There is no order from the Supreme Court to discontinue Opuni trial-Judge

Accra,– Justice Clemence Honyenuga, a Justice of the Supreme Court, says there is no order of stay of proceedings by the Supreme Court, directing the High Court to discontinue the hearing of the Dr Stephen Opuni trial.


Dr Opuni, the former Chief Executive of COCOBOD, through his Counsel Samuel Codjoe, told the Court that they had filed a writ at the Supreme Court and prayed for adjournment, awaiting a determination of the writ.


The Court presided over by Justice Honyenuga, sitting as an additional High Court Judge, said the matter came to his attention only while sitting and the process was filed on October 24, 2021.


Dr Opuni and Mr Agongo are facing 27 charges, including defrauding by false pretences, willfully causing financial loss to the State, money laundering, corruption by a public officer and contravention of the Public Procurement Act.


They have both pleaded not guilty to the charges and are on a GH¢300,000.00 self-recognizance bail, each.


“I remember that on July 1, 2021, l ruled and adjourned an application to invoke the original supervisory jurisdiction of the Supreme Court because of the circumstance at that time.”


He said the Supreme Court had not ordered or restrained the High Court to stay proceedings, hence the trial would proceed for the accused person to open his defence.


Mr Codjoe said the writ sought an order for a perpetual injunction, restraining the High Court from continuing with the Trial, until all final findings of facts made against the accused person, which presumed them guilty were expunged.


He initially prayed that the Judge adjourn the matter awaiting the determination of the Supreme Court, because the determination of the case had a direct bearing on the case at the High Court.


Mrs Evelyn Keelson, Chief State Attorney opposed the prayer, saying on October 26, 2021, the Supreme Court ordered the High Court to continue the trial involving Dr Opuni and Agongo and see to its conclusion.


She said there was no order staying the proceedings in the High Court, adding that a mere filing of a writ by Dr Opuni was no reason why the Court would be mandated to stay proceedings.


The Chief State Attorney said contrary to what the Counsel for Dr Opuni stated, the writ itself was not seeking to set aside the order of the Court for Dr Opuni to open his defence but rather it was only asking for portions of the decision to be expunged.


“In the Unlikely events that those portions are expunged, the order for Dr Opuni to open his defence will still hold,” she added.


Mrs Keelson said the prosecution did not see how the writ should stay in the hands of the Court, indicating that if the Court allowed proceedings to be stayed, it would be setting a wrong precedent for all manner of applications to be filed by any of the accused persons to stall proceedings.


It was at this juncture that the Judge ordered Dr Opuni to open his defence.


Dr Opuni, therefore, opened his defence with the call on Mr Charles Dodoo, as the first defence witness.


Mr Dodoo is a retired public servant, who worked with the COCOBOD as a Director of Finance.


Source: Ghana News Agency


DVLA to begin registration of 2022 number plate in January 2


Accra, Dec. 02, GNA- The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) says the Authority will on January 2, 2022 introduce a new suffix (-22) for vehicle registration, as required by the Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (LI 2180).


A statement from the Authority copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra said it had put in place smooth stages as part of measures to avoid long delays and crowding at the various registration centres.


Under the first stage, the statement urged its cherished clients, vehicle owners and the public that from December 1, 2021 and beyond to present their vehicles at any authorized Vehicle Testing Station for equipment based testing.


They are to also present their vehicles at any DVLA registration centre for Customs Checks and Clearance, vehicle inspection and validation for the Authority’s officials to generate invoice for service.


The second stage which was to be completed in January, 2022, urged the public to make payment by cash at the DVLA office or any other electronic platform including VISA Card and Mobile Money, and capture the biometric details at the DVLA registration centre.


It said after the capturing of the biometric details, the vehicle owners were to collect registration documents (Certificate of Title, Vehicle Registration Biometric Card, Vehicle Roadworthiness Certificate), License plates and other ancillary items.


The statement said all Customs and other supporting documents required for the registration should be in their original version with the National Identification Card (Ghana Card) as the primary identity document.


It said all persons duly authorized to transact business for and on behalf of vehicle owners, should present a Power of Attorney and an ID for verification and cautioned the public to desist from engaging middle men popularly known as “Goro boys” to avoid fraud.


“All COVID -19 safety protocols will strictly be observed at all the vehicle registration centres. DVLA Customer Service Officials will be available to assist clients during this period”, it said.


The statement urged the public to visit or contact the customer service centre on 0302746768 for more information.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Captain Smart arrested for “unsavoury pronouncements”

Accra, Dec.02, GNA—Blessed Godsbrain Smart popularly known as “Captain Smart”, host of Onua TV/FM morning Show, was on Thursday arrested by the Nima Divisional Police Command.


