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Ghana and Portugal sign defensive and economic treaties

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Ghana and Portugal sign defensive and economic treaties

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo and his Portuguese colleague, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, have inked bilateral cooperation agreements in the fields of defence, political consultation, and commerce.

President Akufo-Addo stated that this fresh type of interaction will help to improve the friendship and cooperation connections between Ghana and Portugal.

President Akufo-Addo stated at a joint press conference in Lisbon, Portugal, with President Marcelo Rebelo De Sousa on Tuesday, 18th July 2023, that the move “is borne out of a decision by Ghana to turn our back on our old economy, which has been dependent on the production and export of raw materials, and also dependent on aid.”

According to President Akufo-Addo, “We want to build a value-added, industrialised economy with modernised agriculture, which is neither victim nor pawn of the world economic order. We want our relations with Portugal and, indeed, the rest of the world, to be characterised by an increase in trade and investment cooperation.”

He added that “This is the way to develop healthy relations between our two countries, and put Ghana at the high end of the value chain in the global marketplace, and create jobs for the teeming masses of Ghanaians, particularly the youth.”  

He added that the discussions also focused on expanding multilateral political, cultural, and people-to-people exchanges and cooperation, as well as the need to promote a better world by addressing global issues related to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Towards this end, “We have noted with satisfaction the value that the Ghana-Portugal Business Forum scheduled to be held tomorrow will add to our investment initiatives, he said.”

President Akufo-Addo further disclosed that the President of Portugal has also “resolved to give voice to Ghana’s cause and interests within the European Union. We, on the other hand, will also help to facilitate the provision of a platform for enhanced economic engagement between Portugal and the member countries of ECOWAS. This should boost the trade volumes, and help bring prosperity to our peoples.”

On global security, he stated that, with US President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron publicly calling for UN Security Council reforms in line with the Ezulwini consensus, they are looking forward to the leaders of the three (3) other Permanent Members throwing their support behind the reform process.

He assured President De Sousa that Ghana will “collaborate with Portugal to find solutions to challenges such as the eradication of widespread poverty, elimination of irregular migration, insecurity and human rights violations, terrorism and violent extremism, human and drug trafficking, piracy, as well as climate change and its attendant, negative impact on the environment and livelihoods.”

The City of Lisbon Council

President Akufo-Addo was presented with the keys to the city of Lisbon by Deputy Mayor Filipe Anacoreta Correia at the Lisbon City Council.

In his speech, the President remarked that history teaches us that “a rich trading partner operating within a fair trading system brings far more prosperity to both sides than the exploitation of a poor partner.”

It is for this reason, he continued, that “I have come to Lisbon to advocate for increased investment and trade between our two nations. Trade relations between Ghana and Portugal have evolved through history, and it is clear that a new paradigm has to be defined, which will be dependent on the structural transformation of the Ghanaian economy from a raw material producing and exporting economy, to a value-adding, industrialising economy.”

He was confident that, “this will enable Ghana trade at the high end of the global value chain, dealing in products we make and grow. Out of this, a robust trading system between Portugal and Ghana will be created, which will generate mutual prosperity for the peoples of the two countries.”

These observations, he stated, were based on the fact that “we, in Africa, are agreed that we have to be self-reliant, and shed the image of beggars living on charity, aid and handouts, and make better and more intelligent use of our abundant natural resources, in order to pull ourselves out of poverty and attain prosperity.”

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Ambulance trial: AG opposes admissibility of recording for cross-examination

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The tape, which had been served to all parties before to the hearing save for Richard Jakpa's lawyers, was played in open court. Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe ordered for the recording to be played to ‘verify if what was provided is the same as the one before the court and if the audio is admissible’ The audio was confirmed by the prosecution to be the one served on them as well as the one produced for the mistrial application which was dismissed by the judge. Channel One News says that the recording was significantly identical to the one aired by the National Democratic Congress during its recent press conference on the topic.

On Thursday, June 13, the High Court in Accra will determine whether or not to accept an audio recording of a discussion between Godfred Yeboah Dame and Richard Jakpa, the third accused in the current ambulance case.

This comes after attorneys representing minority leader Dr Cassiel Ato Forson filed the recording to cross-examine Richard Jakapa about his claims that the Attorney General has been contacting him at strange hours to incriminate Ato Forson.

Similarity of Audio

The tape, which had been served to all parties before the hearing save for Richard Jakpa’s lawyers, was played in open court. Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe ordered for the recording to be played to ‘verify if what was provided is the same as the one before the court and if the audio is admissible’

The prosecution confirmed the audio to be the one served on them and the one produced for the mistrial application which the judge dismissed.

Channel One News says that the recording was significantly identical to the one aired by the National Democratic Congress during its recent press conference on the topic.

OBJECTION BY PROSECUTION

The prosecution nonetheless opposed the inclusion of the audio as evidence. Arguing for the state, the director of public prosecution, Yvonne Attakora-Obuobisa highlighted, that even if the tape was earlier permitted by the same court to dispose off the mistrial application, it does not in the current context provide any relation to the main trial.

Ms. Attakora-Obuobisa noted that the recording was only admitted then because the court needed to assess if the Attorney General intended to ask Richard Jakpa to accuse Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson. She reminded the court that it was assigned ‘negligible weight’.

She then claimed that in the current situation and line with section 51 of the evidence ACT, the recording is ‘extremely irrelevant”.

According to her, the recording discusses matters of the issuance of the letters of credit and those issues, in her opinion, are already before the court through the cross-examination of the witnesses of Ato Forson like Alex Mould and Seth Terkper, as well as evidence adduced by prosecution witnesses.

