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Rest Mission assists the needy

By James Harry Obeng

 

Thirty [30] brilliant but needy students have received a total GH 5600 sponsorship assistance from the Covenant Rest Mission, headquartered at Tesano in Accra, in pursuit of their education and other vocational endeavors.

 

The amount which represents the overall allocation made by the church this year from its sponsorship scheme, the Trade and Educational Assistance, is to enable the beneficiaries, most of whom are currently schooling in various universities and Senior High Schools in the country, cater for their school fees and other vocational needs.

 

In all, about 3,000 people, comprising members and non members of the church have benefited from the scheme since its inception in 1997.

 

However, this year’s batch of beneficiaries received their assistance in cash on Sunday in a special convocation service of the church with a team of ministers from the Exceeding Abundant International World Ministries [EAIWM] in Kansas, USA, including Bishop LeRoy McConics, the Presiding Bishop, and his wife, Pastor Dr Essie McConics, and Pastor Sharon Cook.

 

The event also saw the ordination of twenty two [22] congregants into various offices of ministry work in the church. They included the founder, Rev Victoria Agyarkwa Riverson, who was ordained as an apostle, and Messrs Richard Ofosu Amankwah, Alex Andor, Dennis Anson and Flanklin Akpakli, as pastors to take charge of the Taifa, Agona Swedru, Weija and Tesano branches of church, respectively. Others were ordained as ministers, elders, deacons and deaconess, and stewards.

 

In an admonition before performing the ordination, Bishop LeRoy McConics, noted education was a sine qua non to guaranteeing the development of every country and individual, saying it was through education that knowledge is secured towards empowerment.

 

“If you don’t go to school, you will never move forward in today’s world”, he noted.

 

He observed the road to climbing high the education ladder was often beset with difficulties, especially financial impediments, but said with the belief in God as the omnipotent one, such difficulties were surmountable.

 

 “With God, all things are possible”, he said, noting that “the best degree you could have is to Jesus Christ”.

 

Bishop McConics urged the church to, aside working on the spiritual growth of its members, place similar emphasis on their material wellbeing by responding to educational needs of needy members.

 

On his part, the Accra Metropolitan Director of Education, Mr James Nii Okaija Dinsey, said smoking, alcoholism and sexual promiscuity were jeopardizing the future of the youth in the country into great danger.

 

Mr Dinsey, whose speech was read on his behalf by Madam Theresa Abudu, a director of education, observed that despite the numerous positive importance of technological advancements in transforming the face of the world, it was also contributing adversely to the perversion of the youth in the country, saying “on line obscenity has become the germ of sin that is rampaging the youth and putting their future in dire danger”.

 

He however urged the youth to “seek divine guidance and assistance from our Lord Jesus” whenever confronted with problems that borders on spirituality in order to live decent lives.

 

He also prevailed on parents to take advantage of existing government interventions like the fee free basic education and school feeding programme to enroll their wards in school, advising that “parents should also strive to provide their children with basic needs in life that will make them not compromise on unacceptable lifestyles”.

 

 

 

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September 26, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Naadu promises dirt-free Ghana in 100 days

By James Harry Obeng

 

MRS Naadu Mills, wife of Prof. John E. A, Mills, presidential candidate, of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), says the  NDC-led government will tackle the problem of sanitation in the country.

 

Promising that the first 100 days of her husband’s administration will see to the tackling of the filth drowning the country, especially in the capital cities, Mrs. Mills revealed: “as I speak to you, Prof. Mills has finalised negotiations with a company that will use an environmentally friendly technology to dissolve both liquid and solid waste so that we can live in a healthy society.”

 

Mrs. Mills made these pledges at the Salaga and Makola markets in Accra last Tuesday when she interacted with the traders on their problems.  She was accompanied by Mrs Lordina Mahama, wife of Mr John Mahama,  NDC presidential running mate and Member of Parliament for Bole Bamboi.

 

She said her husband’s policy to invest in Ghanaians upon assuming the reigns of governance would only yield dividends with a healthy workforce, saying “if Prof Mills is going to invest in people and build a better Ghana, he has to invest in healthy people, that is why getting rid of the filth that has engulfed the nation will be one of his key priorities.”

 

Mrs Mills said it was unfortunate that the country is currently ranked as the second country in West Africa with the worst progress in sanitation, making it more imperative a policy direction that priorities sanitation concerns.

