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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.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Impressions about Ghana from a Cameroonian's perspective (P1)

By Ruth Tembe Indah/Citifmonline.com
Ruth Tembe Indah - Author
Having heard that in the recent past, three of America`s  most prominent Presidents had been to Ghana, I could not help but anticipate that I was going to land in a glorious land-a land full of  honey that does not attract bees but attracts great people.
In my mind, Ghana stood as one of the flagships of African pride and this was the raison d’être of my choosing Ghana for the programme that brought me here.   
 AKWAABA –meaning “You are welcome”
 An air hostess announced that my plane was touching Ghanaian skies and immediately my body became itchy and sticky.  I was swayed with some kind of smell and with a watery mouth I exclaimed to my neighbor - "Oh my God, this country smells like fish!"He gazed at me and said; “you sure love fish huh?”
 The plane landed and as I got into the lobby of the Kotoka International Airport, “Akwaaba” is the word I saw boldly written in bright colours.  Later on, I found out that this word means “you are welcome.”
Trust me when I say I do not think communication in this country is a reason for mediocrity because I saw a plethora of mobile phone company logos. So many that are not found in the place where I come from.
 Could this be a sign telling me that I have got no alibis to give if I fail on my mission to Ghana? Luckily enough, I left my country, bearing this in my skull; that  “building alibis with which to explain away failure is a national pastime. The habit is as old as the human race”.  
 Anyway, we passed the immigration officers and my encounter with them was so satisfactory that I asked myself if I was in Africa because compared to other African countries I have been to, I always made sure I got my lunch box with me while waiting, because three hours is the minimum you would have to spend getting through the immigration offices. Here in Ghana no policeman asked for a dime from me – “Well”, I told myself, “let me get into the country proper and see if this continues." 
Out of the airport I was awestruck, completely amazed. I stood still for two minutes asking myself why these people were so serene. There was no frenzy, no rush to carry bags because you will be thrown some dollars, just smooth ebony faces waiting for their strangers and the usual taxi drivers waiting to transport passengers to various destinations. 
These faces expressed the peace and political stability and freedom that exist in the country, I guessed. My host (Evans) and I got a cab to where I had to rest my head. 
As we drove passed the Labadi Lane, the smell of fish increased and the air had a salty taste. From my acumen I could guess that this country is surrounded by sea. Swimming being one of the favorite things I love doing  when I am unwinding, the feeling could  be nothing else than satisfactory.
 Like any "Johnny Just Come- JJC” my eyes kept reeling from one end to the other as the cab took me home. A lot of billboards told me Ghana has got a heightened economic activity. 
Then my ego got swollen like soaked Gari when on one of the billboards I saw the picture  of the African icon,  a four-time  winner of the Best African Player title,  Cameroon`s own son, Samuel Eto`o  Fils. Then on another billboard were my players, the Cameroonian football squad (The Indomitable Lions). I exclaimed: “Wow! Cameroon has got one here! Truly we are the Brazil of Africa”.
 Immediately, being a football fanatic, I was reminded of the 2010 World Cup that is to be held on African soil and like any other African, my greatest desire is to see the world cup remain in Africa. But then who`s going to keep it, is it Eto`o Fils, Drogba, Essien, Adebayor, Utaka, who else? I am anxious too, but let us all hold our peace.
As I talked so much about Samuel Eto`o Fils, Evans felt hurt out of jealousy and tried to compare the former to Essien, but we know that between these two there is no game. The Cameroonian is always on top. Just because this is his country and I am a stranger, I let Evans get the edge. 
Finally I got home. Even before I said a word, I was warmly welcomed by faces beaming with smiles accompanied by a glass of water to quench my thirst.  I was later told that this is the way strangers are welcomed in this country.
“Allow me rest this body of mine,” I said, even though with anxiety because I could not wait for the next day to discover more. My wish that night was to dream about myself in an engaging  dialogue with Kofi Annan, discussing strategies to take this “Mama” Africa to the peak.
The Transportation System
My early days in Ghana were filled with excitement, burning desire and curiosity to know more, discover everywhere and everything within the shortest possible time. But, Accra is big, and with a population of over two million, I had no choice but to take it easy, calm down and go step by step.
It was a fine Monday morning, at the end of November, the Sun was over head, as my host and I got to a junction to get a car to the central town, I noticed a number of buses. Contrary to my country, the taxis here are fewer than the buses. Majority of the people take the buses which are called “tro-tro”. 
I realized that the tro-tros are way too cheap. As a matter of fact, the amount of “pesewas” we paid for each drop does not even exist in the Cameroonian currency (francs CFA). 
Believe me, for this is not a hyperbole and if you want to know more, know that Ghana is three times cheaper than Cameroon. Actually, the thought that has been sitting on my mind for a long while is whether  I should go make much money in Cameroon and come spend it in Ghana!
The traffic was hectic, the heat was scorching which is characteristic of tropical Africa even though in the country where I come from, the heat still pampers the citizens. So I asked myself if the global climate change got a huge impact on Ghana.
 I was in a “tro-tro” to Accra central when one of the passengers confirmed that the climate change indeed has affected Ghana tremendously because this year there has been no harmattan season. I wondered how the harmattan season looks and feels like. Anyway, there is a lot of "pure water” to calm the heat. 
