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Insist on Your Right to Education

Uneducated citizenry is like a pitch any game can be played on it. Illiteracy is what has given the politicians in Ghana the chance to fool so many people for so a long a time.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Okomfuor Kwaadee found

For sometime now, many music enthusiasts have been worried sick about the whereabout and condition of one of the finest hiplife lyricists in Ghana, Okomfuor Kwadee. All such persons should heave a sigh of relief because the rapper has been found and is doing extremely well.

Prolific hiplife artiste Okomfour Kwadee real name, Jerry Anaba, who has been missing in action for over three years has presently been spotted during a Weekly Fylla investigation on his where about. Kwadee has resurfaced at a residence on the Spintex Road, a suburb of Accra. From our investigations, Kwaadee has been in Accra for almost a while now.

Last year, Okomfour who had personal related issues, moved to his home town Navrongo in the Upper East region to cool off and spent some time with his family after news went round that he had gone mad. He later moved to an unknown location at Asamankese in the Eastern region early this year, where he stayed until he moved back to Accra few weeks ago.

This news comes as very refreshing and a sign of hope to all Okomfour Kwadee fans that keep calling on radio programmes and writing short letters to entertainment newspapers asking of the where about of the award-winning star. Weekly Fylla can confirm that he is presently recording a 20-track album, at Quick Action’s S24 studio also on the Spintex Road.

When Weekly Fylla checked with Quick Action if indeed he is working on a new album with Kwaadee, he confirmed that Okomfour Kwadee is presently recording a full album in his studio. “The album is almost done because he has completed over ten songs on the album”.

Asked how Kwadee was doing, Quick Action said Kwaadee is the same person Ghanaians used to know but he looks a bit sober than before. He said Kwaadee has changed physically because he has cut down his dread locks but lyrically and musically, he believes Kwadee is even better than before.

Comparing his previous songs to what he is recording now, Action said the new songs sound as though it is Kwaadee’s first album because the energy he’s exhibiting in his new recordings has never being heard of in any of his old songs.

On the same issue Weekly Fylla’s Naana Ntiri visited Kwadee and his manager Eric at their residence. According to the reporter, the rapper is healthy and hearty. Kwadee declined to grant the reporter an interview but promised to speak to the paper in a few weeks.

The reporter had the opportunity to listen to some of his new tracks. Kwadee’s new album is expected to be released before the end of the year. His manager asked his fans and loved ones to continue praying for him because he is planning to make a public appearance very soon.

Source: Weekly Fylla

MP CAR LOANS: Taking us for a 50,000-dollar ride

Call it the Accra Auto Show and you may not be far from the truth. The various car dealerships in Accra have turned much of the space around Parliament House into some sort of an exhibition centre where they are displaying their four-wheel merchandise to lawmakers.

Last Friday, instead of sitting their bums down to do the work they have been elected to do MPs spent a lot of time moving from one dealer to another checking out the latest automobile models.

“I want to get a VW Touareg or a Nissan,” one MP said.

From his tone and the way he pronounced Nissan (“Nissain”, he said), you can tell he is an MP from the hinterland (not very exposed to the automobiles) and until that day, all he could do was dream of owning a luxurious 4-Wheel-drive. Now, his dream is about to become reality – thanks to government’s decision to approve an auto-loan of 50,000 dollars for each MP.

The cash will not be drawn from the national kitty. What is going to happen is that government will guarantee the loans from a couple of banks, which will release the funds directly to the auto dealers after each MP had driven away the luxury sedan or SUV of his choice. Then over a period of four years, the MPs will repay the loans from their salaries.

It sounds like a good plan, doesn’t it? But it’s not!

We have seen this before. Under John Kufuor, MPs were given a similar facility. In fact, under Kufuor loans were much smaller at just 20,000 dollars. Yet a good number of them failed to pay back, leaving government with the burden of clearing their debts at the expense of the taxpayer.

When this happened, President Mills was not helping with the repair works on the international space station. He hadn’t taken a vacation to the moon. Perhaps, he was somewhere receiving medical treatment but he was right here on this planet and he knows about the backlash that greeted Kufuor’s mistake of guaranteeing car loans to MPs.

Most Ghanaians saw it as a scheme by our political leaders to fleece the nation. It was the issue of MPs car loans that made most Ghanaians realise politicians have the ability to bury their petty differences to act for their common good.

President Mills’ decision to repeat the mistake of guaranteeing auto-loans for MPs (and grant them even more than Kufuor did) will only make sense to those who will benefit from it.

Rumour has it that the President didn’t actually want to guarantee the loans but MPs from his own party wrung his hands and forced him to do it. If this is true, it only adds to the perception that the pair between his legs is as soft as dough. If he knows that the right thing to do is not to guarantee the loans, why will he bow to pressure and do what he knows to be wrong?

