Friday, 10 December 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Daily Guide: Wednesday, December 8, 2010.

Specialist doctors attending to the health of President Atta Mills are reported to have expressed worry over his darkened palms which were caused by some medication they recommended to him.

A deputy Minister of Information, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa, has explained that the doctors did not know that the colour of the President's palms would transform as a result of the medication and they have expressed worry over the matter.

The President's palms, in recent times, have become black, heightening speculations about his state of health.

Though, Mr. Okudzeto-Ablakwa would not tell which medication the President has been put on and which ailment he was being treated for, he said the 'medication' was given to him by his doctors.

"I have seen it and when I inquired about it, he explained to me that he took a medication and he reacted that negatively.

"His doctor was quite worried but he told him it doesn't matter. Some people take some medication and the reaction worsens their cases and they are sometimes hospitalized, but this was quite a minimal reaction.

"The doctors did not know that he would react that way to the medication but what is important is that it has not affected his movements, body system and his thought process.He is presently in Abuja with his colleague heads of state discussing the Ivorian crisis and how there can be some lasting solution.Over the weekend, he was even at the Farmers' Day celebration so everything is going on well with him," Okudzeto-Ablakwa told Fiifi Banson, host of Peace FM's 'Ekwanso Brebre' on Peace Fm on Tuesday.

"The president is well, as he has always said it is the good Lord who grants us good health but he is very strong and stable.He has been given a clean bill of health by all the doctors who have looked at him and he is going about his normal duties.

"It will amaze you he still wakes up at 4:30am every day and he does exercise and he is a very fit man. I can assure you he is still the good sportsman we have always known.

'The president's palms are black because he reacted to some medication that he takes and if you talk to doctors, they will confirm to you that we all react in different forms depending on what medication you take.

"We can assure the good people of this country that there is nothing serious that is affecting the president, and it is just the little reaction which has even reduced compared to two weeks ago. Doctors have assured him that they didn't know he will react that way to the medication," he added.

The issue of the President's darkened palms has become topical in many circles and several speculations made about what might have caused it.

It was noticed during the visit of Equatorial Guinea's President's to Ghana a couple of months ago.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

Monday, 29 November 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

Daily Guide of Monday November 29, 2010.

The Daily Guide newspaper has discovered that the Customs, Excise and Preventive Service (CEPS) is allegedly releasing confiscated motorbikes and cars to some constituency chairmen of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for distribution to selected party members and foot-soldiers.

While one of such NDC chairmen is in trouble for having received six of such motorbikes but keep them as hispersonal property, Daily Guide has seen a couple of documents in which government has allegedly written to the CEPS Commissioner that some more motorbikes should be released for NDC party work.

The NDC Chairman for Dome Kwabenya constituency, Alhaji Abdul Basit Mohammed, who was recently given six of such motorbikes purposely for party work, is currently being chased by his party members after reports went round that he had sold all six bikes and pocketed the money.

When Daily Guide contacted Alhaji Basit Mohammed, he confessed that it was the Municipal Chief Executive of the Ga East Municipal Assembly, John Quao Sackey, who gave him a letter to be delivered to the CEPS Commissioner so six motorbikes would be released to him for party work.

Alhaji Basit explained however that he did not give the bikes to the party because he had imported some six motorbikes but they got sized by CEPS officials so the Municipal Chief Executive forged the said letter for him so he could use it to get back his seized bikes.
The chairman said it was the same imported bikes that were confiscated that were eventually released to him so there was no sense in releasing them to the party. He promised to provide some documents to show that indeed he had imported some six motorbikes but they got confiscated by CEPS officials.

The NDC chairman conceded that though the wording of the letter said the bikes were to be used for party work, that information as only put there by John Quao Sackey to help him clear his seized bikes.
The letter that was addressed to the CEPS Commissioner was written on the official letterhead to the Ga East Municipal Assembly and signed by its Chief Executive on January 12, 2010.

It reads: “Request for the allocation of motorbikes. The Dome Kwabenya Constituency is a new constituency and therefore lacks facilities to enable it achieve growth and developmental programmes successfully. “Our main hindrance is transportation. We shall be grateful if you can allocate us with six (6) of the confiscated motorbikes for use in the constituency. “Alhaji Abdul Basit Mohammed is the Chairman of eh constituency and responsible for social affairs in the Constituency who will use the bikes for the benefit of the constituency.

