Friday, November 1, 2013

German on trial for alleged laundering of $650,000

November 1, 2013 (Lead Story)

Piera Cascante Victor Hugo Piera Cascante Victor Hugo

A 42-year-old German was yesterday arraigned before the Financial Division of the Fast Track High Court for attempting to smuggle $650,000 out of the country.

Piera Cascante Victor Hugo, the accused, was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport by officials of the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) on April 29, 2013 while undergoing departure formalities en route to Bolivia.

He allegedly concealed the money, together with other currencies, in wallets, pockets of items of clothing and secret compartments in five travelling bags.

Hugo pleaded not guilty to four counts of attempted exportation of currency without licence issued by the Bank of Ghana, concealment of currency, contrary to Section 269 of the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (Management) Act, PNDCL 330, smuggling of currency and money laundering.

Twist in events

There was an interesting twist to events at the court’s sitting when Hugo’s lawyers informed the court that the accused person could not fully comprehend the evidence being led by an officer of NACOB and for that reason he needed the services of a Spanish interpreter.

One of the lawyers, Dr Kwaku Nsiah, disclosed the accused person’s request after an official of NACOB had led evidence in English for almost an hour.

Although the presiding judge, Mrs Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, had said the witness had told the court earlier that he comprehended German, Italian, Spanish and English, the court would oblige his request and demand for an interpreter.

The trial judge, accordingly, directed the registrar of the court to procure the services of an interpreter for the next hearing, slated for November 13, 2013.

Meanwhile, a bail application moved on behalf of the accused person by his lawyers was refused by the court.

The court, however, granted permission to Hugo to seek medical care at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital after his lawyers had informed the court that he had a cardio problem.

First witness

Earlier, a narcotics analyst, Mr Ishmael Amon-Kortei, had told the court that he was on duty at the last security checkpoint at the KIA on April 29, 2013 when the accused person approached his desk with five hand luggages for inspection.

Led in evidence by Mr Matthew Amponsah, a Chief State Attorney, Mr Amon-Kortei said a lady was in Hugo’s company when the search in his bags was conducted.

During the search, it emerged that Hugo had concealed the money in secret compartments in the bags, wallets and clothes.

Due to Hugo’s claim of having difficulty in appreciating the full import of the prosecution’s evidence in English, the court has since expunged the evidence so far led from its records.

Consequently, Mr Amon-Kortei is expected to start his evidence-in-chief afresh on the next adjourned date.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

ADB loses appeal against MD

The Court of Appeal has dismissed an application by the Agricultural Development Bank (ADB) to stay execution of a judgement debt awarded against it in favour of one of its former managing directors.
On July 31, 2013, the Accra Fast Track High Court ordered the bank to pay GH¢400,000, being entitlements, to its former Managing Director, Mr Yaw Opoku Atuahene.

It also directed that the amount must include interest from July 2009 when the plaintiff’s appointment was wrongfully terminated by the bank.

But the bank appealed against the High Court’s decision and, consequently, filed an application for stay of execution on the ground that its appeal had the likelihood of success, in which case it would suffer irreparable loss should it pay the amount before the final determination of the appeal.

No grounds for stay

Unanimously dismissing the application, Justices F. Kusi-Appiah, F. Korbieh and Senyo Dzamefe were of the considered view that after carefully studying the arguments of parties in the case, the court “finds no exceptional circumstance to warrant the grant of stay of execution”.

The court was of the view that the bank had failed to canvass any serious point of law sufficient for a grant of stay of execution.

Costs of GH¢1,000 were awarded against the ADB in favour of Mr Atuahene.

ADB’s argument

Counsel for the ADB, Mr Stanley Amarteyfio, had informed the court that the payment of the judgement debt to Mr Atuahene would render the bank’s appeal a nugatory in the event it succeeded eventually.

That, according to him, would cause irreparable damage to the bank, especially when Mr Atuahene was currently unemployed and, therefore, not in a position to refund the money.

In the alternative, the bank urged the court to direct it to pay the judgement debt into the court’s coffers until the final determination of the appeal.


Holding a different view, counsel for the former managing director, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, prayed the court to dismiss the bank’s application on the grounds that its request to the court to allow it to pay the money into the court’s chest was a subtle attempt to ensure that Mr Atuahene did not enjoy the judgement debt due him.

He indicated that the bank’s position exposed the bad faith on its part because his client had rendered many years of meritorious service to many banks, including the ADB, across the country and was currently running his own business.


The plaintiff was the managing director of the ADB until July 23, 2009 when his employment was terminated with effect from July 31, 2009 with the constitution of a new board after the change of government.

The plaintiff had argued that consequent to the termination of his employment, various pecuniary obligations owed him by the bank had not been discharged.

After persistent but unheeded demands for the satisfaction of same, he issued a writ of summons at the Fast Track Division of the High Court on May 21, 2010.

Disbursement of money from sale of drill ship: BoG can't trace account

Judgement Debt Commissioner, Justice Yaw ApauJudgement Debt Commissioner, Justice Yaw ApauThe mystery surrounding the sale of the drill ship belonging to the Ghana National Petroleum Company (GNPC) and the disbursement of the money from that sale has deepened, as the Bank of Ghana (BoG) cannot tell whether or not an account into which the money is said to have been paid exists.
A manager at the Treasury Department of the BoG, Mr Paul Kwadwo Djan, told the Judgement Debt Commission at its sitting in Accra yesterday that the bank was making efforts to trace the Ghana International Bank account number 0001191613.

Appearing before the commission after his outfit had been subpoenaed to produce documents and answer questions pertaining to the sale of the drill ship in 2001, Mr Djan informed the commission that  the Treasury Department of the BoG had made “frantic efforts” to trace documents relating to the account.

He, accordingly, prayed the commission for time to do “further search” and additionally indicated that he was aware of a letter signed by a former Minister of State, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, requesting for $250,000 to be transferred into the account.

A letter dated July 30, 2003 and signed by the former minister was to pay Aquatic Engineering and Construction Limited for the maintenance of a GNPC vessel in Angola.

However, the witness told the commission after a question by counsel for the commission, Mr Dometi Kofi Sokpor, that “we are trying to locate documents relating to transfers but up till now we have not located any document”.

“I cannot say for sure if the account exists. As I speak, we have not been able to locate the account number,” Mr Djan added.

Answering a question from the Chairman of the commission, Mr Justice Yaw Apau, on who owned the Ghana International Bank, the witness said the bank was owned by the Government of Ghana

Following from the witness’ request to the commission for more time to locate documents pertaining to the sale of the drill ship, the commission gave the BoG up to November 25, 2013 to produce more documents.