 

She  had earlier interacted with market women at Dansoman and Ablekuma markets in the Ablekuma South Constituency.  Mrs Mills promised a better economy for the country should the NDC formed the government with her husband as the leader.

 

She explained that it was not because of laziness that most Ghanaians were currently experiencing hardships in their “pockets”, adding that the next NDC government would embark on a policy of ‘welfarism” that ensures equitable distribution of resources to abate hardships in the country significantly.

 

The campaign team also visited the Princess Marie Louis Children’s Hospital in Korle Wokon where Mrs Mills made presentations to the children on admission.

September 26, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Dr. Zitolina trains masseurs

By James Harry Obeng

 

In Accra, the country’s capital, and precisely at Madina – adjacent to the North Ridge Hospital and on the route leading to the Red Co. flats – stands a massage clinic whose description compares to nothing than a treasure trove. Yes!, a treasure trove.

 

This is because not only has it, barely two years in existence, chalked greater heights in the spa business in the country, but also promises to change the face of it in the not-too-distant future.

 

 This is much corroborated in the establishment, in addition to the clinic, of a new school to train professionals in massaging, taking students through basics in the subject area like the anatomy of the body, the seven chakras in the body, the body’s energy centers and hemispheres, herbal treatments and their relations to blood groupings, as well as the various blood groupings and the relations to dietary intakes.  Already, the school has started operating whilst student numbers keep ballooning by the day.

 

The clinic is also on the verge of metamorphosing into a full-fledged spa.

 

The clinic which specialises in massaging, both body and facial, also on routine basis conducts health talks with clients on dietary intakes, dwelling on the institutional credo that “eating well and exercising the body remain all it takes to maintain a healthy body.”

 

The clinic, aside massaging, applies natural and alternative remedies like herbs, roots, spices, proper dieting, lime therapy and dietary supplements (food supplements tabulated and capsulated that assist the individual to replenish lost nutrients in the body) in treating client of diseases like body stress, candidiasis, pimples, just to mention a few, having first gotten information about clients vis-à-vis their blood groupings and dietary guidance.

 

In an interview with the ‘Spectator’, the superintendent of the clinic, Dr Pauline Zitolina, cautioned Ghanaians to “eat well” and “exercise the body”.

 

Dr Zitolina, a Professional Herbal Nutritionist and Dietician, explained that eating well meant to eat more vegetables which, according to her, remains the “base of health.”

 

“People have decided to go against the vegetable kingdom which is the main base of health,” she said, adding that “everything that can assist the body to remain balanced comes from the vegetable kingdom.”

 

An attempt to tap into the knowledge of Dr Zitolina also led this reporter to stumble upon what remains unknown to many Ghanaians about a cause of candiddiasis, popularly called ‘white’, in women.

 

“People in blood group O desirous to live longer, and without having candidiasis, should stay clear of cabbages,” she warned.

 

“This is because their body systems cannot digest and absorb it.

 

“Rather after a plate of food containing garbage, they will have gastritis (excessive accumulation of gas in the stomach and along the throat region)”, she quipped, intimating that the consequence would result in the creation of acids in the body “because the food has fermented but cannot be absorbed by the body”.

 

“The undigested garbage will then start killing the beneficial yeast in the body, which will make you have first level candidiasis” she said.

 

Dr Zitolina trained as a Professional Herbal Nutritionist and Dietician in Indonesia (Bali), having graduated from the Nsuka University and the Alvan Ikoku College of Education, all in Nigeria. She is also a Massage Therapist who has authored five books, namely Medicinal Plants-Combat Stress, Self Health, Candidiasis, Confidential tips for Health and Candidiasis Part II

 

September 26, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Sex-enhancing drugs killing Ghanaians – says FDB

By James Harry Obeng

What is not evident yet to most Ghanaian men who are eagerly patronizing various brands of aphrodisiacs is the risk of dying from the toxic chemicals contained in them, the Food and Drug Board (FDB) has stated unequivocally.

The board has gone further to state that many cardiac-arrest problems killing Ghanaians might be due to the abuse of these substances. Aphrodisiacs are drugs or foods that are said to give people a strong desire for sex. Some are called ‘Spanish Fly.”

Some of the brands are in various packaging, colours and shades which are said to be manufactured in the USA and China.

