"This is a small earthquake,” - GGSA's Nicholas Opoku
On the 24th of June 2020, I happened to be sitting in my hall watching movie at about 10:47pm when I heard and felt the ground shake.
I almost thought I was hallucinating. It all seemed so real.
It lasted for a period of about some seconds or might be minutes.
I was not sure about the shake till it happened again at about 10:54pm.
The second time seemed more severe than the first time.
I felt scared and shaky for almost 10 minutes.
It is currently not known by me whether this tremor was predicted or not.
I still think this tremor happened for three consecutive times although I am still not sure.
I realized how serious this tremor was when I got out of my room and realized everyone in the community come out of their rooms and seemed to be talking about the shake.
As at when I started writing this article, I am still sure there would be a next shake following the consistency of the tremor again.
A Senior Seismologist, at the Ghana Geological Survey Authority (GGSA), Nicholas Opoku has confirmed that an earth tremor occurred in parts of Accra around 0740 hours on Sunday.
The tremor was estimated to be about four on the Richter Scale.“Four is not that serious. It is, however, not a micro earth quake because a micro earthquake is between three to 3.5. This is a small earthquake,” Mr Opoku said.
He said whilst the GGSA could confirm the tremor, it could not immediately confirm the exact source or point of occurrence, because of challenges with data transmission.
Mr Opoku said no casualties had been reported, and the Authority was monitoring and assessing the situation.
Residents who experienced the tremor say it felt as though some unseen force shook their immediate environs for about five seconds.
1.NPP Primaries: 'You're making hypocrisy a virtue rather than a vice' - Kweku Baako to Politicians
Seasoned journalist, Kweku Baako has rebuffed arguments by opposition parties which seek to suggest that vote buying is an idiosyncratic practice prominent in only the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
The NPP ended its primaries on Saturday, June 20, 2020 to elect Parliamentary candidates for the party in about 168 constituencies across the nation.
However, prior to the primaries, there were reports of some aspirants inducing the party delegates with money and various items in order to win their votes.
The largest opposition party, the NDC, waded in describing the level of vote-buying and opulence that were on display at the NPP's primaries as “alarming” and “unprecedented”.
At its Weekly Press Briefing on Monday, 22 June 2020, the biggest opposition party’s National Communication Officer, Mr. Sammy Gyamfi, said: “The alarming level of vote-buying and opulence we saw in the NPP this time around is unprecedented”.
“We have never seen this level of ostentation in our body politics before and that should give every democracy-loving Ghanaian, genuine cause of concern”, he noted.
Contributing to Wednesday's ''Kokrokoo'' on Peace FM, Kweku Baako called out the hypocrisy of opposition parties creating an impression that this culture of moneycracy in Ghana's politics is peculiar to the NPP and argued that all political parties tend to induce their delegates and electors at large with money and items to win votes.
Pulling out a list of documents to support his claims, Mr. Baako stated emphatically that money in politics has characterized all administrations since the regime of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah till date and believed it can only be solved when comprehensive discussions are held to address it.
''There is no Republic administration in this country which has been free of this subculture. None! From first, under the great Osagyefo himself to today...and it is not good at all. Let's be honest...We have to get the courage to admit that this thing is a negative phenomenon. It's been with us for a long time and if we don't check it, it could create problems for everybody'', he stated.
He therefore asked political parties to stop playing politics with the issue.
''You're just perpetrating hypocrisy. You're seeking to make hypocrisy a virtue rather than a vice...If you want to play politics with it, go ahead and do politics with it. But the truth is that this problem will come back each time," he stated.
Kweku Baako sees this moneycracy as a deep-seated problem.
''We cannot tackle what happens only at party primaries and solve this challenge. That's my argument. If we want to deal with this challenge, let's be very comprehensive and sincere, and honest about the phenomenon. Its roots and its dynamics and I'm saying if that is so, all the political parties, we all have questions to answer.
''There hasn't been that determined focused commitment to dealing with this thing because, in actual fact, we're all guilty and the truth is that we're all beneficiaries of this corruption of the political process; the seeds of which were sown way back...Let's be honest with ourselves. Let's do self-retrospection. That's why I said we're all guilty of such subculture. And I do not want to hear some people standing out there and shouting unprecedented expenditure.''
2. Supreme Court stops Woyome from commencing fresh action at High Court
The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday put on hold a fresh writ filed at the General Jurisdiction (High Court Division) in which Woyome is contending that his fundamental human rights were being breached.
It noted that Woyome could not initiate a fresh action at the trial court (High Court) when the matter was before an SC which is an “execution court.”
“The application is hereby struck out as withdrawn. Suit number HR/0047/2020, Agbesi Woyome verses the Registrar, General Jurisdiction, the Auctioneer, Citi Max Accra, be stayed completely.”
It directed Mr. Osafo Buabeng, counsel who represented Woyome in Court to take steps to have the action stayed.
The five member panel presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah’s action came after it had struck out the Attorney General application for leave for acquisition of Woyome’s properties.
The Attorney General came under the High Court Civil Procedure Code (CI 47) to acquire Woyome’s properties, but the SC said that it was unnecessary to come under that rule.
According to the Court, the state could mobilize funds and buy Woyome’s properties before handing them over to any state institution.
Mr. Godred Yeboah Dame, a Deputy Attorney General, therefore withdrew the application for leave for acquisition and the SC struck it out as withdrawn.
The motion for leave of the court by the Attorney General was based on the fact that auctioneers were unable to sell the properties because of the fear that they could be returned to him in case there is a change in government.
