…Prophesies for 2014 Break-Away NPP Group, Gay Rights Legislation & Black Stars Player’s Death! By Philip Forson

ImagePastor Chief Mensah

A break-away group in the largest opposition party in Ghana, advocacy by prominent figures for gay rights legislation and the death of a darling Black Stars’ player were the prophesies revealed by the Head Pastor of Accra- New Town based Mighty Chapel International during the 31st December, 2013 Watch-Night Service.

Pastor Chief Mensah said during the service that though the New Year has in stock good fortunes for the nation, in terms of plentiful harvest as a result of more rain, there’s also ‘bad news’ for the year.

He cautioned in prophecy that “confusion” would disintegrate the “largest opposition party” in Ghana, leading to separation of the ranks of the party to form a separatist group with it consequences disturbing the peace of the country.

He added that there would be a truce in the protracted “confusion” among the party members to reach for a common understanding and unity.

Pastor Chief Mensah also said Ghanaians would witness in 2014 a sudden advocacy led by prominent citizens in the country advancing the legislation for “gays and lesbians” rights in Ghana.

He further stated that the senior national team, the Black Stars will lose one of its key players through heart attack at the peak of the team’s preparation for the World Cup, adding that the impact would traumatize the entire country.

The Head Pastor of Mighty Chapel urged all religious believers to pray to sustain the peace in the country, as well as to avert the bad prophecy.

He, however, maintained that 2014 is a year of plenty in which many Ghanaians will prosper, explaining that 2013 was a year of burden and therefore the New Year brings forth rest from burden to restoration and fulfillment.

 

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ATTA-MILLS’ GIFT ON CHRISTMAS DAY!

ImageFree water, 24/7 at the ‘Atta-Mills Junction’

By Philip Forson

At the Ofankor old barrier on the Nsawam road, there is a by-pass that leads to Sowutuom linking the western part of Accra. On this link road is a landmark location called the ‘Atta-Mills Junction.’ Typical of Ghanaian way of naming streets, the junction automatically assumed its status in reference to the late President John Evans Atta-Mills’ house located on the edge of the Sowutuom – Ofankor road. 

The house is famous not only as belonging to the late president, but for one thing: free water supply to the residents, 24 hours everyday! In Ofankor, just like other suburbs in Accra, to have running water in your home is a privilege, so the gesture of free water is most treasured by the people. I have observed for the past five years of living in the area, how water is being fetched by people from all walks of life at the ‘Atta-Mills Junction.’ For some residents, it is a routine task for them when returning from their work in the evening, will have to park their cars to load gallons of water for household use.

There is always someone fetching water at every hour of the day. So on Christmas Day!

The late president’s house at Ofankor is a known trivial topic of reference in Ghanaian politics. Being curious about the free water supply, I decided to find out the motivation behind the gesture and also to ask few questions about the house and it occupants, which I later found the late law professor visited on only five occasions in his lifetime without spending a night. 

After several failed attempts to find someone in the house, I finally met the occupant, Mr. John Ballo, who readily granted an interview knowing my intensions. He has been occupying the building since 2003, when Professor Mills was then the NDC’s flagbearer in opposition.

He gave a brief history of the building that, the project started in 1991 and was left uncompleted until 2003 when he moved in half-completed. “Prof. never lived in this house. He only came here twice on few minutes as President, and on three occasions when he was not a President,” Mr. Ballo recalled.

Mr. John Ballo was Professor Mills’ aide before he became the Head of State.  According to him, the late president was concerned about the water situation in Ofankor, as well as the poor roads.  It is however, not surprising that when he became President, he delivered his cherished dream to the people.

Three boreholes were constructed under Mr. John Ballo’s supervision. One was built in front of the Ofankor Chief’s Palace. The rest, one near the Ofankor Post Office and the other was built for the Asofah township. The main roads from Sowutuom and Asofah linking the old Ofankor barrier were also constructed for the first time.

Professor Mills, demonstrating his willingness to help the ordinary person through his own means, approved a suggestion to him by Mr. Ballo to extend a standing-pipe from his main house to the outside of the walls to serve the nearby residents and the public. Water in the house, beside household chores, was mainly used in watering the lawn. Professor Mills personally paid for all the plumbing works to extend the pipe outside the house. And ever since, that gesture has become a respite for thousands of residents who would have spent daily money on buying this basic necessity of life.

ImageFront View of the late Professor Mills’ Ofankor house

Mr. Ballo also recounted a cherished moment with Professor Mills as President when the latter had gone to the Pentecost University College at Sowutuom as a guest of honor to the university’s function. The distance between the Pentecost University and the ‘Atta-Mill Junction’ is about five minute-drive.

Ballo jokingly requested from his boss (the President) to pay him a “courtesy call” now that the President was in his ‘territory.’ Professor Mill was said to have laughed over the request. But, unexpected to Ballo, his request was granted. Just after the event at the university, the president’s convoy made it way straight to the ‘Atta-Mill Junction’, marking the last time Professor Mills visited his house.  

Mr. Ballo said when the President entered the house, he (Ballo) respectfully asked to take his boss round to see work done on the house. “Oh Ballo, it’s OK, it’s OK,” Professor Mills was said have simply rejected the idea to inspect the conditions of his house.

The late president came out of the house only to inspect the standing pipe, presumably to witness how that little gesture was making in ordinary people’s lives. At that moment, thousands of residents had besieged the front view of the house, knowing that the President of the Republic was in their neighborhood.

Professor Mills went close to the pipe and smiled at it, which Ballo intimated that he gladly realized the deep satisfaction in his boss for the small support to the people. He waved at the crowd and off into his car he went.

Mr. Ballo said water would forever be supplied free to the residents, as long as he continues to pump the underground water, since that was the wish and a cherished gift by the late president to the residents of Ofankor.

Contact: unnkjoe8@gmail.com

 

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HOW DUTCH JOURNALIST DESTROYS GHANA’S IMAGE …Accuses Ex-Prez, Diplomats, Others As Drug Traffickers! By Philip Forson

Sanne

A Dutch journalist, Sanne Terlingen who paid a short visit to Ghana and roamed around to solicit views on cases of drug smuggling has seriously dented the image of the country with her wild allegations, describing Ghana as “narco State” or narcotic endemic country.
Her article which has been circulated in the Dutch media accused politicians (Ministers of State, ambassadors), judges, police officers and other public office holders in Ghana as corrupt officials who engage in the drug trade without backing her allegations with any proof.
She has also made a derogatory claim against former President Kufuor as drug trafficker, a huge attack on the integrity of Ghana’s respected former president aimed at bringing his name into disrepute in an international media.
It is surprising to wonder what motives influenced the Dutch journalist to pursue such an agenda to tarnish the image of Ghana and its former president, including senior police officers, judges and politicians in the international media with such falsehoods and fabrications.
The police administration and National Security must be interested in this story which sends negative message of the country to the international community by inviting the journalist to Ghana to help assist investigations into her allegations.
“This total disregard by some unprofessional journalists to apply basic ethics in the profession must stop. The unsubstantiated allegations were unnecessary and this exposes how some foreign journalists come to African to do lazy job just to claim fame in their home country”, said a senior Ghanaian journalist who condemned the story as lacking fairness in journalism.
He added: “I think former president Kufuor’s office must issue a statement to condemn this lady and her story or better still sue her for bringing his (Kufuor) name into disrepute.”
The unfortunate story published in the One World magazine, a media outlet fully subsidized by the Dutch government has the tendency to destroy the cordial diplomatic relations between Ghana and Holland existing for the past 300 years.
Some government spokespersons in Ghana who have read the story indicated their displeasure against the publication as baseless and unwarranted by a foreign journalist to destroy the country’s images.
“The Dutch government must investigate Sanne Terlingen (journalist) in order to find the basis for her hidden agenda to make these wicked allegations against Ghana,” a government communications member who pleaded anonymous demanded.
The whole article has been reproduced below for readers. It was originally in Dutch and has been translated into English using Google translate.

Ghana: Model Country To Narco State
By Sanne Terlingen

A quarter of the cocaine coming to Europe passes through West Africa. Guinea is a known narco state, but now drug lords have even infiltrate the cabinet of donor darling Ghana. “The problem of drug trafficking through Ghana is a problem for many Ghanaians.”
”We miss Eric. We miss him so much that our stomach does hurt, like homesickness. “
Corn Farmer Abyeiku swings wildly with his left arm. His blue pesticide sprayer wobbles on his back. With his right hand he holds the load of firewood on his bike under control. He cycled straight back from his field to tell how much good Eric has done to the village of Busunya. “He built eight roads and a hospital. For nearly a hundred children, he paid school fees.” “Eric has also helped me,” said Nicholas ‘Oh Yes’ Duodo. He is better and descent. With his friend Israel he came pulling on a moped. “Thanks to Eric, my second son is now studying in London.”

Eric Amoateng (1953) sat in parliament on behalf of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), one of Ghana’s two major political parties. He represented Busunya and the surrounding district of Nkoranza North, located in the nondescript middle of the country. But since November 2005 he’s gone. He is in the United States in prison for drug trafficking. A month after he pleaded guilty, the inhabitants of Busunya named a street after him. They hung banners: “Cocaine or no cocaine, Amoateng is still our MP.”

While Amoateng street shows – the flattened dirt road next to the office party – more and more villagers were coming.. They all want to say something nice about their former director. “Are you going to write it? Good! “, Encourages an older woman. Twenty minutes earlier she refused to leave. Spread Amoateng’s name. They shouted: “Down with the whites who speak evil.
Ghana’s biggest scandal
The largest cocaine scandal in Ghana is the MV Benjamin Case. In April 2006 NACOB received a tip that a boat (the MV Benjamin) with a cargo of cocaine is en route to the port. The ship was located only after the drugs were taken aboard. 76 packs of 30 pounds were gone. The police took a package to complete it investigations. Later it became part of another ‘search’ to be.
Investigation
An official investigation led by Chief Justice Theodora Wood showed that the MV Benjamin came to Ghana after 14 days, sailing between Venezuela and Cape Verde. There were two boats loaded with cargo of drugs on the deck. Back in Ghana, large and small canoes brought to the mainland the packets of drugs, where a Korean (aka Killer) and Ghanaian ( aka The Limping Man) with the help of 11 locals standing ready loaded in a Toyota. A policeman, who caught the men on the beach, left them alone in exchange for “a few dollars.” Five crew members of the MV Benjamin were sentenced a total of 25 years in prison, but the Limping Man until February 2012 continue to be at large. The brain behind the MV Benjamin Case has never been found.

