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CSO coalition threatens Supreme Court action over anti-LGBTQ+ legislation

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Anyone found guilty of identifying as LGBTQ+ faces up to three years in jail. It also mandates a possible five-year prison sentence for founding or financing LGBTQ+ organisations. MPs opposed efforts to replace jail terms with community service and therapy. Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, the Board Chair of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development CDD-Ghana, told JoyNews that the groups will make presentations to President Akufo-Addo, urging him not to sign the anti-LGBTQ+ law. She expressed regret that, despite all of Ghana's prospects when the measure was offered, Parliament saw no compelling reason to rule that such a statute did not fit within the country's democratic system.

A coalition of 18 civil society organisations has vowed to file a Supreme Court petition if President Nana Akufo-Addo signs the Proper Sexual Rights and Family Values Bill, 2021.

The organisation has lobbied against the anti-LGBTI+ law, claiming that it violates Ghana’s unique cultural and religious environment.

Parliament overwhelmingly enacted the anti-LGBTQ+ measure on February 28, following nearly three years of discussion. The measure intends to criminalise the LGBTQ+ community’s activities.

Anyone found guilty of identifying as LGBTQ+ faces up to three years in jail. It also mandates a possible five-year prison sentence for founding or financing LGBTQ+ organisations.

MPs opposed efforts to replace jail terms with community service and therapy.

Professor Audrey Gadzekpo, the Board Chair of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development CDD-Ghana, told JoyNews that the groups will make presentations to President Akufo-Addo, urging him not to sign the anti-LGBTQ+ law.

She expressed regret that, despite all of Ghana’s prospects when the measure was offered, Parliament saw no compelling reason to rule that such a statute did not fit within the country’s democratic system.

“This bill is awful. It’s similar to criminal libel, which the colonists instituted and we kept. And it was used inappropriately against people, including journalists. “We’ll discover that this is similar,” she remarked.
Prof. Gadzekpo believed that an administration with great judgment would take power and repeal the measure.

Commenting on the coalition’s future steps now that Parliament has passed the bill, Prof Gadzekpo stated that the organisation would continue to advocate and explain why the anti-LGBTQ+ bill is destructive to the country’s democracy and prosperity.

She was hopeful that President Akufo-Addo would hear their cause.

“So we will make representation to the president, not to assent to the bill. I personally believe that this bill’s proposal through enactment – even the argumentation has very little to do with wanting to safeguard Ghanaian family values because the present danger that endangers our family values were never addressed in this bill.

“This bill was just narrowly targeted at minorities because they know that a majority of people don’t agree with a sexuality that is not binary.

“But the fact that a majority of people don’t agree with a minority position doesn’t make the majority right. It’s such a fundamental principle of democracy. That is why there are so many provisions in democratic constitutions that protect minorities and minority views and rights, but unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears,” she stressed.

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We’ve not been paid GH¢1 billion; KPMG’s assertion is false – SML

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SML further stated that KPMG's inability to mention that 31.5 percent of the total GH¢1,061,054,778.00 taken as taxes provides a very uneven "impression of the relationship between the compensation, investment, and other related costs." "SML believes that KPMG's failure to include GRA taxes of 31.5% taken before payment, interest payments of 32% plus SML's investment repayment, and other taxes/duties over the period creates an unbalanced impression of the relationship between compensation and investment and other related costs. This omission is really deceptive.

Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd (SML) denied receiving GH¢1,061,054,778.00 for a revenue mobilisation contract with the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).

President Akufo-Addo ordered KPMG to audit the contract between the GRA and SML on January 2. KPMG’s findings revealed that SML received a total of GH¢1,061,054,778.00 from 2018 to date.

However, Strategic Mobilisation Ghana Ltd responded by denying the charges, noting that KPMG reported the amount “without reference to the investments made and the taxes paid” during the review period.

“KPMG quotes a figure as compensation to SML. It is interesting to note that this figure is quoted without reference to the investments made and the taxes paid by SML over the period within the consolidated contract

“The compensation of GH¢1,061,054,778.00 stated by KPMG is inaccurate.”

