Ghanaians evacuated from Côte d’Ivoire lament alleged extortion while in mandatory quarantine

13 Ghanaians who were evacuated by government from Côte d’Ivoire and are currently under mandatory quarantine at a Hotel in Takoradi are complaining of deceit and extortions by their handlers.

The evacuees who returned on June 25, 2020, say results of their test samples have not been released after more than six days now.

Some of them have told Citi News on condition of anonymity that they have been deceived by their handlers who have taken them to a dilapidated facility other than what was promised them.

On top of this, they claimed their handlers demanded US$150 per a day stay – far more than what they were told; a situation which has led to protests.

They are therefore calling on government to investigate the matter.

“We are 13 Ghanaians evacuated from Côte d’Ivoire, as part of government-led arrangement to stranded citizens. Before departing Côte d’Ivoire those who showed interest to return to Ghana were told of a possible payment (of about $100) to a hotel in Accra for quarantine. Majority of the Ghanaians who showed interest rejected this offer because it was expensive and most people didn’t have money and were also stranded. So, continuous deliberation kept going on regarding the evacuation arrangements until eventually, the Embassy of Ghana in Côte d’Ivoire secured an STC bus to bring us to Ghana to a correspondent here in Ghana whom we are to report to. Now the Embassy made us aware that a payment plan of Gh300 (per day) has been made for us to be quarantined at Boyiosson Hotel or African Beach Hotel in Takoradi.”

“With this payment arrangement, however, most Ghanaians expressed concerns of the inability to pay because most have lost jobs, others are also returning due to emergencies. Nevertheless, we were still encouraged to return to Ghana because the government is making the necessary arrangements and, when we get to Ghana we can negotiate with the correspondent in Ghana and the Hotel about our financial difficulties. By this understanding, most people agreed to return to Ghana believing that a gesture of humanitarian empathy will be shown to us. Even with this, a lot of people didn’t come because they were sceptical. Strangely, we arrive in Takoradi without being taken to either of these Embassy arranged hotels, but instead, we were led by a military vehicle to an isolation centre (Takoradi Beach Hotel). Majority of us were quite surprised because we were never told we will be in an isolation centre with other infectious persons. Although we understood that we will be quarantined”, one of them said.

The evacuees who are sure they do not have the disease told Citi News they do not understand why they have even been made to pay for their stay when government has received so much donations

“ Now what is strangely happening here at the isolation centre by certain people managing the place is that; they are demanding that we pay between $100 – $150 per day for our stay at the isolation centre. They initially requested for $150 and we protested. So indirectly what we see is if we will not pay over 100 USD per day for 7 day they will keep us here for two weeks even if our results are ready.. so we would pay 4200 ghc each. We have been here eight days without any update from any Doctor. Meanwhile while among us are students who need to prepare for exams but staying in this abandoned hotel which has been turned into an isolation centre. How much does the average Ghanaian earn in the first place before such demands?“

They also raised suspicion with the whole arrangement as government has a fund to such isolation.

“Our concern is that, if this is an isolation centre and we know that government has been given COVID-19 relief funds and, with other donor agencies providing some of relief to government and centres;

1. Why are certain scrupulous managers of these isolation centres trying to take money from people who have been evacuated?

2. These same management people called us individually for a meeting now demanding that we should pay Gh450 per day instead of the $150. We have told them that we cannot afford such an amount. Moreover, the Embassy of Ghana did not inform us about this Gh450 per day so where is it coming from?

3. Now we asked these isolation centre managers that in case anyone tests positive to covid, who will pay the rest of the isolation bill? Then they tell us government will do that. So if government will pay the bill for tested positive persons, then why is government not equally taking care of our bill at the isolation centre? No response to this.

4. Our samples have been taken for more than six days now without anyone bringing us results nor updating us on our results.

5. We seem to be suspicious that these isolation centre managers are syndicate working together – be it the police here at post, the security coordinator, the correspondent and some health persons. This is our believe and suspicion.”

 

The founder and chief executive officer of De-Wayo Collections Mr. Haruna A.Nanga

YOUTH ENTREPRENEUR DEVELOPS COMMUNITY The founder and chief executive officer of De-Wayo Collections Mr. Haruna A.Nanga has mobilized the youth of Mamobi ,a suburb in the greater Accrra region of Ghana, to develop the road linking the community market to various areas within the constituency for business to flourish .

