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General News of Thursday, 24 January 2019

Source: citinewsroom.com

Ablakwa threatens to sue Kan Dapaah for ‘disrespecting’ parliament

The Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is threatening legal action against the National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, if he fails to provide the house with a full report on the security and intelligence situation in the country, 20-days after the house resumes from recess.

According to him, the National Security Minister, Albert Kan Dapaah, has flouted the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act 1996 with impunity, since assuming office by refusing to send the requisite annual report on intelligence agencies to Parliament.

“The National Security Minister every year must report to Parliament and present an annual report on the intelligence agencies. This is a matter I have raised on the floor on countless occasions, and I have been ignored rather contemptuously.

“This why I am now obliged to remind them finally that within 20 days after Parliament resumes, if the National Security Minister does not comply with the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, I would have to go to court to compel him,” Mr. Ablakwa told Citi News.

Ablakwa demands update on ex-Gitmo detainees from Kan-Dapaah

Mr. Ablakwa is also demanding an update on the status of the two ex-Guantanamo bay detainees Ghana accepted to host in 2016.

According to him, the request comes on the back of the Minister’s consistent failure to comply with the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (ACT 526).

The Act demands that the Minister updates Parliament on the Intelligence Agencies, but Ablakwa said Kan Dapaah’s failure to comply with the Act is undermining Parliament’s oversight responsibility.

He lamented that all attempts to get Mr. Ken Dapaah to make the information available to Parliament has proven futile.

In an open letter, Samuel Okedzeto Ablakwa said the recent cases of kidnapping, murders among other crimes in the country reveals the need for more attention to be paid to the country’s security.

Read the open letter below

Hon. Albert Kan-Dapaah, Minister for National Security, Republic of Ghana. 24th January, 2019.

Dear Mr. Kan-Dapaah,

REQUEST FOR UPDATE ON THE TWO EX-DETAINEES OF GUANTANAMO BAY AND CONTINUOUS BREACH OF THE SECURITY AND INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES ACT, 1996 (ACT 526)

Kindly consider my warm compliments duly paid.

Today, the 24th of January, 2019 marks exactly one year since you joined your colleagues: the Honourable Ministers for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Interior and Defence, ostensibly to brief Parliament on the Government of Ghana’s position relating to the status of the two ex-detainees of Guantanamo Bay, Mahmud Umar Muhammed Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salid Al-Dhuby, following an expiration on 6th January, 2018, of the two year bi-lateral cooperation agreement between the Government of Ghana led by former President John Mahama and the Government of the United States of America led by former President Barack Obama.

Honourable Minister, as you will recall, your colleague Ministers and your good self made submissions to Parliament on that day to the effect that Government’s decision on the matter in issue is inconclusive. The Official Report of Parliamentary Debates on Wednesday 24th January, 2018 captures your remarks in this regard in column 85 as follows – “Mr. Speaker, I would want to urge Hon Members of the august House to consider the fact that this is a very important and delicate matter, can we take away the politics and unite to find an effective solution to it?”

In the same vein, the Foreign Minister told the House as captured in column 59 – “Mr. Speaker, accordingly, government is constrained to explore any other options at this time and will await an in-depth examination of the matter by the appropriate agencies.”

Subsequently, a Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charles Owiredu and the then Information Minister, Dr. Mustapha Hamid, are both on record to have told the media on the 25th and the 29th of January, 2018 respectively that the Akufo-Addo Administration is in talks with other countries to have the ex-detainees relocated from Ghana.

Respectfully, it is my considered view that after a full year of patiently waiting on Government, it is imperative that in this matter which is of enormous national interest, you provide an update to the Ghanaian people as Good Governance principles of transparency and accountability will demand.

It is my humble expectation that you will now provide the update requested with dispatch.

Honourable Minister, I should also bring to your attention your continuous breach of Section 17 (2) of the Security and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act 526) which stipulates – “The Minister assigned responsibility under subsection (1) of this section shall in respect of each year submit a report to Parliament on the Intelligence Agencies.”

Sir, you have not complied with this provision since assuming the position of National Security Minister and thereby undermining Parliament’s Constitutional mandate of oversight.

As you are aware, I have consistently drawn your attention and brought to the awareness of Parliament through several statements on the floor this violation of the law. I have over the period consequently proceeded to file questions in Parliament seeking to urge you to provide answers to the House on your blatant violation of Act 526 without compunction especially under a President who consistently touts his rule of law credentials.

Having had all my Parliamentary efforts to get you to comply with the Securities and Intelligence Agencies Act, 1996 (Act526) ignored rather contemptuously, I hereby serve notice that if the situation remains the same 20 days after the 29th of January, 2019, resumption of Parliament, I shall proceed to our most esteemed courts to compel you to honour your obligations under Act 526.

I have come to this decision seeing that I have virtually exhausted all parliamentary processes. Besides, the current worsening insecurity situation which has attracted unprecedented domestic and international concern in the aftermath of the assassination of undercover journalist Ahmed Hussein-Suale, numerous cases of apparent contract killings, the circumstances of Nana Appiah Mensah’s escape from the jurisdiction and the kidnapping of the Takoradi ladies – all of these call for an urgent and unwavering commitment to our constitutional and legal obligations which as you know better than many of us are designed to guarantee our collective security.

Yours Sincerely, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa MP, North Tongu Ranking Member, Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs.