit, organised by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IGEG) on Friday, was put together to encourage Ghanaians to maintain the peace in the country after Supreme Court had passed a verdict on the election petition case.

    Several key personalities such as ex-President John Rawlings, Chiefs, opinion leaders, some clergymen and political party representatives were present to urge Ghanaians to refrain from any activities which could mar the peace in the country.

    Sharing his thoughts on the Summit on Eyewitness News, the spokesperson for the group, Rev. Benny Woode opined that the programme was likely to create an atmosphere of fear among the citizens.

    Rev. Woode insisted: “there is nothing happening in Ghana that should be calling for prayer, that should be calling for a summit. What is it? We’ve gone for elections… we’ve gone to court and we are waiting for the lawyers to send their address and in August the judges will come with their verdict. Is this something that should cause apprehension in the nation?”

     

    Credit: Citifmonline

  • Pratt: I Never Said Otabil Was Suffering From High Fever

    Managing Editor of the Insight newspaper, Kwesi Pratt, has strongly discounted claims that he described renowned Man of God, Pastor Mensah Otabil as suffering from “high fever” for sensing in his spirit that calamity might befall Ghana if Christians do not pray to avert it.

    Mr Pratt’s denial on PeaceFM, followed a question put to him by Kwami Sefa Kayi, host of the station’s flagship programme, “Kokrokoo”, whether indeed he diagnosed Pastor Mensa Otabil as suffering from ‘High Fever’ on AdomFM.

    The General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) asked Ghanaians not to cease praying for the nation because of “a sense of heaviness” in his “spirit” regarding the country’s “destiny”.

    “I have a sense of heaviness in my spirit concerning the destiny of this country that there is something heavy ready to fall upon this country that, if we don’t take charge of that we will be in a different state a month from now,” he stated in his sermon to the
    congregation at Christ Temple on Sunday July 14, 2013.

    Dr. Otabil thus called on Christians to learn from Elijah in the Bible, who prayed earnestly for the destiny of his country and made declarations, which came to pass, because he prayed and spoke with divine authority.

    “We need to take note that Elijah was just like us and he came from Tishbi, which is a village not found on any map till date – but because he prayed earnestly he was able to make a declaration about the destiny of his country and his declaration shaped the destiny of his country,” he said.

    On the back of that message, Dr. Otabil led his congregation in a passionate prayer for Ghana, after which he made even more passionate and positive declarations about the destiny of the country.

    “We make these declarations – there shall be no civil war in Ghana…there will be no military takeover in Ghana…there will be no bloodshed in Ghana…there will be no coup d’état…there will be peace in Ghana…the land shall have peace and rest…there will be prosperity in Ghana…abundance in the name of Jesus,” the ICGC General Overseer declared.

    The Senior Journalist is reported to have described the Pastor Otabil as suffering from the disease during a studio discussion on Thursday; a claim he vehemently denied.

    According to Mr Pratt, the “if clause” in Dr. Mensa Otabil’s statement clearly indicates he is unsure of the prophecy and hiding behind that conditional clause, just like most prophets do.

    He stressed that he is aware when people suffer from hay fever they have hallucinations thus it will be difficult to evaluate whether the prophesies are motivated by the ailment of the pastors or are genuine.

    He noted that pastors are humans and they can “get sick” so there is no proof if a pastor, prophesying doom, has high fever or not.

    Prior to the accusation, the Insight newspaper, in its Thursday 18th July edition, published in its editorial which partly read: “… he (Pastor Otabil) cannot be easily counted on as one of the citizens of Ghana who wishes the country well. He has joined the ranks of the mongers of coup and evil, praying hard for his prophecy to be fulfilled to enable him profit from his vocation as a man of God.”

    But Mr Pratt asserts he only stressed the point that “not everybody believes in prophecy. Besides, medical doctors have indicated that if one is suffering from high fever, the person hallucinates or becomes delirious….But because I am not a doctor, I cannot determine if Otabil is having that symptom…strange things people say sometimes can be from high fever….”However, John Boadu, a Deputy Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Abu Ramadan, National Youth Organizer of the People’s National Convention (PNC), who were part of the panelists on “Kokrokoo” were adamant that Mr Pratt’s remarks were offensive and he must offer apologies to the renowned Pastor.

    Abu Ramadan, in particular, was of the view that the Senior Journalist could have made his point without making those inferences.