As it was under Kufuor, this decision to guarantee loans for MPs should be condemned because it demonstrates once again that our politicians see themselves as better human beings than the rest of us. When teachers, police officers and civil servants do not get government guaranteed loans, it is unfair (even immoral) for MPs to be given such preferential treatment.

We should not fall for the deception that this is just a loan and it will be paid back in due course. Realistically, few MPs can afford to repay this facility from their parliamentary salaries over the four-year period. The average MP earns about 3,000 dollars per month. Interest rates are hovering around 30 percent. By law, people (including MPs) are not allowed to spend more than 40% of their monthly earnings on servicing loans. So do the maths!

And this is where the politicians pull a fast one on us. It is inevitable, therefore, that the taxpayer will eventually have to pick up the tab for clearing the MPs’ debts. According to the arrangements being worked out, MPs who fail to repay the loans will have monies deducted from their ex-gratia for the purpose.

With the public outrage that greeted the publication of the ex-gratia awards for MPs and Kufuor, a good number of Ghanaians expected President Mills to bring this ex-gratia nonsense to an end. But since ex-gratia is being mentioned as an integral part of the auto-loan deal for MPs, we can assume that nothing has changed. We are going to be forced to dole out hefty sums of money as “gifts” – for that’s what ex-gratia means – for men and women who voluntarily opted to stand for election as MPs, supposedly to serve us.

This is not the change Ghanaians voted for, is it? Here, once again, is proof that politics is the easiest road to privilege and wealth in this country. Our politicians are still determined to use their positions to enrich themselves and get all of life’s niceties whiles the rest of us struggle to even get water to drink.

This idea of government guaranteeing loans for MPs is sickening. It doesn’t make sense that a government – proclaiming austerity – has taken on the extra financial burden of spending 11.5 million dollars on luxury cars for MPs. It’s a mistake. They are literally taking us for an expensive ride and most of us will not enjoy it. It’s a mistake for which we are going to pay dearly.

Source: http://atokd.com/blogContent.aspx?blogID=177

After the mouthwash, ‘Triple M’ gets a whitewash!

Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed has been covered – not cleared. Last night, Mr. Mubarak tendered in his resignation as Youth and Sports and President Mills gladly accepted it. That’s ironic considering that he resigned on the same day government issued a statement which suggested that he had been exonerated of allegations that he had made irregular and senseless expense claims. Government’s position is based on the report of a National Security Agency investigation into the allegations.

On one hand, the report stridently defends Mr. Mubarak. It even goes to the extent of asserting that a former director at the ministry, Emmanuel Owusu-Ansah, teamed up with Mr. Mubarak’s main accuser “to create problems for the minister”. “Mr. Adim Odoom [the accuser] typed his allegations on Dr. Owusu Ansah’s laptop in Dr. Owusu Ansah’s office,” the government statement says.

On the other hand, the report confirms some of the allegations that were made against Mr. Mubarak. For example, he actually made claims for diapers and mouthwash and took more per diem than he was due. He also has in his possession a government vehicle – the one his accuser claimed he had allocated to his wife and he also charged the state for flying his family from Accra to Kumasi.

On all of these, the minister’s wrongs are incredibly blamed on his accusers. On the issue of per diem for example, the presidency takes the untenable position that the “amount was authorized by the Chief Director, Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong, but the Minister had no knowledge of what his per diem for the travel was supposed to be.”

On Mr. Mubarak’s decision to make the state pay for his family’s air fares from Accra to Kumasi the report states: “The Minister requested for he and his family to travel to Kumasi by air. The Chief Director endorsed the request by the Minister. The request was backed with a memo. The Chief Director did not advise the Minister that his family was not entitled to these tickets.”

The government therefore has taken the position that by failing to advise the minister, the chief director engaged in some wrongdoing. This is utter rubbish. In any case, why would government take the minister’s word that he wasn’t advised (or he didn’t know)? What if he was actually advised and he failed to heed wise counsel?

The reason is simple. Politicians have a way of covering their own. Government has been so embarrassed by this scandal it needed to make an example of someone. However, making an example of the man who should actually be punished will give fodder to the opposition and that’s the last thing the young administration needs. So they decided to pounce on the whistle blower (the hapless accountant) and the chief director of the ministry. They have been interdicted and the head of the civil service has been instructed to apply “appropriate sanctions against them”.

Meanwhile, the (former) minister – who illegally made claims for mouthwash and diapers – walks away with a mere reprimand and an order to refund the monies he forced the government to spend on his girlfriend during a trip to Germany.