They include Pentium Viagra whose capsules have been packaged to look like laptop computers.

Rev Jonathan Y. Martey, the acting deputy Chief Executive in charge of drugs at the FOB, who spoke to Spectator noted with grave concern the craze for those sex enhancing drugs, saying laboratory investigations by the FOB has shown that most of the aphrodisiacs being peddled particularly what is showcased as ‘Viagra’ contain chemicals which could have extremely devastating effects on users.

Rev Martey said the compound sildenafil citrate which is the same chemical found in the original Viagra is sometimes found in these herbal medicines when in fact a herbal drug should not contain any synthetic compound.

He said another synthetic compound, tadalafil, meant for treating sexual dysfunction and found in the Chinese herbal aphrodisiacs render them impure and dangerous to health.

Rev Martey said in the case of original Viagra from Pfizer, registered with the FDB, its quality, safety and efficacy can be verified. He said even in the case of original Viagra, the manufacturers do not permit people who have heart conditions to use it. This is because the Viagra operates by drawing a lot of blood to the male organ to ensure erection and the person who has a heart disease might have the heart beating faster.

He clarified that the Chinese government is not involved but some clandestine laboratories might be producing those drugs.

Rev Martey said the craze for the drugs might be due to the over-emphasis of the Ghanaian these days on sex which is also becoming the pre-occupation of some of the youth.

He said the internet which contains pornography is also driving the youth to demonstrate that they can over-perform when it comes to sex.
Rev Martey said alcohol, peer pressure, some kinds of music and suggestive dances that people patronize make them to think that they should end it all up in bed.

He admitted that many people have sexual problems, but people ought to see their doctors to be thoroughly examined for appropriate drugs to be designed for their specific conditions.

Rev Martey said the doctors would after examination prescribe appropriate drugs for premature ejaculation, but quickly added that there are conditions that are merely psychological.

According to him, while some of these aphrodisiacs are purported to be coming from USA and China, their exact origins are often in doubt.

Rev Martey said with the influx of these imported aphrodisiacs the high patronage of tree roots and barks, some of which are put in alcohol popularly called ‘bitters’, had gone down as people have now resorted to these capsules.

He said these products get into the country through unorthodox channels as they evade the checks that would ensure their registration which would provide the basis for ascertaining their efficiency.

Rev Martey blamed the situation on the porous nature of the country’s entry points and other unapproved routes at places such as Kojokrom in Brong-Ahafo and the Northern sector of the country. .

He said some bring those products through approved check-points but they are concealed under personal belongings, suitcases and travelling bags.

Rev Martey said some of the drug peddlers are also reported to be conniving with the security agencies and officers who are mandated to check them.

He said the peddlers have become sophisticated in recent times and well-dressed gentlemen in suit could be seen selling these drugs under the guise of promoting a new product when they are actually involved in a brisk business.

He said that for some months now the FDB in partnership with the police have been undertaking some swoops at the markets and various places “to clean them of these products, but the situation still persists.”

“The board is on the verge of changing its strategy to get ahead of the peddlers and bring them under reasonable control,” he said.

He said a multi-sectoral meeting with stakeholders will soon be held by the FDB to map out a more efficient and effective strategy to clean our markets of these products.

He advised people who genuinely have problems with erectile dysfunctions to seek medical attention to ensure that their physical health is not impaired.

In an interaction with some of the peddlers at Kinbu in Accra, they said it is not only the youth that patronise their wares but also older people.

“Most of our clients are aged people come to buy our wares in bulk,” said a peddler who wished not to be identified.

Another peddler, who gave her name as Esenam justified the trade in aphrodisiacs, saying they are rendering a very useful service to society so government should give them loans to expand their businesses.

September 25, 2008 Posted by | News | 44 Comments

Sex workers declare lifetime wishes!

By James Harry Obeng

 

IN an attempt to earn decent lives, and forgo the stigma that characterizes their current means of earning a living, group of female sex workers at Agbogloshie and Madina in Accra, have now declared their resolve to quit prostitution for good.

 

But this, according to them, will only come to pass with the materialization of their long-held aspirations; first, to settle down with men of their dreams and secondly, to land honorable vocations to cater for themselves.

