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Gitmo Saga: National Security Council was not consulted – Ursula

Member of Parliament for Ablekuma West, Mrs. Ursula Owusu Ekufful has said she has strong conviction that Ghana’s National Security Council was not consulted before government decided to provide shelter for the two ex-Guantanamo Bay Cell detainees.

According to her, the confession by the Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministers of not being privy to all the details surrounding the coming into Ghana of the two terrorist suspects supports her position.

The arrival into Ghana of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby has triggered lots of controversy in the country, with groups such as the Catholic Bishop Conference and the Christian Council of Ghana, asking President John Mahama to return the two.

Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh has disclosed she was not aware of some of the details surrounding the coming into Ghana of two terror suspects.

According to her, the decision was taken by President John Mahama in consultation with some security chiefs.

Explaining why Ghanaians were not informed about the arrival, she said the discussions were purely a national security issue- some of which went beyond Foreign Affairs.

“At the time the discussions were ongoing, especially because at that point in time it no longer was a Foreign Affairs discussion, it was a national security discussion. There were some of those discussions I was not privy to,” she added.

Interior Minister Mark Woyongo has also publicly stated that he was not involved in discussions on the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees.

But speaking on Joy FM’s News File show, Hon. Ursula Owusu Ekufful stated that it was wrong for a group of people other than the National Security Council to have agreed to settle the two ex-Gitmo detainees in Ghana.

“Per Article 83, 1 (c) of the Constitution both the Foreign Affairs and Interior Ministers, are supposed to be members of the National Security Council, so if they say that National Security was involved in this conversation, so they don’t know details about it, then it presupposes that this Gitmo matter was never discussed by our National Security Council as a body. Rather certain individuals met and took this decision under the guise of National Security on the blind side of our National Security Council”.

She added: “So who did the president do his broad consultation with, he said he had broad consultation for over year,…so he did this without involving our National Security Council, or in the mind of the President the National Security Council means National Security Coordinator, so the two of them sat in a room and took this decision? This is a very worrying development. We’ve all been put at risk by this …for want of a better word reckless action taken by our President under the guise of compassion.”

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