Sale of drill ship

The GNPC is said to have sold its drill ship, the Discoverer 511, in July, 2001, to pay judgement debt awarded in favour of Societe Generale by a UK court.

But evidence emerging from the Judgement Debt Commission suggests that the GNPC does not have the transaction records of the sale ordered by the Ministry of Energy, while the BoG does not have records of any cash transfer before and after the sale of the drill ship.

Judgement against Ghana Armed Forces

A Chief State Attorney, Ms Dorothy Afriyie Ansah, and the Chief Director of the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Mr Emmanuel Nii Yartey Tackie-Yarboi, appeared before the commission to answer questions pertaining to the circumstances under which a judgement debt of GH¢26,700 was awarded against the GAF.

It emerged that a High Court in Sunyani in the Brong Ahafo Region had awarded judgement of GH¢26,700 in favour of Kwasi Adjei, Lydia Takyiwaa and Alex Opoku, after a KIA truck being driven by a soldier caused injury to the three.

Ms Afriyie said a police report, which was accepted by the court, presided over by Mr Justice Francis Amoah, had held that the driver of the military vehicle had been at fault and, accordingly, awarded compensation.

It, however, emerged, after questions from the Chairman of the commission that officials from the Attorney-General’s office stationed in Sunyani did not defend the matter but rather wrote to the A-G’s office in Accra requesting for payment for the victims.

Judgement was delivered by the court in favour of the plaintiffs on March 16, 2006.

For his part, Mr Tackie-Yarboi, accompanied by Colonel Edward Fiawuo, who is stationed at the Judge Advocate General’s Office, told the commission that a board of enquiry was set up to investigate the accident and it emerged that both drivers had been at fault.

He said it was recommended that compensation be paid to the victims of the accident but indicated that his outfit had not been aware of any court order directing the Ministry of Defence to pay the victims.

Mr Justice Apau, a Court of Appeal judge, commended the military for being meticulous in setting up a board of enquiry to investigate the matter.

Withholding tax for $2.5 million not paid

Another revelation at the commission was the non-payment of withholding tax for the award and payment of $2.5 million to New World Investment (NWI), a private company.

The Director in charge of External Resource Mobilisation at the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP), Mr Kwadwo Awuah Peasah, told the commission that the withholding tax on the amount paid to the company had not been deducted following an explanation from his colleague on the issue.

Responding to Mr Peasah’s statement, Mr Justice Apau said the explanation from Mr Peasah’s colleague on the issue of the deduction was not sound.

Giving a brief background to the transaction, Mr Justice Apau said NWI had loaned GH¢1 million to the Ghana National Procurement Agency (GNPA), out of which GH¢550,000 had been paid, leaving a balance of GHC450,000.

However, the balance shot up to $2.5 million within a couple of years and after a number of questions from the commission, Mr Peasah said NWI was expected to pay the withholding tax and further disclosed that MoFEP had, since February, 2011, been deducting withholding taxes on such transactions.

He said the commission would find out from the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) what could be done to retrieve the withholding tax.

Documents on spare parts not located

Another witness to appear before the commission was the Director of the Internal Audit Unit of the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Mr Eric Osei Afriyie, who told the commission that efforts to retrieve documents covering the supply of spare parts to the ministry in 1997, had not been successful.

According to him, the ministry had managed to contact some retired staff who had worked on those documents to enable him and his team to locate files on the transaction.

Mr Sokpor suggested to the witness that his outfit’s record-keeping system was faulty, to which Mr Afriyie answered, “We need a proper name and file number to get the documents.”

Mr Afriyie was given up to November 25, 2013 to retrieve the said records.

Hearing continues on October 29, 2013.

Help make Nkrumah Ward the child’s haven

October 28, 2013 (Page 47)

A sectional view of the Nkrumah Ward of the Pediatric Ward of the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.A sectional view of the Nkrumah Ward of the Pediatric Ward of the 37 Military Hospital in Accra.Children do not ask to be born. It is, therefore, very disturbing to find a child struggling to survive because the needed medical equipment to save that child is not available.

Imagine a premature newborn struggling to survive under improvised medical care because there is no neo-natal ventilator. Also imagine asthmatic children waiting in a queue to receive treatment from a single nebuliser, with their apprehensive parents watching on in ‘agony.’

These are conditions prevailing in some major health facilities across the country. Some of the facilities do not have these equipment at all.

Having an ailing child is always stressful, and it can be very depressing to find health care professionals render professional services under poor conditions.

A neo-natal ventilator is any machine designed to mechanically move breatheable air into and out of the lungs to provide the mechanism of breathing for a child who is physically unable to breathe, or has breathing insufficiency. Medical ventilators were introduced in the 1960s and they became one of the major new interventions in neonatology which provide life-saving support for infants with respiratory failure.

After 56 years of independence, many hospitals in Ghana lack modern medical equipment to cater for the increasing health needs of patients, including children who are considered as the future of all nations. As of today, none of the public hospitals in the country have neo-natal ventilators said Col (Dr) P. K. Ayibor, Officer-in-charge of the Child Health Department of the 37 Military Hospital.

“We normally try another machine called CPAP mainly for oxygenation. The neo-natal ventilator is for both oxygenation and ventilation of neonates with respiratory failure. If it works, fine. Otherwise, the obvious happens,” Col Ayibor said.

Nkrumah Ward needs neo-natal ventilator

Nkrumah Ward, formerly known as Ward Nine, was established in 1956 to admit and provide care for the wards of military and civilian employees. Later in the 1980s, the facility was opened to the general public and has remained so to date.

Most wards at the 37 Military Hospital have been adopted by companies. For instance, the Emergency and Trauma Unit of the hospital is being sponsored by UT Holdings, while the Paediatrics Emergency and Simango Wards have been adopted by Magna Transport and Soniag Companies respectively.

However, the Nkrumah Ward which admits an average of 120 children on a monthly basis, does not have any sponsor. Nurses, doctors and supporting staff brave the storm and improvise with limited medical facilities to save the lives of ailing children on a daily basis.

A visit to the Nkrumah Ward brought a lot to bear. It was observed that the facility needed an urgent facelift. Most of the mosquito netting for special cubicles created for patients are torn, thereby, exposing the patients to mosquito bites, tap water hardly flows, while there is only one nebulizer for children who need urgent oxygen due to bronchitis and asthmatic attacks.The inner view of the Nkrumah Ward. Area circled shows the torn mosquito net of one of the cubicles.The inner view of the Nkrumah Ward. Area circled shows the torn mosquito net of one of the cubicles.

