Arua Municipality chaos: Police speaks out on what happened


An anticlimax to the final day of campaigns in Arua Municipality had the Police later come out strongly against “hooligans” who attacked President Yoweri Museveni’s convoy, but underlined that the situation had been contained.
Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima, in a recorded audio message made public Monday evening, also said one person had been fatally wounded, albeit pending confirmation by doctors.
The victim, according to Kayima, had not been identified yet.
Police said the President’s entourage was attacked on his way from campaigning for the NRM flagbearer Nusura Tiperu.
She is contesting for the Arua Municipality parliamentary seat alongside 11 other candidates, all hoping to replace slain area MP Ibrahim Abiriga (NRM) .
The others include Bruce Musema of the Forum for Demoratic Change (FDC), Democratic Party’s Kennedy Madira and Jaffar Alekua of Justice Forum (JEEMA).
While Kassiano Wadri is the clear best of the rest (independent candidates), the former Terego County MP is seen as one of the top challengers for the seat.
The other independents in the race are Jackson Atima, Robert Ejiku, Francis Nyero, Sunday Anguandia, Alfred Nyakuni, Simon Avutia and Safi Bavuga.
Ahead of voting on Wednesday, the candidates and their respective camps spent the whole of Monday scrambling for last-gasp votes in a crowded race that has dominated the talk of the town as well as other parts of the country.
But the final campaign day culminated into chaotic scenes, punctuated by flashes of violence, including the reported attack on Museveni’s motorcade as well as the reported death of one person.
Kayima later said Police had managed to quell the situation and that a number of arrests had been made to aid in investigations into the disturbing episode.
Here is the Police spokesperson’s audio message in full:

Hello, this is Emilian Kayima, the PRO Uganda Police Force. I want to give a situation report o what transpired this evening in Arua as all candidates finalised the campaigns to the elections of Wednesday 15th August, 2018. At around 6:30 this [Monday] evening, the President’s motorcade was attacked by hooligans at Prisons cell in Arua Municipality, the President left Boma grounds, where he had held the last rally for his candidate.
One of the President’s lead cars was attacked and smashed by these hooligans that were donning colours of one of the contestants in the election, Mr Kassiano Wadri. Security forces quickly intervened to calm down the situation, and the situation became riotous as many were pelting stone s at the convoy of the President – which unacceptable.
Unfortunately, in the scuffle, one person was fatally injured in motorvehicle registration number UAT416K, a Tundra. He is believed to dead, but doctors will confirm this. And his identities are yet to be known because we have not recovered any documents on him.
However, it should be noted that earlier in the day, at around 4pm, as the President proceed to Boma grounds to have this final rally, a grad intercepted his convoy again. And this grader has since been apprehended and brought to the Police station in Arua. Its registration number i UAP 064R, and the motive is clear: it is bound t have been intended to commit a crime.
It must be noted again, in the same vein, that grader was wrapped in the same colours as those that were attacking the President’s convoy and those that smashed one of the lead cars a Prisons cell.
We condemn these acts of violence that do not show how mature we are politically. The scene crime has been secured and is being managed very well by our Police officers on the ground. And the situation has been contained. A number of suspects have been arrested to help in the investigations and further details to this situation will be provided in due course.
I thank you.



