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Parliament losing its integrity as absent MPs are signed for by colleagues –Muntaka
MP for Asawase constituency, Muntaka Mubarak

Minority Chief Whip and MP for Asawasi Constituency, Mohammed Muntaka says MPs are destroying Parliament by shirking their responsibility.

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Speaking at a forum in Parliament, he said that out of 275 MPs, only about 100 of them actually show up to work while others who are usually absent get others to sign their name for them.

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According to Mr Muntaka, the house is losing its integrity as absentee MPs usually spend their time outside the house doing private business.

“Even the processes that we have in the house chaired by the second division speaker, where if you have a business you have to report it to the house. The speaker set a committee so you go to defend it.”

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“They look at the business and the work that you do. If they are convinced that it is not going to be a conflict they give you a certificate and the speaker signs it. Many MPs don’t do it and they continue with their business,” he lamented.

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He explained that these actions are mostly as a result of the election processes where hardworking lawmakers are voted out and those who shirk their responsibilities are left at post.

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“Because of the way we get elected, people are not motivated to stay and learn and unfortunately those who turn to stay and learn are being discouraged.”

“How do you go to one primaries (referencing NPP Primaries) and lose 12 chairpersons of committees, people who dedicate time to stay in the house to help run government business.”

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His comment follows concerns raised by the First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Joseph Osei Owusu over the appearance of the names of some absentee Members of Parliament in the House’s attendance book.

It was discovered on Thursday, July 2, that some MPs who were not in the House had their names in the votes and proceedings a practice he was not happy about.

Politics: Old Voters ID cards still valid for business transactions – EC

He called for an investigation into the matter saying “the real issue here is who has been marking those absent present.”

Mr Muntaka said it was unfortunate that some of his colleagues are not willing to go through the painful process learning of lawmaking, sitting for committees and doing research on said committees.

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The Minority Chief Whip said these actions have not only turned the house “upside-down” but destroying it alongside its integrity built over the years.

Speaking on Top Story on Joy FM he said that because they are supposed to check each other, it is tedious to get his colleagues to do the right thing.

The MP advocated for a system in the chamber that allows people to log in and log out of the house.

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This, he said, will prevent members from signing for other members when they are not around.

“When we have a bio metric system that we use and every month, after establishing an ethics committee, if one do not have this number of hours in the month they get a deduction in salaries and beyond that abcd can happen.”

Old voters ID cards still valid for business transactions – EC
EC voters’ register

The old voters’ identity card is still valid for identification related to socio-economic transactions until the Electoral Commission finishes the compilation of the the new voters’ register.

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Mr Samuel Tettey, Deputy Chairman in Charge of Operations at the Commission, who told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in an interview, said the Commission usually shared data with the relevant institutions, including banks, to enable them to verify the authenticity of the cards presented to them as part of their transactions.

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Mr Tettey said the Voter’s ID card also served as an identification card to support financial transactions and filling different application forms.

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“As our major stakeholders, the Commission will communicate accordingly when the process is done and when the new card becomes operational,” he said. “As soon as we are done with the ongoing registration and the register is compiled and legitimised by the Court, the old card becomes invalid.” But until then, Mr Tettey explained that applicants who had successfully registered and received their cards could only use them to vouch for prospective applicants they knew as Ghanaians.

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The GNA gathered that some individuals had been presenting their new Voters’ ID cards to institutions to transact business and became frustrated when they were told they could not be accepted now.

Read: Mills Nearly Resigned Because Of Rawlings Attacks – Kwamena Ahwoi

An official at a bank located in the Ministries area, who pleaded on anonymity, told GNA that some clients had been presenting their new card as proof of their identity but the bank did not have the data base yet to validate their authenticity.

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He, therefore, advised clients to present other identifications cards which could be authenticated.

Mills nearly resigned due to Rawlings’ attacks – Kwamena Ahwoi
Late Prof John Evans Atta Mills

Former President John Evans Atta Mills is said to have almost tendered in his resignation in 2010.

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This was as a result of verbal attacks he suffered from former President Jerry John Rawlings.

In a book titled “Working with Rawlings”, authored by former Local Government Minister, Prof. Kwamena Ahwoi; Prof. Mills is quoted as saying “I can’t take it anymore, so I have decided to resign as President”.

