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Supreme Court dismisses US-Ghana Military Cooperation Agreement case

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed the suit challenging government’s decision to sign the United States-Ghana Military Cooperation Agreement.

The Apex Court of the land noted that the Plaintiff’s claims were unmeritorious hence dismissed same.

In a unanimous decision the seven-member panel, presided over by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah, fixed May 20 to file their reasons at the Court’s Registry.

In 2018, Brogya Genfi, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), sued the Government over its defence cooperation agreement with the United States.

Among other things, Mr Genfi prayed the Court to “set aside” the agreement on grounds that it was “not in the national interest of Ghana, and contravenes article (1) 2, 11, 33, 125, 135, 140, 75 and 73 of the 1992 Constitution.”

He was demanding a “declaration that the word ‘ratify’ used within the provisions of Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution is a term of art, which has a true meaning of incorporating international law and treaties into the domestic legal system of the Republic of Ghana and not prior approval or approval.”

Additionally, Mr Genfi was asking for a declaration that the “ratification by Parliament of the supposed agreement between Ghana and the Government of United States of America on Defence Cooperation, the Status of United States Forces, and Access to and use of agreed facilities and areas in the Republic of Ghana (hereinafter referred to as Defence Co-operation Agreement) on March 24, 2018, when the supposed agreement had not been executed by the President or person authorised by the President as provided for by Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution, is contrary to the said Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution and same is null and void.”

Mrs Gloria Akuffo, the Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and Mr Dominic Nitiwul, the Minister of Defence, were the defendants in the suit.

Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, the Deputy Attorney General and Mrs Patience Adumoah Lartey, represented the State while Mr Elikplim Agbemava represented the Plaintiff.

The suit came days after Parliament had ratified the pact despite opposition from the Minority.

The Minority staged a walk-out during the debate in Parliament where the Majority approved the pact.

Following the ratification of the agreement, 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.

Government said 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 Minority contended that 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 United State Embassy in Ghana explained that it was only planning joint security exercises with Ghana and that would require that US military personnel be allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities and that they were not going to build a military base.

Source: GNA

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