Presby Church donates GHS200,000.00 towards national cathedral construction

The Presbyterian Church of Ghana has donated GHS200,000 towards the construction of the National Cathedral.

Reverend Professor Joseph Obiri Yeboah Mante, Moderator, General Assembly of the Church, made the donation to the leadership of the national cathedral project at the Osu Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Accra.

 

The donation was made on the sidelines of a national symposium held by the Church and on the theme, “Corruption, Security and the Church.”

 

Reverend Mante said the Church supported the construction of the Cathedral and called on all Christians to donate towards it.

 

He condemned the politicization of the project, saying, the project would bring benefits to the entire country such as hosting of national events and in tours.

 

Professor Kwadwo Nimfour Opoku Onyinah, Chairperson, Board of Trustees for the National Cathedral, expressed appreciation to the Church for the donation.

 

Mr Paul Opoku-Mensah, Executive Director, National Cathedral of Ghana, said the project was progressing and was hopeful that it would be able completed by March 6, 2024.

 

He said they would be moving to all parts of the country to seek support for the construction as well as educate the public on its benefits.

 

He said the building would boost the country’s tourism potentials as many people from all over the world come to see it, especially the biblical gardens and museums.

 

“What we have been doing is entreat all Ghanaians particularly Christians to be part of it. So far, we are making progress a lot of people are donating.,” he said.

 

Mr Opoku-Mensah said last month they received two million Ghana cedis in donations for the project.

 

The National Cathedral of Ghana is an ongoing interdenominational Christian cathedral being built in Accra.

 

The Cathedral will have a 5,000 seater auditorium, chapels, baptistery, a music school, an art gallery, and a biblical museum.

 

The design of the cathedral would reflect the art and culture of Ghanaian ethnic groups consisting of the high pitched and staggered roof will be reminiscent of Akan inspired architecture and the facade will be concave and decorated with timber in imitation of Ashanti royal stools.

 

The architect for the project is the British-Ghanaian architect David Adjaye, who also designed the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Protect rights of the vulnerable to avoid unwanted Pregnancies – MOGCSP

The Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MOGCSP) has called on stakeholders to help protect the rights of the vulnerable especially adolescent girls to curb teenage pregnancies.

Mr. Mawutor Ablo, Director Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Directorate, MOGCSP, said the Ministry and the stakeholders would work hand in hand to find a strategic plan to sensitize victims and their Parents on how to prevent the social canker.

 

Mr. Ablo said this in a speech at the second bi-annual tracking meeting on the implementation of the Adolescent Pregnancy Strategy on Tuesday in Accra.

 

He said the Ministry had introduced a five-year Strategic Plan to catalyse efforts aimed at addressing adolescent pregnancy, and urged stakeholders to support with the implementation to ensure coordinated efforts to mitigate this problem and its attendant consequences such as child marriages.

 

This, he said, would facilitate the contribution of the youth, especially adolescent girls in national development.

 

Girls are too vulnerable to the violation of their human rights, inadequate reproductive health services, education and subjected to child marriage, limiting the realization of their full human potential, he said.

 

“Talk to the young people about sex and let them know the consequences that comes with it, the needs and opportunities for boys and girls are diverse during early adolescence as girls entering puberty on average are two years earlier than boys,” he reiterated.

 

Adding that, the closure of schools was a threat to the vulnerability of many girls’ unplanned pregnancies and other reproductive health challenges and required collaboration and concerted efforts by all stakeholders, to safeguard the rights and wellbeing of adolescent girls.

 

Madam Faustina Acheampong, Head of Department of Gender, said supporting and encouraging the adolescent to stay focused would help to raise the economic productivity in the country.

 

She said educating the girl-child to be an asset to the country was one of the greatest achievements.

 

Professor Stephen Owusu Kwankye, a Consultant, Development of Strategy, urged all parents and stakeholders to support the going back to school campaign to reduce teenage pregnancy in the country.

 

According to him, most teenage girls dropped out of school because of teenage pregnancy and the implementation of the Strategic Plan (SP);‘going back to school campaign’ would help reduce teenage pregnancies in Ghana.

 

Prof. Kwankye who also works with the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), University of Ghana, noted that, the main goal for the Strategic Plan was to ensure that all adolescents were fully empowered early to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

 

Madam Abigail Hunu, Programmes Assistant, United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) said, the law would deal with any man who engaged in any form of sexual intercourse with an adolescent girl with age less than 16 and also parents who gave out their children into early marriages, would equally be dealt with, according to law.

