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09.08.2005 Press Review

Govt not informed of Ghanaian's arrest in London

Accra, Aug. 9, GNA - President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday said the Government had not been officially informed by the British Government of the arrest of 32-year-old Ghanaian Kwaku Manfo Asiedu for his alleged involvement in the July 21 explosions in London. Answering questions at a Press Conference at the Castle, Osu President Kufuor said: "No formal or official contact has been to the Government." However, he said, the Government had already directed the national security agencies to investigate the issue. The Press Conference, the third since the Government assumed power in 2001 was to throw light on policy direction and vision for his second term of office. The main context of the 30-minute address, which followed by an hour of interaction, was on the economy, agriculture, social services, infrastructure, governance and foreign relations. It also centred on politics and social issues. The first media encounter was after his 100 days in office on April 18, 2001 while the second was 21 months later on October 3, 2002. President Kufuor said the Domestic Violence Bill was still before Parliament and consultations between the Executive and the Legislature would continue until the best law was fashioned out for the country. On the speculation that the clause on marital rape in the Bill might be holding back its passage, President Kufuor said, "marital rape cannot stop the Government from doing the right thing for the country". On the debate for real wages and salaries for workers, President Kufuor expressed regret that nobody had taken the challenge to initiate debate on the issue but said for the past four years the Government had tried to increase the minimum wage and that currently it was about one dollar fifty cents, the highest ever in the country. On recent media speculations about some politicians within the New Patriotic Party (NPP) making moves to contest for the Party's Presidency in 2008, President Kufuor said every politician had ambition and there were many talented and 'over-qualified' politicians in the Party to contest and be elected to become the Party's Presidential candidate for the 2008 Elections. He said they were aware of the Party's Constitution on the procedures towards their primaries and appealed to the media in their speculations, to allow the Ministers peace to focus on their work for the benefit of the nation.
President Kufuor said the directive by the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development on the ejection of street hawkers and traders on the pavements in the cities and urban areas was to put an end to the chaos and disorder that occurred because the exercise was not well coordinated.
"The directive was not to curtail the exercise but to ensure that the chaos and disorder that characterised it was well coordinated for peace and stability to prevail," he said.
President Kufuor said the relocation of the traders in Accra had not been stalled because the Accra Metropolitan Authority (AMA) had been given two billion cedis by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and without due diligence the money could not be disbursed, therefore, the AMA had to offer the project to tender for a more qualified contractor to undertake the project.
On compensation to victims of human rights abuse and recommendations by the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC), President Kufuor said the Attorney - General's Department was working on the payments and pledged the Government's commitment to find money to pay compensation to the victims.
He said it was an exercise that entailed huge resources, whatever the amount involved the Government was committed to pay the compensation as a means to reconcile the nation, adding "people identified as victims of human rights abuse would be given due compensation".