Massive support for Bawumia in Ashanti Region

The Vice-President and NPP Flagbearer, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has received an overwhelming wave of support in the Ashanti Region, further solidifying his political standing as he eyes the presidency in the upcoming elections.

Dr. Bawumia is in the region on a three-day campaign tour, and since he started the tour on Monday, every event has been a resounding success, with his visit to Kumasi Magazine yesterday and his connection with the youth, arguably, among the top hits.

On Monday, Dr. Bawumia met with the Clergy, Imams, Zongo chiefs, professional groups and the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, who highly commended him for his works and policies, as well as his historic visit to the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs.

But before these meetings, the Vice-President was stunned on Monday morning with a mammoth crowd.

On Tuesday, the NPP flagbearer started his interactions with a milling crowd welcoming him in Suame Magazine.

Symbolic endorsement

After he had engaged the artisans and traders in their shops, they made a presentation of a car key to him, indicating their endorsement of his presidential bid.

Presenting the keys, the leader of the group said the presentation, in response to Bawumia’s famous “I am a mate so make me a driver” declaration, was to make Dr Bawumia the driver so that he could steer the affairs of the country.

As if the mammoth crowd at Suame  Magazine was not enough, there was even a larger crowd of young people who turned up in their numbers to cheer and listen to Dr Bawumia, as he engaged the youth at the Jubilee Park in Kumasi.

When he met with local leaders, community members and various professional bodies, they all expressed strong support for his candidacy.

The chiefs lauded his efforts at bringing development projects to the area, highlighting the significance of the 500-bed Afari Military Hospital and the 250-bed Sewua Hospital.

These projects, once completed, are expected to alleviate the pressure on the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, and improve healthcare delivery in the region.

Dr. Bawumia reiterated his commitment to supporting local businesses through favourable policies and financial assistance.

The market women, in particular, expressed their appreciation for the government’s initiatives to stabilize the economy,  and provide opportunities for growth.

Dr. Bawumia assured them, that under his leadership, the NPP would continue to prioritize economic development and job creation.

He also visited several educational institutions, where he interacted with students and teachers.

He emphasised the importance of education in national development, and pledged to enhance educational infrastructure and resources. The students and staff members responded positively to his message, expressing hope for continued improvements in the sector.

Dr Bawumia thanked the people of Ashanti Region for their unwavering support, and promised to work tirelessly to address their needs. He touted the achievements of the NPP government, and outlined his plans for further development.

NACOC seizes $6m cocaine haul at Kotoka

The Narcotics Control Commission (NACOC) and the UK National Crime Agency have intercepted 166.88 kg of a substance suspected to be cocaine at Kotoka International Airport (KIA).

This successful operation was meticulously planned and executed based on an intelligence-led operation.

In a statement, the Commission revealed that the seizure, with an estimated street value of $6,480,000, was made from the luggage of two British nationals traveling together.

The individuals, identified as Hall Shamin Ethline and Graham Omar Adel, were both passengers on a British Airways flight bound for Gatwick.

Per reports from the Commission, the intercepted drugs were concealed in checked-in luggage, comprising three bags per passenger, each bag containing 24 parcels.

Hall Shamin Ethline’s luggage included Bag 734134 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.86 kg, Bag 733951 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.76 kg, and Bag 734041 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.82 kg, totaling 83.44 kg of the suspected cocaine.

Graham Omar Adel’s luggage included Bag 734504 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.90 kg, Bag 734590 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.96 kg, and Bag 734664 containing 24 parcels weighing 27.58 kg, also totaling 83.44 kg of the suspected cocaine.

Both passengers have been arrested and are currently assisting with ongoing investigations.

The statement also commended the officers involved for their vigilance and professionalism, stating, “This operation reflects our unwavering dedication to intercepting illegal drugs and bringing traffickers to justice. We will continue to work tirelessly to protect our nation from the dangers of narcotics,” the Commission  said.

