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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.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Fuel prices up by 5%

Prices go up effective Saturday October 31.
Prices go up effective Saturday October 31.
The National Petroleum Authority (NPA) has announced a five per cent increase in fuel prices which takes effect on Saturday.

The increases follow hikes in crude oil prices in the world market which hovers around $80 per barrel.

Media reports had speculated the price hikes but hinted government was going to absorb the increases.

However after a meeting between stakeholders on Friday the decision was taken to pass on the marginal price hikes to consumers.

The new increases have thus been communicated to the Oil Marketing Companies or OMCs.

Already, there appears to be an artificial shortage of the commodity as fuel stations are alleged to be hoarding the commodity for purposes of making more profit.

Source: Myjoyonline/Ghana

Ghana@50 Probe Ends

Justice Isaac Duose-Chairman of the commission
AFTER TAKING evidence from 238 witnesses comprising suppliers, contractors and service providers, the public hearings of the Commission of Inquiry probing the activities of Ghana @ 50 Secretariat finally drew to a close yesterday.

The public hearings commenced on July 23 this year, after the Commission had done preliminary work which included visits to some Ghana @ 50 project sites and organizing volumes of memoranda and petitions it had received at the time.

The Chairman of the Commission, Justice Duose, who announced this soon after three officials from the Office of the President testified before it, said the Commission would be writing its report as required by law.

He said recommendations from the Commission would indicate the way forward for the 60th anniversary or any other public event so as to avoid malfeasances that were exposed during hearings. Besides, he said, reports will help move the country forward.

“As to what kind of advice to give the President, the Commission will be rising now and start writing its reports. In a few weeks you will hear about the report,” he stressed.

He gave the assurance that the Commission would consider in its report views of those who are against the conduct of the commission.

Justice Duose pleaded for forgiveness from any individual or group that the Commission might have caused any displeasure during the process, adding, “We are humans and capable of making mistakes, forgive us if we have said anything that may cause your displeasure”.

While expressing appreciation to all and sundry for their support, Justice Duose promised: “We will do our best to ensure the report covers everything. We will be as fair as possible”.

Earlier, three officials told the Commission that to date the Office of the President has not yet determined the salary of the Chief Executive of the defunct Ghana @ 50 Secretariat, Dr. Charles Wereko-Brobby.

According to them, the Office of the President was not aware of the CEO’s letter of appointment that would inform government as to how much he should receive as salary.

The three officers were Samuel Azu Aziako, Director of Administration, responsible for budget at the Office of President; Annor Kissi, Chief Internal Auditor and Naa Yussif Mumuni, Chief Treasury Officer.

It would be recalled that the CEO, during his appearance, told the Commission his appointment letter, by which he was to be paid a monthly salary of $5000, is at the Office of the President.
He also said the government owed him salary arrears of $146,000.

However, Mr. Aziako, who confirmed that the Office of the President raised an advance payment of $75,000 to the CEO for medical check-ups, said there was no basis for the CEO to demand salary arrears from the government, since the Office was not aware of his appointment letter.

Mr. Aziako pointed out that the CEO was not being paid alongside staff of the Secretariat.

When asked why the Office did not do so, he remarked, “It is not our making, whenever he takes the claim to them for payment his name was not added to the list”.

He told the Commission that as at Wednesday, the Office of the President had released an amount of GH¢7,448,028.56 to the Secretariat while the Office has an amount of GH¢7,522,115.97 which has not been pre-audited.

The Office of the President, he added, also spent an amount of GH¢39295011.43 between November 2006 to December 2008 during the celebrations, pointing out that no payment was made without the knowledge of the CEO.

Confirming to the Commission that they have no idea whether or not monies were released to Ghana’s Mission abroad for the celebrations, Mr. Aziako said as at December 2008, there was an outstanding debt of GH¢11million and a cash balance of GH¢622626.28.

On whether or not the Secretariat indeed made any surplus as alleged by the CEO, he said he would not be able to tell the Commission.

During cross-examination, the Chief Internal Auditor at the Office of the President, Annor Kissi told the Commission that the Secretariat did not supply accounts for annual auditing; adding that his outfit has no record of the Escrow account. “The Escrow account was controlled by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning”.

According to him, the Office of the President’s records or figures of transactions might not exactly reflect that of the Secretariat because in his view, payments were made directly from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and therefore the Office might not have direct documents covering all transactions.

“Records in our custody are that of the treasury and the internal audit unit. You will not get documents of internal payment of the Secretariat from the Office of the President”, he elucidated.

When the Commission Chairman enquired from the three officials what roles they played during the celebrations, Mr. Aziako explained that none of their officers was an employee of the Secretariat, whether directly or indirectly, and that their role was to convey executive decisions to the Secretariat and counter sign cheques.

They also prepared pay vouchers and subject matter for action, he added.

By Sheilla Sackey/Daily Guide

Lamptey-Mills Not Yet Free

Nii Lamptey-Mills
Nii Lamptey-Mills
Officials of the Ghana Education Service (GES), the Ghana National Association of Private Schools (GNAPS) and others concerned about child and human rights issues have waded into the Lamptey-Mills saga with moves to conduct a full-scale investigation into the matter.

Mr Enoch Nii Lamptey-Mills, also known as Mr Tee, the proprietor of Great Lamptey-Mills Institute, allegedly impregnated one of his students, then 16, and forced her to marry him.