“We have also discussed this with the Chairman of the Council of State Professor Kofi Awoonor. We count on your co-operation.”

Though Alhaji Basit Mohammed is insisting the letter was only forged to help him clear his personal bikes, Daily Guide’s checks for CEPS show that such an arrangement would have been criminal.
“When you import motorbikes, there is an amount of money you pay on it and it is higher than what you pay when seized bikes are being sold to you on allocation. What you are saying means that the person used the forged letter to invade tax on his seized bikes and that is equally criminal on his part just as whoever forged the letter for him,” CEPS sources explained.

Further checks from the Council of State revealed that Prof. Kofi Awoonor was not even aware his name was being used to clear confiscated motorbikes for selected chairmen of the NDC.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Daily Guide of Friday Nov. 26, 2010

Spokespersons of the Mills Government yesterday hopped from one radio station to other denying a DAILY GUIDE report that President John Evans Atta Mills has ordered fresh investigation into the controversial $20,000 Alhaji Muhammed Muntaka Mubarak is alleged to have pocketed when he was Minister for Youth and Sports.

Alhaji Muntaka himself also told the media that the DAILY GUIDE report was an old investigation and not a fresh one.

However, DAILY GUIDE's checks revealed that indeed, the Civil Service Council, acting on the directive of President Mills, has opened fresh investigations into the matter and what the spokespersons of government and Alhaji Muntaka told the media yesterday was not the truth.

While Alhaji Muntaka claimed the DAILY GUIDE story was a rehash of an old investigations, the paper can confirm that he was not speaking the truth because barely a week ago, precisely on Wednesday October 17, 2010, the Civil Service Council sent out official information that they had been directed to constitute a fact-finding committee for the purpose of uncovering the mystery surrounding the 'missing' $20,000.

Indeed, the very first person the committee would meet with over the matter was Alhaji Abdulai Yakubu and that meeting was scheduled for Tuesday November 23, 2010. Alhaji Muntaka himself has been ordered to appear before the committee on Wednesday December 8, 2010 at exactly 11:30 am.

The Civil Service Council has also ordered all officers who worked at the Sports Ministry and had any dealings with finances during the period Alhaji Muntaka was there to appear before the newly-constituted fact-finding committee.

The invited officers include Alhaji Muntaka himself, Rashid Pelpuo; Deputy Majority Leader of Parliament and a former Minister of Sports, Prosper Apasu; the Chief Accountant, Shelter James Ocloo; Internal Auditor, Albert Ampong, Adim Odoom, Ebenezer Lomotey, Charles Aryeh, and Clement Aku.

The letter inviting the above persons was signed by the Secretary of the Civil Service Council, Noah Tumfo, on behalf on the Chairman of the Civil Service Council, Dr Robert Dodoo.

DAILY GUIDE has also gathered that the committee is chaired by Dr. Robert Dodoo; Milly Quansah, Justice E.D.K. Adjabeng ; all members of the Council and W.K Kemevor; the Acting Head of Civil Service.

Messrs Albert Ampong and Adim Odoom, who were then respectively Chief Director and Principal Accountant at the Sports Ministry, have already explained and insisted that the $20,000 was given to Alhaji Muntaka, aside other huge amounts of money that unlawfully went to him.

This new order for an investigation comes as a surprise because the missing money had already been investigated by National Security on the orders of the Presidency and detailed reports submitted to President Mills who asked Muntaka to resign. President Mills also asked for the interdiction of the two officers, Albert Ampong and Adim Odoom.

Whether by coincidence or by someone's machinations, this latest order for another investigations into the matter comes just after government was ordered by the courts to re-instate Messrs Albert Ampong and Adim Odoom to their original positions, after they were wrongly interdicted and given half of their salary for months.

By Halifax Ansah-Addo

The Health Minister, Dr. Benjamin Kumbuor, has made known his lack of faith in the ability of the Mills-led National Democratic Congress (NDC) government to run a one-time premium payment for the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).

The disclosure comes at a time Sylvester Mensah, Chief Executive of the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA), has confirmed reports that the NHIS stands the danger of folding up as there would be no more funds to run the scheme by the year 2013 if government does not find ways of generating more revenue for it.

Dr. Kumbuor, speaking during his Ministry’s turn at the ‘Meet the Press’ series, said he was compelled to say that the one-time premium was workable because it was a government policy and since he was a part of government, he had to support the issue.

