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Akufo-Addo congratulates SA’s new President Cyril Ramaphosa

President Akufo-Addo has congratulated South Africa’s new President, Cyril Ramaphosa.

He said Ramaphosa’s election is “well-deserved” and “a vindication of the trust and confidence reposed in you by the Members of the Parliament of South Africa, and by your great party, the African National Congress (ANC).”

Akufo-Addo said he was hopeful of a close working relationship with Cyril Ramaphosa to “improve the living conditions of our two peoples, and advance their mutual interests, and the wider interests of the African peoples.”

Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa on Thursday following the resignation of Jacob Zuma on Wednesday night.

Ramaphosa was in 2017 elected president of the ANC when pressure  mounted on Zuma to step down.

Read Akufo-Addo’s statement below:

CONGRATULATORY MESSAGE TO PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA

The Ghanaian people and I congratulate you warmly on your election, by the South African Parliament, on Thursday, 15th February, 2018, and your subsequent swearing-in as the new President of the Republic of South Africa.

It is well-deserved, and a vindication of the trust and confidence reposed in you by the Members of the Parliament of South Africa, and by your great party, the African National Congress (ANC).

Your predecessor, His Excellency Jacob Zuma, is also to be commended for his patriotism and statesmanship in resigning his high office, to satisfy the demands of the South African people. I wish him the very best in his future endeavours.

Hopefully, South Africa, under your leadership, will succeed in overcoming her recent challenges, and reinforce her position as a champion of progress and prosperity on the African continent. A strong, united, prospering South Africa is a great force for progress in Africa.

The relations between Ghana and South Africa are firmly rooted in the common struggle of our two peoples for the liberation of our continent from foreign control, and also in our shared commitment to the building of the new Africa on principles of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

I look forward to working closely with you to improve the living conditions of our two peoples, and advance their mutual interests, and the wider interests of the African peoples.

Warm congratulations, once again, to you Mr. President, and to the good people of South Africa. Best wishes to you, and to the continued success of South Africa.

By: Jonas Nyabor/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Prof Asare warns Akufo-Addo over suit challenging Amidu’s eligibility for SP job

Law Professor, Stephen Kwaku Asare, has sent a strong warning to President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Attorney-General over a suit challenging the nomination of Martin Amidu as Ghana’s first Special Prosecutor.

Professor Asare says the suit filed by former Deputy Attorney-General and MP for Bolgatanga East, Dr Dominic Ayine, asking the Supreme Court to declare the nomination of Mr Amidu, 66, as null and void could prove embarrassing to the President.

Dr Ayine holds that Mr Amidu has passed the retirement age of 65 and is, therefore, not qualified to be appointed to a public office.

Commenting on the suit, Prof. Asare advised the A-G, Gloria Akuffo, to read the Constitution carefully and advice the President accordingly.

According to him, the President’s legal team must take a second look at Amidu’s nomination.

“President Akufo-Addo respects the law, he knows the law, and he should spend some time to read Article 191 (1) of the 1992 Constitution carefully which has clearly stated the age qualification for public servants,” Prof. Asare said.

The US-based Ghanaian law Professor was speaking Wednesday on Adom FM’s Burning Issues program hosted by Afia Pokua on the controversies surrounding Martin Amidu’s nomination and his vetting on Tuesday by Parliament’s Appointments Committee.

“I’m surprised they’re joking with the matter currently pending at the Supreme Court…It’s a very, very serious case,” Prof. Kwaku Azar stressed.

– Mr Martin Amidu

“Is the Special Prosecutor a public officer or not?” Prof. Asare quizzed.

Commenting also on the decision by the Appointments Committee of Parliament to vet Martin Amidu despite the suit, Prof. Asare said the Committee did not breach any law, however, he avers that Parliament should have waited for a decision by the apex court before going ahead with the vetting.

“Martin Amidu should have also informed the President to instruct Parliament to hold on with his vetting to ensure the determination of the case before his vetting process,” Prof. Asare told Afia Pokua.

Meanwhile, Parliament’s Appointments Committee is expected to submit a formal report to the plenary for consideration of the House

Joy News sources say Mr Amidu has been overwhelmingly endorsed for the position.

Akufo-Addo begins performance review of ministers

President Nana Akufo-Addo will begin meeting his ministers one-on-one from Monday, to assess their performances.

The exercise will also review the overall performance of the government after one year in office.

Minister of State in charge Monitoring and Evaluation, Anthony Akoto Osei, who prepared the evaluation of the ministers for the President, says he will not be spared.

“I myself, I will be assessed…I am not over confident but I know I am doing my work right,” he said.

The overall performance of the ministers will determine their fate in an impending ministerial reshuffle.

Water Resources and Sanitation Minister, Kofi Adda, has come under criticism for what some say is his failure to deliver on his mandate to keep the city clean, however, is confident he will obtain a favourable assessment record.

“I hope that those same people who are asking for my head should be honourable enough to say Mr Adda has done a good job,” he said.

The President is expected to assess his Ministers on the targets he spelt out for them when they were first appointed.

– Section of deputy ministers during a swearing-in last year

Reshuffle

Rumours of a reshuffle started since December 2017 but have now crystallised in the corporate style appraisal process begins.

President Akufo-Addo with a taste for new governance style, outdoored his ministers during a televised session where he explained the reasons for his choice of each minister.

The minister will now explain to him why his choice was justified.

Joy News has learned the 110 ministers could be slashed to a “significantly lower” number.

Image may contain: people sitting, table and indoor

– Photo: A government retreat at Peduase Lodge where the president met his ministers

The heaviest assemblage of an executive arm ever in Ghana’s history sparked sharp criticisms from wide sections of the public.

Some ministers were packed with four executive heads – a minister and three deputies.

The President has had to defend this record number several times, the latest being at the 2018 media encounter where he said he was happy with the numbers.

He also said the output of government over the past one year proved his army of ministers worth its size.

But with an expected slash it may be that the rhetoric of satisfaction is giving way to the unabated criticism this number of ministers still attract.

Image may contain: 15 people, people smiling, people standing and indoor

Only one deputy minister, Deputy Agriculture Minister William Quaitoo, has left the government after making comments which were deemed ethnocentric while the Upper West regional minister was suspended last week over political vigilantism in the region.

A social media campaign was waged for deputy Trades and Industry minister, Robert Ahomka-Lindsay, to be sacked for comments deemed insulting while Carlos Ahenkorah, another deputy at Trades and Industry, engaged in a verbal assault on an NDC MP which sparked some muffled calls for his sack.

But perhaps the most widely criticised is the Sanitation minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, who is under intense social media pressure over filth in the cities.

Ghanaians spent Christmas rededicating their lives to God but also dedicated a lot of attention to Special Development minister Hawa Koomson after her 2018 budget showed she wanted to build a website for 800,000 cedis. It was later said the figure was an error and that it was 80,000 cedis instead.

Nonetheless, calls for her sack raged for weeks.

But it is the top-secret dossier of Dr. Anthony Osei Akoto that is expected to matter in this encounter with the president.

 

Source: myjoyonline

I am sorry, you can’t all be at my vetting tomorrow – Amidu tells friends, well-wishers

Nominee for Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has told friends and well-wishers inundating him with calls to be at his vetting on Tuesday that “only a limited number of people can be admitted at the public hearing.”

In a short notice on his website, Mr Amidu explains, “only a limited number of invitation cards were given to me for the purpose which I have already distributed on a first call basis whether or not I knew the caller personally. The notes also prohibit drummers and dancers from entering the venue for the public hearing.”

Martin Amidu’s vetting on Tuesday is expected to be tense, as some Minority MPs have predicted it may be longest ever in the country’s history.

In the notice, Mr Amidu also stated that “one thing I know from the outpouring of support for the President’s nomination of my humble self as the Special Public Prosecutor is that if the President’s wishes were put to a national referendum, all the 275 constituencies of the country will return an overwhelmingly positive endorsement for his choice.”

He, however, stressed that he had nothing to win or lose whatever the results of the vetting would be.

Read the full statement published at martinamidu.com below.

THE NOMINEE FOR SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IS SORRY THAT ONLY A LIMITED NUMBER OF PEOPLE CAN BE INVITED TO THE PUBLIC HEARING

As the days to the public hearing of my nomination approval by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on 13th February 2018 as the Special Public Prosecutor approaches, I have been inundated with endless calls from chiefs, friends and well-wishers from all over the country wishing to attend my nomination approval hearing.

Unfortunately, the letter written from the Parliamentary Service inviting me “to appear before the Committee at its public hearing on Tuesday, 13th February, 2018 at 10:00a.m. in Committee Rooms 1-3, New Parliamentary Office Complex, Parliament House, Accra” with an attached Notes for Nominees, which limits the number of “supporters of the Nominee that will be allowed at the venue for the Public Hearing.” Consequently, only a limited number of invitation cards were given to me for the purpose which I have already distributed on a first call basis whether or not I knew the caller personally. The notes also prohibit drummers and dancers from entering the venue for the public hearing.

Accordingly, I wish to appeal to all Ghanaians who would have wished to attend the public hearing of my nomination approval in person whom I have been unable to send or give an invitation card, to instead participate in my nomination hearing by viewing the event on television should it be telecast live or replayed after the public hearing. This will enable me to comply with the Notes for Nominees attached to my invitation for the public hearing. I am sorry I have no control over the number of well-wishers or spectators allowed to personally attend such public nomination hearings. I hope the members of the public who have contacted me for invitation cards will forgive my inability to invite more than the permissible number allowed me.

One thing I know from the outpouring of support for the President’s nomination of my humble self as the Special Public Prosecutor is that if the President’s wishes were put to a national referendum, all the 275 constituencies of the country will return an overwhelmingly positive endorsement for his choice. But the Office of the Special Public Prosecutor Act (Act 959) gives the power of approval to the Parliament and it is important that everyone complies with the Act and the instructions issued by the Committee for the public hearing. Only two outcomes are possible after the public hearing – to approve or disapprove the President’s nominee. Whatever the outcome, I will have nothing personally to win or lose. I accordingly urge every Ghanaian unable to attend the hearing personally to stay calm and await the outcome. I will forever remain grateful for the outpouring of support across the country on the occasion of the President’s announcement of my nomination for approval as Special Prosecutor.

Martin A. B. K. Amidu

11th February 2018

Akufo-Addo interferes with corruption investigations – Inusah Fuseini

Former Lands and Natural Resources Minister Inusah Fuseini has cast doubt on the president’s sincerity in investigating corruption allegations leveled against his appointees.

Insuah Fuseini who is also Tamale Central MP says despite the president’s rhetoric in investigating corruption claims, Akufo-Addo “shepherds investigators to come to the conclusion that he wants”.

He cited investigations into the BOST contaminated saga in July 2017 and the recent cash-for-seat saga as examples of presidential interference.

In the BOST saga, two different investigations were conducted after revelations that 5million liters of contaminated petroleum products were sold to unlicensed companies.

The contamination of the expensive product cost the country a lot of money as it was sold for cheap.

But whilst a committee from the Energy ministry was investigating the matter, the Managing Director Alfred Obeng was cleared of any wrongdoing thanks to investigations by Bureau of National Investigation (BNI) and the National Petroleum Agency’s (NPA).

Photo: Alfred Obeng

Insuah Fuseini criticised Akufo-Addo for accepting the verdict of the BNI even though he had not ordered them to investigate the matter

He also faulted the President’s comments on the cash-for-seat probe while a bi-partisan committee of parliament was investigating it.

The president described as “flimsy and irresponsible”, allegations that the presidency with the help of the Trades ministry was used to raise funds for a private company.

Insuah Fuseini said this comment rendered the bi-partisan probe, an “exercise in futility”.

He said the President’s comment had the potential to bring parliament into disrepute and cast the House as an institution that did not know what it was about.

He said these two instances proved that “we are seeing a president who is becoming a lawyer and a judge”.

But George Andah described the comments as preposterous.

He said if the minority who are making the allegations have the right to speak, what stops the president from also doing same?

 

Source: myjoyonline

Auditor-General’s Report: Gov’t will retrieve all illegally acquired monies – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Akufo-Addo says government has an obligation to treat the Auditor-General’s Report seriously and to work to retrieve illegally acquired monies from those who would impoverish the citizenry.

Delivering the State of the Nation Thursday, he noted that year in, year out, the nation’s Auditor-General produces a report on the country’s public finances, which is often full of grand cases of corruption in our public services.

“The Auditor-General’s Report on MDA liabilities as at December 31, 2016, makes a truly alarming reading. I make reference to the fact that a staggering amount of GH¢5.4 billion has been identified as constituting fictitious claims.

“In the course of this address, Mr Speaker, the House has heard me struggle to identify a source of funding to build our roads,” the President said.

He continued, “Every day, we hear reports on our radios and televisions of dilapidated classrooms and children who sit on floors at school. Just think of the difference that GH¢5.4 billion would make to the nation’s finances.

“That would certainly be enough to build and furnish hundreds of classrooms and construct the Eastern Corridor roads. Every citizen is affected by acts of corruption, and we should all work to tackle them.”

To this end, President Akufo-Addo noted that the role of OccupyGhana, in increasing awareness of the importance of the work of the Auditor-General, should be recognised.