But an Accra Circuit Court, presided over by Mrs Georgina Mensah Datsa, on Thursday, October 22, 2009 discharged him of misdemeanour after the victim’s father had intervened for an out-of-court settlement.

The GES yesterday expressed indignation at the development, pointing out that “because the matter was in court, we decided not to go into it. But now that it is out of court, we are beginning investigations to ascertain its veracity or otherwise”.

Others who have waded into the matter are Nana Oye Lithur, a lawyer and human rights advocate, who authored a scathing letter published in the Daily Graphic issue of yesterday, and Child's Rights International (CRI), a non-governmental organisation (NGO) which has taken the matter to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ).

The Head of the Public Relations Unit of the GES, Mr Charles Parker-Allotey, said in an interview with the Daily Graphic yesterday that Mr Lamptey-Mills and those connected with the matter would soon be invited to assist the GES in its investigations.

The guidelines of the GES under which all schools, be they private or public, operate, needed to be followed strictly to ensure smooth teaching and learning, he said.

The GNAPS has welcomed the decision of the GES to go into the matter. A source at the GNAPS said the truth needed to be known to clear all the doubts surrounding the matter.

In its petition to CHRAJ, the CRI stated that the “organisation has followed this matter from the beginning to its current development when the court granted the out-of-court settlement and would like to formally apply for your assistance to investigate and intervene in the issue”.

“The out-of-court settlement will involve the family, which cannot be trusted when it comes to the best interest of the child due to the initial agreement between Mr Lamptey-Mills and the family which could not yield any result for the said girl. Per the Children's Act, 1998 (Act 560) Section 48 Subsection 2d, we ask your intervention in order to make a claim of a proper maintenance order for the said girl," a statement signed by the Executive Director of the CRI, Mr Bright Appiah, said.

It said in such matters it was the constitutional right of the child to obtain a care order, as directed by Section 20 of the Children's Act 560, but investigations revealed that such a process had not taken place.

The absence of that service, it said, amounted to the fundamental violation of the child's rights to care and protection.
"Your outfit is, therefore, being implored to investigate why the Department of Social Welfare did not obtain the care order for the said girl in the matter when the trial was ongoing.

“Further, Mr Lamptey-Mills assumed the role of a parent as a proprietor in the school and, therefore, if, as a parent to all the children, he could use his position and posture to his advantage as per the rule of in loco parentis, we request your assistance to investigate whether this act amounted to a conflict of interest," it said.

The statement also pleaded with the commission to restrain the media from associating the personality of Mr Lamptey-Mills with the school, since, as an institution, it was providing services for children.

That, it said, was to say that the continuous publication of the school would not provide the conducive environment for the development of the children already in the institute.

"We, therefore, crave the indulgence of CHRAJ, per the interest of the child, as stated under the welfare principle of the Children's Act 560, to investigate the issue for the betterment of the child whose interest is paramount to CRI," it said.

The Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Emile Short, confirmed that CHRAJ had received the complaint from the CRI and was closely monitoring developments.

He said CHRAJ was not allowed to investigate cases pending at the courts, explaining that the case would qualify as such if the court had asked parties to settle the matter out-of-court and report back.

However, since the case bordered on the rights of a child, the commission was studying the proceedings of the court carefully to determine the course of action to take, he added.

Wereko-Brobby Paid $75,000 As Salary Advance

Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby
Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby
The Director of Administration responsible for Budgeting of the Government Machinery, Mr Azu Sam-Aziakor, has told the Presidential Commission probing the activities of the Ghana@50 Secretariat that $75,000 had been paid to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the defunct secretariat, Dr Charles Wereko-Brobby, as salary advance.

Making his submission at the final public hearing of the commission in Accra, Mr Sam-Aziakor said the payment had been approved by the former Chief of Staff and Minister of Presidential Affairs, Mr Kwadwo Mpiani.

The Chairman of the commission, Mr Justice Isaac Duose, asked the basis for which that amount had bee paid to Dr Wereko-Brobby, since it had been stated that his salary had not been determined when he was engaged.

Mr Sam-Aziakor responded that although Dr Wereko-Brobby’s salary had not been determined up to date, the CEO had sent a memorandum to him some time in 2008 asking if a process could be initiated to pay him his salary.

He said Dr Wereko-Brobby further stated that he had to seek medical attention abroad and would need some money from his salary to undergo treatment.

According to the director, the request was approved by Mr Mpiani and the CEO was subsequently paid $75,000.
Mr Sam-Aziakor told the commission that at the moment money available at the treasury which could be used to settle debts owed contractors was GH¢7,448,028.56.

He said GH¢1,163,499.50 was owed to contractors, while payment vouchers which had not been pre-audited at the treasury amounted to GH¢7,522,115.97

He said as of December 31, 2008 there were no funds to settle the outstanding debts of the contractors and that the funds had been released in the early part of 2009, by which time the government had placed an embargo on such payments.

Mr Sam-Aziakor said no funds had been released to any Ghana mission abroad for the celebration of the Golden Jubilee.

A member of the commission, Mr Osei Tutu Prempeh, asked Mr Sam-Aziakor whether or not he had raised any queries in respect of claims brought before him by the secretariat.

In his response, Mr Sam-Aziakor said on a few occasions he had raised queries in respect of some vouchers, explaining that that occurred when the vouchers did not include some requirements, such as award of contract letters, offer and acceptance letters and evidence of the execution of contracts.

He said his office instituted rigid control measures before it effected payments because it knew the implication of payments as far as celebrations of that nature were concerned.

Mr Prempeh again asked Mr Sam-Aziakor whether the secretariat had handed over fully to his office. Mr Sam-Aziakor said there was nothing to indicate that the secretariat had handed over finally.

Asked about the measures he had taken to ensure that the secretariat handed over fully to his office, Mr Sam-Aziakor said he had not taken any measures to that effect.

Mr Prempeh said it was unfortunate for him not to have ensured that the secretariat properly handed over to his office.
Asked what role he had played in the preparation of the budget of the Ghana@50 Secretariat, Mr Sam-Aziakor said he had played no role.

Mr Justice Duose asked him about the one who had controlled the escrow account of the secretariat, to which he responded that it was the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning which had done that.

In his remarks to round off the work of the commission, Mr Justice Duose said 238 witnesses had appeared before it to give evidence and make submission of statements on the activities of the secretariat.

He said any member of the public who wished to submit a statement in response to the abuse that had been exposed during the sittings was free to do so.

He thanked all Ghanaians who had supported or disagreed with the establishment of the commission and its work.

Mr Justice Duose also thanked the media for their reportage, whether positive or negative, and expressed the hope that the commission’s report, which would be submitted to the President in a few weeks, would cover everything that had transpired at the sitting and help push the country forward.

BNI Ordered To Answer Contempt Charges

Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng - former  Information Minister
Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng - former Information Minister
The Human Rights Division of the High Court has ordered the Director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and two others to appear before it and openly answer contempt charges levelled against them by a former Minister of Information, Mr Stephen Asamoah-Boateng.

The court, accordingly, declined to grant a request by the Attorney-General’s (A-G’s) Department which prayed it to hear the matter in camera in order to protect the identity of the respondents.

Mr Asamoah-Boateng, his wife, Zuleika, Jennifer Lorwiah, Nana Yaw Asamoah-Boateng and Andrew Asamoah-Boateng instituted the contempt action against the three respondents, Yaw Donkor, Josephine Gandawiri, Stephen Abrokwa, and the A-G for preventing them from travelling outside the country on two occasions without recourse to a court order.

Citing authorities to buttress the court’s decision in Accra, the presiding judge, Mr Justice U. P. Dery, disagreed with the A-G‘s Department’s suggestion that it would be inimical for the identities of the respondents to be blown, stating that the BNI and the police enjoyed the same rights and protection.

According to the court, it had carefully studied the Securities and Intelligence Act (Act 526) which clearly spelt out the rights of the police and the BNI as the same and for that matter “the BNI cannot be given special treatment”.

The court submitted that the police always availed themselves in court whenever they were needed to give evidence and it would, therefore, not be out of place to order the respondents to appear in open court to answer contempt charges.

The matter was adjourned to Thursday, November 12, 2009 for hearing. Earlier, a Chief State Attorney, Ms Helen Kwawukume, had told the court that the operations of the respondents would be hampered if their identities were blown.

She said the respondents were involved in intelligence work for the state and for that matter it would be most appropriate if the court heard the matter in camera.

Opposing the application, counsel for the applicants, Nene Amegatcher, said the court could only sit in camera if it appeared a case in question would jeopardise national security and interest.

In this instance, counsel submitted, the case would not jeopardise national security or interest if it was heard in open court.
He further argued that the respondents should have passed information they gathered during their under-cover operations to the police, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), among others, for action, as stipulated under the Security Agencies and Intelligence Act.

According to counsel, the respondents in this case arrogated to themselves the “powers of arrest and statement taking”, adding that BNI officials wore tags and arrested people in public.

Nene Amegatcher told the court that BNI officials had gone on board the flight which had more than 200 passengers to effect the arrest of Mr Asamoah-Boateng and his family.

The contempt action was instituted when the four applicants were prevented from travelling outside the country on June 14, 2009 without any court order or warrant, following which they filed an application seeking an injunction to restrain the BNI from further preventing them from travelling without a court order.

While the application was pending, they claimed the BNI again disregarded the action and prevented them from travelling again at a later date.

The matter had been embroiled in some confusion when, on August 18, 2009, there was controversy over direct proof of service of the contempt summons on the Director of the BNI and the two other officials of the bureau.

While the records of the court and applicants’ lawyer indicated that the three respondents had been served with the contempt summons, the A-G’s Department said otherwise.

Similarly, the records of proof of service of the court and that of applicants’ lawyer did not tally, as the two records indicated names of different bailiffs, with different dates of serving the contemnors.

Pratt: "Withdraw Grand Medal Conferred On Lamptey-Mills"

Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr.
A leading member of the Convention Peoples Party (CPP) and Managing Editor of the Insight Newspaper, Kwesi Pratt Jnr., is calling for the immediate withdrawal of the Grand Medal Award conferred on the proprietor of Great Lamptey-Mills International School, Mr. Enoch Lamptey-Mills, following reports of sexual escapades with one of his students.

Lamptey Mills, alias Mr. Tee, admitted impregnating one of his former students and with the connivance of the girl’s parents, forced the 16 year old girl into marriage.
He was among a number of persons who received national awards last year.

