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NDC MPs under strict instruction not to support military deal– Koku Anyidoho

The Deputy General Secretary of the opposition National Democratic Congress(NDC), Koku Anyidoho, has said the Party gave the Minority strict instructions not to support the Ghana-US deal to have a military base in Ghana.

General Secretary, Johnson Aseidu Nketiah was seen in the company of other party Executives and former MPs in parliament to ensure that the instructions were obeyed, he had red band on sitting in the public gallery until the Minority walked out when he left.

Mr. Koku Anyidoho in an interview with ghanamps.com on Friday said the opposition NDC will not allow President Akuffo-Addo’s government mortgage the freedom and sovereignty of Ghana.

There is no way we in the NDC will be part of what Akuffo-Addo wants to do, since he want to become American, let someone tell Akuffo-Addo he “ant seen nothing yet”.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Protestors against US-Ghana military deal locked out of Parliament

Protestors against the Ghana-US Defence Cooperation Agreement were locked out of Parliament on Friday when they attempted to enter.

The group calling itself Economic Fighters League had staged a peaceful walk to Parliament on Friday morning where legislators were looking at a possible ratification of the agreement but were prevented from entering the premises, by police stationed in Parliament House.

Protestors complained about being tossed from one place to another by security personnel and insisted their action is a peaceful one, and were unhappy with the manner in which they were being handled.

Members of Parliament from the Minority side who had red bans on came up to the gate and pleaded with the Police commander to allow the protestors in but did not allow it.

Some MPs had to insist that some members were their visitors before they were allowed into the premises of Parliament House.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Hannah Tetteh agreement gave US soldiers access to Ghana facilities….. Nitiwul

Minister for Defense, Dominic Nitiwul has said the former foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh granted soldiers from the United States of America access to Ghana’s facilities in a military cooperation pact agreement in 2015.

According to the Defense Minister he is surprised the members of the previous government, National Democratic Congress (NDC) who signed that agreement with the American government in 2015 are the ones leading a section of the public to kick against approval of the 2018 agreement submitted to Ghana by the United State of America for approval

Mr. Nitiwul indicated that the US Army is not the only foreign military to have accessed Ghana’s facilities as several other foreign troops have had same.

“The access to tour facilities is not new to us. Ever since Hannah Tetteh signed the 2015 agreement Americans and other countries have always had access to our facilities,” the Defence Minister said on Joyfm’s current affairs programme Newsfile Saturday 24th March 2018.

He further disclosed that the 2015 agreement also granted tax exemptions on the importation of equipment and items including food, water and clothing, as well as access to the country’s radio spectrum free of cost to the US military.

“The very things Ghanaians especially the NDC, are speaking against today, they signed it,” he revealed.
The NDC now in opposition, are opposed to an enhanced 2018 agreement which is premised on the one they signed in 2015, insisting it will mortgage the country’s sovereignty to a superpower.

Ranking member on defense and interior, James Agalga, disagreed with the Minister of Defense by saying there was not voting on the issue at the committee level which the Minister suggested on the programme.

“If we had voted, the voting pattern will have been captured, every division in the committee shall be taken by the clerk of the committee asking each member of the committee separately how he desire to vote and recording the votes accordingly “

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority walks out, but Majority ratifies agreement with US

The Majority side of the House ratified the controversial Ghana-US Military Cooperation agreement on Friday 23rd March 2018, in the wake of drama and chaos.

Ahead of the ratification, the Speaker of Parliament, and the Minority members walked out at different stages of the sitting after heated exchanges for and against an agreement that will give US military unfettered access to some facilities in Ghana.

The Minority did not hide their objection to the agreement and did not fail to express same during proceedings in the House, by putting on red bands and shouting, banging the tables indicating their objections to things they objected to.

In their numbers, they washed their hands off the Ghana-US Military Cooperation agreement by staging a walkout in Parliament shortly after the report of the committee on Defence was presented on the floor.
The opposition legislators did not want to have anything to do with a military agreement they say will mortgage the country’s sovereignty to a superpower.

After several minutes of chaos, the Speaker returned to restore order and to continue the proceedings.
The Minority demanded amendments to be made to the report of the committee that had been brought to the floor for a debate.

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu led his side of the House to stage a walkout from the chamber after arguing his case out and noted that, “we do not want to be part of this agreement”.