NACOC  urged the public to remain vigilant, and report any suspicious activities related to drug trafficking while it continues to enhance its security measures at all entry points to prevent the infiltration of illicit substances into the country.

The statement further assured the public that all necessary measures were being taken. Such measures, it indicated, would ensure the suspects are brought to justice. It stressed that Ghana remains a hostile environment for drug traffickers.

NPP PC clarifies viral statement on miner rebellion

The NPP parliamentary candidate for the Amenfi East constituency, Mr. Ernest Frimpong, has clarified his controversial statement “when the soldiers fight you, fight back,” which recently went viral.

In a statement, Mr. Frimpong, explained that his words were taken out of context due to a communication gap, and he has since apologized for any misunderstandings caused.

A video of Mr. Frimpong speaking to a group believed to be miners has sparked significant controversy. In the video, it is alleged that Mr. Frimpong, speaking in the local Twi dialect, appeared to have advised small-scale miners to resist “soldiers, police, and national security operatives” at their sites. This statement led to a public uproar and backlash.

Mr Frimpong in the statement explained that the purpose of the meeting was to educate miners on the rules and regulations governing small-scale mining in the country. He emphasised the importance of responsible mining practices, the prohibition of mining in protected areas, and the need to obtain the necessary permits.

The miners expressed concerns about harassment and extortion by individuals posing as soldiers, police and national security operatives.

Mr. Frimpong confirmed that there had been reports of such individuals extorting money from registered small-scale miners while pretending to be legitimate security personnel.

In response to these allegations, Mr. Frimpong advised the miners to resist these imposters. He stressed that his comments were widely misinterpreted as inciting violence against actual state security personnel.

Mr. Frimpong clarified that his statement was directed at criminal gangs impersonating security officials, and not legitimate state personnel.

He noted that in the full, unedited video, he encouraged miners to support genuine police and soldiers who protect them from criminals. He emphasised that his call to “fight back” was meant to target those fraudulent individuals harassing the miners.

He apologized for any confusion caused by his remarks, attributing it to the charged political atmosphere and the excitement of the engagement. He took full responsibility for the miscommunication and any inconveniences it may have caused.

Meanwhile, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has warned against calls for attacks on soldiers, highlighting the significant threat such actions pose to the nation’s security and stability.

A statement released by  Brigadier General E. Aggrey-Quashie, the Director General in charge of Public Relations at the Ghana Armed Forces, said GAF had “taken note of viral videos on social media calling for attacks on soldiers and other security personnel.”

It underscored the potential dangers such incitements could bring, stressing that any form of violence against military personnel undermines the rule of law and jeopardises national security.

The statement reiterated the need for all citizens to respect the law and support the efforts of the security forces in maintaining peace and order.

The statement called on the public to refrain from actions or statements that could incite violence and destabilise the country, urging leaders and influential individuals to act responsibly and promote unity and lawful conduct.

“We strongly, wish to caution the public against such utterances. It is instructive to note that such calls are not only unlawful but also pose a significant threat to the security and stability of our nation. We therefore condemn any form of incitement or encouragement of violence against our soldiers.

“We wish to assure all and sundry that GAF will continue to perform its duties of safeguarding the security of the state and protection of civilians. It is also crucial to understand that personnel of GAF and sister security agencies are committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism, discipline, and

Ken Agyapong joins Bawumia’s campaign

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for the Assin South constituency in the Central Region, and runner-up in the NPP 2023 presidential primaries, Kennedy Ohene Agyapong, has joined the campaign of Vice-President and presidential candidate,   Dr Mahamudu Bawumia.

Mr Agyapong joined the campaign in the Ashanti Region yesterday, where the NPP presidential candidate had embarked on a three-day tour, which is the last of his tour of all the 16 regions in the country.

