Parliament, investigate roles played by SEC/EOCO in Menzgold closure

Accra,- The Coalition of Aggrieved Customers of Menzgold (CACM) has called on Parliament to investigate the role played by Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) in the closure of Menzgold.

It also asked the legislature to investigate the role played by Economic and Organised Crime Office (EOCO) in the collapse of the scheme as well as the CEO and other board members of the company.

Speaking at a press conference in Accra, Mr Fred Forson, Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Coalition, said members also wanted to know the whereabouts of some 400kilograms of gold reportedly owned by Menzgold.

The citizenry, he said, must treat the unresolved Menzgold saga as an emergency national catastrophe while calling on Executive arm of the Government to cooperate with Parliament to find an amicable solution to the conundrum that customers found themselves.

Mr Forson added that finding a solution would end the near extinction of over a million Ghanaians whose lives and very existence had been shattered following the closure of Menzgold.

He said it had been three (3) years since Menzgold and Brew Marketing companies were asked to shut down by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) following a financial clean-up exercise.

The PRO noted that, the current hardship in the country could be attributed to the shutdown.

“The over one million Ghanaians who are directly and indirectly affected by this development are yet to see any remedy by the government or its agencies in assisting customers in retrieving their locked-up investments,” he said.

Mr Forson said over 120 customers of Menzgold had passed away since 2018 and they had buried 10 customers in the past two weeks; 5 in Kumasi, 2 in Accra, 1 in Tarkwa, and 2 in the Central Region.

“It is emerging that many customers continuously take ill and face the stark reality of having no money to buy medication or seek medical care,” he said.

He stated that, their hopelessness as customers of the defunct Menzgold continued to deepen with no future assistance from the government or its agencies in sight.

“While we sorrowfully bury at least 2 customers every month in recent times, our pain is exacerbated by the government’s (and its agencies) unconcerned posture. It has come to our attention that Nana Appiah Mensah who is a major contributor to our current plight has been given a new license with which he has started trading in minerals once again as Ivex Minerals, an ongoing mineral trading business activity,” he said.

The Coalition alleged that the rampant adjournment of the criminal case which had been running for three years showed that to date, the state’s prosecution team had not been able to even proffer charges for the trial.

It said, it indicated that Government lacked the commitment to prosecute Nam1 as many see the trial as ‘government dancing kpalongo’ in court with the case.

Mr. Forson said a promise by the Finance Minister in 2019 at Burma Camp to the soldiers who were also customers, that an Asset recovery committee would be set up to assist in the retrieval of the locked-up money had not been fulfilled.

He said, “We have petitioned the Presidency twice with no response. In one instance, the Ghana Police Operations Team arrested some of the customers. We have also petitioned the Council of State, Former Presidents, Attorney General, SEC but we saw no action.”

The PRO said they had also petitioned the Bank of Ghana, Church of Pentecost, Christian Council, National Peace Council, Manhyia Palace as well as other senior citizens and respected Religious Leaders but their efforts had yielded no results.

The Coalition hoped and prayed that the Government would listen to their cry and pay them what they have lost.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECOWAS meets in Accra on Guinea’s political impasse

Accra,- An extraordinary summit by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to discuss and respond to the political impasse in Guinea is underway in Accra.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, ECOWAS Chair, who opened the meeting, which would also discuss the situation in Mali, urged his counterparts to take the required bold decisions to restore democracy and peace in the region.

“We are required to take informed decisions on these matters that will have a long-time consequence on the security and the defence of democratic values of our region.

“I count on you to help proffer durable solutions to the crisis. I am confident, as in the past, that we will rise to the occasion,” he said.

The Summit will discuss the outcome of the high-level mission that the Bloc sent to Guinea last week after the virtual emergency meeting of the region’s leaders on September 8, 2021, following the ouster of President Alpha Conde by an elite unit of that country’s military.

The Bloc at that meeting suspended Guinea’s membership, and asked the military junta to return the country to constitutional order, and to unconditionally release President Conde and all those held.

The High-Level mission, led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway last Friday went to Guinea, met the military rulers led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and saw President Conde at where his is being held in detention.

But the military leaders, after consultations with the ECOLWAS mission, outlined a number of conditions before hand over to civilian rule.

