All posts by Stephen Kwabena Effah

Ghana police service

Unprofessional conduct by Police won’t be condoned – Ambrose Dery warns

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PoliceMinister-designate for the Interior, Ambrose Dery has served notice he would not superintend over or condone unprofessional conduct and inhumane practices by personnel of the Ghana Police.

At his vetting by Parliament’s Appointment Committee Saturday, Mr Dery said the Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government would ensure that the country’s security agencies, particularly the Police operates within the law

“It has been stated clearly that security agencies under His Excellency the president will operate within the law, within the context of the human rights of the suspects.”

Responding to a question by the Committee on what he would do to prevent suspects being kept in custody beyond the constitutionally mandated 48 hours among other unprofessional practices, he said would expect the Police to do its work professionally.

Ghana’s Police have in recent times been criticised for some of their excesses, including disregard for human rights, in the discharge of their duties.

Some personnel have also been arrested and prosecuted for variuous unprofessional conducts, armed robbery, extortion among other criminal offences.

But Mr Dery has assured Ghanaians he has the full backing of the President to ensure professionalism among the personnel of the Police, vowing that if approved, his leadership would insist that the Police operate within the law.

“A suspect is a suspect until convicted and we expect the security services, the Police and all those concerned to professionally do their work.

“If there is the need to detain somebody beyond 48 hours, it can only be on the direction of a court. We will insist they respect the law, respect the rights of suspect until they are convicted,” he stated.

Mr Dery further said he would ensure that the Police officers who mount road checkpoints ostensibly to extort financial gains from drivers is reduced, saying he would try to reduce working towards eliminating the abuse of the system.

He said, as part of his drive to ensure professionalism, there will be further retraining of personnel “to enhance our police to act professionally

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

GITMO 2

Akufo-Addo’s government softens ‘hard stance’ on GITMO 2

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GITMO 2The Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government appears to have softened its ‘hard stance’ on Ghana’s hosting of two alleged terrorists who were held in Guantanamo Bay for 14 years.

The president and his New Patriotic Party early last year condemned and criticised the John Mahama-led government for agreeing to bring into the country the two ex-detainees.

They demanded that the then John Mahama-led government returns the two Yemenis, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al Dhuby, because their presence in Ghana exposed the country to external attacks.

But when he took his turn Friday night to be vetted as minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul suggested the Akufo-Addo government might have to relook at its position based on recent available intelligence on the two ex-detainees.

“But look, we’ve done one year now, intelligence will change, the situation will change. As we sit today, the government at that time analysed intelligence and took a decision. It is the same way this government is going to analyse all the intelligence related to this particular people and take a decision,” he argued.

This was after he was asked by the Appointments Committee of Parliament on whether he would advise President Akufo-Addo to return the two Yeminis as demanded prior to his election as the President of Ghana.Dominic NitiwulMr Nitiwul initially said he was “constraint to answer that question because the matter is in court” but said he would try to give what he termed as “a skeletal answer”.

He told the Committee that he was not privy to the latest intelligence for which reason he would not be in a position to offer advice to the president regarding the best decision for the government to take on the matter.

“As I sit now, I’m not ceased with that intelligence to be able to tell you which way I will advice the president or not advice the president but intelligent will lead us as to the best way the government to take a decision regarding this thing,” he stated.

Further, he said it would not be in the best interest of the country to discuss terrorism, vis-à-vis the two ex-detainees and the kind of advice he would give to the President in the full glare of the public.

According to him, President Akufo-Addo’s stance on the ex-detainees was based on the fact that Ghana is a peaceful country and brining the two alleged terrorists was going to put the country on the terrorism map.

“I think that at the time that Nana Akufo-Addo made that statement, he made it in the line that there was no need to invite trouble to us; to put our map on the terrorist map at that particular period when Ghana didn’t need to do that,” he claimed.

Background

The two ex-detainees were relocated to Ghana on January 6, 2016 after a deal between Ghana and the US governments.

Many Ghanaians including security experts questioned the government’s decision to host the ex-detainees who were held without charges and trial for 14 years.

But at a special media chat on in mid January 2016, President Mahama denied claims that the government took money from the US government to arrive at such a crucial decision.

“There’s no monetary consideration and the US itself would have disclosed if there were any monetary consideration,” Mr Mahama told journalists, adding “It was a direct request from the US to my government. We have been allies to the US for a year, it didn’t start today…” he said.

Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye later sued the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of the Interior, for illegally bringing in the two ex-detainees into the country without recourse to the laws of the land.

They are thus seeking a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana acted unconstitutionally by agreeing to the transfer of the two, the Daily Graphic reported.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

Gambians flee

Ghana readies to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia

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Gambians fleeGovernment has put in place the necessary measures to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia where a political crisis is imminent following Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to cede political power to the elected Adama Barrow.

