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Saturday, May 27, 2017

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Huawei Technologies has launched the 2017 edition of its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Seeds for the Future’ in Ghana at a short ceremony at the Ministry of Communications.

This year’s edition will see 15 top university students travel to China to be trained in Beijing and Shenzhen. The students would be equipped with skills and be taught how they can harness new opportunities.

Every year, Huawei invites students from various countries to study at the headquarters where they also learn of future trends in technology.

Huawei’s Seeds of the Future programme seeks to develop local ICT talent, enhance knowledge transfer, promote a greater understanding of, and interest in, the ICT sector, and improve and encourage regional building and participation in the digital community.

The programme is designed to nurture young global talent within the Information and Computer Technology (ICT) sector.

Through this programme, Huawei collaborates with local governments, higher educational institutes, and other organizations to select top ICT students and offer them an eye-opening opportunity to travel to China to experience Chinese culture to gain more insights of ICT industrial transformation and to witness the showcase of Huawei’s future technologies at the headquarters in Shenzhen.

Ghana joined this initiative in 2015, and so far 25 Ghanaian students have benefitted from the initiative, with 15 and 10 university students benefiting in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

This year, another 15 students from local top universities would participate in the programme which will run from 29th May to 10th June.

CEO for Huawei Ghana, Richard Liu Kang said “through the seeds of the future programme, Huawei seeks to collaborate with the Ghanaian Government, universities and other tertiary institutions and other organizations to select top Ghanaian university students and young professionals from ICT related departments to offer them opportunities to study and gain work experience and also help them learn more about Chinese culture and gain cross-cultural work experience in a global business environment.

Ursula Owusu-Ekuful, the Minister of Communications, wished the students well on the educational tour to China to empower themselves with advanced knowledge in ICT.

Political Counselor of Chinese Embassy to Ghana, Jiang Zhouteng, reiterated China’s commitment to deepening relationship with Ghana and encouraged the participants to take advantage of the many opportunities China has to offer.

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President Akufo-Addo has stated that he will not shield any public official found to be engaged in acts of corruption or malfeasance, but will ensure that the laws of the land are applied fully, without fear or favour.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the recent news of the arrest of some customs officials responsible for the loss of GH¢1.2 billion in revenue to the state is part of the reasons why his government is making frantic efforts to block revenue leakages at the country’s ports.

“That money was going, not into the government’s coffers, but into private pockets. We have importers who evade duty because they split the duty with Customs officials. It cannot continue like that in Ghana,” the president said.

He continued, “I want to assure you that so long as I have the opportunity, and I have breath and power, I am going to do something about it, so we can stop the leakages. I know that if we stop the leakages, we will have the money to do our own development. We are not going to be dependent on some people coming to say they are going to give us charity or grants. We will finance our own development ourselves.”

The president was addressing Ghanaians in Sierra Leone as part of his one-day working visit to that country, marking the commencement of the third phase of his working tour of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries.

Don’t See My Wife

President Akufo-Addo noted that “when people get caught up in the net, I am imploring people not to come to me and say that ‘Oh! Nana, this man is my relative, so spare him.’ That is the problem in Ghana. You find people going to speak to your wife with the hope of trying to influence you. I am not going to listen to that because my concern is Ghana and not one or two individuals.”

He, therefore, urged Ghanaians to help him in the fight against corruption, “so that we can put that Ghana behind us, and get a new deal for our country.”

Reiterating his commitment to depoliticise the prosecution of corruption in Ghana – as prosecutions carried out by the Attorney General are described as “witch-hunting” by opponents – President Akufo-Addo stated, “We are going to create the Office of Special Prosecutor who will not be a creature of the government, but will be an independent person who will have the power to decide who to prosecute. So it will not be Akufo-Addo, but it is the law that is working.

Special Prosecutor

In the next meeting of parliament, the president stated that the legislation setting up the Office of Special Prosecutor will be laid before the House, and “hopefully, by the second half of this year, the office will be up and working.”

President Akufo-Addo stated, “We want to turn a new page in the history of our country. We are a rich country. I refuse this idea that Ghana is poor. I will not accept the language that Ghana is poor. Ghana is not a poor country. Ghana is a rich country, and we want to make it a rich country once again in our time. We all need to work hard to realise the wealth of our country.”

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Eugene Baffoe Bonnie (left), William Tevi (right)

The man believed to be the brain behind the National Communications Authority (NCA) $8 million contract that brought in ‘spying and phone tapping’ gadgets for the National Security Secretariat (NSS) from Israel is said to be at large.