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Prof. Ahwoi recounts the incident as one which made him panic.

He writes “I was attending an IEA-sponsored workshop at Aburi in the Eastern Region.

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“President Mills asked me (called him on phone) whether I had heard the things Rawlings had said about him to the smaller group of NDC loyalists that he had met in Tamale after the congress.

“When I replied in the negative, he said “Kwamena, then try and get the audio and listen to it. I have been humiliated enough. I can’t take it anymore so I have decided to resign as President”.

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Prof. Ahwoi says it took the intervention of Captain (Retired) Kojo Tsikata, a former National Security Advisor and Kofi Totobi-Quakyi a former Minister of Information to convince the late President to change his mind.

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He said this was at a meeting that lasted about four hours at the seat of government.

Prof. Ahwoi notes that on arrival at the Castle where the former President resided at the time, there were visible signs of him packing out.

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“He had packed many of his belongings in suitcases and card boxes and many others were strewn on the seats in the hall, ready for packing.”

He recounts the conclusion of the meeting “…he agreed not to resign and we agreed to take steps to ensure that Rawlings stopped his public humiliation of President Mills or reduced it significantly.”

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He further reveals that they agreed to use younger members of the party to respond to Mr Rawlings after any public aspersions of President Mills.

“Any time former President Rawlings attacked or insulted President Mills publicly, one of the younger members of the party would take him on publicly not with insults but logic.”

These are the younger party members Prof. Ahwoi claims Mr, Rawlings christened ”babies with sharp teeth.”

NSS challenges NDC on cancellation of trainee teachers’ enrollment onto scheme
National Service Scheme

The National Service Scheme (NSS) has reiterated the need to enrol newly trained tertiary-level teachers on the scheme as it challenges the NDC over its cancellation plans.

Read: Leakage of 2020 WASSCE science question on social media is fake – WAEC

The secretariat believes it is an opportunity being offered to the graduates to undertake one-year national service in fulfillment of Act 426 of 1980.

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A statement by the Corporate Affairs Directorate of the NSS said it was shocked at an abolition campaign by the NDC.

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 “We have noted with utter dismay and shock the abolition campaign of the NDC against the enrolment if it comes to power.

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“The management of the scheme deems the comments as unfortunate and feels compelled in the present circumstances, and for what we perceive should be in the public interest, to share hard facts in the hope to bring clarity to the circumstances surrounding the introduction of the programme,” parts of the statement read.

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It added the enrolment was a policy decision which seeks to include all qualified and eligible graduates as stipulated in the NSS ACT 426 of 1980.

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“It is absolutely critical for members of the public and especially the NDC to be reminded that graduates of a tertiary institution that are liable to national service cannot be employed contrary to the provisions of the NSS Act,” the statement urged.

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They further cautioned politicians to stay away from denigrating a nationally accepted programme that serves as a transition between school and the world of work that instils in the youth the sense and spirit of nation-building and civic responsibility.

Leakage Of 2020 WASSCE Science Questions On Social Media Is Fake - WAEC

The West African Examinations Council (WAEC) has reacted to reports on social media that questions on some of the yet to be written 2020 examination papers at the Senior High School (SHS) level has leaked.

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According to WAEC, its attention has been drawn to the “circulation of several fake versions of the Integrated Science 1 & 2 Papers to be administered on 3rd August, 2020 on social media platforms.”

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“The Council wishes to allay the fears of all stakeholders especially candidates about the alleged leakage of the Papers.”

It said a “scrutiny of the images being shared on social media indicates once again, the activities of certain individuals mainly operators of rogue websites and WhatsApp groups aimed at leading candidates astray and discrediting the Council,” a statement signed and issued on Saturday night [August 1, 2020] by the Head of Public Affairs at WAEC, Mrs Agnes Teye-Cudjoe said.

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It said the Council was very vigilant and has alerted the BNI, CID and the National Security about the threats posed by “these groups.”

“The Council assures all its stakeholders that it has put in place all the necessary measures to ensure the smooth conduct of the WASSCE for School Candidates, 2020,” it added.

