Friday, 07 August 2015 / Published in Articles

Legal Reform / VPA Status

In November 2009, Ghana was the first country to sign a bi-lateral agreement on timber trade and forest governance, known as a Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA), with the European Union to address illegal deforestation and try to curb the sale of illegal timber. Because of this agreement, the Ghanaian government is undertaking reform processes in the forest sector and is implementing a system to guarantee that wood meant for national and international markets is harvested, processed and sold legally – a ‘timber legality assurance system.’

ClientEarth in Ghana

Since 2012, ClientEarth has been supporting civil society through these developments, and providing legal support and training to the stakeholders involved in reform processes in the forest sector. The VPA contributes to those processes, and has therefore been an important focus of our work in country.

Resources

Ghana Law database: provides access to legal texts related to forest and natural resource governance in Ghana and is a resource which will be regularly updated and improved upon.

Resources: provides information to Civil Society Organisations and other actors working on forests, natural resources and community rights related issues in Ghana, and is continuously updated and improved upon.

The Country Team

In Ghana, ClientEarth works with Clement Kojo AkapameNana Tawiah Okyir and Bernard Boateng from Accra-based NGO TaylorCrabbe initiative. To get in touch with a member of the team, please write to forests-contact@clientearth.org.

Friday, 07 August 2015 / Published in Articles

A Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Faculty of Law, Clement Akapame, has proposed that offices like Ghana Standards Authority or the Ghana Revenue Authority should assume responsibility of the gathering of TV permit charges rather than the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC).

In his view, this will give the permit some more authenticity and facilitate the worries some Ghanaians have concerning the use of the income gathered.

GBC formally reintroduced the gathering of the TV License expenses in 2015 following quite a while of putting it on hold due to non-installments.

Local TV clients are to pay amongst GHc36 and GHc60 for at least one TV sets in a family unit while TV set repairers and deals outlets are to pay a yearly entirety of between GHc60 to GHc240.

This has been trailed by the setting up of an uncommon court to arraign defaulting TV proprietors or administrators.

“I am not against government raising revenue to resource a public broadcaster. I am against the appropriateness of a tax and how the tax is even collected,” the lecturer said.

“The fitting organization to gather these charges or to set measures for the installment of TV permit expenses isn’t GBC. GBC is just intrigued by the income and individuals are against GBC gathering it since we’re not getting an incentive from GBC.”

At the point when the income accumulation is stripped of the GBC’s domain, “it winds up noticeably free of the GBC with the goal that those assets that come to government, the administration would now be able to choose how to designate those assets,” Mr. Akapame clarified.

Friday, 07 August 2015 / Published in Articles

A Law Lecturer at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public and Administration (GIMPA), Clement Akapame, has said that the Chief Justice’s Committee, which investigated complaints against the three top officials of the Electoral Commission, may have exceeded its jurisdiction.

He argues that the Committee by its nature was a fact-finding committee, and could have only found evidence for subsequent determination by a court of competent jurisdiction.

President Akufo-Addo last Thursday removed the Chairperson of the EC, Charlotte Osei, and her two deputies, Amadu Sulley and Georgina Opoku Amakwah from office, based on the recommendations of a Committee constituted by the Chief Justice to look into petitions from some Ghanaian citizens brought against the officials.

But Clement Akapame said the committee’s conclusions that the officials were guilty of misbehavior and incompetence, could only be considered as allegations that needed to be proven before a court for a determination of a criminal offense.

“The committee is a quasi-judicial committee and they are making an inquisition into whether or not she has misconducted herself or she is incompetent, which will be grounds for her removal, but whether or not the committee can emphatically make a pronouncement that an act of parliament has been breached, which determination means that the crime has occurred, even though there will be facts before them to point to the breach, because it is a crime, I will rather have that matter determined by a court…. What we have now is the recommendation made by the committee saying that the procurement act has been breached. At best, that is an allegation. Even though they have facts, that is an allegation that needs to be proven. That matter needs to be examined by a court to say that, that crime has occurred,” he said.

Government communicators have justified President Akufo-Addo’s action, saying he was obliged by the constitution to carry out the recommendations of the committee.

A Ghanaian, Fafali Nyonator, has however sued the Attorney General over the removal of the Electoral Commission chairperson, Charlotte Osei from office.

In a suit filed on today [Tuesday], she is asking the court to declare that the committee set up by the Chief Justice, Justice Sophia Akuffo, to investigate separate complaints brought against the three commissioners at the Electoral Commission, exceeded their powers by recommending the removal of the commissioners, and that the recommendations in the report be declared null and void.

Among other reliefs she is seeking, she wants “an order of perpetual injunction restraining His Excellency the President of the Republic of Ghana from appointing any persons to the person of Chairperson of the Electoral Commission until that position has become lawfully vacant in accordance with proper processes and procedures as by law established.”

Friday, 07 August 2015 / Published in Articles

The Ghana National Association of Law Students has congratulated three Ghanaian students who were recently honoured by the Gambia School of Law.

According to the Association Albert Agyepong, Naa Koshie Mills and Chelsea Oforiwaa Ofoe topped their classes in different legal courses at the West African law school.

“Albert Agyepong was adjudged best student in ‘Legal Drafting & Conveyancing’. He was also adjudged best student in ‘Company Law & Commercial Practices’.

Naa Koshie Mills was adjudged best student in ‘Advocacy Skills’. Chelsea Oforiwaa Ofoe was adjudged best student in ‘Professional Conduct’,” the Association wrote on its Facebook page.

The Ghana National Association of Law Students added: “Congratulations, Albert, Naa and Chelsea. Thank you for demonstrating that Ghanaian law students are good enough to compete with the very best elsewhere.”

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