“The President is dissatisfied with the conduct of the Minister in his decision to embark on the German trip with Ms. Edith Zinayela and in particular in his decision to apply for a visa for her in circumstances that amounted to a mis-description of her official position,” the government statement says. “The decision for the Ministry to pay for Ms. Zinayela’s visa fee was equally improper. It was an error of judgment on the part of the Minister from which it is hoped all other appointees will learn.”

I think “mis-description” amounts to fraud and on this score alone, Mr. Mubarak deserves to be punished. He should have been pushed out of office but he has simply been helped to jump off – just to save his face and save the government from further embarrassment, his grave misdeeds watered down to “an error of judgment”.

He should also be sanctioned for making those illegal expense claims – whether he knew or not. Last time I checked, innocence was not an excuse. Is it now an excuse under the NDC? So now anyone can take whatever they like and turn around to say that they were not aware of what they could or could not take?

Mr. Mubarak unwittingly (and very foolishly) gave the president an opportunity to show us that he (the president) is more serious about dealing with corruption than his predecessor did. That opportunity has been squandered and now public officials have even been given a couple of extra excuses to indulge themselves. With “I didn’t know” and “I wasn’t advised” and they can practically do anything they want.

The president has also silenced a good number of those who were getting ready to blow the whistle on corrupt officials by ordering that the (former) minister’s main accuser and the chief director of the ministry should be sanctioned.

It is, indeed, “outrageous” – as the presidency says – that the “Chief Director and the Principal Accountant, if they are to be believed, paid out sums of money as large as $10,000 on two separate occasions without any documentation and without any evidence whatsoever.”

But this should surprise no one. I am taking the position that Muntaka went to the ministry like a dictator, making demands left, right and centre without listening to anyone. It is possible that the monies were paid to him and he pompously refused to write receipts for them.

If I make payment to my boss from the company kitty and he refuses to give me a receipt, what do I do? I either shut the hell up or report to his superior. In this case, the accountant reported the case to the (former) minister’s superior and this is a crime for which he is interdicted, with the sceptre of sanctions looming over his head? The chief director confirms the accountant’s claims that he took monies to be given to the minister. It’s the minister who claims that he took no such monies. Once again, his word against his accusers. Reading the investigative the report, I want to stand behind the accusers. The decision to sanction Mr. Odoom for not taking receipts from the minister sound absurd to me.

It’s equally absurd that the president is annoyed with the chief director and the accountant for allowing the minister to make expense claims for monies he spent on mouthwash and diapers.

“The Chief Director or the Principal Accountant should have vetted the receipt and exempted items which were not allowable,” the presidency says. “Items like baby oil, baby food and mouth wash should have been disallowed even though they formed a seemingly insignificant part of the bill. The Minister on discovering that this amount had been refunded demanded to withdraw the receipt but the Principal Accountant Mr. Adim Odoom assured him that everything was in order and that he had paid the refund from the imprest which was normal.”

If I had been in the (former) minister’s shoes – as stupid as I am – I would have insisted on the right thing being done despite the accountant’s assurances that everything “was in order”. He didn’t do what he knew to be right. For this as well, he should have been punished and not let off the hook in such a manner.

So Mr. Mubarak has gotten a white-wash and whistle-blowing in this country has been dealt a terrible blow. Government’s handling of this matter will effectively force a lot prospective whistle-blowers – in the public service, especially – to tuck their whistles in their pockets. You dare not bring that whistle anywhere near your mouth. Otherwise, the dogs of national security will be set loose on you. They will intimidate you and turn around to accuse you of wrongdoing – for failing to advise your boss on what he can or cannot take or do. They will take your boss’ words over yours and leave you to rot under interdiction. If this is “probity and accountability” then I will have none of it!

MUNTAKA: The cover-up report in full

Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, former Sports Minister
Alhaji Muntaka Mohammed Mubarak, former Sports Minister

I thought initially that this document had been widely publicised on the web. That's why I didn't put it out earlier. But it seems many visitors to this site have not seen or read it. So here is it in full. After reading help clear the "cobwebs" (ahem!) in my head by answering this question: how does this report exonerate Muntaka Mubarak Mohammed? >>>

Investigations by National Security into the allegations against Hon. Muntaka Mubarak, Minister of Youth and Sports, have been completed and a report submitted to the President.

The following could not be established:

  • The Minister collected US$2,000.00 imprest for the finals of the 1st CHAN tournament in Abidjan.

  • The Minister collected US$10,000.00 for landing rights for the aircraft which took the government delegation to the CHAN finals in Abidjan.

  • The Minister personally arranged for accommodation and feeding of the Black Star players in Kenya and Sudan.

  • The Minister was paid GHC15,200.00 as refund for meat and food items

  • The Minister’s wife was allocated VW Passat No. GT 1351 Z.

  • The Minister demanded immediate payment of or was paid GHC1,000. per match for the services of a Mallam.