Paintings of favourite cartoons for children have worn off, amidst fading walls. The special room allocated for doctors and nurses to draw blood samples from children need to be upgraded and provided with new beds, new sheets and disposal beddings, while some of the cots for children need to be replaced.

“We as of urgency need a neo-natal ventilator to save newborns,” said Col (Dr) Ayibor in an interview with the Daily Graphic.

He said the Prudential Bank assisted in renovating the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and as a result, the NICU can admit more patients into the intensive care unit, and indicated that during strike actions in government hospitals, there was an instance where as many as 120 children were admitted into the NICU facility which originally catered for between 25 and 30 children.

Making a passionate appeal for the Nkrumah Ward, Col Ayibor explained that the estimate for the renovation of the Ward is $90,000. The renovation works, when carried out, would facilitate the admission of more children.

Companies must come to the aid of Nkrumah Ward

The children’s ward and other departments of the 37 Military Hospital are the only facilities that admit patients during national strike actions by doctors.

That clearly indicates the immense contribution the hospital is rendering to the general public, and it would, therefore, be welcoming for individuals and or companies- be they in the transport, oil and gas and or the financial sectors- to pool resources and assist the Nkrumah Ward.

The assistance could be in the replacing of old medical equipment, renovating the main building, painting the inner and outer perimeters of the wards, provision of poly tanks and sponsorship for the training of medical staff to render more effective services to patients on admission.

Huge amounts of money are doled out to sponsor beauty pageants and entertainment activities. What could, therefore, be worth more than parting with a little amount of money to support a worthy cause like assisting a medical facility to provide quality healthcare for the future generation of this country? Indeed let us save the lives of the future generation!

Court orders ‘Limping Man’to open defence

 October 25, 2013 (Page 20)

THE Accra Fast Track High Court yesterday ordered the man at the centre of the shipment and disappearance of 77 parcels of cocaine worth $138.6 million to open his defence.

Christian Sheriff Asem Darkei, alias The Limping Man, who is alleged to have played a major role in the shipment 2,310 kilogrammes of cocaine in April 2006, is expected to open his defence on November 7, 2013.

The Limping manThe Limping manDismissing a submission of ‘no case’ filed on Sheriff’s behalf by his lawyer, the Presiding Judge, Mr Justice Mustapha Habib Logoh, held that the prosecution had led enough evidence to warrant Sheriff to open his defence.

Sheriff, who was picked up on February 2, 2012 after he had been pursued for years by the security agencies, sat moodily as the presiding judge read out the court’s decision.

A Chief State Attorney, Mrs Yvonne Attakorah-Obuobisa, prosecuted the case, which saw 10 witnesses testifying on behalf of the state.

Sheriff was put before Mr Justice Logoh’s court on May 28, 2012.

The prosecution closed its case on April 23, 2013.


Sheriff was arrested by BNI officials at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital upon a tip off. He had gone to seek medical treatment.

He has pleaded not guilty to the three counts of conspiracy, importation and exportation of narcotic drugs.

Facts of the case

According to the prosecution, around midnight on April 26, 2006, a vessel, the MV Benjamin, reportedly carrying about 77 parcels of cocaine, with each parcel weighing 30 kilogrammes, docked at Kpone/Tema and discharged the parcels of cocaine.

It said the 77 parcels were offloaded into a waiting vehicle which carried them away.

In the course of investigations, Sheriff’s name featured prominently as the importer and/or owner of the drug.

He was said to be the person who had chartered the vessel at a cost of $150,000 to tow another vessel from Guinea to Ghana and subsequently carted the alleged 77 parcels.

Ship Owner Jailed

The disappearance of the cocaine led to the constitution of the Georgina Wood Committee and the subsequent trial of persons alleged to have played various roles in the importation.

In July 2008, the Accra Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Anin Yeboah (now a Supreme Court judge), convicted and sentenced Joseph Kojo Dawson, the owner of the MV Benjamin and Managing Director of Dashment Company Limited; Isaac Arhin, a sailor; Phillip Bruce Arhin, a mechanic; Cui Xian Li, the vessel engineer, and Luo Yui Xing, a sailor, all crew members of the MV Benjamin, to 25 years in prison each with hard labour.

Bruce Arhin, however, died barely three weeks after his conviction.

The convicts, including the deceased, were found guilty of charges of using property for narcotic offences, engaging in prohibited business relating to narcotics and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority.

A sixth accused person, Pak Bok Sil, a Korean, was, on Tuesday, October 16, 2007, acquitted and discharged by the court, which had held, during a ruling on a submission of ‘no case’, that the prosecution had failed to prove a case against Sil.

Judicial Service lauded for its specialised courts

• Six of the participants sitting (from left) are Sir Justice Dennis Adjei, Mrs Justice Margaret Welbourne, both of the Court of Appeal; Mr Justice Dotse; Mr Justice Promad Kumar of the Income Tax Appellate Court of India; Mr Justice Samuel  Marful Sau, also of the Court of Appeal, and Mr Mike Kofi Afflu, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana• Six of the participants sitting (from left) are Sir Justice Dennis Adjei, Mrs Justice Margaret Welbourne, both of the Court of Appeal; Mr Justice Dotse; Mr Justice Promad Kumar of the Income Tax Appellate Court of India; Mr Justice Samuel  Marful Sau, also of the Court of Appeal, and Mr Mike Kofi Afflu, President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana

 October 10, 2013 (Page 56)

A justice of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal of India, Mr Justice Promad Kumar, has commended the Judicial Service for setting up specialised courts in the country.
Specialised courts currently in operation in the country include the Commercial, Financial, Land, Labour, Human Rights and Domestic Violence courts.

The latest addition is the Tax Court, which has been established to cater for tax-related issues.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a two-day training programme for judges on taxation in Accra, Justice Kumar described Ghana’s judiciary as pragmatic and among the few judiciaries in developing countries that had established tax courts.


The training workshop was organised by the Judicial Training Institute (JTI) in collaboration with the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana to equip the participants with new skills to efficiently tackle tax issues in their various courts.

Justice Kumar took the participants through international tax regimes, shared India’s experiences with the participants and  pointed out the mistakes and successes of the Indian system.

Topics treated included: Basics of international taxation; A typical tax treaty and its various clauses; Introduction to transfer pricing; Pricing concepts and theory, and Practical real life experiences on tax issues.

Earlier, Mr Justice Kumar had paid a courtesy call on the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood.

