Friday, October 24, 2008

'Goodies' Prosecutor Proceeds On Leave

By Stephen Kwabena Effah
Friday, 24 October 2008

The trial of music producer Isaac Abaidu Aidoo, popularly known as Goodies, could not continue yesterday following the absence of the prosecutor who has proceeded on his annual leave.

Assistant State Attorney Paul Asibi Abariga told the Accra Circuit Court yesterday, that the Chief State Attorney, Mrs. Valerie Amartey, had begun her leave, and prayed the court, for a short adjourned date to enable him to go through all that is necessary to proceed from there.

The court, therefore, adjourned the case to October 30.

Aidoo, who is the Chief Executive of Goodies Music Production, is facing two counts of attempted exportation and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Aidoo was arrested at the Kotoka International Airport on April 23, on suspicion of possessing narcotic drugs while going through departure formalities to board a flight to London.

He was subsequently taken to the 37 Military Hospital by officials of the Narcotics Control Board for x-ray, which revealed that he had foreign materials in his stomach.

He was put under surveillance during which he allegedly expelled 80 pellets of whitish which substances proved positive of cocaine upon testing by the Ghana Standards Board.

During police interrogation, Aidoo allegedly mentioned Abdul Haid, a musician resident at East Legon, Accra, as the one who gave him the drugs to be delivered to one Willie in London for a fee of 3,000 dollars.

Haid has not yet been located by the police.

Aidoo was arraigned before the Greater Accra regional Tribunal on April 25, but the case was subsequently transferred to the Circuit court in August on the orders of the Chief Justice.

On September 12, he asked his counsel, Jah Josiah, to withdraw his representation in the case, after which he prayed the court for a short date to secure a new counsel to defend him.

He is currently being represented by Oliver Atsu.

The prosecution finally opened its case on September 26, five months after his arrest, and has since called two officials of the Narcotic control Board as witnesses.

The investigator in the case was expected in court on October 1, to give his testimony but when the case was called, Mr. Amartey told the court that she could not notify him.

Hearing was, therefore, adjourned to October 8, but the court did not sit that day.

It was accordingly adjourned to October 16, and again to yesterday.

Election Is Not Do Or Die Affair - Opare Hammond

By Stephen K. Effah
Wednesday, 22 October 2008

The Member of Parliament for Adenta, Kwadwo Opare-Hammond, says politicians who are making the election appear as a “do and die affair” do not have the country at heart.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Needy Support Programme (NESP), a non-profit organisation, in Accra on Sunday, Mr.Opare-Hammond said it is imperative for all to desist from making such claims and be concerned about peace.

The NESP is a collaboration between the Assembly of the Bible Way Ministries and the African Movement for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, and is aimed at helping the vulnerable in the country.

Mr.Opare-Hammond, who is also the NPP Parliamentary candidate for Adenta said that Ghana has had successive peaceful elections since it adopted democracy over the years, adding “this year’s will not be an exception”.

He therefore urged all Ghanaians, irrespective of their political affiliations, to ensure that Ghana comes out of the December poll peacefully.

He said although they could argue over political messages and issues, that should not result in violence since “at the end we are one people and nation with a common destiny”.

The MP also appealed to the country’s youth not to allow themselves to be used by politicians to cause mayhem in order to satisfy their selfish aims, saying “you should not allow anybody to deceive you to do anything that will not benefit you”.

He advised the electorate to analyse the various political messages and manifestoes and vote for the one that offers a brighter future for the country. “Do not vote strictly on partisan basis. Vote the one with the best programmes and policies”.

Mr.Opare Hammond asked the Electoral Commission which has been given the mandate to conduct election must not be bias but rather “have Ghana’s interest first to ensure a free, air and transparent election.”

He said the NPP has done a lot for Ghana during its eight-year period rule, hence urged Ghanaians to vote to retain it in power to continue its good works. He appealed to all Adentans to vote to give him a second chance to lead them.

During his reign, he said, he managed to bring pipe-borne water and street lights to a number of areas in his constituency.

He said he gave scholarship to the tune of GH¢30,000 from his MPs Common Fund.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

ECOBANK Robbery Suspects Freed

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 07 October 2008

The three Nigerians who were put before an Accra Circuit Court in connection with the June 23, Madina Ecobank robbery, and the killing of a police guard, were yesterday discharged.