As opposed to the grandeur of this nation, I have noticed that in terms of road infrastructure, Ghana has got very narrow roads. Little wonder why there is always hectic traffic during the rush hours of the day and the evenings. I think this should serve as an impetus for the government to expand the roads and construct new ones. 
As I have been commuting within the nation`s capital city, I have not noticed any fly-overs yet. Initially, I thought this was going to be one of Accra`s hall-marks, one of those things that proves that in Africa, Ghana rocks. 
Anyway I learnt that the Chinese government will be liaising with Ghana`s Ministry of Transport to overhaul road infrastructures here. In Yaoundé, Cameroon`s capital town, thanks to the Chinese government it is as if Yaoundé has got a facial surgery. Yaoundé`s face has changed from the old-wrinkled face it used to have, to the young and seductive teenage face.  As of now, the town is next to Paris.
 Nonetheless, we still question the reason for the invasion of Africa by China. What do the Chinese people really want from Africa? Is this not queer? Thatforeigners suddenly invade a continent and begin to execute plans and projects here and there? 
In other African countries, these Chinese people are being chased away because apart from the fact that they are driving the country`s economy down the drain by  importing  very  poor quality goods,  the girls marry our African men, the guys impregnate the African girls and leave. 
In a part of Cameroon called Kumba, you are going to meet a lot of Chinese-Cameroonian kids. These kids form a new breed of cute Cameroonians.  This is no swipe, but I am particularly  curious, about the end results of this Africa-Chinese relations, hoping that at every rainbow end there is always  a pot of gold.
Touristic Attractions
The Christiansborg Castle, the Independence Square, aka "Black Star Square", the Labadi Beach, a plethora of futuristic company buildings and hotels, the Kwame  Nkrumah Memorial, this name I only read about during my history classes back in my country  as one of the pioneers of African Liberation. Now I am in his birth place, I touch his statute, I embrace it and I whisper few words into its ears, words of gratitude, acknowledging his outstanding nature, recognizing his  unusual patriotism.
The Political Scene
Pardon me because earlier on I did not tell you what I noticed in my tro-tro. Everybody in Ghana, every Ghanaian is so concerned about the welfare of their nation that even the so-called layman got something to say about the political buzz in the country. 
Everybody knows that it is their prerogative to determine what should be accommodated and what should not be in their country. To me I feel like in this country everybody`s opinion counts! On the radio stations, political debates are heated up and I realized that the most prominent political parties are the New Patriotic Party (NPP) the opposition party and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) the ruling party. 
Coincidentally, I arrived in Ghana exactly one year after the President; John Atta Mills had been in power.  Politically, there is some kind of tension going on which I cannot define.  Some folks are expressing abject dissatisfaction over the ruling party, stating that the present regime is erratic and that the President has failed woefully in abiding by all of the promises he made when he was swearing in as President of the Republic of Ghana. 
From a well defined source, I learnt that the allegations hold that President Mills has failed in executing successful strategies in developing the fuel and fishing industries, the oil and gas industries and the economy. In terms of the administration, the latter has been unstable, recording persistent rifts and discords between members of the government. 
Other Ghanaians are tranquil, patient because they believe in and trust their Leader. As a matter of fact, they are convinced that all human beings are susceptible to   external influences and that it is just a matter of time for “a maggot to develop into a butterfly”.  
As I spoke with one of those in charge of  Communications  at the Presidency, he explained this to me, that President Mills has got the bull by its horns and that apart from the fact that he is surmounting and cleaning up the mess left behind by the preceding regime, he has made quantum leaps in uplifting Ghana`s image both in the local and international scenes. “The President is working very hard not only to fulfill the Ghanaian dream, but also to take Ghana to the next level in every domain”. He said.
But do you know what? After I listened to all of these political stories, I laughed. I laughed so loud that unconsciously I lifted my legs to the sky! Thank God I love putting on trousers. 
Since then I have been asking myself if I am leaving a surreal life in Ghana. I am about to tell you something that will leave you in utter dismay. I am so shocked because in Ghana everybody has got the right to spit out what he got in his gut! Ghanaians express themselves so freely that I get scared that they will be arrested and put to custody, but this is not the case. 
In the country where I come from, you just abide by the rules if you want to make a peaceful living. There, there is virtually no opposition party!  Every opposition party that is about to sprout is mowed down immediately by the government. Guys are just concerned with their daily grinds because they do not want to end up in jail for speaking ill about the government. 
Who even cares if the President has fulfilled his promises or not? We are not even conscious about that! Our President came into power barely one year after I was born and even as older as I get everyday, he is still there, and waning as time goes by. 
Eventhough he pisses the whole nation off with most of his malpractices, the people are more concerned about their personal welfare.  Is this not awkward?!  Let me not get bitter here. I love the democracy that exists in Ghana and what else can I do but wish that every African country adopts and implements this policy in its fullness. 
I very much agree with those who say “AFRICA IS THE FUTURE” but if every African nation ate the juicy, succulent fruits that fell from the tree of democracy in governance, then Africa will not only be the future, but a dreamland to  the  world.
To Be Continued...