Secret meeting
A few days after the discovery of the MV Benjamin, there was a secret meeting in the house of policeman Kofi Boakye. With drug lords Tagor and Emmanuel Boakye discussed how to set up the situation. The conversation was recorded, and Tagor and Emmanuel were thus sentenced to 15 years in prison. In 2009, they were acquitted after a change of political power. Boakye was never convicted. He was even appointed head of the police academy.
Currently, Emmanuel has an office in Tema. Hang on his wall were posters of fish, because “I am an ordinary fisherman, not a drug lord,” as he says. His office – with gold plated pencil boxes and a red carpet – however with ‘personal reasons’ he is heavily protected. For the entrance hang multiple surveillance cameras. Who is link with drug trafficking dares to explain, count on several calls from people. “Such rumors are bad for my fishing business.”
Scandal each year
More than a quarter of the cocaine that is snorted in Europe comes from West Africa, according to a research by the United Nations. Not that coca plants grow in Africa, the plantations are located in South America. But the drugs that entered Europe from there were increasingly being seized. Therefore cartels from Venezuela, Colombia and Mexico were looking for a new, less risky route. With old freighters, container and fishing boats and small submarines they bring their coke parties to African countries with porous borders and corrupt law enforcement. From there, the drugs go by land (through Mali and Morocco to Spain), by sea (through Ghana to Antwerp or Amsterdam) or by plane (via Ghana and Nigeria to Amsterdam or London) in smaller lots to Europe. How many pounds are there exactly smuggled through the continent is unknown? Estimates range from 30,000 to 250,000 pounds per year, with a total value of 3 to 14 billion dollars.

“Every year there is a drug scandal,” says Dr. Kwesi Aning. The media always called on the research director of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre. He’s been busy, so he wants to be alone at seven o’clock in the morning interviewed – for the rest of the country is from the springs. “In 2004, police found 675 kilos of cocaine in the cold store of a businessman with a good reputation,” said Aning. “In 2005 we had the incident with parliamentarian Amoateng. In 2006, the largest coke scandal in Ghana’s history, the MV Benjamin Case. Followed in 2009, we caught the organizer of the Ghana Fashion Week with five kilos of cocaine hidden in hollowed yams (nature roots), and last year showed cocaine that as evidence filed in court suddenly to be changed. There were alternate Director of the Criminal Intelligence Service and the then head of the narcotics unit involved. The latter was the only one with a key to the safe where the cocaine was stored. Researcher Aning: “These are the most notable incidents; you must imagine there are many undetected cases of individual drug smugglers.”

“Well, every country has its bad apples,” says a senior police request. “Cocaine trafficking is a real problem here.” Even the boss of the Criminal Intelligence Service sees no reason to drugs later put on the agenda. Ghana has a special unit to tackle drug smuggling: Narcotics Control Board (NACOB). However, the representative of the unit was not available for comment. It has just been announced that the head of security of Ghana’s main airport has been arrested in connection metheroïnesmokkel to the U.S for allegedly paying $10,000 through courier and customs. “We have a big problem in Ghana,” says Dr. Aning that afternoon at four different radio stations.
Balls on credit
Another Ghanaian living abroad was arrested, Michael. He ended up in prison ten years ago in Amsterdam. “He wanted to buy a car and working as a taxi driver, but had no startup capital. So he got cocaine packets on credit, says his sister Cecilia in a hotel in Tema port. With her pink suit she has a striking appearance. When asked whether her brother got the coke from drug lord Emmanuel, notorious for the aforementioned MV Benjamin Case, she pulls pale. She grabs her purse, slammed too much money on the table and leaves without her Fanta to drink. In the evening she sends a text message that she does not want to talk.

It was stupid to meet Cecilia in the hotel, explains a childhood friend of Emmanuel during a tour along the coast of Ghana. He points to the hotels over the last decade with dirty money from the ground pounded. The owner of the hotel in Tema flew up and down with drug lord Emmanuel. “Therefore he will always remain loyal to him, and you should not talk in his surroundings about Emmanuel.” Money is blood, so goes a famous Ghanaian proverb. “If you give someone money, it leads to an eternal bond. Drug barons use a particle of the money to help their family and their community and can count on eternal protection. “
Proud family
“The problem of drug trafficking in Ghana is that Ghanaians find it not a problem,” says Dr. Kwesi Aning. “As a cousin goes to the Netherlands, remains there six months and upon returning home, the family home is repaired, building new house and buys a new car, that’s the whole family pride. It does not matter how he earned his money.”
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime less than 1 percent of the population in West Africa is addicted to cocaine. In transit countries such as Nigeria and Ghana the usage is common among men. “That is more than the benefit from trade”, emphasizes Dr. Aning. “Our health care is not equipped to cope. All those addicts’ users mostly end up in prison.”

In addition, there is a clear connection between drug trafficking and the amount of violence in a country. According to the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies the number of murders increased in Guatemala between 2004 and 2008 by 50 percent, in parallel with the volume of transmitted drug. The corruption is increasing. When Jamaica was the major drug transit port to the U.S., the country fell more than fifty places on the anti – corruption ranking of Transparency International.
Drugs Baron as president
In Ghana, there is a new class of highly educated entrepreneurs’ drugs lords with warm ties with politicians, judges, police officers and officials, warned the Centre for Strategic and International Studies two years ago. Drug barons injecting cocaine money in underdeveloped areas where formal government structures are largely absent, and thus boosting the patronage machine. In exchange for his favors, the inhabitants of such territory of the drug lord loyalty and they provide him services. “The combination of criminal activities and a patronage system in Colombia and Italy led to the emergence of the mafia,” says Dr. Aning. “If this continues we will soon have a drug lord as president.”

Gloria (not her real name) confirms that years ago she broke up with a cousin of former President Kufuor because he was involved in cocaine trafficking. “I kept looking around and discovered that many more senior figures were involved in drug trafficking.” Ministers did not smuggle themselves, says Gloria. “They have their men. If such a man was arrested, then the Minister calls the police.”
There are more indications of drug trafficking by Kufuor and his associates. After the party parliamentarian (Amoateng) belonging to Kufuor’s party was arrested in the U.S., Narcotics unit: NACOB discovered that an intermediary of Amoateng ‘donations sent ‘ to the charitable foundation of Albert Dapaah, the then Minister of Communications. The minister denied any involvement in drug trafficking, but several researchers argue that the Kan Dapaah Foundation was used to wash drug money. The moment NACOB decided to open further investigations, President Kufuor changed his ministers. Kan Dapaah was promoted to Minister of the Interior, including NACOB. The investigation into matter was stopped; the officers involved were made inactive.