Dr. Kumbuor noted, “It would work…I have raised both hands and legs to show you that it would work and I am saying this because they are playing a drum and I am only dancing to it; when they stop playing the drum and I am still dancing, someone should tap me and say they have stopped playing the drum.”

The Health Minister then explained that despite his original position, government had explained that the amount of money currently being collected as premium constituted a paltry three and a half percent of the NHIS budget, thus its contribution was insignificant.

But DAILY GUIDE can confirm that the health scheme is crumbling and the NHIA, its administrator, has tried in vain to get government to accept the true state of affairs and do something about it.

Sources at the Seat of Government told DAILY GUIDE that on Monday, November 14, the Vice President chaired a Cabinet meeting at the Castle and one of the issues that came up was how to generate additional revenue to sustain the NHIA but the Health Minister appeared rather unconcerned about the subject.

“There were a couple of suggestions on board and what the NHIA suggested was that we raised the NHIS levy from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent but the sector Minister was not ready to push that proposal so it was not included in the budget and this raised a lot of tempers but every Minister has his Ministry and no one could speak for NHIA when the Health Minister was not the least concerned,” the Castle source noted.

As the situation stands now, the one-time premium payment as promised by the Evans Atta Mills government would remain a mirage as the NHIS itself would have no choice but to fold up by 2013 due to lack of funds.

Before the budget was read, confidential documents sighted by DAILY GUIDE revealed that the NHIA Board of Directors had met over dangers being faced by the scheme, and forwarded to Cabinet a couple of recommendations on how to sustain the facility, with the most plausible suggestion being to increase the 2.5 percent NHIS levies to 3.5 percent from January 2011.

The said Board Member explained further, “As you can see, year by year our expenditure keeps escalating, given that more people subscribe to the scheme and the cost of medication has gone up, but our revenue is not expanding and we cannot sustain the trend…in 2004 we had just about 1.3 million subscribers but currently we are a little over 17 million and we may have to fold up by 2013 unless something is done about the situation.

“We need to take a tough decision to sustain the scheme and as we continue to block leaks in the system and let the law deal with those found to have involved in financial misconduct and our clinical audits have been able to recoup something close to GH¢15 billion that would have gone waste.”

It is not certain whether government deliberately wants to collapse the scheme and blame it on the past administration, or whether the NDC’s own internal wrangling is having an adverse toll on the future of the NHIS.

What is certain is that the 17 million plus Ghanaians registered with the NHIS would have to return to the ‘cash and carry’ era by the year 2013 because the NDC government would have no funds to run the scheme.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

A News-One Story (Wed. Oct.20, 2010)

It is true that hip life artiste Scizo does not have albums upon albums to his credit but the fact is he has created a lot of impact on the music scene with the release of the ‘1 Stone’ track, on which he featured Kwabena-Kwabena.
Music lovers have since then been longing for Scizo and watching out for his next big hit. So far, he has partially satisfied his fans with his ‘once in a while stage performances’ as well as the showing of his music videos on MTV Base and Channel O.
Just last week, his music videos got nominated in two categories for the second edition of the 4syte Music Video awards scheduled for November 20 this year.
Scizo, whose real name is Joseph Kwame Sogli, has finally bounced back with the release of ‘Make Me Feel You’, a dancehall track featuring Stone Boy. The song which is raising eyebrows in town is one that would make any Ghanaian proud.
From lyrics, rhythm, tempo, to sound, ‘Make Me Feel You’ is an irresistible dancehall track that promises to be a big hit for Scizo.
The sample album of ‘Make Me Feel You’ has other songs such as ‘Rain Rain’ and ‘I Dey For You’. Interestingly, he has already done the video for both songs and placed them on YouTube.
NEWS-ONE caught up with him for a brief talk and he had this to say:
“You can say it is a Christmas package for Ghanaians and tourists who visit the country. I released this on Faa S33 label and we are planning to do put up a show at the Alliance Française by November before I do a mini tour with the tracks.
“In life you can only do what God permits you and I have learnt to do one thing at a time and rely mostly on God. I have done the tracks and the videos now hoping that by March next year, the full album would be out for my fans,
Scizo disclosed.
NEWS-ONE delved a bit into the life of Scizo (pronounced as si-zo) and discovered he is not married, still single and holds strong Christian principles. He writes his own lyrics and flows well in English, Ga, Ewe and Asanti-Twi.
He had his basic education at St. Paul’s School at La before moving to St. Thomas Aquinas Secondary School. He also took a couple of professional courses and is currently taking lessons in sound engineering.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Daily Guide of Monday, 20 September 2010

The management of the National Youth Council (NYC) says it cannot continue to tolerate the unruly behavior of Prince-Derrick Adjei, the alleged gay appointed by President Atta Mills as the deputy Co-ordinator of the National Youth Council.