According to the Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, the Deputy National Security Coordinator during the John Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration, Alhaji Salifu Osman, has gone into hiding following claims that the NCA Board members shared $4 million out of the total contract sum among themselves unlawfully.

Alhaji Osman, who is being investigated for other ‘dubious’ transactions, may soon be declared wanted if he continues to stay in hiding, sources told DAILY GUIDE.

The last time the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) was said to have reached the security capo on phone was when he told the Bureau about the whereabouts of the gadgets.

Sources say Alhaji Osman, who until his appointment by then President Mahama was a director at the Ministry of the Interior, had told the BNI that the gadgets were languishing in somebody’s garage in Accra.

Mr Mustapha Hamid has said that the security capo’s village at Salaga in the Northern Region has been combed but he could not be traced, adding that investigations are showing that he was the ‘architect’ behind the whole deal.

The contract was meant to buy ‘spying and phone tapping’ equipment for the National Security Secretariat, but $4  million out of the total amount of $8 million ended up in private accounts, with $1.5 million of the money going to the NCA board of directors.

Already, the former Board Chairman of the NCA, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, who is a younger brother of Seinti Baffoe-Bonnie – then senior staffer to former President John Dramani Mahama – has reportedly started returning his share of the money he and his colleagues unlawfully pocketed in that dodgy transaction.

The Information Minister had said that Mr Baffoe-Bonnie was paying $40,000 out of his share of $200,000.

Baffoe-Bonnie did not pick his calls when DAILY GUIDE attempted to reached him for his side of the story.

Last week, after reportedly admitting that they took $4 million unlawfully from the state kitty, some former members of the board of the NCA said they were prepared to refund the cash when they appeared before the BNI.

The $4 million was meant to pay an Israeli company which had a contract with the NDC government.

According to the Information Minister, John Mahama’s NDC government had contracted NSO Group Technology Limited of Israel to supply eavesdropping gadgets worth $6 million and the equipment were meant to help the government monitor the calls of suspected terrorists.

In the course of the transaction, Mustapha Hamid said a local agent – Infraloks Development Limited – headed by one George Oppong, charged $2 million as facilitation fee, bringing the total amount to $8 million.

The NCA, with instruction from the National Security, made $4 million part-payment into the private account of the local agent of the Israeli company at Ecobank and subsequently transferred $1 million to the company in Israel.

The $3 million left in the account was then split into two, with less than half going into the pockets of board members and the chairman allegedly taking the lion’s share of $200,000.

Records are showing that apart from Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie, the NCA Director-General, William Mathew Tevie, allegedly took home $150,000; the local agent, George Oppong, reportedly had $100,000; Alhaji Salifu Osman, the Deputy National Security Coordinator, was allegedly given $70,000 and Dr. Nana OwusuEnsaw, another board member, purportedly took home $500,000 to be shared with other unnamed persons.

The local representative of the Israeli company, a certain Penny, was also said to have been paid $100,000.

The information minister said that if political power did not shift, he was sure nobody would have known about what he described as a classic case of ‘create, loot and share.’

According to the minister, National Security, which did not have the funds for the equipment, allowed the NCA with supervisory mandate over such gadgets, to fund the project.

While the Israeli suppliers were groaning for their money for the equipment supplied from the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, the former board members were gloating with free state cash.

He said apart from Alhaji Osman, the others had admitted to the crime and had been given bail after the BNI had interrogated them.

The minister said George Oppong had refunded $1 million while others had also promised to refund everything.

“BNI hasn’t even decided at this stage because they believe that the money must be returned. … If they succeed in retrieving the money then they will decide their next action,” Mr Hamid said.

According to him, the transaction was a clear case of top officials colluding to plunder the state coffers.

“The reason why this is a classic case of ‘create, loot and share’ is that…it was basically Alhaji Osman, acting as Deputy National Security Coordinator, who spearheaded this deal. …People cannot just go and open a state vault and take whatever that is in there,” the minister cautioned.

He said the government is waiting for the outcome of the BNI probe into the matter to take a decision on the fate of the culprits.

“Investigations are a long process, and as the lawyers will tell you, an act of criminality ought to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt and so my understanding from the BNI is that they haven’t completed the investigations. They’ve gone beyond the statements and the admission and the paying back of the money that they have started,” he explained.

“There are other things that ought to be established, but for now the concentration is on retrieving the money; that cannot be the end of the case, but investigations will determine at what point they believe that they gathered all the facts that will enable them make a convincing case before a judge or any judicial panel they may be made to face,” he said.

