International Relations expert, Prof. Kwame Agyenim Boateng, has said Ghana’s sovereignty would be mortgaged if parliament ratifies the US, Ghana pact agreement.
Speaking to Kwame Tutu on Rainbow Radio 87.5Fm, the lecturer at the Kings University College, Faculty of Law and International Relations Department said, the agreement is faulty because it has no time limit.
In his view, the Defence Minister lacks understanding of the issues surrounding the agreement and because of that, he is dabbling in a pool of confusion.
‘’There is no limit and is extremely worrying. How can you agree on something without time limit? If you are going to agree with someone on something, and there is no limit, then you do not have to sign the agreement,’’ he stated.
The US ‘military base’ will be cited near Ghana’s International Airport.
When approved, the US Forces will have full control of the facility.
Cabinet approved the MoU on March 8, 2018, and recommended that Parliament ratify the agreement to allow the US forces and their equipment unhindered access in Ghana.
In the agreement, the US military force will among other things, be exempted from paying tax on equipment to be brought into Ghana and will also be given the chance to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.
Reacting to this, the professor described it as a worrying situation because if in the future, we want to expand our airport, we will not be able to it because of this agreement.
‘’You are a sovereign country and you are allowing such an agreement? This is not a diplomatic package but a bad deal. Every country is a sovereign state and we should not allow another country to joke with our sovereignty. This is a bad agreement. It will not benefit the country. We should consider our national interest and not treat this issue in a partisan manner.’’
The Minority in Parliament has issued a statement in reaction to the decision by the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to take over the management of private ban, uniBank.
The Minority in the statement has challenged government to come out with a comprehensive report on the takeover.
The statement said ‘’ There has been a lack of openness in the ad hoc Statements on Capital and UT Banks, especially after the government failed to take the opportunity of the presentation of the 2018 Budget to inform Ghanaians about the IMF's imposition to borrow or issue Bonds to pay depositors and, thereby, increasing Ghana's public debt.’’
Read Below the full statement
MINORITY STATEMENT ON BANK OF GHANA TAKEOVER OF UNIBANK
The Minority caucus in Parliament has received with apprehension, news of the takeover of uniBank by Bank of Ghana (BOG) and the appointment of KPMG to manage its affairs for a period of six months. Pending a comprehensive assessment of the situation, we wish to issue the following cautionary statement:
TIME FOR BOG TO COME CLEAN
A) The Minority calls on Bank of Ghana to take immediate steps to furnish Ghanaians with a comprehensive update on the situation in the Banking and Financial Sector. This will afford deeper understanding of events and the decision-making processes resulting in the liquidation or takeover of Banks since the Akufo Addo government came to power.
B) Our call for the Government to come clean with a more comprehensive position is based on the following:
(i) So far, BOG has been adhoc, not proactive, in issuing its case-by-case Statements;
(ii) There has been a lack of openness in the ad hoc Statements on Capital and UT Banks, especially after the government failed to take the opportunity of the presentation of the 2018 Budget to inform Ghanaians about the IMF's imposition to borrow or issue Bonds to pay depositors and, thereby, increasing Ghana's public debt; and
(iii) By BOG's own admission, the Central Bank and MOF also failed to make full disclosures in the Budget of public funds being used to provide support to the banking sector compared with the approach the Mahama administration took on ESLA.
GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP THE DECEIPT
C) We urge the Government, its Ministers and officials, and surrogates to stop creating the impression that assets by these Banks are being auctioned or sold to pay depositors.
D) It is now certain that the IMF Resident Representative in Ghana would not have granted an interview to support the issuing of Bonds if estimates (of the proceeds of sales of assets) by the Fund, the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and BOG were deemed to be sufficient to settle the liabilities.
E) As the IMF noted, the expectation is that the net liability will be settled with a sovereign Bond, to be repaid by the taxpayer.
EXPLAIN RECENT BIZARRE DEVELOPMENTS
F) It appears that uniBank has been a target for a while, with BOG now confirming hints from the grapevine of liquidation or a bail-out. Was it deliberate to delay adding the Bank to the measures taken on Capital Bank and UT? Has the delay and lack of openness by BOG not rather worsened the situation of the Bank?
G) Against this background, the Minority calls on BOG and MOF to avoid further delays in coming out to fully explain the recent bizarre developments involving uniBank, Belstar, and ADB Bank.
