Defence Minister erred in a memo on Ghana-US military agreement- Information Minister

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Minister of Information Dr. Mustapha Hamid says Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul erred for stating in memo to parliament that the 2015 military corporation agreement between Ghana and the United States had lapsed.

In a memo requesting parliament to ratify the controversial 2018 defence cooperation agreement between Ghana and US, Mr. Nitiwul claimed the  one signed by the two countries on April 28, 2015 had lasped.

But speaking on 3FM’s Sunrise morning show Tuesday, Dr. Hamid said the said agreement, which government said was not taken to parliament at the time for ratification, had no lapse clause.

“The defense minister erred in saying that it [the 2015 agreement] lapsed because there was no lapse clause. So on what basis did he say it had lapsed?” he asked but added “he [Nitiwul] is human so if he made an error, that is it,” the Information Minister stated.

Mustapha Hamid, Minister of Information

According to Dr. Hamid, what the Defence minister meant to say was that, there was the need to consolidate the 1998 and 2015 agreements to give birth to the controversial one which parliament of March 23 ratified.

“In the case of the 1998 and 2015, there is no clause that we can terminate. There was no lapse agreement, and I am saying definitively that there was no termination clause.”

Dr. Mustapha said the 1998 and the 2015 agreement will be taken to parliament for ratification as per a Supreme Court ruling on the Gitmo 2 case, are international and must be given parliamentary backing.

The  agreement

Cabinet at its 28th meeting on March 8, 2018 approved the agreement, following which the Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul, has since March 14, 2018 asked parliament to give effect to.

Approval of the agreement would grant US military personnel, defence contractors and agents among other executive officials unrestricted access to Ghanaian facilities for military and humanitarian purposes.

A copy of the agreement sighted reveals Ghana would grant 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 refueling and landing and recovery of aircraft.

Ghana will be 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.

Parties to the agreement justify the approval of the document ensure access to and use of agreed facilities and areas by US forces within Ghana.

According to the two nations, it will also ensure that there is enhanced and fruitful security co-operation between them.

Critics, including security experts have advised the government to proceed with caution in entering into such agreement as it will not be in the best interest of Ghanaians and the country.

According to some, the will enable the US to establish a military base here and cede the country’s sovereignty to the world superpower.

But the United States Embassy in Accra has rejected the speculations that it seeks to set up a military base in Ghana per the agreement, stating it has not requested and does not intend to do so in the country.

By Irene Amesimeku

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) who studied at Clark Atlanta University on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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