The donation of 100,000 units of election thumbprint pads to the Niger Independent National Electoral Commission towards the conduct of the second round of presidential election dominates the headlines of the Ghanaian press on Thursday.The Graphic reports that the Ghana has donated 100,000 units of election thumbprint pads to the Niger Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) towards the conduct of the second round of presidential election in that country.
Ghana’s Ambassador to Niger, Mr. Jonathan R. Magnusen, presented the items to the CENI in the Nigerien capital, Niamey, yesterday.
The donation was made on behalf of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who is also the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, and the Electoral Commission (EC) of Ghana.
It was in response to a request CENI made to Ghana for assistance due to pressure to meet constitutional time limits for the organisation of the second round presidential election, as well as delays in the global supply chain as a result of the COVID-19 which made it impossible to receive replenishment in time for the election.
The second round election, scheduled for next Sunday, is between a former Head of Niger’s Interior and Foreign ministries, Mr Mohamed Bazoum, who secured 39.3 per cent of the votes in the first round, and former President Mahamane Ousmane, who garnered 16.9 per cent of the 5.1 million valid ballots cast.
The run-off became necessary when none of the 28 candidates in the December 27, 2020 presidential election secured majority votes.
The newspaper says that two respondents in the 2020 presidential election petition (Electoral Commission and President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) have filed their closing addresses.
That is in conformity with an order by Supreme Court for the parties to simultaneously file written addresses on or before Wednesday, February 17, 2021.
However, the legal team for the petitioner, former President John Dramani Mahama is yet to file their written address as ordered by the court.
The petitioner has rather filed a review application challenging the ruling of the court, dated February 11, this year, which overruled an objection by the lawyer for the petitioner, Mr Tsatsu Tsikata, against the decision of the Electoral Commission (EC) not to adduce evidence.
He has also filed an application for stay of proceedings, and urging the court to put the petition on hold until the final determination of the review application.
The Graphic also reports that the Minister designate for Employment and Labour Relations, Mr. Ignatius Baffour Awuah, has said the current short working period does not augur well for the national pension scheme and has, consequently, argued for the extension of the compulsory retirement age of public workers to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.
“I have raised this issue on several platforms, and even if you look at the sustainability of the pension scheme, when you have a short working period, it doesn’t augur well,” he said in response to a question from the Member of Parliament (MP) for Bawku Central, Mr. Mahama Ayariga, on the need to extend the working age of public workers.
Taking his turn before the Appointments Committee of Parliament (ACP) yesterday, Mr. Baffour-Awuah said: “When people stay longer in work, they accumulate more funds and are able to retire on a more handsome pension than when their working period is very short.”
The minister designate, however, pointed out that there was a disadvantage too should the government decide to extend the retirement age.
“We live in a country where unemployment is high. We have more and more people completing school who would want to be in the public system, so if we have a chunk of tired hands already in the system and the new ones are also not getting jobs, it is a concern.
“So we don’t have to look at it from only one side of the coin; we may have to look at it from both sides. But looking at it from the sustainability of our pension scheme, I will go for that suggestion,” he said.
The Times says that Ghana has lost $19,800,000 through fraud and criminal activities, last year, as against at least $11 million the previous year, Assistant Commissioner of Police, Dr.. Herbert Gustav Yankson, Director of the Child Protection Digital Laboratory and Cybercrime Unit, has disclosed.
Additionally, the unit recovered $101,000, six cars, three plots of land bought with proceeds of fraud.
Dr. Yankson, in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra, yesterday, said cases reported to the unit included cyber fraud, sex image abuse, child pornography and Facebook account crime, and the victims or complainants were males.
He said the unit also recorded cases involving charlatan advertisements, illegal sale of examination questions, forgery of documents, sale of pre-registered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards and publication of false news.
Yankson stated that the unit recorded an increase of 39 percent in fraud, due to online transactions in the wake of COVID-19, adding that some offenders were jailed while other cases were pending in court.