Speaking in a panel discussion on PEACEFM’s flagship programme, “Kokrokoo”, the Insight newspaper Editor strongly argued that by impregnating a student of the school and compulsorily marrying her, Mr. Lamptey-Mills has demeaned the value of the national award.

“If you could recall sometime ago, he hired the services of landguards to beat up one of his students…his national award should be withdrawn, it should have been taken away from him a long time ago. I don’t understand why it’s still in his possession. With such a disposition, people like him should be nowhere near administering schools,” he said.

Great Lamptey-Mills Institute, formerly Lamptey-Mills Institute, was established on February 4, 1963 by the Late Rev. Abraham Samuel Lamptey-Mills after whom the school was named. The Junior High School Department was later established on September 31, 1994 by the current director of the school, Mr. Enoch Lamptey-Mills.

The Senior Secondary Department was also founded in 2005 by the same director.

The outspoken social commentator sharply disagrees with calls for the closing down of the school, as it will jeopardize the education of the students.

“…I don’t share that idea at all, closing down the school will be damaging the educational career of the students…this is a perfect case for state intervention in that school,” he stated.

Mr. Lamptey Mills was released from police custody after the father of the victim secured an out-of-court settlement.
A Circuit Court in Accra on Thursday, October 22nd, willingly discharged Mr. Enoch Nii Lamptey Mills, who had been charged with compulsory marriage. The presiding judge, Mrs. Georgina Mensah-Datsa, ruled that the charge levelled against Mr. Mills was a misdemeanor, for which the law allowed out-of-court settlement.

Mr. Pratt also chastised the police for preferring wrong charges against the proprietor, a situation, he believes led to the release of defendant.

“The most grievous thing was the fact that it was a minor, it’s not about marriage…it’s like marrying a 70 year old woman…I cannot understand why the police did that,” he fumed.

He called on civil society organizations and other state institutions committed to the rights of the child, to campaign for the repossession of the grand medal by the state, adding that “it’s an embarrassment that the country’s highest national honour has been bestowed on such a person.”

Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has indicated it preparedness to black list the school if investigations find the Director of the school, Mr. Enoch Lamptey-Mills, culpable of illicit affairs with his students.
Source: Alex Ofei/peacefmonline

Men who lust for teenagers should control their libido- Forum

Girls Sexy Legs

NEW. Watch live television from Ghana, the latest Ghanaian movies and OBE TV.

Winneba, Oct 30, GNA - Speakers at a public forum in Winneba, have appealed to men who lust for teenagers to control their libido. The forum, which was organised by ABANTU for Development and Action Aid, non-governmental organisations blamed such irresponsible men for teenage pregnancies, which tend to affect Girl-Child education. The speakers at the event comprised social workers, traditional rulers and other stakeholders.

Mr Kwasi Agyemang Essel, a social commentator, expressed the need for males to exercise sexual discipline, to facilitate the protection of teenagers.

Mrs Hamida Harrison, Senior Programme Officer of ABANTU and Ms Ellen Dzah, Advocacy, Public Awareness and Networking officer of the organisation advocated stiffer punishment for people who impregnate teenage girls to deter others.

They expressed regret that early child birth had virtually robbed many promising teenage girls of the acquisition of higher knowledge through education.

Mrs Harrison charged parents and guardians to exercise effective supervisory control over their teenage girls.

The forum also discussed issues that hinder many women from actively participating in politics, and advised Ghanaians to change their general attitude towards female citizens who express interest in governance. This, the speakers believed would encourage more talented and knowledgeable women in the country to enter into active politics in the coming years.

The theme for the forum was: "Strategies for increasing women's participation in decision making".


Rawlings Must Apologise To Ghanaians!!!

Related Stories
The Mabey and Johnson scandal came as a shock to many Ghanaians especially at this time of the NDC party being in government. The NDC, is the offspring of the then “PNDC”, which had "hawks" who paraded themselves as monarchs and apostles of anti corruption under the ambit of Probity and Accountability and so forth.

But today these crusaders have brought shame to us not only that, but an embarrassment to the good people of this noble country. We the youth want to state categorically that the government, for that matter the president who campaigned on the platform of whipping the crack should not shield any one found culpable and allow those involved face the full rigorous of the law.

We ask of the Muntaka fiasco, what happened after been forced to resign? Now is the turn of the beloved son (Hon. Dr Sipa Yankey Min. Of Health) and uncle (Alhaji Seidu Amadu Min of State,) also joining the queue of resigning syndrome, we wonder if it is not another antics or a “smart one’’ to bury the matter again? Oh! God save Ghana.

The youth of this country are learning from the statesmen of this land, and we are wondering if this is the Nationalism, Patriotism, and Selflessness they are teaching us to grow up with, certainly not!

We were in this country when some personalities made so much brouhaha about others integrity calling them all sort of names such as “”Atta Ayi, thieves and so on. This Mabey and Johnson scandal is one of the most contagious official corruption fiasco in the annals of Ghana’s political history, and interestingly, under the PNDC/NDC government.

A party that was formed under the cover of Probity and Accountability. They used these principles to prosecute officials and hardworking entrepreneurs at the time, for illegally acquiring wealth and thereby confiscating, canning, killing and some going on exile, etc under the watch of ex-President Rawlings. This Mabey and Johnson scandal is alleged to have started in the 80’s.

We therefore ask Mr. Rawlings and his executors; what justification does the apostles of anti corruption government have to have committed such outrageous, inhuman, and sacrilegious act. Or is it that, the man who orchestrated the act did enjoy the booties of Mabey and Johnson, which is why he has kept silent all this while? If the above is anything to go by, then I think that Mr. Rawlings should as matter of necessity apologize to all the families of the victims who suffered the brutalities caused under his watch.

Because, if this revelation and the most unfortunate event is something to go by, then, the PNDC/NDC have deceived Ghanaians. Not only that, they have also robbed the country of progress and development. Because the people who at the time, suffered these casualties, were the light of this country in terms of their entrepreneurial expertise. They might have grown their companies and businesses to reduce the abject poverty in this country by employing a number of graduates in the system that are left in a jungle of struggle.

This perception by some group of persons that it is wrong to acquire wealth must from hence forth be something of the past. It is sheer hatred and envy which retarded growth and the cause effect is lies, back-biting, and vindictiveness of innocent citizens. After all, “the pious have turned out to be corrupt" quite contrary to what they made Ghanaians believe all this while.

Long live Mother Ghana! Long live the Good People of Ghana!! Long live our Great Grand Fathers!!!

Source: Vasco, Eric Annan

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Revealed: Names Of M&J Bosses Who Okayed Bribes

FOR THE FIRST time, a Ghanaian newspaper can reveal that the 48-year-old son of Mr. Bevic Mabey, the only living founder of the British bridge building company, Mabey and Johnson, was part of the directors the company says put in a bribery scheme to pay public officials in Ghana, Jamaica and a host of other countries.

David Mabey, the only son of Bevic, is identified in the British papers as the Company Secretary and part of the duo –the other is his father – who “have at all material times been in exclusive control of the affairs of M&J. Whilst directors within the Mabey group could be appointed or removed at the behest of the shareholders, those same shareholders were David Mabey and his family” the SFO noted.

David’s family’s company, Mabey Holdings, which is the parent company of M&J, was estimated by the Construction magazine, a UK publication in 2007, as the 312th richest company in the UK.

The family at the time has assets of £205 million and, with dividends and other wealth, was worth £260 million. Today it is estimated to be worth £400 million

Though David’s role in the bribery affair was hidden, this paper’s sources in London have confirmed that he is the one identified as Director B in the SFO probe,

The other directors whose identity were withheld are Messrs Charles Forsyth, Richard Glover, Allen Daliday and one man who rose through the ranks from an executive position of manning affairs in Ghana (where M&J had its African head office) and the Philippines to become a Director.

He is nobody but Miles Potter, the British citizen admitted by M&J and admitted by the UK crown court to have managed the bribery scheme put in place in Ghana. Mr. Potter lived in Ghana for almost four years (see other story).

Together, these directors whose identities were withheld by the Southwark Crown Court were alleged to have put in place a bribery scheme that has seen the resignation of at least one serving minister of state, Joseph Hilbert, in Jamaica and two in Ghana.

The plea bargain agreement by M&J, however, allowed the court to withhold their identities as some of the former Director of M&J men are reported to be insisting that they did not commit any crime under UK law at the time of the said acts.


Mabey and Johnson: Mr.Miles Potter (Director D): The Man Who Paid Sipa Yankey & Co

EARLY THIS PAST Monday morning, Dr George Sipa-Yankey, who had resigned his post as Ghana’s Health Minister 48 hours earlier, was seen arriving in London.

Barely 24-hours earlier, he had had a row with the nominated Ghana High Commissioner to Nigeria, Alhaji Baba Kamara, over allegations reportedly made by him on radio that the later was the one who collected his passport to facilitate payment to him from M&J.

Sources say Kamara had not taken kindly to the allegations and minced no words in telling the troubled Yankey to go and check his records well before speaking loosely.

Shaken and under criticism from NDC party supporters, some of whom had earlier supported him but were now turning on him, Sipa Yankey decided to do the wisest thing. He flew the next available flight to London to call on his bank to call all records of his transactions within the period under review to be able to speak properly to the issue and to possibly meet the other man who could help refresh his memory on the scandal threatening to end his political career.

Unfortunately, Gye Nyame Concord can authoritatively reveal that the man who could have helped refresh his memory was not in London.

Mr Miles Potter, the Mabey and Johnson man who dealt with and largely paid a number of top Ghanaian officials accused of receiving bribes from the British bridge building company, and who is identified as “Director D” was no longer in London. He now lives on the Asian continent, sources in London told this paper.

The then fresh university graduate spent almost four years in Ghana in the 90s and managed to worm his way into the heart and minds of top public officials through the doling of ‘freebies’ in cash.

Those freebies transferred to various accounts in London and elsewhere are what the soft-spoken 56-year-old head of the British SFO, Richard Alderman (picture on the front page), now says were part of a deliberate bribery scheme put in place by M&J to corruptly procure contracts.

M&J, according to the Queens Counsel for the SFO, John Hardy, paid “a wide-ranging series of bribes” totalling £470,000 to politicians and officials in Ghana, with Dr George Sipa-Yankey, Messrs Amadu Seidu, Ato Quarshie, Boniface Abubakar Saddique and Edward Lord-Attivor allegedly travelling to Britain to collect various sums of money from bank accounts in London.

In the eyes of the SFO, M&J paid public servants modest sums which were relatively small in proportion to the commercial gain the company got.