  • The Minister requested or collected GHC12,000 for gifts for the Minister’s constituency on his last trip to Kumasi.

  • The Minister allocated to himself or was allocated five (5) official vehicles.

The following were established:

  • The Minister collected a per diem allowance of GHC2,000 for the Ghana-Benin match. This amount was authorized by the Chief Director, Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong, but the Minister had no knowledge of what his per diem for the travel was supposed to be.

  • Ms. Edith Zinayela (Secretary to the Majority Leader in Parliament) was part of the Minister’s entourage to the finals of CHAN tournament in Abidjan at the expense of the Government. After the delegation returned from Abidjan, the Minister sought the advice of the Chief Director of the Ministry who instructed the Principal Accountant to purchase the ticket for Ms. Zinayela by raising a memo for the purpose.

  • The Minister received a letter from the National Sports Council requesting the release of GHC1,410,051.58. The Minister minuted the letter to his Chief Director for the necessary action. The Chief Director presented the Minister with a duly prepared letter for his signature which the Minister signed after being convinced that due diligence had been followed. This amount was not released by the Ministry of Finance to the National Sports Council.

  • The Minister requested that arrangement for accommodation and feeding of the Black Stars players in Kenya and Sudan should be done by Tour Operators to enable the Ministry make some savings. This did not go down well with the Ministry officials. The Principal Accountant, Mr. Adim Odoom, and an official of GFA had earlier visited Mali to make arrangements for the Black Stars without the knowledge of the Minister. They were about to do the same for Kenya and Sudan when the Minister found out and ordered them to stop.

  • The Minister requested for he and his family to travel to Kumasi by air. The Chief Director endorsed the request by the Minister. The request was backed with a memo. The Chief Director did not advise the Minister that his family was not entitled to these tickets.

  • The Ministry refunded to the Minister an amount of GHC674.02 for items the Minister was entitled to as protocol and entertainment. The Chief Director or the Principal Accountant should have vetted the receipt and exempted items which were not allowable. Items like baby oil, baby food and mouth wash should have been disallowed even though they formed a seemingly insignificant part of the bill.

The Minister on discovering that this amount had been refunded demanded to withdraw the receipt but the Principal Accountant Mr. Adim Odoom assured him that everything was in order and that he had paid the refund from the imprest which was normal.

  • The Minister’s driver presented for refund a receipt for the Minister’s household items totaling GHC1,520 and not GHC15,200 as alleged but this amount was never refunded.

  • Ms. Edith Zinayela was part of the Minister’s entourage to Germany on the invitation of Souito Sports Management Group. Her visa fee was paid by the Ministry.

  • Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu (Director of Finance and Administration at the Ministry) authorized a certain payment because the Chief Director was in Tamale and would be away for a week. The accountant objected to his authorization. The Minister directed that the documents be re-routed for the approval and authorization of the Chief Director.

The following were also established:

  • Under the close eye of the Minister, savings were made as a result of the payment of graduated bonuses as well as cuts in the payment of bonuses to officials. These monies were returned to government chest and the Chief of Staff was informed in writing.

  • The Chief Director, Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong, acknowledged that Mr. Ebenezer Lomotey, another Accountant at the Ministry, handed over US$10,000.00 to him (the Chief Director) to be given the Minister. The Chief Director could however not recollect exactly where he gave the money to the Minister neither could he show any documentary proof of having handed the money over to the Minister. The Minister denied having received any such money.

  • The Principal Accountant, Mr. Adim Odoom, indicated that he gave US$10,000.00 to the Chief Director for onward delivery to the Minister for payment of landing rights for the CHAN finals in Abidjan. There is no evidence that the Chief Director handed over this amount to the Minister. The Minister denied having received any such money.

  • The Vehicle VW Passat No GT 1351 Z was formerly used by Dr. Emmanuel Owusu Ansah, Director of Sports Development at the Ministry. The decision of the Minister to take that car did not go down well with Dr. Owusu Ansah to the extent that he decided to retire before his retirement date. This source of conflict between Dr. Owusu Ansah and the Minister apparently caused him to team up with others like the Principal Accountant Mr. Adim Odoom to create problems for the Minister.

  • Mr. Adim Odoom typed his allegations on Dr. Owusu Ansah’s laptop in Dr. Owusu Ansah’s office. Dr. Owusu Ansah admitted that he took copies of the allegations to Mr. Kofi Adams for the attention of former President Rawlings. He also gave copies to other persons.

  • His Excellency the President has accepted the findings of the
    National Security and has decided as follows:

    • The Principal Accountant, Mr. Adim Odoom, indicated that he gave US$10,000.00 to the Chief Director, Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong, for onward delivery to the Minister. Mr. Ampong acknowledged receipt of this amount. However, there is no evidence that Mr. Ampong handed over the money to the Minister. Mr. Lomotey, another accountant at the Ministry, indicated that he gave the Chief Director US$10,000.00 for onward delivery to the Minister. Mr. Ampong acknowledged receipt of same. However, there is no evidence that Mr. Ampong handed over the money to the Minister. His Excellency the President has therefore directed that the Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports refund the amount of US$ 20,000.00 to Government coffers.