Speaking at the ceremony to commission the road for commuters, Mr. Haruna called on the government to embark on developmental projects within the Nima- Mamobi. And entire Zongo communities in Ghana by saying‘’ the strategic locations of Mamobi and Nima would be beneficial for any government or investor who develops or invests in these areas ,considering that, it’s located at the heart of Accra and has one of the most vibrant and growing market in Ghana ‘’

Mr. Haruna A. Nanga, who was the leading financier for the development project, urged the youth to create their own business ventures than relying heavily on the government to provide jobs, adding that’’ there is nothing better than being your own boss’’ On his part, Alhaj Ibrahim Musah, the community leader, advised individuals and organizations within Zongos to adopt sanitation measures for a clean Zongo.

He revealed that ‘’ cleanliness, is next to Godliness’’ De-Wayo Collections is a leading Supply and Distribution company in Ghana, including supplies of Household appliances, and other business ventures .

National Chief Imam welcomes Saudi’s restrictions on Hajj 2020

The National Chief Imam, Sheikh (Dr) Osman Nuhu Sharubutu has welcomed the decision by Saudi Arabia to bar international Hajj pilgrims this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Saudi Arabia on Monday declared that this year’s pilgrimage had been restricted to very limited number of people, specifically those already residing within the Kingdom as part of measures to contain the pandemic

“The Office of the National Chief Imam supports the decision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and commends the Guardian of the No Holy Mosques, King Salman for the wise decision and appropriate action taken.

“It is the understanding and believes of the National Chief Imam that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia took this decision to protect Muslims around the world from contracting the deadly and contiguous COVlD-l9 disease”, the National Chief Imam ONCI said.

A statement issued by the Alhaji Khuzaima Mohammed Osman, the Personal Assistant to the National Chief Imam in Accra yesterday, said despite the importance of the Hajj, safety should be considered first.

“In as much as Hajj is obligatory on physically strong and financially sound Muslims at least once in their life time, this year’s Hajj with COVlD-l9 poses a threat to human health as pilgrims are crowded at religious sites”, it said.

As a result of the proliferating COVlD-l9 cases across the globe and the lack of vaccines, it said, there was the need to keep social distancing protocols among millions of pilgrims to preserve lives in accordance with Islamic principles.

“We pray to Allah to continue to protect the two Holy Mosques, protect and bless the Guardian and Muslims around the World. We pray to Allah to prolong our lives with great health to witness yet many more Hajjs”, the statement said.

Hajj is one of the Five Pillars of Islam which requires Muslims in good health and who could afford to visit Mecca to stand before the structure known as the Kaaba, and praise Allah at least once in a lifetime.

But for the COVID-19 pandemic, an estimated two million people would have visited Mecca and Medina. As of Monday, Saudi Arabia had recorded 161,005 cases of infection and 1,307 deaths.

The country lifted a nationwide lockdown at the weekend. The restriction on Hajj is said to be the only way to observe social distance.

Threat of terrorism is real; let’s collaborate to avert it – Rawlings

Former President Jerry Rawlings has called for more vigilance from civilians and security forces in a bid to avert terrorist attacks.

“Inhabitants of especially the border communities need to remain extra vigilant and observant if we are to avoid any such terrorist attacks on our territory,” Rawlings wrote in a statement.

He said attacks in neighbouring countries should put Ghana on its toes.

“Travel advice and credible intelligence reports from several sources warn of potential terrorist attacks in countries like Ghana and Togo.

“Our country faces a real threat of terrorism with the heightened attacks in neighbouring countries.

“As Ghanaians, we can no longer procrastinate on the matter of terrorism and assume we are insulated from reality.

“The time has come for heightened vigilance by every Ghanaian as we enter a vulnerable period leading up to the December Presidential and Parliamentary elections,” the statement read.

Speaking on the concern of military men being deployed to border communities and the fear of political intimidation, Rawlings said more cooperation is needed between locals and the security services.

“Any unease and mistrust between the military and communities along the border areas will only create an opening for those engaging in terrorist activity to slip through, increasing the threats to our country.

“The military’s role is to defend the territorial integrity of the country and protect the people of Ghana,” he said.