H) The Bank of Ghana appears to know about the weak state of, and non-cooperation by, uniBank; which makes it surprising that the Bank and MOF (with a Minister who was giving loan directives to ADB) were not aware of the major developments in the background on the ADB deal. It is important for BOG to fully explain the public pronouncements of the takeover of ADB.
I) Why has BOG appointed an Administrator for uniBank when the latter was sure it could raise funds to take over ADB through Belstar? Was the pledge and promise to bring in funds to take over ADB a hoax?
ROLE OF IMF
J) The BOG and MOF should explain to Ghanaians if the IMF gave the final push on uniBank, when the Staff decided to defer taking the 5th ECF Program Review to the Board.
K) Does the support of the IMF Resident Representative on Bond issue extend to uniBank?
L) We ask these questions of the IMF because it has suddenly stopped issuing exit Statements after Staff visits and reviews. We also note the delays in posting Staff Reports on Ghana on its Website. Further, we note the stoppage of regular interviews to Ghanaian journalist by its External Relations Unit on the Ghanaian economy.
M) If unibank has always been in the works, then it is time for MOF and BOG to let Ghanaians know about the full amount of Bonds to be added to the Public Debt.
N) We take note of the assurances to Depositors by BOG and the Administrators. In urging calm, the Minority also takes note of the assurances by the President of the Association of Bankers that the ESLA initiative has substantially stabilized the financial situation of many Banks in the country. We are also mindful and have taken note of the interview granted to the Media by the 2nd Deputy Governor, about the plan to resolve the uniBank crisis in six (6) months.
O) The Minority urges MOF and BOG to explain the full situation to Ghanaians, failing which it will compel the Minister and Governor to appear promptly before the House to do the right thing.
Cassiel Ato Forson
Ranking Member, Finance Committee of Parliament, Ghana
Wednesday, 21st March, 2018
The minister of Education, Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh has announced a partnership between the Ministry of Education and the Varkey Foundation, aimed at improving the skills of thousands of school leaders across Ghana.
“Having achieved access to education for all those qualified across Ghana, our priority focus is now to improve the quality of education for students to ensure they have the knowledge and skills they need to compete on a global stage,” Dr. Matthew Opoku Prempeh said.
He added, “We recognize the expertise the Varkey Foundation has in this area, through their work in Ghana to improve the learning outcomes of students across the country, and their school leadership development projects across the world, and we look forward to partnering with them to raise the capacity of school leaders in Ghana.”
The leadership training programme which is set to commence in June, will combine intensive face-to-face training to school leaders with supported periods back in school to apply new practices, with core training modules which are designed to create leaders with the skills and competencies to drive continuous school improvement.
The partnership, which was announced during the plenary session of the just ended Global Education and Skills Forum in Dubai, will build on Varkey Foundation’s four years of work in Ghana and its teacher and school leadership training programmes in Argentina and Uganda, to address the Ministry’s priority of training all in-service and aspiring school leaders to be able to manage their schools effectively.
A suicide bomber killed 29 people Wednesday in Kabul, the latest in a string of attacks to rock the Afghan capital since the start of the year.
Another 52 people were injured in the blast, according to Ministry of Public Health spokesman Wahid Majroh.
A spokesman for Kabul city police, Basir Mojahid, said the attacker was trying to reach the capital's Sakhi shrine, where people had gathered to celebrate the Persian new year, known as Nowruz.
Police patrol the streets after a blast in front of Kabul University on Wednesday.
A series of attacks in the capital this year had already fueled doubts over the Afghan authorities' ability to keep people safe.
Less then two weeks ago, a suicide bomber killed at least nine people when he detonated his device at a security checkpoint.
The previous month, several people were killed and injured in a suicide attack in the Shashdarak area of Kabul, not far from the Kabul Green Zone where many diplomatic compounds are located.
In January, Taliban gunmen stormed the Intercontinental hotel in Kabul, killing 22 people. Days later, the group claimed responsibility for an attack outside a hospital in which militants detonated explosives packed inside an ambulance. Nearly 100 people were killed in that attack.
The Afghan government announced on February 28 it would be willing to recognize the Taliban as a legitimate political party as part of a potential ceasefire agreement with the Islamist militant group.
The group has not publicly responded to the proposal.
