Parliamentarians appear to be straining throughout the world to fulfill citizens’ ever-increasing expectations. According to data, voters hold MPs accountable mostly for the services they are able to provide outside of parliament, rather than for their legislative duty or capacity to control the Executive.
The governing New Patriotic Party would soon be entering the transportation business as an avenue to generate income to run the party at the grassroots.
The acting NPP National Chairman, Freddie Blay, who is seeking election as National Chairman said, he is leading talks with a financial institution to procure 275 buses for nationwide distribution.
Each constituency is to get one bus, he said on Joy FM Super Morning Show Friday and explained, each constituency will hire out the buses to generate income needed for the constituency.
Financing a party is any leader’s biggest headache he said, and pointed out that other parties are collapsing because of a lack of resourcefulness.
The NPP which has won three president elections since Ghana returned to democratic rule in 1992, is not immune to the challenges of other struggling parties.
The NPP, he said, raises money through dues and other fundraising activities. It also depends on donations from individuals and interest groups.
But he said the party must find innovative ways to raise money because “the party is not a church” to depend on charitable spirit of its members and sympathisers.
The procurement of Toyota Hiace buses is one of such innovations he wants to introduce in the party.The cost of a Toyota Hiace bus hovers around $46,000.
The 76-year old politician would not give details but hyped the idea as something even its rival the NDC may like to adopt.
Freddie Blay said the presidency is put under pressure to give appointments or contracts to big-financiers. This, he said, affects the president’s ability to make merit-based appointments.
“We must give space to the presidency” he said, and explained it is the duty of the party to “stop that pressure” on the president to reward campaign financiers.
Freddie Blay has been acting as National Chairman since November 2015 after the elected leader, Paul Afoko, was suspended over what some say are his questionable loyalties to the party.
Freddie Blay entered parliament in 1997 on the seat of the Convention Peoples’ Party (CPP) as MP for Ellembele constituency and was elected Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament from 1997 to 2001.
After 11 years in Parliament, he crossed carpet to the NPP in 2008 and has since enjoyed an unlikely rise in the party.
He was elected First Deputy Speaker of Parliament in 2005 under the NPP government of President John Agyekum Kuffuor but lost his seat in 2008 to the NDC.
The seasoned politician wants to crown his sterling political career by leading the NPP into the 2020 elections.
A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Dr Hassan Wahab, has called for strict enforcement of the Political Parties Act that provides guidance on who may provide financial support for political parties in the country.
He said due to the laxity in the implementation of sections 22 and 25 of the Political Parties Act (Act 574), some parties were being funded by non-Ghanaians and businesses all in a bid to gain access to government officials and the country’s natural resources.
As a result, he said such funding could compromise the ability of the government and its officials to say no to business requests that were not in the interest of the country.
“So if we want to fight corruption, we need to pay attention to the people who fund political parties since they do not give money to parties because they love and share their ideology but to gain access,” he said.
At a corruption dialogue in Accra last Wednesday, Dr Wahab said: “We have a law in the country which stipulates that if one is not a citizen, they cannot contribute to political party and if it is a business and it is not 75 per cent owned by Ghanaians it cannot contribute.”
The event was jointly organised by the Political Science Department and the Gender Centre for Empowering Development (GenCED), a non-profit organisation.
It was held on the theme: “Corruption and governance: Impact and way out for women, youth and children.”
Corruption still prevalent
Dr Wahab stated that Ghana had all kinds of legal instruments, locally and internationally, to combat corruption.
For instance, he mentioned Article 286 of the Constitution that required declaration of assets and liabilities by public officials, as well as anti-corruption bodies such as the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice, among others.
Besides, he said Ghana, which had signed the UN conventions against fighting corruption, was a member of the African Union convention on preventing and combating corruption.
“These are all instruments that are supposed to help us fight corruption yet we still have corruption,” he said.
To strengthen the fight against corruption, he said there was need to increase civic education to educate Ghanaians that “conflict of interest was an issue of corruption”.
Referring to the alleged claims that politicians received double salaries as ministers and parliamentarians, Dr Wahab said: “It is time Ghanaians learnt of their right to hold their political leaders accountable regardless of the party they belong to.”
