GRi Newsreel 17 01 - 2002

More women getting involved in drug related crimes

President Kufuor advocates teamwork among Ministers of State

President Kufuor calls for a new outlook in international relations

Odeneho Ababio did not step down on own volition - Mbea

Auditor-General to begin headcount of pensioners

General Afrifa to be re-buried

 

 

More women getting involved in drug related crimes

 

Accra (Greater Accra) 17 January 2002 - The number of women arrested for possessing hard drugs like cocaine, heroin and marijuana went up to 29 in 2001 from 10 in 2000.

 

Statistics made available in Accra on Wednesday by the Narcotic Control Board indicated that 1,066 people were arrested in connection with drug related crimes last year compared to 981 in 2000.

 

Those arrested for possessing marijuana rose from 889 in 2000 to 943 in 2001. The figure for heroine also rose from 59 to 73 but the number of people arrested for cocaine dropped from 33 to 26 for the period under review.

 

In addition, 14 people were arrested for possessing and using both heroin and cocaine during the period. Col Isaac Kwasi Akuoko (rtd), Executive Secretary of the Board, said the disturbing figures on drug cases demanded greater effort by all especially families of victims to help fight it.

 

He said if parents, teachers and chiefs would put in more effort to educate their people on the dangers and harmful effects of drugs these figures would reduce. Col Akuoko said the Board was identifying marijuana-growing areas and added that public information on these areas would be useful.

GRi../

 

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President Kufuor advocates teamwork among Ministers of State

Accra (Greater Accra) 17 January 2002 - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday asked Ministers of State not to allow individualistic and selfish tendencies to break their team spirit and cohesion.

 

"We want positive dividend for our people to come out of the democratic, peaceful environment we have worked so hard for. Let us all resolve to work together to win as a team for our country."

 

President Kufuor told the opening Session of a day's seminar on Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) for Ministers of State at GIMPA in Accra that the government had to fashion out an action plan to move the economy and society forward in conformity with its vision for the future.

 

"The whole nation is waiting to hear us. Ghana's development partners are also waiting to know how we are going to implement our vision to unleash the wealth of the country, centring around the private sector as the engine of growth".

 

The seminar was organised to consider the final implications of the GPRS programme that would be the driving force for the national budget for the next three years. Attended by all Ministers of State, the seminar would also come out with the agenda for the rest of the tenure of office of the government.

 

He said the seminar should come out with an action plan to move the economy forward in order that the average Ghanaian would begin to feel the positive change, promised by the government, in their daily lives.

 

President Kufuor said the government would come out with a firm action plan showing clearly and distinctively a list of priorities that would be evident in this year's budget for the medium term period.

 

"When we are committed to the implementation of the action plan, most of the citizenry would know the direction of government and come along and offer us the mandate to continue to be in office, " he added.

 

President Kufuor said the action plan would be centred on five major areas; notably infrastructure, rural development, provision of social services, legal framework and private sector development.

 

Three major trunk roads in the country the Accra-Kumasi, Accra-Aflao and Accra-Yamoransa roads would be given priority attention.

 

In addition, one major feeder road to a productive area in every region would be selected for rehabilitation or development to open up the country for investment, increase in productivity and creation of jobs.

 

President Kufuor said development of the ports of Tema and Takoradi would be accelerated through private sector participation to make them competitive for global trade.

 

He said existing telecommunications agreements would be re-negotiated to open up the sector for competition to bring about efficiency required in their operations and thereby reduce the cost of services provided to customers.

 

President Kufuor said with the efforts and sacrifices made by the people in the energy sector hardly had there been reserves to meet contingencies. Therefore, the government would work diligently to enlarge the base and diversify, in order not to truncate national development programme but increase the availability of energy to boost industrial growth and production.

 

He said rural development would be centred on agriculture production and inroads had been made in the production of rice and maize to achieve self-sufficiency and with good management reduce the high import bills on rice.

 

President Kufuor said mechanisation and improvement in the use of irrigation facilities would be intensified as well as improvement in extension and research services.

 

It would also encourage production of cash crops such as cashew, partner the private sector for increased industrialisation and agro-processing and to add value to traditional crops such as cocoa.

