General News of Friday, 6 April 2018
The Minority Chief Whip, Muntaka Mubarak says it is preposterous for anyone to think that the Ghana-US Military agreement document was leaked by Members of Parliament.
The Asawase MP said the accusation as put forward by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo is baseless and unfair to Parliament.
Speaking at a press conference organized by the Inter-Party Coalition for National Sovereignty in Accra, Mr Muntaka who claimed to be one of the very first persons to receive the document said “in principle, how can a reasonable person blame parliament for the leak.”
Discussions on the controversial Defense Cooperation Agreement with the United States military is far from over.
The agreement which was leaked some weeks ago gives the US military unimpeded access to some facilities in Ghana; they are also to enjoy some tax holidays on products and services while in Ghana.
The agreement also allows, among others, the military to use Ghana’s radio spectrum for free. But even before the document will be discussed in Parliament, it was leaked, causing national outrage.
Outraged by the agreement, many Ghanaians called out the president for handing out the country’s sovereignty to foreigners. Many believe the agreement will threaten the country’s security and asked for it to be canceled.
But President Akufo-Addo in a televised address to the nation on Thursday evening said none of that would happen.
He said being aware that similar agreements in the past – 1998, 2000 and 2015 – had been signed secretly by past leaders, he decided that his government will be different and subject the 2018 agreement to proper scrutiny in Parliament.
“But we have to take issue with the front-line politicians who have sought to mislead the people in this blatant manner, and those who, for mischievous purposes, leaked the document destined for the scrutiny of Parliament prematurely to a section of the media, who then went on to describe it as a “secret document”. How could a document intended for the consideration of Parliament be described as a “secret document”?
That accusation, according to Muntaka is unacceptable. He said it is even more surprising that the president, who understands how Parliament works would think that any MP will leak the document.
For a paper that was laid on Tuesday but was discussed in the media on Monday, he said it was completely out of place for anyone to blame Parliament for the leak.
“I heard the document being discussed on Monday evening so how could anybody say that it was leaked after it was laid on Tuesday.”
Mr Muntaka said the Information Minister, Mustapha Hamid can get away for making such allegations, but the president cannot be pardoned because “he has been an MP for 12 years and he knows the rules of the house so he cannot be repeating what Mustapha Hamid has been saying because he has never been a member of parliament.”