He pointed out that though the Special Prosecutor was unquestionably ready to perform his job, the fight against corruption should not be limited to politicians and top public servants since corruption was pervasive.
“If we want to eliminate corruption, we must make everybody who is in a position to abuse his or her office also subject to some types of checks of what they do,” he emphasised.
Corrupt multinational firms
Touching on corrupt multinational companies in Ghana, Dr Wahab said most international firms, with net worth more than that of the nation, engaged in paying bribes in spite of the fact that there were instruments to curtail such practices.
He, therefore, stressed the need to ensure that measures were implemented to create a transparent and an open government that would let Ghanaians “know what goes on in various ministries to curb corruption”.
“If a system is transparent and we know what is going on in any ministry and agency, we should not wait till a government leaves power to see corrupt issues emerging since all these have an impact on our women and the youth,” he added.
Create enabling environment
A Senior Lecturer at the Political Science Department, UG, Dr Maame Adwoa A. Gyekye-Jandoh, stated that to battle corruption to empower women and increase their participation in politics and governance, national and local governments should create an enabling environment for women to report corruption without fear of unpleasant repercussions to themselves and their families.
“Gender-sensitive anti-corruption legislation and policies must be put in place to acknowledge physical abuse, sexual extortion or exploitation, and other forms of bribery experienced by women,” she stated.
The Police in Sefwi-Wiawso in the Western Region are investing two (2) members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for allegedly insulting President Nana Akufo-Addo.
The two are alleged to have rained insults on the President during a radio discussion.
One of the accusers Thomas Mintah said, “I went to the police and they’ve taken my statement. In the statement I said that there was nothing of that sort, there’s no way I can insult the President. What I said at the programme was that the President is practicing nepotism and exactly what I said is that he’s given appointments to family members so he’s practicing family and friends administration.”
Mintah who is also the Deputy NDC Organizer in the Western Region added that, “That was exactly what I said, so I asked them to go for the tape and come and play it for the whole public to hear if indeed what I said was an insult to the President”.
Mintah also alleged that the Western Regional Minister, Dr. Kweku Afriyie is behind all these allegations and intimidation because he is corrupt.
“The one who is behind all of this is the MP for this area, Hon. Dr Kweku Afriyie who’s also the Western Regional Minister, we’re really exposing the rot he’s undertaking in our constituency. There’s nothing going on, so as he feels the pressure from the NDC, he’s trying to intimidate us”, he said.
But the Police Commander for Sefwi, DSP Simon Peter said the two NDC supporters are being investigated for offensive conduct of making unsubstantiated allegation against the Western Regional Minister.
source: pulse ghana
Controller and Accountant-General’s Department says it cannot be blamed for the payment of double salaries for some ministers under the Mahama led government.
Head of Payroll Elizabeth Osei told Joy News Thursday, her outfit acted on instructions from the Finance minister to pay ministers their agreed pay.
” Once you are a minister, we pay you…we did just that,” she said.
A minister is paid ¢15,739 but a minister who is also an MP takes ¢16,423.
Some MPs serving as ministers took salaries for both positions and as a result, bagged ¢32,162 a month making them the highest paid political office holders in Ghana.
At least nine Minority MPs are expected to visit the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) which is investigating the matter. They include Minority Leader Haruna Iddrisu who was Labour and Employment minister, Tamale Central MP, Inusah Fuseini who was Lands and Natural Resources minister.
NDC MP for Ada East Comfort Doyoe Cudjoe Ghansah who was Minister of State in-Charge of Social and Allied Institutions and NDC MP for Asunafo South Eric Opoku who was Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister.
Among the nine suspects, some have explained they did not take double salaries but double payments.
They have explained that they followed the rules which require a minister who is an MP to choose one of the two pay packages.
They opted to take a minister’s salary which is 16,423 in December 2016, higher than an MP who was entitled to 13,686. Such persons therefore received a top up ¢2,737 per month to finish off on a minister’s salary.
Joy News has learnt this type is not considered double salary. The CID is focusing on suspects who took full salaries as MP and another as minister.
Joy News has also learnt some of these politicians who face the charge of stealing public funds provided different account numbers to the two paying authorities – the Finance Directorate of Parliament and the Controller’s office.
