New details have emerged that the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration under President John Evans Atta Mills signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the United States government to establish a regional training base for law enforcement and criminal justice organization in Ghana.
According to a document available to DAILY GUIDE, Ghana and the US, as well as other international organizations, were to implement a regional training base that would focus on combating transnational crime and build criminal justice sector capacity in the member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Per the agreement, the US government would establish a Regional Training Centre that would utilize “physical space in an existing facility in Accra and have close proximity to the Kotoka International Airport and other supporting facilities for lodging, food and transportation.”
The agreement also exempted “all equipment, material, and articles that may be imported for use in implementing the programme of all customs duties and taxes concerning their entry into Ghana, in accordance with current national legislation within the framework of non-reimbursable international technical cooperation.”
Interestingly, the MoU also granted “the issuance of temporary official visas at no cost that may be required for instructors, consultants, advisers and students with the purpose of attending the regional training centre.”
According to the MoU, which was signed by Larry Gbevlo-Lartey, then National Security Coordinator and Donald G. Teitelbaum, then US Ambassador to Ghana, the US government (USG) intended to provide training courses at the regional training centre and all the services may be provided through a contract awarded by the US government. The MoU was signed on July 5, 2012, some few days before the death of President Atta Mills.
Per the agreement, the USG intended to fund an “in-country USG programme director, who is responsible for all daily activities in support of the programmes.
“The programme director would be responsible for all daily activities in support of the programme. The programme director would be responsible for coordinating with the US Embassy and government of Ghana on administrative issues, and shall receive programme oversight from the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics Law Enforcement Affairs.”
According to the MoU, the government of Ghana intended to appoint Ghanaian personnel, who would work with the programme manager on administrative and logistical support issues, oversee the implementation of in-kind contributions and immigration for participating students, foreign instructors and consultants.
Period Of Validity
The MoU, according to the leaked document, also agreed that the regional training facility project was to remain indefinitely.
It states that should Ghana or the US decide to enter into a Letter of Agreement for the programme, the agreement would supersede the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding, which is not different from what the current government is entering into.
“Either the USG or the government of Ghana may cease its activities under this MoU by notifying the other participant in writing three months in advance,” the MoU stated.
Intentions of Programme
The NDC and the US government stated the intentions of the USG in the establishment of the training base as “To provide through the Department of State’s Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (subject to the availability of appropriated funds), funds to defray operational and training programmes cost, to include the programme manager, travel of instructors and regional students as well as room and board for non-local students.”
The US was also to provide full financial management of all USG funds associated with the programme, as well as provide furniture, equipment, computers and other articles needed to outfit the areas dedicated to the regional training centre.
The government of Ghana, on the other hand, was to designate personnel from the National Security Council Secretariat as the primary agency assigned to the training centre.
Ghana was to be responsible for maintenance and operations, including security requirements of any GoG-provided facility to support the training centre.
“To exempt all equipment, material and articles that may be imported for use implementing the programme, of all customs duties and taxes concerning their entry into Ghana, in accordance with current national legislation, within the framework of non-reimbursable international technical cooperation, among other things.”