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Meanwhile, the Council urged all candidates “to stay focused, continue with their preparation for the examination and comply with the COVID-19 protocols in order to keep safe during the period.”

While appreciating the interest shown in this year’s WASSCE for school candidates, the Council wishes to caution all stakeholders to be circumspect in putting out information on the examinations, it added.

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Gov’t accusation

On social media, some people had accused the government of deliberately taking undue advantage of some head teachers to circulate the yet-to-be-written WASCCE papers to students as an agenda to ensure that the first batch of the free Senior High School (SHS) students pass the exams “massively”.

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The proponents of the allegation said the government was behind the leakage and circulation of the papers and also alleged that some head teachers of various senior high schools were being used by the government to facilitate this activity.

They subsequently attached some of the papers they said were in their possession to their posts on social media.

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Below is a copy of the statement issued by WAEC

Leakage Of 2020 WASSCE Science Questions On Social Media Is Fake - WAEC

Meanwhile, the Ghana Education Service (GES) has also reacted to what it said was the “accompanying twist to the effect that the paper has been leaked deliberately to ensure that the candidates pass the examination.”

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In a statement dated August 1, 2020, signed and issued by the Head of Public Relations Unit of the GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo, the GES recalled that “the purported leakage of examination questions has become an annual ritual and should be seen in that light and therefore should not allow themselves to be deceived by propagandist seeking to achieve some mischievous objectives.”

Below is a copy of the GES’s statement

Leakage Of 2020 WASSCE Science Questions On Social Media Is Fake - WAEC
Government is considering loan system for needy tertiary students – Nana Addo

President Akufo-Addo says his administration is looking towards a loan system that will adequately cater for deprived students who can’t pay for tertiary education.

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This comes on the back of his administration’s much-touted free Senior High School and Technical and Vocational Education and Training introduced in 2017.

Following this, there have been growing concerns about how persons from very deprived homes will be able to access tertiary education.

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Though he did not give timelines, he promised that the policy will be adequately spelt out in the NPP’s 2020 manifesto.

Speaking on Kumasi-based Wontumi radio in the Ashanti Region, the President said the initiative was geared towards developing the human resources of the country.

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Government is considering loan system for needy tertiary students – Nana Addo

“The number one asset of any country is its people. If you can commit to developing the people, you are committed to the development of the country. That is why I have indicated that if I am voted into power, free senior high school will be a priority for us.”

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“Also, we are looking at how to make universities accessible. We don’t have funding for free tertiary education but we can organise a system where government will give loans to students and they can repay after their education. We have to move that way because we want the development of our human material as a matter of urgent priority. We are not going to give a timetable to it, but we will take steps to implement it.”

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President Akufo-Addo added that his focus on education is rooted in his knowledge that all advanced countries focused on education.

“This motivated me to also make education my number one priority because I have come to realize that what matters to every country determined to succeed is to develop the human capacity; the people”.

Free electricity for lifeline customers Starts Today – ECG

The Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) says the government’s electricity relief for lifeline customers as part of efforts to cushion Ghanaians against the hardship brought on by the Coronavirus pandemic starts today, August 1, 2020.

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According to a press statement from the ECG, the relief will end in January 2021.

The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta announced on July 23, 2020, while presenting the 2020 mid-year budget review in Parliament that the government will absorb the full electricity bill for lifeline customers for the rest of the year.

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This the ECG says, “Lifeline customers on both prepaid and postpaid metering systems will realise their relief effective August 2020 to January 2021.”

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ECG further said customers on smart prepaid meters will be automatically credited next month with their free lifeline units.

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“Customers on non-smart prepaid meters will have to visit their vending points to recharge in order to receive their free lifeline units each month,” the statement further added.

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“With regards to postpaid lifeline customers, their bills from August 2020 will indicate the government’s absorption of their lifeline consumption,” ECG added in the statement.

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Below is the statement from ECG

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95 Ghanaian nurses touch down in Barbados

Ninety-five (95) Ghanaian nurses have arrived in Barbados to begin a two-year contract in the Caribbean nation.

They arrived in Barbados on Thursday evening via a chartered flight.

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The Ministry of Health in November confirmed that 120 Ghanaian nurses had been selected to serve a two-year contract in Barbados under a Human Resources Agreement between the two countries.