During a trip to Kabul last week, US Defense Secretary James Mattis said that some factions of the Taliban had expressed interested in pursuing peace talks with the Afghan government.
Before reaching the shrine, the attacker was identified by security forces and blew himself up in front of Kabul University, Mojahid said. The blast happened about 12:40 p.m. local time (4 a.m. ET).
ISIS claimed responsibility for the blast in a statement, saying an attacker it named as Abu Talha al-Peshawri had detonated his explosive vest among "polytheists" gathering to celebrate Nowruz.
The US Ambassador to Afghanistan, John R. Bass, condemned the attack as "shameful" on his official Twitter account and said the United States was committed to working with the Afghan authorities "to secure peace in the year ahead."
The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has filed his response to the suit challenging his appointment at the Supreme Court.
Mr. Amidu in his response said the suit was without merit and the plaintiff, Dr. Dominic Ayine, is being sponsored by National Democratic Congress (NDC) members.
“To the best of my knowledge, information and belief, the Plaintiff [Dominic Ayine] brought this action in his name fronting for the immediate past Government to set at naught the popular wishes of the majority of the Ghanaian electorate who see the President’s acceptance of the nomination of the 2ndDefendant [Martin Amidu] as Special Prosecutor, as being in the national interest to attack the canker of corruption in the body politic,” Martin Amidu indicated in his affidavit verification sighted by Citi News.
“[Dominic Ayine] was also the immediate past Deputy Minister for Justice for less than four years in the immediate past Government that was overwhelmingly defeated in the last elections on 7thDecember 2016….the legal firm of Lithur Brew and Company now representing the Plaintiff [Dominic Ayine] are also the lawyers for former President, John Dramani Mahama: the immediate past Attorney General, Marrita Opong Brew-Appiah was and is a member of the law firm as well as Tony Lithur who was also appointed by the former President as Chairman of the lucrative Ghana Airport Company Limited during his tenure of office and also holds himself out as the personal lawyer of the former President,” Martin Amidu noted.
Dr. Ayine a former Deputy Attorney the Mahama led administration filed a suit at the apex court challenging the eligibility of Mr. Amidu being 66 years of age, is too old to hold public office as Special Prosecutor based on Articles 190(1)(d), 199(1), 199(4), and 295 of the 1992 Constitution.
According to him, Section 13 of Act 959 of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act is not amendable to the provisions of Article 199 of the 1992 Constitution, which deals with the retiring age of public servants “because the Special Prosecutor and the Deputy Special Prosecutor are not appointed under Chapter 14 of the Constitution.”
Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul says but for his diligence, Ghana would have been short changed in the US, Ghana military agreement.
At a press conference held to address some issues surrounding the deal, the minister said the deal which was signed by former Foreign Minister, Hanna Tetteh was a bad deal because the conditions by the US government were orders and did not factor government of Ghana’s input.
According to him, he renegotiated and got some of the conditions reviewed so Ghana would be short changed.
He noted that the previous administration signed the agreement in secrecy but he gave the US two conditions which were to ensure the agreement goes to parliament for ratification and renegotiation.
Dominic Nitiwul stressed that Ghana cannot back out from the agreement because it is bidding.
Under the agreement, the government will allow the US military unfettered access to some facilities close to the Kotoka International Airport.
The facilities will be a storehouse where military equipment will be stored for exclusive use by the US military.
“The NDC went to sign this thing in the dark but we said we will take it to Parliament before we will sign it. We haven’t sold Ghana, they are the people who sold Ghana,” he revealed in a press conference.
Meanwhile, the Minority Chip in Parliament, Muntaka Mubarak has said the former Foreign Affairs may be summoned before the House to answer questions.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has indicated that Ghana is fully committed to the success of the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA).
He gave the assurance after the formal launch of CFTA in Kigali, Rwanda, at an Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union, on Wednesday, 21st March, 2018.
With the CFAT described as “the largest free trade area created since the formation of the World Trade Organisation”, President Akufo-Addo noted that Ghana has already indicated her readiness to host the CFTA Secretariat in Accra.
The coming into being of the CFTA, according to President Akufo-Addo, is one of the most important decisions the African Union will ever take.
“Fifty five years ago, the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was formed to spearhead the struggle for liberation and de-colonisation of our continent. Its triumph ushered us into the era of the African Union (AU), our continental body, which is now the champion of our collective interests in the global community,” he said.