Addressing the opening session of the workshop, a Supreme Court Judge, Mr Justice Jones Victor M. Dotse, tasked the participants to actively participate in the training sessions and make the appropriate recommendations if they found a vacuum in the tax laws of the country.

“We need revenue to sustain the economy and any reform geared towards raising more revenue for the country will be welcome,” Justice Dotse stated.

He advised the participants to form a core group of trainers of trainees in order to share what they learnt during the training with other justices.

A Justice of the Court of Appeal, Mrs Justice Margaret Welbourne, said the workshop provided the opportunity for the justices to indicate what was expected of tax officers in the country.

“We will come out with recommendations on reforming some of the regulations and laws and also hope to build the capacity of judges,” she added.

Tax Court

The President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation, Ghana, Mr Mike Kofi Afflu, said the institute mooted the idea of the establishment of special tax courts and expressed gratitude to the Chief Justice and the Judicial Service for accepting the idea.

He said with the discovery of oil and gas in commercial quantities in Ghana, it was important for the country to brace itself in a way that would prevent multinational companies from taking advantage of the system to evade tax.

“We hope to equip judges with skills to assist the tax courts to be able to properly adjudicate over tax cases for the benefit of the country,” he said.

For his part, an Assistant Commissioner of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), Mr Cephas Odartey, said it was the desire of the GRA to raise more revenue for government programmes and was hopeful that the training would help to  achieve that objective.

Court convicts man for biting lover’s lip

A trader has been convicted for biting off the lower lip of his lover who decided to end their abusive relationship.
Kwame Brobbey, according to the prosecution, had been in a relationship with the victim for the past six months and was noted for his short temper and series of threats to kill the victim.

Fed up with Brobbey’s constant abuse, the victim, Vida Kyere, also a trader, decided to end the relationship.

Peeved with his former lover’s decision, Brobbey, on September 9, 2013, allegedly entered into a fight with Vida and in the process, threatened to kill her with a knife and a broken bottle.

He has pleaded guilty to two counts of causing harm and threat of death and, has agreed to foot the medical bills for the victim to undergo plastic surgery.

The Circuit Court, presided by Ms Wilhemina Hammond, has convicted him and has since deferred his sentence to October 16, 2013.

Prosecution’s case

Prosecuting, a Deputy Superintendent of Police, Ms Emelia Amponsah, told the court that the convict co-habited with Vida and usually threatened to kill her at the least provocation.

Apparently fed up with the abusive relationship, the complainant decided to call it quits but Brobbey did not take kindly to it.

According to the prosecution, the complainant was at the Kantamanto Market on September 14, 2013 selling her wares when Brobbey appeared and picked up a fight with her without any reason.

He bit the complainant’s lower lip in the process and that resulted in her sustaining a serious injury.

The victim subsequently lodged a complaint with the Anyaa Police and was issued with a form to seek medical care.

But on September 23, 2013, Brobbey went to the complainant’s house unannounced and in the presence of witnesses, threatened to kill her with a machete and a broken bottle.

He was subsequently picked up and put before the court after investigations.

Contract to 9 Spanish companies challenged at Supreme Court


 October 7, 2013 (Page 16)

A Ghanaian citizen has brought an action in the public interest for the Supreme Court to declare as unconstitutional, contracts awarded to nine Spanish companies because those contracts did not receive parliamentary approval.
Mr Moses Ampem said he brought the action “in the public interest and for the specific public purpose of promoting and ensuring constitutional, democratic governance and the supremacy of the rule of law” and was, therefore, urging the court to order a refund of the 70 million euros received under the said invalid contracts which were awarded in 2006.
In the alternative, the plaintiff, who filed the suit on October 4, 2013, has implored the court to grant an order requiring the Attorney-General to take appropriate action to forthwith recover all the money received by the Spanish companies.
He is, accordingly, invoking the original jurisdiction of the Supreme Court to declare the said contracts between the Government of Ghana and the said Spanish companies as not having received the formal approval of the Parliament of Ghana, in violation of the 1992 Constitution, and for that reason must be declared “unconstitutional and invalid in law”.
Article 181 (5) demands that international contracts be laid before Parliament for approval before they are executed, and per the plaintiff’s arguments, the defendants — Incatema Indemar, Elecnor, Sucomex, Schwartz-Hautmont Construcciones Metalicas, Makiber Grupo Dragbdos, Hildrombiente S. A., Schneider Electric (formerly Telvent), Technove and Ramon Vizcaino, all Spanish companies — must refund all the money received for the various contracts awarded them.
Also joined to the suit is the Attorney-General.
The Attorney-General has been joined to the suit because the Attorney-General has been mandated by Article 88 (5) of the 1992 Constitution to institute, conduct all civil cases on behalf of the state, as well as defend the government in civil actions.
Mr Ampem is praying the court to declare that the contracts between the government and the Spanish companies were international businesses or economic transactions within the meaning of Article 181 (5) of the 1992 Constitution which required mandatory parliamentary accent.
Consequently, the plaintiff is requesting for a declaration that the whole or partial execution or implementation of the said contracts is unconstitutional and invalid in law.
 Following formal approval in 2005, by the Parliament of Ghana of the second Ghana-Spain Financial Protocol, which is a bilateral project-funding loan agreement, the government, acting through its various responsible sector ministries, proceeded in 2006, to award various project-based contracts to several Spanish companies, including the contracts to the nine Spanish companies.
The financial protocol, per the plaintiff’s statement of case filed on his behalf by his solicitors, Baffour-Gyimah and Associates, included a project contract for:
• The supply of irrigation equipment (solar pumps, sprinkler, etc) for the sum of eight million euros awarded to Incatema Indemar by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA).
• Solar rural electrification for the sum of five million euros awarded to Elecnor by the Ministry of Energy.
• The supply of medical equipment for the sum of 10 million euros awarded to Sucomex by the Ministry of Health (MoH).
• The supply of steel bridges for the sum of five million euros awarded to Schwartz-Hautmont Construcciones Metalicas.
• Feeder roads machinery supply for the sum of five million euros awarded to Makiber Grupo Dragbdos by the Ministry of Road Transport.
• The supply of a water treatment plant for the sum of 10 million euros awarded to Hildrombiente S. A. by the Ministry of Water Resources, Works and Housing.
• The supply of radio communication network equipment for the Police Service for the sum of five million euros awarded to Schneider Electric by the Ministry of the Interior.
• The supply of radio communication network equipment for the Immigration Service and the Prisons Service for the sum of five million euros awarded to Technove by the Ministry of the Interior.
• The supply of cold-room facilities for fishermen along the coast for the sum of seven million euros awarded to  Ramon Vizcaino by the Ministry of Fisheries.
Bringing the action under articles 2 and 130 of the 1992 Constitution of the Republic of Ghana, Mr Ampem is praying the court to grant his claims, since all those projects were awarded without parliamentary approval.
Article 2  (1) A of the 1992 Constitution states that any person who alleges that (a) an enactment or anything contained in or done under the authority of that or any other enactment; or (b) any act or omission of any person that is inconsistent with, or is in contravention of a provision of this Constitution, may bring an action in the Supreme Court for a declaration to that effect.
Article 130 basically gives the Supreme Court the exclusive original jurisdiction to interpret all matters relating to the 1992 Constitution, as well as whether or not an enactment was made in excess of the powers conferred on Parliament or any other authority or person by law or under the Constitution, among others.

