The Supreme Court has ordered the Attorney General to file a written response to the case in which a citizen is challenging the government’s decision to sign the controversial Ghana-US military cooperation agreement within seven days.
The order was given after an application by a representative from the AG’s office seeking an extension of the time to file the document.
The Ashanti Regional youth organizer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Brogya Genfi, filed the suit asking the Court to set aside the agreement ratified by Parliament between Ghana and United States over a military cooperation deal.
According to the suit, two government appointees breached several laws in their bid to have the controversial Ghana-US military agreement ratified.
Mr. Genfi is among his reliefs asking for a declaration that the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul acted in contravention of Articles 58 (1), 75 and 93 (2) of the 1992 Constitution when he caused to be laid before Parliament an executive draft of the supposed defence cooperation agreement for ratification under Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution.”
The Ghana-US defence cooperation agreement became a major subject for public discussion in March 2018 after a document indicating the terms of the agreement leaked into the public domain.
Many Ghanaians expressed resentment over the clauses in the agreement, which included the government making available its vital military installations to US troops, tax exemption to US troops and their equipment, free access to the country’s radio spectrum and no prosecution of troops should they commit an offence while in the country.
But the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the agreement was in the best interest of Ghana.
The Government consistently explained that it was only respecting the existing Status of Forces Agreement with the US signed since 1998 and reviewed in 2015, under the previous NDC administration.
But the NDC Minority downplayed the argument saying the agreement as it exists in the past, did not have the same clauses as the current one that gave the US unlimited access to Ghana’s military facilities.
The US Embassy in Ghana also explained that it is only planning joint security exercises with Ghana, which will require that US military personnel are allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities and that they are not building an army base.
A major demonstration that gathered thousands of Ghanaians was staged in Accra to protest against the agreement, but that did not cause the government to reserve it.