 

Adding that, it was their responsibility to give every girl child the comprehensive knowledge on issues of adolescent pregnancies and reproductive health and right, to acquire the tools of protection against unwanted pregnancies and other hurdles.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Court adjourns treason trial over accused person’s ailment

The Accra High Court trying the ten persons accused of committing high treason, has adjourned trial to Monday, December 6, 2021.

This was due to the fact that Lance Corporal Seidu Abubarkar, soldier, one of the accused persons, is indisposed.

 

His counsel had informed the Court that his client was diagnosed with Malaria and as a result, he was feeling drowsy and would not be able to pay attention during the proceedings.

 

The three-member-panel presided over by Justice Afia Serwaa Asare-Botwe, adjourning the case, said Corporal Abubarkar was feeling drowsy and unable to pay attention, though he was present, he was given time to recover, thus, the trial was adjourned.

 

The Court added that on Monday, the cross-examination of Prosecution’s star witness would continue.

 

Corporal Abubarkar is being tried together with Dr Frederick Mac Palm, Chief Executive Officer of the Citadel Hospital, Bright Alan Debrah, alias, BB, freight manager and Donyo Kafui, blacksmith alias Ezor.

 

The rest are Mr Johannes Zikpi, signaler with the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) Esther Saan, Corporal Sylvester Akanpewu, Lance Airforce Corporal (LAC) Ali Solomon, Colonel Kojo Gameli, all staff of GAF and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Benjamin Agordzo.

 

 

They have been charged for varied offences including conspiracy to commit crime, high treason, possession of ammunition and abetment.

 

All the ten have since denied the charges and have been granted bail.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Venture Capital Scandal: Come formally with an application to invoke Section 35 of the Court Act, Court tells State Attorney

An Accra High Court has asked state lawyers to come formally with an application to invoke section 35 of the Court’s Act in relation to three accused persons in the Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) scandal.

Accused: Irene Anti Mensah, Frank Aboagye Mensah and Richard Lassey were to pay about GHC 18.5 million restitution to the state.

 

For a year and two months, the three are yet to pay the restitution to the state.

 

In relation to Daniel Duku, former CEO of Venture Capital Trust Fund, the GNA has learnt the state was selling some of his assets to defray his debt.

 

Per section 35 of the Court’s Act, 1993 (459) the court is obligated to impose a custodial sentence on convicts who are unable to pay restitution within a given period.

 

At an Accra High Court, Mrs Frances Mollen Ansah, Principal State Attorney, informed the Court that they would like to come under Section 35 of the court’s act in respect of three persons.

 

The Court however asked the state to come formally with an application and same should be served on the accused so they could respond.

 

Daniel Duku, a former Chief Executive Officer of Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) and three others, ordered to pay about GHS18.5 million restitution to the State, are yet to do so, a year and two months after a court’s order.

 

Checks at the VCTF by the Ghana News Agency indicate that Duku has paid GHS1 million out of the GHC15 million.

 

Irene Anti Mensah, an accomplice, and a former Executive Assistant to Duku, has paid GHS1,430, 000 out of GHC1.5 million leaving a balance of GHC70,000.

 

Frank Aboagye Mensah, also an accomplice, and Irene Anti Mensah’s husband, has paid GHS430,000, leaving a balance of GHS 765,000.

 

 

Duku, Irene, Frank and Lassey, had pleaded guilty to various charges, including causing financial loss to the Republic, before an Accra High Court in July 2020.

 

The Court presided over by Justice Anthony Oppong, a Court of Appeal Judge, ordered them to pay the restitution of about GHS18.5 million to the State, following an agreement they had with the Attorney General (AG) per Section 35 of the Courts Act, 1993 (459).

 

In line with the said agreement, the Court imposed a fine of GHS500,000 on Duku and further ordered the seizure of his assets, which he acquired during his tenure in office as the CEO of VCTF.

 

The Court also fined Irene and Frank GHS100,000 each.

 

The four were given seven days to pay some percentages of the amounts and after three months of conviction, pay the rest.

 

Per section 35 of the Court’s Act, 1993 (459) the Court is obligated to impose a custodial sentence on convicts who are unable to pay restitution within a given period.

 

In April 2020, the State charged Duku and five others for causing financial loss to the State of over GHC42.8 million in the VCTF scandal.

 

Four out of the six accused persons pleaded guilty.

 

Two persons, Kofi Sarpong, a former Investment Officer, VCTF, and Charity Opoku, aka Charity Ameyaw, an Accountant, VCTF, pleaded not guilty and are standing trial at an Accra High Court.

 

Mr Yaw Owusu Brempong, Chief Executive Officer, the first prosecution witness, was in the dock for further cross-examination by counsel for Kofi Sarpong, a former Investment officer and one of the accused persons.

 

The matter has been adjourned to January 14, 2022.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Court gives Lighthouse Chapel International green light to amend statement of Defence, counterclaims

A High Court in Accra has given Lighthouse Chapel International (LCI) the green light to amend its statement of defense and counterclaims in an action instituted by six former pastors of the Church.

The Pastors: Bishop Larry Odonkor, Bishop Oko Mensah, Rev. Edward Laryea, Pastor Seth Duncan, Pastor Edem Amankwah and Pastor Faith Makafui Fiakojo, commenced the court action on April 19 this year.

 

They have sued the church over Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) contributions, salary arrears and damages for breach of contract.

 

Mr Kizito Beyuo, who represented the Church on November 8, this year, prayed the Court to grant him an application to amend the LCI’s statement of defense.

 

Mr Kofi Bentil, who represented the plaintiffs (pastors), opposed the grant of the LCI application.

 

The Court presided over by Justice Juliana Ananda Aikins, after listening to arguments by plaintiffs and defendant lawyers on November 25 this year, ruled that the LCI could file the amended statement of defense and counterclaims.

 

The new arguments that feature in the defense of the LCI include the SSNIT report on the complaints, which was released on August 20, 2021.

 

SSNIT Report had exonerated the Church of allegations made by the plaintiffs on non-payment of SSNIT contributions.

 

The report further indicated that there was no employer-employee relationship between Lighthouse Chapel International and the plaintiffs for the periods in contention for non-payment of SSNIT contributions.

 

LCI held that per the National Pensions Act, 2008 (Act 766), the plaintiffs did not have the capacity to sue the Church over the alleged non-payment of SSNIT contributions.

 

The Church further denied any liability to the Pastors, explaining that the plaintiffs’ claims were based on alleged breach of contract, and therefore, any claims concerning matters that allegedly occurred before 2015 were barred by the Limitations Act 1972 ( N.R.C.D. 54) as some of the plaintiffs’ claims date back to 2001.

 

An additional issue which featured in the amended defense was a police report which had commenced criminal proceedings against Pastor Oko Mensah for allegedly stealing the LCI’s car.

 

LCI maintained that it operated an extensive lay system which allowed individuals to serve as volunteers while maintaining their secular engagements as workers or students.

 

LCI therefore contended that for the most part of the periods in contention, the plaintiffs were volunteers and not employees.

 

Additionally, the Church argued that LCI-Ghana was a legally, financially, administratively, and governmentally independent organization from other LCI churches outside the country’s jurisdiction, adding that the Church in Ghana only shared a spiritual relationship with the others worldwide.

 

The Church further explained that pastors who left LCI Ghana to serve in other jurisdictions were not in the employment of LCI-Ghana.

 

Therefore, when Bishops Larry Odonkor and Oko Mensah were serving outside Ghana they were not in the employment of LCI-Ghana, the church argued.

 

The Church held that it provided free accommodation and three cars for Bishop Oko Mensah throughout the 16 years of employment contrary to his claim that he was not offered any accommodation and a vehicle.

 

In the case of Pastors Faith Makafui Fiakojo, Seth Duncan and Edem Amankwah, it owed them no salaries and SSNIT contributions; they were volunteer pastors.

 

Larry Odonkor was a volunteer from 2001 to 2005 while Edward Laryea was a volunteer from 2005 to 2008, the Church contended.

 

The Church said it had evidence of Volunteers Consent Forms duly signed by the said plaintiffs and their parents.

 

According to the Church during the stipulated periods, the Plaintiffs were to “find a job and become financially self-sustaining.”

 

The Church denied assertions of Pastor Fiakojo, Pastor Duncan and Rev Edward that they used their monies to build LCI churches.

 

The LCI held that it built those churches without their direct or indirect financial involvement.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Gov’t urged to take firm action against bullying in schools

Mr Kwame Appiah Boateng, a United States of America-based Educationist, has called on the government to take firm and effective measures to end bullying in the country’s educational system.