All corruption allegations investigated

With the Preamble to the Constitution of the Republic enjoining all Ghanaians to uphold the principles of Freedom and Justice, Probity and Accountability, and in furtherance of this, the President noted that he has made it publicly known that anyone, who has information about acts of corruption by any of his appointees, should bring it forward, and should be prepared to back it up with evidence, for he will have it investigated.

“So far, every single alleged act of corruption levelled against any of my appointees has been investigated by independent bodies, and, in some cases, by Parliament itself, and the findings made public,” the President said.

 

He added all the allegations against the Minister-Designate for Energy at his parliamentary confirmation hearings; to that against the CEO of BOST; to those against the two Deputy Chiefs of Staff; to the conflict of interest allegations against the Minister for Finance; and, most recently, to the claims of extortion against the Trade and Industry Minister, have been investigated, and no evidence has been adduced to suggest any act of corruption, conflict of interest or wrongdoing.

“It appears, however, that some are determined to stick to their politically-motivated view that there has been corruption. This, surely, is not helpful. It is important to note that, in my first year of office, despite having a clear parliamentary majority, two separate bi-partisan probes in Parliament have been established to inquire into allegations of corruption, as against zero in recent years, notwithstanding the persistent calls by the then Minority over several allegations,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo, in quoting from the Minister for Information, Mustapha Abdul-Hamid, stated that “no matter how long a log stays under water, it will never become a crocodile.”

Election of MMDCEs

On the proposed creation of new regions, President Akufo-Addo expressed satisfaction with the conduct of the constitutionally-mandated processes so far, and stressing that “I believe this exercise will be a success, especially as it is being undertaken with scrupulous adherence to the teachings of the Constitution in this sensitive area.”

Touching on another ambitious decentralisation exercise, which is the direct election of Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives on a partisan basis, President Akufo-Addo noted that “it is a firm manifesto commitment of the New Patriotic Party”, to which he remains committed.

He noted that his discussions with the nation’s political leaders, including the former Presidents of the Republic, convince him that it is a step that must be taken.

Hajia Alima Mahama, Local Government Minister

“The constitutional impediment to this, in Article 55 of the Constitution, an entrenched clause, must, therefore, be removed. To ensure the judicious use of the country’s resources, I propose that the constitutional processes for a Referendum should be initiated in such a manner that the holding of the Referendum will take place at the same time as next year’s District Assembly elections,” he said.

He continued, “If successful, the outcome of the Referendum will mean that the current set of MMDCEs will be the last batch of Chief Executives to be appointed under the current system. I have no doubt that the resourceful Minister for Local Government and Rural Development, Hajia Alima Mahama, MP for Nalerigu Gambaga, will be able to shepherd this process to a positive conclusion.”

 

Source: myjoyonline

Rawlings no longer recognized by NDC – Akufo-Addo

President Akufo-Addo has suggested that the National Democratic Congress no longer recognizes former president Jerry John Rawlings as its Founder.

He said this because NDC MPs Thursday refused or neglected to cheer Mr. Rawlings when he [Akufo-Addo] acknowledged the former President’s presence in Parliament during the State of the Nation Address.

Parliament had convened to allow the president carry out his constitutional duty of delivering the 2018 State Of the Nation Address (SONA).

The majority members of parliament gave a welcoming cheer to support former president John Kufuor when Mr. Akufo-Addo acknowledged him.

The minority National Democratic Congress (NDC) MPs also cheered for former President John Mahama when he was acknowledged.

President Akufo-Addo expected the NDC MPs to extend a similar courtesy to Mr. Rawlings but the cheer, in the President’s view, wasn’t enthusiastic enough.

Jerry John Rawlings

Former President JJ Rawlings

An apparently shocked President Akufo-Addo turned to the speaker and said “…Mr. Speaker that’s the way of the world; the Founder of the party is no longer recognized by the members of the party”.

The minority MPs shouted “bold” “bold” “bold” in reaction to the former first lady, Nana Konadu Agyeman Rawlings when President Akufo-Addo acknowledged her.

Mrs. Agyeman Rawlings fell out with the NDC before the 2012 elections.

She later broke away from the NDC, formed the National Democratic Party and contested the 2016 elections.

 

Source: myjoyonline

D-Day: High expectations as Parliament hosts Akufo-Addo for 2018 SONA

The President is set to deliver his second State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament this morning, in fulfilment of Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution.

At 10:00 am today, Nana Akufo-Addo will present a sector-by-sector account of the general health of the country and outline policies and programmes to facilitate the country’s socio-economic development.