Ya-Na trial Judge: NDC must stop the useless propaganda

By Kobina Welsing/Citifmonline.com | Mon 23rd August, 2010 12:57 GMT
The Late Ya Na Yakubu Andani
The Judge sitting on the murder case of the late overload of the Dagbon Traditional area Ya Na Yakubu Andani II, has recused himself from the case.
The state earlier filed an application to have the judge replaced because it asserted that the trial judge could not be fair in the proceedings.

Citi News Correspondent, Richard Mensah who was present in court said the Judge, Justice Anthony Oppong was forthright in his pronouncements against the Attorney General and the NDC.

Justice Oppong charged the NDC to desist from the “useless propaganda” against the bench.

According to him, criticisms from members of the NDC towards the bench was weird and unmeritorious since the final judgement were not going to come from him but from members of the jury. He added that he had no control on the jury and could in no way influence their decision on the case.

He added that he decided to recuse himself from the ongoing trial because he does not feel safe as the sitting judge following “the threatening comments” by the NDC party Chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adjei that the government will purge the judiciary if the Chief Justice fails to do so.

Justice Oppong is also demanding an unqualified apology from the Deputy Attorney General, Ebow Barton Oduro, who he claimed  described him (Justice Oppong) as a drunkard.

The Deputy Attorney General has however told Citi News that a motion was filed on Friday, August 20, that prayed the court to remove Justice Oppong as sitting judge for the Ya Na murder case on grounds of clear bias.

The Cape Coast MP also said that he did not call Justice Oppong a drunkard, saying he was misunderstood.

Debates between NPP& NDC are useless - Tony Aidoo

By Samuel Osei/Citifmonline.com | Wed 25th August, 2010 13:44 GMT
The Head of Policy Monitoring and Evaluation Unit at the Presidency, Dr. Tony Aidoo has called for a more useful and intelligent debate between the ruling NDC and the main opposition New Patriotic Party.
Dr. Aidoo told Citi FM that the two rival parties get Ghanaians confused with their seemingly inconsistent on air debates which are mostly aimed at scoring political points.
This, the former Sociology lecturer says does no good to the Ghanaian electorate.
Dr. Tony Aidoo was responding to calls from the opposition for President Mills to dismiss his special aide Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, for wrongly pre-empting the President’s opinion on Dr. Kwabena Adjei’s comments on the judiciary.
The NDC Chairman had warned the Chief Justice that the NDC government was going to purge the judiciary should she fail to clean up the rot in the country’s third arm of government; a comment Nii Lantey told Citi FM President Mills was fully in support of.
However when President Mills returned from his holiday abroad on Monday, August 23, he contradicted Nii Lantey by saying that he had no intentions of interfering with the work of the judiciary.
Some members of the NPP, including its General Secretary Kwadwo Owusu Afiriyie have since called for Nii Lantey’s dismissal arguing that he misrepresented the first gentleman of the land.
Dr Tony Aidoo, reacting on the Citi Breakfast show on Wednesday, however felt the opposition’s call was unnecessary.
“Nii Lantey is definitely not the official spokesperson of the President and therefore if he steps out of line, the president will bring him back, but is it such an offence as to justify an outright dismissal? It looks like the NPP wants the house of the NDC to constantly be on fire for reasons which are very difficult to tell.”
The two parties have in recent times been involved in back and forth on air arguments on the NDC chairman’s comments on the judiciary.
While some members of the NDC, including some of its legal team members support Dr. Kwabena Adjei’s warning, others like Deputy Eastern Regionl Minister, Baba Jamal agrees with the President that the independence of the judiciary must not be compromised.
The NPP, observing from their opposition bench, says the ruling party is a confused one and must therefore be voted out of power come 2012.
Dr.  Tony Aidoo, however thinks it’s time for a more intelligent debate between the two parties.
“I don’t see any useful intellectual debates on these issues…the political debate that goes on between the NPP and the NDC is a useless exercise. We end up confusing the electorate because there is no candor, there is no truth. Every little point we cease upon it to make political capital.
“In the end one begins to question even the value of multi party politics. Political parties and the relationship between them and the competition for power must all be seen to be instrumental vehicles by which the people of the country ought to get to a certain point in their lives. Unfortunately, the type of multi party system that is currently operating constitutes a dilemma for the people.” He bemoaned.

I have no intentions to clean judiciary- Mills

By Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/ Citifmonline.com | Mon 23rd August, 2010 17:00 GMT
Mills exchanges greetings with Vice after upon return from his leave
President John Evans Atta Mills says he has no intentions of striking at the Judiciary.

The President who was answering a wide range of questions from Journalists upon his arrival at the Kotoka International Airport on Monday August 23, said the Judiciary is independent and that he has no intentions to interfere in their work.

"The judiciary is Independent and I have no such intentions" said the President.

His Excellency was in the United States for a ten-day leave, his first since he took office in January 2009.

President Mills’ position on the perceived attack on the Judiciary by the National Chairman of his party the NDC differs from that of one of his Aides at the castle, Nii Lantey Vanderpuye, who told Citi FM on Friday August 20, that the President fully supports comments by the National Chairman.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei stated categorically that government will intervene and “clean the judiciary”, if the Chief Justice fails to fight what he sees as growing rot within the judiciary.

The comments, described by some legal luminaries as a subversion of the country’s 1992 constitution has drawn widespread condemnation from the Ghanaian populace.

On Thursday, August 19, the minority in parliament called for the immediate arrest of Dr. Kwabena Adjei, arguing that his comments on the judiciary amounted to treason and must therefore be hauled to answer for his comments.

The Association of Magistrates and Judges of Ghana also condemned the remarks.

Dr. Kwabena Adjei has since explained that he only sought to restore confidence in the judiciary and that his statements were being misconstrued by political opponents.

For now it remains unclear if the president’s reaction will put the matter to rest or lighten up the debate further since he appeared quite brief in responding to the matter. 

NDC induce Atiwa electorates with 'Obroni Wawu'

By Kobina Welsing/Citifmonline.com | Wed 25th August, 2010 13:00 GMT
The Opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) says it has uncovered an elaborate plot by the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) not to only rig the upcoming Atiwa polls, but also buy the votes of a good number of voters in the constituency.