The President continued, “The time is now right that we demonstrate strong political will to make the African Union an economic and political success, and to make the project of integration real.”
With Africa’s population set to reach some 2 billion people in 20 years time, President Akufo-Addo noted that an African Common Market presents immense opportunities to bring prosperity to the continent with hard work, enterprise and creativity, hence, the importance of the success of the Continental Free Trade Area.
“A working, common continental market has to be a very fundamental objective of all peoples and governments on the continent. Research has shown that countries or groups of countries with the largest share of world trade are located within regions with the highest levels of intra-regional trade. It is, thus, vital that the treaty works, and that the Continental Free Trade Area becomes reality,” he said.
An increase in trade, President Akufo-Addo explained, is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between African countries.
“An increase in trade is the surest way to develop fruitful relations between our respective countries. It will mean a rapid increase in exchanges of our agricultural, financial, industrial, scientific and technological products, which would enhance dramatically our attainment of prosperity, and the prospects of employment for the broad masses of Africans, particularly our youth,” the President added.
President Akufo-Addo appended his signature to the three legal instruments namely the Agreement establishing the Continental Free Trade Area; the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons; and the Kigali Declaration, which have brought the CFTA into being.
Nine (9) teachers of the Ejisuman Senior High School in the Ashanti Region have been interdicted for allegedly abusing female students of the school, sexually.
The affected teachers were alleged to have forced the female students to stroke their manhoods with some of them engaging in sexual intercourse with the students in return for examination marks.
The Head of Public Relations at the GES, Cassandra Twum Ampofo, said the committee’s report has been forwarded to the Ashanti regional education directorate to conduct further investigations.
The school was recently hit by a scandal following which an investigation was conducted.
Over 10 students said they told the committee they were forced by some of the teachers to stroke their manhood until they ejaculate as punishment.
Others spoke about how they demand sex and being forced to have sex with their teachers.
Former President Jerry John Rawlings has waded into the discussions surrounding the decision by Ghana to allow United States Forces to station their troops in the country.
The former military leader who later become a constitutionally elected president in tweet said the agreement which was given a cabinet approval and awaiting a parliamentary ratification is a ‘’bit too much.’’
The tweet by the former president read: ‘’ Ghanaians may love Americans but not to the extent of living with foreign troops on such a scale”.
“Ghanaians have enough foreigners dominating their economic and social life. Adding foreign troops to the discomfort will be a bit too much.
“Ghanaians have felt stateless before in my life time. Let’s not go there again,” Mr Rawlings said.
Per the defence agreement, Ghana would, among others, provide “unimpeded access to and use of agreed facilities and areas to United State forces, United States contractors, and others as mutually agreed. Such agreed facilities and area: or portions thereof, provided by Ghana shall be designated as either for exclusive use by Unite States forces or to be jointly used by United States forces and Ghana. Ghana shall also provide access to and use of a runway that meets the requirements of United States forces”.
Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P. Jackson has said the US will not establish a military base in Ghana.
“The United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.”
“The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana, is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance.
“This year, the United States of America is investing over $20million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S Forces as it did in 2017”.
A group, calling itself The Economic Fighters League, will on Friday March 23, 2018, storm Parliament in red armed bands in protest against an agreement between the government of Ghana and the US government.
In the view of the group, the agreement which will grant some privileges to the US army to operate in Ghana amounts to selling the sovereignty of Ghana to the United States.
Leader of the group, Ernest Yeboah said the agreement highlights the disappointing nature of Ghanaian politicians.
He has therefore called on Ghanaians to join the march so we can drum home our disagreement with the agreement between the two countries.
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Ghana has denied any decision to establish a military base in Ghana.
A statement from the Embassy said: ‘’In response to the story released by Joy News on March 20, 2018, the United States Embassy wishes to underscore that the United States has not requested, nor does it plan to establish a military base or bases in Ghana.’’ According to the release, ‘’ The current Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) between the United States of America and the Republic of Ghana is approximately 20 years old. It does not cover the current range and volume of bilateral exercises and assistance. This year, the United States of America is investing over $20 million in training and equipment for the Ghanaian armed forces. Ghana is also once again preparing to train U.S. forces – as it did in 2017. It concluded: ‘’The United States and Ghana are planning three joint security exercises in 2018, which require access to Ghanaian bases by U.S. participants and those from other nations when included.’’