January 20, 2020
Home Articles posted by Eben Ahenkan

IMANI Africa states reasons why CSOs oppose the new biometric voter system

The EC wants to rip out a system worth $60 million, of which value at least $40 million has accumulated since just 2016, and spend $150 million (plus contingency) constructing a new one.

A careful analysis of best practice in procuring biometric technology for elections in Africa shows that the EC’s proposed spending plans are inflated by about 60%. In short, the EC’s proposed system is brutally expensive compared to other countries in Africa.

The EC’s claims about the existing system’s weaknesses are flawed and untrue because the biometric data can be salvaged and facial recognition technology already exist through visual inspection.

Source: imaniafrica.org

NPP opens nominations for presidential, parliamentary primaries today

The ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), will today open nominations for its upcoming presidential and parliamentary primaries slated for April 25, 2020.

Aspiring presidential candidates will be required to pay GH¢200,000 as filing fees, the party’s General Secretary John Boadu disclosed last week.

The flagbearer aspirants will pay a non-refundable application fee of GH¢20,000 for nomination forms.

The presidential nomination forms would be available at the office of the General Secretary.

Thereafter, “a Presidential Vetting Committee (PVC) shall be established to examine and vet the candidature of every aspirant for the presidential nomination of the party to ensure that such person qualifies to contest for the office of the President of the Republic,” a statement from the party said.

Aspiring Parliamentary candidates, on the other hand, will pay a non-refundable filing fee of GH¢20,000 and a GH¢2,000 application fee.

Mr Boadu indicated that “all Aspiring Parliamentary Candidates other than the sitting Members of Parliament shall pay a Party Development Fee of GH¢30,000.

“However, Women, Youth and Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) will enjoy a rebate of 50% on the filing fees and Development Levy. By this, they will be required to pay a non-refundable fee of GH¢27,000.”

Source: rainbowradioonline.com

‘Year of Return’: Lady narrates how she bought back her iPhone from Circle

Kaiser Coby is a YouTube beauty guru who was part of the ‘Returnees’ to Ghana when it marked 400-years after the first enslaved Africans arrived in Jamestown in Virginia during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade.

The Ghanaian born British visited Ghana with her twin sister Mariah Coby in December 2019 during the ‘Year of Return’ and lost her latest iPhone 11 Pro Max at Bloom Bar in Accra on December 22, 2019.

Narrating her ordeal on her YouTube Channel, Kaiser Coby stated that she visited Bloom Bar with her twin sister, cousins and friends to have fun. It was actually her third visit to the place so she was familiar with whatever goes in and around the place.

She said after struggling to enter the bar, she realised that her bag was open but luckily for her, her iPhone 11 Pro Max was in her pocket which was rather deeper than her bag so she felt safe at that moment. Therefore, she decided to have a very good time with her folks at the bar.

At 1.00am, they decided to leave Bloom Bar and go to the next joint which was Onyx Night Club to continue their fun. Whilst they were exiting Bloom Bar, a scuffle ensued right in the middle of the bar so she decided to find a safe place to stand in order not to get hurt. During that time, she felt her phone slide out of her pocket.

“I was like oh my [gosh], what is happening to me, am I being pickpocketed right now. I was like are you guys mad, just give me my phone right now, I’m gonna go mad…,” she said.

She added that her phone wasn’t insured, either, her contacts weren’t backed up because she has never lost her phone before therefore there was no need to either insure her phone or back up her contacts.

At that moment Kaiser said she used ‘Find my iPhone’ App on one of her friends’ phone to at least track her phone but it was to no avail because the phone was turned off.

She said she was screaming that she will be paying any amount just to get her phone back; that the person who had it shouldn’t leave the bar [Bloom Bar] with it.

“My sister, cousins and friends told me that the phone is gone and I’m not going to get it back so we should go to Onyx, drink the night away and forget about it until tomorrow.”

After 24-hours, Kaiser got a notification from ‘Find My iPhone’ indicating that the phone has been turned on and was a mile away.

According to Kaiser, she had earlier instructed her boyfriend to put up a post on her Social Media handle that her phone was missing.

