Ghana-US military cooperation agreement ruling adjourned by Supreme Court

Ghana-US military cooperation agreement ruling adjourned by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has adjourned its ruling on the suit challenging the government’s decision to sign the controversial Ghana-US military cooperation agreement.

The ruling which was expected to be heard on Wednesday, April 21, 2020, was adjourned by the Chief Justice, Anin Yeboah who served as the presiding judge over the case.

According to him, the decision is as a result of the inability of panel judges hearing the matter to have a conference due to partial lockdown.

As a result, the judgment has therefore been scheduled to be heard on May 5, 2020.

In 2018, a former Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), Yaw Brogya Genfi, and one other filed the suit asking the Court to set aside the agreement rectified by Parliament between Ghana and the 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.

As part of the reliefs being sought, the applicants are 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.”

Background

Mr Genfi went to court after Parliament ratified the pact despite stiff opposition from the Minority.

The approval was done by only Majority members because the Minority members staged a walkout during the debate on the floor of Parliament.

With the agreement ratified, it meant that the US troops would among other things be exempted from paying taxes on equipment that are brought to Ghana as well as use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free.

The troops and their equipment would also have unhindered access to Ghana’s military forces and their equipment.

At the time, although many Ghanaians expressed resentment over the clauses of the agreement, the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, said the agreement was in the best interest of Ghana.

The Government had 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 this argument saying the agreement as existed in the past, did not have the same clauses like the current one that gives the US unlimited access to Ghana’s military facilities.

The US Embassy in Ghana also explained that it was 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 a military base.