    “The pastors and men of God have come under vilification and attack for the last two three years from media communicators, least did I expect Kwesi Pratt to join them because this is a direct attack,” he indicated.

    John Boadu, on his part, indicated that it is not healthy to make such comments. According to him, Kwesi Pratt has simply opened himself up for verbal vilification.

    “…that statement you made was untoward…” he said.

    But the Insight newspaper managing Editor would have none of it and questioned the temerity of the PNC National Youth Organiser to counsel him on the need to be guarded in his utterances.

    He defiantly stood by his words stating that there was nothing to apologise for, adding that ‘anything a pastor will say must be taken with a pinch of salt…I have never said anywhere that Pastor Mensa Otabil is suffering from High Fever. I have never said so…what I said is being misconstrued.”

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Kufuor calls for prayers ahead of Supreme Court judgment

    Former President John Agyekum Kufuor has called for prayers ahead of Supreme Court’s judgment on the election petition hearing.

    He is warning, the declaration of commitment to peace by the petitioners and respondents is not enough. He wants Ghanaians to ask God to give the judges wisdom to be able to deliver a ruling that is based on truth and fact.

    Mr. Kufuor’s call comes a day after Justice Atuguba announced an end to “the battle of evidence” in the hearing of a 46-day Election Petition filed by three Petitioners- New Patriotic Party’s Presidential candidate Nana Akuffo Addo, his running mate, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and NPP chairman Jake Obetsibi Lamptey.

    They are praying the court to overturn the declaration of John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress as winner of the 2012 elections. The case was yesterday adjourned to 31st July to enable lawyers for the parties submit their addresses.

    But speaking to JOYNEWS’ Gifty Andoh Appiah, the former president said he is sure of a peaceful Ghana after the judgment.

    “What I will say is that we should pray that the good Lord will touch the hearts and minds of our justices so they deliberate well and wisely and come out with a ruling based on the truth and fact” the former president said.

    Mr. Kufuor therefore expects the NPP’s Nana Akuffo-Addo and President John Mahama to abide by their commitment to peace, after the judgement.

    He called on party supporters and ordinary Ghanaians to follow whatever the leaders of the ruling NDC and opposition NPP direct to be done.

    Meanwhile, Dr. Emmanuel Akwetey, the Executive Director of the Institute for Democratic Governance (IDEG) has stated that, the executive wielded immense powers that attracted the interests of several people.

    He noted that a Petition to challenge the winner of a Presidential election naturally has immense implications for these private interests. Nonetheless, violence is not an option no matter the outcome of the judgment, he counseled.To this effect, the Dr. Akwetey announced that IDEG was organising a program to bring together stakeholders in the Election Petitions to deliberate on peace and implication of the Election Petition on Ghana’s governance systems.

     

    Source: Myjoyonline

  • Police meet political parties leadership over election petition

    The Northern Regional Police command has begun series of meetings with leadership of the various political parties in Tamale.

    This is to avert any possible clashes when the Supreme Court finally announces its verdict on the case.

    At the said meeting on Thursday, the regional police Commander, DCOP Ken Yeboah impressed on them to help the security agencies maintain peace in the area.

    Representatives of the political parties at the meeting are expected to sanitize their supporters on the need to co-exist peacefully.

    They are also expected to spell out guidelines for supporters of the parties asking them to desist from using intemperate language in the media.

    Considering particularly the Tamale metropolis as one of the identified hotspots in Ghana, the move is aimed at ensuring that the region’s peace is not jeopardized.

     

    Credit: Citifmonline

  • Election Petition: FINALLY!!! “Battle Of Evidence” Ends…Court Adjourned To July 31

    After 46 days (since substantive hearing begun) of evidence giving and cross examination of witnesses by both the Petitioners and Respondents, the 2012 election petition which has been pending at the Supreme Court for the past seven months is almost over.

    The Petitioners and Respondents have been given up to July 30, 2013 to prepare and file their written addresses.

    “At long last the battle of evidence has ended. So now we are directing both sides to file your addresses simultaneously not later than 30 July”, Justice William Atuguba, president of the nine-member panel announced on Wednesday.

    Hearing has been adjourned to Wednesday, July 31, 2013 for the judges to ascertain whether the addresses have been filed with the Court’s Registrar.

    Justice Atuguba further stated that the court will sit on July 31, 2013 when the address filing have closed and give further directions to proceed from there.