Also in Wikileaks cables from the U.S. Embassy in Accra is said about drug activities within Kufuor’s government. “But do not think that just walk around in this party drug lords,” warns Gloria. “Real drug dealers are not so stupid to put all their chips on a party under Kufuor, the drug lords in the large condemned MV Benjamin Case. That had to because there was international attention. Once the opposition came to power, these men were acquitted. Rare, how can that be? “
Eric comes back
On 31 January, the first meeting took place in Accra, the capital of West Africa Commission on Drugs. The committee set up by the Kofi Annan Foundation indicates a policy which African countries can enter to jointly fight against drugs.

Dr. Aning hopes that the Commission will take a good institutions and the Government under the microscope, different drugs will continue to grow in Ghana. “Government visiting Ghana, the president praises. This is because a donor darling Ghana is a model country in Africa. “The U.S. Embassy sprinkled with compliments when late President Mills during his first overseas trip subjected himself to an expanded inspection by the customs.” And then sit same with western leaders to discuss Ghana’s growing drug problem.” That attitude bothers Aning, who noted that Mills during his reign has not addressed major drug lord problem. “I understand that politicians do not want to put their lives in danger, but Mills knew he was dying. He could have done more. Western politicians had to speak to him.
In the village of Busunya, they do not care about. There they are happy because the U.S. Bureau of Prisons has just announced that Eric Amoateng would be released on July 30, 2014. “I ‘m going to vote for him,” said Nicholas ‘Oh Yes’ Duodo excited. The same applies to farmers Abyeiku. “Now is a fellow of Eric to power, but that does – compared with Eric – very little. Two months ago, Eric’s street sign blown away. He did not even replace it.”
Source: Sanne Terlingen, OneWorld.nil/14-06-2013
Photos: Sanne Terlingen (Abyeiku on Amoateng Street) & UK Home Office (cocaine seized lollipops from Ghana)

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Opinion: Do ordinary people understand supreme court’s verdict, at least for now? By Philip Forson

Justice William Atuguba

The historic hearing of the election petition which was telecast live on television and radio, courtesy the Chief Justice after popular demand has really educated most Ghanaians on courtroom proceedings.

It was common to see and hear how legal terms and words such as “my lords, learned friend, pink sheets and over-voting” have become favorite signposts on vehicles, as well as catch phrases in different spoken languages, all because of the massive national interest and following in the case that went before the Supreme Court.

But one unanswered question in my opinion on the outcome is what does the common person make out of the final verdict. Particularly, grass root political supporters and ordinary Ghanaians who may have never thought of bothering their minds with the complications of legal language and proceedings.

But as a result of their political interest and heightened security tension, they became fanatics and apostles of interpreting the case to their own understanding and enjoyment as they stayed glued to their televisions and radios to watch and listen every day.

To buttress the point, do these people really understood what Justice William Atuguba said on Thursday, August 29, 2013, when he read the Summary Judgment and gave further directive that: “In the circumstances, the overall effect is that the first respondent was validly elected and the petition is therefore dismissed. Our various judgments for the sake of convenience are handed over to the registrar of this court.”

The directive from the law lords evidently shown on television took even many legal luminaries aback, wondering for reasons to the judgment, as there were question marks boldly hovering around their faces in the court room.

At least, I have heard one smart position against the Supreme Court style of delivering the verdict. The promoter argued that whilst the case was a landmark and had a massive following through live broadcast, the Justices ought to have given reasons for their verdict through the same medium.

I share the view of the promoter. Because among the decisions compelling the Chief Justice to grant live coverage of the petition was to make the proceedings public in order to reduce anxiety and misinformation as the hearing went on. However, it never crosses anybody’s mind that the reasons that will go into the final verdict would become so scarce to find before one can understand and appreciate why the respondents won and the petitioners lost.

Admittedly, the Justices’ decision is supreme and binds on all Ghanaians. Like they say, the law is in their bosom! But, many Ghanaians would now be at the mercy of various interpretations and twist and turns by politicians and the media as we wait patiently for the Court to release the whole verdict to the public, five days after declaring the judgment.

Still compounding the confusion of ordinary citizens, it was commendable as the court proceedings was interpreted simultaneously into various Ghanaian languages, as well as sign language to the benefits of the visually impaired and those lacking basic understanding in English or legal language during the hearing.

For these people whose interest and following on the case was inflamed by the live broadcast, they will have also appreciated the reasons on the verdict to be covered live on television and radio and interpreted into the languages they really understand.

Ghanaians by our nature are peace loving people and I do not ascribe to those who refer to our civility as meek or coward. Last week Thursday’s judgment had a semblance of a public holiday, as the usual hustling of commercial activities came to a halt.

What we saw was the true Ghanaian sense of tolerance at display. The police were left only in town bluring loud sirens looking for trouble where there was none. I saw many people describing the police’s aggressive nature as unnecessary, causing of fear and panic.

Going to town after the verdict, I engaged some people to solicit their views on the court’s decision. Here were sampling opinions from the streets, showing the level of understanding and conclusions ordinary persons attribute to the verdict read by Justice Atuguba.

Yaw Antobam, 58, resident of Dome in Accra who is a Lotto vendor said: “There is no way a court will not rule in favor of a sitting President. I don’t care about any reasons, I knew very well from the onset that the court would never rule against a sitting President.”

Another person, Ernest Chanta, 44 and a trotro driver wondered why after listening to all the evidence the petitioners brought before the Court; they could not win their case. He said: “I don’t believe in the Judgment, because after all the evidence which the Chairman of the Electoral Commission himself admitted, how come the petitioners lost their case.”