 

 

 

 

 

He said the recent bullying to death of a student at the Konongo-Odumasi Senior high school should serve as a wake-up call to the government and the Ministry of Education to take drastic measures against all forms of violence and intimidation in schools.

 

Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in Kumasi, Mr Appiah, also known as Kwame Mayor, and an astute politician, appealed to the government to consider establishing campus police in the various educational institutions.

 

This would help check criminal activities in the various campuses and provide protection for school children and their teachers.

 

Mr Appiah, who is an old student of Konongo-Odumasi SHS said the incident had traumatized the students and staff and there was the need for effective measures to prevent its occurrence in any other school.

 

He called on parents to inculcate in their wards self-discipline and respect for authority.

 

Mr Appiah pointed out that school campuses should not serve as a threat to young people who wanted to receive education and enhance their intellectual capabilities.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Rice cultivation to economically empower Bono East Youth – Minister

Mr. Kwasi Adu Gyan, the Bono East Regional Minister says rice cultivation in large quantities in the region has been identified as a viable means to empower the youth economically.

 

 

 

 

He said the government would absorb almost all the expenditure including land mechanization for the cultivation to encourage the unemployed youth to embark on, “such a lucrative venture” to get reliable means of income.

Mr Gyan who was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) at Techiman, said the nation’s 2022 budget had made provision for the production of agro-produce including rice cultivation.

According to him, the budget had provided for packages such as “You-Start and Obaatampa” to allow for farmers and young people who wish to engage in rice farming and other businesses to access standardized loans as initial capital, learning entrepreneurship, and access to market for their goods.

Mr. Gyan announced to give impetus to the rice cultivation and other business initiatives, the Bono East Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) had established the Bono East Regional Development Company (BERDEC), a business-oriented purpose-vehicle to operate as limited liability corporate organisation with development objectives.

As economic, business, and development wing of the RCC, the BERDEC would be expected to count on directives from the Regional House of Chiefs and the National Development Planning Commission as technical wings in its operations, he explained.

Mr. Gyan said the BERDEC would also work to bring investments and coordinate economic activities to make the region the preferred destination for agro-processing such as rice and to provide access market for the produce in the region.

The Regional Minister added, “about 50 professional farmers have been identified to serve as mentors for the youth and help them to develop in farming”.

He said more than 331 valleys covering over 44,588.8 hectres of land had been secured and the first phase of the production would target about 25,000 hectres of land to provide opportunities for professional rice farmers, identified and registered individual youth as well as institutions/organisations such as the Ghana Prison Service, National Service Secretariat and the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) to come on board.

Mr. Gyan further explained the move would also incubate about 3,000 youth with modern methods and best farming practices for the production of at least 5 tons of rice per hectre to give a total of 125,000 tons from 25,000 hectres of farm land to take care of 12 per cent of rice being imported into the country.

The Regional Minister announced under the Ghana Rice Production Improvement Project that, the Bono East Regional Directorate of Agriculture was partnering with Brazil and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to receive mechanization and capacity building support for farmers

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He said that would greatly boost and propel the youth into rice production initiative into success.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency

Student jailed four years for stabbing his Teacher

Gilbert Akakpo, 19, student of the Three Town Senior High School, Denu has been sentenced to four years imprisonment in hard labour by an Aflao Circuit Court for causing harm to an ICT tutor, John Kwashi Akey of the same school.

The court presided over by Mr Joseph Ofosu, convicted Akakpo on Tuesday to four years in hard labour after finding him guilty of the offence.

 

The prosecution said on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, the Senior House Master of Three Town Senior High School reported to Police in Denu that same day at about 1250 hours, Akakpo, a Visual Art, and final year student had stabbed Mr John Akey Kwasi, a teacher with a cutter on his left upper arm, when he tried preventing the convict from bullying some first-year students of the school.

 

The prosecution said the victim, John who is an ICT tutor sustained a deep cut on the arm and was sent to Ketu South Municipal Hospital for treatment.

 

The convict was later handed to Police by his father and subsequently sent to court on Thursday, August 12, 2021.

 

The presiding judge, in his judgement said the court was lenient on the convict as a first-time offender, however, the punishment was necessary to serve as a deterrent to other students who have no respect for authorities in schools.

 

Source: Ghana News Agency