Friday, September 26, 2014

8 customs and police officers jailed for smuggling cocoa

Eight security officers have been sentenced to a total of 16 years’ imprisonment with hard labour for smuggling cocoa along Ghana’s western frontier.
The eight, who were picked up four years ago alongside six others, are to serve two years each in prison.
They are Gabriel Dimado, William Festus Yawson, Steven Sowah, Nii Armah Adolf, James Dzamesi, Paul Dzamesi; all Collection Assistants of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA),  Constable J.K. Boakye of the Ghana Police Service and Michael Mate-Korle of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).
The Fast Track High Court, presided over by Mr Justice Bright Mensah, upheld the case of the prosecution and said the prosecution was able to lead evidence to prove the offences of abetment of unlawful exportation of cocoa, and corruption of a public officer.
Family members of the convicted officials could not hide their grief when the court passed its judgement.


Ace investigative journalist and now a private investigator, Anas Aremeyaw Anas, conducted investigations resulting in the arrest of the convicted persons and six others in 2010.
Rockson Eric Appeadu, Isaac Kwaku Darko, Prosper Edze, all officials of the 

3 Arrested for GH¢600,000 pension fraud

The Pension fraud suspects going to court in Accra

Investigations are underway to uncover how nearly GH¢600,000 was allegedly paid fraudulently to fictitious pensioners within one year.
Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) officers who have so far picked up three persons are investigating how widespread the said pension fraud is.
One person is on the run while eight others are being investigated for aiding in the loss of almost GH¢600,000 to the state.
In the course of the investigations, BNI officials succeeded in picking up two persons who attempted to withdraw GH¢77,000 from the High Street branch of Stanchart.
A highly placed BNI source told the Daily Graphic that “there is a cartel in pension sham operations. We are closing in on them to protect the state coffers. Our investigations so far have pointed to the fact that nearly GH¢600,000 has been paid to undeserving pensioners in one year alone,” the source disclosed.

Persons arrested
According to the source, an official of the Controller and Accountant-General’s Department (CAGD), Sonnie Eric Adinyira, who is currently on secondment to the office of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) as a Treasurer, has been picked up together with Mawufemor Wugah and Godwin Amegbe, an official of the Pensions Division of the CAGD.
A fourth suspect, Kennedy Antwi, is currently on the run but the BNI source said “we are doing everything possible to pick him up to assist in investigations.”
According to the source, the arrests had nothing to do with operations at the CHRAJ.

Evidence so far
According to the facts gathered so far, Adinyira allegedly contacted his schoolmate, Kennedy Antwi, to get someone to open an account into which the siphoned pension funds would be lodged.
Antwi succeeded in convincing Wugah, a cousin of his, to open an account at the High Street branch of Stanchart to receive the said GH¢77,000.
Wugah was said to have gone to the High Street branch of Stanchart to retrieve the money after it had been paid into his account but was refused because the bank officials questioned how a pensioner could have such youthful features as Wugah had.
The bank officials were said to have asked Wugah to produce documents to prove that he was indeed a pensioner who was entitled to the GH¢77,000.
Wugah, according to the BNI source, went back to Adinyira, who in turn took Wugah to Amegbe to prepare documents to substantiate Wugah’s claim that he (Wugah) was certainly a pensioner.

 Fake documents
The BNI source said Amegbe allegedly prepared fictitious pension documents for Wugah, resulting in Adinyira following Wugah to Stanchart to withdraw the said amount.
“We picked wind of the situation, waited around the banking hall and picked up Wugah and Adinyira when they approached the teller to collect the money,” the BNI source said.
The source disclosed that the two then cited Amegbe as the main architect of the fraud.
It said “we picked up Amegbe later and in the course of the investigations it turned out this was a new method being used by some unscrupulous civil servants to steal the taxpayer’s money.”
“We are determined to plug the loopholes to protect state funds. This kind of fraud cannot be allowed to prevail,” the source emphasised.