Kennedy Agyapong, since his unsuccessful attempt to lead the NPP into the 2024 general elections, had kept a very low profile. Asaase News has gathered from close sources at the presidency that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, and the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, had been engaging with Mr Kennedy Agyapong as part of  efforts to get all hand on deck for the NPP 2024 campaign.

The source further disclosed to Asaase News that just last week, President Akufo-Addo had lunch with Kennedy Agyapong as part of the President’s initiated process to get everyone on board to prosecute the NPP’s 2024 presidential and parliamentary elections campaign for the party to “Break the 8.”

Dr Mahamudu Bawumia began his campaign on Monday, 29 April 2024, in the Eastern Region and has, since then, visited all 16 regions of the country with the Ashanti Region being the last.

Asaase News sources in the NPP have indicated that the Vice-President, after the first phase of his campaign, will, from July 2024, step up his campaign activities across the country. He will also be expected to name his running mate to complete the NPP’s 2024 presidential ticket.


Bawumia confirms August opening for Afari, Sewuah hospitals

The Vice-President and NPP Flagbearer, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, has assured members of the Ghana Medical Association (GMA) that the Afari Military and Sewuah Government hospitals in the Ashanti region will be commissioned for use by August 2024.

According to Dr. Bawumia, these two health projects are significant, and will help reduce pressure on the old Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), addressing congestion issues at the referral centre.

Dr. Bawumia gave the assurance during a meeting with members of the GMA,  as part of his regional tour.

The NPP flagbearer expressed concerns about the overcrowding at KATH, and agreed to the suggestion to dedicate resources to retool the hospital to provide excellent health care delivery.

“With particular reference to the two hospitals that are almost done, Sewuah, which is a regional hospital, and Afari, which is a military hospital, we expect Sewuah to be commissioned, hopefully, by July 2024 and Afari by August 2024 as well,” he added.

Members of the GMA were concerned about the delay in completing major health facilities in the Ashanti Region, noting that such delays had contributed to the congestion at KATH.

The Ashanti Regional President of the GMA, Dr. Paa Kwesi Baidoo, emphasised the importance of the 500-bed Afari Military Hospital and the 250-bed Sewuah Hospital, which, according to them, would alleviate congestion at KATH, a referral facility for 12 regions.

He stressed the need for  government to prioritize the projects while also focusing on the construction of the Agenda 111 hospitals to support existing health facilities.

He further mentioned that KATH struggles despite fundraising initiatives by Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II to renovate the facility. He noted that resources allocated to the Agenda 111 hospital projects could have been used to retool KATH to function at its fullest capacity.

The GMA’s Ashanti Regional President suggested to Dr. Bawumia and his team: “Out of the 50 Agenda 111 hospital projects, why don’t we build 40 hospitals, and dedicate the resources meant for the other 10 projects to retool Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital to clear up the mess at the hospital and make it efficient?”

Meanwhile, Dr. Bawumia also met with the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs, clergy, and other professional bodies as part of his tour of the region.

BoG: We’ll respond appropriately to Ayariga’s request on losses, new office building

The Bank of Ghana (BoG) has acknowledged receipt of the request by the Member of Parliament for Bawku Central, Mahama Ayariga, for full disclosure of the losses the bank incurred in its 2023 financial statement and the rising costs of its new head office at North Ridge.

BoG in a statement dated Thursday, June 6, 2024, indicated it is working to “respond appropriately shortly” to the MP’s request.

Ayariga in a statement on Monday, June 3, to the BoG, on the instructions of the Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, requested “reasons for the combined losses of approximately GH¢70 billion as stated in the BoG’s financial statements for 2022 and 2023. The status of the further expenses on the infamous head office building which costs keep escalating.”

He further asked for “Reasons for recording a policy rate of 30% in 2023 as this is the highest record of policy rate in the last 20 years. Detailed particulars on the costs of the new construction at the premises of the old BoG clinic. Reasons for the total currency issuance expense of GH688.87 million as stated in BoG’s financial statement and annual report for 2023.”

