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 ‘Go and sin no more’: Supreme Court forgives Dr Ayine

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Dr Dominic Ayine

The seven-member Supreme Court panel hearing the ongoing presidential election petition has discharged the Member of Parliament for Bolgatanga East and former Deputy Attorney General, Dr Dominic Akuritinga Ayine, from the contempt charges brought against him.

Dr Ayine was charged with contempt following comments he had made against the court which were deemed to be scandalous.

The court on Monday called the case for the first time, and ordered Dr Ayine to render a public apology using the same medium through which he scandalised the court and brought its name into disrepute.

Compliance

In compliance with the apex court’s order, Dr Ayine rendered a public apology to both the bench and the bar for undermining the sanctity of the judicial system of the country.

Chief Justice Kwasi Anin Yeboah yesterday noted that the contemnor had purged himself as ordered and would be discharged without any further punishment.

Lead counsel for Dr Ayine, Frank Becheem, said the former Deputy Attorney General had learned his lesson and would ‘sin no more’.

Lead counsel for the Electoral Commission, Justine Amenuvor, also solidarised with Dr Ayine, and pleaded with the court to temper justice with mercy.

Predetermined agenda

Dr Ayine, in an interaction with the media on Tuesday February 16, accused the court of having a “predetermined agenda” against former President John Dramani Mahama.

Dr Ayine’s accusation followed the dismissal of an application by lawyers for the petitioner that was seeking leave of the court to re-open his case in order to subpoena the Electoral Commission Chairperson, Jean Mensa, to mount the witness box.

“For the Supreme Court to reduce the Petition into a single issue Petition is rather unfortunate and smacks of a predetermined agenda to rule against the Petitioner in this matter…we think that the court by this decision has not done the people of this country a great service… The Justices, today, have not given us a reason to believe that they want the people of this country to know the truth about what happened,” Dr Ayine said.

Weak evidence

In a related development, counsel for the Electoral Commission (EC), Justin Amenuvor, has urged the supreme Court to dismiss the petition before it for lack of proper evidence.

The EC’s lawyer in his closing address argued that the evidence led on behalf of the petitioner did not advance his case, explaining that the only semblance of irregularity with votes relates to allegation of vote padding of 4,693 votes in favour of the second respondent in 26 constituencies.

Mr Amenuvor argued that if the alleged vote padding were true, and which is not, it would not change the outcome of the election, as the difference between the petitioner and the second respondent was more than 500,000 valid votes.

He noted that the petitioner’s star witness, Johnson Asiedu Nketiah, under cross-examination, admitted before the court that the petitioner had no basis to back his request for a run-off.

He further argued that the petitioner raised no issue at all with the total valid votes obtained by him and the second respondent in the declaration contained in the video tendered in court.

“It is our submission that neither the petitioner nor his witnesses led evidence to prove that the valid votes obtained by each of the candidates in the data of the first respondent was wrong or irregular,” he said.

Mr Amenuvor contended that including the Techiman South constituency presidential results, the total votes obtained by the second respondent is 6,776,792, and as a percentage of the total valid votes cast (13,220,547), the percentage obtained by the second respondent becomes 51.260 per cent.

“Thus, it is our submission that the analysis above show clearly that the second respondent still meet the more than 50%+1 threshold under article 63 (3) with both the exclusion and inclusion of Techiman South presidential election results,” the EC lawyer said.

 

 

Okyenhene advocates involvement of chiefs in legislative decisions

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Okyenhene Osagyefuo Amoatia Ofori Panin says there must be a deliberate attempt by governments to involve traditional authorities in legislative decisions in the various countries in the West African sub-region.

According to him, chieftaincy is the most decentralised institution in the ECOWAS sub-region.

He also noted that despite the enormous resources of the region, much attention has not been given to harnessing them for national and communal development.

This, he added, has resulted in populations in the sub region thrown into the abyss of mass poverty, hopelessness and degradation.