The government has been criticised for not evacuating Ghanaians in The Gambia before committing over 200 troops to ECOWAS to help oust Jammeh who lost last December’s elections to Adama Barrow.

Jammeh missed a second deadline of 16:00GMT Friday to hand over power to Barrow who was sworn in Thursday from The Gambia’s embassy in Darkar, Senegal.

Thousands of Gambians have since the beginning of the simmering crisis fled the country to neighbouring Senegal.

Security analyst with the Kofi Anan Peacekeeping Training Institute, Dr Kwesi Aning has meanwhile expressed concerns over the government’s failure to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia in view of the fluid situation there.Dominic NitiwulHowever, minister-designate for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, told Parliament’s Appointments Committee during his vetting Friday night that preparations have been put in place to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia should it become necessary.

“I’m not … able to tell you publicly the steps that are being taken to evacuate our civilians but I can say for a fact that enough preparations have been made to ensure that in the event that we need to evacuate any Ghanaian, we will do that,” he assured Ghanaians.

This was after a member of the Committee, Alhassan Suhuyini had asked Mr Ntiwul as to whether he would advice the President to evacuate Ghanaians from The Gambia in view of the crisis brewing in the small West African nation.

Mr Nitiwul said there are currently about 50,000 Ghanaians in The Gambia, most of who are fisher folks, noting that if it becomes necessary to evacuate them, “That has been taken are of.

“Every available means that we will use, preparation that have been made have been made, I can assure you of that,” he said but declined to give further details due to the sensitive nature of the operation.

The minister-designate, who is also the Member of Parliament for Bimbila observed, “the situation in the Gambia is a bit serious,” but expressed optimism that by close of day Saturday it would have been resolved.

He said although the government has committed troops to Gambia to help ECOWAS resolve the crisis in that country, he is unable to say whether they are in The Gambia or Senegal.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

Ken Ofori-Atta

Finance minister-designate pays NPP’s GHC2million debt to Prudential Bank

By | Elections2016, Politics | No Comments

Ken Ofori-AttaMinister-designate for Finance, Kenneth Nana Yaw Ofori-Atta, says he has settled the controversial GHC2 million debt owed Prudential Bank Limited by the New Patriotic Party.

The bank in 2015 wrote to the NPP to demand repayment of the amount which the party secured as loan to prosecute its campaign but reportedly reneged on its repayment plan.

Following the leak of the bank’s letter, Mr Ofori-Atta who was the chairman of the 2012 campaign finance team issued a statement at the time to take responsibility, stating that the loan was purely a private transaction which NPP had no hand in contracting.

The GHC 2,290,631.36 million loan was obtained to support the operations of the party’s polling station agents during the 2012 general elections.

“I am personally liable for any obligation that arises from this transaction and not in any way the New Patriotic Party,” he said in the statement .

When asked during his vetting Friday as to whether he has paid the said amount, Mr Ofori-Atta said “I have put closure to the prudential debt so that is closed. I have a letter at home with regards to that”.

He told members of the Appointments Committee that the amount was paid in full in December but did not indicate which year. “It has been fully paid. It was in December,” he said.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

Ken Ofori Atta

Removing taxes won’t impact negatively on our finances – Ofori-Atta

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Ken Ofori AttaFinance minister-designate, Kenneth Nana Yaw Ofori Atta, says the government’s decision to scrap some taxes would not have negative effect on the country’s finances but bolster the growth of the economy.

At his vetting Friday, Mr Ofori-Atta said the move must not be seen as though Ghana would lose a lot of income, stating “I don’t look at it as how much we are going to lose because I really look at it as stimulus”.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in the run-up to the December 7, 2016 election promised to review a lot of taxes and scrap some of them which he described as “nuisance tax” with the view to cushioning businesses to create more employment.

Many analysts have criticized the move which they argued, have the potential to impact negatively on the finances of the country and ultimately affect developmental projects.

But Mr Ofori-Atta argued that ensuring that the economy grows from the current three per cent to about five per cent will generate about a billion dollar for the country.

Mr Ofori-Atta further observed there are a lot of leakages in the finances of the country, noting “those type of leakages could amount to one to five percent of the GDP. Five per cent of GDP let say, will be about 2 billion dollars  and that’s 8billion cedis”.

For him, stopping those leakages and with a five per cent of economic growth will bring a lot of resources to the public purse.

Making reference to an Auditor General’s report, he said the said report at some point did indicate a leakage of over six billion cedis, indicating that such amount is something that can be used properly if the economy is better managed.

“We are currently spending over 2 billion dollars in paying interest alone and at the same time increasing our primary balance which is negative,” he stated.

He added: “When you begin to relieve yourself of all these, that’s incredible amount of money we can save. So this is where the hope is for me…There is a lot of space to be able to do that”.