    But before discharging, Dr Afari-Gyan from the witness box, Justice Atuguba sarcastically said, “I hope you are seeing that go to court, go to court is not such an easy thing to say”.

    This was received with laughter in the courtroom.

    The Petitioners – Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his 2012 running mate Dr. Mahamudu and their party’s national Chairman Jake Obetsebi-Lamptey – filed to challenge the results of the 2012 presidential poll in the Supreme Court with reason that the election was fraught with too many anomalies which robbed their Candidate of victory.

    The respondents in the case include President John Mahama, the Electoral Commission and the governing National Democratic Congress.

    The petitioners alleged that gross and widespread irregularities took place on the face of the pink sheets from 11,842 polling stations.

    Although they insist they supplied 11,842 pink sheets to prove claims of over-voting, persons voting without undergoing biometric verification, some presiding officers not signing the pink sheets and some polling stations having the same serial numbers, the respondents allege that they were not supplied with 11,842 pink sheets.

    The petitioners therefore relied on 11,115 pink sheets to make their case for the annulment of more than four million votes.

    The case has seen various witnesses on both sides including Dr. Bawumia, General Secretary of the NDC, international accounting firm KPMG and EC Chairman Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.

    In the course of the trial, two people – Managing Editor of the Daily Searchlight Newspaper Ken Kuranchie and a member of the Communication team of the NDC, Stephen Atubiga – were sentenced to separate terms in prison for criminal contempt.

    Their sentencing for 10 and three days respectively sparked a whole national debate in the media concerning the law of criminal contempt.The petitioners claim their investigation uncovered six main categories of constitutional/statutory violations, commissions, irregularities and malpractices, namely, over-voting, widespread instances of polling stations where there were no signatures of the presiding officers or their assistants on the pink sheets, in clear violation of Article 49 (3) of the Constitution and Regulation 36 (2) of CI 75, widespread instances of polling stations where voting took place without prior biometric verification, in breach of Regulation 30 (2) of CI 75, as well as widespread instances of the same serial numbers on pink sheets with different poll results, when the proper and due procedure established by the EC required that each polling station has a unique serial number in order to secure the integrity of the polls and the will of lawfully registered voters.

    They alleged widespread instances of polling stations where different results were strangely recorded on the pink sheets in respect of polling stations bearing the same polling station code when, by the EC’s established procedure, each polling station is assigned a unique code in order to avoid confusing one polling station with another which could not be explained by a reference to special voting.

    In a bid to prove their allegations of fraud, the petitioners served 24 boxes filled with thousands of documents on the respondents in the case as evidence.

    Nonetheless, the EC has denied all petitioners’ allegations and insists the elections were held on a clean sheet and, therefore, President Mahama won fairly in the full glare of the media, local and international election observers.

    President Mahama and the NDC, who are the first and third respondents, respectively, in the petition, also denied the claims of the petitioners.

    2 ISSUES FOR TRIAL

    After 10 sittings to consider and rule on more than 21 interlocutory applications filed by parties in the case, the nine-member court set out two issues for trial.

    They are whether or not there were statutory violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices in the conduct of the elections held on December 7 and 8, 2012 and whether or not the said violations, omissions, irregularities and malpractices (if any) affected the outcome of the elections.

    JUDGEMENT AND DECLARATION OF RESULTS

    After both sides have finished with their addresses, the court will fix a date for judgement.

    It will then forward its order to the EC for implementation.

    The EC will be expected to declare the results again, irrespective of the outcome of the court’s decision.

    Rule 71 of CI 74 says: “The court shall, at the conclusion of the hearing of the petition, deliver its judgement and the registrar shall, within seven days of the delivery of the judgement, forward a copy of the judgement to the Electoral Commission.’’

    THE PANEL AND LEGAL TEAMS

    Justices of the Supreme Court sitting on the landmark case are Mr Justice William Atuguba (presiding), Mr Justice Julius Ansah, Mrs Justice Sophia Adinyira, Ms Justice Rose Owusu, Mr Justice Jones Dotse, Mr Justice Annin Yeboah, Mr Justice P. Baffoe-Bonnie, Mr Justice N.S. Gbadegbe and Mrs Justice Vida Akoto-Bamfo.

    A 10-member legal team, including a former Deputy Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Ms Gloria Akuffo; Mr Philip Addison, Mr Frank Davies, Mr Alex Quaynor, Mr Akoto Ampaw, Nana Asante Bediatuo, Mr Kwame Akuffo, Mr Kwaku Asirifi, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, Mr Egbert Faibille and Professor Ken Attafuah, represented the petitioners.