The Okyenhene made the call at the opening of the Consultative Meeting with Traditional and Religious Leaders on the ECOWAS Vision 2050 at Kyebi, in the Eastern Region.

He made reference to the myriads of challenges Africa faces, partly attributing the situation to the neglect of the chieftaincy institution and the denial of its legitimate place expected in the development of communities, especially the rural areas which account for 80 per cent of its population.

“It might be important to relate that the colonial era left certain birth marks on newly independent countries. The colonial system did not recognise the necessary and inseparable bond between culture and development,” he said.

“The chieftaincy institution is embedded in the psyche of our people. It has the respect, legitimacy and direct relation to their daily lives, materially and spiritually. Chieftaincy is the primary source of political socialisation that integrates all aspects of religious, economic, environment, traditional medicine, marriage, self-identity and public peace,” he added.

Colonial cultural yoke

The Okyenhene further noted that the socio-economic progress in Asia has come about as a result of the fact that economic programmes, technology, science and innovation are implemented within the cultural context of those societies.

“This situation accounts for the increasing economic strength of China. These include their customs, language and religious beliefs of the people,” he said.

He believes “chieftaincy is the melting ground and matrix of the aspiration, beliefs, mobilisation, motivation, social identity of our people and it is indispensable in any developmental effort to alleviate our people from poverty and destitution.”

“ECOWAS VISION 2050 looks at the sub-region in the next thirty years.  Today must be a starting point of throwing away the colonial cultural yoke by ensuring a far reaching measure that will integrate chieftaincy into the governance process of all the fifteen member countries,” he added.

The Okyenhene pointed out that it is not enough that politicians troop to the palaces of traditional authorities when contesting elections.

“They must be forced to commit to institute legislative measures to ensure the inclusiveness of traditional actors at all levels of governance in the spirit of decentralisation and popular participation,” he maintained.

ECOWAS Vision 2050

Taking her turn, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration-designate, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, explained that ECOWAS Vision 2050 envisions a borderless, peaceful, prosperous, cohesive region, built on good governance, where the citizenry has the capacity to access and harness the region’s enormous resources.

She said the realisation of the vision depends, to a large extent, on local actions taken by community citizens with the support of traditional and religious leaders who are the custodians of societal norms.

“To effectively support these local actions, it is important to forge partnerships with relevant stakeholders, including Your Royal Majesties and our Eminent Religious Leaders in view of your extensive outreach and presence in the region.

“It is acknowledged that your views are highly respected, further underscoring the importance of your inclusion in this regional assignment to develop a dynamic and implementable ECOWAS Vision 2050,” she said.

Ms Botchwey was satisfied that the consultative meeting was taking commendable steps to correct this wrong impression about ECOWAS.

The ECOWAS Vision 2020 was adopted in June, 2007 by the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS as the development blueprint for the transformation of West Africa into a borderless, peaceful and prosperous region by 2020.

It came to an end in December 2020, necessitating the development of a roadmap for the preparation of the Post-2020 Vision, now referred to as ECOWAS Vision 2050. The processes to fashion out the ECOWAS Vision 2050 commenced in January 2019, and the meeting is part of that ongoing process.

 

 

 

Ghana to get $20 million film studio

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Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Awal Mohammed

As part of efforts to ensure that Ghana becomes one of the most attractive places on earth when it comes to tourism, the Minister-designate for Tourism, Arts and Culture, Awal Mohammed, has disclosed that government will soon be establishing a 20 million dollar film studio.

Taking his turn at the Appointments Committee of Parliament yesterday, the former Business Development Minister said government will be building a film and music studio.

“We want to build a film and music studio. It’s one element that can increase the tourism potential of this country. We don’t have any serious studio in this country, so this is one of the first things that we will do. The film studio will help in music and film production and make Ghana the hub of film production in West Africa,” he said.

He also said that local television series will be encouraged to help project Ghanaian culture.

NAFAC

The Minister-designate also promised to ensure that the once world acclaimed National Festival of Arts and Culture (NAFAC) is revived, if given the nod.