    • The Chief Director and the Principal Accountant of the Ministry of Youth and Sports failed to follow laid down administrative and financial regulations and procedures required of Civil Servants. The President finds it particularly outrageous that the Chief Director and the Principal Accountant, if they are to be believed, paid out sums of money as large as $10,000 on two separate occasions without any documentation and without any evidence whatsoever. On the other hand, if the moneys were not paid, then their allegation would amount to a fabrication against the Minister, an equally serious offence. On either score, the conduct of the two officials would be conduct unbecoming of the high positions they hold in the Civil Service. His Excellency the President has accordingly directed that the Head of Civil Service should apply appropriate sanctions against Mr. Albert Anthony Ampong and Mr. Adim Odoom. Pending the decision of the Head of Civil Service, the two officials are to be interdicted.

    • His Excellency the President has also ordered an audit into the affairs of the Sports Division of the Ministry of Youth and Sports covering the period 2001 to 2009 as well as a review of the organization, role and structure of the Ministry of Youth and Sports as recommended by the National Security investigation report.

    • The President is satisfied that the Minister’s actions in cutting down on waste and curtailing frivolous expenditure is what incurred the displeasure of some officials of the Ministry and caused them to gang up against him. The President commends the Minister in this regard.

    • His Excellency the President is dissatisfied with the conduct of the Minister in his decision to embark on the German trip with Ms. Edith Zinayela and in particular in his decision to apply for a visa for her in circumstances that amounted to a mis-description of her official position. The decision for the Ministry to pay for Ms. Zinayela’s visa fee was equally improper. It was an error of judgment on the part of the Minister from which it is hoped all other appointees will learn. Consequently, His Excellency the President has decided to accept the Minister’s decision to resign his position as Minister of Youth and Sports and to thank him for the services that he has rendered to the state.

    • The President has also accepted the Minister’s offer to make good to the state all liabilities incurred on account of Ms. Zinayela’s trip to Germany including the cost of the visa fee.

    • Signed: Mahama Ayariga
      Presidential Spokesperson

Jackson autopsy leak denied, family seeks custody

LOS ANGELES, June 29 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles coroner's office on Monday dismissed as inaccurate a British newspaper report that said Michael Jackson was emaciated and almost bald when he died suddenly last week.

As the Jackson family clan gathered in Los Angeles to consider funeral details befitting the worldwide outpouring of affection for the "King of Pop," the singer's mother filed court papers seeking custody of his three children.

Katherine Jackson asked the Los Angeles Superior court to appoint her guardian of Prince Michael, 12, Paris Katherine, 11, and Prince Michael II, 7, saying they have "no relationship with their biological mother."

The first two are Jackson's children from his ex-wife Debbie Rowe and the third from an unidentified surrogate mother. A hearing was set for Aug. 3.

Two inconclusive autopsies have been carried out on Jackson -- one by the Los Angeles County Coroner's office and one by a private pathologist. Toxicology tests are expected to take several weeks.

Jackson, 50, died suddenly of cardiac arrest at his rented Los Angeles home on Thursday, just a few weeks before a planned string of 50 comeback concerts in London.

Assistant chief coroner Ed Winter said on Monday details reported in the British Sun tabloid about Jackson's condition did not come from either the private or the county autopsy.

"I don't know where that information came from, or who that information came from. It is not accurate. Some of it is totally false," Winters told reporters.

Claiming it had seen a leaked autopsy report, The Sun said Jackson was wearing a wig when he died to cover his "peach fuzz" hair, weighed only about 112 pounds (51 kg), that his hips, thighs and shoulders were riddled with needle wounds, and that his stomach was empty apart from partially dissolved pills.


Jackson admitted in 1993 that he had an addiction to painkillers, but he had recently passed a lengthy medical exam ahead of the London concerts.

Civil rights leader Al Sharpton met with the family in Los Angles on Monday to discuss a worldwide tribute to Jackson and plans for preserving a legacy that changed the shape of music videos and influenced a new generation of R&B singers.

"I'm here to make sure Michael gets in death what he never got in life -- he never got credit," Sharpton told reporters after arriving in Los Angeles, where he attended the Black Entertainment Television awards with Jackson's father Joe.

Joe Jackson told reporters on Sunday that funeral arrangements for the King of Pop were still being discussed but a family friend said services could take place on Wednesday and the body could be buried at Jackson's famous Neverland Ranch in central California.