    President Mahama is being represented by Mr Tony Lithur and Dr Abdul Basit Aziz Bamba, while Mr Tsatsu Tsikata and Mr Samuel Codjoe represent the NDC.

    Mr James Quashie-Idun, Mr Anthony Dabi and Mr Stanley Amarteyfio are representing the EC.

     

    Source: Peacefmonline

  • Live Text Day 46: Presidential Election Petition

    There are clear indications that the legal arguments and manoeuvrings in Ghana’s Presidential Election Petition case will come to a close on the 46th-day of the hearing.

    Counsel for the Petitioners is expected to finish a fresh cross-examination of witness for the Electoral Commission, Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Gyan.

    Mr. Phillip Addison signaled he was done with his cross-examination yesterday. But James Quarshie-Idun, counsel for the E.C brought in fresh, last-minute pink sheets during his re-examination of the witness.

    But lawyers for the petitioners insisted they need to cross-examine the witness, Dr. Afari-Gyan based on those new sheets.

    It is also expected that the Supreme court will give counsel for the parties timelines for filing addresses. 10:34 Justices enter. Introduction of parties and counsel being conducted.

    Addison tells Afari-Gyan to scrutinse at exhibit X- it contains polling station codes of triplicate serial numbers. The witness does.
    Addison tells him that Afari-Gyan said it was not illogical to have triplicates. But Afari-Gyan explains that he said they printed duplicates only.

    Addison shows him exhibit EC11A. Addison asks, what is the first polling station on exhibit X? Afari-GYan answers as chief bello islamic school which is the same name on exhibit EC11A.

    Addison shows him a pink sheet on the islamic school and asks for serial number to be read out.Afari-Gyan reads them out on both exhibit 11A and exhibit MBP3346. They are the same, 0025195.

    James Idun-Quarshie is up. He wants directions from the court to limit Addsion’s cross-examination on serial numbers alone. But court asks Addison to proceed.

    Read out question on C5 Addison ask Afari-Gyan. He reads “what is the total number of unused ballots?”. He says it looks like 366 on the pink sheet but on EC11A it looks like 369.

    Addison says there is a seven on EC11A but Afari-Gyan insists on what he sees. Addison wants to know if the witness agrees that the figures on the two exhibits are different. Afar-Gyan says yes as far as his eyes can see.

    Afari-Gyan says the difference could be because it was photocopied. “It can look blurred when it is photocopied”.

    Another set is passed around the table for scrutiny by Respondents.
    Do you see the difference between the original and photocopy, Addison is asking.

    Afari-Gyan says this set is even more difficult to read. He says there is 377 on the original but he says he can’t see the figure on the photocopy – the petitioners pink sheet.Addison suggests it is the same but witness disagrees.

    The set of pink sheets is on Apostolic Revelation Kasena school. On exhibit X which the petitioner list of triplicate serial numbers, the poling station code on it is C141102A. On exhibit 11A1, the name is Apostolic revelation society.

    Addison says the serial number of an original is supposed to be in black. the witness says the petitioner’s is also not in black either. Addison says they have not claimed to have the original. He shows him some differences in the two exhibits. There are some cancellations on one but not the other.

    GCPP results is written — on EC11A pink sheet but on MBP328 votes obtained is written 0. Total votes in ballot box is 579 but on MBP328 nothing is written of the votes obtained in words but not written on exhibit X- the petitioners copy. There are no signatures on the petitioners copy but there are signatures on the E.C pink sheet – exhibit MBP328.

    Addison suggest that EC11A pink sheet is different form EXHIBIT MBP 328. Afari-Gyan admits. Addison suggest that they have different names, the witness says yes but the serial numbers are the same.

    Idun wants proper marking of pink sheets to show clearly which is for the E.C and that of the Petitioners. Lithur raises questions on the authenticity of the pink sheet.

    Tsatsu is up and suggests the petitioners have doctored their pink sheet to show a difference in the E.C’s. He says the pink sheets of the petitioners are not relevant and does not have the commissioner of oaths stamp.

    Addison says Quarshie -Idun introduced pink sheets with a different serial number and they the petitioners are challenging it to prove they are strange pink sheets because there have no copy of it in their exhibits filed with the court.

    He says the Respondents did not complain about a lack of a commissioner of oath stamp on the E.C’s pink sheet but he Tsatsu is challenging his pink sheet. Tsatsu explains that the E.C keeping the original will not have the commissioner of oath’s stamp on it.

    Lithur counsel for president Mahama says four or five pink sheets used by the petitioners have completely different serial numbers and names from what is already in evidence.

    Addison draws the attention of the court that three of the exhibits are in evidence only one is not.

    The court rules that the Petitioners are restricted to asking question on exhibit X as far as the matter is connected to the pleadings.

    Addison wants further clarity. He says “we need to demonstrate that this pink sheet [E.C] have no place. it is a recently manufactured sheet”, that is non-existent in our database, he charges.

    Tsatsu is up. He says the exhibits being used by the petitioners are not in the P-series which deal with serial NUMBERS

    Addison shows the witness three pink sheets which bear the same polling station name “Apostolic Revelation Society”. The witness says no and that one bears an addition Kasana. The witness reads out the details on the sheets.

    MBQ169 with polling station code C141102B.
    MBP3056 with polling station code C061203
    MBQ127 with poling station code C061018.

    Idun says none of the three are in exhibit X meaning questions cannot be asked on these exhibits.

    Addison says the court has gone passed this. The pink sheets are already in evidence and the E.C’s is not authentic. Tsatsu says Addison cannot question authenticity of the sheets that have been admitted in evidence.

    Tsatsu exchanges opinions with a judge on the authenticity of the pink sheets used by the petitioners. Justice Atuguba says that is a matter for addresses.

    Judge explains: The Petitioners have on exhibit X, pink sheets with three different polling station codes but same serial number. The E.C has presented EC11 to show that two sheets have the same serial number but one doesn’t.

    Addison says The Respondents are trying to discredit the third one so as to undermine the Petitioner’s case of triplicate. He says the polling station name on the Respondent’s sheet is Apostolic Revelation Society but the petitioners is Apostolic Revelation Kakasunanka No 1A – the two are different.

    Justice Baffoe-bonnie says he is confused.He says the Petitioners gave out a polling station code to the respondents and they brought a pink sheet with the same code which had a different serial number from the petitioners.

    Addison says the code is more important than the name because the name when written can sometimes be abbreviated. Nonetheless the official name exists.

    Idun says his objection has not been ruled upon but Addison says the court has over-ruled it. Idun wants to know if the court was now Addison.

    The court officially over-rules Idun’s objection and cautions Addison to stay within their earlier ruling

    Addison wants the witness to compare two exhibits.Afari-Gyan reads it out.Exhibit MBQ000858,with polling station name PBC Cocoa shed Ntenserea and with a serial number 0018708.On exhibit EC11B2, it is PBC Cocoa shed ntenserea but the serial number is 0018706.

    Addison says the serial number is the same but the witness disagree.

    Atuguba says it is not the same on his pink sheet, signalling lunch time.

    Court goes on recess at 12:47pm

    Court resumes

    Addison wants to know from the witness if the content of the pink sheets he showed him before break was the same. The witness says yes.

    Addison says they are the same except that there are no signatures of the presiding officer on the E.C’s but not on the petitioners copy.

    He suggests that the pink sheet of the E.C was signed after petitioners were given a copy because their is a duplicate of the unsigned original. Witness says no it could not be.

    He says PBC Cocoa shed have the same serial number but the witness disagrees.
    They move on to another set 11C.

    Exhibit MBE230 is given to the witness. Addison says he wants to show the differences in this exhibit from the E.C’s 11C.

    It has exhibit no. MBP002226, polling station code is E041302 and it has the same polling station name on the E.C’ pink sheet. The serial number is 5374.

    On the E.C’s exhibit the serial number is 005874.

    Addison wants the witness to tell the court if the content of both pink sheets are the same. Afari-Gyan confirms.

    Addison wants him to explain why the content are the same but the serial number is different. Afar-Gyan says it is not for him to explain because on the original, the serial number is 5874. Addison says it is because the witness is reading the figure 3 as 8. Witness says he has read it clearly.

    Addison says if the court confirms it is 3 it would mean there are triplicate serial numbers but if not it would mean duplicate serial numbers.

    They move on to Akatamanso polling station. witness calls out
    mbh79,name is Akatanmanso Presbyterian school, serial no. is 0025200.

    11D1 on E.C’s list is Presbyterian primary school, the polling station code C140601A with a serial