Don't become social commentators - CJ advises new lawyers

Chief Justice Georgina WoodChief Justice Georgina Wood 

The Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, yesterday swore in 183 newly enrolled lawyers to the bar, and advised them against becoming social commentators.
Describing the trend of lawyers commenting on every issue in the media as regrettable, Justice Wood said, “Regretfully, it is becoming a trend, and one for which you all must be warned against courting quick and cheap popularity by becoming overnight legal experts and commentators on radio and television.”
She stressed that the practice of law in the country, and for that matter the world over, was an essential service that must be performed with utmost commitment and dedication.
She asked them not to fix their hopes on immediate extraordinary returns or rewards, adding that “the fulfilment you are bound to get eventually for being good and honest professionals is immeasurable! I would urge each and every one of you to rather make this your aim and focus in life.”

The hardest work about to start
Urging the new lawyers to brace themselves up for hard work, Justice Wood said “as newly qualified lawyers, your contribution to help build a credible profession is both demanded and expected.  Law must be responsive to the needs of society, else it ceases to be functional.”
She advised the lawyers to build their capacity to meet the growing needs of the globalised world, adding that “a legal system that fails to respond to the needs and developmental exigencies of the society in which it operates risks being an impediment, rather than a facilitator of the growth of that society. Even worse, it risks the creation of a lawless and undisciplined society in which the law is trampled upon and impunity is given free rein.”
Justice Wood urged them to be problem-solvers and intimated that “whether you find yourself eventually in academia, politics, on the bench, in private practice or as an international civil servant, you would collaboratively be working with others, and strive to find solutions to the myriads of political, social and economic challenges crucial to our very survival and development as a nation.”
According to her, the greatest virtue of the law was its flexibility, adaptability and its responsiveness as “a driver of change from time to time so that it answers to the growing needs of the hour and order of the day.”
Justice Wood said for the new lawyers to survive, they were expected to “move heaven and earth to live a life of integrity.”

Standing ovation
Among the newly enrolled lawyers was Mr Albert Frimpong, a visually impaired, who received a standing ovation from his colleagues for emerging victorious in their training despite his physical challenge.
Thirteen graduands were given special awards for their outstanding performance in the various subjects studied, with Ms Hagar Addo emerging as the overall best student. Eight women were among the award winners.
Justice Wood, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, Justices William Atuguba and Julius Ansah, both Supreme Court Judges, took turns to hand over certificates to the newly enrolled lawyers.
Justice Atuguba was greeted with a huge applause and cheers when his presence was announced by the Judicial Secretary, Mr Justice Alex Poku Acheampong. He acknowledged the applause with smiles.
Former President, John Agyekum Kufuor; his brother, Dr Kwame Addo-Kufuour, and the Deputy Minister of Education, Mr Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, whose wife was among the newly qualified lawyers, were also present.

Mining company to cough $730,252.30 - For breach of contract

October 4, 2013 (Page 55)

THE Accra Fast Track High Court has awarded a $730,252.30 judgement against Noble Gold Bibiani Limited, an Australian mining company, for breach of contract.
It was also ordered to pay GH¢50,000 in cost for receiving, processing and selling gold tailings supplied to it by the plaintiff, Riasand Ventures Limited, a private company.
The company is expected to pay interest on the amount with effect from June 3, 2013 till date of final payment. Interest so far accrued on the amount is $635,002.
In a summary judgement, the court, presided over by Mr Justice N. M. C. Abodakpi, said it was satisfied that the plaintiff met its contractual obligations with the mining company and was, therefore, entitled to the claims.
“The plaintiff has performed its part of the bargain but the defendant has failed to discharge its obligations, and the reasons assigned are untenable. The defendant on the evidence had received the gold tailings, processed and got gold from it and must satisfy its just debt that it owes the plaintiff,” the court held.
According to the court, the defendant had failed to show cause why summary judgement should not be entered against it.
“On the issue of admission of the debt, a party has no obligation to lead further evidence in proof of a matter or a material fact that has been admitted as true by its adversary,” the court held in reference to admission by the mining company in some documents that it owed the plaintiff.
“The rule of evidence as provided in Section 25 and 26 of the Evidence Act, NRCD 323, is that the content of a written document made by a party are presumed conclusively to be true against him/it until the contrary is proved,” the court stated and maintained that the defendant had failed to lead evidence contrary to the position of the Evidence Act.
Premised on that, the court was of the opinion that, “this is a proper case in which final judgement must be entered in favour of plaintiff and against the defendant.”

Background to the case

In an amended statement of claim dated September 13, 2013, the plaintiff said in February 2013,  it entered into an agreement with the defendant for the supply of gold tailings and the haulage of same to the defendant’s destination, for the purpose of defendant extracting gold from the tailings as part of the defendant’s operations.
On September 9, 2013 the plaintiff caused to be issued a writ of summons accompanied by a statement of claim against defendant for failing to pay for the supply of the tailings and other incidental costs.
Consequently, a motion for summary judgement was issued by the plaintiff on September 13, 2013 on the grounds that the defendant had no defence to put up because it had admitted liability and for that reason, it would serve no useful purpose in having a full trial.
“That where it is clear that a defendant has no defence to a claim this honourable court has jurisdiction to grant an application for summary judgement to avoid delays in the prosecution of cases for which reason we pray that judgement be given in respect of the aforesaid reliefs endorsed on the amended writ of summons,” the motion for summary judgement indicated.
However, the defendants denied any liability and argued that there should be a full trial because it had a good defence to put up.
But the court, after taking evidence from the plaintiff and studying the necessary documents in the case, came to the conclusion that the mining company was liable.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Set up small claims courts - Justice Dotse

Her Ladyship Georgina Wood (left), the Chief Justice, interacting with Mrs Marrietta Brew Appiah-Opong (2nd left), Sir Justice Denis Adjei (2nd right) and Justice Dotse at the annual general meeting organised by the AMJG in AccraHer Ladyship Georgina Wood (left), the Chief Justice, interacting with Mrs Marrietta Brew Appiah-Opong (2nd left), Sir Justice Denis Adjei (2nd right) and Justice Dotse at the annual general meeting organised by the AMJG in Accra

A Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Jones Victor M. Dotse, has advocated the setting up of small claims courts to cater for the myriad of disputes among litigants.

