A former Deputy Interior Minister, James Agalga has accused the government of being insincere, following its claims that the previous government authorized the importation of a large cache of arms into the country.
The Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah at a press briefing on Thursday, accused the Mahama administration and former Deputy Minister of Interior, James Agalga of issuing the said import permit only to turn around and accuse the current government of allowing the disputed batch of arms.
Mr. Agalga in response to these claims has said the government was only being unfair, given that the actual import permit was issued under the current regime and not the previous government.
“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 the office. We urge Government to desist from its 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.”
Below is the statement from the former Deputy Interior Minister
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 shotguns/ 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 shotguns into our country and concludes that; the NDC and not the NPP government ought to carry the blame for the importation of the shotguns 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 the office.
It is also instructive to note that when a licensed importer of arms obtains a permit from the CID and no 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 a 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. In fact, 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 the 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 of January 2017 is not the same as it is in May 2019.
We urge Government to desist from its 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.