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Supreme Court dismisses suit challenging Ghana-US military agreement

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Supreme Court dismisses suit challenging Ghana-US military agreement

The Supreme Court has declared that the defence co-operation agreement signed between Ghana and the United States of America in 2018 did not breach any law.

In a unanimous decision on Tuesday, May 5, 2020, a seven-member panel of the court dismissed a suit challenging the agreement.

The court presided over by the Chief Justice, Justice Anin Yeboah, held that the suit had no merit .

The court, however, said it would release its reasons for upholding the defence agreement by May 20, 2020.

Suit

In 2018, two individuals initiated separate legal actions at the Supreme Court challenging the defence co-operation pact as unconstitutional.

The legal actions were initiated by Yaw Brogya Genfi, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organiser of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and Emmanuel Kotin, a security expert, against the Attorney-General (A-G) and the Minister of Defence.

Last year, the court consolidated the two suits into one, since they were both seeking to achieve the same aim.

Kotin, however, withdrew his suit last year.

Legal action

The defence agreement allows the US military and civilian personnel access to certain facilities in Ghana and provide them privileges, exemptions and immunities equivalent to those accorded to the administrative and technical staff of a diplomatic mission under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of April 18, 1961.

Ghana is also expected to benefit from aid package in excess of $20 million from the USA in the areas of training and grant.

But, in his suit, Genfi argued that the agreement was invalid because the ratification by Parliament was unconstitutional.

According to him, the President of Ghana failed to execute the agreement as prescribed by Article 75 of the 1992 Constitution before sending it to Parliament for ratification.

Article 75 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states: “The President may execute or cause to be executed treaties, agreements or conventions in the name of Ghana.”

Clause (2) of Article 75 adds: “A treaty, agreement or convention executed by or under the authority of the President shall be subject to ratification by: (a) Act of Parliament; or (b) a resolution of Parliament supported by more than one-half of all the Members of Parliament.’’

It is the case of Genfi that the President’s failure to execute the pact before sending it to Parliament makes the agreement null and void.

He, therefore, wanted a declaration from the Supreme Court that the Minister of Defence violated the 1992 Constitution when he laid an unexecuted draft of the agreement before Parliament for ratification.

Reliefs

Genfi, in his suit, further wants a declaration from the court that the agreement is not in the interest of Ghana because it excludes Ghanaian courts from adjudicating over its terms and conditions, while it also grants the USA unfettered access to Ghana’s borders and telecommunications infrastructure.

According to him, the agreement is also not in the interest of Ghana because “it waives the right to the enforcement of judicial rights of Ghanaians who may be adversely affected by the operation of the agreement’’.

The NDC stalwart is also seeking an order from the apex court to set aside the defence pact.

The brouhaha over Ghana-US military agreement

Before and after its ratification by Parliament, the defence pact was criticised by opposition political parties such as the NDC and the People’s National Convention (PNC).

On the day of its ratification, hundreds of demonstrators marched to Parliament to protest against the endorsement of the agreement.

Some top opposition party officials stormed Parliament, wearing red armbands, to express their displeasure with the pact.

Despite assurances from the government that the pact will deepen defence cooperation between Ghana and the US, and further enhance the security of the country, critics say it means that Ghana has sold its sovereignty to the US.

 


–: Graphic.com.gh

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Speaker Alban Bagbin travels again to Dubai for medical checks

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Alban Bagbin

Speaker Alban Bagbin travels again to Dubai for medical checks

The Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Alban Bagbin is scheduled to travel to the United Arab Emirates (Dubai) again for his due medical review.

In a letter to President Akufo-Addo, the Speaker explained that his trip for another medical review was due on January 7, 2022.

“I am writing to inform you of my absence from Ghana from Friday, 7 January 2022 till Sunday 23, 2022 in order to honour an appointment for a medical review in the United Arab Emirates.”

“It is also important to bring to your attention that the House will resume its sittings for the First Meeting of the Second Session of the 8th Parliament on Tuesday 25 January 2022,” the letter from the Speaker’s Office noted.

Speaker Bagbin also informed the President that “prior to the resumption of the House, Parliament intends to undertake a Covid-19 (booster) vaccination exercise for Members of Parliament and Officers of the Parliamentary Service.”

Copy of the Speaker’s letter to Prez. Akufo-Addo;

alban bagbin's letter to Akufo-addo

Alban Bagbin was in UAE in November 2021, for similar medical check-ups.