For others, though what they care most was who won at the Supreme Court. They wished the final day [verdict] could have lasted a little longer. Simply hoping the Justices could have read their judgment in details in order to get live interpretations into the various languages as it was been done on radio and television.

All said and done, the election petition is over and the first petitioner has declared he won’t seek a review for the sake of peace and cohesion of our country.

Let all hail President Mahama and pledge our loyalty to him as our validly elected President.

After all, the aim of becoming a President is to advance the development of Ghana irrespective of who occupies the gilded throne.
……………………………………………………………………………………………………..

The writer is a journalist at The New Crusading GUIDE newspaper

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PLEASE FORGIVE ME …‘Ghost’ Doctor pleads on Tape

Ghana Attorney General Marrieta-BrewAppiah Oppong

Ghana Attorney General Marrieta-BrewAppiah Oppong

The Kumasi based medical doctor accused of collaborating with some staff at the Controller and Accountant General’s office to inset ‘ghost names’ on government payroll has pleaded to one of his victims for forgiveness.

An audio recording to that effect in possession of The New Crusading GUIDE, one Dr. Joseph Hamilton, a Ghanaian resident in the United Kingdom, confronted the accused doctor (Dr. Daniel Essien) for using his name and medical registration with the Ghana Medical and Dental Council without his knowledge to open a bank account to drew monthly salaries from government payroll as a staff of a local hospital in Kumasi.

In the interrogation which lasted for over 26 minutes on tape, Dr. Essien ridiculed the accusations against him as not a “serious legal issue”, and also hinted of a mission led by a Reverend Minister to get the case settled out of the Attorney General’s office.

Published below for readers is the transcription of the audio recording between Dr. Essien (DE) and Dr. Hamilton (DH). Please read on.

Conversation initially started with a Pidgin English

DE: Hello…

DH: Hello Danny (Essien)

DE: Yeesss, eeiii —boy, — boy, Charlie why you make I miss you like that

DH: But, Oh Danny you no force O, you no force koraa. Danny, seriously you no force! You use my name go do something and trouble come you no tell me but rather someone call to tell me.

DE: Oh why… no, no, no, please relax.

DH: I won’t relax. I’m not relaxing about this. I’m not relaxing about this.

DE: That was why I’ve been trying to call you but to no avail. There is nothing strange to bother about.

DH: No, there are a lot of things to bother about. A lot of things to bother about!

DE: I know, I know, but you relax. First of all, I have to ask for forgiveness for what has happened.

DH: Danny, there is a lot of things to worry about.

DE: I know, I know, but you need to have patience about it.

DH: No Danny, there is no patience about this.

DE: I am begging of you, you’ve been a friend for a long time.

DH: But, Danny this thing you’ve done doesn’t show you’ve being my friend. Seriously, at least you should have informed me what was going on.

DE: Please have patience, I’ve tried calling, but you don’t answer my calls. Please I beg of you to have patience.

DH: So Danny, what’s happening, I want to hear from you.

DE: You remember I told you I wanted to put you on study leave (?)

DH: How can you offer me study leave?

DE: Oh please be patience. Be cool, I have to explain. Just exercise patience for me to explain, there is nothing strange as someone has misinformed you.

So I’ve done this long time through the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG) and then to Controller for them to process successfully. But when it went through, I need to pay the Controller and Accountant General Staff some money. I told them that you’re not in Ghana since I’m doing everything for you.

They demanded GH¢15,000, so I explained to them that the person has given us his certificate to work and in order to satisfy them (Controller Staff), they should take the back pay that will come out of the salary payment. This is the whole issue that brought the matter – which the Auditor General report even states that there was nothing fraudulent anywhere but the procedure was the problem.

That was all. You can ask (mention names), I have been keeping him informed on the matter and even asked him to wait for the audit report to see things for himself.

By the grace of God, it is not any legal issue. So I beg you, I thought I was doing something to help my brother.

DH: Danny you were not doing anything to help me. Danny all along I’ve told you a lot of time that I don’t have registration with Ghana Medical & Dental Council. I told them I’ve travelled. So how could I be on payroll? May be you don’t know what I know so you think you can tell me a lie and go away. Seriously, let me tell you. I’ve a friend who told me you opened a bank account in my name with your picture on it.

DE: Please I beg you; I don’t have any bad intentions. Please I’m on my knees, I know I’m at fault and there is nothing that I can do to explain.

DH: You know what; the case is not dead as you may want us to believe. The person who informed me said there is a court order on the account.

DE: Oh please, that’s what I’m talking about. As I’m speaking, I just came from the Attorney General’s office on the case.

DH: Also, the report from the Accountant General, I’ve a copy and it is not my name alone, Joseph Baidoo’s name is in it, as well as other names in that report.

DE: Yes that is true, but I want to explain. How can I have power to do that?

DH: But you’ve told me before that you have a lot of power to do things. And Danny surprisingly you’re telling everybody that I know everything about this deal.

DE: Oh please, I have not told anybody about it.

DH: Seriously Danny you’ve not acted as a brother

DE: I’m sorry, I know, that’s why I’m asking for forgiveness.

DH: This one is not about forgiveness. So just imagine that one day I will be in Kotoka and I’ll be arrested. Like one day I’ll come to Ghana and will go to prison.

DE: I know I’m at fault.

DH: So what on earth do you think you were doing? To open account in my name which I don’t have license in Ghana. Now I don’t even know my status with Ghana Medical & Dental Council as to what you’ve done there.
So how on earth can I be on a study leave in a hospital I don’t even know where it’s located and then be getting paid? Apparently, the account was paid in January. I know the balance of that account, so where is all the money.

