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Judge threatens to revoke Ato Essien’s bail in ¢620m Capital Bank trial

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Founder of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien

An Accra High Court has expressed frustration with counsel for the Chief Executive of defunct Capital Bank, William Ato Essien’s attitude towards his ongoing trial.

On Thursday, the court presided over by Justice Eric Kyei Baffuor cautioned that the banker’s lawyer’s slow approach could leave it no option but to revoke his bail.

This came after the legal team failed to file their documents to ensure the smooth running of the trial.

The lawyer for the accused, Baffuor Gyau Bonsu Ashia, told the court that they only got the requested documents from the defunct bank’s Receiver on January 12, giving them little time to comply with the order.

But the judge would have none of that.

Justice Kyei Baffuor reminded Ato Essien that his conditions for the granting of bail include the ability of the accused to cooperate with the court.

The judge further wondered why Mr Essien’s lawyer did not use a subpoena to obtain the documents if they were indeed encountering any difficulty.

This means Mr Essien could be incarcerated and spend time in custody for the rest of the ¢620 million case if the situation is repeated.

Ato Essien and two others are accused of embezzling liquidity support of ¢620 million bailout given by the Bank of Ghana to Capital Bank service its maturing debt.

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The Capital Bank CEO, his former Managing Director Fitzgerald Odonkor and former Director of Mr Essien’s MC Management Services are currently facing 23 counts of money laundering, conspiracy to steal and stealing.

The prosecution says the suspects opened bank accounts with the Capital Bank through which the BoG’s money was transferred.

They are also accused of carrying jute bags of money to Ato Essien as payment for ‘business promotion’.

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Wilmar Ghana to reward wholesalers with new travel promotion

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Wilmar Ghana Limited, producers of Frytol cooking oil and Fortune Rice, has launched a promotion to reward its loyal customers in the wholesale sector.

Dubbed Wholesalers Vacation Papabi, it would run for four months and offer hundreds of wholesalers an all-expense-paid trip to a European country.

The wholesalers will be given monthly shopping vouchers of GH¢2million for the four-month promo period.

Speaking at the launch in Kumasi, Head of Trade Marketing, Patrick Sarpong said the promo is to show gratitude to wholesalers who have remained loyal to the company over the years.

According to him, every wholesaler is a winner.

“Our wholesalers are hardworking people who don’t find time to go on quality vacations. So it’s a reward scheme to give them quality time off their busy schedules,” he said.

Mr Sarpong said the promo would also afford customers the opportunity to tour the company’s facilities across the country to better appreciate its operations.

Wilmar Ghana believes businesses that are sustained are the ones that drive a win-win partnership with all its stakeholders, including wholesalers, retailers and consumers.

This promo is the 3rd of its kind by Wilmar Ghana to support wholesalers in this period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Winners of last year’s promo who made it to Dubai are eager to win big in the current promo.

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Lord Rayden Foundation to provide support to families who have lost loved ones serving as security personnel in Ghana

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One of the visible non-governmental organisations in Ghana, Lord Rayden Foundation has pledged to provide the necessary support, be it medical, legal or financial, to bereaved families in the event of the passing of a security service person in their family.

The main objective is that Lord Rayden Foundation has an established network of medical, legal and finance professionals in Ghana who will provide practical support to families and individuals struggling with the loss of a loved one who was a serviceman/woman.

The Foundation will also aim to make an influence that directly affects individuals who have been widowed or orphaned under such circumstances.

Ultimately, the objective will be to also collaborate with other non-governmental organizations, both in Africa and globally, in addressing issues affecting widows/widowers and the dependents of servicemen who perish in the line of duty.

In an interview with one of the non-executive board members, he maintained that our vision is to create a system and place that provides an environment conducive for recovery and posttraumatic growth.  Our core values reflect the need to provide the basic and specialized support necessary for the families of the servicemen we lose in the line of duty which is always a cataclysmic event.  We wish to address the fact that such facilities are not available in our part of the world.

Who is Lord Rayden?

Evans Amo-Darkwah, affectionately known as Lord Rayden, was born to Mr Francis Kofi Amo and Mrs Veronica Amo on the 24th October 1986 in Tamale.

His parents later moved to Kumasi where he had his formative years together with his 5 other siblings.

Lord Rayden had his primary education in 2 Brigade Basic school in the year 2002 where he passed out with flying colours.

He was admitted into Kumasi National Vocational Training Institute after which he furthered his education in Obuasi in the Amanse Municipality opting to study Information Technology.

He was enlisted into the Ghana Armed Forces in 2008 and was posted to Base workshop after successfully completing his military training.

Due to his diligence and hard work he was selected as one of the officers who traveled to keep peace with the United Nations Interim Forces in Lebanon (UNIFIL) GHANBATT 72. He was happily married to his beloved wife Mavis Akua-Wusuah.

Lord Rayden met his untimely death while on barracks patrol duty on 28th May 2016.

About Lord Rayden Foundation

The foundation was founded by Kaicy Amo-Darkwah, brother of the late born in the early 90s, to Ex-Staff Sergeant Francis Kofi Amo and Madam Veronica Amo.

He had completed his Elementary school and High school in Ashanti Region Kumasi, later proceeded to Greater Accra where he had his Diploma.

He also worked as a network engineer for couple of reputable company’s and later left for the United States in the year 2019.

He is believed by most to be a man of kindness and pure benevolence; he is said to be extremely focused and very influential when it comes to the society he comes from.

The idea of this is to give the rightful support to the security services of his beloved country which lacks such support.

Meanwhile, people interested in contacting Lord Rayden Foundation can do so through their official website.

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Ghana assumes complete ownership of Ameri Power Plant

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Ghana has taken full ownership of the 250-megawatt (MW) power production plant from the African and Middle East Resources Investment Group, otherwise known as AMERI Energy.

The 10-unit barge, with capacity to generate 25MW each, totaling 250MW, which is commissioned on natural gas, is set to be moved to Anwomaso in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region.

The takeover and the relocation of the plant, the Ministry of Energy said, would rake in about $31 million annually from power export and $4 million as saving on transmission loss cut back.

The takeover

The power barges were handed over to the Volta River Authority (VRA), which received the plant, on behalf of the government, at the Aboadze Power Enclave in the Shama District in the Western Region yesterday.

It comes after the expiry of the five-year production and sale of power agreement signed between the government and the United Arab Emirates (UAE)-based company.

The Minister of Energy, Dr Matthew Opoku-Prempeh, in a speech read on his behalf by one of his Deputy ministers, Mr William Owuraku Aidoo, said the deployment of the power plant to the Ashanti Region was strategic.

He said from a barge, the power plant would now be mounted on a trailer for it to be relocated to Anwomaso to improve the reliability of power supply in the middle and the northern sections of the power grid and for export.

• Inset: Mr Francis Kofi Kpolu, Country Director of Ameri, handing over the keys of the power plant to Mr Owereko Aidoo
 Mr Francis Kofi Kpolu, Country Director of Ameri, handing over the keys of the power plant to Mr Owereko Aidoo

Preparation

He said preparatory works at the site where the plant would be sited were at an advanced stage and on schedule for completion.

Dr Prempeh said the project would also promote the extension of the gas pipeline, which hitherto ended in the Western Region, saying: “The presence of natural gas in the region will stimulate other productive non-power uses of our indigenous natural gas resource.”

He said the government remained committed to a vision of a stable, robust, affordable power supply, as that was key to industrial growth.

“We promised to keep the lights on, and the ministry is doing exactly that, despite a few challenges. In achieving this, let me say that the Amandi Power Project — a 200MW Twin City Energy Project — has been completed, achieved commercial operation and dispatching power to the grid,” he said.

Bui solar

The minister indicated that a 50MW grid-connected solar plant at the Bui Hydro Generating Station had also been completed and commissioned.

“We have continued with improvement in the transmission system reliability by implementing other projects. These projects include the Kumasi-Kintampo Lot of the 330KV Kumasi-Bolgatanga Transmission Line Project which is complete and the line has been energised,” he said.

Dr Prempeh added that the Volta-Achimota Lot of the 161KV Volta-Achimota-Mallam Transmission Line Upgrade Project was 83 per cent complete, while the Achimota-Mallam segment was 55 per cent complete.

Others are the Pokuase Bulk Supply Point Project, which has been completed, and the Kasoa Bulk Supply Point Project, which comprises a re-construction of a section of the 161kV Winneba-Mallam Transmission lines and a tie-in-works, which is almost complete.

Interconnection transmission

The minister announced that the government was securing funding to improve the National Interconnection Transmission System (NITS) in the Ashanti and the Northern regions (Siemens–Ghana collaboration) and commence the construction of the GRIDCo Western Corridor Transmission Upgrade Project (WCTUP).

He said the government was also committed to achieving universal coverage of electricity by 2024, saying 162 communities were connected to the national grid in 2021, with 512 communities at various stages of completion.

Electricity access rate, he said, had moved from 85.17 per cent in 2020 to 86.63 per cent in 2021.

“In 2022, the ministry will work to complete many projects, with approximately 800 towns expected to be connected to the national grid under the SHEP-4, SHEP-5 and Turnkey projects,” he said.

Power system

The Director of Thermal Generation at the VRA, Mr Edward Obeng-Kenzo, said Ghana’s power system currently had low voltage around the Ashanti Region to the northern part of the country.

“This is mainly because all the power plants in the country are located in the southern, eastern or western part of the transmission network,” he said.

He indicated that the only plants in the middle of the transmission network were the 400MW Bui Hydro Power plant and the Bui Power Solar project.

“Therefore, the relocation of the 250MW AMERI Power plant to the Ashanti Region will enable the country to export an additional 50MW to neighbouring Burkina Faso,” he said.

The benefits

The export of power, Mr Obeng-Kenzo said, would fetch an additional income of $31 million annually and also reduce transmission system loss by 15MW, estimated at $4 million or about GH¢23 million annually.

The Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, commended the government for paying the full cost of the plant, saying its relocation would go a long way to help improve Ghana’s power system.

The Country Manager of AMERI Energy, Mr Francis Kofi Kpolu, said his outfit was happy with the achievement through the new lease model and expressed the hope that it would have other projects through future collaborations.

Background

The government, on February 15, 2015, entered into an agreement with AMERI Energy to build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) the power barge for five years, after which the country would assume full ownership of the plant.

The AMERI deal was signed as an emergency power agreement to fill Ghana’s power generation gap, which was then in deficit, necessitating nationwide power rationing, which commonly became known as ‘Dumsor’.

During the five-year production and sale of power to the VRA, per the agreement with AMERI, the government, through the VRA, made payments to AMERI for the power produced and supplied to the VRA, just like any other independent power producer.

LC of $51 million

Again, the government, per the agreement, was required to provide a standby letter of credit (LC) for $51 million, which LC has been raised.

Per the agreement with AMERI, the government, through the VRA, made payments to AMERI for power produced and supplied to the VRA.

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