 

As a first step to achieving their aspirations, the sex workers aged between 12 and 26 said they were in serious search for husbands who are caring and considerate to marry for the rest of their lives, as they have also make passionate appeal to donor organizations and philanthropist to respond to their call for befitting vocations.

 

These were made known to The Spectator during separate interviews with the sex workers at Madina and Agbogloshie in Accra.

 

The sex workers forms part of over 420 commercial sex workers who are currently receiving medical and counseling at the Drop-In Centre facility by the Ghana Red Cross Society (GRCS).

 

The facility attends to the category of sex workers called ‘roamers’ or those who move from place to place in the city.

 

A characteristic with these girls who refer to themselves as “sisters” is that they keep and render sexual services free of charge to some men for protection called “non-paying partners,”

 

These are the regular partners (or better still boyfriends) of them who also double as pimps. The sex workers cohabit with them as known of couples as the latter tend to offer the former with necessary supports; security-wise and sexual gratification.

 

Surprisingly these girls do not intend to marry them since they consider them as violent men whose future cannot be guaranteed. The girls claim they could attend to at least ten men daily with most of their clients being well-known personalities in society.

 

They confessed that some of their colleagues worked as ‘kayaye’ (female porters) during the day and attend to men at night. They said aside the scores of young men that come their way, most married men also called on them and were prepared to pay handsomely.

 

They named some of their regular sites as Soldier Bar and Railway line at Kwame Nkrumah Circle, Agbogloshie, Madina, Lapaz and other places, indicating further that they charged clients rates ranging between GH¢3 and GH¢10 for sexual services.

 

“But at times the socio-economic status of clients which we often read from the way they dress and approach us determine the price,” they stated, adding that “a full night service could cost a person ¢50 and upwards”.

 

They intimated that in the apparent attempt to avoid the attention of on-lookers and passer-bys, “some men readily accept whatever price you charge for a service, and these are the clients who often appear honourable, gentle and loaded with money”.

 

The sex workers told The Spectator that some of their clients include security men and at times local preachers who come to distribute scripture materials but end and sampling the ‘short services’ at the end of it all.

 

“At times, they come to preach to us only to wrap-up their sermon with some of us in bed, but they also pay good money,” they said.

 

Responding to a query about whether they would readily inform their husbands about their sordid past in prostitution, one of them who gave her name as Abena indicated in the affirmative, saying that is the only way to safeguard the marriage since gossip abound plenty in Ghana.

 

“Informing your husband about the fact that you were once a prostitute will save you the embarrassment that often comes to you when people you used to be in prostitution with get to see you luckily in the company of someone you call your husband after all these years in this business”.

 

She went further “and even trying to hide such a thing may only go to spell the doom of your marriage because your husband will eventually get to know about it, at least if not from anywhere, the elasticity of your genitalia could expose you to your husband,” she said, adding there is no shame in admitting your past as some husbands who get to know, tend to be sympathetic and also protective of your from prying eyes.

 

 

September 19, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

AU must act on Zimbabwe!

DEAR Sir,

 

It was very timely that you devoted the editorial column of your two weeks ago issue of the Spectator to raising concerns about the disputed Zimbabwean presidential election. In fact there are no two ways about your standpoint that “Zimbabwe’s electoral process is palpably flawed in the sense that election results that should be announced to set minds at rest have taken too long for comfort”

 

Permit me a space, however, to add my voice to the editorial by saying that change, for now, remains the sole panacea to redeem the restive country from her current woes and restore her to normalcy. There are very pressing issues, predominantly emanating from the country’s political leadership, which are directly responsible for the calamitous situation faced by Zimbabwe. In truth the primary cause is found in the government’s gross disrespect for democracy.

 

The reality of life in the country today is that of gloom and despair. The truth is that democratic transition via a free and fair universal suffrage is increasingly becoming a distant reality, according to recent media reports about President Mugabe’s call for a second round of voting.

 

But just as Martin Luther king jnr said that “we will have to repent in this generation not merely because for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people”, the international community, especially the African Union, should stage a swift intervention to ensure a timely declaration of the election results to set minds at ease. Let us not put on our usual ‘I don’t care’ spectacles until the country plunges into the unexpected scenario characteristic of most disputed elections on the continent.

 

 According to William James, “the art of being wise is knowing what to overlook” and this is not an issue to overlook. African leaders should rise up to forestall yet another ‘war’ after the Kibaki-Odinga issue because when two elephants fight….