The bloc is expected to leverage the Accra meeting to reinforce its objection to the unconstitutional political change in that country, take a firmer decision on the matter, and possibly impose sanctions on the West African nation.

Eight leaders, including the Presidents of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Niger, are taking part in the meeting. Nigeria is being represented by its Vice President. Three other foreign ministers and a prime minister are representing their countries.

Soldiers, led by a former French Legionnaire, Lt. Col. Doumbouya, announced on September 5, 2021 that they had seized power and arrested 83-year-old President Conde, and suspended the Constitution of the West African nation.

They appeared on national television, with some draped in the red, gold and green flag of Guinea, to announce that the Government had been dissolved because of rampant corruption.

The military junta who called themselves the National Rally and Development Committee, closed all land and air borders for a week.

President Conde, Guinea’s longest ruler is still being held by the coup makers. Some other persons who were arrested in the process have been released.

Source: Ghana News Agency

ECOWAS imposes sanctions on Guinea’s military leaders

Accra,- The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Thursday imposed sanctions, including a freeze in financial assets and travel bans, on the military junta in Guinea.

The bloc has also given the military rulers a six-month ultimatum to return the country to constitutional order, Jean-Claude Kassie Brou, ECOWAS President, told the media after the regional grouping’s extraordinary Summit, in Accra, to firm up a decision on the political impasse in Guinea.

Eight leaders, including the Presidents of Togo, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau and Niger, took part in the meeting.

Nigeria was being represented by its Vice President. Three other foreign ministers and a prime minister represented their countries.

The Summit, opened by ECOWAS chairman Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, discussed the outcome of the high-level mission that the Bloc sent to Guinea last week after the virtual emergency meeting of the region’s leaders on September 8, 2021, following the ouster of President Alpha Conde by an elite unit of that country’s military on September 5.

The Bloc at that meeting suspended Guinea’s membership, and asked the military junta to return the country to constitutional order, and to unconditionally release President Conde and all those held.

The High-Level mission, led by Ghana’s Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, last Friday went to Guinea, met the military rulers led by Lieutenant Colonel Mamady Doumbouya, and saw President Conde at where his is being held in detention.

But the military leaders, after consultations with the ECOWAS mission, outlined a number of conditions before handing over to civilian rule.

Soldiers, led by a former French Legionnaire, Lt. Col. Doumbouya, announced on September 5, 2021 that they had seized power and arrested 83-year-old President Conde, and suspended the Constitution of the West African nation.

They appeared on national television, with some draped in the red, gold and green flag of Guinea, to announce that the Government had been dissolved because of rampant corruption.

The military junta who called themselves the National Rally and Development Committee, closed all land and air borders for a week.

President Conde, Guinea’s longest ruler is still being held by the coup makers. Some other persons who were arrested in the process have been released.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Tailor gets 10 years imprisonment over fraud

Nkawie (Ash),- A 53-year-old tailor who has been defrauding people in the Atwima-Nwabiagya South Municipality under the pretext of selling parcels of land to them has been sentenced to 10-years imprisonment by the Nkawie circuit court.

Kwame Badu was said to have collected huge sums of money from the complainant at Sepaase, near Abuakwa in exchange of a plot of land but vanished immediately he received the money.

A similar dubious land deal at Mampongten in the Kwabre East Municipality landed him at a court, and the Abuakwa police who were on a manhunt for him sought the assistance of the Tafo-Pankrono police to arrest him.

He pleaded guilty to the charge and was convicted on his own plea by the court presided by Mr. Michael Johnson Abbey.

He was also ordered to pay an amount of GH¢29,000.00 to the complainant as a compensation.

Police Detective Chief Inspector Francis Opoku told the court that about three years ago, the complainant who wanted a piece of land for his brother abroad, approached the convict who assured him of the land and collected an amount of GH¢14,000.00 from the complainant.

Immediately he received the money he went into hiding.

A report was made to the Abuakwa police who had been looking for him since then.

Chief Inspector Opoku said on September 02 this year, the police had information that the convict had appeared before a magistrate court at Mampongten on similar offence.

He said the Tafo-Pankrono police were alerted and the convict was arrested and transferred to Abuakwa.