393 new cases bring Ghana’s Covid-19 tally to 18,134 with 5 more deaths, 13,550 recoveries

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) has confirmed 393 new Covid-19 cases in the country, taking the national total to 18,134.

According to its website, the Service put the number of recoveries/discharges at 13,550 as the initial 13,268.

Five new deaths were also confirmed bringing the number 117 as of July 1, 2020.

Regional Breakdown

Greater Accra – 10,087; Ashanti Region – 3,676; Western Region – 1,556; Central Region – 973; Eastern Region – 668; Volta Region – 346; Upper East Region – 274; Northern Region – 137; Oti Region – 112; Western North Region – 102; Bono East Region – 89; Savannah Region – 42; Upper West Region – 40; Bono Region – 18; Ahafo Region – 8; North East Region – 6.

Backlog of passports at Ridge office to be cleared by Friday – Minister

Some Ghanaians hoping to receive their passports at the Ridge office in Accra would have to wait a little longer as officials are yet to clear a backlog before printing new ones.

This follows a closure of the office last week due to an electrical fault that affected their printers.

According to a Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister, Habib Tijani, although the office resumed work last Friday, only one third of the backlog had been cleared.

Mr. Tijani however told Citi News all outstanding passports will be printed by close of day today [ Thursday].

“As at Friday, there was a complete rehabilitation of the place and they started working and started printing passports. Our only problem was how to recover or be able to do the backlog. As I tell you, we have covered one third of what we should have done if the thing had not broken down. We should understand that if there is a backlog, there will be a lot of rush and panic. We use to give people three four days to pick their passports. Definitely it is not going to be as usual, picking your passport between three, or four or five days because of the backlog.I am assuring the public that by the close of day today, [Friday] we will be able to cover the backlog and normal processing will go on”.

Corruption at the passports office’

A survey conducted by the Ghana Integrity initiative anti-corruption Consortium in 2017,  identified the passports office as one of the few government agencies where bribery and corruption is pervasive.

The survey, which was to assess citizen’s understanding of corruption, their perceptions and actual experiences of corruption, show that Ghanaians still perceived the passports office as well as the police service, political parties and the judiciary as being corrupt.

It however revealed that Ghanaians do not regard the payment of what is commonly called facilitation fee as a form of corruption.

Passport acquisition in Ghana

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has given indications that it intends to make the process of passport acquisition in Ghana easy and efficient, a departure from what can best be described as one of the most frustrating processes to go through in the country.

Despite promises by successive governments to improve the process, many Ghanaians are forced to pay bribes, pay exorbitant charges through middlemen popularly known as ‘gorro boys’ or queue as early as 3:00am each day to have their passport applications processed especially at the Accra application center.

The forms for regular application currently goes for GHS 50, and are expected to be processed within 4 weeks, while the forms for express applications are being sold for GHS 100, and are expected to be processed within 2 weeks, although the duration may slightly vary.

Join the fight against child marriage – First Lady urges Ghanaians

The First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo, has charged Ghanaians to join the fight against Girl Child marriage and also empower girls through education.

This year’s International Women’s Day celebration forum focused on girl child marriage and education.

Speaking at the forum on the Theme, “Press for Progress” Madam Akufo-Addo also acknowledged some individuals who had positively impacted the lives of children in their communities.

“The 2018 International Women’s Day theme is ‘Press for progress’. All over the world, we are experiencing strong and concerted activism towards gender parity. Today is an opportunity for us to add our voices to the discussions to get us closer to our goal.

“I certainly want to have my grandchildren to live in a Ghana where we have gender parity so this year’s theme speaks to something deep within me. For me, it means we move despite the obstacles. That we push forward in spite of the resistance. It means that we do not allow anything to stop us. Today, discussions will focus on two important and related issues. Girls’ education and the elimination of child marriages. Why the focus on these two issues? Because education is the catalyst for the development of the individual and the nation.”

Meanwhile the Centre for Democratic Congress (CDD), in a statement marking International Women’s Day, has commended various stakeholders for their immeasurable contribution towards the fight for women’s rights, justice, and equality.

It, however, maintained that progress towards gender parity remains slow.

According to CDD, inequality is very prevalent in women’s participation in politics, in spite of the policies introduced to increase women representation in key government offices.

