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Showing posts from March, 2013

Teachers still not in class (Thursday, March 28, 2013) )

There have been mixed responses to calls by the leaders of teacher unions on teachers to return to the classroom.

A visit to a number of schools in Accra Wednesday showed that while some teachers turned up to teach, others did not teach, even though they reported for work. 
In spite of the consensus reached between the government and teachers for the latter to return to the classroom, in most basic schools classes ended by 12 noon yesterday.
In some instances, pupils, unaware of the fact that their teachers had returned to the classroom, did not bother to turn up for school.
Most senior high schools (SHSs) vacated last Tuesday. They are expected to reopen on May 21. Candidates for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will, however, return to school on Tuesday.
The striking teachers in first and second-cycle schools called off their strike with effect from yesterday when the leaders of the teacher unions urged their members to return to the classroom, while ne…

Lack of chinese interpreter delays trial (Saturday, March 23, 2013, pg 26)

The Financial Division of the Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday  adjourned a case involving two Chinese who are charged with illegal electricity connection  because there was no Chinese interpreter.

This is the second time the court,  presided over by Mr Justice Bright Mensah,  had to adjourn its sitting to allow the registrar of the court find a Chinese interpreter to enable communication between the court and  the two accused persons — Xie De Qi,  the Managing  Director of a company, and Peng Peng, an engineer.

The prosecutor, Mr Paul Assibi Abariga, told the court that he had received a letter from the registrar that it was willing to provide an interpreter at the expense of the Electricity Company  of Ghana (ECG), a demand the ECG had agreed to, but the registrar had not been successful in its search for an interpreter.

Counsel for the accused persons, Mr Kwaku Osei Asare, suggested that the court contact the Department of Languages of the University of Ghana for help.

As the bant…

MDAs cited for spending above approved budgets (Monday, March 11, 2013, Front page)

Seven ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) could not account for almost GH¢435 million, the 2011 Auditor-General’s Report has established. 

The amount represented excess expenditure by the seven MDAs which was not budgeted for in the accounts of the respective MDAs.
The report mentioned the seven MDAs as the Ministries of Energy, Tourism, Transport, Youth and Sports, the Electoral Commission, the National Commission for Civic Education and the National Media Commission.
Explaining the findings in the report, the Auditor-General, Mr Richard Quartey, stated that “during my review of the Public Accounts, I compared the actual expenditure of seven sampled MDAs with the expenditure schedule of the Public Accounts and I noted several discrepancies, resulting in an understatement of GH¢434,940,462 in the Public Accounts”.
The Public Accounts provide a means of comparing the government’s actual performance against its approved budget to ascertain its performance in relation to its budg…

GRA closes down Tema fishing company for tax evasion(Saturday, March 9, 2013, Pg 3))

The Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has closed down Unique Concerns Ghana Limited, a cold store company in Tema, for failing to live up to its tax obligations for the past six years and also falsifying import duties/tax documents.

The company, which owes the state GH¢4.1 million in taxes, also had all its properties attached and would not be released until it pays all the debt within 21 days.

Additionally, the local head of the company, Mr Muhammadu Muzzamil, has been invited by the police for questioning regarding the falsification of trade documents, notably bills of lading, invoices and import declaration forms.

With the distress warrant issued by the Commissioner General of the GRA in its hand, a team of officials from the Debt Management and Compliance Unit of the authority arrived on the company’s premises at exactly 10.10 a.m.

On presenting copies of the warrant to Mr Muzzammil, the team demanded payment of the amount or have the company closed down until full payment was made.