This follows the withdrawal of the charges against them by the police. No reason was given.
Daniel Pedro, (aka Oghenervena), Festus Suleman and Israel Otubu, were facing two counts of conspiracy and robbery.

When the case was called yesterday, ASP Reindorf Agyemang, the prosecutor, informed the court that he received a letter from the Deputy Regional Police Commander that the charges be withdrawn.

CPP Didn't Nullify Blay's Nomination

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 07 October 2008

THE results of the Convention People’s Party’s (CPP’s) August primaries for the Ellembelle Constituency won by the incumbent Member of Parliament, Frederick Blay, have not been nullified, the party has said.

The party’s Executive Committee only objected to the candidature of Mr Blay in a press release issued after the election.

Yao Yegbey, counsel for the CPP in the dispute over the August 23 primaries between Mr Blay and the party’s Central Committee, said the application filed by Mr Blay "is based on falsehood".

Mr Blay is challenging the party’s Central Committee to the nullification of his election on August 23, as the party’s Parliamentary candidate for the December polls, and seeking the court to declare his election "lawful, proper and valid".

Mr Yegbey told the court, presided over by Edward Amoako Asante, that Mr Blay’s action against the Central Committee executive was based on what he termed "misunderstanding" of a press release issued after Mr Blay’s election and thus described the action as "incompetent before the court".

He said that if Blay had deemed it necessary to find out what took place at the Central Committee’s meeting, he would not have concluded that the result of the primaries had been nullified.

He therefore stated that the objection to Mr Blay’s candidature was based on article 48(f) of the CPP constitution.

Mr Blay’s counsel, Godfred Odame, had earlier argued that the move by the Central Committee to nullify the results of the Ellembelle Constituency primaries of the party was "tainted by irregularities".

He said the CPP is a political party in which the public has interest hence the Central Committee "cannot arrogate to itself any power without advancing its rules," adding "it acted in excess of is jurisdiction".

Mr Odame said the committee is not a body which elects candidates; its duty is to approve candidates. "It does not have the power at all to nullify the results".

He therefore prayed the court to quash the decision by the Central Committee of the party since it is "palpably unlawful", and to recognise Mr. Blay to enable him to contest the December poll.

Mr Bright Akwetey, a leading member of the CPP, who prayed the court at the last adjourned date to allow an in-house settlement, told the court that the parties in the case had sat to resolve the matter "in the spirit of comradeship".

The parties, he said, had come out with a resolution but somewhere along the line, something untoward came up, which probably did not go down well with Mr Blay, making him (Blay) continue to pursue the matter.

In spite of that, he said, they would try to settle the matter by the next adjourned date.

The judge in response, described the state of affairs as "not healthy" for the party since time was running out for the filing of nominations, and therefore urged the two factions to settle their differences.

The court adjourned to October, to deliver its judgement if by that time the party had not been able to reach a settlement.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Castello Enters Music Scene

By Stephen K. Effah
Thursday, 02 October 2008

Francis Jojo Cann, a U.K-based Ghanaian singer, has made his entry to the Ghanaian music landscape with his debut album set to make waves on the international front.

The seven-track R&B album, which touches on love and life, is designed to break the barrier of low patronage of the hip-life genre that has not gained the expected recognition on the world arena.

Titled: "The Stick Up Kid," the album that has tracks like All I Need,Tell Me, Lyfe, The Burning Rose and It’s A Shame, is exclusively in English, and features Bandana, Kansa, Samita and Djin.
"I want my music to be heard worldwide and build my own fan base. I hope to make inroads," Cann told the TW in an interview on Wednesday.

He pointed out that just as Nigerian artistes who are doing R&B music have been able to penetrate other frontiers and been able to build fan base across those areas, he could do same with his slow jam music through determination.

He said Ghanaians have come to love slow jam or R&B music, hence the need as a musician to come up with songs to satisfy them saying, "Ghanaians listen to cool music."

Also known as Don Jojo Castello, Cann said his debut album which is woven in a poem forms means a lot to him. "It’s like an exhibition of art, but it came in a form of music portray," he said.