Those courts, he said, would have to cater for small monetary claims, disputes among landlords and tenants, compensations, minor civil claims, land and boundary disputes, succession disputes, among others.

“This is because there appears to be so much frustration faced by litigants in small claims of whatever nature that if they lose confidence in the administration of justice, chaos and anarchy will be the result”, Mr Justice Dotse stated in a keynote address he delivered at the opening of the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Association of Judges and Magistrates, Ghana (AMJG) in Accra yesterday.

The theme for the 34th AGM is, “Thinking Ahead, Advocating a Stable and Effective Justice System Through Increased Efficiency”.

Mr Justice Dotse was delegated by the Chief Justice, Mrs Justice Georgina Theodora Wood, to give the keynote address at the AGM, which will end on Friday, October 4, 2013.

Much as he admitted that the judiciary had performed creditably, he held that, “we can do even much better by having attitudinal changes in the way we handle our work”.

“One sure way of increasing efficiency is to eliminate all delay tactics, avoid acts of favouritism, nepotism, corruption and exhibit a high sense of honesty, competence, hard work and, above all, humility and respect for our fellow human beings,” he said.

He urged the judges and magistrates to be abreast of modern technology but advised them not to abuse the use of technology.

President of AMJG

The President of the AMJG, Sir Justice Dennis Adjei, said the theme for this year’s AGM was “to enable us to do self-introspection and dialogue on how to avoid waste in our adjudicative role”.

He said by the time the AGM ended, judges should be able to find antidotes to problems such as non-proof of service by bailiffs, unnecessary adjournments and rigid and very technical rules which ended up promoting multiplicity of suits and applications.

He said there was the need for the laws governing the jurisdiction of the lower courts to be reviewed, since most of those laws were obsolete and did not meet modern trends.

Message from Chief Justice

In a brief remark, Mrs Justice Wood congratulated hardworking judges and magistrates on meeting deadlines by submitting their judgements for analysis.

She reminded them that it was a “must” for them to send copies of judgements they had delivered at the end of each term for assessment and evaluation.

The Chief Justice said the Judicial Service was poised to improve the conditions of service of its employees and, accordingly, urged all to put in their best to further improve the administration of justice in the country.

Attorney-General’s message

In a fraternal message to the judges and magistrates, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marrietta Brew-Oppong Appiah, underscored the need for a speedy, efficient and effective adjudication of cases before the courts.

She advocated the application of parameters to ensure an efficient justice delivery system.

Notable among them are timely decisions on cases, effective monitoring and evaluation of the courts, adoption of information and communications technology (ICT), the promotion of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, as well as the continuous training of judges.

“Let me conclude by saying that stable and effective justice through increased efficiency and waste elimination is not the exclusive responsibility of the judiciary but involves the co-operation of members of the bar, litigants and court staff, even though a judge is always in control of proceedings in court,” Mrs Appiah added.


The President of the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), Nene Amegatcher, expressed regret at the attack on some justices of the Supreme Court who presided over the 2012 presidential election petition and promised that the GBA would go all out to protect the interest and sanctity of the judiciary.

He said it was unfortunate that the critics were not making use of the appropriate forums as stated under the law and that the GBA would “continue to fight for the rule of law and an independent Judiciary”.

Delivering the fraternity message on behalf of the Students Representative Council of the Ghana School of Law, Mr Kwasi T. Oppong-Kyekyeku thanked the AMJG for the invitation and reiterated his wish for further enhanced relationship with the association.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Positioning TOR @ 50. Can it still be the catalyst?

 Saturday, September 28, 2013 (Page 12)

Ghana’s first and only crude oil refinery was commissioned 50 years ago today, September 28, 2013, and remains one of the country’s most valuable national assets; though it has not actualised Ghana's first President's vision of becoming the base for the petrochemical industry.
Ghana became one of the countries with a crude oil refinery and the sixth largest in Africa in the 60’s. Crude oil, according to Dr Kwame Nkrumah, ‘is the life blood of industry,” and that informed his initiative to set up Ghana's only oil refinery to propel his dream of championing national development through industrialisation.
The refinery was known as the Ghanaian-Italian Petroleum Limited (GHAIP) and was solely owned and managed by the Italian group ENI, until 1977 when the Government of Ghana bought all the shares and became the sole shareholder of GHAIP. The refinery was a simple hydro skimming plant with a capacity of 1.25 million metric tonnes. The refinery was a tolling refinery, refining crude oil on behalf of the major Oil Marketing Companies including TOTAL and BP for a fee.
 Dr Nkrumah during the commissioning of the £8.5 million refinery on September 28, 1963 said it was the government’s intention that “the refinery becomes the vital foundation for the establishment of other industries in Ghana”.
The refinery has gone through different phases since its commissioning; with GHAIP being re-named Tema Oil Refinery (TOR) Limited in 1990. Though, a Limited Liability Company, owned by the State, TOR has never been allowed to operate and function as such. True to Nkrumah’s word’s “Government had the final say in determining the prices of the oil products refined”.
This concept has prevailed to date.  As a result of underpricing (subsidies) which was not paid on time, over the years, sales revenues were not sufficient to pay for Letters of Credit established for crude oil imports and the shortfall had to be funded by the Ghana Commercial Bank through overdraft facilities. The overdraft attracted penal interest charges which accumulated into what is now referred to as the TOR DEBT.
 Just like numerous industries set up by Dr Nkrumah, most of which are defunct, TOR faces operational and technical challenges. These have impacted on the availability, reliability, efficiency and profitability of the company.
The country’s only refinery which produces Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), gasoline, diesel, kerosene, aviation turbine kerosene, naphtha, fuel oil and cracked fuel oil was and is still faced with debts. As a result, many financial institutions saw TOR as a high risk entity.

