Tuesday, 31 January 2017

When Will Ghana Develop A Carbon Cap-And-Trade Programme?

It will be in its own interest, if Ghana's private-sector sought to create a carbon credit scheme that is as efficiently organised and well-managed as the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) is.

Ghana's private-sector must do more to protect what is left of our nation's natural heritage - by committing to low-carbon development in Ghana: to guarantee a sustainable future for businesses and Ghanaian society at large.

Perhaps if those who run the GSE did some lateral thinking they could end up collaborating with relevant state agencies to find a reputable international carbon credit company with a proven track-record to create a carbon market in Ghana - through which environmentally responsible companies could neutralise their carbon footprints in transparent fashion.

For the benefit of corporate executives in Ghana, who are committed to sustainability because they understand clearly that it will enable them secure their businesses' long-term futures, today, we are reproducing an interesting piece culled from the online version of The Environmental Leader. It was written by Ken Silverstein.

Please read on:

"BP Advoctes Putting a Price on Carbon
January 30, 2017 by Ken Silverstein  

A key oil and gas company is saying that governments internationally need to put a price on carbon to increase the percentage of renewables, natural gas and energy efficiency. BP’s Chief Executive Bob Dudley said in the company’s “BP Energy Outlook 2035” that even though carbon emissions will grow at a slower rate than in the past, they will still rise overall.

BP is part of a group of oil companies that favor such action: ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and StatOil. Those companies don’t generally advocate for taxes or restrictions but they think that such measures would be more efficient than a patchwork of international laws. Moreover, they have major investments in natural gas, which is expected to continue to be the fastest growing fuel in the United States.

“In BP, we continue to believe that carbon pricing has an important part to play as it provides incentives for everyone — producers and consumers alike — to play their part,” Dudley said at a news conference in London last week, as reported by USA Today.

The projected annual growth is 0.6% a year until 2035. That compares to 2.1% per year for the last two decades, the outlook says. But the report adds that despite the lower annual growth rate, total carbon emissions from energy use will rise by 13% by 2035, USA Today reports. It notes that the International Energy Agency in Paris says that carbon emissions need to fall by 30% over the next 18 years.

“That,” according to Dudley, “flags up the need for further policy action,” reports the paper.

BP says that it would favor either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade program. Australia, Ireland and Sweden have some variance of a carbon tax while China has said it would implement a cap-and-trade program, USA Today says. BP says that putting a price on carbon would reduce carbon emissions and increase the demand for alternative energy.

If the issue moves at all, it will be the major oil companies that get on board to push it. To that end, Exxon says that it will support a carbon tax that is revenue neutral, or one where the revenues from the tax are plowed back into economy in the form of clean energy investments or used to reduce other corporate taxes.

“Exxon may have its own competitive reasons for getting behind the tax: It is a major producer of natural gas, a relatively low-carbon alternative to coal. And a carbon tax would boost demand for gas,” writes Howard Gleckman, in a column for Forbes.

With that, he says that Exxon should be taken at its word — that it prefers a single federal metric for measuring carbon emissions as opposed to a patchwork of state tax and regulatory laws. It’s a position that it has outlined in its 2105 report to shareholders on corporate citizenship.

A cap-and-trade system sets carbon limits and companies unable to meet such thresholds would buy credits from those who can. Emissions fall because the ceilings are gradually lowered. Under a carbon tax, government would tax industrial facilities such as oil companies and electric utilities according to their carbon footprints that can be readily measured.

A joint report issued by the Brookings Institution and the American Enterprise Institute says that pricing carbon is the most efficient way of reducing carbon dioxide releases that are tied to global warming. A $16 tax per ton would raise $1.1 trillion in the first 10 years."

End of culled Environmental Leader article by Ken Silverstein.

Monday, 30 January 2017

Hon Kennedy Adjapong: Tell Ghanaians Who The Corrupt MP Who Offered Bribes To The Minority MPs On The Vetting Committee Is - And Do So Now!

The #Vettinggate bribery scandal in Parliament has thrown the spotlight on the Machiavellian nature of the leaderships of the two major parties in Ghana.

The scandal results from the perfidy of those who dominate the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), which has a large majority of the seats in the House, and the main opposition party, the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which forms the Minority in Parliament.

As things currently stand, there is only one person in Parliament who is honest, patriotic and brave enough to tell the world the whole truth and nothing but the truth about that shabby and scandalous vote-buying-in-Parliament affair, and help unravel it.

Luckily, that MP is none other than the NPP's own champion of transparency and accountability - who has been busy exposing past high-level corruption from the Mahama-era since the NPP came to power on 7th January, 2017 - the member of Parliament for Assin Central, the Hon Kennedy Adjapong.

The Hon Kennedy Adjapong, who all Ghanaians know is incorruptible and an honourable and principled politician, who hates all forms of corruption - including the abominable crime of seeking to induce MPs to vote in a certain direction by  offering them bribes - and has vowed to ensure that all those who engaged in high-level corruption during the Mahama-era, are prosecuted and jailed, must now tell us who the villian-in-chief in Parliament who gave money to get the Minority MPs to approve the Hon Boakye Agyarko's appointment as Ghana's new energy minister, actually is.

So, on behalf of the good people of Ghana, this blog will use a local parlance phrase to urge our nation's  "Hero-One" to expose the identity of the very corrupt MP who gave a total of GHc100,000 to the Minority members on the Vetting Committee, to get  them to approve the nomination of the Hon Boakye Agyarko as energy minister: "Kennedy Adjapong MP, over to you Joe Lartey! Ghana awaits your revelations on this outrageous attempt to corrupt Minority MPs on the Vetting Committee with bated breath. Saajewah - who born dog?"

Sunday, 29 January 2017

Ghanaians Ought To Be Bold And Fearless In Facing The Future

''There is so much in the world for us all if we only have the eyes to see it, and the heart to love it, and the hand to gather it to ourselves.''
               - Lucy Maud Montgomery (1874-1942) 

Denmark's Ambassador to Ghana, Her Excellency Tove Degnbol,  stated recently that her country will soon cease providing aid to Ghana - and focus instead on increasing trade between the two nations.  That is very good news indeed.

It is a marvellous development - as it  provides the private-sector in both nations with countless  opportunities to form win-win partnerships that will create wealth and jobs in the two countries. Brilliant.

It is time we weaned ourselves from depending on the charity and goodwill of taxpayers in foreign nations - and made our way to a prosperous future for our homeland Ghana under our own steam, as it were.

There is nothing we cannot do as a people if we put our minds to it. And if only our nation's ruling elites would be more honest and sincere in governing Ghana, and a tad more creative in their thinking, this country would move ahead rapidly.

Why give the collection of money from tolled roads to regime-cronies instead of offering it to road construction companies that bid to build and maintain tolled roads throughout Ghana using simple low-tech plastic road construction technology - in which melted plastic waste is mixed with bitumen?

Would that not remove a burden from taxpayers - whiles providing the nation with a network of well-maintained tolled roads nationwide to drive on,  because plastic roads remain pothole-free throughout their long lifespan, last three times as long as ordinary roads, bear heavier loads and are never washed away by flash floods because plastic is impermeable to water?

Over the years, Norway has been paying millions of dollars annually for tropical forests in places such as Guyana to be preserved - as a low carbon development  initiative.

Why do we not target low-carbon development schemes of that nature too - and create prosperity for fringe-forest communities throughout rural Ghana: for whom the preservation of our natural heritage will be of paramount interest because it earns them regular income?

The question there is: Why don't we simply change the business model of the Forestry Service of the Forestry Commission from the current one - in which, alas, many of its poorly-paid employees are in bed with crooked timber companies: and are busy looting what is left of Ghana's  forest cover in the most egregious of fashions?

Would a new green business model  not rather  benefit both fringe forest communities and the Forestry Commission itself too - one in which the Forestry Commission  enters into win-win partnerships with companies to leverage what is left of our nation's natural  heritage in carbon credit initiatives: that enable corporate entities make annual payments to neutralise their carbon footprints?

Ditto organise sundry groups of unemployed youths to establish cooperatives  across rural Ghana to plant different types of  indigenous tree species in agro-forestry plantations on land degraded by illegal gold miners,  illegal sand-winners and illegal loggers - as Redd+ projects that earn them annual cash payments?

And what have our leaders got  to lose in talking to companies like Uber and self-driving vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla and Ford - about financing the building of concrete motorways from Tema to the border with Burkina Faso, and from Aflao to Elubo: for the exclusive use of Tesla anf Ford self-driving vehicles carrying freight and passengers that are escorted by police special forces officers to protect them from armed highway robbers?

Uber, Tesla and Ford could operate those tolled concrete motorways for self-driving vehicles, the building and maintenance of which they finance themselves for up to some 50 years - and will not have to pay any taxes on their profits for the whole of that period in return.

And what have our nation's leaders got to lose in inviting both the leading two hyperloop companies to develop and build a hyperloop system that connects all the regional capitals to each other to move people and freight - and charge their own rates and operate on a tax-free basis for the next 50 years?

Could we not also do a deal with Russia in which two of the Russian Navy's Zubr-class air-cushioned landing craft transport goods and passengers across the Volta Lake - as a joint-venture commercial undertaking between the Ghanaian and Russian navies?