DH: Yesterday, I call you but could not reach you. I tried calling a lot of people before getting your number.

DE: No, I’ve lost my phone.

DH: So what is happening at Attorney General’s office?

DE: They are saying this issue is nothing and ready to resolve it out of court

DH: Danny you are going to pay to get this case out of court. Is it not what you are trying to do?

DE: Oh no, no, there are a lot of respected Reverend Ministers involved.

DH: There is one Rev. Stephen Forkuah who is involved.

DE: Yes, that is what I’m saying.

DH: Seriously Danny stop telling people that I’m involved.

DE: I have not told anybody

DH: Danny, don’t tell me a lie. I have people who have confirmed that you said I know about this deal. Somebody told me that you said you were opening the account for me to help pay for my studies here in abroad. You know very well I’m not studying here.

DE: Oh it’s not true; I’ve not said that to anybody.

DH: My concern was that I will be in Ghana and my name will be in the news.

DH: It’s your own case for you to solve with the law.

Stay tuned…

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THE ‘GHOST’ DOCTOR

Marietta Brew Oppong  Appiah - Ghana's Attorney General

Marietta Brew Oppong Appiah – Ghana’s Attorney General


A Kumasi based Medical Doctor is being treated with kids gloves by state prosecutors for flouting the law, despite serious evidence indicting him of stealing government money through creation of ‘ghost names’.
The Attorney General’s office in the Ashanti Region smells of bribery allegation of wanting to sweep under the carpet the case between the Republic of Ghana Vrs. Daniel Essien and Rosemary Essien which has been gathering dust, and only God knows when prosecution would commence.
Dr. Daniel Essien, per the charges preferred against him, for about three years has been siphoning illegal money from government payroll through a forged bank account using non-existent medical staff put up to deceive the authorities in the health sector as active employees of a private hospital under Ghana Baptist Health Service.
Despite an audit report into the ‘ghost names’ allegations instituted by the Accountant General’s office found him (Essien) culpable, the Ghana Medical and Dental Council as well as the Ghana Medical Association whose attention were drawn on the issue, both organisations have strangely remained mute on the matter which has serious ethical and criminal implications on the medical profession.
Dr. Daniel Essien is accused of using names of his former colleagues at the Medical School, including names of other ‘imaginary staff’, and with the support of his wife, Rosemary Essien, who is a health administrator at the Ghana Baptist Mission created a Hospital out of a Maternity Clinic and enrolled the absent workers onto the government payroll.
Investigation into documents intercepted by The New Crusading GUIDE indicates as far back as September, 2011, Dr. Essien opened an Account No: 02009004801502 at the KNUST branch of Unibank in Kumasi on September 2, 2009, using a National Health Insurance Scheme’s Identity Card (ID) bearing the name of one of his ‘ghost name’ victims, who this paper has found was a former colleague to Dr. Essien at the medical school.
The fake NHIS ID card bears the name Dr. Joseph Okoi Hamilton, but with Dr. Essien’s photograph on the card. The account holder’s month of birth was in October, with Rosemary Essien (Essien’s wife) as the next of kin.
Our investigations further established that the ‘ghost name’ victim (Dr. Joseph Okoi Hamilton) was a former roommate to Dr. Daniel Essien at Medical Students’ hostel at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi. More checks revealed that after school, Dr. Hamilton worked for a year at KATH, and later sojourned to the United Kingdom, after notifying the Ghana Medical and Dental Council about his departure. That meant that he did not hold the registration to practice as a doctor in Ghana.
The New Crusading GUIDE found that Dr. Daniel Kwamina Essien, then at Baptist Hospital in Kumasi approached the owner of God’s Glory Clinic, located at Kronom, a suburb also in Kumasi and allegedly changed the status of the maternity clinic into a hospital by documenting on paper that Dr. Hamilton and another doctor by name Dr. Joseph Baidoo (believed to be working in the United States) were both resident doctors at the health facility.
Dr. Essien was alleged to have benefited from the full backing and cooperation of his wife as a health administrator at the Ghana Baptist Health Service, who facilitated the smooth transfer of God’s Glory Clinic onto the government payroll as a public health provider under Baptist Hospitals. It is believed that the new status as a ‘bigger hospital’ was created with a complete set of ‘ghost names’!
As time went by, this reporter has gathered, Dr. Essien had disagreements with the proprietor of God’s Glory Clinic. The woman complained about some irregularities. The matter went to the Controller and Accountant General’s Department and an audit was ordered into the dealings of the hospital.
The New Crusading GUIDE could not get a reaction from the owner of God’s Glory Hospital, since the women died a year ago.
However, a copy of an audit report dated February 2, 2011, in our possession has many inaccuracies in its finding, for instance, the report recommended that the salaries of Dr. Joseph O. Hamilton and Dr. Joseph Baidoo who were on study leave from God’s Glory Hospital be stopped. But, in reality both doctors have never applied to work or work at that particular hospital. They are Ghanaian medical doctors residing outside the country who have been impersonated for an illegal activity (ghost names) without their knowledge.
An audio recording of Dr. Essien also in our possession confirmed his illegal actions. He had admitted on the tape to one of his victims and pleaded for forgiveness. But, he goes about defending his case among colleague doctors interested in the matter that the charged against him “is not any serious legal issue.”
This paper is also aware of a powerful lobbying group persuading the Attorney General’s office led by a respected Reverend Minister to ensure that the case never get to the court.
This paper also have a copy of the bank statement from September 2, 2009 to January 31, 2011 which Dr. Essien withdrew government salaries through the forged bank account. The account shows record of regular huge withdrawals.
The New Crusading GUIDE, however, gave Dr. Daniel Essien the opportunity through an interview on the principle of fairness to respond to this story but he declined, saying his lawyer has advised him not to grant interview on the matter.
He briefly disclosed: “This matter has gone through all the state investigative institutions including the BNI and EOCO, and I don’t know why this issue is coming up now.”
A police detective at the Ashanti Regional Criminal Investigations Department (CID), Inspector Nimo has confirmed in interview with this paper that the case: “Republic of Ghana Vrs. Daniel Essien and Rosemary Essien” has been with the Attorney General’s (AG) office in Kumasi since 2011.
He recalled that the case was first investigated in Suame, a suburb in the Ashanti Regional capital and was forwarded to the AG’s office, adding that it was later referred back to him for further investigations.
Inspector Nimo stated he has sent his investigations on the matter to the AG’s office in Kumasi to determine legal action on the case.
This paper sources on ‘ghost names’ have hinted that the menace has been a lucrative avenue among a syndicated group in the country involving some medical practitioners and staff at the Controller and Accountant General’s office who are connected in siphoning illegal money on government payroll through ‘ghost names’ in the health sector.
The impact of ‘ghost names’ on Ghana’s economy is very troubling because the canker remains as one of the major financial sector reform setbacks facing the country, as government after government had failed to win the battle against this public sector corruption.
Some financial analysts believe ghost names contribute to the sudden rise in the public sector wage bill and not the increases in public sector salary.
The Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Analysis (CEPA) was quoted recently that about 1.3 percent of Ghana’s GDP, translating into GH¢1 Billion (US$ 1 Million) was paid to non-existent public sector or ‘ghost’ workers in last year alone.
“The question about ghost or ineligible workers dealt a decisive blow…our estimate was that as much as 1.3 percentage point of our GDP was being lost to these ghost payments and so a Billion cedis was the estimate that we saw, like 100 Million a month”, the Executive Director of the policy Think Tank was analysing the 2013 Budget Statement presented to Parliament on Tuesday March 5, 2013.
Former Finance Minister, Dr. Kwabena Duffuor also stated in his 2012 Budget Statement to Parliament that over 29,000 employees on Ghana’s payroll cannot be accounted for.