The Minister-designate also gave the assurance that, if given the nod, he will initiate policies to encourage young persons to appreciate the local language.

As part of these activities, he intends to launch competitions among children between 10-18 years in the local language.

He said in preserving Ghana’s culture, it would be important to promote reading and writing of the local language.

With regard to how he will promote ‘Made in Ghana’ agenda so Ghanaians will develop an interest in what is produced in Ghana, he indicated that there are plans to introduce tourism, arts and cultural education in Ghanaian schools and called on Parliament to support the initiative.

Open defaecation

Answering questions on how he would tackle open defaecation at the country’s various beaches, he said the issue has gotten out of hands and that it is impossible for the ministry alone to deal with the problem without seeking help from traditional rulers.

On promoting beach tourism, he explained that the first step will be to curb defecation at the beaches.

After solving the age-long problem, Mr Mohammed said, the next plan will be to engage the private sector in creating entertainment at the beaches to attract revellers.

He added that the ministry will promote and generate interest in that aspect of tourism.

He however believes that this can only be possible with help from traditional rulers and other sectorial ministers.

 

Amewu: Joe Ghartey did well for railways sector

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Joe Ghartey

The Minister of Railways Development-designate, John Peter Amewu, says his predecessor, Joe Ghartey, did marvellously well as far as the development of the railway sector in Ghana is concerned.

According to Mr Amewu, his predecessor and his team at the Railways Development Ministry “laid a solid foundation” for the sector.

He made the commendation when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee on Wednesday during his vetting as Minister-designate for Railways Development.

Ability to deliver

Mr Amewu, a former Energy Minister and Member of Parliament for the Hohoe constituency in the Volta Region, assured the lawmakers and the entire country that he would continue where his predecessor left off.

Mr Ghartey had earlier wished Mr Amewu well, expressing profound confidence in his ability to succeed when he is finally given the nod.

Under Mr Ghartey’s stewardship, Ghana’s railway sector, which was virtually dead, was resurrected.

Prior to his appointment, many of the tracks in existence were those built during colonial times. For instance, the Accra-Nsawam rail line was developed around 1910-1912.

He rebuilt the entire railway network across Ghana, moving the country away from its colonial narrow gauge tracks to modern standard gauge rail lines, and then bring in modern trains as well as rehabilitated the 30km Accra-Tema, 33km Achimota-Nsawam, and 56km Kojokrom-Tarkwa rail lines.

Deals

Among the several deals signed was that involving a consortium of Chinese companies, led by Dongfang Electrical, in partnership with CRRC Dalian and the CRRC Qiqihar Rolling Stock Company (QRRS), for the supply of passenger locomotives and rolling stocks to Ghana.

The deal with the Chinese consortium, worth $243.6 million, was for the supply of nine passenger locomotives capable of speeds of 160km/h, 15 freight locomotives and 11 shunters.

In addition, Dongfang will supply 48 passenger coaches, 230 box wagons and 100 flat wagons and the first batch of two locomotives is scheduled for delivery by June 2021, with a further seven by the end of the same year.

The existing 1,067mm gauge colonial-era network had suffered from underinvestment and neglect in recent decades, declining from a peak of 947km in 1957 to around 10 percent of that figure when Mr Ghartey took over.

MoH gives reasons to pull down old uncompleted maternity block at KATH

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A new 500-bed capacity maternity block is to be built at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), in place of the abandoned 45-year old uncompleted weak structure which is set to be demolished.

This was disclosed by a team from the Ministry of Health, KATH and the contractor in charge of the project.

The €155 million Deutsche Bank fund, which was to be used to complete the abandoned project, is the same amount that will be used in funding the new six-storey building. It is scheduled to be completed within three years.

The Chief Executive Officer of KATH, Dr Oheneba Owusu Danso, joined by the Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, KMA Boss Osei Assibey Antwi, officials from MoH, consultants and the contractor on the site, showed journalists and some stakeholders round the old building site to witness the said damages in the building.

