Showing posts from April, 2013

District information officers build capacity (Thursday, April 18, 2013, pg 3)

A training programme aimed at building the capacity of district information officers and community information center (CIC) managers on digital content development has ended in Accra.
The three- day event was to empower the participants to acquire work development skills expected to enhance their knowledge in digital local content management.
Organised by the Ghana Investment Fund for Electronic Communications (GIFEC) the program was attended by participants from 20 districts in the country.
Forty people benefited from a similar training programme in 2012.
Addressing the participants, the Administrator/ Chief Executive Officer of GIFEC, Mr. Kofi Attor said the concept of the CICs had gone beyond teaching people basic computer skills.
“The CICs needs to be relevant to the needs of the community. They should be a one-stop information center for the community,” he said
In that regard, he urged the participants to develop innovative ways to pass on information concerning…

Kpegah failed to show up at face-off with Akufo-Addo in court (Front page)

The case in which a former Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Francis Kpegah, has questioned the credentials of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo as a lawyer took a dramatic turn on its very first hearing when the plaintiff failed to show up in court.

 When the case was called at the Fast Track High Court in Accra Tuesday, one Mr David Djentuh, who said he was representing Mr Justice Kpegah, attributed the plaintiff’s absence to ill health.

As if that was not enough, in an unsuccessful attempt to make a case for the plaintiff, Mr Djentuh told the court that the defendant had not filed any conditional appearance, for which reason he had not appeared properly before the court.

He proceeded to ask for a date at the convenience of the court for the hearing to begin.
But the Presiding Judge, Ms Justice Cecilia H. Sowah, had a contrary opinion.

She asked to see the brief that indicated that Mr Djentuh was representing the plaintiff, but he failed to produce one.

“Are you representing him …

Ghana Armed Forces well done but...

It was refreshing to read in Monday’s Daily Graphic that  the Ghana Armed Forces apologised for the assault of journalists at this year’s independence parade.

I was one of the many journalists who advocated a total boycott of the GAF’s programmes and activities at least for a month to send the soldiers a message that we may be powerless in touching them physically but our pens, cameras and microphones can erase them from the memory of the public.

One thing ironical about this whole episode is the tale of denials and the fact that the report was not meant for public consumption.

Given the evidence available, one would have expected that the GAF would condemn and possible punish the perpetrators to serve as a deterrent others but no, it was all about preserving the image of the soldiers.

Yes! It is over the soldiers have apologised, let’s put aside the issue and move given the long standing relationship with the media. But he who inflicts pains on you forgets that he ever…

Ghana Armed Forces; are you justifying assault?

It has happened again. Another vicious cycle has recurred. The military has exonerated its men who mercilessly assaulted two photojournalists at the 56th Independence parade at the Independence Square this year.

I would have had my doubts if I were not a witness to the senseless and arbitrary use of military power on journalists going about their duties. The threats and abusive language, particularly from personnel of the military, makes one wonder whether we are in a military regime where instant justice emanated from the bosom of army boys.

Given that I witnessed the incidents, I am appalled and sad that the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) acted the way it did even when there was clear evidence to support the allegation that Vincent Dzatse, a Ghanaian Times photojournalist, was manhandled by soldiers.

In plain language, he was slapped around as if he was an assassin who held a knife to the President’s throat. Almost all the television cameramen and photographers captured it.

Mr Dzatse w…

Doctors’ strike adversely affecting hospitals

The suspension of emergency services by doctors is gradually affecting healthcare delivery in public hospitals.
Patients with emergency cases who reported at the hospitals yesterday had to be turned away to look for alternative places.

In Accra, patients with emergency cases had to seek medical attention at the 37 Military and the Police hospitals.

By midday Monday, the 37 Military Hospital had recorded 36 emergency cases, 12 more than its average daily of 24, while the Police Hospital, which averagely attends to close to 20 patients, had attended to 30 emergency cases, reports Seth J. Bokpe.

Members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) initially withdrew out-patient services on Monday, April 8, 2013 and suspended emergency services from yesterday over unpaid market premium arrears for 2012 and other issues relating to their conversion difference and pension.

At the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, the Accident and Emergency Centre had been closed to visitors, while securit…

Naadu advocates support for informal sector , Thursday, April, 25, 2013 (Spread)

Mills, has urged the government to resource players in the informal sector of the economy for them to contribute to the country’s growth.

“The voices of communities in the informal sector are important to us because there seems to be an invisible dividing line which keeps millions of people in unregulated jobs and housing, unseen and without access to support from the formal economy,” she said.

