General News of Friday, 23 March 2018
The Minority in Parliament has lashed out at Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid for suggesting they leaked the controversial defence cooperation arrangement between the governments of Ghana and the United States.
The Information Minister, earlier this week, suggested that that the Minority in parliament were behind the leak of the document.
While denying responsibility, the Minority described the Information Minister as being ignorant of the workings of Parliament.
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues said members of the Minority only got their hands on the report after it was leaked to the public.
He also intimated that it was no big deal that it was leaked since it was going to be a public document anyways.
“Three hours after it had been laid, I called the clerk at the table asking why we still don’t have copies in our pigeon hole? I was the first [member of the Minority] to be given a copy on Tuesday. By Monday, were we not already having this document?”
“If those documents were not meant for the public, they know the procedure to use. But it was laid and distributed in the pigeon holes. So how can you be saying leaks? Meanwhile, this thing was in the media on Monday. The document came to Parliament on Tuesday. So on what basis are you trying to shift attention and say the Minority has done this and that?”
The Minister of Defense, Dominic Nitiwul, on Tuesday, laid before Parliament the document seeking to ratify an agreement for space around the Kotoka International Airport, which will serve as a camp for some US military forces in Ghana.
If approved, the agreement will among other things, exempt the US government from paying taxes on equipment that is brought to Ghana.
They will also be given the chance to set their own telecommunication system and be allowed to use Ghana’s radio spectrum free of charge.
Protest from Minority
The Minority has kicked against this agreement, calling on the government to withdraw the agreement saying it is not in the best interest of Ghana.
The Minority on Thursday blocked the laying before Parliament, the report of the Joint Committee on Defence and Interior and Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, on the agreement.
In a brief protest between the two sides in Parliament on Thursday, the leadership of the Majority said the report was ready to be laid before the House to allow for debate.
However, the Minority disagreed insisting that the report wasn’t ready.
The Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye subsequently ruled that the laying of the report should be skipped until the two sides could come to a consensus on it.