Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng with the convicts at the Nsawam Prison
Ghanaian footballer Christian Atsu has rescued a woman, her two daughters and grand-daughter, who were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment for allegedly stealing corn leftovers estimated at GH¢10. News of the incarceration of the family of four broke earlier this month at a workshop organized by the Perfector of Sentiments (POS) Foundation on Noncustodial or Alternative Sentencing Draft Bill.
One of the convicts (name withheld), who is a widow and reportedly has five children, was brought to the said workshop held at the Accra City Hotel to explain circumstances that led to their imprisonment.
She stated that her sister, who has six children, was also jailed three months alongside their mother after they were accused of stealing corn from a farm near Nsawam.
According to her, they had gone to the farm just to gather the corn leftovers after harvesting to feed their children but were arrested.
“The judge asked my sister to pay an amount of GH¢350 to save us from jail,” she added.
Atsu donated an amount of GH¢1,000 to ensure their release after news of their imprisonment went viral.
The money was reportedly given to Crime Check Foundation, which is pursuing their release from prison.
DAILY GUIDE learnt that they would gain their freedom today, October 16, 2018.
Commenting on the case, an executive of Crime Check Foundation, Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng said: “Cases like this make a strong case for a review of Ghana’s criminal justice laws.”
He stated that “they may not have had permission for collecting the leftovers from the farm, but in a country where poverty is endemic in most rural communities, what some rural folks do is to search for rejected harvested corn to keep their families alive. Sadly the innocent baby of Joyce had to follow the mum to prison.”
He added that “they tell me their farmlands have been sold out to a company, so they have to go looking for corn which offers them Akple twice a day. Fortunately, a Good Samaritan has paid for their GH¢360 court fine to enable them go home on Tuesday to continue with their hustle. You can imagine the joy on their faces when CCF donated GH¢1,000 to them on behalf of Black Stars winger, Christian Atsu.”
The issue came to the attention of the Chief Justice, Sophia Akuffo during the said workshop on non-custodial sentencing.
She was of the view that sometimes the organizations that purport to be protecting human rights of prisoners tend to ‘sensationalize’ some cases without following the legal procedure to ensure the release of the affected persons.
She was of the view that if POS Foundation which brought the issue to the fore had followed due legal processes by engaging the services of lawyers or even paralegals the case of the woman and her two daughters would not have received public attention, making reference to the Biblical saying that “for lack of knowledge, my people perish.”
The Chief Justice asked officials of POS Foundation what steps they took to reverse the sentencing of the ‘convicts’ aside bringing the issue to public attention but officials of the Foundation could not give any tangible answer.
A major player in the petroleum product haulage sector has pleaded with the President to crack the whip on those who are creating avoidable challenges in the industry because of their positions and influence.
Speaking to DAILY GUIDE on anonymity, he traced the origin of the incessant strikes by tanker drivers to the invasion of the industry by some politicians and peddlers who are squeezing out registered transporters.
According to him, during the Mills administration, some politicians and appointees decided to use their influence in the same manner to contract some registered tanker drivers to haul petroleum products from the depots. According to him, “they hid behind some transporters to milk off their colleagues’ allocation by a percentage of between 25 and 30 of the total volume lifted, although they had no investment in the business”.
He continued: “Under the Mahama administration, family members, government appointees and friends were allowed into the industry and soon they hijacked the business completely.”
Some of the registered owners and drivers felt frustrated and mobilized resources to campaign against John Mahama’s government in the last polls, he disclosed.
Some political appointees are currently trying to scheme their way into the same business that cleared the NDC government out of power and this, he said, should be stopped forthwith.
“President Akufo-Addo recognizing the role of the private sector in the economic development of the country has done all he can to ensure that those who invested in the business are rewarded as such”, he pointed out, adding that “unfortunately some persons who use their links on the corridors of power are seeking to squeeze out businessmen from what should be their preserve.”
“It would be disastrous for persons to hijack trucks belonging to transporters to haul petroleum products at BOST because of their positions and influence. This should stop to allow the registered transporters to do their business and to pay the necessary taxes due the state and sustain their business.
“If this situation is not stopped, the transporters would lay off their workers due to the excessive demand on them by others who would take over their business and give them between 50 and 60 per cent of the total value lifted,” he cautioned.
This situation has direct impact on the quality of petroleum products transported by these faceless politicians who have hijacked the haulage business. In some instances, the drivers are not paid for transporting the products across the country, he revealed.
Under the circumstances, they are compelled to steal or compromise the quality of the products to increase the volume at the risk of the consuming public. The Energy Minister should be at the forefront of the campaign to eliminate the middlemen who are creating problems for BOST and the transporters who have secured loans to invest in the construction of parking lots, and training of drivers.
