General News of Friday, 28 July 2017
The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration Shirley Ayorkor Botchway has disclosed the there was no signed agreement between Ghana and the US over the transfer of the two ex-GITMO detainees to the West African nation.
According to her, what existed was a verbal agreement known in diplomatic as circles note verbale
“Mr. Speaker, we have not changed anything. In the note verbals that were exchanged between the two countries. Indeed there was no agreement. The whole transaction was done through what we call a note verbale from both sides. What we have done is to attach all those documents,” she told the House.
She made this known Friday, July 28, 2017, on the floor of parliament while answering a questions on the matter from the Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuell Okudjeto Ablakwa.
The two, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby of Yemeni origin are among 17 detainees transferred from the prison camp in Cuba by the United States.
The decision to host the detainees in Ghana provoked a firestorm of controversy and outrage among Ghanaians, with much-expressing fear that the move would undermine Ghana’s internal security and expose the country to attacks from religious extremists.
A seven-member Supreme Court panel presided over by Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo by six to one (6 -1) majority decision Thursday, June 22, 2017, said the two are illegally in the country since the then government allowed them into the country without prior approval by Parliament.
The consequential order of the court is that government should within three months subject the agreement to parliamentary consideration and approval and in default return the two Gitmo detainees.
The order by the Apex court was necessitated by a suit brought against the Attorney General and Minister of Justice as well as the Minister of Interior by two Ghanaian citizens—Margaret Bamful and Henry Nana Boakye last year.
The government said in the wake of the order that it has taken steps to get parliamentary approval to ratify the illegal stay of the two.