General News of Saturday, 7 April 2018
Documents available to MYNEWSGH.com reveal that on July 5 2012, days before the sad demise of the late President Professor John Evans Atta Mills, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Government of Ghana (GOG) and United States Government (USG) , to enable the latter establish a Regional Military Training Centre in Ghana under terms clouded in ‘secrecy’, as until today, the agreement was unknown.
The MoU was signed by then US Ambassador to Ghana, Donald G. Teitelbaum (For the Government of United States of America) and then National Security Coordinator, Larry Gbevlo-Lartey (for the Government of the Republic of Ghana) under late Professor John Atta Mills.
Imports of Military goods
From the pristine document, the terms of engagement included:
“To exempt all equipment, material and articles that may be imported for use implementing the programme, of all customs duties and taxes concerning their entry into Ghana, in accordance with current national legislation, within the framework of non-reimbursable international technical cooperation, among other things.”
Some other terms of the agreement, included “the issuance of temporary official visas at no cost that may be required for instructors, consultants, advisers and students with the purpose of attending the regional training centre.”
The program which was fully funded by the American government.
“The programme director would be responsible for all daily activities in support of the programme. The programme director would be responsible for coordinating with the US Embassy and government of Ghana on administrative issues, and shall receive programme oversight from the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics Law Enforcement Affairs.”
According to the MoU, which was signed by Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, who was Ghana’s National Security Coordinator and Donald Teitelbaum, US Ambassador to Ghana, the US government intended to provide training courses at the regional training centre and all the services may be provided through a contract awarded by the US government. The MoU was signed on July 5, 2012, some few days before the death of President Atta Mills.
On termination of the contract
The contract stated among other things that the US government and Ghana could terminate the agreement upon notifying each other in writing in three months.
“Either the USG or the government of Ghana may cease its activities under this MoU by notifying the other participant in writing three months in advance,” the MoU stated.
In a televised address in relation to a now controversial US-Ghana military deal, President Akufo-Addo disclosed that the country entered into a Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America, in 1998, 2000, and under the government of my predecessor in 2015 and in all these the latter never violated any provision
“My Government came to know that Ghana had entered into a Co-operation Agreement with the United States of America, in 1998, 2000, and under the government of my predecessor in 2015. We were satisfied that the conditions which necessitated the Agreement, namely the creeping threat to the peace of the region, had not disappeared. If anything, the threat had increased and, therefore, the need had arisen for continuing with our co-operation”, he stated on Thursday night.
In response from a section of the minority to reject the agreement, he said:” No suggestion had ever been made that the United States of America had abused any of the privileges or concessions granted under any of these agreements, and it would, thus, have been deemed an unfriendly act to attempt to deny them any concession granted them under those agreements.
According to him, Ghana has built a formidable reputation for its contribution to peace-keeping around the world although these peace-keeping operations have always been under the aegis of the United Nations.
“ No one doubts the fact that they have been made possible by the contributions largely of the United States of America. The Co-operation Agreement, which has subsisted, which we have approved, can only enhance the global effort to preserve the peace in our region. It is important also to state that the conditions of the Agreement mirror closely the conditions under which Ghana participates in peace-keeping operations under the United Nations. When our troops go on most peacekeeping duties, they do not carry their national passports, they carry their military identity”, he stressed.
Quite apart from how this Agreement involves the military as an institution, he disclosed that the country has had very fruitful relations with a range of foreign embassies and major international institutions including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the African Development Bank, the International Finance Corporation, amongst others explaining that all these agencies enjoy similar conditions as those which the Co-operation Agreement offers to the US military.
“No one has dared suggest that granting these foreign embassies and international institutions these concessions constitute an attack on the sovereignty of Ghana. Nor has anyone also felt that the concessions have in any way worked against the interests of Ghana. Indeed, I have no doubt that it would be the general consensus of all well-informed Ghanaians that this nation has benefitted significantly from the presence and activities of these institutions over the past decades it is clear to me that, if the people of Ghana knew the conditions under which foreign embassies and our friendly international institutions operate in Ghana, nobody would have been surprised that a Defence Cooperation Agreement would make such provisions. Such knowledge would have spared many citizens the genuine anxiety and concern they have felt about the Agreement. It is my firm belief that the case for openness and transparency in our governance has been clearly demonstrated, and the argument conclusively settled by these events.”, he added.