The tweet read, “GUYS PLEASE! RETWEET!!!!! I JUST LOST MY PHONE IN GHANA AT BLOOM BAR! IF ANYONE HAS FOUND IT PLEASE CAN YOU DM ME! I’LL PAY ANY AMOUNT OF MONEY FOR IT! IT HAS A LOT OF MY CONTENT ON IT”.

She said her Ghanaian Twitter followers kept replying that she should go to a place known as ‘Circle’.

After locating where the phone was on her ‘Find My iPhone’ it directed her to Circle. So, she left her place of abode to Circle with a family friend.

This family friend knew someone at Circle who can be described as an “area guy” who knew people who could help her find her phone.

After narrating how her phone got missing to this “area guy” at Circle, the guy [area guy] also had to contact another “area guy” who knew the “ins and outs” of Circle to help her.

Kaiser said the guy assured her that he would help her find her phone but unless she compensated the “thief”. The compensation was to be in the form of buying back her phone from the thief which was also a sign of respect for his hustle.

‘Confused’, Kaiser, after trying to understand how the Circle system works decided to agree to buy her own phone back for GHC500.00 that is, £66.78 but on condition that she saw her phone.

After waiting for long hours, the “area guys” at circle returned without the phone but with some words of encouragement that she should go and come the next day by which time they would have found the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

An upset Kaiser later called her auntie for the latter to introduce them to another “area guy” who later arrived and after a long back and forth told the guys Kaiser had contacted earlier that they should work together.

The guys then told her that after finding the phone she must pay GHC3,000 (£400.61; $524.93).

Kaiser agreed to the terms and conditions of the guys and went straight to the bank to cash out the money for them but her bank ATM could only allow her to cash out GHC2,000.

At 8.30am the guys returned with her iPhone 11 Pro Max but everything was off her phone, that is, her contacts, as well as documents; everything was off her phone.

Kaiser said she paid that huge amount of money because she thought she would get her contacts and other documents when the phone was found.

“When I realised that all my contacts were gone, I was like wow! This was a good day but wasted,” she said.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

No bank wanted to acquire toxic UT Bank – BoG

The Governor of the Bank of Ghana Dr. Ernest Addison has stated that before the central bank revoked the license of UT Bank, it was unsuccessful in getting a local bank to take over the reins of the Price Amoabeng founded bank.

According to him, the books of the bank were so bad that even the banks that expressed interest in acquiring the bank wanted the central bank to provide the funds to carry out the acquisition as well as cater for the existing liabilities.

The Governor who was speaking at the Annual New Year School at the University of Ghana added that the central bank run out of options other than to revoke UT Bank’s license and grant permission for GCB Bank to take over their good assets.

“So bad was the financial condition of UT Bank that when BoG engaged with other banks to explore whether they would be willing to acquire the bank and rehabilitate it, they showed an unwillingness to do so after they had conducted their own independent due diligence on the bank.

In fact, one of such potential bank acquirers after their due diligence exercise noted: “The poor quality of loans assets, potential tax liabilities, existing litigations and demands by third party lenders for settlement of their accounts makes the acquisition of UT bank as a going concern, a highly unattractive and risky proposition”.

According to the governor, the conclusion was arrived at based on the following factors: UT bank had not filed corporate tax returns since 2015, Asset quality was extremely poor with NPLs of 44 percent, Loans that had been classified as performing had not been serviced for a year, indicating that the NPL ratio was underestimated, Collateral security for loans had not been perfected and in most of the cases, the security of loans had not been stamped or registered, The bank was in default of borrowing from several international lenders including the IFC, DEG, There was active litigation against the bank (valued at over GH¢170 million), and the bank had excessive risk concentration to a few major depositors.

The governor recounts that the potential acquirer’s overall assessment was that the net asset value of UT Bank was negative and the only way it could consider an acquisition of the bank would be on condition that the BoG would provide this acquiring institution with the capital to buy UT, as well as provide liquidity support, and provide it with the financial support to acquire the necessary software to run the bank.

“What is more, the potential acquirer insisted that it would retain only 70 employees of UT bank if it acquired the bank assuming it received the financial support from BoG to do so. Obviously, the Management of Bank of Ghana did not accept these proposals as to do this would have meant that the BoG would have been paying private investors to take over the bank,” Dr. Addison stated.