Tension over Jackson's mysterious death surfaced at the BET Awards, which became a tribute to the singer's musical genius. Some stars bristled over media coverage of Jackson's downward spiral during the last decade, filled with accusations of child molestation and bizarre behavior.

Los Angeles police said after questioning Jackson's personal doctor over the weekend that they did not consider him to be a suspect. Dr. Conrad Murray, who was at Jackson's side when he died, told police he did not inject the singer with painkillers before his cardiac arrest on Thursday. (Editing by Bob Tourtellotte; Editing by Sandra Maler)

Source: Reuters
By Jill Serjeant

Monday, June 29, 2009

New Passport To Be Issued Next Year

logoGhana will from next year issue the Economic Community of West African (ECOWAS) passport that will subsequently replace the existing national passport. The national passport is expected to run side by side with the ECOWAS passport for a one year period after which the national passport will phase-out.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Muhammed Mumuni disclosed this in Accra last week. He said the project initiated in 2003 is a harmonised smart passport (e-Passport) for ECOWAS citizens and will impel Ghana to join the likes of Nigeria, Senegal and Benin which have already 'begun using it. The electronic passport will have a chip to capture and store the bio-metric data (fingerprint information) of holders. The biometric identification serves as a security check to make it impossible for people who fraudulently apply for more than one passport to do so.

Mr. William Awinador Kanwirige, Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, explained further in an interview that the adoption of the ECOWAS passport is progress made from the use of the ECOWAS Travel Certificate. "The ECOWAS passport does not only give you an ECOWAS citizen identity. Citizens will also use it when applying for international visas," he said.

He made known that the new passport will have the inscription of ECOWAS as well as Ghana, to distinguish it from those held by other ECOWAS citizens. "Every applicant will be tied to the information he gives us. With that, we are optimistic that the new system will tackle passport thefts and multiple acquisitions. "We will be rolling-out sensitisation programmes nationwide to let Ghanaians know of the upcoming change and some new rules that come with the application for the new passport," he said.

source: B&FT

Cocaine girls busted trying to lure Lord Commey into their business

NPP National Organiser, Lord Commey
NPP National Organiser, Lord Commey

The Dansoman Police have arrested and are investigating two young ladies for allegedly scheming to lure Mr. Lord Commey, the National Organizer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), into a cocaine deal.

The suspects, Sardia, 19 and Joan, 21, were arrested over the weekend and had admitted in their written statements to the Police that indeed they were plotting to drag Lord Commey into a cocaine deal and that they had been planning the operation after tracking him for some months now.

The two ladies were said to have booked an appointment with the NPP firebrand during which they proposed to do some "serious business" with him and that if he was interested, details of the business would remain between the two parties alone.

Sardia and Joan, who is also called Judith, then told Mr. Commey that they had a cocaine deal which they wanted him to get involved in and that if he was interested, they would serve as agents or traffickers both in and outside the country.

The mysterious girls allegedly maintained they were very serious about the business deal and would be disappointed if the NPP National Organizer let them down.

Mr. Commey, on hearing the mission of the girls, immediately reported the matter to the Police and the girls were arrested.

The girls had allegedly given conflicting explanations on the reason behind the plot and why Mr. Commey was the target. They also claimed to have received his phone number from an unnamed
source. '

The Dansoman Divisional Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Alex Yartey Tawiah, when contacted, confirmed the report and said his outfit was still investigating the alleged plot and that at this stage it would not be in the interest of the investigation to make public details of their findings.

He however said the two young women admitted that they had a cocaine business deal at hand of which they had planned to rope in Lord Commey, complainant in the case. The Police Commander requested that persons with information on the suspects should assistthe police with such information.

The Daily Guide reports that the two ladies had called Mr. Commey and asked to meet him for an important discussion which they claimed could not be discussed on phone.

After about a month of persistent phone calls from the girls, Mr. Commey finally decided to meet them but went in the company of other persons.

At the said meeting, neither Joan nor Sardia was able to identify Lord Commey from the persons at the meeting until he finally revealed his identity to them.

In an interview with DAILY GUIDE, Lord Commey said he was leaving the case in the hands of the police to investigate and that he had full confidence that it would be handled professionally.
On whether he suspected a political plot, the NPP National Organizer said, "Nothing can be ruled out.

"I am a politician and it could be anything but what 1 am saying is that let's leave it to the police to establish the motive of the girls and what this whole thing is all about," he added.

Source: Daily Guide

Attorney General: Muntaka’s accuser not whistle blower

Mrs Betty Mould, Attorney General and Minister of Justice has dismissed assertions the Principal Accountant at the Sports Ministry, Adim Odoom is a whistle blower.

Mr Odoom in a 17 point allegation accused the Sports Minister, Alhaji Muntaka Mubarak of widespread corruption and misappropriation of funds.