In his caution statement, the convict admitted the offence and was brought before the court.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Public Health Emergency Operations Centre opened in Kumasi

Kumasi, Sept. 16, GNA-As part of efforts to ensure prompt response to public health emergencies in the Ashanti Region, a Public Health Emergency Operations Centre (PHEOC) has been established at the Regional Health Directorate.

The Centre which has been equipped to collect real-time data to respond to health emergencies is a collaboration between the Government of Ghana, the United States Centre for Disease Control (USCDC) and the Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

It is expected to monitor global, continental, national and regional health situations and also serve as a public health surveillance centre to prevent outbreak of diseases in the Region.

A brief ceremony to open the centre on Thursday was attended by representatives of the US Embassy in Ghana, World Health Organisation (WHO), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ghana Health Service (GHS) and KOICA.

Ms. Stephanie S. Sullivan, the USA Ambassador to Ghana, said the Centre would play a critical role in coordinating and responding to the COVID-19 crisis and whatever public health threat that would emerge in the future.

She said the opening of the PHEOC in the Ashanti Region was the third to be established in Ghana after Tamale and Sekondi in the Northern and Western Regions respectively.

The Centres, she noted, would significantly increase regional capacities to track and respond to COVID-19 in Ghana and inevitable future public health threats that the world would face.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear the need for a localised public health capacity.

Centres like these are essential for effective coordination of pandemic response strategies at all levels in the health system,” she opined.

She said the pandemic had brought to fore the need for data-driven decisions to be able to send capacities and resources where and when needed, saying that the establishment of PHEOCs was one of key strategies for the global health security agenda.

The Ambassador gave the assurance that the USA would continue to stand with Ghana to fight COVID-19 pandemic by supporting the country with vaccines, oxygen equipment and long-term health infrastructure investments.

“We look forward to building decades of partnership with the government of Ghana to strengthen its health systems through the global health security agenda, the US President’s Malaria Initiative and the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief,” she stated.

Dr. Patrick Kuma Aboagye, the Director General of the Ghana Health Service, said preventing the spread of diseases had become a global concern due to how the world had become interconnected.

He said the establishment of PHEOC was an important initiative that served as a central location for coordinating operational information and resources for strategic management of public health emergencies.

Ghana has established a National Public Health Emergency Operations Centre with support from its international partners but the full functionality of the national centre is hinged on the functionality and coordination of the Regional centres, he said.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Training workshop for Community Health Officers opens in Accra

Accra,- A three-day training workshop for Community Health Officers (CHO) is underway in Accra. The workshop will provide the platform for CHO to deepen their appreciation of the key Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) concepts and hone their skills for continued essential service provision for those left furthest behind.

Accra,- A three-day training workshop for Community Health Officers (CHO) is underway in Accra.

The workshop will provide the platform for CHO to deepen their appreciation of the key Community-based Health Planning and Services (CHPS) concepts and hone their skills for continued essential service provision for those left furthest behind.

The workshop is under the project, “Strengthening Community Health System to Support the Continuity of Essential Services for the Vulnerable During and Post -Pandemic of COVID-19”.

The project is a grant assistance of the government of Japan through United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with a total funding of more than $1.8.

Mr Hiromoto Oyama, the Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Japan in Ghana, said for more than a year, the COVID-19 crisis had overwhelmed health systems around the world and that many countries faced challenges of managing the COVID-19 pandemic and maintaining essential health services.

The pandemic, he said was putting stress on limited resources and support of international community in responding to developing countries’ own efforts, to continue providing essential health services was increasingly important.

Mr Oyama said community-based healthcare was critical to enhancing access to primary healthcare services and that the project focused on strengthening the capacity of quality health service planning and delivery to the targeted communities in Ghana.

He said Japan had been supporting Ghana’s own efforts to ensure the continuity of essential services through such projects to achieve Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and relevant goals of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Our development policy also focuses promotion of human security in a wide range of areas so that everyone can live in dignity through the protection and empowerment of individuals,” he said.

He said the government of Japan launched the Africa Health and Wellbeing Initiative, aiming to establish sustainable healthcare systems suitable for Africa during the TICAD VII in 2019.

The objectives of the Project are in line with UHC, human security and the Africa Health and Wellbeing Initiative.