Voters in Atiwa in the Eastern Region will on August 31 head to the polls to elect a new Member of Parliament to replace Hon. Kwesi Annoh Ankama, the sitting NPP MP, who died in June.

Pundits say the August 31 succession race is a straight fight between the opposition NPP’s Amoako Atta and the ruling NDC’s Mr Emmanuel Attah-Twum, who is also the current District Chief Executive for Atiwa.

However the NPP says it has gathered credible information that the Ruling National Democratic Congress is trying induce electorates at Atiwa with used-clothes for the upcoming by-election in the constituency.

Speaking in an interview with Citi News, the NPP General Secretary, Kwadwo Owusu Afriyie claimed that over fifteen vehicles have left Accra to the Atiwa constituency with  used-clothes, known in local parlance as ‘obroni wawu,’ to influence the voting pattern of voters in the Atiwa Constituency.

“As at yesterday, my intelligence informed me that they are sending loads of clothing to the area in about some fifteen vehicles, they were dispatched last night. I am aware of that and I can tell them that no amount of vote buying will change the results. I have already advised that they will even lose their deposit and in spite of all that they are doing that will not assist them. My information is very credible”.

According to Sir John members of the NDC are showing signs of desperation adding that the electorates in the Atiwa constituency would not be fooled by the trickery of the NDC. 

“The people in Atiwa will not be fooled by that so no amount of vote buying would inure to their benefit...the NDC are desperate, these are all signs of desperation and am saying it would not help them. They can even take millions of dollars even to the Atiwa constituency they will lose the seat, they will come crushing down, the people in Atiwa are not fools, they cannot be bought and they are disappointed in the this administration”

PHOTO: Nana Addo meets Sekou Nkrumah

Source : Daily Guide/Ghana | Wed 25th August, 2010 13:50 GMT
Sekou Nkrumah with Nana Akufo-Addo
Nana Akufo-Addo, 2012 presidential candidate of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) yesterday met Sekou Nkrumah, son of Ghana’s first president at Osu for a friendly chat.

Nana Addo was at Osu at the invitation of Henry Lartey, son of the late Dan Lartey of the GCPP, for a Homowo party. At the house overlooking the Castle 200 metres away, Nana Addo met Sekou, Nkrumah’s third son, who was recently sacked by President Atta Mills after he criticized the President for weak and directionless leadership.

Sekou had said it was "almost impossible" for the NDC to succeed on its “Better Ghana” agenda because the President was too weak a leader to take bold decisions.

In an interview with the Africawatch magazine, he was asked: "Is the Mills government on course to deliver its pre-election promises of a Better Ghana?" He answered: "Honestly, there is a big question mark because since the NDC came to power in January 2009, there has not really been any serious change in real terms."

He continued, "From where I am standing, I can see clearly that since coming to power, the Mills government has not fulfilled its promises. I know it is not politically correct, but that's a fact." The Africawatch magazine asked Dr. Nkrumah, 'Is the economy any better now than when President Mills met it in January 2009?

"I am not an expert, but it doesn't seem to be better now than when the NDC met it. I don't think much has changed," he said. Sekou, who has given up on the NDC achieving the change promised by President John Evans Atta Mills, explained his pessimism by accusing the President of coming into office without a programme: "It is almost impossible. You need to take bold decisions; and those bold decisions should have been on your agenda before coming to power.

"I think forces within the NDC should stand up and wake up to their responsibilities to make sure that the 'Better Ghana' agenda is not just lip-service."

Sekou, who was the National Co-ordinator of the National Youth Council, could not hide his big disappointment with President Mills and has therefore called for a "more dynamic personality, who is strong-willed and can inspire national confidence" to challenge the President for 2012.

With President Mills failing in his view, the son of Ghana's first President is urging the NDC not to be too rigid in thinking that to change Mills in 2012 would be politically sacrilegious. "What if a new person will bring new energy and provide what is missing in President Mills?" Dr Nkrumah posed this searching question to the NDC.

Before the 2008 election, he abandoned his father's Conventional People's Party, to join the NDC. But, he has since regretted it. "When I joined the NDC, I had the confidence that the party had experienced people who had been in government before, so I felt there was really no time to waste when they returned to power in January 2009," Dr Nkrumah said.

He explained: "I mean things should have taken off right away because they had experience. But that's not really what happened. Now you have a lot of questions and doubts, and I don't know how patient Ghanaians can be." After his interview with the magazine he was fire from his position.

Switzerland: A parasite feeding on Africa and Third World Countries?

By Lord Aikins Adusei 
For more than half a century the Alpine nation of Switzerland has built a reputation as the world’s centre for tax evasion, fraud accounting, money laundering, racketeering, and above all a staunch ally of corrupt third world leaders and a great beneficiary of third world corruption.
Various categories of persons including popes, presidents, prime ministers, corrupt dictators, wealthy business men, and drug dealers have all used and benefited from the banking secrecy laws of Switzerland. As a result her economy has been described as an underground economy, a deposit box for dirty money and a dirt-driven economy.
Over the last couple of years countries such as United States, Germany and France have argued that they have become victims of Swiss illegal financial activities and as result have stepped up their campaign to get Swiss authorities to cooperate in fighting tax evasion and money laundering. The campaign has even brought a row between the German Finance Minister and members of Swiss parliament. These nations claim they are loosing billions of dollars annually through tax evasion and other illegal financial activities. In 2009 an action by the US Justice Department against the Swiss Banking giant UBS earned the United States close to $1 billion. In 2001, the United States learned that the Swiss had protected the bank that handled finances for Osama Bin Laden. One of them, the Bahrain International Bank, had funds transiting through non-published accounts of Clearstream, which has been qualified as a “bank of banks” and was involved in one of Luxembourg’s major financial scandals.
Western governments have argued that dirty money in many forms welcomed by Switzerland allows the proceeds of corruption, drug trafficking, racketeering and terrorism to tag alongside and deny the world’s poor the chance to escape poverty. “Swiss banks are reputed to be holding an estimated 35% of the world’s private and institutional funds (or 3 trillion Swiss francs)”.1
However, of all the victims of Swiss banking secrecy laws and her shady banking practices, developing countries in general and African countries in particular seem to have suffered the most. The global infrastructure of international financial secrecy with headquarters in Switzerland has helped bleed trillions of dollars in illicitly generated money out of Africa and the rest of the developing world. The activities of Swiss banking institutions and real estate companies have plunged third world nations into debts, poverty, misery, malnutrition, diseases, economic meltdown, infrastructure decay and political instabilities through the help they give to corrupt politicians, civil servants, the business elite and corrupt multinational corporations who collude and connive with the corrupt entities to loot and hide the proceeds of their ill-gotten gains.
Many third world countries especially those in Africa lack the infrastructures needed to run successful economies. They lack schools, hospitals, roads, harbours, rail infrastructure, irrigation facilities, electricity, clean water, telecommunication, sanitation facilities because of the loots. Many children are orphaned and malnourished and many do not have access to education and healthcare because money meant for all that are stolen and are sitting in Swiss banks such UBS, Credit Suisse.
There has not been a single corrupt politician or dictator in Africa, Latin America and Asia who has not had dealings with this secretive alpine country. While third world countries continue to struggle to provide the basic necessities of life Swiss economy is washed with money that could save millions from hunger, starvation and diseases.
Every year since the year 2000 developing countries receive about $100-billion in aid annually from rich countries with about $10-billion going to Africa but these rich countries headed by Switzerland receive about $900- billion from these poor countries ($150-billion from Africa) in the form of tax evasion, embezzlement, fraud accounting, debt servicing and corruption. The World Bank’s Stolen Asset Recovery initiative estimates the cross-border flow of proceeds from criminal activities, corruption and tax evasion at between $1 trillion and $1.6 trillion per year, about half of which come from developing and transitional economies.
Global Financial Integrity agrees with World Bank assessment and says, “$900-billion is secreted each year from underdeveloped economies, with an estimated $11.5 trillion currently stashed in havens. More than one quarter of these hubs belong to the UK, while Switzerland washes one-third of global capital flight”.2
The Africa Union says 25 percent of GDP of African States is lost to corruption every year amounting to more than $150-billion a year.3
The negative impact of that has been increasing the cost of goods by as much as 20%, deterring investment, holding back development and preventing the people from escaping poverty. The fact as pointed out by GFI is that the money that denies poor countries the chance to escape poverty sits in Swiss Banks.
Over the last couple of years a number of Swiss banks have been accused of accepting money from dictators like Sani Abacha, Mobutu, Lansana Conte, Gnassingbe Eyadema, Arap Moi, Omar Bongo, Obiang Nguema, Blaise Campore, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Eduardo dos Santos, Sadam Hussein, Ferdinand Marcos, Baby Doc Duvalier, Hosni Mubarak, Yoweri Museveni, Augusto Pinochet, Gaddafi and the evil genius Ibrahim Babangida without due diligence and without questioning the source of their wealth. For example Swiss economy was the main recipient and beneficiary of Sani Abacha´s $3-5-billion embezzlement of Nigeria´s oil money. When it was discovered that Abacha used the crook banks in this country to steal the money, Switzerland wanted to distance herself from the criminal enterprise run by her banks and benefited by her economy and her citizens. But in the end she had no choice but to repatriate over $700-million to the government of Nigeria after five years of foot dragging.
The banks in Switzerland that aided, abetted and provided shelter for Abacha´s stolen money were UBS AG, Zurich; UBS AG, Geneva; Union Bancaire Privee, Geneva; Credit Suisse, Zurich ; Bank Len, Zurich; Banque Barring Brothers, Geneva; Goldman Sachs and Company, Zurich; Gothard Bank, Geneva; Citibank Zurich; Banque Nationale De Paris, Basle; FIBI Bank (Schweiz) A. G. Zurich.4
Again the Arab daily newspapers Asharq Al-Awsat and Al-Hayat reported that former Prime Minister Dr. Iyad Allawi told them in interviews that Saddam Hussein admitted he invested stolen Iraqi money which the Iraqi Governing Council estimated at $40 billion in Switzerland, Japan and Germany, among others, under fictitious company names. ‘Directors of those shell companies would deposit 5% in company bank accounts, and the money was effectively laundered. Swiss and French lawyers did the paperwork’.5 One million Iraqis died during the UN oil for food programme while money that could have saved them was accepted by Swiss Banks and their corrupt counterparts in Japan and Germany.
Also after 18 years of legal wrangling Switzerland agreed to let the people of Philippines receive the $684m looted by Ferdinand Marcos and kept by her crook banks. Switzerland kept close to $700m while children were starving to death and hospitals were closing down for lack of medicines and electricity.
Furthermore, between August 2001 and 2004, Peru recovered nearly over $180 million stolen by her former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos from several jurisdictions including Switzerland, Cayman Islands and the United States. In May 2007, an agreement between the governments of the United States, Switzerland and Kazakhstan allowed for the repatriation of $84 million denied the people for many years. Again it took Switzerland 12 years to return $74m of the $110m stolen by Raul Salinas to the government of Mexico. Switzerland still has in her possession the money looted by the dictator ´Baby Doc´ Duvalier 24 years after he was chased away by the poor people of Haiti.6
Additionally, when Mobutu died in 1997 Swiss newspapers reported that the country may be home to at least $5-billion of Mobutu’s stolen assets. The report was also confirmed by CNN World News in September, 1997. The whole world was shocked when Swiss authorities announced that Mobutu’s stolen assets in the country totalled something just under $8m and this was after they had sold his villa for $2-million. The shock sent a chill down the spine of DR. Congo’s president. He has still not recovered and has refused to show any interest in pursuing the money.