The Minister was probed but was exonerated of all allegations by National Security for lack of evidence, leading to the interdiction of his accuser- Odoom and the resignation of the Minister.

Anti-corruption campaigners have chided the president who ordered the interdiction, saying the action might deter future whistle blowers from blowing the cover of corrupt public officials.

But in an interview with Citi news on Monday, the Attorney General said the accusations were not made under the cover of a whistle blower.

She explained whistle blowers provide information only on condition of anonymity, adding, that was not the case with Mr. Adim Odoom.

Mrs Mould maintained Mr. Odoom was willing and ready to defend his accusations, a reason why he sent them to the President with his signature boldly appended.

She was however silent on the next line of action to be taken against the Principal Accountant.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/myjoyonline.com

Ayariga: Calls for Muntaka prosecution misplaced

Presidential spokesperson Mahama Ayariga
Presidential spokesperson Mahama Ayariga

Presidential spokesperson, Mahama Ayariga says calls for former Sports Minister, Muntaka Mubarak, to be prosecuted are misplaced.

Mr. Ayariga said those urging prosecution have no legal basis to back their arguments.

Government has been criticised by a section of the public for absolving the former minister of any wrongdoing in corruption allegations made against him.

Member of Parliament for Abuakwa South, Atta Akyea is the latest to join in criticising government for using the Bureau for National Investigations (BNI) instead of the police to investigate Alhaji Muntaka.

The BNI investigations that cleared the former minister also found him guilty of misrepresentation.

According to the BNI report, Alhaji Muntaka acquired a visa for his alleged girlfriend Edith Zinayela by falsely presenting her to embassy officials as an executive administrative officer of the Sports Ministry.

She travelled with the minister to Germany at the expense of the state.

This, according to critics is a clear case of fraud for which the Asawasi MP should be prosecuted.

Speaking on Joy FM's Super Morning Show, Lawyer Atta Akyea insisted the investigations were not meant to do justice to the allegations.

In a quick response, however, the former minister who has offered to refund monies spent on Zinayela during his trip to Germany, told Joy News he personally did not deal with documentations on his trips including the acquisition of visas.

Meanwhile anti-corruption campaigner Daniel Batidam wants government to demonstrate serious commitment to fighting corruption by allowing the appropriate state agencies to investigate ministers and public officials accused of wrongdoing.

There is also concern about the interdiction of the Principal Accountant at the Ministry, Adim Odoom who many consider the whistle blower in the Muntaka case.

Mr Odoom and the Chief Director of the ministry were recommended for sanctions by the Head of Civil Service for their roles in the scandal.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

Honduran military ousts president ahead of vote

Honduran president says he's victim of 'coup'Play VideoAP – Honduran president says he's victim of 'coup'
Army soldiers break into  the presidential residency in Tegucigalpa, Sunday,AP – Army soldiers break into the presidential residency in Tegucigalpa, Sunday, June 28, 2009. More than …

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Soldiers ousted the democratically elected president of Honduras on Sunday and Congress named a successor, but the leftist ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavezdenounced what he called an illegal coup and vowed to stay in power.

The first military takeover of a Central American government in 16 years drew widespread condemnation from governments in Latin America and the world — including the U.S. — and Chavez vowed to overthrow the country's apparent new leader.

President Manuel Zelaya was awakened Sunday by gunfire and detained while still in his pajamas, hours before a constitutional referendum many saw as an attempt by him to stay in power beyond the one-term limit. An air force plane flew him into forced exile in Costa Rica as armored military vehicles with machine guns rolled through the streets of the Honduran capital and soldiers seized the national palace.

"I want to return to my country," Zelaya said in Costa Rica. "I am president of Honduras."

Congress voted to accept what it said was Zelaya's letter of resignation, with even Zelaya's former allies turning against him. Congressional leader Roberto Micheletti was sworn in to serve until Jan. 27 when Zelaya's term ends.

Micheletti belongs to Zelaya's Liberal Party, but opposed the president in the referendum.

Zelaya denied resigning and insisted he would serve out his term, even as the Supreme Court backed the military takeover and said it was a defense of democracy.

He left late Sunday on a plane provided by Chavez, bound for Nicaragua where he was to attend a scheduled meeting of Central American presidents the following day.

Zelaya called on Honduran soldiers to back him, urged citizens to take to the streets in peaceful protests, but only a few hundred turned out at the main protests in the capital.

Micheletti was sworn in at a ceremony inside the Congress building with cheers and chants from fellow legislators of "Honduras! Honduras!"

Outside of Congress, a group of about 150 people opposed to Zelaya's ouster stood well back from police lines and shook their fists, chanting "Out with the bourgeoisie!" and "Traitors!"