This blog is pretty sure that companies like the Arizona University spin-off, MetOxs Electrochemicals, would be happy to collaborate with Ghana to eliminate toxic waste from the operations of gold mining companies here - by introducing their new cutting-edge inventions that make toxin-free mining possible into our gold mining sector.

And so on and so forth. The list literally is endless.

Indeed, there is nothing that we cannot do as a people if we think creatively - and unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of ordinary Ghanaians: by abolishing personal income tax and putting Ghana on the world map as the nation with the world's lowest corporate tax rates.

Let us be bold and fearless in facing the future as a people - so that together we can transform our beautiful and peaceful country into a prosperous and modern nation that is an African equivalent of the egalitarian societies of Scandinavia: in which all those who work hard prosper and the vulnerable are always protected and provided for by the state.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Is Parliament's Reputation At Stake In The Matter Of The Appointments Committee Bribery Allegation - And Is The NDC Facing An Existential Crisis Because Of It?

The astonishing story in sections of the Ghanaian media to the effect that National Democratic Congress' (NDC) parliamentarians on the Appointments Committee had allegedly been  bribed by a nominee they were vetting whose approval had been held in abeyance, is a rather odd one.

In a sense, it pretty much sums up the nature of  our nation's politics: it is full of mendacious and unprincipled individuals at the very top.

The question is: Why would a highly-intelligent and worldly-wise gentleman like the  Hon Boakye Agyarko offer bribes to failed politicians (who lost power essentially because they were not wise enough to appreciate the historic opportunity they were given by Ghanaians to serve their nation whiles in government) to approve his nomination: when it is his party that is in power and controls Parliament with a large majority of MPs?

And if the chairperson of the Appointments Committee, Joe Osei-Owusu, threatens to sue those implying untruthfulness on his part in the matter, does that not offer further proof that something does not quite add up  in the story being told by the Minority MPs  - and that the untruthfulness in this whole unsavory affair might have emanated from the top ranks of the caucus of Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee?

Having said that, it must also be pointed out however  that one has no doubt whatsoever that the Hon Mahama Ayariga is truthful, when he says that the Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee  returned the GHc3,000 per MP  'bribe' money once they became aware of its source and purpose  - and that he does not know what happened after the cash was handed over to the Minority's leadership.

That is the whole point. This whole shabby  scandal revolves around the leadership of Parliament - and their egregious cynicism in running the business of the House.

Could the real truth in this shabby affair not simply be that perhaps the NDC and New Patriotic Party (NPP)  both organise cash handouts (bribes in all but name effectively it would appear) as 'sitting allowance' from time to time to get MPs to do their parties' bidding - to ensure that all the needed outcomes which party parliamentary leaderships are required to deliver by the executive branch of government are met on schedule?

Perhaps there is indeed some truth in the allegations made by some  Ghanaians - including the Hon Martin Amidu the former Attorney General -  that Parliament is a corrupt institution too, after all?

Be that as it may,  if the NDC wants to return to power again, those who control the party must take the advice of its founder, former President Rawlings, seriously  - and let truth be the ethos that guides all their politics going forward into the future: for if it has not yet dawned on them in reality the NDC is facing an existential crisis. It is drinking in the Last Chance Salon - and must reform or perish.

As regards the allegations of money being paid for the sole  purpose of securing the approval of the Hon Boakye Agyarko by the Minority MPs on the Appointments Committee, it is vital that that very serious allegation is investigated quickly - and that there is no attempt at a cover-up in a matter in which the very reputation of Parliament is at stake, if truth be told.

The question we must all ponder over is: Who tried to bribe the Minority MPs on the Vetting Committee so as to finally secure their approval of the Hon Boakye Agyarko as energy minister in the Akufo-Addo administration?

The whole nation awaits the answer - and people of good conscience across the country caution Ghana's ruling elites not to attempt to cover up the truth in this matter. Covering up elite-mendacity was one of the many mistakes now-defunct Arab regimes made which led to the Arab Spring that swept long-entrenched ruling elites from power in nations like Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

Parliament's reputation is definitely at stake in this matter - and the NDC faces an existential crisis as a result of it. Perhaps what eventually happens in the resolution of the #Vettinggate scandal, might  have a future bearing on how ordinary people come to perceive Ghana's Parliament  - and the role it plays in our Byzantine governance system.

Hmm, Oman Ghana - enti yeweiye paa enie? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Friday, 27 January 2017

President Akufo-Addo Must Appoint Only Competent, Honest And Principled Individuals To The Boards Of Public-Sector Entities - Instead Of Packing Them With NPP Favourites To Milk Them Dry

Reports of malfeasance in state-owned entities in the media usually multiply whenever regime change occurs after elections in Ghana. Unfortunately, that has been the trend since the 4th Republic came into being.

It is therefore not surprising that since President Akufo-Addo's assumption of office, there have been reports of alleged malfeasance at the Cocoa Marketing Board (COCOBOD), the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and 
the Bulk Oil Storage and Transportation Company (BOST), in the Ghanaian media.

They are a clear indication of the need to provide good leadership  at the board-level for all state-owned companies and other public-sector entities in this country.

In that regard, one hopes that President Akufo-Addo will put the national interest above party advantage, and resist the temptation to  indulge in the usual practice of politicians who  come to power after elections, treating   appointments to the top management and  boards of public-sector entities as an avenue for the distribution of patronage.

Over the years that attitude has resulted in scores of square-pegs-in-round-holes-appointments to upper-echelon management and board-level positions in the public sector  - because such appointments are meant to serve as  rewards for party stalwarts and regime-cronies: regardless of their suitability for such appointments. It has not served Mother Ghana well.

Little wonder then that shenenigans abound at the highest levels in so many public-sector entities - in many of which renuneration levels have no correlation whatsoever with performance: with entities that are financial basket cases being paid vast sums and given perks that amount to small fortunes on top of that outrage.

Those now in power in Ghana would be wise to take a good look at the 10th edition of the PricewaterhouseCoopers report  on the role of non executive directors and let it inform the choices they make when appointing individuals to the boards of public-sector entities.

If he is truly sincere about wanting to change Ghana for the better, President Akufo-Addo must appoint only competent, honest and principled individuals to the boards of public-sector entities - instead of just continuing with the NPP/NDC duopoly's business as usual practice when making such appointments: by packing them with regime-cronies who then go on to  milk sundry state-owned entities dry, as has hitherto  been the case.

Please read on:

Non excutive directors in Africa expected to become specialised professionals in the foreseeable future: PwC NEDs continues with its annual review of fees paid to non-executive directors on JSE listed companies, as well as several African stock exchanges and an analysis of non-executive fees paid to the FTSE 100

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, January 25, 2017/ -- Africa’s boards remain under significant pressure to continually transform and to ensure that they have the right expertise, experience and diversity to be an effective board in today’s rapidly-changing business environment.

Gerald Seegers, Head of People and Organisation for PwC Africa, says: “Within the foreseeable future the makeup of the board will change to reflect increased business risks and it is predicted that non-executive directors will become specialised professionals.”

PwC’s (www.PwC.com) 10th edition of the ‘Non-executive directors: Practices and fees trends report,’ issued today continues with its annual review of fees paid to non-executive directors on JSE listed companies, as well as several African stock exchanges and an analysis of non-executive fees paid to the FTSE 100.

Seegers comments: “Over the past decade we have seen significant improvement on matters such as independence and the mix of quality of non-executives on our boards. The first edition of this report preceded King III by two years, at a time when there was a void in reporting remuneration and a lack of corporate governance for executive remuneration.

“We are now at the point where King IV is the standard by which all organisations are expected to be governed.”

The board of the future
Board composition
A number of challenging initiatives are changing the shape of the board of the future. The non-executive director of the future is expected to be a specialist in a particular field who will have the ability to discuss many aspects of the business. There are existential issues that the board of the future will need to address beyond annual reporting. These include: The digital competency of the company and how it approaches cyber security and how artificial intelligence will be used by the enterprise. The focus is on the environment and how products will influence, improve or damage the environment.

Boards will need to be more agile and able to adapt as quickly if not faster than the speed of change in technology and the environment and in so doing, become more effective.

Gender diversity
Global and local trends show that some progress has been made in the increase of gender and racial diversity in shaping the board of the future. However, more needs to be done. A number of factors constrain women’s economic empowerment. Global research suggests that gender norms and discriminatory social patterns, labour market characteristics, legal, regulatory and policy frameworks as well as fiscal policies are not conducive to gender equality.

The impact of King IV
In order to keep abreast of ever-changing corporate governance and regulatory developments both internationally and locally, the King IV Code was released on 1 November 2016. King IV has brought about a number of enhancements, particularly in relation to NEDS of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

These include: The enhancement of board independence is encouraged as SMEs are encouraged to consider inviting an experienced and competent person to serve as an NED and ideally as an independent director. There is also an increased focus of the professional development of directors of SMEs who are not experienced NEDs by encouraging them to undergo corporate governance training to ensure that they are adequately equipped to fulfill their fiduciary duties. In addition, King IV encourages the board to regularly rotate NEDs to ensure that there is a balance of power, as well as to maintain the objectivity of NEDs, which should be one of the main contributions of an NED to the board.

Fees paid to non-executive board members of JSE listed companies
Of the 2 248 non-executive directors, 346 are paid in foreign currency. A decline in total fees paid in pound sterling to non-executives serving on South African boards took place during the 2016 reporting period as a result of the Brexit exit vote.

