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Government commissions secretariat to receive complaints on media harassment

 Government has commissioned a secretariat to receive and validate complaints of attacks on media practitioners in Ghana and advocate their rights and freedoms.

The Secretariat, known as: the National Coordinated Mechanism on the Safety of Journalists, would be a centre for media practitioners to report issues of intimidation and harassments in their line of duty for investigation.

It is located at the former offices of the National Media Commission (NMC) in Accra.

Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Minister of Information, who cut the tape to officially open the Secretariat, said it formed part of government’s commitment towards ensuring the safety of journalists in the country.

He said discussions on establishing a secretariat to promote media safety started about two years ago, which allowed stakeholders to make meaningful inputs.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the office would primarily receive and validate complaints of intimidation and harassment of journalists, as well as advocate media freedoms and rights as enshrined in Chapter 12 of the 1992 Constitution.

“Two years ago, we began this conversation on what we can see today. I must say that this is an additional layer of government’s commitment to a free media,” he said.

“This adds up to the existing layers such as the Right to Information Act, establishment of the Right to Information Commission, and the repeal of the Criminal Libel law to strengthen media practice, as opposed to the claims of media silence in Ghana, which I disagree with,” the Minister said.

Mr Oppong Nkrumah entreated the staff and leadership who would work at the Secretariat to treat complaints with absolute professionalism and dispatch and help deepen collaborations between the media and its stakeholders.

Mr George Sarpong, the Executive Secretary of the NMC, said the opening of the office reinforced stakeholders’ commitment to the safety of the media.

He said the office would support media practice and freedom, adding: “This will serve as a ‘go-to-complain centre’ on the safety of practitioners.”

Mr Sarpong assured the media that the office would seek their welfare and safety, and deal with matters expeditiously.

However, he advised them to be professional in their practice and not necessarily court troubles for themselves in their line of duty.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Ms Sheila Kessie Abayie-Buckman, the Director of Public Affairs, Ghana Police Service, said the security services would collaborate with the Secretariat to provide safety for journalists in the country.

She said the Police Administration would do its part in ensuring that the media went about their duties safely.

DSP Abayie-Buckman said the country’s media were testaments of the thriving democracy and needed to be empowered to play their role effectively in nation building.

Mrs Linda Asante Agyei, the Vice President, Ghana Journalists Association, advised journalists to report to the secretariat whenever they were attacked and not restrict them to the airwaves.

She said the Centre would help stakeholders to get accurate data on attacks on the media and pursue them for the safety of journalists.
Source:GNA

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Akufo-Addo is to blame for increasing robberies, crime-Haruna Iddrisu

NDC will form majority in Parliament in January 2021 - Haruna Iddrisu
Mr.Haruna Iddrisu, Minority of Ghana’s Parliament

The Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has blamed the increasing reports of armed robbery incidents in parts of the country on what he calls a “breakdown in law and order.”

Haruna Iddrisu’s assertion comes on the back of the latest robbery attack in broad daylight on Monday, June 14, 2021, leading to the killing of a young police officer and a trader at James town in Accra.

There have been a series of robbery incidents incidents in Accra in the last month, which are mostly carried it out brazenly in the full glare of the public.

The Minority leader, speaking to Citi News on recent developments, asked Ghanaians to collectively express their disappointment in President Akufo-Addo.

According to him, the President has failed to ensure that Ghanaians are safe to go about their daily activities.

“If what we are reading is anything to go by, then we all must collectively express our disappointment in the President and his handling of matters of personal safety and security. It means that there is the gradual breakdown of law and order, and I pray that we do not get to a state  in our country where the watchman himself is not safe, because when the watchman himself is not secured, when the policeman who is supposed to protect lives and property himself is not secured, then it leaves much to be desired.”

The Minority Leader also called for major reforms in the police and security set up, adding that the sector needs to be adequately resourced.

He also asked the citizenry to remain calm as the police conduct investigations into the incidents.

“I am told that for many of them [policemen], they are not adequately and sufficiently prepared to protect lives and property, and that is equally disappointing. But our condolences will go to the bereaved families, and we ask for restraint and calm in the country, whilst we call for greater reforms in policing in Ghana.”