W…

PNC plans to revive grass-root, (Monday, March 11, 2013, pg 16)

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The People’s National Convention (PNC) is to roll out measures to revive its grass-root structures which were non-existent during the 2012 elections to strengthen the party’s fortunes in subsequent elections.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in a telephone interview, the National Organiser of the PNC, Mr Emmanuel Wilson, said a post-mortem of the party’s performance in last year’s polls revealed that besides the crippled structures on the ground, some national executives were not truthful to the party.
“The reasons for which we recorded single digit in the elections are numerous but key among them was the attitude of some of the executives who were pursuing other political parties’ interest rather than our party’s interest,” he said.
He cited the example of the party’s National Youth Organiser, Mr Abu Ramadan, who, he alleged, campaigned on the platform of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) at a time the party was also mobilising supporters across the country to endorse its flag bearer, Mr Ha…

Deeba told to bring lawyer to court (Friday, March 15, 2013, pg 3)

The Osu Magistrate’s Court has advised Deeba Acheampong, the musician facing extradition to the United Kingdom over alleged defilement and assault of his two step daughters, to find means of ensuring that his lawyer comes to court. 

“It is your case, you will have to be informed about your lawyer’s whereabout whenever there is a court date approaching,” the presiding magistrate, Mr Aboayge Tandoh advised.
This is the second time, Mr Augustine Obour, counsel for the accused had failed to appear before the Osu Magistrate’s Court in the case in which the musician is seeking to extricate himself from the clutches of extradition. The judge told a solemn-looking Deeba, “the more he delays, the more your liberty is at stake. You should by any means be in touch and communicate with him to ensure that he comes to court”.
The last time Mr Obour failed to appear before the court, his explanation was that he was held up in another court.
Prior to becoming Deeba’s counsel, the court had advised th…

Bank secrecy obstacle to tax laws (Wednesday, March 20, 2013, pg 65)

Banking secrecy requirements which prevent banks from disclosing information about their clients have been identified as a major obstacle to the enforcement of  tax laws in the country.

“Sometimes our tax administrators are rendered impotent, even in the face of glaring illegal financial transactions, because of banking secrecy requirements, thus denying us the opportunity to fully enforce our tax laws and protect revenue,” Mr George Blankson, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), said in Accra.

The GRA boss was speaking at the opening of the 10th meeting of the Regional Expert Group for the World Custom Organisation (WCO), West and Central Africa Region.

The meeting, which is on the theme, “Innovations in Customs: A catalyst for regional capacity building”, is, to among other things, deliberate on the exchange of information and experience and the identification of best practices among member nations of the WCO.

The one-week conference will serve as a platform to…

NLC directs teachers to call off strike *But TEWU joins action (Thursday, March 21, 2013, Front)

The National Labour Commission (NLC) has directed the Fair Wages and Salaries Commission (FWSC) and teacher unions to return to the negotiation table to resolve any issues which have prompted the strike by teachers.

It has also asked teachers to go back to the classroom as the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), the National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the FWSC continue to make efforts to find solutions to teachers’ grievances.
It is not immediately clear whether the teachers will heed the NLC directive.  
But while the tango continues, the Teacher and Educational Workers Union (TEWU) has also joined the strike.
Attempts by the Daily Graphic to speak to leaders of the teacher unions did not yield any response. When the Daily Graphic reached Mr Benjamin K. Osei, the Head of Salaries and Terms of Condition at GNAT, he said, “I will not comment on it.”
However, speaking to the Daily Graphic, the Head of Public Affairs at the FWSC, Mr Earl Ankrah, was optimist…

CSIR challenged to assert financial autonomy (Tuesday, March 12, 2013, Spread)

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has been challenged to wean itself from government subventions within the next three years. The Minister for Environment, Science and Innovation, Dr Joe Oteng-Adjei, who threw the challenge to the nation’s leading research organisation, observed that the council had the potential to create enough wealth to support itself and fuel the country’s economic growth.
The minister was speaking at a familiarisation tour of the council in Accra Monday.
It was to enable the minister to interact with officials of the council and find out the opportunities, challenges and the way forward to make the council more vibrant to contribute to the country’s progress.
In other parts of the world, research institutions and industry are inextricably linked, with industries sometimes funding research. But that appears not to be the case in Ghana.
Even in situations where the council has collaborated with some institutions, the products of its res…

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Political parties urged to build consensus---on long term national development programmes (Wednesday, March 27, 2013, spread)

Political parties have been urged to put aside their political colours and contribute to efforts towards drawing a long term development policy for the country.