Risk assessment

The old uncompleted block has weak and rusty, exposed iron rods, with some portions of the concrete showing cracks and weakness and which easily falls off with just a little force.

According to Richard Vanderpuije, head of the Architecture Engineering Infrastructure Directorate at the MoH, the decision to demolish the building followed a comprehensive risk assessment undertaken by relevant engineering companies, including Architectural and Engineering Services Limited (AESL).

He also noted that “the old building cannot last for the next five to 10 years if repaired and when left alone, the old building could fall on its own without anybody touching it. The building has exceeded its life span and in terms of risk, cost effectiveness, it would be more expensive to maintain it than rebuild.”

“As we speak, shoring has been applied to keep the building standing and a little vibration at the site will cause a disaster. Testing also showed very low concrete compressive strength (C7/C9a) and this is not acceptable,” he added.

The facility, which was initially designed to have a 750-bed capacity, will be reduced to 500 beds when redeveloped.

President Akufo-Addo in May 2020 cut the sod for the construction of the project and gave a completion deadline of 36-months.

Prof Gyampo tells LGBT advocates: You can’t work with us so tone down

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Prof Gyampo

A Political Science lecturer at the University of Ghana, Professor Ransford Gyampo, has asked advocates of Lesbianism, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) to shun from the advocacy in Ghana since it goes against the cultural and religious upbringing of people in the country.

“In Ghana, apart from our religious and cultural upbringings that frown on LGBT, we are merely a Transitional Democracy. I therefore expect those trying, surreptitiously and openly to arrogantly impose such crude and unorthodox carnal tendencies on us, to tone down, because they simply can’t work with us. With or without God; with or without Government, the people would reject such an arrogant imposition,” he said.

Stages of democratic progression

In an article to explain the different stages in democratic progression and people’s demand for human right, the case made by LGBT advocates, Prof Gyampo noted that regardless of the stage Ghana finds herself now, the people abhor the practice of homosexuality and would not accept the practice.

“The First Stage is called Authoritarianism. This is simply explained in terms of a system of government, that favours or enforces strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom and human rights. The exercise of Political Rights as well as Economic, Social and Cultural (ECOSOC) Rights, are either non-existent or not tolerated under Authoritarianism. Regimes in Ghana, that exhibited authoritarian tendencies include the Nkrumah regime and the other military interventions that punctuated our efforts at democratization,” he stated.

He continued: “the Second Stage of Democratic Progression is called Transitional/Electoral Democracy. Countries under this democratic phase extol the virtues of Political Rights. Here, the main focus is the conduct of periodic elections, regardless of whether they are free and fair. The rights to free speech, form or join a political party of one’s choice are hesitantly guaranteed. However, ECOSOC rights are either non-existent or completely under-developed. These rights are therefore not asserted by the citizenry, and even when they are granted on a very infinitesimal scale, they are subserviently perceived by the citizenry as privileges, for which some ignorant people tend to be overly grateful to politicians.”

“The Third Stage is called Liberal Democracy. As Transitional Democracies grow for, say, over 200 years, ECOSOC rights become fully developed and are fully accessed as of rights by the citizenry. In addition, the exercise of Political Rights is fully developed to the point that elections are seamless and they are by default, free, fair, peaceful and transparent. All other political rights are fully developed and guaranteed.

 

“The Fourth Stage is called Advanced Liberal Democracy. At this stage, all the features of the Third Stage are fully consolidated. In addition, citizens at this stage claim ownership and access to ALL and everything they can claim to be a right, sometimes beyond the imagination of normal human reasoning, (particularly among the citizenry of the First Three Stages of Democratic Stages). It is at this stage of Democratic Progression that human beings can openly sleep with animals and insist they have the right to do so. It is at this Stage that LGBTs thrive and impose responsibility on the State to guarantee them as rights,” he added.

Concerned voters take on CSOs for silence on LGTBQI

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Razak Kojo Opoku, Founder and President of CVM

The Concerned Voters Movement (CVM) has chastised civil society organisations in the country for their ‘loud’ silence on the ongoing Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Intersexual (LGBTQI) discussion that has been going on in the country.

