In less than 48 hours, we will draw the curtain on 2021 and welcome a new one. But no year goes down without some controversies or big stories to leave a mark.
The first half of the year was riddled with some scandals and shocking dramas. But these incidents did not end there; the third quarter of the year gave the country more and more of such big stories.
July 2: Ejura disturbances committee
The Minority in Parliament is set to push for a resolution to compel the President to set up a Presidential Commission of Inquiry into the killing of two protesters at Ejura in the Ashanti Region.
The Interior Minister announced a three-member committee to probe the killings publicly.
But speaking to JoyNews, Ranking Member on the Defence and Interior Committee, James Agalga, said Parliament must take an interest in the matter.
We have drafted a resolution under Article 178 for the Speaker’s consideration. If he responds to us favourably, we will want to move the House to force the hand of the President to consider replacing the Ministerial Committee with a Commission of Inquiry to do this job,” he said.
Meanwhile, the head of the family of one of the killed protesters, Abdulai Abubakar, said they support a commission of enquiry instead of the ministerial committee.
July 7: Soldiers fired back when protesters fired at them – Central Commander GAF
Central Commander of the Ghana Armed Forces, Brigadier General Joseph Aphour, has justified why the security operatives deployed to restore calm during the Ejura demonstration on June 29, fired at the protestors.
Giving an account of circumstances that led to the killing of two persons to the Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday, the Brigadier General said some of the agitating youth fired shots at the security agencies prompting a response from the military personnel.
According to him, personnel were left with no option other than to return fire after assessing the situation.
“We started giving a verbal warning, which is done in the military. They couldn’t heed to that [and] we fired warning shots. When we fired the warning shots, we realised that some people were then firing within the crowd at that stage; it was becoming too bad.
“I think the commander at that stage then had to use minimum force by trying to fire to maim those who were involved. So if you realise we didn’t have instant deaths, they were taken to the hospital, and we later heard that two had died,” he told the committee.
July 7: Salaries for first and second ladies
Parliament, in January 2021, approved the Prof. Baidu Ntiamoah Committee’s report recommending emoluments for the executive, judiciary, and legislature. The committee’s report also made provisions for the spouses of the President and vice president.
The move to formalise the payment of salaries to the First lady and Second lady gained massive attention on social media, with many against the idea.
However, the Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, explained that the payment of allowances to spouses of Presidents and Vice Presidents is not a new phenomenon.
He stated that the payment was instituted under the Kufuor administration but was only formalised by the current government.
July 10: Ejura Committee should be careful of their line of questioning – Randy Abbey
The host of Metro TV’s ‘Good Morning Ghana’ has raised concern over the kind of questions being asked at the ongoing public hearing into a shooting incidence at Ejura, which claimed the lives of two persons and left others injured.
Speaking on Saturday during JoyNews’ Newsfile, Randy Abbey described the questions as problematic.
“I’ve been a bit disturbed by the line of questioning and some of the commentary from the members of the Commission, and I think that they ought to watch it,” he said.
Mr Abbey’s comment comes days after the committee began its work.
Assessing the work done so far, he expressed disappointment in the kind of questions that have been asked, especially one’s trying to create an impression as though the media played a role in orchestrating the riot.
He said “the strenuous effort that was put in to sort of tag the media as doing something inappropriate” was baffling.
He noted, for instance, that a question posed to JoyNews’ Erastus Asare-Donkor about taglines used on slugs during the live feed was unnecessary.
He also noted that in some of the videos, the Committee members kept posing leading questions and that to him was also wrong.
Thus, he cautioned the committee to be mindful of the kind of questions they posed and commentary given during the hearing.
July 12: First lady rejects allowances
First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo declined the offer for her to be paid allowances.
According to a July 12 statement, she also “decided to refund all monies paid to her as allowances from the date of the President’s assumption of office, i.e., from January 2017 to date, amounting to GH¢899,097.84.”
This comes on the back of recommendations by the Prof Yaa Ntiamoa-Baidu-led Presidential Committee on Emoluments for Article 71 officeholders, which received serious backlash from the public.
July 15: Sputnik Vaccine Probe begins
The Parliamentary committee set up to probe government’s contract to purchase Sputnik V vaccines began its public hearing.
The committee is investigating claims government contracts with two firms, including S. L. Global, would have seen Ghana buying the vaccines at twice the price.
The nine-member committee’s mandate includes; determining whether the two agreements between middlemen constituted international business transactions that should have first received Parliamentary approval; the committee will also determine whether appropriate procedures were used in acquiring the services of the middle men.