What the SFO, however, stopped short of doing was to disclose the identity of the man it said oversaw the Ghana situation and whom it only identified as “Director D” in court.

Truth is, the late Danny Ofori Atta had a running battle with the young Englishman with an expertise in finance, who had been brought into the country to supervise the work of M&J and who was to rise as an executive officer to become a Director of the company after a successful stint much later in life in the Philippines.

According to the evidence led by QC John Hardy in court, on April 3, 1996, the late Ofori-Atta stormed the Twyford offices of M&J in London with a relative to meet with the Office Manager of M&J following his frustration with Potter in Accra.

The records show that the complaint from the late Danny Ofori Atta, a former kingpin of the EGLE party, was that he did not have total control of the 15 per cent commission due him and some of which should be shared to public officials.

Miles Potter, who was then in Accra, was not delivering on the bribes to him, the SFO suggests.

In the words of the SFO, Danny Ofori Atta had problems with Potter’s presence in Accra and did not believe Mr Potter was distributing “5% to the “relevant personnel” or “local personalities”.

Records sourced from M&J by the SFO noted that Danny, who is identified in the documents as Mr Ofori, complained that he had been sidelined by Potter, who was now dealing directly with other Ghanaians and that when he (Danny) was involved in the payment scheme of the total amount of the “15% commission the present difficulties would not have existed”.

This was because he had dealt with the situation ably in the past.

Again it was about Miles Potter on whom Danny wrote a letter dated March 14, 1996 and sent via fax on a “Danielli Mabey Ltd” letterhead marked for the attention of his wife, Mrs Margaret Ofori, in Accra to be passed on to M&J head office.

In the fax, Danny complained that “the situation in Ghana has been deteriorating gradually ever since Director D (Potter) came into Ghana.”

Potter according to the SFO had equally sent a “confidential memo” dated 25 March 1996 directly to Director B (David Mabey)) rebutting Mr. Ofori’s assertions, and detailing how it was that he had had a meeting recently with the only person who “can guarantee M&J’s position in this market”: Kwame Peprah.

All these disputes occurred because the Mabey family firm, whose worldwide empire is based on exports of steel bridges, had decided at the time in the word of the British SFO to “sideline” Danny and “to impose more direct control over the payments made to “local personalities” by” Potter “supervising and control from 1994”.

Significantly, after his stint in Accra, Potter was assigned a duty post in the Philippines where he successfully managed to change the fortunes of the British firm by bringing in more than a billion British Pound bridge building contracts.

The story on his Philippine exploits, which nearly marred the presidency of that country’s president, was captured in the following terms by the UK-based Guardian newspaper.

“A little-known family who became one of the richest in Britain have been accused of making excessive profits in an aid project, by building what their critics call “bridges to nowhere”.

A Guardian investigation has discovered that steel bridges costing more than £400m have been sold to the Philippines by the Mabey family, all secured with UK government-backed loans and grants. But many of the crossings, which were supposed to open up the flood-prone jungle terrain, have no roads to go with them.

The British construction company, Mabey & Johnson, owned by the Mabey family, has been handed virtually all the supply contracts for the bridges, despite being more expensive than its competitors. Accusations of corruption and overcharging are now being made in the Philippines. Mabey denies any impropriety, saying the allegations are made by rivals or are politically motivated.”


PSC Tema Shipyard: Former IGP is furious

Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong
Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong
'Uncle' give us a break who doesn't know the corruption in Ghana Police service?

The former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Mr. Patrick Kwarteng Acheampong, has reacted with fury over bribery allegations leveled against him by the Chief Financial Officer of the PSC Tema Shipyard Company, Mr. Mohammed Ismail Bin Lebai Suleiman.

According to Mr. Acheampong, he does not know the operations of West Africa's biggest dry dock company and neither does he know any individual working at the place, to mention that he was bribed by the company.

In a witness statement submittal by Mr. Suleiman to an internal audit on the accounts of the company, he alleged that 'protocol payments' were paid to some 60 policemen who were maintaining security at the shipyard, when unionised workers of the company were interdicted for carrying out an industrial action against what they said were poor conditions of work, in December last year.

Further, he stated that the police officers, including officers from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), were paid GH¢9,000 in lieu of chicken and rice for the Christmas celebrations last year.

He stressed that some GH¢ were used as "payments to the Regional Commander and his deputy," adding that the then IGP, during the period of the interdiction, first received GH¢10,000 to ensure security at the yard, and that the IGP subsequently ordered the then Tema Regional Police Commander, Mr. Adeloya, to beef up security at the shipyard.

The infuriated ex-IGP, who said, "these people can't be serious; what do they deal in? I have never had any contact with that company, as a corporate body, or with any individual in that company; I'm not even aware that they had an industrial unrest, and as many as 60 policemen were released to them."

He said in December last year, the attention of the police administration was focused on how to ensure a peaceful election, noting that security was released to some flashpoints in and outside Accra, as a result, under no circumstances would the police administration release the limited number of police at the headquarters to beef up security at the shipyard.

He remarked that during the elections, the number of police officers was not adequate, as a result they depended heavily on the military, lamenting that he was concerned with the lack of security in some parts of the country, including Upper East and Upper West.

Mr. Acheampong clarified that there could be internal arrangements by the Tema police to provide security, if any, as is done in all the regions, emphasising that police from the headquarters come in when the situation deteriorates.