With regard to the bullion van attack, the Inspector General of Police (IGP), James Oppong-Boanuh, has instructed the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), to takeover investigations into the matter.

The IGP’s directive was contained in a press statement issued on Monday by the police and signed by its Director of Public Affairs, Mrs. Shiella Kessie Abayie-Buckman.

“The Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Mr. James Oppong-Boanuh has directed the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to takeover investigations into the attack on a bullion van at Adedenpo, a suburb of James Town in Accra on Monday, June 14, 2021, which led to the murder of a police officer.

Meanwhile, the Police Chief, has asked banks to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting money by end of June this year, referring the banks to an earlier meeting that was held on the subject matter.

He warned that his officers will stop offering g that service to the banks if the standard bullion vans are not made available this month ending. 

“The IGP is also reminding the Association of Bankers to provide fortified armoured vehicles for carting currencies by the close of June 2021 as earlier agreed between them and the Police Service, else the Police will withdraw its officers for escort duties,” the IGP warned in the statement.

Source:citinewsroom

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Bullion van robbers made away with shot police’s AK rifle – Report

The situational report of the police on the deadly armed robbery attack at Adedenkpo near Jamestown in Accra says the perpetrators made away with the AK 47 rifle of the police officer shot dead.

They also took away unspecified amount of money from the van.

The incident on Monday, June 14 shook residents of Adendenkpo as one hawker in whose direction one of the bank officers ran to for refuge was also shot dead by the robbers, who were on motorbikes.

The Inspector General of Police, James Oppong-Boanuh, has directed the Director-General of the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service to take over investigations.

So far, crime scene experts have been to the scene and going through the necessary procedures, the police said on Monday.

Meanwhile, persons with any information on the incident have been asked to volunteer them to the investigation team on 0262122086, 0244994564 or 0244280001.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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[Fact-check] Sputnik V contract shows Ministry of Health lied

Mr.Kwaku Agyemang-Manu, Health Minister

It has emerged that the account of the Ministry of Health (MoH) in explaining how the Government of Ghana reached an agreement with a private middleman to procure Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccines is not accurate.

Contrary to claims by the MoH that it was the middleman who made an offer to which the Ministry responded, documents sighted by 3news.com show otherwise.

MoH’s narrative

In reaction to allegations by a Norwegian newspaper publication that the Government of Ghana used middlemen to procure 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines at unit price of $19 instead of the ex-factory price of $10, the MoH put out what it said were “facts about the process”.

In the said facts, as were contained in the June 9 press statement, the country agreed with one Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum to procure the vaccines at the price alleged – in essence confirming the allegations.

However, in giving a step-by-step account of how the government had to settle on the deal, the Ministry said all attempts to get the vaccine at the ex-factory price of $10 failed.

The MoH claimed it responded to an offer made to the government by Sheikh’s office which eventually led to the signing of the agreement.

“Against the background of non-response from direct channels and global shortages of the vaccines, the MoH, on 9th March 2021, responded to an offer from the private office of H.H Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for the supply of a total quantity of 3.4 million doses of Sputnik V vaccines, at a unit cost of $19,” the MoH explained.

The contract

This explanation, however, is not a true reflection of what was signed off in the contract between the Government of Ghana and Sheikh’s office. The contract available to 3news.com shows that it was the Government of Ghana which rather approached Sheikh’s office.

“The Buyer approached the Seller to sell and supply Vaccine to the Buyer and the Seller is willing to sell and supply the Vaccine to Buyer, subject to the following terms and conditions,” part of the contract reads.

Contradictions

There have also been some observed contradictions from government officials regarding what the facts are on the matter.

While Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta confirmed that some money has already been paid for the vaccines, Chairman of the Health Committee of Parliament Dr. Ayew Afriyie claims no money has been paid yet.

“So far no funds have gone anywhere, about seven companies have letters and various prices ranging between $12 to $19 so if the impression is created as if it is one company,” he said while addressing the press at Parliament.

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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