Posted on: www.dailyguideghana.com
By William Yaw Owusu
Saturday, June 24, 2017
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) government has said it would take prompt steps to address the order issued by the Supreme Court that the two hardcore terrorists brought into the country by the United States government during the era of John Dramani Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC), was unconstitutional.
The apex court on Thursday threw off the deal reached between the Mahama government and the then Obama-led US government to bring to Ghana two Al-Qaeda foot soldiers - Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef, then 36 years and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, then 34.
The court, in a 6-1 majority decision, ordered the repatriation of the two reported terrorists to the United States, if the parliament of Ghana fails to rectify the deal within three months.
The arrival of the terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, near Cuba, set tongues wagging and the court has finally ruled that the deal should have been ratified by parliament, which the Mahama-led NDC government failed to do.
Minister of Information, Mustapha Hamid, after the ruling by the court, issued a statement for calm as the government puts the issue to rest.
“Government has taken notice of the judgement of the Supreme Court delivered on Thursday, 22nd June, 2017 by a 6-1 majority, in the matter of Margaret Banful and Henry Nana Boakye Vrs Attorney General,” the statement said.
“In the judgement of the Apex Court, presided over by new Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, has held that the agreement between the Governments of Ghana and the United States of America, for the resettlement of two (2) ex-detainees from Guantanamo Bay, required parliamentary approval in accordance with Article 75 (2) of the Constitution, and a failure to secure same makes the hosting of the two ex-detainees in Ghana unconstitutional.
“Consequently, the Court has instructed that the agreement be given parliamentary approval within three (3) months or the ex-detainees deported out of Ghana upon a failure by parliament to ratify the agreement.
“Government wants to assure the nation that the ex-detainees, who have been comporting themselves well since their arrival in Ghana, continue to be under the supervision of the security agencies.”
The suit, filed by Margaret Bamfo, an 86-year-old retired Conference Officer of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Henry Nana Boakye, a student of Ghana School of Law, had petitioned the Supreme Court to declare that then President John Mahama acted unconstitutionally by accepting the Al-Qaeda terrorists in Ghana.
The case took a new twist on April 12, 2016 when the defendants, made up of the Attorney-General and the Minister of the Interior, filed a process averring that Ghana actually had an existing agreement with the United States government regarding the two detainees whose presence continues to generate public uproar.
On page 7 paragragh 3 of the AG’s statement of case filed on March 16, the government said, “We admit that there exists an agreement between the two Governments, which was reached by the exchange of confidential diplomatic notes otherwise known as Note Verbales.”
As a result of the u-turn by the government, De Medeiros & Associates, lawyers for the applicants, sought a request for the said agreement to be made available to them for scrutiny.
The plaintiffs had averred among other reliefs that the court should make a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 75 of the1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana acted unconstitutionally by agreeing to the transfer of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby (both profiled terrorists and former detainees of Guantanamo Bay) to the Republic of Ghana without the ratification by an Act of Parliament or a resolution of parliament supported by the votes of more than one-half of all the Members of Parliament.
They further sought a declaration that on a true and proper interpretation of Article 58(2) of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana, the President of the Republic of Ghana who is under an obligation to execute and maintain laws of Ghana, breached the Anti-terrorism Act of 2008 (Act 762) and the Immigration Act of 2000 (Act 573), both being laws passed under the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
Gitmo 2 Arrival
It may be recalled that the Mahama administration announced that Ghana would for two years from the time the terrorists arrived, host them.
When they were brought in, the NDC government stated that Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were being offered humanitarian assistance in Ghana under a deal signed with the Obama administration.
It turned out that the two detainees were hardcore terrorists who the US is looking for a place to dump them.
According to US security report on the two suspects, Mohammed Bin Atef was “a fighter in Usama bin Laden’s former 55th Arab Brigade and he is an admitted member of the Taliban.”
He trained at al Farouq, the infamous al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan, and “participated in hostilities against US and coalition forces, and continues to demonstrate his support of Osama Bin Laden and extremism.”