The Vice Chairperson of the National Development Planning Commission, Dr Edith Tette, who made the call said “Our dreams and aspirations as a country can only be achieved if we agree to leave the politics that draw us back and concentrate on long term goals for our country irrespective of our political affiliations.”

She was speakingto the Daily Graphic on the side-lines of a validation workshop for the Ghana Post-2015 Development Agenda national consultation on “The Future We Want,”

Dr Tette said a national long term vision would influence the content and direction of political parties manifesto.
She  observed that it had taken quite long for the country to have a long term vision because the country was too polarised on political lines.

“There have to be long consultations to bring all parties together to buy into a long term …

Woyome granted permission to travel, Thursday, March 27, 2012

The Fast Track High Court (Financial Division) Wednesday granted permission to Alfred Agbesi Woyome, the businessman who is alleged to have defrauded the state to the tune of GH¢51.2 million, to travel outside the country for 12 days.
Mr Osafo Buabeng, counsel for Woyome, had made a case for his client to travel outside the country. The presiding judge, Mr Justice John Ajet–Nasam, said he did not remember imposing any travel restriction on Woyome, neither did he have knowledge of any other court doing so on the accused. Mr Buabeng had submitted that he needed the court’s position on the matter because “for those of us who don’t use the VIP Lounge to travel, a lot of things go on there when one is in Woyome’s situation”. Mr Woyome told the court that he would be travelling on April 5 and return 12 days later. That compelled the judge to change the adjourned date from April 16 to April 23. The judge was, however, quick to add that Woyome was in no way suggesting to the court what to…

University authorities upgrade administrative skills, Wednesday, March 28, 2013

A training programme to improve  the  leadership and administrative  skills of university authorities  in the country has opened in Accra. The programme,  facilitated by the  National Council for Tertiary Education and under the auspices of Carnegie Corporation in New York, is to equip university leaders and managers with the necessary skills to better perform their duties. Named Senior Academic Leadership Training (SALT), West Africa, the four-day event attracted 34 participants comprising vice chancellors, pro vice chancellors, deans, directors, registrars, and finance officers  from Ghana and Nigeria. Speaking to the Daily Graphic after a presentation,  Dr Paul Effah, a former Executive Director of the NCTE,  who is the Project , said the programme sought to enhance the quality of education delivery in the country. He said before the start of the programme, questionnaires on training needs with respect to practices in university administration and management for senior academic l…

Teachers still not in class, Thursday, March 28, 2013

There have been mixed responses to calls by the leaders of teacher unions on teachers to return to the classroom.

A visit to a number of schools in Accra Wednesday showed that while some teachers turned up to teach, others did not teach, even though they reported for work. In spite of the consensus reached between the government and teachers for the latter to return to the classroom, in most basic schools classes ended by 12 noon yesterday. In some instances, pupils, unaware of the fact that their teachers had returned to the classroom, did not bother to turn up for school. Most senior high schools (SHSs) vacated last Tuesday. They are expected to reopen on May 21. Candidates for the West Africa Senior School Certificate Examination (WASSCE) will, however, return to school on Tuesday. The striking teachers in first and second-cycle schools called off their strike with effect from yesterday when the leaders of the teacher unions urged their members to return to the classroom, while n…