 

He said social services would be centred on education and improved health delivery would be given priority through the introduction of a comprehensive scheme as well as the development of model health centres for every district in the country.

 

President Kufuor said the government was working on a new policy on education to include pre-school education for children from four years, improve all levels of education. He said the judiciary would be supported with basic infrastructure courtrooms, better conditions of service and competent staff to dispense justice quickly.

 

President Kufuor said the Attorney General's Department would be equipped with competent staff, who would have improved conditions of service including courses outside the country for prosecutors and lawyers to improve on their efficiency.

 

He said law enforcement agencies would also be catered for with the provision of about 500 vehicles, provision of good communication gadgets and improvement and expansion of facilities at the Police Training School by the end of the year to increase in-take.

 

President Kufuor said the new Ministry of Private Sector Development would be given the needed support and co-operation to build up a productive ministry that would advocate for the private sector and reduce red tapeism and other vices that affected the sector.

 

He said the government would facilitate access to the private and financial sectors to fashion out strategies to promote investments to generate wealth for the people with the support of developing partners. The Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama was also present at the seminar.

GRi../

 

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President Kufuor calls for a new outlook in international relations

 

Accra (Greater Accra) 17 January 2002 - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Wednesday said it was time international relations were infused with diplomats with sincere conscience and sense of humanity.

 

Such an innovation would requires diplomats to work to the dictates of their conscience and forthright in their decisions to entrench democracy in their host countries, President Kufuor said when Mr Craig Murray, Deputy British High Commissioner, paid a farewell call on him at the Castle, Osu.

 

Mr Murray, who leaves Ghana after three years duty tour, also introduced his successor Mr Robin Gwynn, who accompanied him to President Kufuor.

 

President Kufuor commended Mr Murray for the positive impact he made during the political campaign towards the 2000 elections, which endeared him to most of the politicians and the political parties, adding "I want to believe that you did so not to interfere or take a bias view of the situation in the country but to ensure that the right thing was done to bring democratic rule to the country".

 

He said the government was conscious of its role in the politics of the country and the African continent and would work diligently to justify the mandate given by Ghanaians to rule the country.

 

Mr Murray said there had been tremendous changes in the country since he assumed office from the era of the culture of silence to true democratic rule, which should be a great lesson to African countries.

 

He said the fiscal and monetary policies were on the right track for good economic climate towards national development, there was absolute liberty and free atmosphere for the people to operate. "I leave Ghana with a great deal of confidence in a country on the right track towards development and President Kufuor must take much of the credit".

 

Mr Murray said his great memoirs on Ghana were the 2000 elections, which clearly showed that democracy could thrive and work in Africa and the people could decide on who should govern them.

GRi../

 

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Odeneho Ababio did not step down on own volition - Mbea

 

Mankessim (Central Region) 17 January 2002 - Ebusuapanyin Ebow Mbea of the Mankesim Nsona Paakesedo royal family has denied that Odeneho Gyapong Ababio President of the National House of Chiefs, stepped-down on his own volition from the Judicial Committee sitting on the Mankessim chieftaincy dispute.

 

Addressing a press conference at Mankessim at the weekend, Ebusuapanyin Mbea said Odeneho Ababio stepped down because of a motion he had filed on November 30, last year against his membership of the panel.

 

Reacting to a publication in an Accra weekly newspaper, Ebususpanyin Mbea denied the assertion by Odeneho Ababio that he had stepped-down before the petition and that he had instructed the registrar or the clerk to replace him.

 

Ebusuapanyin Mbea, leading a faction in the Mankessim chieftaincy dispute, is challenging the nomination and installation of Nana Edu the VI, also known as Richard Ebow Annan Hagan as Omanhene of the Mankessim traditional area.

 

He said Mr Ebow Dawson, counsel for Nana Edu's faction was the personal solicitor and counsel for Odeneho Ababio in a number of chieftaincy and criminal cases before the courts at Sekondi. "I can not imagine how justice can be done to my faction with Odeneho Ababio on the panel hearing our appeal," he asked.