The council has complained that “Prince-Derrick Adjei has undermined a professional culture that has evolved out of over thirty-five years of youth professional work to the detriment and disappointment of hardworking, dedicated workers and staff who have seen the National Youth Council through thick and thin to this day.”

The NYC’s declaration of no-confidence in Mr. Adjei comes at a time Civil Society and some members of Parliament have called for his immediate removal from office, following his continuous insulting nature, irresponsible statements and bad example to the youth he is supposed to lead.

The President has snubbed all the concerns raised and rather continued to reward the man.

The NYC, in a news statement released last Friday and signed by Sarah Obeng, said “comments and behavior of Prince-Derrick Adjei put the image and credibility of the council into public scrutiny as to what values and principles underline the mandate of the Youth Council.

“In distancing itself from Prince-Derrick Adjei’s effusions, management views his demeanor uncharacteristic of a professional youth development worker because before his appointment into the National Youth Council, staff had maintained for themselves a high sense of professional ethics and chalked professional integrity among youth development practitioners globally.”

It continued: “Management will want to assure the public, especially those who have been hurt by Prince-Derrick Adjei’s outburst, that the National Youth Council will not countenance such unruly behavior in its fold.”

According to the statement, Prince-Derrick Adjei has not behaved like the deputy National Co-ordinator of a “statutory youth development agency charged with the onerous responsibility to nurture the empowerment of the Ghanaian youth for honesty and integrity, self reliance and leadership, respect for authority and recognition of positive cultural values for excellence and humility, patriotism, and productive citizenship.”

Adjei has recently gained notoriety for talking loose and making wild allegations that cannot be substantiated.

In his response to an allegation that he is ‘a notorious homosexual’ who frequents bars and nightclubs of Accra, fishing for men to initiate into homosexuality, he lashed out, wildly claiming he knew several homosexuals, bisexuals and pedophiles even in Parliament and that he would publish their names last Wednesday September 15, 2010.

Derrick, on Wednesday, did not produce his list of gay MPs but rather levelled homosexual allegations against a number of journalists and political activists who took him on and dared him to produce his list of gay MPs.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Daily Guide of Sept. 28, 2010

