The cache of weapon intercepted at the Tema Port on May 10, 2019 this year, was imported into the country by a letter of authorisation issued to the importer by the erstwhile Mahama administration on January 5, 2017, two clear days to the end of its term of office, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has stated.
Addressing a news conference in Accra on Wednesday, the Information Minister referred to a permit letter signed by the former Deputy Minister of the Interior during the NDC administration, James Agalga, and dated the 5th of January 2017, had shown that the former government granted "M/s Yadco Ghana" the permit to import 20,000 cases of 500 pieces of shotgun cartridges, 4,000 pieces of hunting shotguns and 500 boxes of percussion caps in the country.
According to him, it was strange that the very persons who issued the permit for the importation of these arms would today turn around to accuse, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo's administration of issuing the permits and therefore has to take the security situation of this country a lot more seriously that it was doing now.
"It is surprising that the former administration chose to issue such a permit just two days before it handed over to the new government. It is curious because at that time during the transition, we had had a conversation about the fact that all major transactions needed to be fair to both sides and this was issued on the blind side of everybody else," Mr Oppong Nkrumah sated.
The Minister of Information assured that in accordance with the standard practice, the consignment was duly inspected and had been delivered at a designated storage area.
However in a response, the former Deputy Interior Minister described as false claims that he gave approval for a company to import thousands of weapons into the country for private use saying of being economical with the facts and playing partisan politics after the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) raised concerns about the importation of firearms into the country.
Mr Agalga stated that he did not sign the delivery permit that allowed the company to bring arms into the country, rather he insisted that, though as the former Deputy Interior Minister he signed the permit, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government, two years in power should have done a security assessment before granting the delivery permit.
"The permit I issued was in 2017 but the date of importation and clearance from the port is April 10, 2019, that is two clear years so further authorisation was given to enable the clearance to be done so without further authorisation the clearance would have been impossible," he stated.
urged the government to place a temporary ban on arms importation until the security challenges in the country are addressed.