Two in court for stealing Otumfuo's gold

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Two Peruvians are standing trial in an Oslo City Court in Norway for allegedly stealing crown jewels belonging to the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, in 2012. 
The two accused persons, Luis Angel Acosta Barrios, 44, and Jaime Benigno Valverde Figueroa, 42,  face a little over two years in jail if found guilty.
Barrios is said to have picked the bag containing the crown jewels, while Figueroa is alleged to have been the driver for the operation.
An accomplice, Maria Elena Ayma Ludena, who is alleged to be the brain behind the disappearance of the jewels, is in prison custody in Peru. 
The authorities in Norway are, however, seeking the extradition of Ludena to Norway to face trial. The court, presided over by Mr Torjus Gard, will give its judgement in April.
The prosecutor, Asmund Riegels, is asking for a year and a half prison sentence for Barrios and two years two months term for Figueroa because of his previous criminal record.
According to the prosecution, Figueroa was a jailbir…

Tax defaulters to face sanctions

The Commissioner General of the Ghana Revenue Authority has warned that the authority will take very stern actions against taxpayers who fail to clear their tax liabilities.

Mr George Blankson did not state the exact punishment for the tax offenders but  said “We would do so in a manner that would not cause so much grief but would ensure that we have all the laws applied and enforced to recover all debts.”

The GRA boss was speaking at the inauguration of the Debt Management and Compliance Unit of the authority in Accra.

Among other things, the unit is expected to facilitate information sharing among departments; create a uniform organisational approach to debt recovery and compliance and promote voluntary compliance by instituting measures that will render non-compliance unattractive.

The unit, he said, was not meant to duplicate the work of the various Enforcement and Debt Management Units (EDMs) of the Domestic Tax Revenue and Customs Divisions but rather to  coordinate debt management …

Colourful parade heralds Ghana @56,Thursday, March 7, 2013 (pg 18)

A colourful parade by security personnel and students at the Independence Square in Accra heralded Ghana’s 55th independence anniversary celebrations.

A contingent of officers, men and women of the security services, schoolchildren and teachers took turns to march pass in slow and quick paces to the admiration of the cheering audience.

An interesting feature of the security services March pass was the diamond shaped and inverted pyramid formations of the personnel from the National Fire Service, the Prisons Service and the Immigration Service.

The precision of the contingent of the security services and the schoolchildren, while they swing their arms and feet to the rhythms of Armed Forces and Police bands attracted spontaneous cheers from the enthusiastic that had packed into the public gallery of the Black Star Square.

With Ghana’s military might on display, the various artillery regiments marched with their armoury, including mortars, multiple rocket launchers, anti-tank/anti-aircraft …

Selfish politicians, coup d’etats bane of development - Kofi Asamoah

The General Secretary of the Progressive Peoples Party (PPP), Mr Kofi Asamoah, has blamed Ghana’s economic situation, 56 years after independence, on  selfish politicians and coup d’états.

According to him, close to 25 years of the country’s existence spent in military rule, the disruptions in continuity had affected the country’s economic growth tremendously.

“If we allow the current process to go on, in spite of all the challenges and weakness would bring us more benefit than our experiences with the military,” he said in an interview with the Daily Graphic concerning the country’s 56th independence anniversary celebrations yesterday.

Ghana joined the league of independent countries on March 6, 1957, exactly 133 years after the Bond of 1844.

The Bond was the British government’s commitment to regularising its jurisdiction over the coastal states. To that end, Commander H. Worsley Hill,the  first Governor of the Gold Coast, signed a bond in 1844 with a number of chiefs.

However, after y…

Leaders urge Mahama to go beyond words (Pg 17)

Leaders of some opposition parties in the country have welcomed President John Dramani Mahama’s call for national duty and commitment to finding a lasting solution to the energy and water crisis, but have urged him to move beyond words.

They said the President’s affirmation of peace and unity was timely because it was only in an atmosphere of peace that the country could come out united after the election.

However, they said the President should move beyond the rhetoric and tackle the country’s energy, water and infrastructural challenges head-on and empower the private sector to lead the country to economic independence.

They were reacting to President Mahama’s independence day speech during which he rallied all Ghanaians to respond to national duty by “also pledging to believe, to sacrifice and to work for the betterment” of  the country.

Speaking to the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of the Independence day celebrations at the Independence Square in Accra, yesterday, the presidenti…