Touching on the songs on the album, he said life for instance, talks about the hurdle and troubles one endures when being raised by a single parent, which he relates to his own experience as a child raised by her mother only.

"It talks about how what mama, my sisters and I had to deal with when dad left. But any way we made it to this far," he said.

"I was brought up in a church but always see myself as a lost soul, as a child growing up, it wasn’t very pleasant, things were very hard in those days and mama had to go through a lot," he recounted.

On the Ghanaian music scene, he said: "I am not happy about the music industry," noting that issues of royalties and payola need to be tackled seriously.

He recalled how an Accra private radio presenter in a radio station at Kokomlemle who promised to help him, collected 100 Ghana Cedis as payola before granting him an interview. "That isn’t helping us", he added.

The presenter, according to him told him he would use some of the money to "sought his boss out".

The singer, who is also a poet, told the TW that he hopes to set up a music studio in Ghana and a live band to help grow the industry. He is also working on poetry book
Cann, who was born in Leeds in the UK was raised in Ghana. He went to Martyrs of Uganda at Mamprobi and proceeded to the Kinbu Secondary Technical where he graduated in 1995.

He started music at an early stage in the UK where he found himself holding position as a lead tenor in his local choir.

"For me it’s the only thing I love doing because I wasn’t really good in class but I try to find some thing I could escape to and with God, every thing is possible," he said.

Fashion TV Reality Series To Hit The Screen

By Stephen K.Effah
Saturday, 27 September 2008

The first ever fashion television reality series to scout for a young promising fashion designer will soon hit the television screens in the country.

The series dubbed: The Sew Project, will be used to raise funds for the treatment of the over 5,000 trachoma victims in northern Ghana who are on the verge of going blind.

Ten best fashion designers will on October 9, be selected from a line-up of 20 at a fashion show christened: Daviva Ghana Collections, to be held at the Universal Motors Showroom in Accra, for the reality show.

The show is being organised by D & P Holdings and is under the theme Changing the Face of Fashion. The series which would run for 13 weeks is expected to start at the end of next month.

During the period, each of the 10 contestants will be assigned fashion tasks as well as come up with a clothing collection for a season and based on their performance, they will be evicted one after the other until the winner emerges.

The fashion show, to be witnessed by both local and international audience, will see talented tailors and seamstresses featuring stylish and classy
clothing inspired by the rich traditions of Africa, known as "Africhic".

The fashion grandeur will be heralded with a celebrity catwalk for trachoma on the day of the show.

The celebrities participating in the catwalk will be Kwami Sefa Kayi and Jessica Saforo, both broadcasters, Kofi Adjorlolo and Jackie Appiah, both actors, and Anthony Baffoe, a footballer.

The rest are Mawuena Dwomor, Communication Specialist; Akosua Agyepong, Army Newman and Kwabena Kwabena, all musicians.

They will all dress in elegant designs by the country’s top fashion designers like Kofi Ansah, Mawuli Okudjeto, Kwesi Nti, Joyce Ababio and Royal Fashions and others.

There will also be some ready to wear designs for auction.
Speaking to the TW, Mrs. Pearl Nyamekor, Managing Director of D&P Holdings, said the idea to support trachoma patients stemmed from the fact that Ghana has achieved about 75 per cent success in its effort to eliminate blinding trachoma in the Northern and Upper West regions.

"It is a significant step towards meeting the 2010 target set by the country, to eliminate the disease," she stated.

The show is being sponsored by DAVIVA, Universal Motors, Gandour Cosmetics, Citi FM, Metro TV and Home Style Food Services.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

2 Cops Charged With Robbery

By Stephen K. Effah
Thursday, 02 October 2008

Two policemen were put before an Accra circuit court yesterday, charged with robbing a Malian of a truck-load of bicycles and motor spare parts valued at GH¢120,000.

The case could not, however, be heard because, according to the presiding judge, Mahamadu Iddrisu, it was not properly assigned to his court. He explained that the case docket only bore the initials of the Deputy Judicial Secretary and not his signature, and asked that the case be sent back for the proper thing to be done.

The two policemen, Joseph Frimpong and Frank Boakye, both with the Airport Police Station, are facing two counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery.

According to the prosecution, on August 14, a truck load of bicycles and motor spare parts, being driven from Tema Harbour to Mali by Abdul Aziz, was stopped at the Dzorwulu Traffic Light by
six people including the two policemen and Solomon Antwi, a brother of Frimpong, now at large.

The policeman then pulled Aziz and his two mates out of the truck into a waiting taxi and drove them to the Achimota Forest area where they were abandoned.

However, they were able to find their way back to the spot they left the truck but it had been taken away. They reported the matter to the police and caused announcements to be made on radio.

The prosecution said that the following day, an anonymous caller was able to assist the police to trace the truck which had been abandoned on the Mallam-Kasoa road but without the goods in it.

On September 16, the two cops were arrested following a police intelligence report.
According to the prosecution, Frimpong told the police that on August 14, at about 2:30 pm, he had a call from an unknown man who told him that Antwi, his brother, had asked him to call the station to request for policemen for an exercise at Dzorwulu.

Frimpong informed Boakye who was on duty at the station and they left for Dzorwulu where they met three civilians who told them to impound a truck loaded with uncustomed goods which they were waiting for.

The truck arrived at about 5.30 pm, and the two policemen stopped the driver, pulled him and his two mates out of the truck and took them away.

The prosecution said Frimpong told the police that the truck was driven to Darkuman Alafia where the goods were discharged into an uncompleted house.

He denied knowing the civilians who took part in the operation even though they gave Boakye and himself GH¢80 after the operation.

Why "Goodies" Swallowed Coke

By Stephen K. Effah
Saturday, September 27,2008

A prosecution witness has said that music producer, Isaac Abaidu Aidoo, popularly known as Goodies, was “hard pressed for cash as a music producer” hence his swallowing of cocaine to be delivered to someone in the United Kingdom for a fee.

Anthony Smith, the Narcotic Control Board officer who arrested Aidoo at the Kotoka International Airport on April 23, said this on Thursday when he testified as the first prosecution witness in the case.

This was after the prosecution had opened its case, five months after the arrest of Aidoo who is facing two counts of attempted exportation and possession of narcotic drugs without lawful authority at an Accra Circuit Court.

Aidoo, who is the Chief Executive of Goodies Music Production, has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Led in evidence by Valerie Amartey, Chief State Attorney, Mr. Smith said Aidoo confided in him during interrogation that one Abdul gave him the substances to be delivered to one Willie in London for a fee of 3,000 pounds sterling.

Narrating the circumstances that led to the arrest of Aidoo, Mr. Smith said about 10:30pm the accused arrived at the airport as the last but two people to board a Ghana International Airline flight to London.

According to him, Aidoo was suspected by the narcotic officials of carrying foreign materials in his stomach but could not convince the officials with his answers so he was asked to produce his urine for a narcotic test. But he failed to do so. That was when he, Mr. Smith as the commander of the officers on duty, was called in to intervene.

He said he explained to Aidoo why he should go through the test and he obliged but could still not produce the urine for the test after drinking some water. “He then suggested that if there is another way of testing him we should do that.

“He told me he had a meeting the next day in London and he did not want to miss the flight,” he added.

In view of this, Mr. Smith said he asked two of his officers, Abew and Dadzie, to take Aidoo to the 37 Military Hospital for an X-ray test, but the first result could not be interpreted.

Mr Smith said a second test was done and while the results were being awaited, he communicated with Dadzie on phone to rush Aidoo to the airport “since I didn’t want him to miss the flight which had only two hours to departure”.

According to him, when Aidoo was brought, he took his passport and rushed him to the boarding gate at which point he called Abew on phone to find out about the results of the test.

He told the court that Abew told him the results showed that Aidoo had foreign substances in his stomach. “So I politely told him I cannot allow him to travel because he had swallowed some substances. He then told me he swallowed cocaine”.

Mr. Smith said that he asked his officers to handcuff Aidoo “but he pleaded not to be handcuffed in view of his reputation”. He said he took Aidoo to the NACOB office where Aidoo told him that the substances were given to him by one Abdul resident at Adjiringanor, near East Legon.

Mr. Smith said when he asked Aidoo why he swallowed the cocaine, “he said that he was hard pressed for cash as a music producer”.

He said at about 2:30am, Aidoo was sent to Adjiringanor to show them where the said Abdul was residing but “we didn’t see him that night.” Consequently, Aidoo was handed over to the NACOB police investigators and he wrote his statement.

Asked by counsel for the accused, Mr. Oliver Atsu, whether he was satisfied with the X-ray results, Mr. Smith replied in the affirmative.

To another question by Mr. Atsu on how long he had been working at the airport, Mr. Smith said since March, this year.

The court then adjourned the case to September29.

The prosecution’s case is that Aidoo expelled 80 pellets of whitish substances suspected to be cocaine after his arrest at the airport.

The substances proved positive of cocaine upon testing by the Ghana Standards Board.
Aidoo, who is the Chief Executive of Goodies Music Production, was first put before the Greater Accra Regional Tribunal in April this year, but the case was subsequently transferred to the Circuit Court in August, upon the orders of the Chief Justice.

On September 12, he requested his first counsel, Jah Josiah, to withdraw his legal representation in the case, after which he prayed the court for a short date to enable him to secure a new counsel to defend him.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

2 Cops Charged With Robbery

By Stephen K. Effah
Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Two police officers were yesterday put before an Accra Circuit Court for allegedly robbing a student of GH¢25,000.

Lance Corporals Emmanuel Mawuli Awadzie and Solomon Awudu of the Adenta and Madina stations, respectively, pleaded not guilty to two counts of conspiracy to rob and robbery and were remanded in prison custody until October 10.

The prosecution’s case is that Awadzie who was on AU Peace-keeping mission in Liberia before the incident, returned to Accra on a visit and met Awudu on September 4, at a drinking spot at Madina.

According to ASP Reindorf Agyemang, the prosecutor, a police informant hinted the two officers that Sylvester Osei Gyamfi, the student had allegedly succeeded in defrauding an expatriate of 75,000 dollars through the internet.

He said the informant was able to locate the residence of Gyamfi, after an attempt by the officers to arrest him days later failed.

At about midnight of September 10, the officers and the informant went to Gyamfi’s house to arrest him without making any entries in their respective station diaries, he continued.

ASP Agyemang said Awudu who was in uniform and armed with a rifle was supposed to be on duty at Deas and D Ventures at Ashaley Botwe that night but went to Agbogba Police Post and requested the officer on duty, Wisdom Hormeku, to help them arrest Gyamfi.

Hormeku, not suspecting any hidden agenda of the two officers and the informant, made entries in the Agbogba Station diary and took a riffle to accompany them to Gyamfi’s house.

After pointing out Gyamfi’s room, the informant went to hide somewhere while the policemen forced the door open after Gyamfi refused to open it, he said.

"Immediately the door opened and Awudu saw Gyamfi dialling a number on his cell phone, he allegedly gave him some slaps and snatched the phone and all other phones of Gyamfi plus that of his fiancée."

ASP Agyemang told the court that the officers handcuffed Gyamfi and asked him "to bring out all his money" and when he failed, Awadzie ransacked the room but did not get any money.

They then packed Gyamfi’s computer and accessories into his own car, after which they told Hormeku to return to post while they took Gyamfi away in the car leaving his fiancée.

The prosecution said after Gyamfi had failed to show where he kept his money, the officers threatened him with death and for fear of his life, Gyamfi told them the money was in the room of the fiancée’s sister, Sadia.

According to the prosecution, they then went for Sadia and she was "told to quietly go for the money which was said to be 25,000 Ghana Cedis but she could not since the key to the bag in which the money was kept had been left in Gyamfi’s room".

They later found the key and Awadzie took the money after which the handcuff on Gyamfi’s hand was removed. They, however, handcuffed the fiancée’s sister and locked her in her room.

Thereafter, the prosecution said, the two officers fled in Awudu’s car and Gyamfi made a complaint to the Madina police, giving the description of the officers.

Awudu was arrested at post and he is said to have admitted having committed the offence with Awadzie who on hearing of Awudu’s arrest, left the country back to Liberia on September 19 to avoid arrest but was brought back.

He also admitted the offence but denied taking GH¢25,000, saying that he collected only GH¢9,000, out of which he took GH¢5,000 and gave GH¢3,000 to the informant, while the rest was given to Awudu for safe-keeping.