By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana

toothbrush

Danger! Your toothbrush contains millions of germs, including FAECES

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toothbrushBuy a new toothbrush. Right now. Your current one probably contains faeces, herpes or even the virus responsible for hepatitis.

Within just two days, toothbrushes can become heavily infected with disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungi.

And it doesn’t matter whether you keep it in your bathroom or under 24-hour surveillance – it’s contaminated, a leading expert has warned.

Dr Rhona Eskander, a dentist based in Kensington and Chelsea, says there are numerous dangers to your health by not keeping it clean.

And sharing brushes or letting them touch other ones is just as bad for you, according to London’s Young Dentist of the Year 2016.

She told MailOnline: ‘The mouth harbours literally hundreds of different types of microorganisms, some of which can be transferred to a toothbrush during use.

‘Microorganisms in the bathroom or household environment may also collect on a stored toothbrush – especially after the toilet has been flushed.’

‘When toothbrushes are stored in close together and touching in a tooth mug, the germs can pass from one to another, leading to the risk of cross contamination.

‘Rinsing a toothbrush under running water from the tap does not remove all these germs.

‘If you borrow a toothbrush which has been used by someone else the viruses which cause conditions such as herpes and hepatitis A, B and C can be transferred to you, as studies have shown that they can survive for months on a toothbrush.’

Toothbrushes are a known source of contamination.

Since the 1920s scientists suspected that the re-use of toothbrushes could be a possible source of infection in the oral cavity.

While nearly 40 years ago, a study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Dental Research discovered they also often contain Streptococcus mutans.

This bacteria is known to build-up in the mouth, being a leading cause of tooth decay and the breakdown of enamel – the thin protective covering.

The same scientists also argued that using the same toothbrush helped to kill off healthy germs found within the mouth.

Instead they can introduce more dangerous ones to the mouth, including enteric bacteria and pseudomonads.

These can lead to diarrhoea, skin rashes and ear infections, among other things, according to medical literature.

And in 2015, researchers from Quinnipiac University in Connecticut found that 60 per cent of toothbrushes are covered in faeces.

But they also discovered that there’s only a 20 per cent chance of it being your own – instead it’s more than likely to be your husband’s, wife’s, or whoever your share your house with.

Another study led by Professor Richard Glass in 1988 found that the Herpes virus can remain viable on a dried toothbrush for at least 48 hours.

While in a moist environment, such as that of a bathroom, it can survive for longer than a week, according to the University of Arizona scientist.

Source Mail Online

Trump sworn

President Trump pledges ‘only America first’ in fiery inaugural address

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Trump swornDonald Trump became the 45th President of the United States Friday, vowing to drain power from Washington elites and always put “America first” in its dealings with the world at a moment of transformative political change.

In a time honored ceremony on the flag-draped West Front of the Capitol, Trump placed his left hand on a family Bible and another that belonged to Abraham Lincoln and promised to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution.

As light rain began to fall on a crowd stretching toward the Washington Monument, Trump took the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts with the new first lady, Melania Trump, by his side.

Trump’s inaugural address centered on the themes that animated his stunning outsider campaign, which shattered political conventions and gave voice to heartland voters who felt badly let down by professional politicians.

Though he paid tribute to outgoing President Barack Obama, the new president sketched a vision of America that came across as a repudiation of the last administration. He vowed to restore the nation’s strength and purpose and to rebuild it from within, vowing to “bring back” American jobs, borders, wealth and and dreams.

“We assembled here today are issuing a new decree to be heard in every city, and in every foreign capital and in every hall of power,” Trump said. “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land, from this day forward, it’s going to be only ‘America first! America first!'”

Trump talked of a nation of mothers and children trapped in poverty in the inner cities and “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones” and warned crime and gangs had robbed the nation of much of its potential.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” Trump said with Obama looking on.

“A new national pride will stir out souls, lift our sights and heal our divisions,” Trump said, saying that whether people are black or white they still bleed the same red blood of patriots.

And he told Americans listening to the address: “You will never be ignored again.”

Former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton also attended the ceremony. Hillary Clinton, who Trump defeated in the November election, was also in the audience in a show of support for national unity and the peaceful transfer of presidential authority.

But contrary to some expectations, Trump made no gesture of reconciliation toward Clinton or her supporters following the deeply divisive campaign in which he won the Electoral College but lost the popular vote.

The swearing-in was one of many traditions that began unfolding early Friday morning. Trump and his family attended a private worship service at St. John’s Church, known as the church of presidents. The Obamas greeted Trump and the new first lady at the North Portico of the White House before hosting them for tea.

Earlier in the morning, Obama wrote a letter to Trump and left it on the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, as outgoing presidents typically do for their successors. As Obama left the Oval Office for the final time, he was asked if he had any words for the American people. “Thank you,” Obama said.