Reports reaching DAILY GUIDE indicate that the Information Ministry has suddenly become an avenue for siphoning public funds into pockets of appointees of the Mills administration, with the Minister, John Tia Akologo, being fingered as one of the appointees.
John Tia, who recently jumped to the defence of Stanislav Xoese Dogbe, a Presidential Aide over the GH¢169,000.00 hampers’ scandal even though he was not the Minister at the time when the money was spent, is said to be plundering the account of the ministry with his unrestrained profligacy.
Sources at the Ministry of Information have hinted that President Atta Mills caused the dismissal of Nee Agiri Barnor also known as Mije Barnor as Acting Director of the Information Services Department (ISD), mainly on suspicion that he was a whistle-blower who would not justify corruption by calling it an ‘indiscretion’.
The President’s aim is to ostensibly conceal corruption at the Ministry including the GH¢169,000.00 hampers’ scandal, sources swore to DAILY GUIDE over the weekend.
Days after government sacked Nee Agiri, workers within the ISD have told the media there was collective looting of the taxpayer’s money by the Information Minister, John Tia and his two deputies.
Yesterday, a group within the ISD accused Mr. Tia and his two deputies, Samuel Okudzeto-Ablakwa and James Agyenim Boateng of unbridled corruption.
The ISD workers, in a press statement, alleged that John Tia picks between GH¢2,000 and GH¢5,000 Ghana cedis from the coffers of the Ministry anytime he travelled outside Accra, according to a Citi FM report.
The group referred to the Minister and his deputies as “greedy, corrupt and selfish”, and alleged that funds meant for the ISD had been deliberately locked up in the Ministry’s coffers.
It claimed only GH¢45,000 of a budget of GH¢340,000 allocated to the ISD was released in 2009.
The concerned staff also alleged that a budget of GH¢145,000 released for public education on the H1N1 influenza was diverted.
They claimed Mije Barnor was sacked because of fears that the widespread corruption at the Ministry could be exposed after Mr. Dogbe was caught pants down with the ¢1.6 billion he was said to have spent on buying hampers for journalists.
John Tia has however denied the allegations and asked his accusers to provide evidence of the alleged corruption.
He told Citi FM yesterday that it was rather the sacked ISD boss who wanted to corrupt him.
However, the Information Minister said he failed to report the matter to the police, but warned him not to try it again.
According to John Tia, since it was a mere intention, he did not find it necessary to report to the police, but rather asked Nee Agiri to go home and sin no more.
Sources from the ISD have told DAILY GUIDE that Agiri Barnor was overly principled on instilling accountability and productivity and was therefore seen as a thorn in the flesh of some bad nuts in the Ministry. This paper was reliably informed that a plush party was thrown to celebrate his dismissal in the home of one of the stooges ‘used’ to plot his dismissal.
The sources said barely 24 hours after his announced expulsion, his official vehicle and office were taken over by a retired officer who was one of the ‘coup makers’.
President Mills’s golden boy - Stanislav Dogbe - cannot account for a cash of GH¢169,000.00 (¢1.69 billion) he admits to have personally received from the Principal Accountant of the Ministry of Information on December 21st, 2009 (three days to Christmas) to “enable me to carry out public education on the 2010 annual budget.” The budget had been read on November 18, 2009, over a month by the Finance Minister, Dr Kwabena Duffuor.
This is the third time within a period of two years that the President Mills has publicly victimized public servants suspected either rightly or wrongly to have raised an alarm over government appointees involved in alleged corrupt practices and cannot account for the taxpayer’s money.
Our sources at the Presidency say Tourism Minister Zita Okaikoi has become the target of the powers that be at the seat of government, after she refused to defend Mr. Dogbe on several radio stations, though she was the Minister for Information when the said money was signed for and collected in a ‘Ghana Must Go’ travelling bag.
It would be recalled that the Mills Government caused the interdiction of a former Chief Director of the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Albert Anthony Ampong and Adim Odoom, a Principal Accountant of the same Ministry, after they exposed alleged corrupt practices by the then Sports Minister, Mohammed Muntaka Mubarak.
After DAILY GUIDE broke the story that Mr. Dogbe had collected the cash of GH¢169,000 meant to educate the public on the national budget but used an undisclosed part of the money to buy Christmas hampers for some unnamed journalists, a number of pro-government media houses accused Agiri Barnor of being the source of the story.
Interestingly, President Mills was quick to sack Mr. Barnor but he is still rewarding Mr. Dogbe by keeping him as a special aide, though the latter has fumbled in explaining what he used the money for, prompting widespread calls for his dismissal.
A clear instance was when Mr. Dogbe claimed he had given part of the GH¢169,000 cash to the Institute of Financial and Economic Journalists (IFEJ), only for the association’s president, Lloyd Evans to openly come out that his association had never received any money from Mr. Dogbe for any reason at any given period.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

By Hakifax Ansah-Addo
Monday August 16, 2010

TWO ELECTED National Executive officers of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) have been sacked from the party over statements they made that were rather embarrassing to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government in respect of the Kosmos Energy and the STX Korea Housing deal.

The CPP has accordingly issued a categorical statement that party’s General Secretary Ivor Greenstreet and its National Youth Organizer, Kwabena Bomfeh, have been deposed and they “cease with immediate effect to act as Secretary General and Youth organizer respectively.”

The dismissal letter was signed by the party’s first national vice chairman, Dr. Abu Sakara, after the party’s central committee held an emergency meeting last Thursday over the two national officers.

According to the statement, Greenstreet and Bomfeh had also been referred to the party’s disciplinary committee to answer charges of conducts that were deemed to have brought the image of the party into disrepute contrary to Article 77 (a) (ii) of the CPP’s constitution.

It added that pending the outcome of the disciplinary committee, the CPP would have nothing to do with the two elected national officers.

The statement noted that “the central committee wishes to assert the authority vested in the chairman of the party as the ultimate spokesperson and representative of the party superseding all other members in all matters.

“It also cautions all CPP party members that the central committee will not countenance any challenge to the authority of the chairman and leadership outside of laid down internal procedures of discussion and debate in appropriate forum within the party.”

Meanwhile, party Chairman Ladi Nylander, on August 2, 2010, issued a similar press statement regarding Greenstreet and Bomfeh, warning the two that “the party would not tolerate the use of its name to champion personal interests that are not consistent with nor officially approved as party position.”

Nylander, in his statement, said: “the two have recently made statements or taken actions that have been carried in the media as official positions and actions of the party.

“CPP wishes to state most categorically that the statements and actions of the two members of our executive relating to the STX matter and Kosmos Energy are their personal positions and do not in any way represent officially approved positions of the Party.

“The Convention People’s Party (CPP) wishes to distance itself vigorously from recent personal actions by General Secretary Ivor Greenstreet and National Youth Organizer Kwabena Bomfeh,” Nylander noted.

The two sacked officers, who have recently been critical of government over the manner it handled the $1.5bilion STX housing deal, could not be reached for their comments as at press time.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Friday, 20 August 2010

The Minister for Employment and Social Welfare, Enock Teye Mensah, has been accused of plotting to ‘shit-bomb’ members of the Civil and Local Government Staff Association (CLOSAG) because he suspects they are being sponsored by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).

So angry were the leadership of CLOSAG that they called on their members to embark on daily nationwide demonstrations from Tuesday August 24 to Friday August 27.

“We have been told by the very persons he is plotting with and we are not surprised because that is his stock-in-trade. We are ready for him and as we said in the press statement, we have bought disinfectants like Detol and ‘akeshaa’ to clean up the place.

He cannot scare us with his shit-bomb tactics,” the leadership of CLOSAG told DAILY GUIDE just after they had addressed a press conference in Accra.

The CLOSAG leaders appeared very agitated as some of them overlooked the presence of journalists and rained insults on the gray-haired minister.

The insults were simply unprintable and the actual meanings would be best appreciated in the Ga language which was mostly used.

They had red bands around their heads and wrists as some of them shouted and threw angry fists skyward.

“For now what we would advise the Minister [E.T. Mensah] to do before we call on the President for his removal is, he should undertake courses in Labour-related issues starting from the Ghana Labour College and further it at the University of Cape Coast if he so wishes, for him to update his skills in modern trends in Labour Relations.

This would enable him to build his capacity to administer his office on labour matters and to appropriately advise the President on good governance,” Edward Tennyson Foli, Acting President of the association noted.

CLOSAG told the media that they were angry because E.T. Mensah had described them as a pack of “retired, old-fashioned and blockheaded officers” belonging to an association that “was formed with funding from the New Patriotic Party”.

They alleged that E.T. Mensah had also noted that “the recent nationwide demonstrations by CLOSAG members were undertaken by supporters of the NPP and that the demonstrators were not civil servants”.

According to the association’s Acting President, “CLOSAG is not surprised at his comments because that is the attitude, posture and body language of someone who is fatigued in governance, tracing his background in politics to as far as PNDC era to date. Who looks more old-fashioned and tired of the system?”

E.T. Mensah did not appear perturbed about the development when DAILY GUIDE sought his views in a telephone interview yesterday.

“What they are saying is nothing but a pack of lies against me and because this matter is before the Labour Commission, I do not want to comment on it or glorify them with a response because there is work for me to do.

“All I would say is that I would not be distracted and I want to remain focused. Are they saying they are happy with themselves that out of 103 associations, 102 are working with us except them?

Look, the train has taken off and they better join rather than try to bring government to its knees,” Mr. Mensah said.

CLOSAG in their statement responded to what they alleged Mr. Mensah had said about them. “…That CLOSAG was formed with funding from the NPP is an unfortunate statement coming from a high profile and elderly personality of government who ought to have known the history of Labour Unions and Associations in the country that are currently related to his ministry.

“The Minister is being haunted by his past practices. How on earth could an Association, very conversant with the needs of its members, go bussing party sympathizers to demonstrate?

…It would mean all demonstrations, for example, the recent one by the ICU on utility tariff hikes, was also politically motivated.”

Monday, 7 June 2010

By Halifax Ansah-Adddo
(Daily Guide Friday, 04 June 2010)

Ghana’s Tourism Minister, Zita Sabah Okaikoi, is residing with her maid-servant and bodyguard in a government of Ghana facility while on a private visit to New York to seek maternal care, information reaching DAILY GUIDE from the United States indicates.