This made it more difficult to detect the criminality. The suspected criminals who are serving in parliament could face prosecution if the allegations are found to be true.
Elizabeth Osei told Joy News’ Joseph Opoku Gapko, the double salaries became possible because the Pay departments of both Parliament and Controller and Accountant-General’s Department do not communicate.
Parliament is a subvented institution, which allows it to pay its officers directly. ‘Controller does not go to check who is paid in parliament’, she said.
While Controller paid the ministers, Parliament also the MPs.
Suggesting that the MPs were trusted to do the right thing by flagging the anomaly, Elizabeth Osei said “. I don’t see the risk here looking at the calibre of people we have here”.
Following the scandal, the Controller has taken steps to ensure it does not happen again. It pays only ministers who are not MPs and leaves Parliament to pay MPs who are ministers.
An MP who is a minister would choose which salary to take. The difference is ¢684.
Elder of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and a Presidential advisor, Dr. Amoaku Tuffuor has dared the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu to investigate him in the Metro Mass Transit (MMT) bribery saga.
Amoako Tuffour is alleged to have offered a GHC 40,000 bribe to one of the workers to conceal some information he has about the Managing Director of the company, Mr. Bernett Aboagye.
“He cannot invite me at all in the first place for any investigation because I don’t work at Metro Mass Transit”, he boasted.
Dr. Amoako Tuffuor contends that he has no questions to answer since he isn’t an employee of MMT and he only offered the money to the worker in order to get more information about the allegations against the MD.
“Investigating me will mean Martin Amidu is not doing his work well because I don’t work at Metro Mass, secondly, I don’t have any business with Metro Mass, third, I have not sought to work there and lastly I didn’t know what is going there in terms of business”, he told Nhyira FM in Kumasi.
“If Martin Amidu dares to investigate me, it will simply mean he is showing disrespect to superior authority”, the senior member of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP)”, he added.
Mr. Aboagye has also been accused of breaching several procurement laws in the acquisition of some 300 buses since taking over the company over a year ago and has since been directed to go step aside by the board of MMT.
A petition presented to the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu, against Mr. Aboagye and the Board Chairman Ahmed Arthur stated that the MD and the board chairman had engaged in several financial malpractices and breached several procurement laws.
source: pulse ghana
Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper says allegations of double salary payments to some former government appointees, could cost them their political careers if found to be true.
Kweku Baako said the allegations are worrying and insisted the persons involved will suffer huge integrity deficit if investigations establish that they knowingly received double payments.
Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show, ‘Kokrokoo’, Wednesday, the veteran journalist hoped the allegations are false because “if it turns out that this is true, that they knowingly received double salaries, it is so damaging and it can cut short some very good political careers.
“Even if there is a suspension of criminal investigation and prosecution, your political career is gone,” the worried Baako added.
Suspended Second Vice Chairman of the New Patriotic Party, Sammy Crabbe has warned of the dangers of government’s tolerance of vigilante group Invincible Forces.
He said this is likely to lead to our own version of Nigeria’s terrorist group, Boko Haram.
“Boko Haram did not just fall from the sky. They were political operatives in Nigeria just like invincible forces and they fell out with the establishment. Somebody gave them religion and put some money in them and this is what we have”, he explained.
“What we are forgetting is that these things can grow and when they grow they get out of hand, when they get out of hand it will affect each and every one of us,” he explained.
Invincible Forces is a security group with various branches across the country instituted by the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
Crabbe called on President Akufo-Addo to disband this group before it becomes a menace we can’t contain as a country.
“Your responsibility in the new patriotic party is a responsibility towards Ghana so you can’t just be making decisions and doing things within and think that those things will not overflow to Ghana, it will play out,” he said.
The Invisible Forces, have in recent time been involved in several acts of violence across the country including chasing out a judge from a court room and breaking free some of their members who were arrested for other acts of violence.
Source: pulse ghana
Mr Stephen Ashitey Adjei, an Executive member of the Tema East Branch of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) has called on former President Mahama to officially apologise to members of the NDC and former President Rawlings.
“President Mahama suffered the heaviest loss as a sitting President in the fourth Republic of Ghana and instead of officially apologising to NDC members for that embarrassment and reconciling with party elders, he is rather putting up divisive measures through the Regional Unity walks, which is not helping the party.”