Chef Afi Lumor is the only lady among the gentlemen
Eyram Nyesitsofe Afi Lumor, a renowned Ghanaian chef popularly called Chef Lumor, has represented Africa at the recently held World Barbecue Association Congress in Malta.
Chef Lumor was appointed the Africa Ambassador of the World Barbecue Association recently and helped with the inauguration of the Ghana Barbecue Association, which is a chapter of the global association.
She was accompanied to Malta for the congress by the Board Chairman of Ghana Barbecue Association, Okatakyie Nana Anim, and President of Ghana Barbecue Association, Michael Quainoo.
The World Barbecue Association (WBQA) began on January 31, 996, with the aim of uniting all countries worldwide through barbecue.
Its member countries come from Europe, Central, South and North America as well as North and South Africa. It has a corporate mission that is of respect and tolerance for everyone.
Since its inception, it has held many championships both big and small in Europe and across the world under the auspices of the WBQA.
The WBQA uses the element of fire as an instrument to promote a positive way of life. The global body promotes an ethos of fire, food, friendship and fun.
The team from Ghana and their global counterparts had the opportunity to have lunch with the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
Chef Lumor explained that the experience in Malta, where new executives of the association were elected, was fun and interesting.
She stated that preparations are being made for the Africa barbecue competition scheduled for next month in Algeria.
YOUTH OF Amantin in the Atebubu Amantin Municipality of the Brong Ahafo Region last Friday attacked the Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) of the area, Edward Owusu, the police and some officials for attempting to collect market tolls from them.
The youth numbering about 500 vandalized the MCE’s official vehicle – a Nissan Patrol car with registration number GN2270-11- by shattering the windscreen, the rear screen and side glasses completely, according to the police in the region. The MCE’s driver, Korankyi Bukari, reported the incident to Atebubu Police and the MCE’s vehicle was kept at the Amantin Police Station.
Regional police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Augustine Kinsley Oppong explained to DAILY GUIDE that the MCE, Edward Owusu and some revenue officials of the Atebubu Amantin District Assembly including his driver and armed police men were at Amantin last Friday at about 1:30pm to collect market tolls from traders and storekeepers in the area.
According to him, the team first called on the Krontinhene of Amantin, Nana Osei Bonso. While the team was in the chief’s palace, some irate youth numbering about 500 stormed the palace and attacked the MCE and the police, by hurling stones and sticks at the MCE’s vehicle and that of the police. And they vowed not to pay any tolls.
“Our men fired warning shots to disperse the crowd and fortunately no one was hurt,” he disclosed, adding “the police have not been able to arrest anyone yet”.
Meanwhile, the Atebub Amantin District has decided to hold an emergency meeting and members have invited the Krontihene of the area to attend the assembly meeting on 19th October, 2018, to explain to the authorities the reasons behind the attack on the MCE and officials of the assembly and the police.
Chief Inspector Augustine explained that investigations were ongoing and anyone arrested would be charged with assault and causing unlawful damage. He assured the public that notwithstanding the attack by the youth there is calm at Amantin.
GCB Bank has for the second time been adjudged the Most Compliant Focused Bank in Africa at the just ended Africa Compliance Professional awards (ACCPA) in Luanda, Angola.
The award was organized by the Association of Certified Compliance Professionals in Africa (ACCPA).
The awards climax a two day conference for Compliance Professionals in Africa under the theme “Improving Risk and Compliance Standards in Africa” in Luanda, Angola.
GCB Bank beat competition from FNB South Africa, Bank of Ghana and Banco BNI of Angola.
The award was received by the Chief Compliance Officer of the Bank Osman Abudulai, who was also adjudged the Anti-Money laundering professional of the year for his leadership role in GCB’s fight against money laundering.
ACCPA is a continental network of experienced and certified anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing Professionals working on the ground in the African sub-region.
ACCPA currently has over 3,000 members in 46 countries. GCB is Ghana’s largest indigenous Bank with 183 branches spread across the country.
The Bank has incorporated policies, procedures and solutions that have enabled it to meet the regulator’s requirements as well as contributing to the global fight against financial crime.
In our series of letters from African journalists, Kenyan Joseph Warungu looks at the new strategy by the country’s anti-corruption body to use the Bible to deter theft of public funds.
You know you are in deep trouble when nothing else can save you except prayer.
That’s where Kenya is at the moment.
The country is sinking into deep debt, much of it the result of widespread mismanagement of public funds.
Corruption is eating us up alive, with new scandals emerging day after day.
And nothing is sacred, not even the water we need for life.
Problem ‘getting worse’
In parts of the capital, Nairobi, criminal cartels with alleged connections to some powerful people at the Nairobi county government are reportedly secretly disconnecting water supplies to whole residential estates.