He indicated that one major contributing factor to the failure of past initiatives to remove ‘ghost names’ has been the lack of adequate systems to effectively identify these names on the payroll and delete them as well as to prevent their reappearance.
Among some measures to tackle the problem, a project was initiated by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning (MoFEP) in February 2011 to clear ghost names from the government’s payroll, which detected and expunged about 34,000 illegal names on pensioners’ payroll in seven regions of the country.
The Project Co-ordinator and ICT Adviser of MoFEP, Mr. George Gyamfi was quoted by the Daily Graphic that in some of the areas the team visited, the pensioners were dead but their names remained on the payroll, while their allowances were being claimed by unknown persons.

Also, about 5,000 “ghost names” were removed from the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP) payroll, as revealed by the former Deputy Coordinator in Charge of Research, Ibrahim Murtala.
NYEP, now Ghana Youth Employment and Entrepreneurial Development Agent (GYEEDA) was established in 2006 to mitigate youth unemployment. The programme receives support from the Government of Ghana as well as international donor agencies such as the World Bank. In February 2011, the bank provided US$65 Million grant to train the youth in various entrepreneurship programmes.

Another impact of the menace to the economy was highlighted in the 2009 Auditor-General’s report which stated that the country lost some GH¢2,485,697,863 (over US$ 1.5 million) to ghost-names on the payroll of the country’s Foreign Missions alone, representing 90.3 percent of the Foreign Missions’ financial malfeasance.

People have taken refuge in the country’s weak payroll system and are making hundreds of millions of cedis monthly at the expense of tax-payers. Inserting ‘ghost names’ into the payroll of government institutions has become an entrenched practice in Ghana.

Some financial analysts have argued that government encourages these “ghostly” criminals by refusing to punish them to serve as strong deterrent.

Stay tuned…

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DAMNING AUDIT REPORT ON ‘GHOST’ DOCTOR (2) … Audit Team Accused of Bribery! By Philip Forson

Marietta Brew Oppong  Appiah - Ghana's Attorney General

Marietta Brew Oppong Appiah – Ghana’s Attorney General


The case involving a Kumasi based medical doctor accused of operating a hospital (God’s Glory Hospital) with a set of ‘ghost names’ to pretend as medical staff, and siphoned illegal money from government payroll was officially investigated by the Controller and Accountant General’s Department.
But the outcome of investigations which was issued in a report has been condemned by an audit expert as lacking credibility on the case under reference, while accusing members of the audit team of “poor work” leaving themselves upon for criticisms.
The case in reference: Republic of Ghana Vrs. Daniel Essien and Rosemary Essien has been lying on the shelves of the Attorney General’s office in Kumasi for the past three years, without any legal action to serve a deterrent against the ‘ghost names’ menace on public finance.
The Payroll Audit Section of the Controller and Accountant General’s Department was tasked to perform a review of the payroll of God’s Glory Hospital at Kronom, a suburb in Kumasi. The exercise became necessary due to the fact that there was an increase and a sudden reduction in the staff strength at the hospital.
Analyzing the report, it confirmed that there was fraudulent activity of ‘ghost names’ posted on government payroll of workers deliberately put up as either on study leave or as staff working in sister health facilities of God’s Glory Hospital. That assertion of the report charges Dr. Daniel Essien as culpable, since he had confessed on tape to one his ‘ghost name’ victims of his crime and pleaded for forgiveness.
However, in an interview with The New Crusading GUIDE, a seasoned retired auditor who pleaded anonymity to share thoughts on the audit findings by the Controller and Accountant General.
He criticised the report as “poor work” which could give credence that the audit team were bribed.
He said the report for instance failed to establish the identity and professional standing of personnel working at the hospital, which the auditors could have easily sought vital information from the Ghana Nurses and Midwifery Council as well as the Ghana Medical and Dental Council, particularly on the two doctors who were declared to be on study leave.
The audit was conducted by the following persons: Jackson A. Ansong, Felix Aste and Ernest Oppong Prempeh. The “poor” audit report has been reproduced unedited below for careful study by readers.