The Majority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu and the Defence Minister Dominic Nitiwul had their say and later their way as the house adopted the committee report and ratified the agreement.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ghana never had a copy of 2015 Ghana-US agreement Nitiwul reveals

The Defense Minister has revealed that Ghana did not keep a copy of the 2015 military agreement on which the 2018 agreement was based on.

According to the Bimbila Member of Parliament, the embattled Ghana-US military deal that saw a section of Ghanaians protecting to Parliament on Friday to register their displeasure is merely based on a 2015 agreement the West African nation had with the US.

“But unfortunately, Ghana didn’t have a copy of the agreement,” Mr. Nitiwul told on Joy FM’s flagship news analysis show; Newsfile on Saturday.

The Bimbila Member of Parliament said he only got to know of the 2015 agreement when the US referred to it in the 2018 agreement.

“Until they made reference to it I didn’t have any idea…it was when Ghana Armed Forces were meeting with the US to structure this agreement…that is when the Americans gave them a copy of the ‘Hannah Tetteh agreement’. That is how we messed up ourselves as a country,” he said.

“It was not in my handing over notes and I wrote to the Foreign Minister and she checked her archives and she didn’t have it as well,” he said

Mr. Nitiwul reiterated that the current agreement with the US is simply an improvement of previous agreements Ghana has had with the US.

“The agreement tells you in the last paragraph that, once we sign this, it supersedes all other agreements we have with them. They consolidated all the agreements we have with them into one document and have asked us to sign,” he said.

He also argued that the Ghana government and the US amended the original document submitted by the US authorities.

“When you look at the original agreement, it was worse than this,” he said.

“I wrote to all the Ministries and Departments concerned, Foreign Affairs, National Security, Interior, Attorney General, and everyone concerned and they provided me with a technical person to form our team. We took some clauses out and brought some in,” he said.

He also noted that the US agreement is a standard template used worldwide by the US.
Ghana is the only country to have forced the US government to negotiate, he said.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Ministry intervene to avert collapse of indigenous airlines ……Minister

Minister of Aviation, Cecilia Dapaah, has revealed that the Ministry is taking steps to intervene to address challenges of the indigenous airlines to avert total collapse.

According to the Minister the Ministry has engaged airline operators and requested for a list of airline spares parts and consumables that require exemptions to enable the Ministry submit proposals to the Ministry of Finance for consideration.

She further noted that the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) has been charged by the Ministry to look at the possibility of a downward review of licensing and certification fees and charges for new companies entering the domestic market.

The GCAA provides free of charge aeronautical services at the Regional airports and serve as a big incentive she said on the floor of Parliament, when MP for Adaklu Kwame Agbodza wanted to know if there are challenges facing domestic airlines as some of them are laying off their staff.

the Minister of Aviation again said the Ministry will take measures to make domestic airlines operations attractive and encourage Ghanaian investors to invest in the industry.

Again the Ministry would soon deposit an ICAO Registry in Montreal for ratification/accession in respect of International Air Law Convention to enable domestic operations enjoy incentives the Conventions affords, such as leasing of aircraft at affordable rates.

Mrs. Cecilia Dapaah told the House that high cost of operation from fuel price at domestic airports, leasing of aircrafts, non-availability of tax incentives for start-ups and payment of user and other charges to GCAA in dollars are among other contributing factors had resulted in laying-off of staff of some domestic airline and contributing to the collapse of some indigenous airlines.

The Minister recounted that in 2012 five domestic airlines operators, Africa World Airlines(AWA), Aero Surveys(Starbow), Antrak Air, CTK network Aviation Limited(City Link) and Fly 540 were operating the domestic route in Ghana.

City Link, Fly 540 and Antrak Air, suspended their operations in August 2012, May 2014 and June 2015 respectively leaving only AWA and Starbow.

In a written letter to GCAA all the three attributed their suspension to restructuring and reorganization of their respective organizations.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Unavailability of funds in road fund affects road projects—Minister

Minister of Roads and Highways, Kwesi Amoako Atta, has revealed to Members of Parliament that most of the road projects in their advance form will be completed when funds are available.

According to the Roads and Highways Minister who was answering questions on the floor of parliament, completion of road projects will depend on the employers ability to pay for work done so far.

He hinted at the beginning of years that funds in the Road Fund had dry up because of the excessive road contracts award by the previous government and the interest that had to be paid for loans taken from the bank.

His answer was in response to the Member of Parliament for Klottey-Korle, Dr. Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings whon wanted to know when the Abuja/CMB Market road will be completed.

The Minister noted that currently the project is 75 percent completed, the contractors have suspended works as a result of the employers undue delay in paying for work done and the project is financed through the Ghana Road Fund.