She was of the clear view that ‘the recording is of no consequence whatsoever in arriving at any finding in regard of the activities of the accused person (Ato Forson) that has resulted in financial loss or the purposeful misapplication of public funds’

To make the audio acceptable, Yvonne Attakora Obuobisa also emphasised the point that the attorneys of Ato Forson need to establish that the recording does not infringe any articles of the constitution. She cites Article 18(2) of the 1992 constitution which ensures the right to privacy.

The Director of Public Prosecution claims, that the audio recording does not fulfil the exemption of recording without authorization, to prevent a crime.

To her, the attorneys of Dr. Cassiel Ato Forson have not been able to substantiate any criminal the Attorney General was committing or about to commit for which the recording needed to be done without the approval of the Attorney General.

ATO FORSON’S LAWYERS RESPONSE

Dr Abdul Bassit Aziz Bamba, who headed the minority leader’s counsel, branded the objection as ‘frivolous, unsustainable, and should be overruled’. He contends that the recording’s content is important since it pertains to talks on exhibits currently before the court, which deal with the ambulance supply arrangement and authorization.

He contends further that the tape is significant as to when the Letters of credit should have been formed and whether any financial harm at all has been made to the state.

He refers to the substance of the recording indicating that it can be heard on the tape, that Dr. Sylvester Anemana who was the second accused in the affair, until a Nolle Prosequi was made for his case, was the one who approved the Letters of credit and not Dr. Ato Forson.

Dr Bassit Bamba further stressed upon the court to find the tape acceptable on grounds that the ‘same reasons and more’ for why the court ascribed importance to the tape in examining their application for mistrial remain in the current case.

Lawyers of Ato Forson further sought the court to enter the tape into evidence as the interaction is between Richard Jakpa and the Attorney General who is a public servant and required to carry out his mission in good faith.

The attorneys believe that the Attorney General was aiming to undermine the right of their client to a fair trial.

Dr. Bassit Bamba also disagreed with the prosecution’s stance, that the recording without the authorization of the Attorney General undermines Godfred Dame’s right to privacy.

He claims that the activities of the Attorney General in seeking to press his perspective of the case on Richard Jakpa constituted interference with the administration of justice and amounted to contempt of court.

He contends also that the Attorney General’s conduct relates to a crime of intentional suppression contrary to the mandates of sections 239 and 246 of the Criminal and Offences Act, 29.

ADJOURNMENT

Justice Afia Serwah Asare-Botwe after hearing the arguments of the two parties delayed the case to Thursday to issue a verdict on the admissibility of the audio.

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Otumfuo’s visit to Ga Mantse is a testament to togetherness and conflict resolution—Titus Glover

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He stated that Otumfuo's extensive experience on the throne, as well as his ability to manage and settle disagreements, make him an invaluable mentor to the Ga Mantse, who is fresh to the throne. Mr. Glover praised the Asantehene's generosity, noting that it is a great honour for the Ga state to welcome such a renowned guest. He believes that this visit would strengthen the connection between the two kingdoms, benefiting both sides. "Otumfuo has been on the throne; he has witnessed everything that goes into the chieftaincy, including how to organise people." How to resolve a quarrel. And I believe Nii Ga is only a few years away.

Titus Glover, Greater Accra Regional Minister, characterised Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II’s historic visit to Ga state on Sunday, June 9, 2024, as a testament to togetherness and conflict settlement.

The visit, which began with a special durbar hosted by the Ga Mantse, King Tackie Teiko Tsuru II, aims to foster friendship, collaboration, and community development between the two ancient kingdoms.

The visit follows Ga Mantse’s recent involvement in the 25th anniversary of Otumfuo’s accession to the throne and his 74th birthday celebrations.

In an interview with ChannelOne News, Mr Glover emphasised the value of friendship in chieftaincy and stated that the visit demonstrates the necessity of building unity and resolving problems.

He stated that Otumfuo’s extensive experience on the throne, as well as his ability to manage and settle disagreements, make him an invaluable mentor to the Ga Mantse, who is fresh to the throne.

Mr. Glover praised the Asantehene’s generosity, noting that it is a great honour for the Ga state to welcome such a renowned guest.

He believes that this visit would strengthen the connection between the two kingdoms, benefiting both sides.

“Otumfuo has been on the throne; he has witnessed everything that goes into the chieftaincy, including how to organise people.” How to resolve a quarrel. And I believe Nii Ga is only a few years away.

“That means he has something he can learn from and Asantehene does not visit anywhere at a time. For him to take a step to visit you in your kingdom or state, it means he has valued that relationship.”



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Asantehene contributes GH₵500,000 to the Ga Education Fund

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Otumfuo also thanked Nii Teiko Tsuru II and the Ga state, stating, "I appreciate your participation at my 25th anniversary celebration. You expressed affection. I pray to the gods for guidance. My doors are open. I am always available to provide you guidance on any issue. He emphasised the need of togetherness, asking the people of Ga and Ashanti to band together for the betterment of their villages.

Over the weekend, Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II donated GH₵500,000 to the Ga Education Fund at the Ga Mantse royal palace in Accra, demonstrating his passion for education.

In his remarks, he emphasised that growth must prioritise children’s well-being.

“I want to donate an amount of GH₵500,000 to the Ga Education Fund to help in the education of less-privileged Ga children,” he said.

Otumfuo also thanked Nii Teiko Tsuru II and the Ga state, stating,

“I appreciate your participation at my 25th anniversary celebration. You expressed affection. I pray to the gods for guidance. My doors are open. I am always available to provide you with guidance on any issue.

He emphasised the need for togetherness, asking the people of Ga and Ashanti to band together to improve their villages.

This durbar is notable since it is part of Asantehene Otumfuo Prempeh II’s first historic visit to Georgia since 1946.

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