 

jmsobeng@yahoo.com

September 19, 2008 Posted by | Features, Opinions | Leave a comment

GT staff demonstrate

By James Harry Obeng & Grace N. A. Solomon

 

DECLARING that “we know it better than any other person,” workers of Ghana Telecom- both juniors and seniors – have embarked on a series of actions to ensure that the government goes ahead with the sale of its 70% shares to Vodafone.

 

“We have studied the full benefits of the Vodafone bid and we are optimistic that the future of GT, lies in the ratification of the agreement by the honourable Members of Parliament and we wish to call on them to go ahead with the process,” the workers, styling themselves as the Concerned Workers of the Ghana Telecommunications Company (GT), declared on Tuesday.

 

As a first step, the workers have served the Speaker of Parliament and all the other 230 Members of Parliament (MPs) with petitions about their stand on the issue and hoped that they (MP’s) seal the privatization process.

 

The latest action of the workers, following earlier ones concurrently staged in Kumasi, Takoradi, Sunyani and Wa on Monday, was a massive demonstration at the GT headquarters premise in Accra, on Tuesday.

 

Clad in blue T-shirts of the company, with some wearing read head-bands,  the staff held placards, some of which read “Save GT Now for posterity”, “If the sales is not allowed to materialize, competition will kill GT” and “We want Vodafone”, all in support of the 70-30 Vodafone deal.

 

And this was also not without public participation as a cross-section of the public flocked into the premises of the company to lend their support, and most glaringly dance to the tunes offered by a brass band, bringing traffic in front of the headquarters premises to a momentary standstill.

 

But the euphoria was nearly truncated when, in the heat of the demonstration and dancing, a member of the public stepped in to protest against the sale.  It therefore took the assistance of some top-notch executives of the company who staged a swift intervention to save the man from the wrath of the jubilating demonstrators.

 

In an interview with ‘The Spectator’ about the reasons underlying the protest, the Chief Manager of OneTouch, Mr. William Agyei, said the demonstration was to show solidarity and support towards the privatisation of the company, saying “this is to ensure the survival and resuscitation of the GT for generations unborn since the company is now worth nothing.”

 

He underscored that there have been continued misrepresentations and misconceptions about the sale by certain elements of the public “who know next to nothing on the issues, but are arguing to their own advantage and are seeking their own parochial interest.”

 

For his part, the Marketing Research Manager of GT, Mr Paul Manu, indicated that as a result of the company’s status quo, it was losing revenue from international calls (IDD).  This, he explained, was as a consequence of GT not belonging to any international grouping “to steer international traffic towards its network.”

 

He indicated that the workers were in support of the Vodafone deal because “Vodafone already has that international clout to turn the fortunes of GT around for the better, making it the only brand that is listed by Interplants (an international company that values international companies) in its first 50 companies in the world,” he noted.

 

Mr. Manu added that the inability of GT to steer international traffic towards it network was negatively impacting on its performance, especially in terms of competition.

 

“Even bank’s like Ecobank and companies like Nestle have threatened to quit transacting business with us if we don’t get on board IDD calls,” he explained.

 

 

September 19, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

HIV/AIDS resurrects African showmaster

Review by: James Harry Obeng

 

GHANA’s success in chalking headway in her drive to slash the scary statistics and thus minimize the spread of the deadly HIV/AIDS has become a predictable cliché. The eccentric statistics that put about 300,000 compatriots as living with the HIV epidemic coupled with the national prevalence of 1.9 per cent drum home the exigency for an effective all-embracing national sensitization tool to curb the epidemic since there is currently no scientifically tested cure except for the use of anti-retrovirals which, aside its cost, guarantees no other assurance than ameliorating the epidemic; not curing it.

 

The anti-HIV/AIDS drive that recognizes the epidemic as a socio-economic developmental challenge has awakened the creativity and ingenuity of sociologists, dramatists, writers and musicians. The challenge is so serious that the once-upon-a-time Showmaster of Africa, Bob Pinodo has had to come out of retirement.

 

The multiple award-winning Showmaster who has not seen active gigs since the late 1980s, after rocking Ghana with his Sonobete dance and music creations, decided from his Winneba base in the Central Region that the world hasn’t heard the last on the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

 

His latest work, released on both cassette tape and CD, is titled “Get involved HIV/AIDS Campaign” and is sponsored by the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC). The album combines the dual elements of education and entertainment in raising awareness about the epidemic; that is edutainment.