The BoG reported a loss of GH₵10.5 billion for the financial year ending in 2023. The primary reason for this loss was a significant increase in total interest expenses on open market operations by the Central Bank, which increased by GH₵6.7 billion during the review period.

In August of the previous year, the BoG also defended its new $250 million headquarters.

Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the MP for North Tongu, had made public documents asserting that the original cost of the planned new head office for the Bank of Ghana was approximately US$82 million, contrary to the US$250 million currently being quoted by bank officials.

Free SHS Bill to be presented to Parliament

The government is set to present the Free Senior High School (SHS) Bill to Parliament in the coming days, aimed at regulating the policy and ensuring its sustainability.

This move comes amidst concerns of possible cancellation by future governments and challenges faced by the programme.

Stakeholders in the educational sector, including EduWatch, have suggested that parents who opt for boarding facilities should cover the associated fees.

EduWatch also recommended targeting the policy at children from poor households, using data from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) programme as a reference point.

At a Leaders’ Media Briefing on Tuesday, June 11, the Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, disclosed the information asserting that the bill seeks to make the policy more effective and sustainable, aligning with the aspirations outlined in Chapter 5 of the Constitution.

He explained that while these provisions are not enforceable by law, the government aims to make them justifiable through legislation.

“I’m also able to report that the Education Minister will present the Free SHS Bill to Parliament. The chapter five of the Constitution provides some aspirational indicatives. Those are not justiciable, but once by a policy of the government, an aspiration as a message by the constitution is put into action then to make it justiciable, you enact.”

“In other words, there are provisions in the constitution that you cannot enforce, you cannot claim the right to those provisions. The fact that they are there does not mean that you can apply to the court to enforce those rights, they are aspirational.”


Court sets June 13 to rule on whether to admit Jakpa’s tape into evidence

The High Court in Accra has set June 13, 2024 to rule on whether or not to admit into evidence the audio recording involving the Attorney-General and businessman, Richard Jakpa in the ongoing ambulance case.

This was after the Attorney General objected to an attempt by lawyers for Minority Leader, Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson to tender into evidence the audio conversation between the third accused and Godfred Yeboah Dame.

The audio recording, which was admitted and formed the basis of the trial judge’s ruling on a mistrial on June 6, 2024, is being tendered into evidence again because, according to the defense lawyers, it constitutes significant foundation for the AG’s charge of causing financial loss to the state.

Lead counsel for Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson, Aziz Bamba argued that the telephone conversation hinged largely on the agreement between the government of Ghana and the Letter of Credit that was subsequently issued, making the 16-minute recording an important piece in the ongoing trial.

He further contended that the AG’s posture in the audio recording constitutes willful oppression of the accused and that it is not the Attorney General’s place to be giving theories to an accused person in an ongoing trial.

Aziz Bamba concluded his argument by stating that the audio is relevant because it shows that the case hasn’t been mounted in good faith.

The Attorney General had objected to the audio being tendered into evidence, arguing that no sufficient foundation has been laid for the audio to be admitted.

The AG contended that the sitting judge had dismissed the mistrial application, which was premised on the audio recording, by putting negligible weight on it, thus making it irrelevant for admission into evidence.

Furthermore, the AG argued that the tape does not cure the crime of causing financial loss to the state and questioned what crime the audio recording has prevented.

The Prosecution concluded its objection by accusing Richard Jakpa of breaching the AG’s right to privacy.

The trial will continue on Thursday after a ruling on the objection by the Attorney General.

Bawumia’s digitalisation agenda a “bold step” to transform Ghana-Mamponghene

The Mamponghene, Daasebre Osei Bonsu II, has endorsed Vice-President Dr Mahamudu Bawumia’s digitalisation agenda describing it as a bold and transformative step for Ghana.

The traditional leader praised the NPP presidential candidate for his visionary approach to leveraging technology to drive national development.

Daasebre Osei Bonsu II who highlighted several key initiatives under the digitalization agenda, including the introduction of the Ghana Card, and the digitization of public services, noted that these efforts are already yielding positive results.