He will also outline strategies to deal with challenges that his administration encountered in the implementation of critical policies.

The sectors that are expected to be covered in the address include education, agriculture, energy and health.

President Akufo-Addo is expected to give an update on the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) policy and the restoration of the teachers and nurses training allowances.

For agriculture, the President is expected to focus implementation of his government’s flagship Planting for Food and Jobs Programme.

Furthermore, power generation and the cost of electricity are also expected to feature prominently when he touches on the energy sector.

The sustainability of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) in terms of financial commitments to clear arrears owed service providers and contractors might be a focus in the health sector.

The President is also likely to touch on other flagship policies such as the One-District, One-Factory and the One-Village, One-Dam.

President will be making a case for his government’s commitment to creating jobs when he launches a National Youth Authority(NYA) training program set to provide 3,000 digital jobs for the youth ahead of the SONA.

The program is 12-weeks online digital marketing and entrepreneurship training spread across all 10 regions.

Each region has an average of 300 slots for youths aged between 18 and 35 years with a basic appreciation of internet and social media.

Image result for online digital marketing skills NYA

Expectations

Some Ghanaians have told Joy News they are looking forward to hearing the President talk about corruption, while others have mentioned rising insecurity as their major concern.

Security expert, Dr Kwesi Aning, has said he expects security to be crucial in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s second State of the Nation Address.

He said it is security that creates the enabling environment for whatever development programmes the government had to be able to take-off.

His comments follow rising instances of violence and attacks in parts of the country.

Some vehicle spare parts dealers at Abossey-Okai in Accra have complained about the ‘nuisance taxes’ which the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) government promised to cancel.

They say they do not feel the impact of the cancellation since the cost of importing the vehicle parts is still high.

Image result for abossey okai spare parts dealers

These spare parts dealers rallied significant support for the NPP in the run-up to the 2016 elections that brought Akufo-Addo to the Flagstaff House.

For prominent legal practitioner, Professor Kwaku Asare, the SONA must “address the plight of terminal LLB graduates and the arrogance of the unruly GLC.”

Meanwhile, a Deputy Information Minister says the President’s Address to Parliament Thursday will be heavy on jobs and the economy.

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo will also make definite comments on some of the major social intervention programmes the government is executing already.

The President delivered his first State of the Nation Address on February 21, 2017 barely two months after assuming the reins of government.

In that address, he said the government would put in place policies that will deliver sustainable growth and cut out corruption.

 

Source: myjoyonline

2018 SONA: Security concerns must be addressed – Dr Aning

Security expert, Dr Kwesi Aning, on Wednesday, said he expects security to be crucial in President Nana Akufo-Addo’s second State of the Nation Address (SONA).

He said it is security that creates the enabling environment for whatever development programmes the government had to be able to take-off.

Dr Aning made this observation in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra.

Dr Aning, who is the Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs and Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, said the President was likely to focus on the Police in terms of equipping, retooling and strengthening them.

“I am certain also that he will also speak about the reduction in vigilantism in terms of their violent activities and the general reduction in indiscipline,” Dr Aning.

President Akufo-Addo is expected to deliver his second State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, February 8, in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution.

 

Source: myjoyonline

2018 SONA will highlight ‘improvements’ in economy – Oppong Nkrumah

A Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said Thursday’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) will make a strong case for the laudable economic achievements under the current government.

“A lot has changed in the Ghanaian economy and on Thursday the President will give us the latest update on where we are on the macro side and then also on the micro side some specifics of what we have been able to achieve so far,” the Deputy Minister said Tuesday.

In accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution, the President will deliver the SONA to Parliament on February 8, 2018, at 9:30 am where he will address issues on national security, economy and other sectors.

Speaking on a current affairs programme on GHOne TV ahead of the 2018 SONA, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said although there have been some challenges with the implementation of some key projects by the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration, there will be a good story to tell Ghanaians.

“We are doing well,” he said.

“Admittedly a significant part of [GDP growth figures] has come from oil but you also notice that the non-oil GDP figures are also picking up.  And also if you look at the long-term growth horizon, you notice that for the non-oil GDP, as we invest more money into agriculture and as industry regains its verve…there is a gradual improvement in the Ghanaian economy particularly in the macro side,” he told host of State of Affairs, Nana Aba Anamoah.

The President, he said, will also address how some policy challenges will be tackled in his second year.

Read the highlights of Akufo-Addo’s State of Nation Address

 

Source: myjoyonline

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