In recent years Switzerland has repatriated some of the money her banks criminally accepted at the expense of poor nations and Swiss political leadership is using it to score cheap political point instead of being ashamed of it. Mali has received just $2.5 million out of the estimated $5-billion deposited in that country by Mali’s corrupt political leaders among them former dictator Moussa Traore. Argentina has also received $4.5 million from Switzerland in a bribery case.
It is believed that most of the $2 billion stolen by ex- President Arap Moi's family is stashed in Switzerland and her sister countries in the Alpine region. In 2003, investigation by the international risk consultancy firm Kroll on behalf of government of Kenya into allegations of corruption on the part of Arap Moi's government revealed a trail of corrupt practices by Arap Moi, his children, members of his government and their associates with most of their 24 years of ill-gotten wealth hiding in Switzerland, Britain, Luxembourg and the Caribbean. Credit Suisse - Zurich and Citibank- Geneva came up several times as the banks where most of the loots are being kept. "During the beginning of December 2003, Philip Moi made his move through Zara. She left the country for Italy, from where she visited Leichtenstein and Lugano located inside the Swiss canton of Tieino. It is believed that Tieino, though a remote area, consists of over 100 banks. Zara/Rosanna Moi, Philips Italian wife, estimates Philip's worth to be USD750 million."7
Switzerland has mounted a fierce campaign to portray herself as a clean and responsible country. "A senior Swiss diplomat says Switzerland no longer deserve its reputation as a save haven for the ill-gotten gains of corrupt dictators. Speaking in Geneva Ambassador Paul Seger said the government had returned $1.6 billion (SFr1.9 billion) of stolen funds in recent years" but also admitted that "incidents such as the Marcos, Abacha or Montesinos affairs reinforce the international perception that there are still more assets to be returned".8 The question is what reputation does Switzerland deserve apart from being a save haven centre? Is it clean, transparent and cooperative country?
The fact is that Switzerland has not been able to convince anyone that they still do not hold money for Omar Bongo, Lansana Conte, Obiang Nguemaa, Denis Sassou Nguesso, Eduardo dos Santos, Blaise Campore, Gaddafi, Hosni Mubarak, Arap Moi, Gnassingbe Eyadema, Ibrahim Babaginda, Jerry Rawling all of them corrupt dictators with little to show for the billions of dollars that they received from the sale of oil, gas, gold, diamond, timber and other resources.
During the trial of the disgraced Elf executives, they claimed that they paid Omar Bongo $50 million a year for concession rights in his oil rich but economically impoverished country. The executives claimed the millions of dollars were transferred into Bongo's Swiss bank accounts. But we have not heard any comment from Switzerland regarding that money and now that Bongo is dead there is no doubt that what Democratic Republic of Congo went through will be the fate for Gabon should they make any attempt to retrieve the money. It is a common knowledge that the late Omar Bongo of Gabon, Denis Sassou Nguesso of Congo, Dos Santos of Angola, Obiang Nguema of E. Guinea like their old friends (Abacha, Mobutu and Conte) have billions of dollars stashed in Swiss Banks.
Where Swiss leaders do not get it is that their past and present actions have led millions of people who could have lived to die of poverty, malnutrition, starvation and diseases. While more than 800 million Indians live in poverty and in squalor, with little access to education, health, water and sanitation, the BJP party estimated during the May 2009 election campaign that the nation has lost close to $1.4 trillion most of it stashed in foreign banks notably in Switzerland.
In 2007 Swiss federal prosecutors abandoned an investigation into suspected money laundering activities involving the former prime minister of Madagascar. As a result a Swiss bank will refund SFr2.8 million ($2.3 million) to Tantely Andrianarivo, a move that has "disappointed and shocked" the Madagascan government, which has demanded the money back" to be used to help millions of people languishing in poverty.9
There are well known experts who still believe Switzerland deserves her reputation. Richard Murphy, director of Tax Research LLP says: "The idea that Switzerland has a clean economy is a joke; it is a dirt-driven economy".10 Her economy is dirt-driven because her financial institutions (a vital sector of her economy) have been implicated in a number of corruption scandals involving corrupt third world leaders and their associates. In fact Switzerland can best be described as economic vampire, parasite and predator feeding on the economies of poor African and third world countries.
The sad thing about this parasitic behaviour is that it is supported by almost all the citizens of that country. The Swiss Bankers Association claims that four-fifths of the nation supports banking secrecy, revealing a society deeply embedded in a culture of impunity and exploitation, where the licit acts as a shield protecting the illicit in a terribly respectable manner.11 This law is the foundation of all the corruption, embezzlement, tax evasions and all the criminal enterprises that we see in the world.
But Switzerland has had it both ways with her hypocrisy and double standards. Her politicians condemn corruption in Africa and the third world while her banks make fortunes off that corruption. She claims to be a champion of democracy and development but the actions of her banks and companies like SGS, UBS have proven other wise. If there is any justice in the world her banking executives should have been put on trial by the International Criminal Court for crime against humanity because there is no difference between those who use guns to kill and those who kill millions by accepting to hide money that could be used to save them from hunger, starvation, malnutrition, diseases and provide them with medicines, water, shelter, schools and electricity.
The cost of Switzerland's collusion and connivance with the corrupt entities in Africa and the third world fall primarily on the poor people in those poor countries who are denied every opportunity to escape poverty. Many live in squalor with no access to health and sanitation facilities, water, electricity, housing and even food. Over one million people in those poor countries die of malaria, 90% of them from Africa with most of the victims being children. Millions of others also die from starvation, hunger, malnutrition, polio, mizzles, tuberculosis and six killer diseases. The crime of those who die and those who continue to suffer is that they happen to have corrupt incompetent leaders and a counterpart in Europe who is ready to protect their looted funds.
As monies meant for development are stolen and stashed in Swiss Banks, the poor are left on their own to fend for themselves with aid agencies being left to pick the pieces with them. Millions have died, millions are starving and many more are suffering as a result of the role played by Swiss banks, real estate agencies and other companies. In this 21st century such suffering cannot go on forever. Switzerland cannot continue to be a wilful accomplice in crimes involving the death of millions of children and women.
It is therefore time for Switzerland to act as a responsible member of the global community, tear down her banking secrecy laws and her corrupt financial infrastructures that are responsible for the deaths and hunger of millions of people. It is time for Switzerland to stop her banks from accepting looted funds from Africa and the third world that make so many face starvation, hunger and death. The banks must be called to order and should be tasked to employ due diligence in dealing with their clients especially the dictators and their associates from Africa and the third world.
Finally, it is time for Switzerland to turn words of fighting corruption into action and deeds and repatriate all the stolen money to its rightful owners and stop parasiting on poor African and third world countries so they can also have the opportunity to escape poverty like most citizens of Switzerland have.

