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Defence Deal: Respond in 7 Days – Court to AG

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The Supreme Court has given Attorney General and Minister for Justice, Gloria Akuffo, seven days to file a response to a suit challenging the military cooperation deal between Ghana and the United States of America.

The AG’s representative in court on Thursday, 21 June 2018, filed an application to have the period extended for them to file their written response.

Justice Gabriel Pwamang, who presided over the case, gave the AG the one-week period to file her statement of case.

Background

Yaw Brogya Genfi, a member of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), filed a lawsuit at the Supreme Court against the government, challenging the legality of a United States of America defence co-operation agreement with Ghana, which has been ratified by Parliament.

Mr Genfi is asking the Supreme Court to, among other things, set aside the agreement.

The writ has Attorney General Gloria Akuffo and Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul as first and second defendants, respectively.

According to Mr Genfi, the two government appointees breached several laws in their bid to have the controversial Ghana-US military agreement ratified.

He is demanding nine reliefs from the court.

He is seeking a declaration that the Minister of Defence acted in contravention of articles 58 (1), 75 and 93 (2) of the 1992 Constitution when he laid or caused to be laid before Parliament an unexecutive draft of the supposed defence co-operation agreement for ratification under Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution.

Deal seeks to oust jurisdiction of Supreme Court

He argued that neither the executive nor the legislature has the power to enter or ratify a treaty that seeks to oust the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in matters of interpretation of international agreements.

Even though the agreement was ratified amidst drama and chaos, Mr Gyamfi wants the Supreme Court to annul the agreement.

Cabinet approval

Cabinet, at its 28th meeting on 8 March 2018, approved the agreement.

The ratified agreement grants US military personnel, defence contractors and agents, among other executive officials, unrestricted access to Ghanaian facilities for military and humanitarian purposes.

Ghana also grants the US military and civilian personnel a wide range of “privileges, tax exemptions and immunities” as those granted to administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission.

“United States Contractors shall not be liable to pay tax or similar charge assess within Ghana in connection with this agreement,” the document stated.

Personnel of the US military can also enter and exit Ghana using a wide range of travelling documents, including an identification card or individual travel orders.

Per the agreement, the US will use Ghana as a base to facilitate, among other things, training of its military, staging and deployment of US forces, aircraft refuelling and landing and recovery of aircraft.

Ghana is mandated to provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas” to US forces, contractors and other staffs.

Again, Ghana, in the agreement, commits to provide access to and use of its runway that meets the requirements of United States forces.

Source: ClassFMonline

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