The customs and symbolism that are playing out — from Trump’s ride to the Capitol with Obama to the First Couple’s dance at an inaugural ball — are familiar. But the circumstances of this inauguration — the 58th in the nation’s history — could hardly be more unconventional.

Everything you need to know about Trump’s inauguration, weekend protests
When the presidential primary season began nearly a year ago, few thought Trump could survive the battle for the Republican nomination — much less beat Clinton to win the presidency. He will be the oldest president sworn in for a first term and the first president with no previous diplomatic, political or military executive experience.

In what is always a poignant moment, the former President Obama and his wife left Capitol Hill on a helicopter bound for Andrews Air Force base for a farewell ceremony before taking one last flight on the presidential jet. The Obamas are heading to Palm Springs, California, for a vacation.

Trump is attending a joint congressional inaugural luncheon in the Capitol before heading back to the White House for the inaugural parade.

In the evening, Trump and the new first lady will attend two inaugural balls, part of the stripped down inaugural festivities that aides say are meant to stress that the new president is eager to get to work.

Trump’s supporters, who sent him to Washington to rip up political norms and thwart the establishment, are thrilled as he assumes power. The crowds started streaming towards the National Mall as dawn broke, with many people wearing Trump’s distinctive red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps.

Trump’s supporters, who sent him to Washington to rip up political norms and thwart the establishment, are thrilled as he assumes power.

The crowds started streaming toward the National Mall as dawn broke, with many people wearing Trump’s distinctive red “Make America Great Again” baseball caps. But millions of Americans are also anxious, owing to the abrasive tone of Trump’s campaign and fears over the consequences of his strongman leadership style.

Trump has vowed to tear up US trade deals that he says disadvantage US workers, confront a rising China and improve estranged relations with Russia, despite allegations that Moscow interfered in the election. He has set high expectations for his presidency by promising to return jobs to US shores and reviving the manufacturing industry.

He has pledged to crush ISIS and introduce tough new vetting on immigrants from countries where there is terrorist activity, raising fears of discrimination against Muslims.

He is promising to build a wall on the southern border, to crack down on undocumented migrants and to gut the financial and environmental regulations that are at the center of the Obama administration’s legacy.

New presidents typically use the inaugural address — viewed by a huge crowd fanned out on the National Mall and millions of television viewers — to issue a call for national unity and ease the wounds of divisive elections.

They typically remind Americans of the values and the history that binds them and of the nation’s historic mission.
Trump, so far, has done little to reach out to his foes since November.

“He is still talking as if he is the insurgent candidate rather than the President-elect,” said Robert Rowland, an expert on presidential rhetoric at the University of Kansas.

“Historically, presidents who are effective use inaugural addresses to heal the wounds of the campaign, to talk about what it means to be an American, to discuss shared values and lay out their political principles to come across as a strong not vain leader.”

Source CNN

Yaw Osafo Marfo vetting-36

I wasn’t Interior Minister during the ‘cocaine ship’ saga – Kan-Dapaah

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Yaw Osafo Marfo vetting-36Minister-designate for National Security, Albert Kan-Dapaah, says he was not the Interior minister when a ship carrying cocaine docked in the country in 2006, hence could not have been dismissive of any information to that effect.

A member of the public had petitioned the Appointments Committee of Parliament that Mr Kan-Dapaah failed to act when information about the arrival of the MV Benjamin ship arrived in the country.

But during his vetting Friday, Mr Kan-Dapaah dismissed the claim saying “With regard to the cocaine that came into the country, in actual fact, I was not even the minister. I was appointed the Minister of the interior on 5th of May”.

The minister-designate noted the ship and the problems that came with it happened “on May 3 [2006] so when it happened I wasn’t the minister”

He explained to the Committee that as far as the operational matters of NACOB is concerned, the Minister of the Interior plays only administrative role, noting if he was even there at the time he would not have been informed of the incident.

In a Wikileaks cable, one John King claimed Mr Kan-Dapaah was “dismissive and irritated” when the issue was brought to his notice for discussion.

But at the vetting Friday, Mr Kan-Dapaah denied any such suggestion, though he admitted having a discussion on the matter with the said King.

“The agent was aware that my role as minister of the interior was such that I wouldn’t be involved in the operational  matters…and he made his point strongly. In an equal manner, I also made my point strongly. I said to  him that I did not share his view as far as it related to him.

“I really don’t understand how he thought I was irritated and dismissive. If making my views   known to him is what he calls dismissive then I disagree,” he explained

Mr Kan-Dapaah said he took time to take King through the various actions that the government had taken at the time to bring down the drug menace in the country.

Meanwhile, the Committee suspended the public vetting of Mr Kan-Dapaah to continue with an in-camera session due to the sensitive security nature of the portfolio he has been appointed to head.

 By Stephen Kwabena Effah|3news.com|Ghana