This creates an artificial shortage, which they benefit from by selling water to the residents from their water trucks businesses.
That’s why I’m in prayer mode.
But it’s not the only reason.
You might find it hard to prove officially that you gave birth to a Kenyan until you give birth to another child – called cash.
The Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), the country’s official body for fighting corruption, appears overwhelmed by the scale of the problem.
It has tried many things but nothing seems to be working.
Indeed the problem appears to be getting worse, according to the commission’s new national survey on corruption, which was published earlier this month.
The figure for those who paid bribes to receive government services has risen to 62%, up from 46% just two years ago.
Institutions where bribes were most commonly paid:
Local chiefs and village elders: 17% of respondents said they had paid a bribe
Registrar of persons department: 10.5%
County health department: 7.6%
National ministry of lands: 6.1%
Source: Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission survey
One of the services said to be most prone to bribes was the collection of birth certificates.
So as a mother, although you may have carried a pregnancy for nine months and then given birth to a baby, the pain is not over.
You might find it hard to prove officially that you gave birth to a Kenyan until you give birth to another child – called cash.
And there’s yet another problem when it comes to reporting incidents of corruption.
‘Scared to report corruption’
According to the EACC’s survey, the police service was ranked first among government departments and agencies perceived to be most prone to corruption.
So you have nothing to drink at home because your water supply has been illegally disconnected.
You cannot be reconnected because the people behind your headache are well connected to the powers that be.
The police will also be unlikely to help you unless you give them “something to eat.”
You’re thirsty, they’re hungry and the nation is tired.
The EACC itself is fed up.
It wants to do something but Kenyans will not do anything.
According to its survey, 61% of the respondents have done nothing to support the fight against corruption and promote sound ethical standards in the country.
Why? Well, because they’re scared.
The survey says the majority of Kenyans do not report corruption and unethical behaviour for investigation, because they fear potential harassment and reprisal.
So running out of ideas for tackling this menace, the anti-corruption commission has turned to a new weapon – the Bible.
It recently launched the Bible Study Guide to enhance its fight against corruption, hoping this will make a difference in this supposedly God-fearing country.
The commission itself is led by retired Anglican Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, a man of God who knows his Bible very well.
The EACC says that the Bible Study Guide is intended to help Kenyans “interact with the Bible and discover God’s position on corruption, and his direction on living a corruption-free life”.
President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto appear to have had their own Bible study six years ago when they won their first election.
They said their policies came straight out of the holy book.
Mr Ruto recently reminded everyone that the governing Jubilee Party’s manifesto was anchored on biblical teachings, saying, “the commitment to deliver on our pledges is more out of the belief that we are working for God rather than men”.
So clearly the good bishop is in good company.
What about non-Christians?
I personally have nothing against the Bible.
I read it regularly and I know of quite a few characters in there who were deeply corrupt, starting with Judas Iscariot, a disciple of Christ who betrayed him for a fee only to take his own life later.
But there are a few questions that I and fellow Kenyans would like the good bishop to bear in mind.
Many of the top leaders who have been accused of, or charged with, corruption are church-going, Bible readers.
Is there another version of the holy book that the bishop could recommend to them?
Secondly, some of the money stolen from the public, finds its way to the church in the form of offerings or tithe.
Is the church in Kenya in danger of money-laundering?
Thirdly, what study guide will the bishop recommend to non-Christians?
Does corruption not affect them too?
As I write this, I suspect some of the “tenderpreneurs” – infamous cartels that bribe their way to fat government tenders – are busy plotting to submit an inflated proposal to procure and distribute a free copy of the Bible to all Kenyans. The anti-corruption commission currently has no such plans.
The knees of many Kenyans are sore from constant prayer for Kenya to emerge from the pipeline of catastrophes that engulf it.
They will be praying that once the anti-corruption commission conquers the spiritual battle, it will come up with tangible worldly tools to fight the disciples of corruption on the ground.
There is a famous Kenyan proverb from my people which says: “When the lead cow develops a limp, the herd will never reach the watering hole.”
In other words, the culture change must flow from the top.
Kenya beat Ethiopia 3-0 at home in Sunday’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifier to edge closer towards the finals in Cameroon in 2019.
Fans queued for several hours outside the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi where entry to the 60,000 capacity arena was free for the qualifier, with police having to use teargas to disperse the crowds outside once the stadium was full.
On the pitch, Michael Olunga and Eric Johana Omondi put the Harambee Stars 2-0 up in the first half.
Captain Victor Wanyama made it 3-0 from the penalty spot in the second half on his return to the team.
The Tottenham midfielder, who only recently returned to action following a knee injury, was substituted shortly after his goal following a challenge.
The result puts Kenya top of Group F on seven points from four games – three ahead of Ethiopia.