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The total cohort at the time included 12 cardiac care nurses, 21 critical care nurses, eight emergency room nurses, six operating theatre nurses, three ophthalmic nurses and 70 registered general nurses.

About 600 nurses had applied for a programme to serve at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Barbados.

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“This is a momentous occasion in several ways. In spite of the challenges that would have confronted us over the last several months to get to this point, the moment has finally come and I want to say it is a pleasure, the Barbados Minister of Health, Lt Col Jeffrey Bostic said on their arrival.

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“You have arrived in Barbados at a very, very opportune time because like you are aware, we are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic,” he added.

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The Ministry together with officials from Barbados conducted a series of interviews for 150 shortlisted applicants before arriving at the final number for the Barbados nursing job.

The Barbados nursing job initiative spawned from President Akufo-Addo visit to the Caribbean Island for bilateral talks with the Barbados Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley.

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She expressed the need for Ghanaian nurses to solve its shortage of professional nurses in hospitals in the country.

Files from barbadostoday contributed to this report.

Kafaba lynching: Woman seen in video torturing Akua Danteh nabbed

The Ghana Police Service has arrested one of the suspects said to have tortured the late Akua Denteh, a 90-year-old woman at Kafaba to death.

Read: 5 arrested over Kafaba Lynching

Akua Denteh was lynched by some residents of Kafaba in the Savannah Region after accusing her of being a witch.

A statement from the Police said a two-man team was quickly dispatched to arrest suspect Latifah Bumaye after they received information about her hideout.

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“The suspect is identified as the one who was torturing the deceased in the viral video which led to the death of the deceased.”

Latifah Bumaye was arrested at Kejewu Bator, a fishing community at Abrumase on Thursday, July 30, 2020, at 9:30 pm.

The police further added that she is being escorted through Yeji to the Salaga Divisional Command for investigations.

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Five suspects charged with conspiracy to commit murder

Earlier, five suspects arrested by the Police in connection with the lynching of Akua Denteh, a 90-year-old woman at Kafaba have been formally charged with conspiracy to commit murder.

They are however currently on remand in police custody after making their first appearance in court on Thursday, July 30, 2020.

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The Savannah Regional Police Commander, DCOP Enoch Adutwum Bediako in a Citi News interview said investigations are still ongoing.

“Yesterday [Wednesday], around 10 am, five of the leaders who invited the priestess to Kafaba reported themselves to the Regional Police Command at Damongo here. We arrested them and during interrogation, they all admitted having invited the priestess to the community…We took the five to court and they have been remanded in police custody to reappear on 20th August 2020…They have been charged with conspiracy to commit crime, to wit murder,” he said

Covid-19 Trust Funds ‘spoils’ NCCE with donations worth GH₵2.5m

The COVID-19 National Trust Fund has distributed 10 Nissan Hardbody Pickups along with 100 Public Address (PA) systems to the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) worth GH¢2.5m.

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The items, according to the Fund are to support the Commission’s educational activities, especially fighting the stigma associated with Covid-19 pandemic.

Apart from the Nissan Hardbody Pickups, 50 PA systems, 100 mega phones, four graphic design and production equipment as well as 10 laptops all worth Ghc2.5m were also donated.

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The Fund also gave the NCCE funding for fuel and other support activities.

The Chairperson of the Trustees of the Trust, Justice (Rtd) Sophia Abena Akuffo, said the Board of Trustees saw the importance of education on the pandemic as a vaccine for COVID-19, hence the support.

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She explained that since Ghana’s case count of COVID-19 kept rising, there was the need to step up education on the pandemic, noting that the NCCE was the best entity to help in this regard.

She said stigmatization had become a major concern in the fight against coronavirus and the NCCE was therefore tasked to step up awareness on this.

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Justice Sophia Akuffo also appealed for more donations, stressing that anytime the Trust took funds to undertake such duties, the funds get depleted hence the need for for more support from donors.

The Trust Fund has distributed assorted medical equipment and other items to various institutions across the country.

The Chairperson of NCCE, Josephine Nkrumah thanked the COVID-19 National Trust Fund and pledged that the equipment will be put to good use in order to accomplish the purpose for which they were given.