Some six individuals have been arrested by National Security officers in Kumasi, Ashanti Region for allegedly engaging in the illegal gold business.
Operatives of the National Security, who had the necessary permits, made the arrests.
The suspects have been transferred to the National Security headquarters in Accra for further interrogation.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah who is the Minister for Information confirmed the arrest at a news conference in Kumasi yesterday but did not give further details.
The Minister also talked about the security situation in the country and said the government was doing everything practicable to ensure that the country was safe.
He said the government had shown good faith by retooling the security agencies and recruiting more men and women to beef up the security of the state.
Matters of security, he said, were critical to national development and would, therefore, be tackled with all urgency.
Contractors going bankrupt; pay them – Nduom
The Chairman of Groupe Nduom, Dr Papa Kwesi Nduom, has said the delay by the government in paying local contractors, some of whom, he said, are customers or investors, has led to the lock-up of GHS2.2 billion from the Groupe’s Gold Coast Fund Management, alone.
“When we keep fighting for Ghanaian contractors to be paid, we are fighting for customers/investors to get their money. How much? GHS 2.2 billion is currently locked up in the process from Gold Coast Fund Management alone”, Dr Nduom wrote on social media Saturday, 10 August 2019.
Other Ghanaian financial institutions, he said, “Have funds locked up in infrastructure projects. The contractors are going bankrupt. The customers have it worse. They are suffering. When a contractor is not paid after three years of completing a job, the financial institution does not get paid. The customers who invested their monies with the financial institutions don’t get paid”.
“Who should fund infrastructure – roads, bridges, schools, etc. – in Ghana?”, the former presidential candidate asked, adding: “Gold Coast has been doing it for 15 years. Over 14 billion Ghana Cedis invested. Now with a portfolio of 2.2 billion Ghana Cedis”.
“It is the government that stopped giving advance payment to contractors and asked them to pre-finance projects. Gold Coast stepped in to support our indigenous Ghanaian contractors and has funded over 600 projects. This is a good thing the company has done.
“Our concern is to get the payment process going so contractors can complete projects, get them certified, get paid so they can pay back what they owe to Gold Coast so that Gold Coast can pay back money to its customers/investors.
“This is not Nduom’s money. It is not politics. It is pocket-level economics. The money is in Ghana with government agencies and in infrastructure projects”, he said.
Dr Nduom added: “This is not the only investment made by Gold Coast, which is why it paid back over 1 billion Ghana cedis in 2018 and has paid about GHS100 million this year”.
Recently, a coalition of local contractors threatened to lock all public schools and facilities they built if the government delayed further in paying them their funds.
CBOD petroleum price outlook: Refined products review and outlook
The international market prices of gasoline and gasoil averaged $648.98/mt and $584.73/mt respectively in the first pricing window of July (12th-26th July 2019), $5.70/mt lower than the previous window in the case of gasoline and $0.89/mt higher than the previous window for gasoil.
These prices (12th-26th July) were 29% and 7% higher than average prices observed in the beginning pricing window of the year. Average international market prices have been sporadic during the year, starting the first window of January at $504/mt for gasoline and $545.63/mt for gasoil.
Prices for gasoline and gasoil peaked in the first selling window of June at $749.68/mt and $639.88/mt respectively. This was 49% and 17% higher than the prices observed in the first window of January 2019.
International market prices are expected to drop between 1%-2% for both gasoline and gasoil in the second pricing window of July (27th July-11th August 2019). This is attributable to the ongoing trade war between USA and China which has slowed the growth in China’s demand.
The forward FX rate (FuFeX) used is the average of the quoted indicative forward forex rate from major oil financing banks adjusted by the covered-interest parity pricing model. The FuFex60 is computed as the average 60-day forward fx rate of selected major oil financing banks. The Fufex60 to be applied for the first selling window of August 2019 is Ghs5.60/USD.
The adoption of a FuFeX30 (30-day forward rate) instead of FuFeX60 can reduce pump prices by about 2%. It is therefore necessary that BDCs revise their trade credit tenor downwards to help reduce consumer prices at the pump.
The Ex-refinery Price Indicator (Xpi)
The Ex-ref price indicator (Xpi) is computed using the referenced international market prices as observed to be usually adopted by BDCs, factoring the CBOD economic breakeven benchmark premium for a given window and converted from USD/mt to Ghs/ltr using the FuFeX.
Energy expert questions Finance Ministry’s authority to unfreeze PDS accounts
An energy expert has questioned the Finance Ministry’s move to unfreeze bank accounts of Power Distribution Services (PDS) Ghana Limited.
Kwame Jantuah does not understand why the Ministry is taking steps to unfreeze the accounts when the reasons given by the Energy Ministry before suspending the concession with PDS still holds.
“The Energy suspended PDS based on a law – Clause 27 of the electricity sale license – one of the reasons they give is the validity of the said license becoming impaired as a result of the following events: demand guarantee submitted by PDS to Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) having been disavowed by the issuer and declared null and void.
“Let me go to (c) the decision by ECG to suspend the provisions of right and obligations defined under the Lease and Assignment Agreement (LAA) pending the determination of all consequential matters arising out of the above. So, when did Energy Commission change its mind,” he queried in an interview on Joy FM’s Top Story Friday.
Last month, the Information Ministry announced the suspension of the concession agreement between the Finance Ministry, ECG) and PDS with immediate effect.
Mr Ofori-Atta said the decision is to ensure that funds are available for payment of worker’s salaries and cater to the operational costs of the company.
This was followed by two letters from the Energy Commission, one purporting to cancel PDS’ licence and another announcing the transfer of the licence to ECG, urging PDS to cooperate with ECG on the process of transferring the licence.
Following this announcement, the Financial and Intelligence Centre last week froze the bank accounts of PDS following the detection of anomalies in the bank guarantee it provided prior to the takeover of ECG’s assets.
However, after workers of PDS raised concerns about how operational costs and workers will be covered following the freezing of the accounts, the Finance Ministry said it was taking steps to unfreeze them.
But Mr Jantuah who is also CEO of African Energy Consortium Limited raised objections about the decision.
“PDS account is based on a contract and if the contract has been suspended PDS has no right to go into that account.
“If it is that they need money to operate, they should have opened an escrow account. And ECG should have been the one to make sure that whatever monies are taken out of the PDS account into the escrow account is monitored,” he said.
In view of this, he believes the Finance Ministry has no authority to aid PDS in unfreezing the accounts.
Mr Jantuah wants the investigation ongoing into the deal to cover every institution or company that was involved in the botched deal.
“We are a sovereign country and we should be able to get down to this matter,” he stressed.
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