Meanwhile, Parliament will be resuming the controversial debate on the 1.75% Electronic Transaction Levy (E-Levy) which has divided the House and caused massive uproar amongst Ghanaians.

The E-Levy approval is expected to rake in a little above ¢6 billion in tax revenue for the country.

This month [January 2022] we will go back to the floor of Parliament with the E-Levy and ensure that it gets passed by the end of the month,” Minister of State at the Finance Ministry, Charles Adu-Boahen said during the investiture of the newly elected president of the Association of Ghana Industries, Humphrey Anim-Dake.

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Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus; we advised them to stop – NIA Boss

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Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus

Data from SIM card re-registration is bogus; we advised them to stop – NIA Boss

Photos of letters signed by the Executive Secretary of the National Identification Authority (NIA) in response to the National Communications Authority (NCA) regarding the commencement of the SIM Card re-registration reveal NIA’s initial rejection of the move since September 2021.

The Executive Secretary of NIA, Prof. Kenneth Attafuah has described the so-called biometric data being collected by the various telecommunication companies in the ongoing SIM card re-registration as useless.

In the letter, Professor Kenneth Attafuah, and his outfit cannot confirm that the data being collected by the telcos “will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database.”

The letter was in response to a request for information to ascertain the synergy between the NIA data collection and the exercise being conducted by the telcos as being championed by the Communications Ministry through NCA.

“NIA is unable to confirm that the biometric data to be collected by the NCA for the purpose described above will meet the standard to enable successful verification against the National Identification System (NIS) database,” portion of the letter stated.

“The use of an App that is not developed or certified by NIA to rend the Ghana Card using a two-step data collection and verification process is outside NIA’s control. NIA is, therefore, unable to guarantee the results of such a process.”

Data from SIM card re-registration is bogusData from SIM card re-registration is bogusData from SIM card re-registration is bogus

Scanned copies of the letters dated September 2021 were first shared by one Selorm Branttie, Vice President at Imani Center for Policy & Education who doubles as Global Strategy Director at mPedigree Network, on his Facebook timeline.

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Nigeria commits to pay off US$28.7 million capital arrears in Shelter Afrique

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Nigeria Finance Minister Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed and Shelter Afrique MD Andrew Chimphondah

Abuja – January 11, 2022: The Federal Republic of Nigeria has pledged to pay the full capital arrear of US$28.7m in Shelter Afrique, Nigeria’s Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed disclosed at a meeting with Shelter Afrique Group Managing Director and CEO Mr. Andrew Chimphondah in Abuja.

The Minister further disclosed that the payment will be made in four installments starting January 2022.

In September 2020, the pan African housing development financier received US$$9.4 million from Nigeria. The contribution moved Nigeria to become the second-largest shareholding in the organization with 13.27% of the shareholding, behind Kenya with 17.78%, and ahead of the AfDB at 12.83%.

Lauding the government of Nigeria for its show of confidence in the institution and a stamp of approval for the organisation’s financial turnaround, Mr. Andrew Chimphondah said, “This is a major milestone which is set to propel Nigeria to become the largest shareholder in Shelter-Afrique when the country meets its capital commitment. This is a strong testament of the strong shareholder commitment and support of the Shelter Afrique Board and Management.”

Housing Bond

Shelter Afrique is planning to raise 250 Billion Naira Bond (US$500million) in 2022 to support its affordable housing projects in Nigeria. The Company is set to commence the road shows with prospective investors in January 2022 and is expected to conclude fundraising by end of February.

Shelter Afrique has embarked on a defined strategy of developing and deepening local capital markets so that access to local currency which is competitively priced can be made available to Nigerian Developers from the Real Estate Developers Association of Nigeria (REDAN), Large Developers and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Banks and Primary Mortgage Lenders. The significance of this is that Shelter-Afrique will have been successful in dealing with the foreign exchange exposure risks that have crippled many African countries caused by the weakening of local African currencies against hard currencies such as the United States Dollar and the British Pound Sterling,” Mr. Chimphondah said.

Thanking the Finance Minister Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed for supporting the Bond Issue by the approvals received on critical waivers from the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Chimphondah noted that Nigeria was a critical and strategic market for Shelter Afrique, adding that the fund realized from the bond issue will go a long way in address the affordable housing shortage in the country, now estimated at 17 Million Units against the continent’s 56 million units.

“As a response to addressing this housing shortage, Shelter Afrique will implement a transformative strategy that will crowd in additional capital funding into the low cost large scale affordable housing market in a commercially viable manner,” Mr. Chimphondah concluded.

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