A member of the Constitutional and Legal Affairs committee of Parliament has accused the majority in Parliament of imposing a one-sided report on the US-Ghana military agreement on the minority.
Mr Rockson Dafeamekpor who is MP for South Dayi, says the Chairman of the joint committee that perused the agreement met with clerks of the committee overnight and prepared a one-sided report which was imposed on the entire committee.
Mr. Dafeamekpor says although the National Democratic Congress (NDC) had a majority on the committee, the Majority in Parliament bulldozed its way through because it was a majority member that chaired the committee.
“They cooked the report overnight,” Mr. Dafeamekpor told AM Show on the Joy News channel Monday.
The MP explained that the committee members met Tuesday and agreed to hold a closed committee session to consider the agreement and prepare a report but that meeting never took place.
So “I was surprised when on Thursday, it was stated that the report from the committee would be laid”.
The MP said he confronted the chairman of the committee, Seth Acheampong who said he shouldn't worry because “...the fact that they said it will be laid doesn’t mean it will happen”.
Mr. Dafeamekpor said when they finally met as a committee the chairman presented a report which approved the deal, but the minority disagreed with the position of that report.
He stated that although the NDC was a majority on that committee, the chairman refused them a say in the final report.
“…so that is when we said [if this report must stand] it was a majority [NPP] report,” he said.
He insisted that the minority [NDC] members raised objections but the chairman ignored them and insisted on presenting the ‘cooked’ report.
Deputy Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, who was also on the Am Show, suggested that Mr. Dafeamekpor was advancing a baseless argument.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
He believes the minority could have informed the entire House that a decision was not taken at the committee level.
“You never did that,” Mr. Oppong Nkrumah said.
He explained the only argument the minority made was that the decision was a majority one.
“…what you said was that it was a majority decision [even though Minority MPs constituted a Majority on the Committee]”
Leading member of pressure group OccupyGhana, Ace Ankomah, has also criticized the minority NDC for not insisting on a vote at the committee level.
In his view, since the NDC had the majority on the committee, they could have easily killed the deal.
"You failed by not demanding the vote,” he told an NDC MP on Newsfile Saturday.
“If there is no unanimity then you have an opportunity because the majority is now minority so you demand a voice vote and on account of your vote…you could have thrown this agreement out,” he said.
Mr. Dafeamekpor also revealed that the Parliamentary committee was not allowed to make any changes to the agreement.
“We made no changes or amendments. The minister made it categorical that this was not an agreement we could tinker with…we were just supposed to look at it,” he said.
Defense Minister Dominic Nitiwul stated on Joy FM’s Newsfile Saturday that a joint team from Ghana and US had already amended the agreement.
“When you look at the original agreement, it was worse than this.
"I wrote to all the Ministries [and Departments] concerned, Foreign Affairs, National Security, Interior, Attorney General, and everyone concerned and they provided me with a technical person to form our team.
“We took some clauses out and brought some in," he said.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah argued on the AM Show that the minority was being unfair on the current agreement because they had negotiated similar ones in the past.
“If it didn’t constitute a base then why does it now, or if it didn’t compromise our sovereignty then, why now”?
Parliament has since approved the agreement although the Minority leader, Haruna Iddrisu led the NDC MPs to stage a walkout.
Watch Video: Minority walks out over US military deal.
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