He made these remarks when the vice-president paid a courtesy call to the Ashanti Regional House of Chiefs on Day 1 of his “Bold Solutions” tour on Monday (10 June) at Manhyia in Kumasi.

“The policies you’ve touched on are in detail. These are very good and laudable, especially the digitalisation agenda which permeates through practically everything. Even babies would be born with ID cards and these new things are dear to our heart as traditional and I urge you to be bold and implement it to the latter”, he said.

For his part, Dr Mahamudu Bawumia announced plans to introduce “living allowances” for traditional leaders.

This initiative aims to support their roles as custodians of tradition and culture while enhancing collaborative governance efforts between traditional authorities and government institutions.

Explaining the rationale behind this proposal, Dr Bawumia emphasised the pivotal role of chieftaincy in shaping societal values. He believes it is essential to empower chiefs financially to carry out their responsibilities effectively without economic constraints.

“Today, paramount chiefs are paid GH₵1,000. It is not going anywhere; it cannot even buy enough fuel to attend meetings. My manifesto team has looked at all this and we are saying that we have to pay living allowances to paramount chiefs, and not stop there but to the divisional chiefs and the queen mothers so that we can have a complete chieftaincy institution that is empowered to help the government,” Dr Bawumia stated.

He assured that if elected president, his government would ensure chiefs are financially empowered to execute their mandates.

Dr Bawumia proposed granting equity stakes in mineral resources to traditional leaders within their respective jurisdictions. He believes this will be a major solution to tackling illegal mining activities across the country.

According to the vice-president, involving traditional leaders in land management in collaboration with district assemblies can deter illegal miners who exploit regulatory loopholes.

He argues that giving chiefs an equity stake will incentivize them to protect their lands from degradation and promote sustainable mining practices.

“The resource, whether it’s a gold mine or whatever, when we find gold in your area, then you have a stake in it, an equity stake. The district assembly has an equity stake. Once you have an equity stake, you will not allow the land to be misused,” Dr Bawumia said.

GAF cautions against calls for attacks on soldiers

The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has cautioned against calls for attacks on soldiers. According to GAF, such calls pose a significant threat to the security and stability of the nation.

The caution from GAF follows a viral video in which an NPP parliamentary candidate in the Amenfi East constituency of Western Region, Ernest Frimpong, is heard urging persons suspected to be involved in small-scale mining to resist arrests by soldiers.

Ernest Frimpong, has, however, refuted the allegation that he has endorsed illegal mining and encouraged miners to resist military personnel.

In a response to the allegation, Mr Frimpong claimed he was taken out of context from the two-hour engagement with artisanal small-scale miners.

But in a press statement issued Monday, June 10, 2024, the Director General in charge of Public Relations at the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General, E. Aggrey-Quashie said his outfit had “taken note of viral videos on social media calling for attacks on soldiers and other security personnel.

“We strongly, wish to caution the public against such utterances. It is instructive to note that such calls are not only unlawful but also pose a significant threat to the security and stability of our nation. We therefore condemn any form of incitement or encouragement of violence against our soldiers.
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“We wish to assure all and sundry GAF will continue to perform its duties of safeguarding the security of the state and protection of civilians. It is also crucial to understand that personnel of GAF and sister security agencies are committed to upholding the highest standards of professionalism, discipline, and respect for human rights in the execution of their duties,” it added.

It said “in a situation where a soldier misconducts him/herself, the soldier should be reported to the nearest police station or military barracks for the appropriate disciplinary action to be taken.

“It is important to note that, soldiers like any individuals, have the right to self-defense when faced with threats or attacks that pose a danger to their lives or the lives of others. In situations where soldiers are confronted with immediate threats or acts of violence, they are allowed to use necessary and proportionate force to protect themselves and others. It must be noted that the outcome of such avoidable confrontations may be unpleasant and dire.”