I took refuge in E.1. 61 to procure vaccines for Ghanaians – Health Minister

The Minister for Health, Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, has said that despite the frustrations he was going through in the peak of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), he acted in accordance with Executive Instrument (E.I) 61 to procure Sputnik-V vaccines to save Ghanaians from the second wave of the deadly virus.

Kennedy Agyapong dragged to Privileges C’ttee

The Member of Parliament for Assin Central and Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Interior, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, has been directed by the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Sumana Kingsford Bagbin, to appear before the Privileges Committee.

Let this $28m be our last car loan; give Members of subsequent Parliament official vehicles – MPs tell Gov’t

Members of Parliament (MPs) on the Finance Committee have unanimously approved the US$28million Medium Term Loan the Government of Ghana is contracting from the National Investment Bank (NIB) to procure them vehicles to facilitate their legislative duties.

However, they have resolved that this should be the last auto loan facility for them, demanding from Government, instead, officials vehicles just like Members of the Executives, Judiciary and other CEOs of state agencies are enjoying.

To them, once Parliament has already started deducting the loan facility from the salary even before the House would consider and approve the deal, it is proper for them take “this last one” but considering the public outcry over such facility as a result of the country’s current finances, it will be proper for the State to assign Members of subsequent Parliament official vehicles.

The position and request of the MPs also affect Members of the Council of State as the lawmakers also want their car loan abrogated for subsequent Members and instead, assign them official vehicles
The lawmakers also want the US$3.5million auto loan facility for Members of the Council of State to be the last, further demanding that the state assign Members of subsequent Council official vehicles.

This is part of the recommendations contained in the report of the Finance Committee captioned “Discontinuation of the Vehicle Loan Arrangement for MPs and Members of the Council of State which is expected to be moved at the plenary for consideration and approval.

“The Committee took note of recent concerns expressed by many sections of the Ghanaians public about the burden the current vehicle loan arrangement for Members of Parliament and Members of the Council of State impose on the public purse. These legitimate concerns are fueled by the fact that, of all the Article 71 Office Holders, it is only Members of Parliament and Members of the Council of State who benefit from these vehicle loans, part of which are re-paid by the State. The Committee took the view that, as representatives of the people, Members of Parliament cannot continue to leave these concerns unattended. That weakens the confidence Ghanaians have in us”, the Committee’s report signed by its Chairman, Hon. Kwaku Kwaku Kwarteng, in part read.

It added “We have a responsibility to reflect the values and ideals of the people we represent. Accordingly, the Committee strongly recommends to Parliament the discontinuation of the current vehicle loan arrangement for MPs and Council of State Members. Members of Parliament and Members of the Council of State should have similar duty post vehicle arrangements as other Article 71 Office Holders have. And the Committee respectfully recommends that Parliament and the Parliamentary Service take the necessary steps to ensure that this happens. The instant vehicle loan arrangements for MPs and Council of State Members before us today should be the last one the state is sponsoring”.

Two lawmakers had earlier, jointly filed a private members motion calling on the legislature to reject a US$28million loan facility between the Government of Ghana and the National Investment Bank (NIB) to buy vehicles to facilitate the work of lawmakers.

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) MP for Okaikwei Central and deputy Chairman of the Finance Committee, Patrick Yaw Boamah, and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, are instead, demanding that the State assigns them official vehicles to facilitate their legislative duties.

The motion which was filed on Tuesday, July 13, 2021, reads “That this Honourable House rejects the term loan agreement of USD $28,000,000,00 (Twenty eight million US Dollars) between the Government of Ghana and the National Investment Bank Limited to finance the purchase of vehicles for the Members of Parliament of the 8th Parliament and in the alternative, request the State to provide for Members facilities necessary for the performance of their duties as provided for under Article 71 of the 1992 Constitution”.

Boamah, Ablakwa move to stop $28m car loan for MPs

Two Members of Parliament (MPs) from the Majority and Minority Caucuses have jointly filed a private members motion calling on the legislature to reject a US$28million loan facility between the Government of Ghana and the National Investment Bank (NIB) to buy vehicles to facilitate the work of lawmakers.

Wa: Soldiers involved in molestation spree lose ranks

Soldiers who molested some civilians in the Upper West regional capital, Wa, in search of a missing mobile phone, have been punished by the Military High Command, Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul has revealed.

While some of have had their ranks reduced, others have been awarded thirty (30) days each in detention with others said to be on schedule for transfer out of the region.

For instance, the Orderly Sergeant who was a Staff Sergeant has had his rank reduced to Corporal. The Guard Commander who was a Corporal has had his rank reduced to Private. The Sentry on duty who was a Lance Corporal has also had his rank reduced to Private.

According to the Defense Minister, the punishments were meted out to soldiers after they were charged and tried by a Disciplinary Board chaired by the Commanding Officer. The trial of the Duty Officer who is a Lieutenant, Mr. Nitiwul added, will however, commence on or before Wednesday, July 14, 2021.

“All the trials are without prejudice to the outcome of the subjects under other forms of investigations. Eight other soldiers who were deeply involved and or visibly identified in various videos brutalizing some residents have been charged, tried and awarded thirty (30) days each in detention by a Disciplinary Board chaired by the Commanding Officer”, he noted.

Mr. Nitiwul made these observations when he briefed Parliament at a sitting on Thursday, July 8, 2021, about the actions taken by the Military High Command following the alleged brutalities by young soldiers of the 10 Mechanized Battalion in Wa township.

What triggered the alleged brutalities?

According to the Defense Minister, on June 30, 2021, one of the soldiers alleged that his mobile phone had been snatched from him at about 18:00 hours at Tindama Junction, a suburb of Wa. He then informed his colleagues on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at about 12:30 hours who in turn informed the Duty Officer on the same day.

The Duty Officer then permitted the troops to go to town to search for the missing mobile phone at about 12:45hours.

“This consequently led to the brutalities in Wa Township”, he noted.

According to Mr. Nitiwul, eleven (11) persons suffered various degrees of injuries out of which four (4) were admitted at the Wa Municipal Hospital.

Three out of the four (4) were treated and discharged with the fourth person identified as Mr. Gafaru Mohammed, later transferred to the Upper West Regional Hospital where he was successfully operated upon.

The victim, he added, is currently responding to treatment, stressing that he has personally paid all the medical bills of the victims and further promised to bear any additional bills that come up.

The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, welcomed the swift disciplinary action taken by the Military High Command against the young soldiers and expressed the hope that it will serve as deterrent to others.

The Majority Chief Whip, Frank Annoh-Dompreh, commenting on the issue commended the the Defense Minister for the swift intervention in investigating the matter.

However, he said that there is the need to go further to heal the seemingly damaged relationship between the military and civilians.

“We need to do more than just investigating and then churning out deserved punishment. We must up that relationship between civilians and the army. That for me is important. Regardless of the fact that the role of the army is defined – maintaining territorial integrity. They need the people of this country to survive and to execute that constitutional mandate”, he noted.

He urged Mr. Nitiwul to continue to keep his eyes on the situation, stressing that “we don’t want to wake up one day and hear that the matter has gotten out of hand”.

If I have my way, I will ask MPs to reject $28m NIB auto loan – Patrick Boamah

The Vice-Chairman of the Parliamentary Select on Finance, Patrick Yaw Boamah, has said that considering the incessant public bashing that always greets Members of Parliament (MPs) whenever they contract an auto loan to buy vehicles to support their work, he would advise his colleague lawmakers to reject the current facility on their table if he had his own way.