I funded Local Organising Committee — Woyome

May 13 2014 (page 16) - Businessman Alfred Agbesi Woyome yesterday spelt out the steps he took in his bid to make Ghana a sports tourism hub in 2008. According to him, he funded the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of CAN 2008 to conduct an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), as well as funded a company appointed by the LOC to conduct feasibility studies to pave the way for the construction of stadia and other facilities for CAN 2008.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire for arbitration over maritime boundary

After 10 failed negotiation attempts, Ghana has appointed a former judge as an impartial arbiter in the arbitration proceedings it has instituted at the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) to ensure a resolution of its maritime boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire.
In accordance with Article 3(a) of Annex VII, Ghana has appointed Judge Thomas Mensah, former President ITLOS, as a member of the Tribunal.
“Despite several years of good faith negotiations, including at least 10 rounds of bilateral meetings, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire have been unable to agree upon the location of their maritime boundary,” the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Opong, announced at a press conference in Accra yesterday.
Formally announcing Ghana’s decision to go for arbitration, Mrs Appiah-Opong said Ghana’s legal team would be led by herself, her attorneys, all relevant government departments, as well as distinguished and highly experienced international lawyers and technical consultants.
Cote d’Ivoire staked a claim to parts of Ghana’s offshore a year after Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities.
Following failed bilateral talks between the two countries in the past year, Ghana decided to turn to ITLOS under the rules set out by the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Sea (UNCLOS) to protect the country’s interest and that of oil companies who have invested millions of dollars in the exploration of oil at some of the disputed areas.

Secure legal position

Flanked by the Minister of Energy, Mr Emmanuel Armah-Kofi Buah; the Minister of Communications, Dr Edward Omane-Boamah; the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, Nii Osah-Mills; attorneys and other government officials, the Attorney-General said, “Ghana is confident that the outcome will be favourable to its long-term development and to the continuation of excellent relations with its neighbours”.
Ghana’s decision to pursue arbitration in the dispute over its maritime boundary with Cote d’Ivoire is part of a national policy of achieving the final settlement of all of its maritime boundaries. Pursuant to this policy, Ghana hopes to engage with its neighbouring states in the east with the aim of fixing boundaries in that area by mutual agreement,” Mrs Appiah-Opong explained.
Highlighting how secure Ghana’s legal position was, the attorney-general noted that consistent with the law of the sea and international case law, including numerous decisions of the International Court of Justice and arbitral tribunals, “Ghana maintains that the boundary is to be defined by an equidistance line.”
Despite Ghana’s consistent respect for and recognition of the internationally recognised standard for determination of maritime boundaries, Mrs Appiah-Opong noted that “in recent years, Cote d”Ivoire has chosen to adopt a different approach.
“At stake is a large area of sea and seabed, including the natural resources they contain, vital for the economic development and well-being of both countries and its people,” the Attorney-General added.


She explained that the claims of both countries to the disputed areas had generated uncertainty about the location of the maritime boundary and uncertainty on the part of both domestic and foreign partners regarding their rights and responsibilities.
“This is especially so in relation to oil and gas exploration and production, with all the consequences that implies for future economic development,” Mrs Appiah-Opong noted and, indicated that these factors had culminated in Ghana’s decision to go to the ITLOS.
It would take an average of three years for the issue to be resolved and when resolved, the decision would be final and binding on all parties.
Five arbitrators will decide on the matter. Both countries will choose an arbitrator each but the three remaining arbitrators would be chosen by mutual consent by both countries.
In the event the parties do not mutually agree on the three arbitrators, the rules of ITLOS give the President of ITLOS the mandate to decide on the three remaining arbitrators.

Operation of oil companies

Answering questions from journalists, Mrs Appiah-Opong said oil companies would continue operating in the disputed area.
She also said it was too early to state how much the state would spend on the matter but gave the assurance that Ghana would adhere to internationally accepted fees in such matters.

Peace and Security

The attorney-general gave the assurance that the action would not affect diplomatic relations with Cote d’Ivoire and explained that both countries were signatories to UNCLOS.
“We have adopted a peaceful method. This is not a hostile action,” Mrs Appiah-Opong noted and added that the disputed boundary had been in existence since 1950.
She also told the media that although Ghana had formally notified Cote d’Ivoire of its intention, it was yet to receive a response from that country.
Dr Omane-Boamah gave the assurance that the method adopted by Ghana was in the interest of both countries and Mr Buah added, “this action will make room for investor confidence.”

Number Crunch

It will take an average of three years for Ghana’s boundary dispute with Cote d’Ivoire to be resolved by the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS).