Macron warns Europe not to rebuff Trump and Putin

French President Emmanuel Macron says Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin are threatening Western values of openness and tolerance, but isolating them from Europe would be counterproductive.

“If you decide just to push them back from Europe and our values, saying ‘you’re betraying our values’, you lose them,” he told the BBC.

Many see the US and Russian leaders as resistant to liberal “elite” values.

Mr Macron was speaking in Abu Dhabi, where he opened a new Louvre Museum.

He called it a symbol of tolerance and diversity in the region.

“We’re at the epicentre of a series of conflicts and battles inside the Muslim world,” he said in an interview at the weekend.

“It’s very important to me to support those defending an open Islam.”

He said the West had made a mistake in abandoning a “grand narrative” around its values and identity, and that France had a role in defending them abroad.

“You need a collective narrative, a common goal, common imagination,” he said. “It was the strength of Daesh [so-called Islamic State] – it was a promise of death.

“And I think one of the problems of Western society and Western countries during the past decade was to abandon imagination, ambition, vision.

“No one falls in love with the single market, the financial market, labour reforms or budget perspective,” he continued. “[People] are motivated because of a big narrative.”

He said it was “paranoia, their [sense of] threat, and their willingness to protect something” that made leaders such as President Putin choose a different path, but that the Russian president was forgetting that part of his country’s own civilization was about openness, and that its future was directly linked to Europe.

Mr Macron took office six months ago, promising to transform France’s economy, society, even its identity.

Since then he has made 28 foreign trips and set out new proposals for the European Union, designed to give the bloc a collective vision and promote its benefits at home.



Police and Bribe: MTTD boss dares public to provide proof

Accra Central Motor Traffic and Transport Department (MTTD) Commander, DCOP Alphonse Adu-Amankwah, has dared the public to help engender an era of discipline on the roads.

He says combatting indiscipline on the roads is a collective responsibility and invites the travelling public to join hands with the police to ensure the rules are obeyed.DCOP Adu-Amankwah who was speaking in an exclusive interview with Graphic Online, also discounted widely held views that police personnel prefer taking bribes from traffic offenders to prosecuting them hence the failure of the many campaigns to instill discipline on the roads.

According to the MTTD Commander, he has a lot of trust in his officers and will stand by them any day. Members of the public who have evidence to the contrary should make same available to enable the administration discipline its officers.

DCOP Alphonse Adu-Amankwah, Accra Central MTTD Commander

“It is not enough to accuse the police of bribery. People have sophisticated mobile phones and can record situations they suspect police officers are being compromised for onward action. Even if they don’t want to bring it to us, they can share it on social media to name and shame the alleged bad nuts. I’m sure such videos will get to us but until then, I have full trust in my officers.”

Declaring a “zero tolerance” for indiscipline on the roads, DCOP Adu-Amankwah said indiscipline is a major cause of most vehicular traffic, which in turn leads to the loss of precious productive hours. The quest for discipline on the roads therefore, begins with the MTTD officers themselves who he said are now under strict orders to wear their identifiable white uniforms for duty, all ranks included.

Responding to questions on the unwillingness of the police to take action in instances when so-called “big men” commit infractions on the roads, the commander said the police administration recognizes the challenge and have resolved to deploy officers in reasonable numbers to bolster their confidence to enforce the law.

“Ignorance of the law is no excuse though, but we reckon also that most road traffic infractions are misdemeanors and so the use of discretion to caution and educate first time offers is highly encouraged, but recalcitrant offenders need to be punished to serve as deterrent to the rest of the public. It is the reason why we are enlisting all stakeholders to join in the campaign for discipline. While we enforce proper behavior on the roads, we want the AMA to take charge of the pavements and we support each other”, he said.DCOP Adu-Amankwah commended officers of the MTTD for their commitment to duty so far and said they should put in more effort to uproot indiscipline outright from the roads, describing road traffic management as perhaps the most difficult of policing jobs.

“We need a lot of public education, unfortunately we cannot buy media space for this because of adverts cost. That is why we enlist all stakeholders to play our respective roles. It will be difficult for the police to get rickety and smoking vehicles off the roads when the DVLA says they are good enough for the roads. The infractions have persisted for long but we shall succeed.”

Source: Ghana | Graphiconline

Kumasi gives stirring welcome to their King

The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II received a rousing welcome when he arrived at the Kumasi Airport on Thursday, after a trip to Brazil.

Many people, including chiefs, were at the airport to welcome the King who has been in the news since last week.

Other people who could not be at the airport lined up on the streets and waved at him when he drove by.

The Asantehene’s name popped up in the UK media, in a suspected money laundering case, after he sent a bank official to deposit a cash amount of £350,000 on his behalf.

According to the UK’s Telegraph, when Osei Tutu II, summoned Mark Arthur to his multi-million-pound residence in Henley-on-Thames and handed him a bag containing almost £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 in US currency with consecutive serial numbers, the bank official felt it inappropriate to ask too many questions.

However, the subsequent deposit of the cash at the Ghana International Bank, triggered a money laundering alert in the City of London and cost Mr. Arthur his job.

However, the National Crime Office in the UK has cleared the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu of wrongdoing when he handed about £350,000 cash to a banker, Mark Frank Arthur to deposit into his account with UK-based Ghana International Bank.

Banking Consultant, Nana Otuo Acheampongon Monday told Joy FM that, “Investigation conducted into the source of the money indicated the money did not come from a dodgy deal.”

Asantehene explains why he chose his sister as Asantehemaa (photos)

Source: Ghana |

Akufo-Addo Gov’t is the best since Fourth Republic – Prof. Adei

Dean of Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the Ashesi University College, Prof. Stephen Adei says the Akufo-Addo government has distinguished itself as the best since the nation returned to constitutional rule.

According to him, the administration of Nana Akufo-Addo after being in office for under a year has rolled out some desirable policies that will transform the country.

The President on Wednesday launched National Digital Property and Addressing System expected to improve business transactions in the country.

The new addressing system brings to an end, the era when Ghanaians use landmarks to give directions to the location of a property.

The National Digital Property and Addressing System is one of the three initiatives government has outlined to complete the formalisation of the economy.

The first one was the Ghana Card which was launched last month to capture the data of all Ghanaians in the country and abroad. The registration is expected to commence in November 2017.

The last initiative is the interoperability system, which is expected to enable customers to transfer money easily across various networks which President Akufo-Addo said will be launched in November.

Speaking on the Super Morning Show on Joy FM Wednesday, Prof. Adei, who could not hide his admiration for the Akufo-Addo administration said: “I have no position about the negative performance of Akufo-Addo’s government.”

“…since the fourth republic in the first year of their term, I think Akufo-Addo’s government has done the best [with] how they have started,” the former Rector of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) observed.

He told Kojo Yankson, host of the programme that the President’s “policies are the best,” reiterating a comment he made prior to the 2016 elections that Akufo-Addo, then opposition leader, “represented the best option of leadership for Ghana.”

Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline

Government freezes construction of gas and petroleum retail stations

President Akufo Addo has directed the “immediate cessation, until further notice, of all construction of facilities intended for use as gas or petroleum retail stations.”

The directive, one of many interim decisions arrived at during a Cabinet meeting of October 12, follows the October 7 deadly gas explosion at Atomic Junction in Accra, which killed seven people and injured over 130 others.

A statement issued by Information Minister Mustapha Hamid, said “The safety of citizens is the paramount objective of Government, and the President will take all necessary steps to ensure that citizens are safe.”

The President also directed the implementation within one year, of the Cylinder Recirculation Model of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) distribution, which sites LPG Bottling Plants away from congested commercial and population centers to procure, brand, maintain and fill empty cylinders to be distributed to consumers and households through retail outlets.

The Statement said that low risk stations would be designated for the supply of gas to vehicles, explaining that “The importance of gas, and its use in our national economy, requires that we must develop and enforce regulations and practices, and deploy technology to ensure the safe use of gas and safety of our citizens.”

Other actions directed by the President include:

  1. immediate inspection of all gas stations and the vigorous enforcement of existing regulations by the National Petroleum Authority;
  2. review of the current licensing regime to ensure that only those with demonstrable capacity and competence engage in the LPG distribution business;
  3. institution of mandatory training and certification of the staff of Regulators, Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) and LPG Marketing Companies to ensure the safe handling of LPG;
  4. review the safety protocols along the entire value chain through the combined efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Ghana Standards Authority (GSA), National Fire Service (NFS), Town and Country Planning Department of the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Factories Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations;
  5. deployment of a task force, within 30 days, to assess the risk that our current LPG infrastructure poses in terms of public health and safety. High risk stations will be immediately closed down, in accordance with relevant law and without regard to any political or special interests. Low risk stations will be designated for the supply of gas for vehicles with improved safety standards;
  6. the immediate incorporation of standards and guidelines developed by Ghana Standards Authority on the handling, storage and distribution of LPG and other petroleum products as technical regulations to strengthen the enforcement regime;
  7. the recruitment by NPA of 200 safety auditors to join the staff of the Factories Inspectorate Department of the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations to check regularly on all stations to ensure full compliance with safety standards and practices;
  8. expedition of action by the Fire Service and the Police Service of on-going investigations. Any operator or regulatory official, against whom any act of criminal negligence is established, will face the full rigors of the law;
  9. immediate cessation, until further notice, of all construction of facilities intended for use as gas or petroleum retail stations.

Asantehene named in £350,000 money laundering case in UK

To the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, handing someone a holdall stuffed with more than £350,000 to deposit in a bank might seem nothing out of the ordinary.

Indeed, when Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, summoned Mark Arthur to his multi million-pound residence in Henley-on-Thames in London and handed him a bag containing almost £200,000 in sterling as well as $200,000 in US currency with consecutive serial numbers, the bank official felt it inappropriate to ask too many questions.

However, the subsequent deposit of the cash at Ghana International Bank triggered a money laundering alert in the City of London and cost Mr Arthur his job, reports The Telegraph.The King, who once worked at Brent council, summoned Mr Arthur, the bank’s second most senior executive, to his home in August last year.Mr Arthur, from New Barnet, Hertfordshire, a dual citizen of the UK and Ghana, drove to his own home with the cash and then took it in an Uber taxi to the bank’s City offices for deposit in the king’s account, he told an employment tribunal.

Osei Tutu II, the holder of a diplomatic passport, told him the cash had been withdrawn from banks in Ghana and brought to the UK, he said in his witness statement.

He had also instructed Mr Arthur to move $200,000 to an account at Standard bank in Jersey.

Mr Arthur, a member of the Ashanti tribe, the largest in Ghana, carried out the transfer within hours, the tribunal heard.

He was suspended and then sacked following the incident, after an investigation by outside accountants Grant Thornton. He is claiming wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and failure to protect a whistleblower.


Related: Asantehene gave me £350,000 and I took it to the bank in taxi – official claims

The bank said he had failed to follow anti-money laundering rules and had violated security policies as it was only insured to carry cash by armoured car up to a maximum of £250,000.

Mr Arthur, an executive director of the bank, alleged the deposit and transfer were approved by Ghana International Bank’s chief executive, Joseph Mensah.

Mr Mensah told an outside reviewer of Mr Arthur’s dismissal he “didn’t even have the authority to sanction such a huge amount”.

Osei Tutu II is estimated to be Africa’s 10th richest monarch, with valuable goldmine and cocoa plantations and remains one of the most influential traditional figures in Ghana.​

In his witness statement, Mr Arthur said he was not able to follow anti-money laundering rules when he accepted the cash because of the king’s status.

He said: “Without a policy to follow and did without wishing to offend a sovereign of my country, I found myself in a very difficult situation and one I had never been in before.

“I could not carry out the necessary due diligence by talking to His Majesty so decided it would be best to verify the deposits at the bank and to speak directly to Mr Mensah rather than disrespect His Majesty in a face-to-face meeting.”

The day after the bank accepted the cash and made the transfer to Jersey, it reported the transactions to the National Crime Agency as suspicious.

News of Mr Arthur’s suspension was subsequently passed to the City watchdogs the Prudential Regulation Authority and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The FCA sent inspectors into the bank who severely criticised its handling of cash, the tribunal heard.

Lawyers for Mr Arthur argued that his handling of the deposit was in line with the way the bank previously handled Osei Tutu II’s account and that he was aware that the king could travel on a diplomatic passport.

They cited a string of large cash deposits in 2013 and 2014 where the source of the funds was not properly recorded.

They included a $100,000 that a review of the king’s account said came from a fundraising event. There were no documents recording the source of that cash, however.

Colin Millar, a building society chairman drafted in by Ghana International Bank to adjudicate on Mr Arthur’s appeal against his dismissal, rejected suggestions that the £350,000 holdall was acceptable given the king’s history with the bank.

He told the tribunal the deposit and swift transfer offshore was a “classic” warning sign of money laundering.

Mr Millar told the hearing: “If you want to hide the sources of funds that are from a disreputable source then you move them around until it reaches the point where the authorities can’t trace them back to their original source. That’s a way of hiding the proceeds of crime.”

The hearing continues.


President Akufo-Addo visits Atomic gas explosion victims

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Monday toured the Atomic junction gas explosion site for first hand information on the incident.

Expressing concern about the incident, the President said his government would ensure that gas explosions were curtailed in the country.

He thanked the emergency response team for their work and swift response to the incident.Seven people including a cameraman from Net2 TV lost their lives whilst 132 sustained various injuries.

President Akufo-Add was on a tour of the Northern Region when the incident occurred last Saturday.

According to him, he was devastated by the lives that had been lost due to the explosion.

The President was accompanied by a number of government officials including the Chief of Staff, Mrs Frema Osei Opare.

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Petroleum Authority (NPA), Mr Hassan Tampuli briefed President Akufo-Addo at the site.

Source: Ghana| Graphiconline