The governor’s remarks come after the commencement of the prosecution of the founder and Chief Executive Officer of UT Bank, Prince Kofi Amoabeng who has been charged with stealing and money laundering in respect of his role at the defunct bank prior to its demise.

He was granted bail by a Circuit Court in Accra on Tuesday.

Source: www.citibusinessnews.com

Ghana gets €250 million Euros to upgrade electricity transmission infrastructure

The German Government has given Ghana €250 million Euros to upgrade and expand the country’s electricity transmission infrastructure.

The arrangement evolves from Germany’s Compact with Africa programme, where the European nation has put in place a one billion Euro fund to boost the private sector in Compact countries, of which Ghana is one.

As a result, Siemens, a German power giant, and Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), signed an agreement at the Jubilee House, Accra in the presence of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and the Chief Executive Officer of Siemens AG, Mr. Joe Kaeser on Tuesday.

The Memorandum of Understanding was initialled by Mr. Jonathan Amoako-Baah, CEO of the Ghana Grid Company (GRIDCo), on behalf of the Government of Ghana, and by Sabine Dall’Omo, a representative of Siemens.

The MoU enjoins the two companies to collaborate to improve Ghana’s electricity grid capacity and stability and to ensure that the country expands her ability to export power to neighbouring countries in West Africa, such as Burkina Faso, Togo and Benin.

President Akufo-Addo who was happy about the deal, said it was an important development in Ghana’s energy sector, adding that Ghana benefiting from the ‘Compact with Africa’ programme, was a big vote of confidence in the country.

He said the project would inure immensely to Ghana’s industrialization drive that would be hinged heavily on reliable accessibility to power, pledging that Ghana would make sure that the project comes to proper conclusion.

Mr. Joe Kaeser was confident that the agreement would enable Ghana to modernize its grid infrastructure to bring power to the people in a more efficient way, and thus help Ghana build the country for the future

Source: ghananewsagency.org

Siemens, GRIDCO sign $250m Energy Infrastructure Deal

Siemens, a German global powerhouse focusing on the areas of electrification, automation and digitalization, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Ghana through the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRIDCo) under the G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) initiative.

The agreement will see Siemens working collaboratively with GRIDCo to upgrade and extend Ghana’s power transmission infrastructure, improve the country’s grid capacity and stability, as well as enable and expand a stable power export to neighbouring countries in the West African Power Pool.

Addressing the President during a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House to seal the deal, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, said he was pretty much excited that the deal has finally been completed.

“The MOU we have signed together with our partners, GRIDCO, is aimed at modernizing the whole grid of Ghana to bring power to the people in a more efficient way,” Mr Kaeser said.

President Akufo-Addo in response to the submissions of the Siemens CEO noted that the signing of the MOU is a very important development in the history of the country.

“This is a very welcomed development for us and the idea that Ghana is the first country on the continent to be getting a very significant transaction out the Compact (G20 Compact with Africa, CwA) is in itself a big vote of confidence by the German Leadership”. “We welcome that expression of confidence and we want to assure you that the monies will be put to good use”

Siemens is one of the world’s largest producers of energy-efficient, resource-saving technologies. Siemens is a leading supplier of systems for power generation and transmission as well as medical diagnosis. In infrastructure and industry solutions, the company plays a pioneering role.

The G20 Compact with Africa (CwA) was initiated under the German G20 Presidency to promote private investment in Africa, including in infrastructure.

The CwA’s primary objective is to increase the attractiveness of private investment through substantial improvements of the macro, business and financing frameworks.

Source: starrfm.com.gh

Amin Lamptey questions CK Akonnor’s Black Stars appointment

Ace sports journalist Mohammed Amin Lamptey has questioned the criteria used in appointing Charles Akonnor as head coach of the Black Stars.

On Tuesday, the Ghana Football Association (GFA) appointed Charles Akonnor as its new national team coach to replace Kwesi Appiah.

The 45-year-old has stepped up from his role as an assistant coach of the team following the departure of Kwesi Appiah early this month. Appiah’s contract was not renewed after two and a half years of being in charge.

According to media reports, the government insisted on having a local coach in charge of the team and Akonnor emerged as the best option.