The four-track album encompasses such tracks as “Enka ekyir se yebeben Yehowa”, “HIV/AIDS is real” and “Joe Boy” in addition to the lead track, “Get involved, HIV/AIDS campaign”.

 

In a blunt but  humane approach, Pinodo in track two (HIV/AIDS Is Real) takes a swipe at attempts from certain quarters, especially a cross-section of the youths, to adamantly mythodologize the menacing disease, elucidating his standpoint with the argument that present-day scientific authentications sourced via doctors and scientists were ample evidences to break the myth surrounding the menace.

 

Additionally, couched in a corrupt typical Nigeria – like Pidgin English, Track Three tells the story of an incorrigible young man named Joe Boy whose numerous extra-marital sexual engagements put his innocent wife at the risk of the infection. The development subsequently provokes Pinodo, brother to Joe Boy’s wife, to become very vocal in the marital affairs of the couple as a way of restoring to normalcy the frequent beatings visited upon the wife whenever the voices concern over the husband’s amorous flirtations with other women.

 

As he puts it “you dey beat am, you dey cheat am oo! AIDS  dey oo! It dey kill people,” Pinodo offers an exegesis on the causes of the epidemic, dissecting into factors like blood transfusion, needle and blade cuts, etc, but with emphasis on sexual intercourse, especially unprotected extra-marital sexual escapades, which is a common characteristic of Joe Boy.

 

But in track four which he sang in Fante, Pinodo turns attention to the gospel as a way of reaching people with his message against HIV/AIDS. He contends that the advent of HIV/AIDS was partly a result of the sheer disregard for the word of God by humanity, giving the assurance that it was never late to draw closer to God, to wit, “Enka ekyir se yebeben Yehowa.”

 

Meanwhile, the title track of the album, “Get involved HIV/AIDS Campaign” comes with no less a description than a power-packed exhortation that commensurate its name. In a jazz-like instrumentation, Bob Pinodo re-emphasises the fact that AIDS was claiming million lives globally and prevails an all Ghanaians to stage the bold and decisive step aboard the campaign to halt the spread of the disease in the country.

 

Without a shred of doubt, the album should find itself into every home in the country to aid in materializing the worthwhile campaign of curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ghana.

 

    

September 19, 2008 Posted by | Features, Reviews | Leave a comment

Madam Fati’s story!

By James Harry Obeng

 

THE Chief’s palace – a symbol of refuge and solace – was at the centre stage of sanctioning the human rights infraction as she suffered the unfathomable nightmare in her entire life.

 

At the palace, she was chained, beaten and forced to confess to practicing witchcraft in undoing his stepson, but which she claimed innocence of.   Her action was only to infuriate her accusers and “punishers” the more.

 

Today, she is traumatized she cannot continue to live at her land of birth, albeit appropriate rituals have confirmed her innocence.

 

This is the story of 50-year old Madam Fati Adam, from the Gburinani community in the Tolon Kumbungu district of the Northern region, who was accused of bewitching her stepson, and eventually causing his death.

 

As per the details narrated to ‘The spectator’ by the Co-ordinator of FIDA- Ghana Tamale office, Ms Saratu Mahama, the victim was summoned to the chief’s palace by one Alidu, a brother of the regent of Gburinani, to respond to allegations of witchcraft leveled  against her by some members in the community.

 

Ms. Saratu said upon her arrival at the palace and in the absence of the regent, the victim was chained at the orders of Alidu.

 

The victim was then subjected to severe beating by hirelings of  Alidu that nearly left her unconscious, all in an attempt to force her admit to the allegations that she was the witch behind the death of her stepson who had two wives and children.

 

After her persistent refusal to cajole to the actions of Alidu, the victim was then taking to a soothsayer who, after several sessions of rituals, exonerated the victim of all the witchcraft “charges”.

 

This prompted the children of the victim who reported the ordeal to the Tamale office of FIDA, on January 29, this years subsequent legal advice.

 

“Because of its criminal nature, we also referred it to the Tamale Regional Domestic Violence and Victims Support Unit (DOVVSU) of the Ghana Police Service”, Ms. Saratu quipped, adding that the FIDA office in Accra has also petitioned the Inspector General of Police (IGP) in connection with the case.  