Reports say the pregnant Minister and the two are cooling off on the 14th floor of 19 East 47th Street New York, NY 10017, a residential facility at the New York Consulate of the Ghana Mission in the United States.

The facility, DAILY GUIDE learnt, is exclusively reserved for Ghanaian officials on official working trips to the US, and is not to be used by persons on private visits.

The female Minister, together with her bodyguard and servant, are incurring extra cost for the Ghana Mission at a time a number of workers there have not been paid for months.

Apart from staying at the residential facility at the Consulate, reports say Zita and her private maid are chauffeur-driven in government of Ghana vehicles on their private rounds.

The vehicles are fueled and maintained by the Ghanaian tax payer, sources say.

Amazingly, all telephone numbers to the office of the consulate went unanswered and were directed to voice mails when DAILY GUIDE called.

Zita herself could also not be reached on phone and when DAILY GUIDE asked Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, what the Tourism Minister was doing outside the country, he seemed not to be in the know and suggested that Zita herself speaks to the issue.

Foreign Minister Alhaji Mohammad Mumuni could also not be reached on phone and two text messages sent to his phone for a reaction were not answered.

The 15-floor consulate was purchased for Ghana by ex-head of state General Ignatius Kutu Acheampong.

A source who spoke on anonymity explained: “The building is very big and there are some parts that are scarcely used.

It was restructured and rebuilt into two residential facilities by the Kufuor government and the minister is staying with her house-girl in one of them.”

When news broke in Ghana that Zita had travelled outside the country, ostensibly to seek maternal care, she had a lot of public bashing from persons who expressed surprise that a Minister for Tourism under the Mills administration did not find any hospital in Ghana worthy of her status, but had to travel to US just for maternal care.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Interview By Halifax Ansah-Addo
Essien Vs Dad: The Full Story
Soccer hero Michael Essien and his dad, James Essien, are trading accusations and counter accusations about who neglected who and the world is watching the tango between dad and son.
Michael has issued a detailed press statement on the matter and threatened to take a few media houses to court because he was unhappy about the way the story was carried and when News-One contacted James for an interview on the matter, he gave some shocking revelations.