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Former Board Chairman of the National Communications Authority (NCA), Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, has reportedly started returning his share of the money he and his colleagues unlawfully pocketed in that state agency.

According to Mustapha Hamid, Information Minister, Mr Baffoe-Bonnie, former Board Chairman appointed under the Mahama-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government, had paid $40,000 out of his share of $200,000 from a total amount of $4 million meant for buying phone tapping gadgets.

After reportedly admitting that they took $4 million unlawfully from the state kitty, some former members of the board of the NCA said they were prepared to refund the cash when they appeared before the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI), which is probing the graft.

The $4 million was meant to pay an Israeli company which had a contract with the government.

The contract, worth $8 million, was meant to buy ‘spying and phone tapping’ equipment for the National Security Secretariat, but $4  million out of the total amount ended up in private accounts, with $1.5 million of the money going to the NCA board of directors.

According to the Information Minister, Mr John Mahama’s NDC government had contracted NSO Group Technology Limited of Israel to supply eavesdropping gadgets worth $6 million and the equipment were meant to help the government monitor the calls of suspected terrorists.

In the course of the transaction, Mustapha Hamid said a local agent – Infraloks Development Limited – headed by one George Oppong, charged $2 million as facilitation fee, bringing the total amount to $8 million.

He said investigations indicated that Alhaji Salifu Osman, a Deputy National Security Coordinator, who represented the NSS on the NCA board, was the main architect of the whole deal.

The chairman of the NCA Board, who is a younger brother of Seinti Baffoe-Bonnie – then senior staffer to former President John Mahama – allegedly took $1.5 million and shared it among members, pocketing $200,000 himself.

The NCA, with instruction from the National Security, made $4 million part-payment into the private account of the local agent of the Israeli company at Ecobank and subsequently transferred $1 million to the company in Israel.

The $3 million left in the account was then split into two, with less than half going into the pockets of board members and the chairman allegedly taking the lion’s share of $200,000.

Records are showing that apart from Mr. Baffoe-Bonnie, the NCA Director-General, William Mathew Tevie, allegedly pocketed $150,000; the local agent, George Oppong, reportedly had $100,000; Alhaji Salifu Osman, the Deputy National Security Coordinator was allegedly given $70,000 and Dr. Nana OwusuEnsaw, another board member, purportedly took home $500,000 to be shared with other unnamed persons.

The local representative of the Israeli company, a certain Penny, was also said to have been paid $100,000.

The information minister said that if political power did not shift, he was sure nobody would have known about what he described as a classic case of ‘create, loot and share.’

According to the minister, National Security, which did not have the funds for the equipment, allowed the NCA with supervisory mandate over such gadgets to fund the project.

While the Israeli suppliers were groaning for their money for the equipment supplied from the new NPP government, the former board members were gloating with free state cash.

According to Mustapha Hamid, demands by the Israeli firm to be paid the $5 million balance after the Mahama administration had lost power in the December 2016 elections prompted the Akufo-Addo government to probe the transaction, which unconfirmed reports say was not part of the handing over notes from the NDC government.

The equipment is reportedly languishing in someone’s garage.

He said apart from Alhaji Osman, the others have admitted to the crime and have been given bail after the BNI had interrogated them but said Alhaji Osman remains at large.

The minister said George Oppong had refunded $1 million while others had also promised to refund everything.

“BNI hasn’t even decided at this stage because they believe that the money must be returned. … If they succeed in retrieving the money then they will decide their next action,” Mr Hamid said.

According to him, the transaction was a clear case of top officials colluding to plunder the state coffers.

“The reason why this is a classic case of ‘create, loot and share’ is that…it was basically Alhaji Osman, acting as Deputy National Security Coordinator, who spearheaded this deal. …People cannot just go and open a state vault and take whatever that is in there,” the minister cautioned.

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West Ham United forward Andre Ayew says leading Ghana to win Africa’s first ever Under-20 World Cup crown remains the brightest spot of his career.

The 26-year-old captained the side as they beat Brazil in a nervy penalty shootout to clinch the ultimate diadem.

And the Black Stars vice-captain has shared fond memories of the historic feat.

“It was a great moment, captaining the team all the way, it was a big task for me especially stepping up to play the first penalty kick in the finals against Brazil,” he told FIFA TV

“To me, everyone was watching, my teammates were counting on me and I was very happy to set the pace by scoring.

