President John Dramani Mahama has finally put paid to speculations that the decision to host two former Guantanamo Bay detainees in the country for two years was because his administration stood to gain financially from the US government.
At the request of the International Tribunal and then by the USA, two Yemeni nationals; Mahmud Umar Muhammad Bin Atef and Khalid Muhammad Salih Al-Dhuby, have been transferred to Ghana.
Bin Atef is an admitted member of the Taliban and fought for Usama bin Laden, while Al-Dhuby trained with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan.
They arrived in Ghana on Thursday January 7, 2016 for a two-year stay as part of a deal reached between the United States of America and the Government of Ghana from the Guantanamo Bay.
Since the announcement by government, Ghanaians have been panicking with many asking; what did the US pay Ghana’s government to enter into such a seemingly risky deal by offering to house ex-detainees from Gitmo, who were once said to be a threat to United States’ national security.
Indeed Catherine Herridge, Chief Intelligence Correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington DC, had insinuated a couple of days back that the gesture was certainly for a “promise.”
“…Here is a thing the people are missing, these countries are not taking them out of the goodness of the heart, they are taking them because they have been promised something in the future by the US…,” she stated.
According to her, under previous administrations, the US provided logistical and sometimes financial support to countries that agreed to take in some of the Guantanamo Bay ex-detainees.
As if that was not enough, social media had also been rife with reports that the President and his government received about $300 million from the US before accepting the request from the US
But speaking to journalists at the annual Media Interaction at the Flagstaff House, President Mahama described as “absolutely untrue”, social media reports that he pocketed “$300 million”.
“There is no monetary consideration and the US itself would have disclosed if there was any monetary consideration. What you are seeing on social media that I collected $300 million to accept these detainees is absolutely untrue.”
According to him, the country did a risk assessment after the US made the request. He explained that two ex-detainees were low-risk people who were picked when they were 20 years old and have had no operational role in Afghanistan.
“We did a comprehensive appraisal of the situation when the request came in from the US to take the detainees…The two detainees were said to be the lowest risk inmates of Guantanamo Bay,” he added