The Supreme Court in a unanimous decision yesterday dismissed a consolidated suit filed by Brogya Gyenfi, the Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), and one Emmanuel Koti challenging government’s decision to sign the United States – Ghana Military Agreement.
The seven-member panel chairmen by Chief Justice Anin Yeboah said the full reasons of the court would be ready on May 20, 2020.
It would be recalled that, in the year 2018, the then NDC Ashanti Regional Youth Organizer sued the government over its defence cooperation with the United States.
He prayed the court to, among other things, “set aside” the agreement on the grounds that it was “not in the national interest of Ghana, and contravenes articles (1 (2), 2, 11, 33, 125, 135, 140, 75 and 73 of the 1992 constitution.”
Mr Gyenfi also pleaded with the apex court for “ 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.”
He further sought 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 authorized 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.”
The defendants in the matter were Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Gloria Akuffo and the Minister for Defence Dominic Nitiwul.
The suit was filed days after Parliament ratified the pact despite stiff opposition from the Minority, who had staged a walkout during the debate in Parliament, claiming the Akufo-Addo administration was going to set up a US-Military base in Ghana.
Following the ratification of the agreement, US troops were, among other things, exempted from paying taxes on equipment that was 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.
However, the Minority contended that the agreement, as it existed in the past, did not have the same clauses like the instance one that gave 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.
This required that US military personnel would be allowed access to Ghana’s military facilities and that they were not going to build a military base.