Quoting a recent Afrobarometer survey, CDD indicated that statistics had shown that a large majority (72%) of Ghanaians “agree” or “agree very strongly” that women should have the same chance of being elected to political office as men. However, women are rarely encouraged to compete for such positions.

“This was evident in the 2016 elections where there was only one female presidential candidate and only one female running mate, representing 14.3% as opposed to 85.7% male. Though there was an uptick in women representation in Parliament in the elections (37, compared to 29 in 2012) – the highest in the country’s history – this is still very low, compared to 238 elected male parliamentarians,”CDD added in its statement.

CDD-Ghana also noted that Ghanaian women, both in the rural and urban settings are confronted with peculiar challenges which threaten their socio-economic and political development.

The Centre, therefore, recommended that government applies the appropriate policies and measures to accelerate the realization of gender equality in Ghana.

Paramount among these is the passage of the Affirmative Action Bill, which will ensure 50:50 representations of women in key public appointments.

Women’s Day: POWA calls for passage of Affirmative Action Bill

The Progressive Organization for Women’s Advancement (POWA), has charged Parliament to quickly see to the realization of the Affirmative Action Bill as the world marks International Women’s Day.

POWA in a statement said legislators must “expedite action on the affirmative action Bill as an effective means to address the historical and asymmetrical gender power relations in Ghana.”

The Bill is expected to provide legal backing for systems and policies that give women equal participation in Ghana.

POWA also condemned attacks on women in the public eye as disgusting and intolerant.

“The horrific attacks meted out to for example the late musician Ebony Reigns only reflects the ultra-conservative and reactionary outlook of our society towards independent and liberated women. Such bigoted act is not only an affront to the fundamental tenets of our republican constitution, but an antithesis to the very essence that governs our self-determination.”

“POWA calls on all right thinking and progressive Ghanaians to absolutely condemn any such acts in the spirit of equity and inclusiveness,” POWA added.

Find below the full statement

The Progressive Organization for Women’s Advancement (POWA), joins the world to commemorate this year’s International Women’s Day.

As Ghana also celebrates its 61st anniversary, P.O.W.A. congratulates all who have been part of the independence struggle and all those who continue to advance the cause of equal citizenship rights.

POWA recognizes that it is only when practical meaning is giving to our democracy and rule of law that every citizen’s right can be protected and social justice achieved for all.

POWA has witnessed with much disgust the intolerant media and public attacks that has been visited on women in public life especially in recent years.

The horrific attacks meted out to for example the late music artist Ebony Reigns only reflects the ultra-conservative and reactionary outlook of our society towards independent and liberated women.

Such bigoted act is not only an affront to the fundamental tenets of our republican constitution but an antithesis to the very essence that governs our self-determination.

POWA calls on all right thinking and progressive Ghanaians to absolutely condemn any such acts in the spirit of equity and inclusiveness.

POWA also appeals to Parliament to expedite action and consideration of the affirmative action bill as an effective means to address the historical and asymmetrical gender power relations in Ghana.

POWA wishes all Ghanaian women a happy women’s day!

VICTORIA HAMAH
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR – POWA
+ 233 (0) 551445757

By: Delali Adogla-Bessa/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Nana Addo’s comment on cash-for-seat allegation ‘improper’ – MFWA

The Media Foundation for West Africa [MFWA], has described Nana Akufo-Addo’s submission on the ongoing cash-for-seat bipartisan committee probe as ‘improper’.

According to the Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, the President’s attempt to belittle the ongoing probe is very disappointing.

Speaking to Citi News, Sulemana Braimah said what the President said was hypocritical, because he had previously praised his administration for setting up bipartisan committees to probe cases of alleged corruption.

“In his own introduction, he has alluded to the fact that, in the first year of his administration, there have been a series of bipartisan enquiries and that was something he thought was positive because he said there was none in the previous regime. And if you say this and then later you try to almost rubbish what is going on, then we thought this particular one was not proper at all,” he said.

Although the bipartisan committee hearing allegations of corruption against the Trade Ministry is yet to complete its work and present its findings, President Akufo-Addo, who had already stated that there was no wrongdoing after he was briefed by the Trade Minister, Alan Kyerematen, repeated his conviction that there was no wrongdoing.