“Winning that competition remains the most memorable moment in my football career and I don’t think I will ever forget.”

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THE ASSOCIATION of Small Scale Miners, across the country, has threatened to hit the streets in mammoth demonstration against unfair victimization meted to them by government, next week Tuesday.

Prior to that, they have given a three-day ultimatum to government to set the records straight, in respect of the caliber of people and groups that have been banned from mining for gold in the country.

According to them, government’s decision to ban illegal mining also known as ‘galamsey’, has been clearly misinterpreted as the public have wrongly included small scale miners as part of the banned group.

“We are therefore giving the government three days to come out and state clearly that the Small Scale Miners, who have genuine license to operate, have not been banned from mining for gold”.

Frank Osei, acting Chairman of the Ashanti regional branch of the Association of Small Scale Miners, said his group members have suffered a lot since the government announced ban on illegal mining.

Speaking at a mammoth press conference in Kumasi on Thursday, he said the ban was imposed on illegal miners, but because it was not explained clearly, small scale miners have also been wrongly targeted by the public.

As a result of this misinterpretation, he bemoaned that some small scale miners, who are duly registered, have been violently attacked at the mining sites by people “even though we have legitimate license to operate”.

According to him, virtually all the small scale miners in the country have stopped working for about three months now since government banned illegal mining, because of the fear of being attacked by the public.

“This is not fair, we are not illegal miners. We operate based on strict mining laws in the state. In fact, we are not part of the people that government banned from mining for gold”, Mr. Osei said, with a grim face.

He said members of his association are suffering in terms of finances because they have not worked for three months now, among other pressing challenges, warning that they would demonstrate on Tuesday to announce their fury.

According to him, they would only stop their planned demonstration if government, within the next three days, comes out to state clearly that small scale miners, who pay taxes to the state, are not banned from operating.

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An Accra High Court (Criminal Division) yesterday could not hear the bail application filed by lawyers for the five Chinese nationals, including Aisha Huang who has adopted the local name Yaa Asantewaa – the 31-year-old woman suspected to be one of Ghana’s most notorious illegal miners.

The galamsey queen’s hope of being granted bail was therefore dashed as she made her way to the Nsawam Prisons where she is cooling off.

The court, presided over by Charles Edward Ekow Baiden, held that the court had observed some inconsistencies in the affidavit in opposition filed by the Attorney General (AG).

Jerry Akeweteh, lawyer for the other suspects – Gao Jin Cheng, 45; Lu Qi Jun, 39; Haibin Gao, 26; Zhang and Zhang Pen, 23 – had dashed to the court five days before in a desperate attempt to secure bail for his clients.

He said the defence counsel had filed a motion on notice for bail pending the trial on May 15.

But Mercy Arthur, the chief state attorney, opposed the bail application and requested for more time to study the reasons for the bail application as well as a docket she received from the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

She stated that the prosecution received the docket yesterday from the GIS and were going to charge the suspects under the Mineral and Mining Act.

Ms Arthur was emphatic that the AG, upon calling the docket from the Immigration Service, realized that the activities of the suspects could have contravened other laws.

She stated that while the prosecution was putting their case together, they were served with the instant bail application.

Justice Baiden said he saw the AG’s affidavit in opposition to the bail application on Wednesday.

He wondered why the AG would oppose the bail, especially when the Chinese had not been officially charged under the Mineral and Mining Act for which reason they should be remanded.

The judge stated that the AG must go back and put their house in order because their opposition to the bail had no legs to stand on, adding that the AG could have amended the charge sheet.

Mr Akeweteh, for this reason, urged the court to grant the suspects bail while the AG put their case together, but the judge said the parties ought to contain each other until May 23 when the case is due for hearing.

The suspects worked as illegal miners at Bepotenten in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region.

At the time of their arrest, galamsey had been outlawed by the government, through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu.

 

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Gospel musician SP Kofi Sarpong and his management team on Wednesday paid a visit to former President Jerry Rawlings at his residence to officially invite him to his upcoming maiden gospel concert dubbed ‘SP Kofi Sarpong Live In Concert’ slated for Sunday, May 28 at the National Theatre in Accra.

During their interaction, ex-President Rawlings was formally invited to be part of the needy foundation set up to support the needy in the society.

The gospel musician presented the former president with complimentary tickets to his upcoming maiden concert which is being organised to raise funds to support the needy.

Ex-President Rawlings expressed his happiness to be part of the needy foundation.

