A former Member of Parliament, George Loh, has revealed that about $300,000 was proposed and contributed by the United States for the upkeep of the two former Guantanamo Bay detainees being hosted in Ghana for two years. Speaking on The Big Issue, he disclosed that, “the amount is available to ensure that they are catered for” but stressed that “it is not an amount that has been given to them to pocket.”
“There was an amount that was agreed for the upkeep or an amount that was proposed from the US for the upkeep of the two, and that is not something that we are disbursing as a country. We are making sure that they get everything they want.” Without disclosing much, Mr. Loh said of the amount: “I think it is about $300,000…the agreement is just for two years.”
The former Guantanamo Bay detainees were transferred to Ghana in January 2016, when they were deemed to be of minimal risk to national security to the US. The two detainees, Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby were under detention in US custody for 14 years after being linked with terrorist group Al-Qaeda.
The two are back in the spotlight after a Supreme Court judgment indicating that the Mahama Administration needed the approval of Parliament before entering into any international agreement, like the case of the two. A point of concern surrounding the transfer of the two was the perceived secrecy of the whole process, with the two under tight surveillance during their stay in Ghana.
Speaking to these concerns, Mr. Loh, stated parliament was privy to sensitive information on the matter, noting that due diligence, security-wise, was done on the matter, and key stakeholders were briefed, ahead of the transfer of the two Yemen nationals.
“I know IMANI was briefed before they came in. I know Nana Akufo-Addo was briefed before they came in. I know all the key stakeholders in this country were given a proper briefing.” The IMANI Africa president, Franklin Cudjoe, also on the show, confirmed he was briefed before the two were brought into the country, as he too indicated that a lot of the information surrounding the deal was sensitive. “In the heat of the public uproar, I was briefed.
I got a call all the way from the States… I got two calls, one possibly just before they were brought, and another one when the matter became public as well,” Mr. Cudjoe said. Mr. Loh continued to explain that, “some of the things are so security sensitive that you cannot come and run your mouth in the public domain. A lot of the things are done at a security level.
American security will not put anything in writing and send formally for somebody to intercept and put out there.” “The modalities were worked out one after the other. We had our people travel out there. We even had General Smith, who was our ambassador at the time, go and look at the people and inspect them and debrief them before they came here.”