 TOR’s challenges

TOR’s challenges broadly include the unavailability of working capital to procure crude oil consistently, plant and operational inefficiencies and the nature of the old business model. Therefore, the once vibrant refinery has been in the news for the wrong reasons: “TOR on the verge of collapse,” “TOR in tatters,” “Help Save TOR,” “TOR workers leave for Oman, “TOR Shuts Down”, “Aging Plants at TOR”, “TOR lacks working Capital” “Crude Oil on Financial Hold” and TOR on road to recovery” among a host of others.
The frequent shutdown of the Crude Distillation Unit (CDU) and the Residual Fluid Catalytic Cracker (RFCC) unit no longer comes as a surprise to many Ghanaians. There have been instances where workers have agitated due to the non-functioning of the processing plants or unavailability of crude oil for weeks and sometimes months.
These unplanned shutdowns are attributed to unreliable and unstable utilities among other factors. The shutdowns damage the process equipment designed for continuous operations, safety of personnel and operational efficiency. As a result, plant efficiency is compromised due to depletion of funds for plant maintenance and loss of revenue. The situation has been very frustrating for stakeholders including TOR's management, workers and Ghanaians.
 The fluctuating crude oil prices on the world market put pressure on the profit margin of refineries worldwide, including TOR. Due to the lack of working capital, TOR is unable to plan its procurement of crude oil, and as a result tend to rely on the Spot market with its attendant risks and challenges to profitability.
The problems arising out of debt on the books of TOR in addition to the high interest rates charged by financial institutions, cannot be over-emphasised.
What seems to have added to the woes of TOR is the poaching of its skilled personnel by refineries in the Middle East especially in Qatar and Oman, which have become fertile grounds for TOR staff who are being offered lucrative remuneration packages. Despite these challenges, there appears to be some light at the end of the tunnel for TOR.

TOR today

As a result of the many challenges aforementioned, the management of TOR initiated a Plant Stabilisation and Profitability Enhancement Programme (PSPEP) to turn around the fortunes of the refinery. TOR required $67.7 million for this programme based on recommendations from various consultants to fix the processing plants to ensure continuous processing, availability, reliability and profitability. The government released $30 million out of the $67.7 million in December 2012 for the initiatives. The procurement of items is at various stages, while the refinery awaits the balance of $37.7 million to complete the identified projects to ensure the refinery’s operations are efficient and reliable.
Under the PSPEP, operational losses, which is one of the bane of the refinery, are being addressed with the installation of Automatic Tank Gauging System (ATGS) and Flow Meters on out and inward bound pipelines to reduce human intervention and ensure accountability of products.
The refinery’s three operational boilers which depended mainly on fuel oil which is so expensive and adds to operational cost have been commissioned to use flue gas which otherwise would have been flared. Another initiative geared towards making the refinery more profitable is, the off-gas compressor has also been fixed and awaiting commissioning.  This facility will compress off gases generated from the processing units and channel them to be used as fuel for the boilers and furnaces.
Aside these laudable actions, the company is also focusing on its human resource retention by training and re-training staff.
As part of measures to reduce the risk of non-settlement of credit, TOR has changed its old business model of selling on credit to the Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs). Currently, TOR sells its finished petroleum products to the Bulk Distribution Companies (BDC’s) who post unconfirmed Letters of Credit to reduce the risk of non-payment.

Quality Petroleum Products

With a workforce of more than 700, TOR is noted for its quality specifications in Aviation Turbine Kerosene (ATK) which meets international specifications. The airlines would have had to refuel from their countries of origin adding to high cost of operation.  ATK from the refinery has been used to refuel presidential jets including AIRFORCE ONE on three occasions when Presidents Clinton, Bush Jnr and Barack Obama visited Ghana. The refinery has, therefore, replicated this stringent process on other product lines including petrol and gas oil.
What TOR can be

Fortunately, the country joined the league of oil producing countries in June 2007 when oil was discovered in commercial quantities and it will be befitting to fulfil Dr Nkrumah’s charge to GHAIP in 1963 when he directed the company to "purchase and refine the crude oil" in the event Ghana strikes crude oil.
In the past, present and successive presidents have had to move from one country to the other virtually on "their knees pleading for crude oil" to be supplied to TOR. Ghana does not have an excuse to go begging for crude oil when crude oil is being shipped from Ghana to buyers abroad.
The refinery brings “value addition” to the crude oil found in Ghana in addition to the many wells which are yet to be explored and discovered. The benefits to the economy, industries and employment generation is obvious. Ghana cannot reach the threshold of development if it continues to spend billions of dollars to import finished oil products, rice, cooking oil, chicken, toothpick, tomato puree and many others at the detriment of local industries. TOR must, accordingly, position itself to be able to purchase Ghana's crude to feed its plants.
The refinery could be the foundation for any petrochemical venture Ghana intends to embark on. Dr Nkrumah once stated, ‘The refinery should become a vital part for the establishment of other industries to contribute to national development’.
While TOR positions itself to expand and improve its infrastructure to ensure reliability of petroleum products on the Ghanaian market and beyond, it should also consider entering into strategic partnership with investors. It would also not be a bad idea for it to float shares on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE).
TOR is a viable company that should be supported to play its strategic role to enhance the country’s development. The government must assist TOR to be independent. Subsidising petroleum products is not the solution to the country’s oil industry and other areas begging for assistance.
The several millions of cedis used in subsidising fuel products, which from experience hardly reach the intended vulnerable group, can be channelled into the provision of quality health care, education and other social amenities for the benefit of millions of Ghanaians whose needs are increasing daily.
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Company develops infrastructure to support gas imports

September 27, 2013 (Back Page)