Within hours, Micheletti declared a nationwide, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew for two days starting Sunday night. He told a news conference he had appointed a new foreign minister: lawyer and former Ambassador to the U.N. Enrique Ortez Colindres.

Micheletti insisted that he did not arrive at his new post "under the aegis of a coup d'etat."

"I have reached the presidency as the result of an absolutely legal transition process," he said.

He also defended the army, saying "the armed forces have complied with the constitution and the laws."

But he warned against outside interference after Chavez remarked that if Micheletti was appointed president, "We will overthrow him."

Some of Zelaya's Cabinet members had been detained by soldiers or police following his ouster, according to former government official Armando Sarmiento. And the rights group Freedom of Expression said leftist legislator Cesar Ham died in a shootout with soldiers trying to detain him.

A Security Department spokesman said he had no information on Ham.

Micheletti acknowledged that he had not spoken to any Latin American heads of state, but said, "I'm sure that 80 to 90 percent of the Honduran population is happy with what happened today."

He also announced that Zelaya would be welcome to return to Honduras as a private citizen on one condition: "Without the support of Mr. Hugo Chavez, we would be happy to take him back with open arms," he said.

Zelaya's overthrow came hours before polls were to open on a constitutional referendum that he was pushing ahead even after the Supreme Court and the attorney general said it was illegal. The constitution bars changes to some of its clauses, such as the ban on a president serving more than one term, they said.

Some businesses in the capital, Tegucigalpa, closed earlier this week amid the rising tension, and many speculated there would be a coup. Those who opposed the referendum warned against voting, fearing violence at the polls.

Countries throughout Latin America and the world condemned Zelaya's expulsion. Chavez said Venezuela "is at battle" and put his military on alert.

In Havana, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez vowed to work with allies to push for Zelaya's return to power. He said Cuban Ambassador Juan Carlos Hernandez was held briefly in Tegucigalpa after he and other foreign diplomats tried unsuccessfully to prevent soldiers from taking away Honduran Foreign Minister Patricia Rodas.

Chavez said troops in Honduras temporarily detained the Venezuelan and Cuban ambassadors and beat them.

President Barack Obama said he was "deeply concerned" and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Zelaya's arrest should be condemned.

"I call on all political and social actors in Honduras to respect democratic norms, the rule of law and the tenets of the Inter-American Democratic Charter," Obama's statement read.

For those conditions to be met, Zelaya must be returned to power, U.S. officials said.

Two senior Obama administration officials told reporters that U.S. diplomats are working to ensure Zelaya's safety as they press for restoration of constitutional law and his presidency.

One of the officials said that the U.S. has been in touch with Zelaya since he was brought to Costa Rica, and has been trying to communicate with members of the Honduran Congress to insist that the new power structure step down.

The officials said that the Obama administration in recent days had warned Honduran power players, including the armed forces, that the U.S. would not support a coup, but Honduran military leaders stopped taking their calls.

The officials briefed reporters by phone Sunday on condition of anonymity, under ground rules set by the State Department.

The Organization of American States approved a resolution Sunday demanding "the immediate, safe and unconditional return of the constitutional president, Manuel Zelaya."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the coup and "urges the reinstatement of the democratically elected representatives of the country," said his spokeswoman, Michele Montas.

The Rio Group, which comprises 23 nations from the hemisphere, issued a statement condemning "the coup d'etat" and calling for Zelaya's "immediate and unconditional restoration to his duties."

Coups were common in Central America for four decades reaching back to the 1950s, but Sunday's ouster was the first military power grab in Latin America since a brief, failed 2002 coup against Chavez. It was the first in Central America since military officials forced President Jorge Serrano of Guatemala to step down in 1993 after he tried to dissolve Congress and suspend the constitution.

"We thought that the long night of military dictatorships in Central America was over," said Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, who sat beside Zelaya at a news conference.

Zelaya told the Venezuela-based Telesur network that he was awoken by gunshots and the shouts of his security guards, who he said resisted troops for at least 20 minutes. Still in his pajamas, he jumped out of bed and ducked behind an air conditioner to avoid the bullets, he said.

He said eight to 10 soldiers in masks escorted him onto an air force plane that took him to Costa Rica.

About 100 supporters congregated in front of locked gates outside the national palace, where they hurled rocks at soldiers and shouted "Traitors! Traitors!" They hung a Honduran flag.

"They kidnapped him like cowards," screamed Melissa Gaitan. Tears streamed down the face of the 21-year-old, who works at the government television station. "We have to rally the people to defend our president."

Many union and farm groups supported Zelaya's push for the referendum — which he said was aimed at changing policies that have excluded the nearly three-quarters of Hondurans who live in poverty.

The vote did not take place on the referendum, which asked whether another vote should be held on convoking an assembly to rewrite the constitution.

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