SML further stated that KPMG’s inability to mention that 31.5 per cent of the total GH¢1,061,054,778.00 taken as taxes provides a very uneven “impression of the relationship between the compensation, investment, and other related costs.”

“SML believes that KPMG’s failure to include GRA taxes of 31.5% taken before payment, interest payments of 32% plus SML’s investment repayment, and other taxes/duties over the period creates an unbalanced impression of the relationship between compensation and investment and other related costs. This omission is really deceptive.

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The president needs to show leadership to stop ‘dumsor’ – Agyeman-Duah

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Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns. He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

Professor Baffior Agyeman-Duah, a Governance Expert, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to show leadership by summoning all major players in the power sector, including the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG), the Ghana Grid Company Limited (GRDCo), the Volta River Authority (VRA), and the Public Utilities and Regulatory Commission (PURC), and giving them marching orders to resolve the power crisis.

He believes he’ll be astonished if the president hasn’t done so already.

Speaking on the Ghana Tonight broadcast on TV3 on Monday, April 22, Prof Ageyman Duah remarked, “I will be surprised that the president has not called the leadership of the VRA, GRIDCo, ECG, and PURC, to sit them down to give them the marching order that he doesn’t like what they are doing.

“That is leadership, we need the president to be giving the marching orders. As I said, if he has done it privately I don’t know but based on the public pronouncements by these state agencies in charge of the energy sector, it seems like he hasn’t done that.”

Professor Agyeman-Duah also chastised the administration for the slow speed at which it is addressing electricity concerns.

He argues that given the frequency of power outages, the government should have taken a more serious approach to finding long-term solutions, but this has not been the case.

He went on to say “The government hasn’t been too active in seeking solutions to problems”

Prof. Baffour Agyeman-Duah also urged the state power distributor, the ECG, to produce a load-shedding schedule.

This, he believes, will help power consumers arrange their lives more effectively.

“The wise thing to do is to issue a timetable,” Professor Baffour Agyeman-Duah said.

Meanwhile, Richard Ahiagbah, Director of Communications for the New Patriotic Party (NPP), has stated that power shortages in certain areas of the country are annoying.

However, he stated that there is light at the end of the tunnel for the problem.

Mr Ahiagbah ascribed the problem to the Electricity Company of Ghana’s (ECG) maintenance work.

He told us that the job would be done quickly.

“The recent power outages have been understandably frustrating. However, there is an end in sight. The maintenance works are almost complete, and we can soon expect access to an uninterrupted power supply around the clock, as we have become accustomed to under the Akufo-Addo-Bawumia Administration.”

Regarding the criticism that members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) have made against the administration over the outages, he stated, “The NDC is the last political organization to point fingers because Ghana has not forgotten the hurts of the ‘real dumsor,’ suffered under H.E. Mahama.

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Gomoa Akotsi: Truck collides with a police car, killing one and injuring several others

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It struck a Chinese national's car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction. An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened. "The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

A collision on the road between Gomoa Akramah and Akoti Junction in the Gomoa East District, Central Region, is said to have killed one police officer and badly wounded many others.

According to sources, a KIA Rhino truck (registration number GX 4135-24) had a braking failure and went off track.

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It struck a Chinese national’s car before colliding with a police vehicle stationed on the side of the road near Akotsi Junction.

An eyewitness, Nai Appiah Nortey, told Citi News that several cops were in the parked police car and two more were in the trunk. The police were said to be making purchases nearby when the tragedy happened.

“The vehicle was descending from Gomoa Akramah hills towards the Akotsi junction. But it suddenly lost control, crossed the main road, and collided with a police vehicle sitting on the shoulder of the road. It pulled the police vehicle and then parked in front of a business.

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“There were some police officers in the trunk of the truck, and some even fell out as soon as the collision occurred. “One person has died, and the rest, including the Chinese national, have been rushed to the Trauma and Specialist Hospital in Winneba,” Nai Appiah Nortey said.

The Central East Regional Operations commander and other senior officials came on the spot to evaluate the magnitude of the damage.

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