 

Ebusuapanyin Mbea expressed the hope that the current political dispensation regarding government's strict adherence to the rule of law, "justice will be seen to be exhibited," in fulfilment of the aspirations of "positive change."

GRi../

 

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Auditor-General to begin headcount of pensioners

 

Accra (Greater Accra) 17 January 2002 - The Auditor-General's Department would on Monday begin a special headcount of all pensioners on Government of Ghana Payroll as part of measures to expunge illegal names from it.

 

All pensioners, who are not members of the Ghana Pensioners' Association in the Greater Accra, are, therefore, to report to the Audit Service Office at the Central Treasury, Kinbu, with pension letters from their previous places of employment.

 

A statement issued to the Ghana News Agency in Accra and signed by Mr John Lartey, Deputy Auditor-General, said the exercise would enable the pensioners to fill necessary pension headcount forms.

 

It said members of the Ghana Government Pensioners' Association in the Greater Accra Region would be provided with the forms on their meeting days at their respective zones on production of their pension identity cards. The statement urged pensioners to comply with the directive to avoid their names being struck out from the payroll.

 

It noted that "ghost names" on government pension payrolls had become a major financial drain on the country, especially in the three northern regions due to the high level of illiteracy. "Most often a pensioner dies and his next of kin takes over to collect pensions, due to the fact that these forms are only thumbprints," he said.

 

The statements said about 100,000 peoples were on the government's pension payroll. The government had said some 300 billion cedis was siphoned from the state coffers a year through "ghost names" and therefore embarked on an exercise to plug the holes that had created the avenues for some officials to insert "ghost names" on payrolls.

GRi../

 

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General Afrifa to be re-buried

 

Krobo (Ashanti Region) 17 January 2002 - The family of the General Okatakyie Akwasi Amankwaaa Afrifa, Chairman of the erstwhile National Liberation Council (NLC) has announced arrangements for his reburial and final funeral rites.

 

The former Chairman of the NLC was among eight top military officers murdered in the heady days of the Armed Forces Revolutionary Council (AFRC) in June 1979.

 

In an interview with the Ghana News Agency at Krobo, near Asante-Mampong, Mr Thomas E. Atakora, Senior brother of General Afrifa, said his mortal remains would be brought to Kumasi by a military helicopter on Friday, January 25.

 

He said the cortege would pass through Manhyia, Kejetia, Suame, Maakro-Junction, through new road to Old Tafo en-route to Asante-Mampong. Because of the heavy traffic along this route, the cortege would be led by police motorcade. There would be wake keeping at Krobo on Friday, January 25.

 

The re-burial and final funeral rites would take place at Krobo on Saturday, January 26 to be followed the next day by the memorial thanksgiving service at Krobo Methodist Church.

 

The remains of the General, which were exhumed at Adoagyiri in the Eastern Region on August 8, 2001 was handed-over to families of the deceased at the Garrison Methodist-Presbyterian Church at 37 Military hospital after a non-denominational service on Thursday, December 27.

 

The others whose remains were exhumed were General Ignatius Kutu Acheeampong and General Frederick William Kwasi Akuffo, both former heads of state, Major-General Robert Ebenezer Abossey Kotei, Air Vice Marshall George Yaw Boakye, Major-General Edward Kwaku Utuka, Rear Admiral Joy Amedume and Colonel

Roger Joseph Atogi Feli.

 

Late General Afrifa was the Abakomahene of Krobo in the Asante-Mampong Traditional Area and was later honoured with the title of "Okatakyie" by Otumfuo Opoku Ware 11, Asantehene, after the NLC handed over power to the Progress Party Government led by Professor Kofi Abrefa Busia in 1969.

 

Mr Atakorah said Daasebre Osei Bonsu, Mamponghene, has been informed as custom demanded. The Mamponghene appointed a delegation to accompany the family of General Afrifa to inform Otumfuo Osei Tutu 11, Asantehene in line with custom.

 

Meanwhile, Krobo, the small quiet farming community has been given a new look for the burial and funeral rites of General Afrifa, who initiated the Krobo rehabilitation project.

GRi../

 

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