"I don't remember that we, from Accra, ever sent anybody to help Tema to solve those problems; it is never true that I ordered any Mr. Adeloya, and the period they are referring to, it was Mr. Kudalor who was the Tema Regional Commander; I am not even aware that 60 police officers were released to them, but why would 60 officers be released to only this company?" he queried.

He welcomed the decision of the Minister of Transport to set up a committee to investigate the allegations that have been leveled by Mr. Suleiman, and the operations of the company.

"I am prepared to cooperate with the committee should they invite me, because I don't know anything about the allegations, and this would enable me to clear my name," he reiterated.

Mr. Patrick TimbilIa, the then Director-General of Police Operations, denied ever releasing police officers to Tema, adding, "I don't even know any company called PSC Shipyard, and I have never done any operations with them."

He said if the headquarters had to release police officers, there should be a request from the Tema Regional Commander, through the IGP.

The then Regional Commander, Mr. Kudalor, told the paper that he was also not aware of any payment made to him, or the region, as was being alleged.

However, the Deputy Regional Commander, ACP Ninson, confirmed releasing some police officers to the Tema Shipyard, but denied receiving monies from the company.

"There were some labour issues there, so we sent some- officers from the Buffalo Unit here in Tema, but no money was given to us, it was our official duty," he reiterated

The Minister of Transport, Mr. Mike Hammah, on Tuesday inaugurated a seven-member committee, chaired by Mr. Chris Ackummey, to investigate the operations of the company, and submit its report within eight weeks.

Source: Chronicle/Ghana

M&J saga: CHRAJ writes to 'accused'

Mr Short: the material obtained from the Attorney General was insufficient.
Mr Short: the material obtained from the Attorney General was insufficient.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) says it has delivered letters to some of the public officials implicated in the Mabey and Johnson bribery scandal, as a first step towards a full scale investigation into the matter.

This, it said, was in accordance with regulations in the investigation of complaints contained in the Complaint Procedure Regulations, Constitutional Instrument No 7.

CHRAJ, however, said it had encountered some difficulties in its attempt to serve the letters on Alhaji Abubakar Siddique Boniface and Lord Attivor, two of the officials mentioned in the case, as they could not be found.

Mr Emile Short, the commissioner, said preliminary investigation was underway to gather evidence to determine whether there was some substance in the allegations made.

"If satisfied there is some substance to the allegations, we shall conduct a full investigation which would involve setting up a panel to investigate the allegations," he told the Daily Graphic.

"At the moment, we do not have all the information we require to make that determination," he added.

Mr Short said the material obtained from the Attorney General was insufficient for CHRAJ to decide whether the case merited a full scale investigation or not.

By the Complaint Procedure Regulations of CHRAJ, a complaint to the Commission is to be made in writing or orally to the national office of the Commission or to a representative of the Commission at the regional or district branch of the Commission.

In its preliminary investigations, CHRAJ must contact the people against whom the allegations have been made with a request for their response and they in turn shall respond within 10 days from the day of the receipt of CHRAJ's request.

Although the regulations stipulated how a complaint is to be made to CHRAJ, the President's request is not being considered as a complaint nor is the President himself considered as a complaint, Mr Short Said.

Rather, the President's invitation was being considered as a request to an independent body like CHRAJ to conduct the investigation to avoid any allegation or perception that an investigation by the Attorney General would result in a cover-up or whitewash of the whole affair.

Source: Daily Graphic

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Facebook, Twitter users beware: Crooks are a mouse click away

Experts say cybercrooks are lurking just a mouse click away on popular social networking sites.
Experts say cybercrooks are lurking just a mouse click away on popular social networking sites.
If you're on Facebook, Twitter or any other social networking site, you could be the next victim.

That's because more cyberthieves are targeting increasingly popular social networking sites that provide a gold mine of personal information, according to the FBI.

Since 2006, nearly 3,200 account hijacking cases have been reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, a partnership between the FBI, the National White Collar Crime Center and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

It starts with a friend updating his or her status or sending you a message with an innocent link or video. Maybe your friend is in distress abroad and needs some help.

All you have to do is click.

When the message or link is opened, social network users are lured to fake Web sites that trick them into divulging personal details and passwords.

The process, known as a phishing attack or malware, can infiltrate users' accounts without their consent.

Once the account is compromised, the thieves can infiltrate the list of friends or contacts and repeat the attack on subsequent victims.
Social networking sites show there is ample opportunity to find more victims; the average Facebook user has 120 friends on the site.

"Security is a constant arms race," said Simon Axten, an associate for privacy and public policy at Facebook. "Malicious actors are constantly attacking the site, and what you see is actually a very small percentage of what's attempted."

As some social networking sites experience monstrous growth, they are becoming a new and extremely lucrative frontier for cybercrime.

Facebook says it has 300 million users, nearly the size of the U.S. population, and it continues to attract users outside the college student niche.

From February 2008 to February 2009, Twitter, a micro-blogging site where users post 140-character messages known as tweets, grew 1,382 percent to more than 7 million users.

"They [cybercriminals] are very adept to using social engineering," said Donald DeBold, director of threat research for CA, an Internet security company. "Your friend is in trouble traveling in another country, 'I lost my wallet. I need help.' They exploit the curiosity aspect out of human nature."

A few decades ago, malicious software and viruses were usually the result of a prank, but Internet security experts say today's attacks are profit-driven.

A study from the Indiana University in 2005 discovered that phishing attacks on social networks operated with a 70 percent success rate.

These users had fallen for the scam, opened the foreign link and released personal information.

Cybercriminals are employing phishing and malware attacks for a number of reasons, including trying to redirect users to sites where profit is fueled by the number of visitors. They also try to elicit private information like passwords and bank account numbers to perform scams.

Early this year, Twitter experienced several phishing attacks in which a Web page that looked identical to the widely recognized light blue Twitter page was a hoax.

The company warned users to double-check the URL to ensure they were visiting the correct site.

The Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 72,000 complaints about Internet fraud in 2008 that were referred to law enforcement agencies for further investigation.

These cases involved financial losses amounting to $264.6 million, an increase from 2007. Each person lost an average of $931.

"Most of us would want to help a friend in need, but if it's an online friend, and they want you to wire money, you should double-check," FBI spokesman Jason Pack said.

Security experts said it makes sense that cybercriminals are turning to social networking sites. Personal information is abundant on sites like Facebook and MySpace.

Each time users give out valuable information like birth dates or addresses, they could be providing hints about their password, security experts say.

The American Civil Liberties Union has expressed concern about the information visible through Facebook quizzes and applications.

"They'll have access to all that information, so they can sell it, they can share it, they can do an awful lot with it," Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for privacy-related issues with the ACLU, told CNN.com in September.

Many Internet security experts consider the first virus attack on the PC to have occurred in 1986. By the early 1990s, viruses transmitted on floppy disks became ubiquitous.

When the World Wide Web became widely available that same decade, viruses, worms and malware became problems in e-mail accounts, frustrating users who clicked on messages thought to be legitimate.

In the new millennium, the most common form of malware attack has become known as drive-by downloads. While surfing on Google or Yahoo, spyware or a computer virus is automatically and invisibly downloaded on a computer, requiring no user interaction for the computer to be infected.

"We are on the verge from shifting from the Web being the No. 1 victim of infecting to social network," said Mikko H. Hypponen, chief of research technology at F-Secure Corp. His company sells anti-virus software and malware protection programs. "It's going to get a lot worse before it gets better."

Social networks are fighting the aggressive attacks from cybercriminals. Most sites have information pages dedicated to educating users about the risks of Internet scams.

Users can become a fan of "Facebook Security" and receive updates on how to protect their accounts. One of the most common pieces of advice given by security experts is to change passwords frequently.

Facebook has also developed complex automated systems that detect compromised accounts. They spot and freeze accounts that are sending an unusually high number of messages to their friends.

Company security officials said Facebook is a closed system, which can be helpful in erasing phony messages from all accounts.

At News Corporation's MySpace.com, the company creates blacklists of phony accounts to prevent people from clicking on a faulty link.

Hemanshu Nigam, first chief security officer for MySpace, said the firm warns about suspicious links and educates users about the harm phishing and malware attacks can bring.

"We are prepared for them," he said.

Source: CNN

P.V. Obeng denies involvement in Tema Shipyard rape

Former presidential advisor, P.V. Obeng
Former presidential advisor, P.V. Obeng

A leading member of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. P.V. Obeng has denied any involvement in the PSC Tema Shipyard financial malfeasance.

He has consequently pledged his readiness to submit to any inquiry relating to the matter when he spoke smoke to Joy FM's Super Morning Show host Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah Tuesday morning.

Mr Obeng, a presidential advisor during the Rawlings-led administration has been cited in an audit report on the accounts of the PSC Tema Shipyard - West Africa’s biggest dry dock facility.

The internal audit was commissioned following agitations by workers of the company that the facility was being mismanaged by its Malaysian managers.

The audit uncovered several financial irregularities with hundreds of thousands of dollars dispensed under questionable circumstances leading to the suspension of the Chief Financial Officer of the company, Mr Mohammed Ismail Bin Lebai Sulaiman.

The audit report said PSC Tema Shipyard for instance, entered into a deal in which it paid SBT Resources Associates a sum of $285,000 ostensibly to facilitate the operations of PSC Tema Shipyard.

The auditors said SBT Resources Associates had no track record of providing the sort of services the company was engaged to provide and that the payments made were questionable.

Responding to the queries of the auditors, Mr Sulaiman admitted that “the scope of work or services to be rendered by SBT in the contract was not carried out.”

He named Mr P.V. Obeng as one of the people he met with through one of the owners of SBT, one Ben Tetteh in an attempt to block moves by the then NPP government to take back the SPC Tema Shipyard which was divested to the Malaysians in 1997.

Mr Obeng admitted knowing Ben Tetteh and meeting with the Malaysian managers of the dry dock company but explained that the Malaysians came to him during the transition to ask of him to facilitate a meeting between their president in Malaysia and the then newly elected president – Prof. J.E.A. Mills.

“I had then heard about the developments at the shipyard because I also live in Tema, so I told them straight away that I did not find that meeting necessary and that surely I didn’t think that was the time to have a meeting” with the president.

The former presidential advisor added; “I advised them to go back and improve their own image as a company that intends to take that national asset and develop it for the national good and I assured them that once they had done that to my satisfaction, I will facilitate any meeting with any member of government if that became necessary.”

Mr Obeng stated that meeting between him and the Malaysians took place in the presence of other people, but could not readily recall any of them.

Story by Malik Abass Daabu/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

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