PAC Chair, Finance Minister clash over GHC122 bn Ghana’s public debt

Members of the Public Account Committee

Ghana’s debt to GDP ratio as at December 31, 2016, Monday, August 13, 2018, became the subject of controversy when the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC), Hon. James Klutse Avedzi, confronted a deputy Minister of Finance, Hon. Abena Osei Asare over the country’s true public debt.
The Minister for Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta in his 2017 budget presentation to Parliament puts the country’s total public debt at GH¢122 billion.
However, the Controller and Accountant General in the 2016 Auditor-General’s report for the consolidated fund puts the figure at GH¢120 billion, contradicting what was earlier announced by the Finance Minister.
In his bid to reconcile the figures, the PAC Chair sought clarification from the deputy Finance Minister by pointing out the discrepancy and accused Mr. Ofori-Atta for deceiving Parliament.
But Hon. Osei Asare in refuted the claims saying that Mr. Ofori-Atta used the exchange at that time to arrive at GH¢122billion.
Below are some excerpts from the PAC sitting:
PAC Chair: Domestic debt is GH¢52.179 billion and external is GH¢68.149 billion. The two put together will give you GH¢120.3billion. My question to the deputy minister – your minister came to Parliament to say that government’s total debt to GDP is GH¢122billion as at December 2016, why?
Deputy Finance Minister: Yes our Minister confirmed GH¢122bilion which is about 73.1%. Now there is a difference here of GH¢2 billion.
PAC Chair: The accounts of the Controller and Accountant-General confirmed GH¢120billion and the auditor also verified and confirmed that figure. My question is why did your minister say GH¢122billion when the actual debt is GH¢120billion?
Deputy Finance Minister: You know that a lot of these debts are foreign based or denominated and so these exchange rates differ. My minister reported this in March 2017 based on the current exchange rate at that time.
PAC Chair: I agree that he reported it in March 2017 but the reference point wasn’t in March 2017. The reference point was in December 2016 and there was an exchange rate as at December 2016, why?
Deputy Finance Minister: Hon. Chairman, as far as I know the difference had to do with the exchange rate.
PAC Chair: My dear sister you are not answering my question. I’m saying that reference point is December 2016 not March 2017. Did your minister use the exchange rate as at March 2017 to represent the figure as at December 2016? Is that what he did?
Deputy Finance Minister: Mr. Chairman, this was as at 31 December 2016. My minister’s statement came in March 2017. So, certainly he used the exchange rate …
PAC Chair: I just want you to confirm if your minister used the March 2017 exchange rate to represent 31 December debt and converted it.
Deputy Finance Minister: Hon. Chair, anytime you are quoting your current liabilities, you need to quote it at the current rate. Certainly, Ghana took some loans way back in 1999. We cannot use the exchange rate of 1999 when we are talking about that loan and making some repayment. So, certainly he will use the current exchange rate. And as you also confirmed that most of these debts here were external loan. So certainly if you use the existing exchange rate, the figures might go up or down but that notwithstanding, it remains the same that our debt to GDP ratio was high.
PAC Chair: I agree with you that the external portion of the debt must be converted into Cedis and exchange rate must be used at a point and the Controller and Accountant-General used the exchange rate as December 31, 2016. That is how he arrived at GH¢120billion as debt. Now your minister decides to use the current exchange rate at the time which is March 2017 and misrepresented to Parliament that the debt as at December 2016 was so much. The minister could have just done the exact thing by saying that by using the exchange rate as at December 2016, this should have been the debt GH¢120billion but as at the time of presenting the budget in March 2017, if you use the current exchange rate, it will be GH¢122billion and that is the answer he should have given. He didn’t do that.
Deputy Finance Minister: Hon. Chairman, certainly any day anytime when you are stating a loan, you state its current value and that is exactly what my minister did. My minister did not come to misrepresent issues on the floor of Parliament. He was current because when you are stating your debt, it has to be current.
PAC Chair: Alright let’s go on. You’re trying your best but let’s go on.
Deputy Finance Minister: No, I am just stating the fact as it is, Hon. chairman.

Breaking: Otabil speaks! ‘I was not involved in day-to-day running of Capital Bank’


The founder and General Overseer of the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC), Pastor Mensah Otabil has voiced his silence over the bank allegations developments sector,on his role in the collapse of the Capital Bank being the Board Chairman of the bank.
In a full statement released below
Press Release from Pastor Mensa Otabil
Re: Capital Bank And Related Matters
1. I have observed with concern, the ongoing media discussions regarding developments in the Banking Sector and my role either directly or indirectly.
2. I accepted to be Board Chairman of Capital Bank in a bid to help strengthen a promising Ghanaian enterprise that had potential but also challenges. I was excited about the prospects of a young man from a disadvantaged background who was daring to create opportunities and employment.
3. My position was a non-executive role. I was therefore not involved in the day-to-day management and operations of the Bank.
4. In the course of time, some decisions made turned out well while some did not turn out as well as had been anticipated. As far as I can tell, everything was done with the best of intentions and the interest of various stakeholders in mind.
5. My foremost concern, as has been the case over the past year, is for the well-being of those who lost their jobs and those who may have been adversely affected in any way as a result of these developments. My heart goes out to them and to their dependents. I continue to pray for God’s guidance and sustenance as they navigate the course of their lives.
6. Since the takeover of the bank exactly a year ago today, various mandated state institutions have been investigating and working to arrive at a comprehensive understanding of what happened, why it happened and who was responsible for what. I have been invited by EOCO and I have submitted myself to their processes and answered all their questions faithfully.
7. For some time now, many discussion platforms have made varied references to me and to my perceived role. Some have reached out to me for clarifications regarding issues that have been raised. I have preferred not to respond in the public domain, not as an admission of guilt, but out of respect for the due process and the ongoing investigations.
8. Notwithstanding some unforeseen outcomes, I remain resolute in my belief in the Ghanaian and African entrepreneurial spirit. I will therefore continue to lend my support and mentorship to inspire others who dare to dream and work towards the promise of Africa’s growth and transformation.
9. Meanwhile, as a believer in the rule of law, I will continue to cooperate with the mandated institutions of state as they complete their investigations. I am confident that in the process, the national interest and the rights of all parties involved will be protected.
Shalom, peace and life to you.
Signed, Pastor Mensa Otabil. 14th August, 2018.