The audit was performed from December 29 – 31, 2010, to January 4 to December 7, 2011. Among the objectives of the audit was to ascertain whether the names on the payroll of God’s Glory Hospital were all active employees. To investigate the increases in the staff strength of the hospital, as well as to establish the reasons for the sudden reduction in staff strength.
The audit covered the payroll from January 2010 to August 2010. Below is the list of months and their correspondent staff strength of God’s Glory Hospital.

NO. MONTH NUMBER OF STAFF ON GOG PAYROLL
1 January 39
2 February 45
3 March 50
4 April 60
5 May 61
6 June 51
7 July 49
8 August 1

FINDINGS
Examination of the documents available at God’s Glory Hospital and the Ghana Baptist Health Service Secretariat, Kumasi revealed that:

1. The increases in the staff strength of God’s Glory Hospital were due to the fact that the facility was expanding and needed to employ more staff. Secondly, it was agreed between the Ghana Baptist Health Services and the owners of God’s Glory Hospital that they could put employees of other Baptist Health facilities that are yet to receive their own payroll on the Payment Vouchers of God’s Glory Hospital. This meant that staff of other facilities in the Baptist Health Services were put on the payroll of God’s Glory Hospital until these facilities get their own payrolls.

2. The sudden reduction in staff strength on God’s Glory Hospital payroll was due to the suspension of all staff on GOG payroll. This arose due to a misunderstanding between the proprietress of the clinic and the Baptist Health Services and the subsequent withdrawal of membership of God’s Glory Hospital from the Christian Health Association of Ghana (CHAG).

3. The Ghana Baptist Health Services had reposted affected staff to other CHAG affiliates. The audit team made a follow up to these facilities to ascertain whether those staff were active and at post. A head count of staff confirmed the presence of the affected personnel at their respective places of work.

4. Mr. Richard Nii Okai who is currently working with God’s Glory Hospital as a Medical Assistant used to work at St. Francis Xavier Hospital at Assin Fosu. He is still on the payroll of St. Francis Xavier Hospital drawing monthly salary even though God’s Glory Hospital is no more a member of CHAG. Mr. Richard Nii Okai’s salary is therefore illegal and amount to unearned salary.

5. It was observed during the review that Dr. Joseph O. Hamilton and Dr. Joseph Baidoo of God’s Glory Hospital are on study leave with pay. Their salaries are therefore illegal and also amount to unearned salary for the same reason as in (4) above.

6. The employees whose salaries were suspended since August 2010 remain unpaid though they are at post and working at the sister facilities. This has brought untold hardship on them and their dependants.

7. The management of God’s Glory Hospital in a letter dated 6th August 2009 to the management of Atwima Rural Bank Ltd. Kumasi, requested a common bank account for all staff to facilitate the payment of salaries of staff who were yet to open individual bank accounts.

8. The team also observed that the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Ghana Baptist Health Services and God’s Glory Hospital was not signed yet CHAG affiliated God’s Glory Hospital.

9. It was also observed that two (2) staff of God’s Glory Hospital, namely Eunice Otuo Acheampong and Harriet Tweneboah Kodua were on duty at the hospital premises during the head count exercise but the present authorities of the hospital did not allow us to see them in order to sign against their names. Later, we spoke to them on phone and they confirmed that they were on duty during the exercise. We do not understand why the proprietors of God’s Glory Hospital resorted to that action.

RECOMMENDATION
1. The audit team recommends that staff who are active and at post whose salaries have been stopped should be reactivated at their new station or facilities.

2. Seven workers of the God’s Glory Hospital also have their salaries deactivated. The audit team cannot recommend reactivation because the hospital is no longer affiliated to CHAG. For this reason it is recommended that the names of these workers be deleted from the Government of Ghana payroll.

3. The audit team recommends that Mr. Richard Nii Okai currently working at God’s Glory Hospital but who is taking salary from the payroll of St. Francis Xavier Hospital should have his salary blocked since God’s Glory Hospital is no longer an affiliate of CHAG.

4. It is also recommended that the salaries of Dr. Joseph O. Hamilton and Dr. Joseph Baidoo who are on study leave from God’s Glory Hospital be stopped since the facility is no longer affiliated to CHAG.

CONCLUSION
As per submissions from the proprietress of God’s Glory Hospital and the Acting Director and the Administrator of the Ghana Baptist Health Services, the misunderstanding that led to this wrangling and subsequent withdrawal of CHAG affiliate status of God’s Glory Hospital had to do with the handling of payroll issues and where the Payment Vouchers were to be kept.
The team could however not ascertain any payroll fraud in the dealings concerning the payroll of God’s Glory Hospital since the workers involved were actively working in the hospital and other sister facilities.
In our opinion, CHAG should have given the affiliation based on the MOU between Ghana Baptist Health Services and God’s Glory Hospital.
The Controller and Accountant General should also have done a due diligence on the facility especially the ownership of God’s Glory Hospital before giving them the payroll. Henceforth any health facility which was not established by a church but run by a private entity as an affiliate which entity does not sign or ratify the established Memorandum of Understanding should not be recognized by CHAG to avoid any future occurrences of this nature.
In tomorrow’s edition of The New Crusading GUIDE, read how Dr. Essien confessed to his crimes to one of his victims and also the name of a Reverend Minister lobbying to get the case settled out of the AG’s office. Stay tuned…

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