The same answers were provided for the Member of Parliament for Kintampo South Felicia Adjei on Jema Township roads which is 15 percent completed.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

We have two contentious issues to deal with in RTI bill—-Majority Leader

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Leader of Government Business, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu has hinted that there are two contentious issues to deal with in the Right to Information Bill that has been reintroduce to the House and before the joint committee on Constitutional Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and the Communication committee.

As civil society agitated for the passage of the bill it was reintroduce and laid on the floor of the House on 23rd March, 2018 for its first reading before the House went on recess.

The House is expected to return back from recess mid May, Majority Leader stated in an interview with ghanamps.com and noted that by ending of July the Bill should have been taken.

Mr. Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu revealed that, the two issues in contention; creation of an office as assembling point to receive all relevant information, and which issue to qualify as a National Security Information.

The herculean task of burdening one office accessing information or they giving you directions to where to get the needed information, which will result in all the Ministries having to establish information unit within so that one can go there and seek the relevant information, he said.

He further noted that the second issue of contention was which information qualify to be a matter of National Security Information it became contentious.

“We will need to be clear in our mind, not that government will be giving information with the right hand and taking it back with the left hand everything that was the issue in the previous bill that was contentious”, he lamented.

What information should be given out to people of this country. Looking for information there are two major things we should look at otherwise it may derail the entire access we want to grant to citizens looking for information, he added.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Government is taking steps to curb robbery in Sawla/Tuna/Kalba—-Interior Minister

Minister of the Interior, Ambrose Dery, had indicated on the floor of Parliament that government is very committed in the fight against armed robbery in its bid it is retooling the police service to equip them with additional patrol vehicles and logistic to enable them discharge their duties efficiently.

According to the Minister there is increase patrol on the Sawla-Damango-Wa highways which is factored in the operational plan of the police service.

He further noted that the police had stepped up its intelligence operations across the country which is yielding enormous results in the arrest of persons involved in crime.

Member of Parliament for Sawla/Tuna/Kalba Andrew Dari Chiwitey wanted to know what the Interior Ministry doing to curb consistent robberies on the Sewla-Damongo and Sawla-Wa highways.

Mr. Speaker, “Operation Calm Life” which is a joint police/military operation has also been intensified along the corridor in the fight against crime and armed robbery. Security is a shared responsibility “we will play our part” much will depend on information from the public in order to arrest these robbers, he said.

Information received from the Ghana police service indicates there has been only 1 reported robbery within the area this year, they question of what the Ministry is doing to curb robberies in the areas is an over exaggeration of the situation on the ground, he told the House.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com

Minority had majority of members on the committee the approved military deal

It has been revealed that the Minority on the committee of Defense and Interior had majority of its members on the Parliamentary committee that recommended the Ghana-US military agreement that came for consideration at the committee level.

Minister of Defense, Dominic Nitiwul made this revelations known on Joy Fm’s weekend current affairs programme news file that the Minority had 14 MPs on the committee when the Majority had 10 members present at the committee.

He stated that the 24-member committee scrutinized the deal thoroughly before recommending it to the House.

“We finished the whole deliberation, we sat from about 9:30 am to almost 9: 00 pm and analyzed it clause by clause. With 14 NDC members and 10 NPP members then the committee took the decision to recommend it to parliament for adaption,” he said.

Ranking member on Defense and Interior, James Agalga, that although the Minority members were more in numbers on the committee, the decision to recommend the agreement to the plenary was that of the NPP members.

“We reached the recommendation because there was a deadlock and we as members belonging to minority after raising reservations said if you the Minority wanted a recommendation, it will stand in the name of the majority NPP,” he said.

He noted also that there was no voting at the committee level.

“He Nitiwul gives the impression that we sat on the committee and the majority members of the NDC voted and recommended and that is not true,” he said.

“If we had voted the voting pattern would have been captured,” he added.

He was emphatic that he led his NDC members to raise objections.

A private legal practitioner, Ace Ankomah in his opinion said since the NDC had Majority on the Committee, they could have easily quashed the deal at the committee level.

“You failed by not demanding the vote,” he told the ranking member on Defense and Interior.

“If there is no unanimity then you have an opportunity because the majority is now minority so you demand a voice vote and on account of your vote…you could have thrown this agreement out,” he said.

Parliament has since ratified the agreement although the minority members staged a walkout amid fierce arguments.

By: Kwaku Sakyi-Danso/ghanamps.com