Speaking at the Informal City Dialogues (ICD2) and Accra Future-Now Video Awards presentation in Accra yesterday, the former First Lady said the informal sector, which was not catered for, “certainly slows down our capacity for growth and transformation because we know over 80 per cent of the workforce in Ghana are actively generating income in the informal sector”.

The ICD2 is a global, multi-stakeholder project fostering  conversation about the role of informality in creating inclusion and resilience in future cities. The dialogue was organised by the African Centre for Economic…

Asie Ocansey case: couet directs prosecution to make docket available for review

The Accra Circuit Court has directed the prosecution in the case in which Princess Asie Ocansey is being accused of human trafficking to make the docket available to the judge’s chambers for preview before hearing takes place.

The judge Ms Sedina Agbemava indicated that she did not hear fresh cases without previewing the docket.

“I have said it time and again to prosecutors that I do not hear fresh cases without previewing. If you have a fresh case here right now, I would not hear it,” she added.

Hearing this, the prosecutor for the case, DSP Mary Agbozo, rose and said she had a fresh case and asked if she could return to the court tomorrow (Wednesday).

The judge who was busy scribbling something on a paper replied in the affirmative.

Ocansey arrived at the court at 9.45 a.m smartly dressed in a black suit and black shoes in the company of family members.

She intermittently conferred with her lawyers and family members and would occasionally smile while listening to testimonies of wi…

Doctors leave patients to their fate

THE decision of members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) and the Government Hospital Pharmacists Association (GHOSPA) to embark on a strike is already biting hard on the health sector, with patients being turned away from public health facilities across the country.

While many of the patients started leaving the hospitals around 10 a.m. when they heard about the industrial action, others were still glued to their seats, hoping that some of the doctors would be sympathetic enough to attend to them.

Patients with chronic diseases who had brought their prescriptions to collect their medications were also stranded following the closure of the pharmacies.

The strike, which took off yesterday, saw the doctors withdrawing all out-patient services at the health institutions, attending to only emergency and in-patient cases at the public health facilities.

The GMA has, however, indicated that if its grievances are not immediately addressed, it will eventually suspend all emergency servi…

Prez, others urged to declare assets (Front page)

THE Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), an anti-corruption organisation, has called on President John Dramani Mahama to move beyond filing his tax returns and paying tax to declare his assets.

Additionally, it said the President should ensure that ministers of state and other public office holders required by the law to declare their assets did so.

According to the GII, while the current constitutional provision (Article 286) was not a “good enough corruption fighting tool”, it was important for the President to lead by example and declare his assets.

“It is the civic responsibility of all citizens, including the President, to file their tax returns, but it is worrying that almost four months after assuming office, the President is yet to declare his assets,” it said.

Article 286 (1) of the Constitution states that public office holders, including the President, the Vice-President, the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker of Parliament, as well ministers and deputy ministers of state, ambassadors…

Two sentenced for stealing Otumfuo's gold (Page 3)

THE two Peruvians who stole the crown jewels of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, have been sentenced to a total of 44 months imprisonment by the Oslo District Court.

The convicts, Luis Angel Acosta Barrios, 44, the man seen on CCTV carrying the suitcase which contained the gold ornaments, and Jaime Benigno Valverde Figueroa, 41, the driver during the operation, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit crime and stealing.

While Barrios will serve one year six months, Figueroa will spend two years two months in jail. Barrios, however, will have the 157 days he spent in prison custody deducted from his sentence.

The Norwegian authorities are also seeking the extradition of a third accomplice, Maria Elena Ayma Ludena, 57, who is currently in prison custody in Peru.

The two convicts escaped to Sweden with their booty after the crime but were arrested in October 2012 and extradited to Norway to face prosecution. 
According to the Norwegian newspaper,

NHIS to verify claims through biometric system (Back page)

The National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) will, from May this year, begin verifying claims from its service providers through a biometric system to reduce fraud.

The system will capture the biometric data of NHIS cardholders and generate a claim code the moment the cardholder visits any health facility providing service for the health insurance subscribers.

The Director of Administration and General Counsel of the NHIA, Mr Nathaniel Otoo, said the move would help reduce fraudulent claims by some of the service providers.

According to him, no health facility would be paid its claims if patients who used that facility did not go through the biometric system.

He was speaking at a high-level meeting on sustainable healthcare financing for Ghana in Accra yesterday.