The committee is also to ascertain the cost of the vaccine and whether the cost guarantees the value for money.
It will also determine whether the Health Minister misled Parliament by telling the committee that they would not buy vaccines for more than $10 when he had already signed an agreement for $19 per dose, as suggested by the Minority.
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu is expected to be the first witness to appear before the committee.
July 15: MPs car loan saga
Parliament approved the $28 million car loan presented by the Finance Ministry to facilitate the purchase of 275 vehicles for members of the eighth Parliament.
Despite massive backlash from the public after the Deputy Finance Minister, Abena Osei Asare, laid a document on the floor of Parliament requesting approval for the loan facility from the National Investment Bank to purchase the vehicles.
Parliament also approved a report of the Finance Committee that called for the discontinuation of the car loan facility for Members of Parliament and the Council of State.
According to the report, subsequent governments must provide official vehicles for Members of Parliament and Council of State members for use as enjoyed by other Article 71 officeholders.
July 19: I will seek parliamentary approval before purchasing Covid-19 vaccines next time – Health Minister
Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu has assured the general public that his outfit will no longer proceed with any procurement without parliamentary approval.
His comment comes on the back of the purchase of some Sputnik-V vaccines and the subsequent termination of a contract between the government of Ghana and middle-man Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum, who was contracted to supply 3.4 million doses of vaccines for the country.
Responding to questions during a Parliamentary probe into the termination of the contract, on Monday, the Minister admitted to procuring the vaccines without the approval of the House.
This was in clear contravention of requirements of Article 181(5) of the 1992 Constitution.
But explaining that the decision was taken to save the citizenry during the heat of the second wave of the pandemic, Mr Agyeman-Manu said he was desperate to get vaccines and was frustrated because regular vaccine supply sources had failed.
July 21: Appointment of IGP Dampare
The Presidency appointed COP Dr George Akuffo Dampare as Acting Inspector General of Police (IGP) from August 1.
He took over from James Oppong-Boanuh, who was appointed as police boss by President Akufo-Addo in October 2019.
A statement signed by Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communication at the Presidency, directed the current IGP to “embark on terminal leave with effect from August 1, pending his retirement from the Ghana Police Service on October 7.”
July 24: Answers given by Health Minister not convincing – Martin Kpebu
Private Legal Practitioner, Martin Kpebu, said answers provided by Health Minister, Kwaku Agyeman-Manu, on the procurement of some Sputnik V vaccines and the subsequent termination of a contract between the government and Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum are not convincing enough.
Speaking on Newsfile on Saturday, July 24, 2021, Mr Kpebu said the Minister’s claim that he was not thinking properly before going into the agreement with the Sheikh because Ghana’s Covid-19 situation appears to be an afterthought.
Mr Kpebu’s comment forms part of discussions on responses given by the Minister during a probe into the procurement of the vaccines.
Speaking to host, Samson Lardy Anyenini, he said the Minister had made a mistake that the Presidency rectified, and that should have served as a lesson.
“So far the answers are not convincing, to say the least. This is not the first mistake. Remember the Health Minister had signed an earlier (agreement) for $25 and the Presidency stepped in and cancelled it. So that should have put him on notice that he was on slippery grounds. So he coming back and saying that he was not thinking straight and the rest, appears as an afterthought.”
He further called for the resignation of the Health Minister on the show.
July 27: Some clauses in Sputnik V contract skewed against government – Attorney General
Attorney General, Godfred Dame, says some clauses in the Health Ministry’s $64 million contract with Dubai based businessman, Sheikh Maktoum to supply Sputnik vaccines to Ghana are biased and skewed against government.
He also said some of the provisions breached the Food and Drugs Authority’s regulations.
In a letter dated April 12, 2021, to the Health Minister, Kwaku Agyemang Manu, the Attorney General urged the Ministry to buy vaccines directly from Russia because other countries do that.
Chief Director at the Health Ministry, Kwabena Boadu Oku–Afari, had written to the Attorney General’s Office on 10th March 2021, requesting that the Attorney General’s review of the contract between the Ministry and the private office of Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum for the supply of 3.4 million doses of the Russia Sputnik vaccines.
Godfred Dame’s reply to the Health Minister, observed, that the Ministry had already signed the contract before submitting it for review.
He also noted that the agreement is international and must go to Parliament for approval to ensure validity.
August 5: Special Prosecutor sworn in
President Akufo-Addo has officially sworn into office Kissi Agyebeng as the Special Prosecutor. The 43-year-old Lawyer takes over from Martin Amidu, who resigned from office in November 2020 after accusing the President of interference in his work.