The Author is a political activist and Anti-Corruption Campaigner.
He blogs at www.ghanapundit.blogspot.com


1.    Offshore Banks (2008) http://www.off-shorebanking.com/offshore-banks/


2.    Source globalpolicy.org  (2006) http://www.globalpolicy.org/component/content/article/172/30134.html


3.    The BBC (2002) http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/2265387.stm.


4.    Tell Magazine, October 7, 2002. Only heaven knows how much of Abacha´s loot still remain in these countries.


5.    Daily News.http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/hosadw.htm.


6.    http://www.pbs.org/frontlineworld/stories/bribe/2009/05/haiti-the-long-road-to-recovery.html

7.    Kroll Report (2003) http://wikileaks.org/wiki/KTM_report#Target_3

8.    Swissinfo.ch


9.    Swissinfo.ch

10.                   Khadija Sharife (2009) ‘Pirate Bankers, Shadow Economies’



11.   http://www.globalpolicy.org



A-G replies Judge: Your comments are reprehensible, unprofessional

Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney General
Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu, Attorney General
The Attorney General, Mrs Betty Mould-Iddrisu has hit back at Justice Anthony Oppong, the judge who Monday recused himself from hearing the trial of suspects in the murder of the overlord of Dabgon, Ya-Na Yakubu Andani.

Justice Oppong before standing down from the case following protestations by the A-G's office, accused the deputy Attorney General, Ebo Barton-Oduro of engaging in needless propaganda and turning the Attorney General’s Department into an NDC party office.

Barton-Oduro claimed to have evidence of a conversation the judge had with a lady at a drinking bar during which he (the judge) vowed to throw out the case.

But Justice Oppong in a statement said he feels not only insecure, but scandalized by the allegations made by the deputy A-G.

But the Attorney General has come to the defence of her deputy. She told Joy News’ Seth Kwame Boateng Justice Oppong’s comments were "unprofessional".

“It is reprehensible for any judge to use the Bench to make such inflammatory statements," she added.

She said state prosecutors work in the most difficult circumstances and do not deserve the political comments made by the judge.

“Many of them have indeed prosecuted NDC members before. It is unfair therefore to castigate them in this manner and to bring politics into what is essentially a legal or a judicial process.

“I am taking a very serious view about this comment and I will bring them to the notice of Her Ladyship the Chief Justice at the first possible opportunity."

She said Justice Oppong’s remarks that he was recusing himself because he did not feel safe was an “afterthought” and unsustainable.

She said she will remain focused and continue with the “right-minded” judges in the judiciary to seek justice for the family of the Ya-Na.

“We are not about in the name of politics, tribe, ethnicity, religion or bias going to give in to any of such actions. We are on course. I remain focused on the work I do. And we will by the grace of God and with the cooperation of right-minded judges in the judiciary we will continue with this prosecution so that the killers of Ya-Na the late king of Dagbon will be brought to book," she said.

Story by Nathan Gadugah/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana

Nana Addo hits ground running

Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP's Presidential candidate
Nana Akufo-Addo, NPP's Presidential candidate
Even before the Electoral Commission officially opens the flood gates for the commencement of political campaigning for the 2012 general elections, the New Patriotic Party's Presidential candidate for the 2012 general elections, Nana Akufo-Addo has hit the ground running, pulling massive support across the country.

A confident looking Nana Addo said he was optimistic that considering how badly President Mills is performing as leader of the country, coupled with the current political atmosphere in Ghana today, he is convinced that President Mills and the NDC would reign for only one term.

"Ghanaians have today seen that President Mills and his NDC party have no good policies and programmes that can help move our country forward, and from all indications the Ghanaian electorate will show them the way out in 2012," he said.

He continued that "given how close the results of the 2008 elections were between me and then candidate Mills, the slightest shift in public opinion will mean victory for me and the NPP in 2012.

"I am happy with the unity that continues to exist in the NPP even after our presidential primaries and I know that it will continue like this, to ensure that our party wins the votes of the great majority of the Ghanaian 'people in 2012.” He added.

He was responding to questions from a section of the media in Takoradi after paying a visit to the Takoradi Market Circle to meet the traders, some residents and party members. Nana Akufo-Addo noted that the NDC's unimpressive record in government would play a major role in the upcoming 2012 general election, and this he said would affect to a great extent the electoral fortunes of the NDC.

He added that "the NPP, under President Kufuor demonstrated to all Ghanaians quality leadership that brought substantial growth, development and improvement to Ghana and the Ghanaian people. Today, the difference is clear."

He continued that "the dynamics and circumstances of the 2012 general election would be different from that of 2008.

The NDC, which is now the incumbent government would have to defend their bad performance against the NPP's myriad of achievements that we left behind, and from what I see, everywhere I go, our party people are battle ready to face the NDC in 2012."

Earlier in the day, at the Tarkoradi market Circle, the presence of Nana Akufo-Addo, in the company of Hon. Kobby Otchere Darko-Mensah, MP for Takoradi, Hon. Paapa Owusu Ankomah, MP for Sekondi, Hon. Joe Ghartey, MP for Essikado Ketan and the Western Regional executives of the NPP, threw the market into a jubilant mood as hundreds of people, some clad in NPP paraphernalia cheered Nana Akufo-Addo on, amidst brass band music, singing and dancing.

For over two hours, commercial activities came to a haIt as Nana Akufo-Addo walked through the market to exchange greetings with some traders, drivers and residents, and to thank the market women for their continuous support for him and the NPP.

"I am confident that the energy and morale in our party today, particularly at the grassroots, will transform into votes for that great victory of 2012," he noted. He concluded that “the greater battle of winning 2012 is ahead of us and what I can say to you is that it is our party and country that calls all of us to duty. It is a common enterprise and I plead with all to come on board to ensure that we win in 2012."

Source: The Chronicle

Kofi Adams goofs badly

Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams
Deputy General Secretary of the NDC, Mr. Kofi Adams
Deputy General Secretary of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Mr. Kofi Adams has added his voice to ongoing harsh calls on the judiciary to purge itself of perceived corruption and political bias.

The NDC deputy general secretary's appraisal of the judiciary comes on the heels of recent attacks by his party's national chairman, Dr. Kwabena Adgyei on the bench as well as the Chief Justice, Madam Georgina Wood.

Mr. Adams, an avowed critic of the erstwhile New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration yesterday introduced a completely new angle to the ongoing debate when he stated categorically that the United States of America(USA) signed a non-surrender agreement with the Government of Ghana(GoG) because the former lacked confidence in the country's judicial system at the time.

He told this reporter after making similar comments on Asempa FM in a telephone conversation that "the NPP administration signed a non surrender treaty with the US authority that their citizens when arrested should not be put before our courts because they do not have confidence in our courts, if they are confident they will not say we should not put their citizens before our courts"

The NDC guru who misguidedly referred to the Bilateral Immunity Agreements "between the GoG and the US regarding the surrender of offenders to the International Criminal Court to build- his case, added that "we've had governments since independence and since the inception of the 1992 constitution why did they sign this agreement under President Kufuor to protect their citizens who come here".

It will be recalled that Parliament on 30th October 2003 with a vote of 101 in favour and 53 against voted for the ratification of the said bilateral agreement, a development which. Mr. Adams said he was unaware of.

A former Minister for Foreign Affairs in the NPP administration Mr. Akwasi Osei Adgyei who threw more light on the agreement said the NDC chairman's assertions were completely far from the truth.

He explained that "the objective of this agreement is the establishment of a legal relationship between Ghana and the United States of America under which US military and civilian personnel suspected of committing international crime on the land of member states will not be turned over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or in other words, will enjoy immunity from the jurisdiction of the ICC"

"This has nothing to with judicial corruption or the judiciary in this country, the agreement went to Parliament and we were all here", he added.

He continued that the US negotiates the agreement in order to give its citizens protection against unwarranted and politically motivated prosecutions.

To strengthen its position on the issue the US Congress in 2001 passed the American Service Members Protection Act introducing a sanction regime that compels the US Administration to suspend all forms of military assistance to countries refusing or failing to sign the Agreement by July 2003, and extended to October 2003.

Against this backdrop, the former Minister said "Ghana stands to benefit by ratifying the bilateral Agreement especially with military assistance to the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF)".

When Mr. Adams was asked during the telephone chat whether he was aware of the fact that the agreement was ratified by Parliament, he answered "I don't know whether it was signed, I can't remember the year but you can call President Kufuor and ask him"

He reaffirmed his party's position that the judiciary needed some measure of cleansing, saying that " they themselves (judges) have been saying that there is an internal house cleaning going on, if there is no corruption why the house cleaning? As a political party with majority representation we need to comment on such issues when the need arises"

The US government has been approaching countries around the world seeking to conclude Bilateral Immunity Agreements, purportedly based on Article 98 of the Rome Statute, excluding its citizens and military personnel from the jurisdiction of the Court. These agreements prohibit the surrender to the ICC of a broad scope of persons in chiding current or former government officials, military personnel, and US employees (including contractors) and nationals.

Source: Daily Guide

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