However, Amin Lamptey believes there are many local coaches with rich resumé than the former VfL Wolfsburg captain.

“We should know the criteria and conditions under which CK was appointed because we have equally good coaches who are better than him to do the job,” Lamptey quizzed on Happy FM.

“We can’t compare him to Maxwell Konadu, Sellas Tetteh or Ibrahim Tanko.”

Akonnor made 41 appearances for Ghana and scored 12 goals.

He captained the Black Stars after the retirement of Abedi Pele. He participated in four Africa Cup of Nations; 1994, 1996, 1998 and 2000.

Akonnor made his name in Germany where he starred for Fortuna Koln, Wolfsburg and SpVgg Unterhaching. He also had spells with Danish side before calling time on his career in Cyprus with Alki Larnaca.

His coaching started at Sekondi XI Wise in 2009. His big move came almost immediately as he was signed on as the head coach of Accra Hearts of Oak in 2012.

He then went on to join Dreams FC before Ashantigold and Asante Kotoko.

Source: GHANAsoccernet.com

‘I’ve achieved a lot in 3 years; give me 4 more years’ – Akufo-Addo

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has expressed hope that Ghanaians will reward his governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) with another resounding victory in the December 2020 polls.

“Having achieved all these significant milestones, even in the midst of the difficulties we met, I am hopeful that the Ghanaian people would reward my party with another resounding victory in 2020. We will not be complacent, and we will work hard for victory, regardless of the fact that ‘One Good Term Deserves Another’. We need four more years to do more!”

These were the words of the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the maiden edition of the Results Fair, held at the Accra International Conference Centre, on Tuesday, 14th January, 2020.

According to President Akufo-Addo, the macroeconomic situation he inherited, at the beginning of 2017, was a dire one, evidenced by a GDP growth of 3.6%, fiscal deficit of 9.3%, inflation at 15.4%, and a weak external reserves position.

“The banking sector was weighed down by a plethora of poorly capitalised, and weak and insolvent institutions, with potentially grave consequences for the entire financial system. Agricultural and industrial activities were down. Unemployment, especially of the youth, was widespread, against a background of low incomes and high prices,” he said.

This, amongst several others, he said, was the distressing state of the economy that awaited his government in January 2017, “enough to undermine the pledges we made in the 2016 Manifesto, the platform on which we won the election of 2016.”

Nonetheless, the President told the gathering that he was convinced the programmes and policies his Government wanted to undertake would revive the Ghanaian economy, improve the health and social wellbeing of citizens, create a society of opportunities for all, and help put Ghana onto the path of progress and prosperity.

“Indeed, many were those who made disparaging remarks about our policies, and went as far as describing them as election gimmicks. However, by dint of hard work, we have implemented these flagship programmes, and we have begun to see their impacts throughout the country, with the overarching vision being to realise our vision of moving Ghana to a situation beyond aid,” he said.

“We are determined to use our resources to build a robust economy that would propel us into the ranks of the developed nations of the world, take our fate in our own hands, and work to bring us to where we do not look for or expect charity,” the President added.

Touching on the National Identification registration, he stated that “as at Wednesday, 8th January 2020, some 3.6 million Ghanaians had been registered since the mass registration exercise commenced on 29th April 2019, with 3.7 million cards issued. I have the assurances from the Executive Secretary of the NIA that the remaining cards will be issued soon”.

On solving the country’s perennial dependence on imported rice, he noted that thanks to the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) programme, Ghana is in the process of reducing the importation of rice, with some 785,000 tons of rice milled in Ghana in 2019.

“By 2022 our country would be self-sufficient in the production of rice. We have also had two bumper years of produce, and, last year, we did not import, unlike in previous years, a single grain of maize. On the contrary, we are now a net exporter of foodstuffs,” he added.

The “One-District-One-Factory” policy, he told the gathering, has taken off, and there are 181 factories being constructed, and are at different stages of completion across the country.

“Currently fifty-eight (58) factories, under the scheme, are functioning. Another twenty-six (26) are under construction, with another twenty-six (26) pipeline projects set to commence implementation by the first quarter of 2020. In addition to the implementation of the automotive policy, with the setting up of the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Development Corporation (GIADEC) and the Ghana Iron and Steel Development Corporation (GISDEC), our Industrialisation Agenda will soon be realised,” he added.