He said Japan had been Ghana’s close partner and had supported various essential health services, particularly in areas of maternal, newborn, and child health services

in the African country.

Madam Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative, said the CHIPS strategy aimed to promote access and equity in health service provision especially in deprived, hard-to-reach or vulnerable communities.

Through this concept, she said communities had been actively and meaningfully engaged in planning and delivering healthcare and had become empowered and energized to become partners in their own well-being and improve their own health outcomes in the process.

Effective implementation of this CHPS concept, she said, would be critical if Ghana’s effort to attain UHC and the Sustainable Development Goal 3, to ensure healthy lives and promoting well-being for all at all ages.

Dr Anthony Ofosu, Deputy Director General, Ghana Health Service, said the training was key in facilitating access to health care services to improve health care delivery in the country.

He commended the Japan government for the support and all stakeholders involved and urged the participants to make good use of the opportunity and impact the knowledge acquired to the development of health care in the communities.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Jaman North records outbreak of ASF

Sunyani- There have been reported cases of African Swine Fever (ASF) in seven pig farms in the Jaman North District in the Bono Region.

Dr Donald Joachim Darko, the Bono Regional Director of the Veterinary Services Department (VSD) told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Sunyani, that about 200 affected pigs have died of the epidemic.

He said the ASF was a highly contagious and deadly swine disease that could affect pigs and passed on from one pig to another by direct contact with bodily fluids from an infected pig, but could not be transmitted from animals to humans.

It could kill the animal within a week of infection, while it also caused miscarriages in an infected pregnant pig and baby pigs delivered by infested pregnant pig could not survive, the Bono VSD Director added.

Dr Darko said the outbreak was reported about two weeks ago in some pig farms at Jankofa, a farming community in the District, and results of samples that were taken to Accra for testing confirmed the ASF.

He said veterinary officers and other officials of the District Directorate of Ministry of Food and Agricultural had met with the affected farm owners and opinion leaders and educated them about the disease and how to prevent spread to other farms in nearby communities.

Dr. Darko said transporting of animals and animal products from the area had been banned, adding he had directed that a veterinary officer must be present for supervision before the slaughter of any pig to ensure it was healthy and wholesome for human consumption.

He said the 200 animals killed by the disease had been buried in a very deep hole to prevent its spread and assured the situation was now stable.

Dr Darko mentioned the loss of appetite, vomiting, bloodstains around the ears, nose, mouth, and some other parts of the body of a pig and standing quietly as some of the symptoms of the disease that could be demonstrated in affected animals.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Beneficiaries commend free ITNs for reducing malaria

Tamale,– Some recipients of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) under the National Malaria Control Programme have lauded the initiative for reducing malaria and ensuring money in their pockets.

Tamale,– Some recipients of insecticide-treated nets (ITNs) under the National Malaria Control Programme have lauded the initiative for reducing malaria and ensuring money in their pockets.

They said the money they would have spent on treating malaria remained in their pockets, which they now spent on other pressing needs.

The ITN beneficiaries stated these when they shared their experiences on the use of ITNs in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on Thursday at Vittin, a suburb of Tamale when they received free ITNs as part of the ongoing distribution of ITNs to residents in various communities in the Northern Region to help fight malaria in the country.

The Ghana Health Service, as part of the fight against malaria, this week started distributing ITNs to residents of malaria-endemic communities in the Northern Region.

The distribution of the ITNs in the region will end on Saturday.

Madam Hadija Mashud, a resident of Vittin told the GNA that the ITNs were very important to her and her household saying “We used to buy mosquito coils to use in the night to prevent mosquito bites, but when I received the nets in 2018, we stopped buying mosquito coils.”

She said, “My children and I use the nets and it has saved us from malaria.”

She reacted to concerns by some people to the effect that it was not comfortable using the nets saying “I feel fine using the nets” and advised other ITN users to get used to sleeping under the nets, because “That is the safest way to prevent mosquito bites, which lead to malaria.”

On her part, Madam Ayisha Mumuni, also a resident of Vittin, said her children used to get malaria very often but since they started using the nets in 2018 “We have not had malaria again.”

She advised other residents to embrace the use of the ITNs, saying “When you use it, you do not get mosquito bites.”

Source: Ghana News Agency