Social and traditional media have been inundated with condemnation since news of a supposed establishment of an office space in Ghana by advocates of LGBTQI broke.

Ghanaians from different walks of life, including the clergy, media, politicians, academics, among others, have condemned the said opening of the office space in the country.

Others have argued that the customs and traditions as well as the laws of the country frown on the act, and should therefore not be entertained.

Loud silence

Strangely, civil society organisations in the country who have been vociferous on a number of issues have gone silent on the raging debate. All attempts by different individuals and groups to get the CSOs to state their position on the matter have proven futile.

CVM in a statement copied to the Daily Statesman and singed by its founder and president, Razak Kojo Opoku, specifically took on the CSOs for their silence on the matter.

 

Source of funding

CVM accused the CSOs of protecting their pocket against the interest of the state, adding that their inability to openly state their position on the matter is because they are funded by financiers of LGBTQI advocates.

“IMANI led by Franklin Cudjoe is on top of issues when it comes to governance except the issues of LGBTQI.

“The loud silence of IMANI and other Civil Society Organizations on the issues of LGBTQI stems from the fact that, these CSOs receive funding and support from organizations who are strongly behind the LGBTQI community. Therefore, any attempt to hold Government accountable on the LGBTQI would automatically affect their sources of funding,” CVM alleged.

CVM listed some funding agencies, which it says are financiers of LGBTQI, and also finance the CSOs such as the Ford Foundation, which conducts grant-making that benefits the LGBTQI community through its Gender and Racial Justice Programme and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), a grant-making and advocacy foundation that is part of the global Open Society Foundations Network that empower and LGBTQI.

Other financiers, according to CVM, include Open Society Foundation, Overbrook Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Tides Foundation, Levi Strauss Foundation, Mama Cash, Dreilinden gGmbh, Hivos (NL), Arcus Foundation among others.

“In September 2018, Franklin Cudjoe, Founding President of IMANI Africa, promised to raise funds to support the work of the Special Prosecutor through Ford Foundation and Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), and interestingly these two organizations are well known promoters, defenders and activists of LGBTQI Communities.

“IMANI Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, Kofi Bentil and Bright Simons can never openly condemn, criticize, oppose and speak against the LGBTQI … Similarly, majority of the prominent CSOs can never condemn, criticize, oppose and speak against LGBTQI due to the fear that their sources of funding will be blocked,” CVM said.

ECG undergoing massive rehabilitation works – Amewu

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The Electricity Company of Ghana is currently undertaking comprehensive rehabilitation works across the country to improve efficiency and service delivery, former Minister of Energy John Peter Amewu has said.

The GHC100 million project, according to him, is expected to see the replacement of all obsolete equipment of ECG to facilitate the smooth running of the institution to enable Ghanaians derive maximum benefits in the long term.

Mr Amewu, who is now heading to the Ministry of Railway Development as the sector minister, made this known when he appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee last Wednesday.

Major milestone

He also said Ghana had achieved a major milestone by exporting 250 to 300MW electricity to her neighbours such as Burkina Faso, Togo, Benin and Cote D’Ivoire saying, the country has generated enough power to surpass the demands of citizens.

“I am happy to announce to this House that for the first time in the history of this country export arrangements are in excess sometimes of about 250 to 300 megawatts being given to Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Benin and Republic of Togo,” he said.

The Hohoe MP, however, explained that the receivers of the electricity are not developed enough to utilise all the power that is given, which ends up being wasted, and accounting for the financial loss from excess power generated.

Although he was hopeful that Ghana could increase its power exports in the future, he bemoaned the fact that the infrastructural limitations of the receivers of this exported power made it difficult to do so.

“Ghana could increase its exports but the infrastructure is not developed in these countries, so we are limited by the amount of power that we can export that is why it comes back to us as power being available and not consumed,” the Railways Minister-designate said.

He indicated that the government has paid about GHC1.2 million to the ECG, VRA and NeDCo to cover the free electricity to Ghanaians as part of Covid-19 relief package to Ghanaians.