We present excerpts of the interview as well as a full text of Michael’s press statement.
News-One: “You seem to be destroying your son with this claim that he has neglected you.
James Essien: “It is not true I am out to destroy Michael, at least I am proud he has sent my name to the international levels and if I played football for Gold Coast and my son is playing for Ghana, what can I say but to be proud of him but truth must also be said that Essien is not looking after me as he is making the world to believe”
News-One: Why is not looking after you as you are alleging
James Essien: I believe it is because he grew up with the mother, Aba, so he is closer to her and takes care of her but I am an old man and I cannot tell lies against my own son, Michael does not care about me. I have not seen him for the past 15 years and I have not spoken to him for the past six years because I do not even have his number, let alone contact him and his mother has refused to give me the number; the sister, Diana also says she does not have the number”
News-One: But you know where to contact him when he is in Ghana.
James Essien
: “No I do not. There was this time I heard he was in Ghana and would be training at the stadium so I dressed in my best cloths and travelled all the way to Accra…After the training I went to the dressing room but when my son saw me, he bent his head as if he was lacing his boots and remained there for over 15 minutes so I went to him and raised his head.
“Michael asked me who brought me to the stadium and it came to me as a surprise and I told him I was playing football at the stadium before he was born….When he got ready to leave I followed him to his car and reminded him that I came to see him for a discussion but he insisted he was busy.
“I then asked for transportation back home but he did not give me and asked me to meet him at Novotel the next Monday. I managed to perch with friends in Accra and finally got to Novotel on Monday only to be told Michael Essien left the country Friday night soon after my meeting with him”
News-One: Could it be he was hurt because you neglected him as a child?
James Essien: “Ha ha ha ha. I did not neglect Michael. When the mother and I broke up, he was about two years so all the children stayed with her but they always came to me during festivals and some holidays, it was after he got to France that I stopped hearing from him and had never had his number.
“I looked after him and I was the one who even sent him to Sewedro Secondary school after his JSS. On that day I even had an accident and this is a story many people in Sewedro still remember. From there he had a scholarship to St. Augustine.
“I must confess I was not sending him money when he was in school but it was not deliberate because I was not having money at the time… I did my best to look after him but as a revenue collector what could I have done. I took him to secondary school, when he had the Liberty opportunity I played a major role. You ask Alhaji Sly Tetteh.”
News-One: What about the three-bed room house he built for you?
James Essien:
“This is where I live; a mud house built by my brother many years ago even before Michael was born. It is the room in which I stay that he renovated and added a hall. He has never built me a house. I do not believe he wrote that statement himself.”
News-One: He claims he sends you money for your up-keep and car maintenance.
James Essien:
“Yes once in a while he sends me GH¢500 (about $400) but the money is not regular and at times has about six months interval. As for the car, it is still at the workshop because there is no money to repair it. I am the third person to own that car and it is not as new as you think.
News-One: Is it true he pays for your medical bills and sent you to the Asikuma Hospital?
James Essein:
“If Michael Essien says he sent me to Assikuma Hospital, it is a big lie; it is a traditional medicine man that comes here to take care of me.”
News-One: “If you had a message for your son, what would it be?
James Essien:
“Oh I want to see him. We should live as father and son. It is not that I am interested in burdening him with my problems. I was taking care of myself before Michael was born and since then I still take care of myself; look I was born on 28th September 1932 so I not a small boy and there is very little I still expect from this life. But Michael is my son, my blood, the one that makes me proud all over the world and I must at least be made to feel like a father but not a stranger to him. I would want him to know I still love him as my child and follow his career and all his games. In fact there are things I want to tell him as a father, things I want to tell him in person.”
News-One: Thank you for the opportunity.
James Essien:
Thank you and tell those who do not believe what I am saying to come here to see things for themselves.”
FULL MICHAEL ESSIEN STATEMENT TO THE PRESS ON FATHER’S CLAIMSI have faced many many difficult challenges in my life but this is the hardest thing I have ever done as my heart bleeds over the false statements recently peddled by a small section of the Ghanaian media goaded by my own father.
I had never wanted to discuss my family in public or any good I do to anyone because when you do good, you go only for God’s recognition.
But for the thousands of Ghanaians and the highly respectable people of our country who have contacted me and know what I have consistently done for my father, I need to react to stop the attempt to destroy me in the eyes of the people of Ghana and disgrace my family.
Given what I have done for my father, when I was told of the false, vile and degrading comments he made about me, I wept because people normally do not get insults for doing good.
But my father decided to pay me back in such a terrible way. Because of this I have been unfortunately forced to say what I have done for him because he has gone to the extreme to disgrace my family. I will like to state the following facts:
1. My father currently lives in a three-bedroom house (not mud house) I instructed my sister to build for him with my own money.
2. He is visited monthly and more recently twice a week by my sister Diana on my orders to regularly give him money and other essentials I send. My mother, whom he has insulted so much, also provides for him.
3. I bought a car for him to make his transportation easier and part of the money I provide for him is used to fuel the car or repair it when it breaks down.
4. When his illness broke out I asked for him to be taken to the Asikuma Hospital but he said he wants traditional medicine. I provided money for him to undergo traditional treatment. It came to nothing and I ordered for him to be taken to the hospital. My family, I believe have also organised for a nurse to come home and look after him on regular basis.

Because of these reasons and many more reasons I won’t state publicly, I am shocked by what he is alleged to have said but God knows I have done my best to thoroughly look after a man who didn’t even raise me or take part in my upbringing and who has 8 other children who can help.
What has surprised me though is how certain media houses in Ghana can present one side of a story and not seek to check the other side before going all out to criticise my whole family.
I want to state here categorically that even after such distasteful comments; I will continue to support my father as I believe it is the right thing to do.
I will not discuss this matter further as I have asked my legal team in Ghana to investigate all the allegations and the media that callously carried out this agenda and take action where necessary.
Thank you
Signed: Michael Essien.

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Halifax Ansah-Addo is a Ghanaian journalist living and working in Accra. Currently, he is Editor of THE PUBLISHER (, a private-owned Ghanaian newspaper with nationwide circulation in the country. He attended the African University College of Communications in Accra and an alumnus of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), Berlin, Germany. He was awarded the 2015 Best Entertainment Journalist/Writer at the GN Bank Awards. Halifax writes on politics, human rights, arts and social issues. He is a Christian.

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