The event, which was organised by the Universal Access to Healthcare Campaign and attracted civil society organisations and health experts, was to deliberate on how to develop an effective financingmechanism for…

UTAG members embark on strike (Spread)

PUBLIC university lecturers yesterday began an indefinite strike to back their demand for immediate payment of all salary arrears owed them since 2012.

Members of the University Teachers Association of Ghana (UTAG) served notice on Thursday, March 28, 2013 of their intention to withdraw their services to give impetus to their demands.

In its press statement, UTAG warned that the association would not back down till all its demands had been met.

In publicthe  universities in the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Upper East regions, even though some of the lecturers were in the schools, the lecture halls were empty.

Apart from salary arrears, UTAG is demanding that the agreed premium factor be applied to the current basic salary as the appropriate restoration per its earlier communique.

The UTAG strike comes on the heels of similar action taken by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), National Association of Graduate Teachers (NAGRAT) and the Teachers and Educational Workers Union…

Ghana’s energy crisis: The small things contributing to the big problem (pg 10)

It was one of those hot days in January when you wish you could walk through town shirtless.  I had given up my Saturday nap because ECG power outage had visited unannounced.  The ECG has now become notorious for paying unexpected visits, now known as “dum sor dum sor.” 
Instead of being home and battling the heat, I decided to go window shopping, nothing but feasting my eyes on electronic goods that could dig a big hole in one’s monthly salary. My Play Station had given up the ghost long ago, but its replacement is now a tale of calculations.
I started from Melcom Plus at the Industrial Area. After roaming the entire shopping centre, I walked out triumphantly with a nail cutter. For an impulse buyer, that is a major victory. From there, the Samsung electronics shop near the Kwame Nkrumah Circle was the next destination.
The place was a buzz. Dozens of customers or probably window shoppers like me were asking questions and buying little. Here, I avoided the temptation of looking at th…

President pays taxes for 2012 (Front)

THE President, Mr John Dramani Mahama, today filed his tax returns for the 2012 fiscal year at the Kinbu Office of the Domestic Tax Revenue Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), with a call on Ghanaians to honour their tax obligations.

He also used the occasion to pay taxes on his extra incomes for the period.

He said he filed his tax returns religiously every year, adding that as a President he decided to do it personally this year as a symbolic gesture for people to emulate.

Besides, he said, it was an attempt to promote the education and awareness campaign of the GRA and to encourage the officials to work more efficiently to generate more revenue for the state.

Article 68 (5) of the 1992 Constitution exempts the President from paying taxes on his salary, allowances, facilities, pensions and gratuity.

However, when the recommendations of the Constitutional Review Committee are passed into law, the President will be required to pay taxes on his official incomes.

According to…

Unpublished: Court dismisses Dr Anane notice of appeal

The Court of Appeal has dismissed the notice of appeal filed by a former Minister of Transport, Dr Richard Anane, against the decision of  the Fast Track High Court to refer a criminal case involving him to the Supreme Court for interpretation.

The court presided over by Mr Justice Jones Duose, held that the appeal was filed outside the time allowed for interlocutory appeal and, therefore, the appeal was incompetent.

Other members of the court were Mr Justice Paul K. Gyaesayor and Mr Justice Saeed K. Gyan.

The court also directed a second appellant, Dr Anthony Osei Akoto, to apply for leave to file his written submission by April 2, 2013 or risk the case being struck out.

Dr Akoto Osei and Dr Anane, and three others, have been accused of causing financial loss to the state in respect of  the sale of Ghana Airways and the operations of the defunct Ghana International Airlines (GIA).

Others charged alongside the two are Kwadwo Mpiani, a former Chief of Staff and Minister for Presidential Aff…

Unpublished: Court adjourns DSP Tehoda contempt case to deal with procedural problems

The Human Right Court division of the Accra Fast Track High Court has adjourned the two cases brought before it by the embattled former Deputy Head of the Police Commercial Crimes Unit, DSP Gifty Mawuenyega Tehoda, to allow the court to deal with some procedural problems.

DSP Tehoda had filed an application for injunction against the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Paul Tawiah Quaye from taking any further action against her.

Mrs Tehoda who has been interdicted by the Police administration for her involvement in the cocaine turned baking soda saga a little over a year ago, has since been battling  for her reinstatement.

Counsel for Mrs Tehoda, Mr Oliver Dzeble, was in court to move an application for the order of an injunction against the police administration from evicting DSP Gifty Tehoda from her official residence pending the suit before the court.

But one of the respondents---the Attorney General’s Department--- filed an affidavit in opposition to the application but used the…