It has emerged that Mahama’s National Democratic Congress (NDC) government issued passports to the two alleged hardcore terrorists from Yemen who were deported from the United States Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay on the orders of President Barack Obama.
They were also given wives, allowing them to integrate into the Ghanaian society.
Majority leader in parliament and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, said on radio yesterday that the NDC government even went to the extent of trying to change the names of the two former Al-Qaeda terrorists – in the persons of Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby – as they continue to stay in the country and that records were there to prove that attempt.
According to him, the name change was even done way ahead of the expiry of the two-year agreement that President Mahama and his then foreign minister signed with the erstwhile Obama administration.
Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu also said that Mahama’s administration surreptitiously granted the two – who according to US authorities, were Osama Bin Laden’s foot soldiers – refugee status before the expiry of the two-year agreement.
He said one of them is married to a Moroccan but has vowed never to go to the Maghreb country for reasons best know to him.
The majority leader further said that per the agreement, the over $300,000 released by the Obama government to Ghana under the deal covered the terrorists up to the two-year duration they had to be in the country.
He added that with the expiration of the agreement, the people of Ghana are the ones footing the bills for the two guys whom the US security intelligence said were dangerous.
Mr Kyei-Mensah Bonsu said then Foreign Minister, Hannah Tetteh, had created the impression in parliament that the so-called deal was subject to renewal after two years, which elapsed about two weeks ago – although the same Mahama government had secretly undermined the two-year agreement and granted them refugee status.
He said the NDC government, in altering the agreement, did not even have the courtesy to include it in the handing over notes to the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government during the transition in early 2017.
Later, NPP acting general secretary, John Boadu, said on Asempa Fm that the Akufo-Addo government was able to successfully negotiate with Morocco to repatriate the terrorists to that country, but when the documents were reviewed, it was detected that the Mahama government had granted them refugee status without informing parliament.
DAILY GUIDE understands that the terrorists got married in Ghana and that the wife of one of them even gave birth a year ago.
The NDC government, according to sources, took every step to integrate them into the Ghanaian society and that was the reason why they attempted to change their names.
Last year, the Supreme Court declared as unconstitutional the admission of the two terrorists into the country by the Mahama administration.
A seven-member panel, presided over by Chief Justice Sophia A.B. Akuffo, by a six to one (6 -1) majority decision, said the two were illegally staying in the country since the then government allowed them into the country without prior approval of Parliament and the consequential order of the court was that the NPP government should within three months submit the agreement for parliamentary consideration and approval or in default, return the two ex-detainees.
Interestingly, the opposition NDC MPs in parliament, whose government took the unpopular decisions, are the same guys daring the current government to deport the two terrorists.
The Minority in parliament chastised Akufo-Addo-led government over its failure to bring the agreement before parliament for ratification allowing the terrorists to stay in the country.
NDC MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who appeared to have turned himself into a spokesperson for the terrorists of late, said recently that the two men were comporting themselves and have not given the security agencies any cause to complain.
A security expert told DAILY GUIDE that “Mahama and his ministers set a trap for the incoming administration. As it is, they appear to have tied the hands of the President and his NPP administration and this government has to be tactful in handling this issue.”
Another expert said that the passport is evidence of citizenship and it was strange that the Mahama government gave the refugees passports when they are not citizens.
He said that it can never be true that the government cannot deport the terrorists because they have been given refugee status, saying “the Refugees Act (1992) provides the government refuge to deport them,” and said “their passports can be seized if it was not properly acquired.”