Mr Agyebeng was vested with the new authority on Thursday at the Jubilee House in the presence of the Chief of Staff, Attorney General, other government officials, and some traditional leaders.
During the swearing-in ceremony, the President urged the new appointee always to remember that although “the remit of the office is broad and challenging”, he has a responsibility to fight corruption independently and impartially.
August 20: Abesim Murder
The Police, on Friday, August 20, arrested a man for allegedly killing two children.
Richard Appiah, 28, was arrested after the father of one of his victims, Louis Agyemang Junior, aged 12, reported him to the Police.
Together with the complainant and suspect, the Police proceeded to the House where the suspect resides in the Alaska area near Abesim.
The team found the deceased lying in a supine position in a room, while another murdered person was found in a different room.
During a further search of the House, pieces of flesh suspected to be parts of another person were found in a double-door fridge. The name of that deceased was given as Stephen, aged 15 years. Parents of the other victims are yet to identify their bodies.
August 25: More body parts found
The Police in Sunyani retrieved the intestines of the two children who were murdered at Abesim in the Bono Region.
According to the Police, the suspect, Richard Appiah, disclosed that he hid the remaining parts of the two children he allegedly murdered on a cocoa farm during a rigorous interrogation.
However, the Police disclosed to Adom News’ Christian Ofori Kumah that the genitals of the young boys are still missing.
August 22: Anglican priest kissing
In a viral video, a priest kissed some students at St Monica’s College of Education in Asante Mampong in the Ashanti Region.
Father Balthazar Obeng was seen kissing three female students before a cheering congregation in the amateur footage.
However, the third lady seemed unwilling but eventually gave in to be kissed. The Anglican Priest at the centre of the kissing controversy was later relieved of his duties.
Subsequently, the Executive Director to the Anglican Metropolitan Archbishop of Ghana, Dr George Dawson-Ahmoah, revealed that a Committee has been set up to investigate the conduct of the Priest. They will provide a comprehensive report that will inform the next action for both the Church and School.
16 September: Takoradi woman goes missing
Josephine Simons went on a morning walk from the Amanoo road to the Paa Grant Roundabout as part of her routine exercise on that Thursday and did not return.
21 September: Missing pregnant woman found in Axim
The 29-year-old pregnant woman who went missing in Takoradi on September 16, has been reportedly found at Axim in the Nzema East Municipality.
A search party was convened after her mother received a call from an unknown person who said they could not use her for what they intended.
The suspects also said they had dumped her somewhere; a close relative told JoyNews.
The relative said she was found on September 21, at Axim.
23rd September: Residents and Family reject fake pregnancy claim
Some angry residents in Takoradi have dismissed reports by the Ghana Police Service that 29-year-old Josephine Panyin Mensah faked her pregnancy and kidnapping.
They also expressed dissatisfaction over the arrest of Josephine’s mother, husband and one other person as accomplices in the alleged self-kidnapping case.
Clad in red, neighbours of the victim, who has now been declared a suspect, chanted war songs and rained curses on various authorities for making such claims.
Earlier today, the Police, in a statement, confirmed that the victim was never pregnant.
According to the Police, their preliminary investigation into the issue has revealed that the victim may have conspired with some persons to stage the whole incident.
24 September: Takoradi woman confesses
The Ghana Police Service has disclosed that the Takoradi-based woman who allegedly faked her pregnancy and kidnapping has confessed that she was not pregnant.
In a Facebook post on Friday, the Ghana Police Service said, “the suspect, Josephine Panyin Mensah, 28, has confessed to the Police during further investigations and stated that neither was she pregnant nor ever being kidnapped.”
This comes after a preliminary investigation by the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) revealed that the kidnapping of a pregnant woman in Takoradi is fake.
“From their preliminary investigations, NIB suspects that this whole story was fake and that the medical doctor who has even looked at her revealed she wasn’t pregnant. That is the immediate information that we have. The Police are still with her,” Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah said.
September 30: You’re the poorer for your comments – Kissi Agyebeng to Martin Amidu
The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, has described his predecessor’s comment against his nomination and subsequent appointment as unbelievable and baseless.
Mr Agyebeng said he was taken aback when Mr Martin Amidu called him a surrogate of the ‘alter ego’ of Africa Legal Associates, a firm founded by President Akufo-Addo’s cousin, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko.
Speaking to Nana Aba Anamoah on Starr Chat Wednesday, the Special Prosecutor said the Former Special Prosecutor doesn’t know him to warrant such a strong description.