 

As a result of the ordeal, especially the damages done to her image, the victim could no longer reside at Gburinani but has rather relocated to live with her brothers at Kpalgun.

 

Alidu, who is now on the police wanted list, has also escaped first arrest in the hands of the Tamale Police.

September 19, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment

Coming soon: A Teachers’ Commercial Bank

By James Harry Obeng

 

REALISING the difficulties that their members face at their retirement and in times of crises, the Ghana National Association Teachers (GNAT) has since 1998, instituted a monthly “put-aside” mechanism to marshall funds against the unknown and unexpected. The chronicles the genesis of the GNAT Teachers Fund.

 

Ten years down the lane, the fund has not only made good its objectives, but is also set to see to the birth of yet another milestone; the establishment of a commercial bank, to be cited in Accra.

 

“This forms part of our five-year Strategic Plan”, declared  Mr Samuel Ofori-Adjei, the Board Chairman of the fund, in an interview with The Spectator, adding “the five-year period will witness the metamorphosis of our current non-bank facility, the TF Financial Service, into the commercial bank”.

 

The five-year strategic plan, he noted, would enable the fund to, whilst gathering enough experience in running the bank, accumulate resources to meet the initial minimum requirement of the Bank of Ghana, currently pegged at GH¢60 million.

 

“The TF financial services is the precursor to the bank,” which will serve the public, but with a special focus on the welfare of teachers.

 

Aside the bank, the fund is expected to commission in December, this year, two major projects constructed at a total cost of GH¢11 million.  The first project is an eight-storey office complex located at the Independence Avenue, next to the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) in Accra. The complex is believed to house the soon-to-come commercial bank.

 

The second project to be commissioned this December is a 1,000-bed hostel facility,  consisting of four blocks and a caretaker residence, at the University of Ghana Campus, Legon”.

 

To sustain and multiply itself the Teachers Fund, instituted by the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has been re-invested into very high yielding portfolios. So far the Fund operates nine-major areas of portfolio, namely, treasury bills, listed equities, bond/bills /notes, private equity placements, loans and facilities and real estate investments. The rest are the credit mall limited, TF Properties Limited and the TF Financial Services, the latter from which is to emerge the new bank.

 

Disclosing this to The Spectator, Mr Samuel Ofosu-Adjei, Chairman of the Fund’s  Board  said the current membership strength of 165,000 teachers nationwide could access loans from the fund towards the building of houses (habitat), purchasing cars and for personal use, especially in times of emergency and crisis.

 

The vehicles loan scheme, he said, was a intervention to assist teachers to acquire vehicles and motorbikes at reduced prices, following a partnership struck between the fund and some automobile garages in the country   namely – Nissan, Hyundai, Tata, Toyota. Under the scheme, estimated to benefit about 150 members on yearly basis, GNAT arranges for the supply of new and used imported vehicles to interested teachers. The repayment of which is facilitated by the fund through the vehicle loan facility. over a period of  between three and seven years through monthly payroll deductions, not  exceeding exceed 50 per cent of ones net salary.

 

The fund has so far disbursed a total GH¢224,597.37 to 36 beneficiaries in purchasing cars.

 

On habitat as housing loans, the fund has disbursed GH¢176,500, spanning 2005 and August 2008, to 62 teachers nationwide; four in 2005, 15 in 2006, 17 in 2007 and 26 in 2008. The fund, in a breakdown, has recorded a total of GH¢81,700 habitat/house disbursements in 2008, GH¢46,400 in 2007, GH¢43,000 in 2006 and GH¢5,400 in 2005.

 

Similarly, about hundred thousand teachers nationwide have benefited from personal loan talling GH¢34,423, 359 in personal loans between 1998 and May, 2008.  According to the 2007 Annual Report of the fund, which also pegs the overall total of disbursements under the fund since its inception at GH¢35,190,153.74. Investment loans disbursed between 2001 and May 2008 also totals GH¢156,700.

 

Mr Ofori-Adjei, however, urged member, especially those outside of its optional contributions category, to make frantic efforts to join in order to enjoy the full benefits of the fund, especially in times of need.

 

 

 

 

September 18, 2008 Posted by | News | Leave a comment