A wholly-owned Ghanaian company is embarking on a venture to help meet the growing demand for gas in Ghana.
Quantum Power Ghana Gas Limited is currently developing a Liquefied Natural Gas ( LNG) reception, storage, regasification and delivery infrastructure to support LNG imports by industrial scale gas users in Ghana.
Upon completion, the company’s initiative will provide adequate and more affordable fuel to power Ghana’s thermal plants which would become the major source of power in Ghana’s energy mix when the country achieves its 5000 megawatts capacity by 2017.
  LNG is a natural gas (predominantly methane, CH4) that has been converted to liquid form for ease of storage or transport. It permits transportation across longer distances than pipelines.It is odourless, colourless, non-toxic and non-corrosive.
The Workshop
Consequently, a two-day workshop organised by the Ministry of Energy and Petroleum in collaboration with Quantum Power Ghana Gas Ltd on LNG negotiations for power producers, industrial gas users and general stakeholders in the gas industry is underway in Accra.
It is being run by internationally recognised LNG experts who are leading discussions on global and Atlantic basin LNG markets, commercial and technical agreements involved in establishing an LNG supply chain and key commercial and legal issues that drive LNG supply negotiations.
Participants were drawn from 28 public and private institutions in the oil and gas sector of the economy.
The participants will be taken through topics such as LNG Basics and the LNG Value Chain, Global and Atlantic LNG Markets, Regasification Terminals, Risk Management and Pricing, Commercial Models, LNG Sale and Purchase Agreements and the way for Ghana LNG.
The event is in conformity with the ministry’s agenda of encouraging a creative private-sector-led LNG solution for the country in which power generators could arrange imports of LNG to feed their businesses.
Opening the workshop, a Deputy Minister of Energy, Mr John Abu Jinapor, said there was the need to “facilitate investment and provide a clear fiscal and operational regulatory regime around which you can plan and develop LNG businesses,” and accordingly assured that the government had put in place the necessary measures to promote the LNG sector.
He said the Energy Commission had developed and published a competitive, fair and transparent licensing regime for investment in LNG regasification facilities, LNG importation and gas distribution while the PURC had set out clear processes for setting energy tariffs.
The government, Mr Jinapor explained was “interested in achieving the lowest possible priced LNG, in order to achieve the lowest possible priced power and to make Ghanaian industry increasingly competitive.”
He disclosed that the government was therefore supporting the Ghana Grid Company (Gridco) to embark on major projects aimed at addressing the transmission challenges through progressive replacement of over-aged and obsolete equipment and reinforcement of others including the construction of 161kV and 330kV transmission lines, construction of new substations across the country as well as expand  some existing substations and the installation of capacitor banks.
“Furthermore, the Electricity Company of Ghana and the Northern Electricity Distribution Company are equally being supported to strengthen and improve reliability of the electricity distribution grid,” Mr Jinapor pointed out.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stop illegal fees - Subsidiary Legislation Committee orders Korle-Bu

September 25, 2013 (Lead Story)

HAS anyone in the past week paid the newly introduced rates at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital?
If yes, they are entitled to a refund, says the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Subsidiary Legislation, Mr O. B. Amoah.
He has accordingly advised the management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to revert to the old service charges since the newly increased fees were “illegal and unconstitutional.”
He said persons who had either paid the increased rates on their own behalf or on behalf of their friends and relatives, were advised to request for a refund “without any delay.”
But the management of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital says it inadvertently misconstrued 21 parliamentary sitting days for 21 working days for the implementation of new fees charged at the hospital.
It, however, said since the approval of the fees was not in dispute, nothing was going to change as far as the implementation was concerned.
The acting Chief Executive of the hospital, Dr David Nortey, who made this known to the Daily Graphic, noted that apart from misconstruing the number of days, the hospital was also not sure when the 21 parliamentary sitting days were to take effect.
According to the September 21, 2013, edition of the Daily Graphic, patients were surprised and upset to have been directed by the hospital staff to pay increased service fees without any prior notification.
The rate for a new folder for new patients has increased from GH¢9 to GH¢16, while charges for laboratory services have shot up to between 40 and 100 per cent.
A source at the hospital informed the Daily Graphic that Parliament had given approval to the new rates proposed by the hospital through the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MOFEP).

Unconstitutional Rates

Appalled at reports that the hospital began charging the new rates from September 17, 2013, Mr Amoah said in an interview with the Daily Graphic that  “the hospital is charging the fees illegally.”
That, according to him, was because Parliament was yet to approve the rates submitted by the MOFEP on behalf of the hospital and 28 other government institutions, including the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Lands Commission and the Road Safety Commission.
He said the Legislative Instrument L..I. 2206 titled Fees and Charges (Amendment Instrument 2013) for the various institutions were submitted on their behalf by the MOFEP on July 19, 2013.
Other institutions seeking an upward adjustment in the services they render to the public are the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Ghana Standard Authority (GSA), the Ghana Free Zones Board, Registrar General’s Department, Births and Deaths Registry, Parks and Gardens and the Gaming Commission.
The Public Records and Archives Administration (PRAAD), the Postal and Courier Services Regulatory Commission, the National Identification Authority and the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB)) among others are also pleading with Parliament to approve their new rates.
Mr Amoah indicated that the L.I., which sought for new rates, was laid six days before Parliament went on recess and that Parliament would resume in the last week of October, 2013 after which the 21-day mandatory period for the maturity of legislative instruments would have been due.
Article 11 (7) of the 1992 Constitution states that "Any Order, Rule or Regulation made by a person or authority under a power conferred by this Constitution or any other law shall:
(a) be laid before Parliament
(b) be published in the Gazette on the day it is laid before Parliament and
(c) come into force at the expiration of twenty-one sitting days after being so laid unless Parliament, before the expiration of the twenty-one days, annuls the Order or Regulation by the votes of not less than two thirds of all the members of Parliament.”
That, according to Mr Amoah, who is also the New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Akuapem South, was a clear indication that “it is left with 15 sitting days for the L.I. to mature. In any case, Parliament can annul the said L.I. before the mandatory 21 days elapses.”

Message to Korle Bu Management

Pointing out that laying a legislative instrument before Parliament did not mean an automatic approval, Mr Amoah, consequently, urged the management of the hospital to return to the old fees while it awaited parliamentary approval for full implementation.
“Parliament has not approved it. You cannot use the laying as an excuse to change fees. What the hospital’s  management has done and is doing is unconstitutional. Those who have paid the new charges are entitled to a refund,” Mr Amoah emphasised.
He also urged the remaining 28 government organisations to desist from charging the new rates until their various instruments were passed by Parliament.

Korle Bu's Response

According to Dr Nortey, the reversal of the new fees was going to be a challenge since the implementation of the new fees came with the activation of a complex Information Technology software that was linked to the payment of fees at the hospital.
Korle Bu, he said, was a law-abiding institution which went through the normal processes and institutions including the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the Parliament to get approval for the new fees.
Dr Nortey said the new fees were necessary because the hospital had for the past six years not review its fees although the prices of inputs and goods and services had gone up.
“This is not a unilateral decision and Korle Bu was part of 29 institutions that made a case for the upward review of fees,” he said, and dismissed the argument that Korle-Bu was fleecing patients.
The decision to increase fees, he said, was to provide quality healthcare to Ghanaians.
“Korle Bu is law abiding and there is no way Korle Bu would fleece patients.

Fact Sheet
•    Some patients at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital are upset at the increased rates for services because they had not been notified.
•    There has not been any increment in laboratory and other services at the hospital since 2006.
•    A total of 29 governmental institutions have placed various Bills before Parliament for approval.