On education, he stated that Free SHS, which was described as an impossibility and a misplaced priority by his political opponents, has been successfully implemented. 1.2 million children, the highest enrolment of pupils in Senior High School in Ghana’s history, are benefitting from the policy.

“The allowances of nursing and teacher trainees, that were scrapped by the Mahama government, have been restored, and the three hundred and seven (307) ambulances, i.e. 1-Ambulance-1-Constituency, will be commissioned by me on 28th January, 2020, for nationwide distribution,” he added.

On the unemployment situation, he noted that 100,000 graduates have been employed through the Nation Builders’ Corps; 54,892 healthcare workers have been employed; and 66,357 teachers have gotten jobs since he came into office in 2017.

He added that the “One-Village-One-Dam” programme, and the Zongo Development Fund and the Infrastructure for Poverty Eradication Programme (IPEP), are being pursued to stimulate job creation opportunities across the country.

“We have embraced the application of digital technology in the delivery of public services, like the paperless system at the ports, the mobile interoperability system, and the national digital addressing property system,” he added.

The holding of the Results Fair, the President stressed “demonstrates our appreciation of the fact that a lot more needs to be done to achieve the Ghana that we want. It is also an indication of our resolve to secure a better future for all Ghanaians. Although a lot has been achieved over the past three years, there is still more work to be done to transform our country.”

Source: classfmonline.com

Defunct UT Bank’s Kofi Amoabeng charged with stealing, money laundering

The founder of UT Group, Prince Kofi Amoabeng has been put before an Accra circuit court for his role in the collapse of his bank in 2017.

Mr. Amoabeng is facing charges of stealing and money laundering.

Citi News‘ court correspondent, Fred Tettey Djabanor said Kofi Amoabeng was put before court together with the CEO of defunct Beige Bank, Mike Nyinaku.

According to the prosecution, the two men who run different organizations allegedly misappropriated funds in excess of GH¢200 million belonging to their customers.

The prosecution said investigations were still ongoing into their separate cases to ascertain the full extent of their offences.

The Court, presided over by Justice Essandor, subsequently granted Mr. Amoabeng bail to the tune of GHS110 million cedis with two sureties who earn not less than GHS 2,000.

The Bank of Ghana on August 14, 2017, announced that it had revoked the license of UT Bank and ordered GCB Bank to take over its operation because it had severe capital impairment.

Provisional figures released by the central bank showed the total liability of UT Bank stood at GH¢850 million while its total asset was pegged at GH¢112 million.

Speaking on the matter after nearly two years after the BoG’s action, Kofi Amoabeng in a TV interview said the fortunes of the bank could’ve been turned around if the Bank of Ghana had given him more time.

The government found us in that situation, [but] was this the best route to take? because we had investors who were ready with some proposals. They [government] decided that the best thing is to close down UT Bank which I find really difficult to take but from where they are sitting, they decide that was the best thing for the country. I don’t bear grudges but the point is, if as UT Bank we owed GH¢800 million and an investor comes and he says I’m ready to pay GH¢400 million [so] Bank of Ghana write off the [other] GH¢400 million, but BoG takes a decision to close down the bank which will cost the nation at least GH¢ 2.2 billion, it doesn’t make sense to me,” he said.

Source: citinewsroom.com

Dozens killed by heavy rain in Angola

Torrential rain in Angola has killed 41 people and caused widespread destruction, the government has confirmed.

Twelve out of 18 provinces were hit by a violent downpour which began in the early hours of Monday and lasted late into the afternoon, Interior Minister Eugenio Laborinho said in a statement.

Forty-one people died and more than 300 homes were destroyed by flooding, he said.

“In recent days we have been witnessing heavy rainfall, causing flooding, destruction of infrastructure and plantations,” he said.

More than 2,000 families had been affected, said Laborinho, warning that drinking water and electricity supplies had been cut off in some areas.

The rain comes on the heels of a severe regional drought caused by years of erratic rainfall and record-high temperatures.

Source: nation.co.ke