Akwaaba Zorg Inc to Support Osu Children Home


Netherland-based Ghanaian philanthropist, Madam Doris Vidda, has promised to provide support for children with special needs at the Osu Children Home in Accra.
The Director of Akwaaba Zorg Inc. (Netherlands) said the support will be in a form of capacity building for Caregivers at the children’s home.
Madam Doris Vidda is in charge of the social working team of the organisation, whose core mandate is to give dignified life to Africans and Dutch abroad.
She made the promise when she visited the Osu Children Home to donate some drinks, milk, biscuits, clothes, other food items and an undisclosed amount of money.
Akwaaba Zorg Inc. offers specialized care, coordination of care including intensive ambulatory support and specialized pedagogical support to those in need, children with special needs and their parents as well as the vulnerable in the Dutch society.
She wants to collaborate with her specialized team of Social Workers
in Holland to provide training to caregivers and managers of the children home to build their capacity on handling children with special needs.
Doris hinted that children with special needs require special attention in order to integrate them into the vas society to prevent discrimination.
According to her, it is appropriate for Care Givers to be well trained in the handling of such children.
She will also consider other support for the children at the Home.

Elon Musk says Saudis back Tesla buyout

Getty Images

Elon Musk has outlined his plan to take Tesla private and said he discussed financing the deal with Saudi Arabia.
The founder of the electric carmaker also indicated that he would need to raise far less than the $70bn it has been estimated he would need.
In a blog post , Mr Musk said that he only wanted to buy out shareholders who no longer wanted to own Tesla shares.
The announcement comes just days after investors filed a lawsuit claiming that he misled the market .
Mr Musk announced on Twitter on 7 August that he was considering taking Tesla private, adding “funding secured”.
Since then he has been facing questions about where he would obtain the funding for his proposed $420 a share offer.
Tesla’s Elon Musk in the hot seat, again
They have fallen back from the highs near $380 they touched after his initial tweet. The investors suing Tesla are short-sellers, who bet on share prices falling and claim to have lost millions as a result of Mr Musk’s comments.
On Monday, the Tesla founder said he had met with the Saudi sovereign wealth fund after it bought a 5% stake in the company.
He left that meeting on 31 July “with no question that a deal … could be closed – it was just matter of getting the process moving”.
The fund was “eager to proceed” with financing “a going private transaction” after that meeting, Mr Musk said.
The Saudi fund had approached him “multiple times” since the start of last year about taking the company private, Mr Musk said.
“They first met with me at the beginning of 2017 to express this interest because of the important need to diversify away from oil,” he said.
Mr Musk, who owns almost 20% of Tesla, had sent the tweet so he could “reach out” to the company’s largest investors to see they were interested in backing a deal.
Since then, he said he had kept in touch with the Saudi fund and that its managing director had “expressed support” for proceeding with the deal, subject to legal checks.
Mr Musk said he would not need $70bn to buy out all shareholders as he only intended to offer $420 a share to those who did not want to remain investors if the company did go private.
“My best estimate right now is that approximately two thirds of shares owned by all current investors would roll over into a private Tesla,” he said.
The plan means Mr Musk would not need to borrow huge sums to pull off the deal.
He has said that de-listing the company from the stock market would avoid pressure to meet quarterly financial targets and end “negative propaganda” from short-sellers.

US pushes back on foreign takeover deals


The US has passed a new law that strengthens the government’s power to review – and potentially block – business deals involving foreign firms.
US President Donald Trump signed the bill, which is part of a broader military spending measure, on Monday.
The measure was spurred by US concerns that Chinese companies are using investments and acquisitions to gain access to new technology.
Those worries are also behind new US tariffs on Chinese goods.
The law was supported by both Republicans and Democrats in Congress, which approved the measure earlier this year.
It comes as other countries, including the UK, consider ways to toughen their scrutiny of foreign deals with an eye to China.
Details of the bill
The new law expands the type of deals subject to potential review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS), which vets foreign investments to see if they pose a risk to national security.
For example, it directs the committee to consider how potential transactions might affect personal data and cyber security and whether an investment gives foreigners access to “material” non-public information.
It also strengthens export controls, allowing the US to review overseas deals, such as joint ventures.
The new law does not specifically name China.
However, it directs CFIUS officials to consider whether the transaction involves a “country of special concern that has a demonstrated or declared strategic goal of acquiring a type of critical technology or critical infrastructure”.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said he welcomed the new law.
Decline in investment
Even without the new law, rising US scrutiny of Chinese transactions appears to have dampened investor appetite.
Chinese firms completed deals worth $1.8bn in the first half of 2018 – the lowest level in seven years and down more than 90% from the same period in 2017, according to the Rhodium Group, a US research firm .
The decline followed tighter Chinese controls on overseas activity, which contributed to a global contraction in foreign investment last year.
Rhodium found US regulators blocked about $2bn in Chinese deals in the first six months of 2018.
Those included the sale of a US money transfer firm to Ant Financial, Alibaba’s digital payments arm and the acquisition of Skybridge Capital by HNA.
Overall, foreign investment in the US fell 32% from 2016 to 2017, when it totalled about $260bn, according to the US Commerce Department

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