Mr Ashitey who was speaking in a news conference on a range of internal issues said for the former President Mahama to enjoy the forthcoming political campaigns, there was the need for him to first apologise for his abysmal performance in the 2016 and reconcile with all the leaders especially former President Rawlings.
The NDC executive member who is popularly known as Moshake accused former President Mahama of using his unity walks to vilify his internal opponents in order to gain an upper-hand in the Presidential primaries.
“Look, we know that the recent invitation of Hon. Alban Bagbin along with others by the CID (Police) over the so called double salary was a set up by some people in his camp. They intentionally leaked the name of Hon Bagbin, who was really the target, to the CID and then added a few other names to give it legitimacy.”
He said the call of former President Mahama in Wa for supporters to respect the Founder of the Party was cosmetic as his unity walks were rather skewed for him and his faithful to find their way back to power.
“Obviously that admonishment is not enough. Rawlings is hurt and deserves unqualified apology from former President Mahama and it is only such apologies that can unite the NDC for 2020.”
The NDC has begun executive elections to set in place structures for campaigns towards the reclamation of power from the ruling NPP as branch elections kicked off on Saturday.
With the flagbearership election expected much later in the year, the party’s elders have instructed that hurt feelings over unprecedented defeat that NDC suffered in 2016, be slowly healed through reconciliation.
Former President Mahama’s camp has taken it upon itself to organise unity walks across the country to re-unite the members, which Moshake claimed that had not been sanctioned by the party.
Mr Ashitey said so far the Unity Walks had only disunited the party the more because it had become clear that they revolved around former President Mahama alone leaving other aspirants like; Mr Sylvester Mensah, Prof. Joshua Alabi, and Dr. Ekwow Spio Gabrah.
Moshake who last week called on the hierarchy of the NDC to ban the Mahama Unity Walks said it was only an apology for many things that he had done against his peers that would invigorate their resolve to fight tooth and nail for the success of NDC in 2020.
The firebrand NDC man lists said the leakage of Mr Alban Bagbin’s name to the CID for allegedly taking double salaries and the arrest of Mr Sylvester Mensah some time ago were things that could breed discontent among the aspirants and called on the party leadership to move swiftly to patch them up before it deteriorated.
Mr Dennis Amfo Sefah, the Constituency Chairman of the Tema West New Patriotic Party (NPP) has described President Akufo-Addo’s broadcast statement as ‘an eloquent statement on the Cooperation and Agreement with the United States of America.’
“That eloquent statement has utterly shamed the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) who have for several weeks denigrated the government with unsubstantiated allegations.”
Speaking on his birthday party that was organised by members of Elephant Ladies, a female group within Tema West NPP to honour him, Mr. Amfo Sefah, who is popularly known as Nana Boakye, said the President had disarmed his critics.
“Thanks to that simple but eloquent address, the ordinary Ghanaian now knows that the agreement had actually been originally started by the National Democratic Congress in the past.
“We also know now that President Akufo-Addo’s posture on the agreement has rather been democratic because unlike former President Mahama who had secretly signed the agreement, President Akufo-Addo rather chose to seek Parliamentary ratification before signing it.”
He said the revelations had underscored that the NDC which had led opposition to the agreement with the United States of America was rather misleading Ghanaians with propaganda for cheap political points.
In a televised address on Thursday, President Nana Akufo-Addo had put to rest misguided claims within the public domain that he had entered into an agreement that would sell-out Ghana’s sovereignty to the United States of America.
This, they claimed the Akufo-Addo led administration had allowed the government of the United States of America to establish a Military base in Ghana.
“Contrary to popular claims by the NDC that the President had accepted for the United States of America to set up a military base in Ghana, President Akufo-Addo clarified that no such thing had been requested by the Americans or given out by Ghana.
“The NDC has been totally ashamed. As His Excellency pointed out, the Americans have not asked anywhere to put up a military base, but a facility which is actually in furtherance of agreements that NDC governments had signed in 1998, 2000 and 2015.
“Now the question that Ghanaians must ask the NDC is why it is opposing this agreement even though it had signed three agreements of similar nature in the past?” Nana Boakye asked.