“I will be there to support the worthy cause. It is good to raise funds for the less-privileged in society,” he told Kofi Sarpong and his team.

He also advised musicians to use their talents and music to change the cause of the society. He further revealed that he would want to use his experience to write music for the people of Ghana.

This comes few days after the head pastor of the International Godsway Church, Bishop Daniel Obinim, bought 300 tickets for the concert.

The ‘SP Kofi Sarpong Live In Concert’ is the maiden gospel concert of the artiste which features other gospel artistes such as Gifty Osei, Nacee, Abena Ruthy, Joyce Blessing, Ceccy Twum, Francis Amoo, Willie ‘n’ Mike, Koda, Ohemaa Mercy, Uncle Ato, Kingzkid, among others.

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Media Excel and the manager of SP Kofi Sarpong, Kwesi Ernest Ennin, the proceeds of the concert will be used to cater for the under-privileged in the society.

“We’ll be doing free National Health Insurance registration for 5,000 children in James Town, Korle-Bu, Brekum, the Ga Mashie fishing communities and Volta Region,” he told Citi Showbiz.

Tickets to the concert are selling at Adom FM, Peace FM and the Media Excel office.

 

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Students of the Ghana School of Law Thursday morning boycotted a paper they were supposed to write in protest against a mix-up in the questions.
The students were supposed to write their second paper for the first semester Thursday morning but, led by their Students’ Representative Council (SRC), they boycotted the paper.
According to the students, even though they were writing a Criminal Procedure paper, two of the questions had absolutely nothing to do with the Subject – they were Law of Evidence questions.
The situation was compounded by the fact that one question had been cancelled, reducing the number of options available to them.
By the structure of the exam, students were supposed to choose four questions out of six. But with one question cancelled, they now had five questions from which to choose four.
Students of the Makola and GIMPA campuses of the School said they felt imperilled by the fact even the five questions left, two of them were Law of Evidence and not Criminal Procedure questions.
There have been simmering tensions over the conduct of examinations at the Ghana School of Law for some time now.
Previously, the School examined students internally; lecturers taught and set exams.
About three years ago, however, the General Legal Council, which has supervisory jurisdiction over the legal education in Ghana, led by Chief Justice Georgina Wood, decided to take the conduct of examinations away from the School.
The Council set up a body called the Independent Examinations Board (IEB) charged with the responsibility of conducting examinations.
Since then, there have muted anger by both students and lecturers who contend that this body is an anonymous body whose members are neither known nor are they governed by any statute.
Last year, more than a 100 students failed in at least one subject, a development the students say was tragic.
Before the advent of IEB, students were given eight questions from which to choose four.
But that has now reduced to six and even then, there are mix-ups as questions from different subjects are mixed and presented to students.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, some of the students said they are very frustrated by the repeated tardy nature of the examinations.

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Freddie Blay, former deputy Speaker of Parliament, has been sworn in as chairman of the board of the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC) together with six other members.

Energy Minister Boakye Agyarko, who inaugurated the board yesterday at a brief and solemn ceremony at the Ministry of Energy, tasked it to work hard to ensure the discovery of more oil in Ghana.

The newly-appointed members include GNPC’s current Managing Director Dr. K.K. Sarpong, Prof. J. S Nabilla, Ogyeahohoo Yaw Gyebi II, Kwabena Kwakye, Yaw Kyei and Nana Adjoa Hackman.

“You are about to carry on your shoulders a difficult task for this nation. Our current situation in the oil and gas industry in this country is that we have found oil but we cannot sit on our oars and wallow in the pleasures of what we have found…We must therefore adopt the posture of aggressive exploration to add to our oil reserves. We have Jubilee Fields, yes, but we also have the Central Basin, the Eastern Basin, and the Volta Basin which could all, if properly explored, add significantly to our national reserves,” Mr. Agyarko disclosed.

Mr Blay, who spoke on behalf of other members of the Board, thanked President Nana Akufo-Addo and the Minister for reposing confidence in them and gave assurance that the Board would work hard to achieve the aims and objectives of GNPC and the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government at large.

He said: “As members of the Board, we would definitely not reinvent the wheel but we would do our best, God-willing, and we would play our role and endeavor not to disappoint ourselves, disappoint your office, disappoint the President of the republic and disappoint the people of this country…We would work to ensure oil and gas definitely benefit the people of this country.”

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Huawei Technologies has launched the 2017 edition of its flagship Corporate Social Responsibility initiative, ‘Seeds for the Future’ in Ghana at a short ceremony...