The median chairperson fee across the entire JSE has risen by 10.2% to R520, 000 (from R472, 000 in 2015). The increase at median level for all non-executive directors serving on the boards of all companies on the JSE was 8.2% (2015:4.9%). This saw overall fees increase at the median level from R319, 000 to R345, 000. The median fee for lead independent directors increased by 6.8% to R967, 000 (2015: R924, 000). Possibly the most significant contribution is the lead directors’ dialogue with CEOs about substantive business matters or governance issues. As companies gain more experience and feel higher levels of comfort with lead directors, their roles are likely to continue to evolve.

Increases awarded to non-executive directors for total fees vary between sectors, as well as company size within sectors. Consumer prices in South Africa rose 6.8% year-on-year in December 2016 – above market expectations of 6.5%. This was the highest inflation rate since February 2016. Most pay increases to executive directors were above that level. Total fees to non-executive directors large cap companies in the financial services sector increased by 13.1% to R978, 000 (2015: R865, 000).

The basic resource sector saw a marginal increase for both chairperson and non-executive directors. Total fees paid to non-executive directors in the large-cap basic resources sector increased at the median level from R930, 000 to R1, 044m. Companies in the industrial sector also showed marginal increases for both chairpersons and non-executive directors.

Other African stock exchanges
The report analyses seven markets outside South Africa (Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda), which have an aggregate of 402 listed companies with 1691 non-executive directors serving on their boards. Although non-executive directors received reasonable increases overall, the impact of currency weaknesses against the US dollar has limited the increases. Overall, the total fee paid to chairpersons at median level for the seven selected sub-Saharan African exchanges is $45,000 (2015: $44,000). Total fees paid to non-executive directors at the median level for the seven exchanges are $25,000 (2015: $24,000).

London FTSE 100
In June 2016, the UK voted by a majority of 52% to leave the EU. Remuneration paid to non-executive directors suddenly declined due to the depreciation of the British pound against the US dollar. Total fees paid to chairpersons at the median levels decreased by 11.4% to $518, 000 (2015: 584, 000). Total fees paid to non-executive directors decreased by 10.7% to $132, 000 (2015: $148, 000).

Profile of a non-executive director
There are currently 2 248 non-executive directors (2015: 2 137; 2014: 2, 217; 2013: 2, 204) which is 111 directors more compared to the prior reporting period. In addition, the board tenure for non-executive directors has shown an increase for both chairpersons and NEDs this year. This is indicative of a slowdown in board resignations or changes.

It is positive to note that all sectors now have a majority of independent non-executive directors. “This trend is very encouraging and industries are now moving towards the two-thirds mark,” Seegers adds.

In South Africa, older chairpersons are making way for younger ones. Younger non-executive directors are also making their way onto boards. This may largely be due to the complexity facing non-executive directors and the need for technical expertise in various fields, particularly in the areas of information and digital technology.

Regulatory trends in the boardroom
Globally, the corporate landscape continues to evolve, with shareholders and other stakeholders demanding to know how executive remuneration correlates with a company’s’ financial performance. Non-executive directors are expected to be the guardians of sound corporate governance, and therefore their independence is closely guarded in many jurisdictions. Although non-executive directors’ fees are not under the same level of scrutiny as remuneration of executive directors, it does not mean that there is no basis for questioning them.

“It will be interesting to see how non-executive director fees will be impacted by the global shift towards justification and transparency in corporate governance, as countries place more emphasis on curbing executive remuneration,” Seegers says.

Distributed by APO on behalf of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC).

About PwC:
At PwC (www.PwC.com), our purpose is to build trust in society and solve important problems. We’re a network of firms in 157 countries with more than 223,000 people who are committed to delivering quality in assurance, advisory and tax services. Find out more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at www.PwC.com.
PwC has a presence in 34 Africa countries with an office footprint covering 66 offices. With a single Africa leadership team and more than 400 partners and 9000 professionals across Africa, we serve some of the continent’s largest businesses across all industries.
PwC refers to the PwC network and/or one or more of its member firms, each of which is a separate legal entity. Please see www.PwC.com/structure for further details.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC)

Thursday, 26 January 2017

Why The NPP's Bugri Naabu Must Immediately Return All The Cash And Vehicle He Claims Were 'Bribes' From Former President Mahama And His Brother Ibrahim

In what must be one of the most convoluted stories ever recounted in the Ghanaian media, Mr. Bugri  Naabu, was reported to have been 'bribed' by former President Mahama and his brother Ibrahim Mahama - who it is claimed handed him GHc500,000 on Friday, 28 October, 2016: to apparently denounce his party's presidential candidate.

Incredibly, the morally upright Bugri Naabu, the New Patriotic Party's (NPP) chairperson for the Northern Region, did not reject the money, even though  from the claims he is said to have made about the matter, it was obvious to him that it was a 'bribe'.

Instead,  he went ahead to deposit the cash - in GHc50 denominations -  into an account (number: 0985590013) he held at the Abbosey Okai branch of the Prudential Bank. Amazing.

Apparently, he was also supposed to give an intermediary who facilitated the meeting between the Mahamas and Bugri Naabu, Alhaji Awal, GHc50,000, for his services. So far so good.

Bugri also claimed that he was told by the Mahamas that if he went ahead to denounce then-candidate Akufo-Addo as a tribalistic politician who despised northerners, they would give him a new V6 Mitsubishi SUV - which they subsequently did: even though Naabu never denounced Akufo-Addo. Where is the logic there?

The vehicle's ownership is said to have been transfered to him on 2nd November, 2016, by Malin Investment Company Limited - which is said to have imported the vehicle into Ghana in June 2016. He was also promised a Toyota Landcruiser SUV,  plus GHc3.3 million cash, in return  for the denunciation of Akufo-Addo. Talk about convoluted.

(Incidentally, Marlin Investment Company Limited is said to be owned by an aide to then-President Mahama Frank Nuhu Alormatu and a Ms. Hawa Hayifi Ayi  Mahama.)

A few days after Bugri Naabu banked the GHc5000,000, he said the Mahama brothers John and Ibrahim also donated GHc10,000 and GHc20,000 respectively during a funeral for his late daughter at Tamale.

Today, Bugri Naabu says he "thinks" he will give
the Mitsubishi SUV to charity. Cheeky sod. What if, perchance, the do-called 'bribes' were simply inducements to get him to return to the NDC he was once a member of and score valuable political points for the NDC that way? Nothing more, nothing less? Is that not something that goes on in the Ghanaian political world all the time - and is designed to cause political opponents maximum embarrassment?

If he is wise, Bugri Naabu would follow President Akufo-Addo's very sensible advice to him - in a comment the president made to journalists who asked him about Bugri Naabu's 'bribery' allegation against the Mahama brothers - and return the vehicle/vehicles and all the cash he claims  the Mahamas gave to him.

The reason for the president saying Naabu would return the alleged 'bribes' given him by the Mahama brothers (ostensibly to denounce then-candidate Akufo-Adddo as a tribalistic politician who hates northerners - a tall story if ever there was one) is simple: it is morally untenable to make allegations of 'bribery' against someone and still hold on to the said 'bribe'.

Common decency demands that Bugri Naabu returns every pesewa given to 'bribe' him (including the donations made during his late daughter's funeral by the Mahama brothers) to the Mahamas. Ditto the vehicle/vehicles.

It is not for Bugri Naabu to decide to give them away to charity - as that would be tantamount to accepting them. They are not his to give away if he claims they are 'bribes'. Bribery is an offence - for which the giver and receiver can both be prosecuted.

Bugri Naabu is trying to eat his cake and have it in this matter. He cannot. President Akufo-Addo, who is a very wise gentleman, should impress upon him to immediately return all the cash and vehicle/vehicless he received from the Mahama brothers. Period. Bugri is not nearly as clever as he thinks he is.

The point is not that Bugri was buying expensive cars whiles President Mahama was still a student at Tamale Secondary School. That is pure nonsense on bamboo stilts - and Bugri knows it is a diversionary tactic that is neither here nor there.

The whole point - in all his extra tall Kweku-Ananse-Toli - is that President Mahama headed an administration to which contractors sent bids to tender for contracts. - and he, like many other contractors across the nation, was owed for past contracts which had not been paid: a very frustrating situation for any businessperson.

So how do we know that the convoluted story as narrated to the NPP  by Bugri and relayed to the world by the holier-than-though and dissembling Mustapha Hamid (milking Naabu's embarasment at being caught redhanded for all it was worth to counter poor innocent-abroad Haruna Atta's devastating recent plainspeaking) was not just a pack of lies concocted to score political points for the NPP in the heat of an election campaign?

Could the truth simply not be that those lies were  invented to fit the real facts in the matter - a genuine attempt by the Mahama brothers to appease a disgruntled contractor whom the government had not paid for work done, and who was once an NDC man who eventually crossed carpet to the NPP: who was approached to see if he would be willing to return to the NDC fold again in exchange for being relieved of any indebtedness caused by the nonpayment of work done by his company? Yen nye enkwada ewo Ghana o, hmm.

Is  that scenario not more plausible than the Kweku-Ananse-Toli the world was told by Mustapha Hamid as purportedly relayed to him by Bugri Naabu?
In any case,  Onyame enye Alata ni, enti, today, Bugri has lost the little credibility he had with the NPP. Serves him right. To appease the Almighty God let him return all the cash and vehicle/vehicles - as the president has wisely advised. Cheeky sod: #Mendacity-by-another-name. Ebeeii. Haaba.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Revolutionary Grid-Scale Energy Storage Technology For Distributed Photovoltaic-Generation That Will Make Truly Affordable Electricity Possible Nationwide

The marvellous thing about our interconnected world today, is that disruptive  innovations are always emerging to help resolve challenges facing humankind.

That is why we must never despair as a people - no matter how difficult the challenges facing us are at any given point in our journey as a people with a common destiny.

The possibility always exists that some disruptive technological innovation will emerge to dramatically change the paradigm - and lead to the transformation of Ghanaian society into a prosperous one: in which virtually all its citizens enjoy high living standards.

When some of us criticised the daft idea of having a 40-year national developnent  plan, because it was obvious to us that innovative and disruptive technologies would make many of the assumptions underpinning it obsolete, those pushing the idea were not pleased in the least

This blog has suggested in the past, for example, that the Volta River Authority (VRA) ought to go back to its roots as a renewable energy company and focus on partnering world-class companies in places such as the U.S. and Australia to produce affordable electricity using a distributed PV-generation with grid-scale storage battery business model.

That is why today, we are posting a culled press release from Avionx Energy that we hope will inspire the new energy minister and the VRA's management - whom we hope will contact Avionx Energy in due course - to see the possibilities that now exist for the VRA to become a profitable renewable energy  company that co-owns off-grid renewable energy micro-grids with District Assemblies (which will provide suitable land for solar farms  as equity) countrywide.

Avionx's innovative energy storage technology is a real game changer - and if we have a fund that will provide constituencies with a million dollars each, annually, nothing stops us from pooling some of that money to provide its utility-scale storage batteries for distributed PV-generation to provide truly affordable electricity for consumers nationwide.

Please read on:

Avionx Energy
Top Energy and Finance Companies Launch Next Generation Storage System for Utility and Grid-Scale Applications

New energy storage solution optimizes proven flow battery technology to deliver long run-time, 20-year operation

October 07, 2015 08:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time

BOSTON–Executives with Boston-based, Vionx Energy have announced an ecosystem of companies to launch and commercialize a groundbreaking storage technology poised to transform how modern grids are managed and optimized. The unique relationship brings together six global companies— United Technologies Corp. (UTC), Starwood Energy Group, Siemens, 3M, VantagePoint Capital Partners and Jabil—to license, finance, manufacture and deploy the energy storage system.

“Recent changes to the energy system are creating completely new challenges for distribution grids”

The company’s unique technology, a breakthrough vanadium flow storage system, was developed and engineered by researchers at UTC and is designed to make a long-duration, long-life grid-scale battery practical, resilient and cost efficient.

“At Vionx Energy we’re dedicated to providing grid storage solutions for the long run,” said David Vieau, Vionx Energy’s President and Chief Executive Officer and former Chief Executive Officer of lithium ion battery maker A123 Systems. “Through our innovative flow battery solution incorporating technology developed by United Technologies, we are confident our technology has an important role to play in the future of grid energy storage. Our unique eco-system of companies, including UTC, Siemens, and Starwood Energy, bring us the expertise and support to make Vionx Energy a leading grid storage supplier globally.”

“With the support of an Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E*) award, UTRC has developed a differentiated flow battery that enables cost-effective and reliable energy storage solutions,” said Dr. David Parekh, vice president, Research, and director, United Technologies Research Center. “We are excited to be part of this ecosystem of companies. Along with licensing this R&D 100 award-winning technology exclusively to Vionx Energy, we will continue to provide R&D support to Vionx as they further develop and commercialize this game-changing solution.”

Vionx will market, sell and service the technology, which is targeted to utility scale applications in transmission and distribution, microgrid and island markets. Vionx’s storage design boasts an in-situ process that maintains full storage capacity over a 20-year period – unlike other grid storage solutions such as lithium ion or lead acid. The result is a safe, long-running, affordable and flexible grid storage solution that provides utilities with added infrastructure resiliency and defers aging asset replacement costs.

“Recent changes to the energy system are creating completely new challenges for distribution grids,” said Dan Wishnick, Siemens Energy’s Sales and Business Development Manager. “The modern grid requires robust energy storage solutions that can provide value to smart grid users multiple hours a day year-after-year. As the engineering, procurement and construction provider to Vionx Energy, we believe the company’s flow battery technology can and will provide valuable long duration energy storage solutions for creating a balanced and resilient electrical grid. The collection of unique and prominent companies working with Vionx Energy is a testament to what Vionx’s technology can accomplish, and we’re excited to play a role in this new venture.”

The group is backed by a variety of energy finance heavyweights including Starwood Energy, and VantagePoint Capital Partners, among others. According to Brad Nordholm, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Starwood Energy Group: “as an infrastructure investments specialist, we know the important role energy storage will continue to play in grid modernization globally and in meeting tomorrow’s energy demands in existing and emerging markets. We’re pleased to be an important part of Vionx and its impressive team.”

“The flow-battery system from Vionx reflects many years of concentrated design, testing and manufacturing expertise, as evidenced by the unique and highly qualified partners working with the company,” said Lee Burrows, Managing Director at VantagePoint Capital Partners, an early investor in Vionx Energy. “We are very pleased to be investors in Vionx and to witness the company emerging as an important leader in this critical and large-growth market.”

“Vionx’s energy storage system represents a significant advance in flow battery technology, and 3M is pleased to have the opportunity to draw upon our broad fuel cell, membrane and electrode assembly expertise to enable lower cost and longer life electrode assemblies for flow batteries. We view this technology as a key enabler for improved grid resiliency and the continued deployment of sustainable, renewable generation,” said Jeffrey Hohn, 3M’s Vice President of Renewable Energy.

“Business disruption across the energy sector is accelerating at record pace. At Jabil we focus on helping customers, like Vionx Energy with the world’s leading global manufacturing and design services,” said John Dargan, Jabil’s Senior Vice President of Corporate Development. “Vionx’s new flow battery technology will represent a leap forward for grid storage technology. As the exclusive manufacturer for Vionx’s storage system, we are proud to be part of the unique and influential group coming together to support Vionx energy and flow battery technology.”

Vionx Energy has recently delivered a large-scale storage system to the U.S. Army at Fort Devens in Massachusetts and is poised to announce additional projects in the coming weeks.

*ARPA-E is a United States government agency tasked with promoting and funding research and development of advanced energy technologies. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E), U.S. Department of Energy, under Award Number DE-AR0000149.

Disclaimer: “The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by an agency of the United States Government. Neither the United States Government nor any agency thereof, nor any of their employees, makes any warranty, express or implied, or assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information, apparatus, product, or process disclosed, or represents that its use would not infringe privately owned rights. Reference herein to any specific commercial product, process, or service by trade name, trademark, manufacturer, or otherwise does not necessarily constitute or imply its endorsement, recommendation, or favoring by the United States Government or any agency thereof. The views and opinions of authors expressed herein do not necessarily state or reflect those of the United States Government or any agency thereof.”
About Vionx

Woburn based Vionx Energy is a leading supplier of long-duration grid-scale flow batteries. Vionx’s vanadium redox energy storage system brings together an 8-10 hour runtime with maintained capacity over a 20-year lifespan and delivers the most flexible fully integrated, long duration energy storage solution that meets the needs of the power industry.

Vionx Energy provides a fully integrated system comprised of energy storage, power conditioning, system control and thermal management subsystems packaged into turn-key building blocks placed wherever needed for instantaneous dispatch. Vionx is meeting a critical need in today’s energy storage marketplace: making grid-scale energy storage practical, resilient and economical across a twenty-year time horizon at the lowest lifetime cost of ownership of any grid-scale storage system. For more information, please visit http://vionxenergy.com.

Mahoney Communications Group
Colin Mahoney, 212-220-6045
About Us
Backed by premier global partners, Vionx has a new energy storage solution for the grid that optimizes proven flow battery technology to deliver long run-time and cost-competitive 20-year operation.
Our Headquarters
VIonx Energy
12A Cabot Road
Woburn, MA 01801"

End of culled archived press release from the Avionx Emergy website.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

ECOWAS Must Protect The Waters Off West Africa's Coastline From All Foreign Missile Tests By Banning Them

It has just emerged that in December 2015, a Royal Navy Trident class submarine, HMS Vengeance, conducted a missile test off the coast of the U.S. state of Florida, in which it fired an unarmed Trident11 D5 missile intended to hit a sea target off the coast of west Africa.

The missile apparently misfired and veered towards the U.S. instead. The sea target it was aimed at off the west African coast was 9,012 kilometres (5,600 miles) away from HMS Vengeance's position off the Florida coast. Incredible.

Why should HMS Vengeance's Trident missiles target the waters off west Africa, one wonders?

And how do we know that the warheads the so-called 'unarmed' missiles carry  might not in reality be depleted uranium bombs -  the radioactive type of bombs used in the Iraq wars that damaged the health of so many coalition soldiers after the Gulf wars and have poisoned many parts of Iraq that still  remain radioactive even as we speak?

We are a peace-loving people in west Africa. But we must not allow our lives to be toyed with by nations whose military-industrial complexes have a reputation for seeking wars abroad in order to profit handsomely from them.

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) must protest to Britain in the strongest possible terms about the June 2015 missile test by HMS Vengeance - and demand an end to all such missile tests: just as Britain herself  regularly protests against North Korean missile tests and for good reason too.

No nation on the surface of this earth must be allowed by the leaders of the ECOWAS  member-states to test-fire  missiles - especially long-range missiles that can carry nuclear warheads - aimed at sea targets  in waters off the entire  west African continental shelf. Period.

The question that ECOWAS security chiefs need to answer is: Were they aware of the test-firing of  HMS Vengeance's Trident11 D5 missile targetting an object in the Atlantic Ocean off the west African coastline in December 2015 - and if not what steps will they take going forward into the future to make sure that the ECOWAS heads of state agree to ban all such missile tests by foreign military forces based outside the African continent? Enough is enough. Haaba.

Monday, 23 January 2017

Why Is The Minority In Parliament Opposed To The Idea Of An Independent Special Public Prosecutor's Office - When It Is So Obviously In The National Interest?

Apparently, the Minority side in Parliament intends to challenge the constitutional legality of the Attorney General setting up  an independent  special public prosecutor's office, at the Supreme Court.

Yet, when it is finally set up, the independent special  public prosecutor's office will be an important entity in the legal system, which will be free from political interference and thus help fight high-level corruption in Ghana.

That is definitely in both the general public's interest and in the nation's best interest too.

Whiles it is always beneficial to society when  there is recourse to the Supreme Court to test the constitutionality of actions taken by the Executive branch of government, and therefore a step in the right direction, if that recourse to the apex court  is taken by the Minority in Parliament, the move could elicit a negative response amongst many ordinary Ghanaians.

For ordinary people the question is: Why would the National Democratic Congress' (NDC) MPs try to stop the establishment of an independent special public prosecutor's office, when it will help fight corruption in Ghana?

It is a question the NDC's leaders - both inside the House and at the national executive level - ought to ponder over too: for there are long-term implications for their party's future: if it is seen to be opposing the creation of an independent special public prosecutor's office for Ghana.

I don't pretend to have any knowledge of the legal system, but it seems logical to even an ignoramus like me that setting up an independent special public prosecutor's office will be an administrative measure taken by the Attorney General, to make the fight against corruption in Ghana much more effective - having determined that it is in the public interest that that be done for that noble nation-building objective.

As our contribution to the debate on the right of the Attorney General  of Ghana to determine what constitutes  the  public interest in this particular matter, we are reproducing a culled speech  delivered by Britain's Attorney General, The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP - who sets out what his view  on who in the UK's governance system ought to decide what the public interest is in certain circumstances in his speech.

Although it does not have a direct bearing on the Minority side in Ghana's Parliament's arguments about the constitutionality of the Attorney General's intention to establish an indepedent special prosecutor's office, in our humble view, the UK Attorney General's speech clearly shows that it would not be inappropriate for the president's nominee for Attorney General, Ms Gloria Akufo - if approved by the Appointment's Committee of Parliament - to decide that setting up an independent special prosecutor's office that divests her office of the responsibility of prosecuting court cases on behalf of the Republic is in the public interest.

It was culled from the Gov UK website.

Please read on:


The Attorney General on who should decide what the public interest is


Attorney General's Office and The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP
Delivered on:

8 February 2016 (Transcript of the speech, exactly as it was delivered)


 University College London

First published:

    9 February 2016

The Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP spoke at University College London's Law Faculty on his role as a guardian of the public interest
The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP

"I welcome the opportunity to speak to you today, here at UCL.

Ronald Dworkin, who challenged and entranced generations of students and colleagues here, said that law is a branch of morality.

He was right.

And although it may not always look like it, politics is another branch of morality.

And today, without seeking to reach Professor Dworkin’s intellectual heights, I want to talk about one way in which the common purpose of politics and law is exemplified by the office that I hold: that of Attorney General.

The aspect I want to focus on is my role, as Attorney General, in relation to the public interest.

This is not a function of the job that receives much comment, even within the legal world.

But I want to set out why I see it as an important part of my role.

And I would go even further: it is what puts the Attorney General at the heart of our constitution.

It is essentially a way in which the Attorney, occupying his or her unique position between and within both the political and legal worlds, upholds a well-functioning and fair justice system.

That matters to government.

But it also matters to the Courts, and the legal profession as a whole.

I want to say why I think that is. And then to say something about who, in a well-functioning justice system, is best-placed to decide what the public interest is.

So first, why does the role of the Attorney General matter?
The Constitutional Role of the Attorney General

The principal role of the Attorney, alongside the other UK Law Officers – the Solicitor General for England and Wales, and the Advocate General for Scotland – is to uphold and promote the Rule of Law through his or her constitutional functions.

So let’s begin with some history.

Last year, the common law world celebrated the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta.

I was honoured to be part of those celebrations.

The post of Attorney General must be one of very few which is almost as old as Magna Carta itself.

Last year we also celebrated to slightly less fanfare 700 years since the first formal appointment recorded of a specially designated King’s Attorney, in the year 1315 – although there are records of individuals appointed to “sue the King’s pleas” as early as 1243, within living memory of Magna Carta.

And the title of Attorney General is first recorded in the 15th century.

All these centuries later, we are being told by independent observers that the Attorney General has an increasingly important role in relation to the Rule of Law in our constitutional arrangements.

That is the view for example of the Constitution Committee of our House of Lords. The Law Officers are government ministers, the Attorney General being a cabinet-level appointment. I am the principal legal adviser to government at a ministerial level.

The Ministerial Code provides that the Law Officers must be consulted before the government is committed to critical decisions involving legal considerations.

Advising the cabinet, and participating in cabinet discussions, on legal and constitutional questions is the most direct way in which I ensure that the government understands its legal and constitutional obligations.

I am also head of profession for lawyers within government, and as such have oversight for the legal advice given to government by all government lawyers.

In other words, I am responsible, ultimately, for ensuring that the government’s decisions and actions respect and uphold the Rule of Law.
The Law Officers’ public interest functions

But that is not the only aspect of my role.

I have other constitutionally significant functions, many inherent, others granted to me in statute, in relation to the public interest in the Rule of Law.

I exercise these independently of my government functions.

They include instituting proceedings for contempt of court, considering applications for fresh inquests and referring potentially unduly lenient sentences to the Court of Appeal for resentencing. I have a role in relation to charitable interests, and can intervene in cases before the High Court and the Charity Tribunal.

These functions differ considerably in nature and scope.

But their common feature is that they are exceptional and direct interventions in the functioning of the justice system in the interests of supporting the system itself, and maintaining public confidence in the administration of justice.

They are not normal functions of the executive.

But they are well-suited to be exercised by the Law Officers, who have a foot in both the legal and political worlds.

As Sir Elwyn Jones, Attorney General from 1964 to 1970, said:

    The Attorney is the protector … of the public interest generally. This aspect of his duties had a very early origin. He has for long been the proper person to take legal proceedings where the interests of the public are endangered, or acts tending to public injury are done without authority.

The judiciary have shared that view.

Lord Wilberforce, in Gouriet v AG [1978], said:

    In all these matters the Attorney-General’s role is to seek a just balance between often conflicting public interests. The functions referred to above may be held by the Attorney as an inherent part of his ancient office or may have been conferred upon him by statute. Thus Parliament has again and again recognised his particular role in this sphere of seeking to balance the public interest in matters of the character which have been mentioned. In doing so it has reinforced his inherent powers.

And these public interest functions are not amenable to judicial review. In 1902, in the case of London County Council v AG [1902], the Lord Chancellor, the Earl of Halsbury (no less) said:

    In a case where as a part of his public duty he has a right to intervene … the determination of the question whether it is a proper case for the Attorney-General to proceed in, is a matter entirely beyond the jurisdiction of this or any other Court. It is a question which the law of this country has made to reside exclusively in the Attorney-General.

My superintendence of the independent prosecuting authorities is also a public interest function.

It requires me to uphold a sensitive constitutional balance, supporting and defending the operational independence of the prosecutors, whilst at the same time consistently promoting their democratic accountabilities both in government and in Parliament.

It also specifically requires me, in certain cases, to take responsibility for ensuring that the public interest is taken into account when deciding whether to bring or discontinue prosecutions.

The unifying characteristic of all these functions is that they are a ‘backstop’ to prevent or remedy injustice in or pressures on other parts of the justice system.

And that is something, as I have said, that the Law Officers are uniquely placed to do.

A few examples will help to illustrate this point.
The ULS scheme

One of the functions of my office is the operation of the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme. In the event that someone (whether or not they have been involved in the case) feels the sentence awarded for a criminal offence to be too low, they are able to refer the matter to my office. If the offence is one of those in the ULS scheme and it is referred to us within the 28 day statutory time limit the Solicitor General or I will personally consider whether it is appropriate to refer the sentence to the Court of Appeal.

These are public interest decisions, not political ones, and it is essential that Law Officers are trusted to refer what they should and not to refer what they shouldn’t - to make these decisions as lawyers, not as politicians. Of course, these days it seems anyone who is even part politician needs to offer more than just reassurance on a matter of trust, so let me offer some evidence.

On the subject of referring what we should, let’s take a recent case – that of Sarah Sands, convicted of manslaughter for killing a convicted paedophile. Much of the public and political audience doubted she should have been convicted at all, let alone that her sentence of three and a half years should have been increased. My office received comments from members of the public that the sentence was too long, as well as those complaining that it was too short. As an offence within the scheme I was required as a lawyer to consider the sentence in law, and it seemed to me to be unduly lenient. So I referred that sentence and the Court of Appeal subsequently agreed and increased it to seven and a half years. If I was acting on the basis of political expediency, I may have done something different.

On not referring to the Court of Appeal what we shouldn’t, our approach is clear from the outcomes of the cases that have been referred. Of 674 cases referred to my office in 2014 only 122 were referred to the Court of Appeal. That’s a fairly small percentage of cases brought to our attention. And that percentage has remained constant even as the volumes of referrals have increased.

Of those 122, 117 were granted leave to be heard; and of those 117, the Court of Appeal agreed with the Law Officers and found in 109 of the cases that the sentence was unduly lenient. Were referrals made for reasons of political expediency, the outcomes may very well have been different.

I am rather proud of those figures – they show we are exercising this power where it is really necessary to do so, and that we generally get our judgments made in the public interest right. But it is also worth saying that the power is there to rectify problem cases which are far better avoided in the first place. My ambition is for us not to have to exercise it nearly as much, because cases where it is necessary to challenge a sentence become fewer and fewer - and we work together to bring clarity to the sentencing framework and provide consistency in sentencing decisions.

It is also important to mention that any decision to refer is part of a continuing process; it does not stop at the point of referral. When a case is referred to the Court of Appeal we write to those representing the offender to explain the process, and invite them to make submissions. On occasion, we receive information that even leads to the reference being withdrawn, as happened in a case very recently.

The ULS scheme is an alternative to a more general right for prosecutors or victims to appeal against a sentence. As such, it represents a filter mechanism to prevent ill founded cases clogging up the criminal justice system. It helps the Courts and the judges by ensuring their time is spent hearing deserving cases. Other of my public interest functions fit this bill too.

For example, the Law Officers consider requests by an interested party – often but not always the family of the deceased – who feels that an inquest should have been held but wasn’t, or that the inquest which did take place was in some way flawed.

If I agree, then I will grant permission for an application to be made in the High Court for a fresh inquest.

In considering sentences or inquests, the Law Officers are responsible for determining whether a case should be put before a Court.

That is a question that in other areas might be considered by the Court itself, through a permission stage, as is the case in applications for judicial review, for example.

But in these instances Parliament has said the Attorney General must grant permission before the Court can consider it. The decision the Law Officers take is not just whether previous sentencing decisions or inquests were legally flawed, we also look at whether there is a public interest in reopening matters.

Let me emphasise again that we take these decisions extremely seriously and can only decide where the balance of the public interest lies by considering all aspects of it. These are executive powers to make rare exceptions to the important principles of legal certainty and the finality of court decisions. They are there for an important purpose. But they must be exercised circumspectly.

So for example, in a request for a fresh inquest: we will consider the views of the person requesting the fresh inquest; we will seek and consider the views of the other interested parties, including the coroner; and we will then put the views of the interested parties back before the person making the request.

Careful consideration is given to the representations of all concerned before I take a decision. And again, that decision is a public interest one, not a political one. And again let me offer some evidence of that.

Recently, I granted permission to allow an application for a fresh inquest relating to deaths in Loughgall in Northern Ireland in 1987 potentially involving British soldiers, RUC officers, suspected IRA members and civilians. That decision was made at the height of fractious talks between unionists and nationalist parties, and so its timing was at the very least extremely inconvenient politically. Nevertheless it was the right legal decision, and it was the decision I took.

Let me turn to one more example of public interest decisions for the Law Officers, again in the Criminal Justice sphere.
Consents to prosecution

There are certain offences which cannot be prosecuted without the consent of the Law Officers. The list is not obviously a logical one – the offences for which consent is required are many and diverse covering areas from agricultural credits to war crimes.

Some of the offences are rarely prosecuted, others – such as terrorism offences – are sadly and increasingly far more common.

Generally speaking, prosecutors are perfectly able to decide whether a prosecution should be brought and any consent required is that of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

However, in some limited instances a further check is needed as to whether prosecution is in the public interest.

Or it may be that a vexatious private prosecution has been launched and it is appropriate for the Law Officers to step in to prevent the Criminal Justice system from being abused.

In acting as that check, the Law Officers bring consistency of approach. We are able to give consideration to the public interest. And because of our special position, we are able to consult colleagues in government when important issues of public policy or international affairs are concerned, for example in prosecutions for official secrets or hijacking offences.

And of course we are also accountable to Parliament for the decisions we make.

This underlines Parliament’s role in holding the government to account in relation to the public interest.
Other useful backstops to secure proper functioning of Courts

Finally, my office also has a series of functions in respect of the Court process itself, one of which is policing contempt of court.

If an editor is planning to publish, or does indeed publish, an article or other piece of media which causes a substantial risk of serious prejudice to on-going court proceedings, then it is my office that will intervene.

Another function is the appointment of an advocate to the Court; or amicus curiae. So if a novel and important point of law arises in proceedings in which the Court feels that it would benefit from the assistance of argument from independent Counsel, then it is my office that will consider whether independent Counsel should be appointed as an advocate to the Court. These functions are interesting because they frequently involve judges coming directly to me asking for safeguards to the trial process; an unusual intersection between the judiciary and the executive.

In my view it is entirely right that there is some central oversight of decisions whether to instigate contempt proceedings, or to appoint advocates to the Court.

Having that central oversight ensures both that a consistent threshold is applied and that questions of broader public interest can be considered.

The Courts and indeed prosecutors may simply not have the information or expertise to come to a view where there is a difficult public interest balance to be made.

There are a number of other public interest functions – I will spare you a recital of the whole list. I would though like to take some credit on behalf of the AGO for the unsung work we do in protecting the justice system, and the public purse, from vexatious litigation.

But the list of functions is not set in stone, and as any minister must, I have to constantly review whether public money is being spent appropriately.

My role in relation to charities is an important one.

But we also now have a highly-regarded and professional Charity Commission. Some of my functions overlap with theirs. And I think there is scope for the Commission to perform more of its functions without interference from me where that is the right approach.

A question for another day.
Who decides?
A question I want to raise today is one which occurs in many areas of my role, but has particular resonance given my public interest functions: within our constitutional and legal arrangements, who should decide what constitutes the public interest?

This is a topical question.

It goes to issues such as, “who should have the final say on whether information should be released under the Freedom of Information Act?”, or “who should approve warrants to authorise intrusive surveillance?”. I will come back to both of those.

But first let me say that when it comes to matters of the public interest, there is a tone to the debate sometimes that government is partisan, making decisions for its own benefit. It is sometimes said that only judges are sufficiently detached to be able to take decisions which truly balance competing public interests.

But the reality is more complex than that.

There are both constitutional and practical reasons why it is not necessarily Courts that are best placed to take decisions involving matters of public interest.

In my view there are circumstances where it is clearly right that decisions on matters of public interest should be taken by an elected, accountable politician, rather than by a Court. I hope we can all agree on where some of those areas lie – how to carry out the United Kingdom’s foreign relations for example. Or our national security. My question for today is how much further those circumstances might extend? I believe we should ask ourselves where else that logic might apply.
Example 1 - Evans

Let’s look at one possibility. The future of the Freedom of Information Act is especially topical at the moment.

An Independent Commission on Freedom of Information (FOI) is considering whether the current legislation strikes the right balance between the public interest in transparency and accountability on the one hand, and the need for sensitive information to be robustly protected on the other.

I won’t comment on that – the government will consider its position once the Commission has reported.

But one of the reasons the Commission was set up was to look at the act following the case of Evans – the so called ‘Prince Charles letters’ case.

In that case, the Supreme Court considered the operation of the power in the act for ministers to decide not to release information even if the Information Commissioner or tribunal said that it should be disclosed.

Section 53 of the FOI Act gave cabinet ministers the power to use a ‘veto’ to prevent the disclosure of information.

This ‘veto’ has been used very sparingly – only 7 times since 2005. To put that in context, there were some 263 appeals to the ICO in relation to central government FOI decisions in 2014/15 alone. The veto is a measure of last resort to ensure that sensitive information is not released in circumstances in which the government considers that it would be against the public interest to do so.

This was at least how the position was understood prior to the judgment.

Evans was a case in which, unusually, an Attorney General had exercised the veto, not as the holder of information himself, but because the material belonged in papers of a previous administration of a different political colour, and the Law Officers had a role as guardians of the public interest aside from their government functions. The key issue in the case was the constitutional one: who in the end decides what is in the public interest. The Supreme Court held that the act could not have been read as permitting the executive to take a different view of the public interest to that of a tribunal.

I should make clear that of course, the government complied with the Court’s decision and released the letters in question.

But in my view, Parliament intended that the exercise of the veto should be an executive function with democratic accountability for its use through Parliament. It constitutes a rare, but as I have set out far from unprecedented, recognition that the courts cannot constitutionally be the sole guardians of the public interest, and that there are important exceptions to the principle that Courts’ views are final. Of course, the exercise of the veto would always be subject to the checks and balances of judicial review, so the veto was no sort of ouster clause. But a proposition that complex balances of the public interest – which are after all the daily business of modern government – can only be done by courts is plainly wrong.

The judgments in Evans, which the Supreme Court clearly found a difficult case, challenge all of us who have a part to play in maintaining the balance of our constitution, to reflect on the respective roles of judges, ministers, and indeed Parliament, in defining and defending the public interest.

The respective roles of ministers and judges have also been much debated in relation to the approval of warrants. This brings me on to my next example in determining where the public interest lies: the Investigatory Powers Bill.
Example 2 - The Investigatory Powers Bill

Many of you will be aware of the Investigatory Powers Bill; it was published in draft form towards the end of last year.

The bill contains a revised oversight regime including a novel authorisation model for the use of interception warrants.

This model builds on recommendations made by David Anderson QC, the Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation, in his June 2015 report: “A Question of Trust”.

The model is just one of a number of safeguards designed to ensure that the powers in the bill are completely transparent and that the public can have confidence in their use.

Under the authorisation model, a senior judicial commissioner would review warranted powers on judicial review principles. In all but a small number of urgent cases, the review will take place before the warrant is issued. Importantly, judicial commissioners would have the power to quash warrants where they see fit.

This would mean that a warrant authorised by the Secretary of State must also be approved by a judicial commissioner, almost always in advance.

This authorisation model strikes a balance between democratic accountability and independent judicial scrutiny of the exercise of the most intrusive powers. Secretaries of State will have the powers to grant warrants, and that must be right: ministers are ultimately accountable to Parliament and the public for national security matters. However, this ‘double lock’ mechanism retains accountability while also ensuring independent judicial examination of the government’s actions.

And the system is a good example of where ministers and the Court can have different but complementary roles.

I hope I’ve shone a light on some of the areas where the Attorney General exercises public interest functions, designed to work with the Courts.

And in some of those areas, I believe the Attorney is better-placed than the Courts, or indeed other ministers, to decide what the public interest is.

I mentioned when I started this speech that I also wanted to say something about who is best placed to decide matters of public interest.

As the examples I have given show, decisions on matters of public interest are not always straightforward.

There is often a question of whether political accountability or judicial independence is the more appropriate safeguard.

These questions have exercised Attorneys past.

And they will continue to be relevant to problems confronted by me and my successors, I have no doubt.

They illustrate that the role of Attorney General is a unique one in our constitution; they illustrate too that it can be difficult.

But in my view it’s an essential one, and one that it’s a privilege to perform."

    9 February 2016

    Attorney General's Office
    The Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP"

End of speech delivered by Britain's Attorney General, the Rt Hon Jeremy Wright QC MP culled from the Gov UK website.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Questions The Minority MPs On The Parliamentary Committee Vetting President Akufo-Addo's Ministerial Nominees Ought to Ask

The vetting of President Akufo-Addo's nominees for ministerial positions in his New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is a very important task that Parliament is performing for the nation.

It is vital that any information proving that a particular nominee is not suitable to be a minister in the new NPP government  is provided by the general public to members of the  parliamentary committee undertaking  the vetting, the Appointments Committee.

The main opposition National Democratic Congress' (NDC) parliamentarians  who are members of the Appointments Committee vetting the president's ministerial nominees have a crucial role to play in the vetting process.

They must ensure that the nominees are properly grilled and that the process is not a mere rubber-stamping one - as that will not be helpful to our country and its people: whose interests they must safeguard at all material times.

The object of their questioning ought to be the creation of a public record in the House of the answers they elicit from the nominees - so they can  always  be referred to in future should the need  to do so ever arise.

Going forward into the future, one hopes that the Akufo-Addo era will usher in a period during which our nation will  be governed only by honest and principled men and women of good conscience, who will always put the people's  well-being and the nation's best interests above party advantage and  self-interest.

Members of the  new NPP administration must never forget that it was the widespread feeling amongst ordinary people that those administering  their nation's affairs had morphed into a vampire-elite that lost the NDC the  2016 presidential and parliamentary elections.

In that regard, in light of previous news reports about allegations made against them in law courts, the NDC parliamentarians must be well-briefed for the vetting of Catherine Afeku (against whom allegations of a criminal nature involving fraud were made in a Ghanaian law court years ago), and Abubakar Boniface Siddique (against whom bribery allegations claiming that he  withdrew £25,000 paid into a UK bank account  by Mabey and Johnson whiles he was works minister were made - in an English law court that convicted that British engineering company in a case in which the UK's Serious Fraud Office obtained one of its first criminal convictions of a major British company under the Bribery Act).

Since the president has vowed to protect the public purse, the NDC members on the Appointments  Committee must ask each of the nominees (and recall those already vetted to answer same) how they intend to protect the public purse in the ministry they will be heading, if their appointments are approved by Parliament.

And because we will definitely not be experiencing rule by saints in the next four years, each of the nominees must also be asked precisely how they will deal with conflict of interest situations should they arise in the course of their work during their tenure.

All the nominees who were not asked that question during their vetting ought to be recalled and made to answer that particular question too - especially the minister of finance-designate Ken Ofori Atta: who additionally must also be asked exactly when he repaid the  Prudential Bank loan apparently 'owed' by the NPP and to show filed tax returns covering the source of the cash used in paying it - the crucial point to note being whether it was repaid before or after  the results of last December's presidential election became apparent.

And if as much as  U.S.$1 million from oil and gas revenues will be distributed to each of the nation's 275 parliamentary constituencies annually - when there are no existing legal measures in place to monitor how they will be  spent because unlike districts they are not legally defined local administrative units (which have strict anti-corruption measures governing all cash expenditures) - then that should be made to excercise the minds of all the nominees: by asking them whether or not they see it breeding grassroots-level  corruption in future too. Their answers should then be placed on public record for future reference.

Above all, the NDC MPs on the Appointments  Committee vetting the president's nominees must ask all those appearing before them, what steps they are taking, or have taken, to ensure that they are in compliance with the law on the declaration of assets by public officials.

Furthermore, they must be made to tell the good people of Ghana,  whether or not they would also go ahead to make that declaration public voluntarily as a sign of their committment to the fight against high-level corruption - bearing in mind that the promise to end high-level corruption in Ghana was a major reason why the NPP won last December's presidential  and parliamentary elections so overwhelmingly.

Without question, publicly publishing the assets of politicians and upper-echelon public officials, and their spouses, is the most effective anti-corruption  measure against high-level corruption there is in any democratic African nation-state dominated by a super-ruthless vampire-elite. Doubtless.

Hmm, Ghana - eyeasem o: enti yewieye paa enei? Asem kesie ebeba debi ankasa.

Ringier Launches Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa

ZURICH, Switzerland, January 20, 2017/ -- Ringier Africa Digital Publishing [RADP] (http://APO.af/cTwx96) further expands its news and media portfolio with the launch of Business Insider (www.BusinessInsider.com), the renowned digital news brand for the global business community, for Sub Saharan Africa.

The digital edition leads with an exclusive interview with Tony Elumelu, who the newly launched editorial team for Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa met with at the World Economic Forum [WEF] in Davos. Elumelu, recognised as one of the continent’s most dynamic business leaders and philanthropists, is Chairman of the Board of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa and Transcorp, and is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation.

The lead interview will explore Mr. Elumelu’s personal insight into the current economic climate in Nigeria, the Government’s Forex policies and the important role entrepreneurialism plays on the continent.

Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa will be operated by RADP under its Pulse new media brand. It will cover business news, enterprise, finance, politics, and technology from across the continent and beyond. The digital outlet will debut on existing Pulse platforms, in West Africa on 23 January, with more to come soon.

The Africa-focussed business title has secured an impressive roster of leading and authoritative African commentators, including Bright Simons, Ethel Cofie and Herman Chinery Hesse. In addition to business and lifestyle stories from the continent, Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa will feature news highlights from around the world.

Business Insider, which is part of the Axel Springer family, is the largest business news site in the US and one of the fastest-growing news brands in the world. The company pioneered a style of business coverage that offers the news its readers and viewers need to know in a format that is digital-native: real-time, social, and mobile.

Collectively, the Business Insider network of sites reaches well over 100 million unique monthly visitors across all platforms. RADP and its Pulse brand is Africa’s leading Pan-African digital content publisher, which includes Men’s Health, and Women’s Health in West Africa.

Ringier Africa & Asia CEO, Robin Lingg says: “With the launch of Business Insider Sub Saharan Africa, we are giving African leaders a trustworthy, informed and reliable voice and platform. Africa is one of the world’s most buoyant and innovative emerging markets. Such a time in the continent’s history necessitates the savvy, sharp and analytical news commentary that is Business Insider’s hallmark. We are looking to make a significant impact in the continent’s business narrative by bringing smart, straightforward news to the African marketplace, with commentary from political heavyweights and African leaders & business innovators, whose collective insight will be instrumental in telling the African business story from inside.”

Ringier Africa GM, Leonard Stiegeler says: “RADP and Pulse have an unparalleled reputation for quality content in various fields across many digital and social platforms. We believe Business Insider will complement our coverage for our audience in Africa, whose reach now numbers in the millions. We are happy to add quality business journalism that faithfully reflects and records what’s happening within and outside the continent’s business sector”.

Said Henry Blodget, Global Editor-in-Chief and CEO of Business Insider: “We’re thrilled to launch our 15th version of Business Insider in Africa – an incredibly exciting and fast-growing market. Ringier has a deep understanding of the digital space and is the ideal partner to help us bring to Sub Saharan Africa Business Insider’s unique voice and attitude.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of Ringier AG.

For further information please contact:
Corporate Communications
Ringier AG
+41 44 259 64 48

About Ringier:
Ringier Africa (www.Ringier.com) is the leading diversified digital media company in Africa. It operates digital publishing, classifieds and e-commerce platforms, as well as a digital marketing agency across Africa.

Launched on the continent in 2011, Ringier Africa represents the most recent international expansion of the Swiss media enterprise Ringier, which established successful operations in emerging markets in Eastern Europe and Asia since 1989.

With a hyper-local approach and supported by Swiss technology and expertise, which is running some of Europe's largest online content and classifieds platforms, Ringier Africa’s employees focus on bringing tailor-made mobile-first experiences to the African consumer.

Besides its pan-African digital agency Ringier Digital Marketing, Ringier Africa runs the leading English-speaking West African online content platforms Pulse (NG, GH).

It additionally runs the leading online classifieds platforms in French-speaking West Africa, Expat-Dakar & MaMaison (SN); English-speaking West Africa, Cheki (NG, GH), Jobberman (NG, GH) & Private Property (NG) and in East Africa, Pigiame (KE); ZoomTanzania (TZ), Cheki (KE, TZ, UG), Brighter Monday (KE, TZ, UG) and BuyRent Kenya (KE) through its JV with OAM in set-up phase, Ringier One Africa Media (ROAM).

In e-commerce it runs the leading online deals platforms DealDey, PromoHub and Lyf in Nigeria through its JV with Silvertree in set-up phase, Ringier Africa Deals Group (RADG). In each of its markets, Ringier has strong local presence with offices and staff.

Ringier AG

Friday, 20 January 2017

Why Akyem Saamang's Assemblyman Hon. Gyeatuo Will Be A Perfect DCE For Fanteakwa District

When Akyems who love their traditional area dearly, meet, they say to each other in greeting: ''Okyenman, yen ema ensei da!"

What it means in English is simply that they will never allow Okyenman to be ruined.

It is hard to believe that a  traditional area whose most fervant indigenes make such vows of fealty that imply a committment to its physical and cultural preservation, has ended up as one of the areas in Ghana most affected by environmental degradation resulting from the egregious activities of illegal gold miners and illegal loggers.

Yet, the Akyem Abuakwa traditional area has enormous potential as an ecotourism destination - if what is left of its natural heritage is preserved: to underpin a green and sustainable local economy that can create tens of thousands of jobs for the  young people who live  there.

As it happens, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) enjoys tremendous support throughout Okyenman. It must do something to improve the quality of life of the people of Okyenman and lift living standards in all the rural communities there, if it wants to maintain their loyalty.

Luckily, President Akufo-Addo's administration now has an opportunity to appoint a new district chief executive (DCE),  for Fanteakwa District, who can set an example to DCEs throughout Ghana on how rural communities can benefit from low-carbon development strategies - such as agro-forestry and  community-based ecotourism by preserving what is left of their natural heritage.

That person is the Hon. Gyeatuo. For the best of national interest reasons, this blog humbly recommends to the powers that be that Hon. Gyetuo, the current Assemblyman for Akyem Saamang, is appointed to the vacant position of DCE for the Fanteakwa District in the Eastern Region, when the time comes to appoint assembly heads nationwide.

He is an exceptional man by any standard - and an amazing community leader: who is principled in a nation in which there is an unfortunate dearth of principled individuals.

Over the years, that incorruptible and selfless gentleman - who is an assistant headteacher incidentally - has risked his own life fighting illegal loggers and illegal gold miners in the area. He has been a dynamic Assemblyman who has consistently sought to improve the lives of his constituents.

He has been a real change-agent who has impacted his community positively - whiles at all material times  regularly rejecting the blandishments of the wealthy criminal syndicates behind the area's illegal gold mining and illegal logging: who have succeeded in virtually compromising most of the officials manning the machinery of state in the area.

Through his leadership, for example,  the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has built a primary school block in Akyem Saamang. And he has collaborated with the anti-mining NGO WACAM and A Rocha the international green organisation,  as an environmental activist working hard to protect the delicate ecosystem in that section of the Atewa Range, which borders the area.

The Hon. Gyeatuo would make a perfect DCE for Fanteakwa District - and will be a very good representative of the President of the Republic of Ghana whiles heading the Fanteakwa District Assembly. His impressive track record thus far provides ample evidence of that.

He will definitely bring about real change in the lives of all the people  who live in the Fanteakwa District - which is precisely what President Akufo-Addo wants for the entire Ghanaian populace, one believes.

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Should The VRA Go Back To Its Roots As A Renewable Energy Company?

The Volta River Authority (VRA) began its life as a renewable energy entity. Those were its halcyon days - when it run a truly world-class operation.

Given the sorry state it is currently in, perhaps it ought to go back to its roots, and start focusing on renewable power again - and bring its expertise to bear on creating a more sustainable business model: that provides Ghanaians with affordable power through distributed generation.

With the rapid  technological advances being made  in the renewable energy sector globally, partnerships with suitable renewable energy companies across the world, could create a profitable business for the VRA in the long-term.

Clearly, the state-owned power company has no future, if it continues generating power from thermal power plants fueled by fossil fuels.

Sadly, the VRA  has seen its finances decimated by the need to purchase oil and gas to fire thermal power plants on a regular basis - something which it will be spared from when it focuses on renewable power instead.

For a look at what some of the potential available world-class renewable energy partners the VRA could collaborate with, are currently doing elsewhere in Africa, today, we are posting a culled press release from Gigawatt World about its solar power project in Burundi.

Please read on:

''Groundbreaking on Solar Field in Burundi: Power Africa Partner Gigawatt Global Advances 1,000 MW Program

2,500 celebrate historic groundbreaking in one of Africa's neediest countries for a $14m solar field to advance economic and social development

BUJUMBURA, Burundi, January 19, 2017/ -- Amid the lush and rolling hills of Mubuga, 100 km outside the Burundian capital of Bujumbura, 2,500 people came yesterday to celebrate the festive ground-breaking for a 7.5 MW solar field that will add 15% to the East African country's generation capacity. In a colorful and drum-accented ceremony attended by government officials, international investors, religious leaders and the diplomatic community, Gigawatt Global (http://GigawattGlobal.com), the leading frontier solar and social development enterprise, announced the $14 million pioneering project in one of the world's least developed nation.

"Empowering economic and social development is at the heart of our green energy business," said Michael Fichtenberg, VP for Finance and Business Development of Gigawatt Global. "This high impact development investment supported by leading international financial institutions signals that Burundi is open for development and business."

This will be the largest private international investment in the power sector in Burundi in nearly 30 years, with the power being sold for 25 years to REGIDESO, the national electric company. "We are very excited at the groundbreaking of the Gigawatt Burundi solar field," said His Excellency Come Manirakiza, Burundi's Minister of Energy and Mines. "After their success in Rwanda, Gigawatt Global has proven it can be relied on to deliver efficient, clean renewable energy at reasonable cost, contributing greatly to our economy and society. We look forward to the speedy completion of this project, and are thankful for the collaboration and cooperation with Gigawatt Global as energy in Burundi is a clear priority."

Gigawatt Global, an American-owned Dutch developer, is a founding member of the White House Power Africa initiative and financed and developed the first commercial scale solar field in continental sub-Sahara Africa (outside of South Africa) in neighboring Rwanda in 2014.

The project has been supported by a grant from the Energy and Environment Partnership (a Finland, UK, Austrian fund) and the Belgian Investment Company for Developing countries (BIO) to cover the relevant studies. The project is also supported by African-EU Renewable Energy Cooperation Programme (RECP) and the Renewable Energy Performance Platform (REPP), currently engaging in project due diligence.

"This project is a great example of Burundians, Americans and other international partners working together for the economic development of Burundi," said Anne Casper, U.S. Ambassador to Burundi. "The success of this project will be a positive signal to other potential investors, who are watching Gigawatt Global and the Government of Burundi to see if investing in Burundi is stable, predictable and easy to do. We are working together very hard and very closely -- the U.S., Burundi, the Netherlands, and Gigawatt Global -- to make this project a success -- to enable the whole country to get energy and this will lead to the country's economic development."

U.S. Power Africa Coordinator Andrew Herscowitz underlined the importance of Gigawatt Global's work by saying, "As a founding Power Africa partner, Gigawatt Global continues to demonstrate its industry leadership with this investment in Burundi."

HE Hendrikes Verwein, the Dutch Ambassador to Burundi, said, "The Kingdom of the Netherlands supports Gigawatt Global and commits to assist the company in the pursuit of its investments. The Kingdom of the Netherlands expresses its wish that the contractual commitments included in the agreement protocols for the construction of the solar plant in Mubuga be rapidly implemented."

"Gigawatt Global is expecting to deploy $2 billion in renewable energy projects in Africa as partners of the White House Power Africa initiative in the coming years as renewables are taking the lead in power generation in Africa and emerging markets," said CEO Josef Abramowitz. "We are targeting sub-Sahara Africa as a high impact and high growth market, with a portfolio of small, medium and large power projects in the highest priority development areas."

The construction and interconnection of the project to the national grid is expected to be concluded in Q4 of 2017."

End of culled press release distributed by APO on behalf of Gigawatt Global.