Senior Minister, Yaw Osafo Marfo, has however defended President Akufo Addo’s comments on the matter saying the President did not wrong.

According to him, the President is armed with some facts to dismiss the allegations.

“He has investigated the matter before and was repeating what he has done, so what is prejudicial about it? The matter came, he requested his ministers involved to give him a report, it is something he himself has investigated and has all the fact,” he said.

Parliamentary probe will clear the air

This notwithstanding, the President said he was in favour of the probe and the transparency it has brought to the process.

“The fact that there is a public enquiry in itself, does not shake my own conviction that nothing untoward had taken place and that is the reason I took that position that I did, so that there can be no question that anybody is attempting to cover up anything, and people can see in the bright light of day on television what took place and make up for themselves their own mind whether or not something had gone on.”

Mohammed Mubarak-Muntaka, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Alan Kyerematen and officials from the Millennium Excellence Foundation, organizers of the Ghana Expatriates Business Awards, have all appeared before the committee to give testimony.

But none of the expatriates invited to testify before the committee showed up for the final day of sitting, forcing the Committee to adjourn the sitting indefinitely.

By: Farida Yusif/citifmonline.com/Ghana

Corruption perception can sink Akufo-Addo’s gov’t – Franklin Cudjoe

The Akufo-Addo government may pay dearly in the coming years if nothing is done to correct the perception being created in the minds of Ghanaians following the numerous corruption allegations that have been leveled against the New Patriotic Party administration.

The first year of the New Patriotic Party’s administration has been rocked by a number of corruption allegations including the BOST contaminated fuel scandal, allegations of corruption by A-Plus against the two deputy chiefs of staff, allegations of conflict of interest against the Finance Minister over the issuance of a Bond, and recently the allocation of GHc800, 000 for the creation of a website for the Special Development Ministry.

According to Franklin Cudjoe, President of IMANI, such perceptions may sink the Akufo-Addo government if pragmatic measures are not put in place immediately to correct the impression of corruption against a president who promised to protect the public purse.

Speaking on Citi FM’s news analysis programme, The Big Issue on Saturday, Franklin Cudjoe noted that, Ghana’s political landscape thrives on “a lot of hot air and a lot of allegations,” adding that due to this, despite the good things done or being done by a government “what tends to happen is that, allegations of corruption actually swells at some point, and swallows the government irrespective of how well they are doing.”

“And I think if care is not taken, in spite of the yet to be proven allegations of corruption within this [NPP] administration, it is the perception of people that may eventually sink the administration if they don’t take care. That has been the trajectory in this country. In instances where they’ve even been proven…you end up having government appointees defending what I call the indefensible. So for me, the perception is what we really need to be dealing with. Unfortunately, with corruption, perception seems to be the reality,” he added.

Mr. Cudjoe made the remark when panelists on The Big Issue were reviewing President Akufo-Addo’s first year in office.

He noted that although the macroeconomic indicators look good, “If they [NPP government] don’t take care, these allegations of corruption which incidentally are mostly emanating from their own camp are the ones that will sink them.”

GHc800,000 website row

There is currently intense pressure from the Minority in Parliament for the Minister of Special Development Initiatives, Mavis Hawa Koomson, to resign following revelations that her ministry intends to blow GHc800,000 on the creation of a website.

Her Ministry had requested for about GHc1 billion to undertake a number of projects including warehouses, boreholes, procurement of ambulances and vehicles, among other things.

But the GHc800, 000 budget request for the creation of a website has caused public uproar, with the Minority accusing the government of negligence.

False corruption claims will not distract us 

Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in responding to these accusations of corruption which he described as attempts to tarnish his government, said they will not be distracted by the claims.

He feels there have “been systematic efforts to try and tag [his] government with corruption.”

Speaking at at Kyebi during his tour of the Eastern Region, the President stressed that attempts to falsely accuse his hardworking officials of corruption will not deter him from carrying out his mandate.

Nana Addo’s appointees showing signs of corruption – Rev. Martey

This comes on the back of an observation made by former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, Reverend Professor Emmanuel Martey, who said some officials of the NPP administration, are already showing signs of corruption.

The man, who blatantly criticized officials of the erstwhile Mahama administration for being corrupt and having mismanaged the country, appears to be turning the heat on the Akufo-Addo administration.

 

Source: Citifmonline