Responding to lawmakers about his handling of the electricity subsector and ECG debts, he stated that “I want to use this opportunity to announce to Ghanaians that the government of Ghana has fully paid its debts owed ECG.”

He added that “all debts that Ghana owes, including the debts of Municipal, Metropolitan and District Assemblies, and Ministries have been fully paid by the Ministry of Finance.”

Reliable railway sector

Touching on the railway sector, Mr Amewu noted that when properly developed, the sector could go a long way to increase productivity, thereby, boosting the economic growth of the country.

“Mr Chairman, the railway sector has its own advantages. The life span of most of our roads we witness in this country is a maximum of eleven years but a railway if well-constructed can take up to 50 years. So the advantage is that when you put your railways sector in order, then you are going to migrate traffic from the current existing dense traffic on our roads to the railway,” he told the Appointments Committee.

DAN BOTWE HAS PROVED HE IS CUT FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTRY

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Competence sometimes appears an anathema in the vocabulary of the many members of the opposition National Democratic Congress. Wallowing in mediocrity is their pride; and competition for the vulgar, their mission since Founder Jerry John Rawlings and Professor Evans Atta Mills exited the leadership scene of the party.

How true our assertion is, is manifest in the vehemence that went into their campaign against the candidature of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in 2008 and, since then, potions of venom that had been extended to other distinguished and accomplished lieutenants he has been working with.

Victims

Those who had subsequently been in their line of fire have included the former Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta, former Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, Vice-President Mahamudu Bawumia and, more recently, Dan Botwe, who dead goats in the NDC are making a scapegoat for their inability to win the Hohoe Central seat and the presidential elections, as a consequence.

While it is refreshing that these accomplished citizens took the NDC’s infantile attacks in their strides, because Ghanaians are the better judges in matters of good governance and corruption, it is imperative that, day by day, as the barking dogs and Rottweillers repeat their invectives, we remind them of the seeds they are sowing, for the sake of the records.

Dan Botwe’s competence

Anybody who has been around since 1996 would admit, in particular, the kind of asset Dan has been to Ghana and the governing New Patriotic Party in terms of research skills and knowledge of the countryside.

As a young man working with his seniors, including former President JA Kufuor, Dr Safo-Adu and Dsane-Selby as well as Peter Ala Adjetey and Nana Akufo-Addo, he proved his mettle as the true General who knew every community and its demographics.

Of particular importance was his understanding of how people vote the way they do, and how the NPP would employ that research information in invading the previously impervious settler communities in areas like Fanteakwa, Asamankese, Adeiso, Afram Plains, Asuogyaman to contain the propaganda of the NDC.

Creation of new regions

While we may not have invested enough resources in maximally igniting economic activity in the six newly-created regions, there is massive evidence that residents approved of the initiative on the part of the government to create the six new regions. That showed in their massive Yes vote to welcome the idea to create new regions and the independence and hope that came with that wave of development in freedom.

Endorsements

That is why we are not surprised hearing that traditional rulers from about eight communities, including Akpafu, Lolobi, Santrofi, and Likpe, have endorsed the nomination of Dan Botwe as the Minister-designate of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development.

The leaders of these communities are also calling on Parliament to ignore the noise being made by NDC-sponsored groups with no known credibility and go ahead to okay the nomination of the Minister-designate.

According to them, a petition filed to the Appointments Committee was misplaced and contents unwarranted and suspicious, and for which reason that petition should be treated with contempt.

Our opinion

In the light of the politics of pull him down associated with the NDC, we add our voice to the call by the traditional leaders to the Appointments Committee to ignore the rabble-rousers.

The NDC benefits, politically, keeping Ghana ‘rural’ and underdeveloped when it wins power. We at the Daily Statesman, however, believe Ghana must go forward.

We therefore urge the Appointments Committee to do what is honourable, in giving Dan Botwe the green light to serve his country in the capacity he is best suited.

Today’s Front Page 26/02/2021

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