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General News of Thursday, 9 August 2018


Begging Amidu fruitless - Akufo-Addo vows to complete 2,000-capacity prison

President Nana Akufo-Addo has said reported attempts to obstruct the Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu from pressing criminal charges will not work.

Vouching once again for Martin Amidu's independent-mindness, President Akufo-Addo said "from the little I know of the man," it is a "fruitless venture" to try and influence his anti-corruption work.

The president was referring to NDC MP for Bawku Central Mahama Ayariga whom the Special Prosecutor has publicly accused of sending chiefs and men of God to stall possible prosecution.

Under the Mahama government, the former Minister could face prosecution after his involvement in the importation of some cars through corrupt means.

Martin Amidu said he has reported Agyariga's harassing conduct to the Economic Organised Crimes Office (EOCO).

Weighing in on the matter, the President said at the Ghana Prison Service graduation ceremony for Officer Cadet Corp that respect for the rule of law will remain paramount to his government.

The president also lamented that Ghana's 14,682 prison population spreads across 43 prisons throughout the country. But the prison spaces are designed to take a maximum of 9,875. That means there is a 48% overcrowding in Ghana's prisons.

The President picked as an example, an 850-capacity Nsawam prison in the Eastern region that has to contend with 3,450 inmates and said the situation is "shocking."

He praised the work of the Justice For All programme which since 2007 has been working to reduce congestion in remand prisons by delivering speedy trials during their tours there.

The president said he was glad to know the programme is moving into prisons at Nsawam, Tarkwa, Sekondi, Obuasi and Winneba.

To address congestion, President Akufo-Addo said his government will find money to complete a 2,000 -capacity remand prison in Nsawam as well as residential facilities for prison officers at Ankaful in the Central region.

"..even though these projects are stalled government will get the contractors back on site very soon so that these projects are completed," he promised.

The President commended the Prison Service for entering into agriculture. Since 1992, the Ghana Prison Service has been engaged in agriculture to support Government expenditure on prisoners ration.

In 2013, the Agric Unit cultivated a total of 1,191 acres and set a target of 1,323 acres for 2014 production year. The president praised prison authorities for procuring five tractors and four mechanical planters to be used for cash crop production.

He said a new prison camp under construction in Ejura in the Ashanti region will be completed by December 2018 to serve additional purpose of training inmates on modern agriculture.

The President said despite his party doing poorly in the prison vote during the 2016 general elections, his government will "definitely" support the agenda to rehabilitate prisons and prisoners.