The AG is therefore praying the court to have Woyome's property transferred to the National Security.
Woyome owes the state about GHC47.2 million and the sale of his properties was to settle his indebtedness.
On July 29, 2014, the court ordered Woyome to refund GHC51.2 million on the basis that he obtained the money through invalid contracts between the state and Waterville Holdings Limited in the year 2016.
However the sale of Woyome’s properties has not been materialized.
This is because potential buyers are reportedly afraid to purchase the properties because they feel the properties may be restored to Woyome in the future.
Mr. Albert Kan-Dapaah, National Security Minister, made this known in a letter dated March 4, this year and addressed to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General.
The letter made reference to the Supreme Court’s order to have the properties of Mr. Woyome auctioned to settle judgment debt.
The assets in question included two mansions at Trasacco Estate, a house at Kpehe where he resides, an office complex of Anator Holdings, residential building at Abelemkpe and a stone quarry in the Eastern Region including its plants and equipment.
3. NPP To Acclaim Akufo-Addo As Flagbearer On Saturday
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) says it will acclaim President Akufo-Addo as its flagbearer for the 2020 elections on Saturday, June 27.
The General Secretary of the party, John Boadu in a statement said the acclamation by the National Council will be done after a meeting with the party’s National Executive Committee (NEC).
President Akufo-Addo, whose first term in office expires in January 2021, was the only person to file nomination for the flagbearer position when the party opened nominations earlier this year.
Being the sole candidate, he was expected to be acclaimed at a National Congress but according to John Boadu, that cannot be done due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Given the constraints of Covid-19 and the resulting restrictions on public gatherings, the President will, in line with resolution of the party's National Council, be acclaimed before the National Council on Saturday. After his acclamation, the President shall, in consultation with the National Council, nominate his Running Mate for the 2020 General Elections,” the party said.
4. Nigeria High Commission Demolished Structure To Be Rebuilt – Ayorkor Botchwey
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey says the government will ensure that the demolished structure on the compound of the Nigeria High Commission ‘s residency is rebuilt as soon as possible.
According to her, the High Commission has duly made payment for that parcel of land, hence any encroachment on the property constituted a breach.
Addressing a press conference in Accra in the wake of the demolition of the structure by some unknown persons, the Minister said although preliminary investigations show that the High Commission did not have the land title certificate, it had receipts of payment on the land made by Banker’s Draft, payable to the Executive Secretary of the Lands Commission.
Ghana has had to constitute a committee made up of representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Lands Commission, the National Security Secretariat and the Ghana Police Service to investigate the demolition of the building which was situated on the Nigeria High Commission’s premises, located at 19/21 Julius Nyerere Street, Ringway Estates, East Ridge, Accra, on Friday, 19th June 2020.
The incident has generated concerns within the diplomatic community, with many describing it as a breach of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations which stipulates that the premises of the Mission as well as the private residence of a diplomatic agent shall be inviolable.
Shirley Ayorkor Botwey who has assured that Ghana will not relent on its primary obligation to protect and guarantee the safety of members of the Diplomatic Corps said, among other things, the Lands Commission will proceed to issue a Land Title Certificate to the High Commission of Nigeria to regularize its ownership of the property in question and also take immediate steps to engage the Osu Stool and all stakeholders on the impasse.
Read below the other resolutions of the committee:
i. The Lands Commission will issue a letter to the Osu Traditional Council stating that in August 2000, a formal offer was made to the High Commission of Nigeria in respect of the parcel of land in question; the offer was accepted by the High Commission and payments made, accordingly constituting a contract;
ii. The Lands Commission will proceed to issue a Land Title Certificate to the High Commission of Nigeria to regularize its ownership of the property in question;
iii. The Government of Ghana will take immediate steps to engage the Osu Stool and all stakeholders on the impasse;
iv. Following the arrest of some persons connected to the breach of the premises of the High Commission of Nigeria, the Criminal Investigation Department will expedite action on investigations, given the delicate nature of the matter and its potential ramifications on Ghana–Nigeria relations;
v. The Government of Ghana will ensure that the demolished building is restored to its original state, as soon as possible;
vi. The High Commission of Nigeria will take appropriate steps to obtain building permits for the construction;
vii. In view of the above, the Government of Ghana will actively engage the Nigerian Government at the highest level to address the impasse and help calm tensions in both countries.
5. Asante Akyem Central: One dead as illegal miners clash with soldiers
One person has been confirmed dead after a confrontation between military officers and illegal miners at Petransa in the Asante Akyem Central Municipality of the Ashanti Region.
The officers were deployed to stop the illegal miners from trespassing on a concession belonging to the Owere Mines, a mining company in the area.
In 2017, two illegal miners died after a mining pit collapsed on about 14 miners in that same area.
According to police officials, details of the recent incident are scanty.
But Citi News understands that there was military reinforcement to avert further disturbances.
Mining activities form an integral part in the economic development of any country endowed with mineral resources.
This is due to the revenue generated from it, the employment opportunities it creates for the citizens and the foreign exchange.
However, illegal mining activities also known as ‘galamsey’ have become rampant in most of these communities causing them to suffer from pollution, land degradation, deforestation, high cost of living, poverty and lack of basic needs.
Whereas many attribute this to the activities of legitimate companies, others point fingers to illegal miners (galamsey operators).
War against illegal mining
Despite the war against the practice, there is still widespread rumours that illegal small scale mining is still ongoing with possible support from local authorities.
Incidents of the collapse of mining pits are however quite rare although there are reports that such incidents especially those involving foreign illegal small-scale miners are hardly made public because they have no close relations to take up the matter.