His arrest comes on the back of “some unsavoury pronouncements he made regarding the country’s peace and security.”


A statement signed by Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Juliana Obeng, Head of Public Affairs Unit, Greater Accra Regional Police Command, and copied to the Ghana News Agency, said Captain Smart had been cautioned on the offence of offensive conduct conducive to breaches of the peace as provided under section 207 of the Criminal Act, 1960 (Act 29).


It said he was presently in Police custody assisting the investigations.


Source: Ghana News Agency


President Akufo-Addo gets black US legislators’ recognition


Accra, Dec. 02, GNA- The National Black Caucus of State Legislators of the United States Congress (NBCSL), has presented President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, with the first ever International Nation Builders Award of the Caucus.


The award was in recognition of President Akufo-Addo’s commitment to pan-Africanism and his outstanding initiative in creating incentives for Americans of black descent, and indeed the African diaspora, to participate in the development of Ghana.


Presenting the award to President Akufo-Addo at the 45th Annual National Black Caucus of State Legislators in Atlanta, Georgia, Congressman Billy Mitchell, the President of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators of the United States Congress, explained that the “Nation Builders Award” was established “to recognize those African-Americans who have distinguished themselves to life-long service and dedication to enfranchisement and inclusion, for your commitment to working collaboratively to achieve the liberation of African people despite where we were born into the national body of politics.”


Congressman Mitchell said the nation builder’s award ceremony was renamed in 1995 to honour the late David P. Richardson, a twenty-three-year member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and NBCSL’s third President.


“I must say as the President of NBCSL, it is my belief, that we must unite and partner with our brothers and sisters of the continent and throughout diaspora. It is not lost on me that Ghana is widely regarded as the hub of pan-Africanism and the final resting place of many of our great thinkers, yes, even W.E.B. Du Bois,” he said.


Congressman Mitchell who described himself as “a student of Kwame Nkrumah, ” said, “I know we are stronger together and when we unite and advance the causes of our people, internationally, we are all better.”


“It is for this reason I present to you this award Mr. President, for your commitment to working collaboratively to achieve the liberation of African people despite where we were born. Mr. President, I present to you, the first International Nation Builders Award of the National Black Caucus of State Legislators,” he added.


Source: Ghana News Agency

Preference for election of MMDCEs on non-partisan basis increasing – CDD

Kumasi,– Preference for the election of metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives (MMDCEs) on non-partisan basis among Ghanaians has increased by 12 per cent between 2017 and 2021.


About 59 per cent of Ghanaians, according to a 2017 Afrobarometer Survey by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), preferred the non-partisan election of MMDCEs but the percentage has increased to 71 in another 2021 local government survey by the organisation.


Nana Kwabena Aborampah Mensah, the Programmes Manager of CDD, disclosed this in a presentation during a regional consultative forum on local government reforms for selected journalists in the Ashanti Region.


The forum, which was organised by CDD in partnership with the Local Governance Network (LOGNET) and the Civil Society Coalition for Local Government Reforms in Ghana, formed part of efforts to reset the agenda for the election of MMDCEs.


Nana Mensah said while the non-partisan preference increased by 12 per cent between 2017 and 2021, preference for partisan election declined by 20 per cent within the same period.


He said in the 2017 Afrobarometer Survey 40 per cent of the respondents wanted a partisan election of MMDCEs but the figure dropped to 20 per cent in the 2021 local government survey.


Support for the election of MMDCEs, according to him, was generally high among the respondents irrespective of their political affiliation.


He said since 2008 it had generally been high in both rural and urban areas and that it was only in 2008 that there was a significant difference between urban and rural support for the election of MMDCEs.


The survey also revealed that an appreciable majority of those interviewed were of the view that traditional leaders had a better appreciation of the local political issues than ordinary people and should have a greater influence in the assemblies.


Source: Ghana News Agency


Minister reviews curfew hours in Bawku


Bolgatanga,– Mr Ambrose Dery, the Minister of Interior, has reviewed curfew hours from 1800hours to 0600hours in the Bawku Municipality and its environs in the Upper East Region.


In a statement signed and copied to the media, Mr Dery said the review was based on the advice of the Upper East Regional Security Council (REGSEC) and by Executive Instrument.


The review of the curfew hours from 1600hours to 0600hours, the Minister said was the result of improved security in communities in the Bawku Municipality and the environs concerned.


“Government calls on the Chiefs, elders, opinion leaders, and people of the area to exercise restraint in the face of the challenges confronting them as well as to use non-violent means to channel their energies into ensuring peace,” Mr Dery said.


The Minister emphasized the total ban on all persons in Bawku and its environs from carrying arms, ammunition, or any offensive weapon.


“Any person found with any arms or ammunition will be arrested and prosecuted,” he added.


Source: Ghana News Agency