A former deputy interior minister under the Mahama administration, James Agalga, has called on government to desist from “blame games” when it comes to issues of “high matters of state” security.
The Akufo-Addo government is pointing fingers at the erstwhile administration for penning an authorization letter two days before leaving power for a company to import cache of weapons into the country.
Speaking at a press conference, Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, referred to a permit letter signed Mr Agalga and dated January 5, 2017, and indicated that the former Mahama government granted “M/s Yadco Ghana” the permit to import 20,000 cases of 500 pieces of Shotgun cartridges, 4,000 pieces of hunting shotguns and 500 boxes of percussion caps in the Country.
“We find it strange that the very persons who issued the permit for the importation of these arms will today turn around and say that the Akufo Addo administration has issued permits and therefore has to take the security situation of this country a lot more seriously that it is doing now,” the Information Minister said.
Reacting to the claims, Mr. Agalga said: “It is also instructive to note that when a licensed importer of arms obtains permit from the CID and not the Interior Minister as is envisaged in my signed letter, the importer procedurally must obtain a delivery permit from the Interior Ministry before the imported arms can be cleared at the port. Once again, Hon Oppong Nkrumah failed to disclose to the good people of Ghana when the delivery permit was issued and who signed it. Without doubt, the delivery permit was issued in 2019 and could not have been the handiwork of the NDC when it was in power.”
Below is his full statement:
RE: ARMS IMPORTATION AND MATTERS ARISING
My attention has been drawn to the Information Minister, Hon. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah’s press conference on the evening of Thursday the 16th day of May, 2019 at which event he sought to throw light on the controversy surrounding the importation of shot guns/ pump action guns into the country by Yadco company limited.
At the said press conference, Hon. Oppong Nkrumah put out in the public domain a document signed by me sometime in January 2017 in relation to Yadco’s authorisation to import shot guns into our country and concludes that; the NDC and not the NPP government ought to carry the blame for the importation of the shot guns into the country.
It is however pertinent to note that, Hon Oppong Nkrumah deliberately neglected and/or refused to make public the actual import permit under which the importation was done.
A quick glance at the concluding paragraph of the letter I signed simply requested the Director General of the CID to issue Yadco limited with an import permit in the following words;
“The purpose of this note is to request you to issue the company with the import Permit.”
The question then to ask is when the actual import permit was issued? Without doubt, the actual import permit would have been issued long after the NDC had left office.
It is also instructive to note that when a licensed importer of arms obtains permit from the CID and not the Interior Minister as is envisaged in my signed letter, the importer procedurally must obtain a delivery permit from the Interior Ministry before the imported arms can be cleared at the port. Once again, Hon Oppong Nkrumah failed to disclose to the good people of Ghana when the delivery permit was issued and who signed it. Without doubt, the delivery permit was issued in 2019 and could not have been the handiwork of the NDC when it was in power.
Furthermore, permits for arms importation are not granted in perpetuity. Infact, permits once issued have a lifespan of one year. Is it therefore the case that whatever permit the CID may have issued pursuant to my letter if any at all expired and was renewed? If so, can it be said that the NDC granted the renewal? Obviously it couldn’t have been the NDC government.
In conclusion, it is important to note that the press statement issued by the NDC on this subject matter which triggered Hon. Oppong Nkrumah’s press conference never called into question the legality or otherwise of the arms importation. Rather, what the statement sought to do was to remind government of the threat of terrorism on our northern frontier, increased incidents of kidnappings, armed robberies, contract killings and pervasive acts of vigilantism as reasons why President Akufo-Addo should consider the option of placing a moratorium on arms importation. After all, this is a tool successive NDC governments readily used whenever it was necessary to do. In any case, the security situation as at January 2017 is not the same as it is in May, 2019.
We urge Government to desist from it’s dishonest penchant to dabble in blame games at the least opportunity especially when high matters of State such as our collective security are at stake.
Hon. James Agalga
MP, Builsa North and Ranking Member, Defence and Interior Committee of Parliament.