NPP MPs to file fresh suit against gov’t over Atuabo Freeport

Five Members of Parliament (MPs) of the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) say they have discovered that the creation of the Atuabo Freeport under the Free Zones Act was unlawful.

As a result, they are preparing to file a fresh suit “to challenge the creation of Atuabo Freeport”.

This was contained in a release written by MP for Tema Central Kofi Brako on behalf his co-petitioners – Joseph Cudjoe (Effia), Hawa Koomson (Awutu Senya East), Kwabena Otchere-Darko (Takoradi) and Kwaku Kwarteng (Obuasi West) – over what he claims is an attempt by government to mislead the public over the dismissal of their appeal against a ruling on the Atuabo Freeport.

They had challenged the project, claiming it violated the Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GPHA) laws on creation of freeports especially at the Takoradi Harbour. But a Cape Coast Appeals Court was reported to have dismissed their appeal.

“We are not aware of any application by the Attorney General or Atuabo Freeport Ghana Ltd to dismiss our case.”

Below is the release on their stance and the intention to file a fresh suit against the Atuabo Freeport:

ATUABO FREEPORT CASE

Govt should stop the manoeuvres!

I write on behalf of Hon Joseph Cudjoe, Hon Hawa Koomson, Hon Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Hon Kwaku Kwarteng and myself. Our attention has been drawn to media reports that our appeal in respect of the above case has been dismissed by the appeals court and that the matter has been brought to a close. We wish to inform the general public that this is nothing but a media ploy designed by elements in Government to misinform the general public and to mislead financiers of the project.

We are not aware of any application by the Attorney General or Atuabo Freeport Ghana Ltd to dismiss our case. The said dismissal of our appeal, if it is true, happened on the blindside of we the appellants, and that is against the law. We would be taking steps to reverse these pointless manoeuvres by Government.

The well managed media publicity about the said dismissal of our case is a shameful attempt by Government and Lonrho Ports Ltd to discourage us from seeking the removal of the unlawful restriction that the Atuabo Freeport Agreement imposes on the Takoradi Port.

We have no intention whatsoever to discontinue our appeal currently before the appeals court.

As we have already stated, our determination to see the restriction on Takoradi Port removed would not be limited to litigation in the courts. We shall be deploying a comprehensive campaign to defend Takoradi Port and to protect the jobs of the many Ghanaians working there.

Indeed, we have discovered that the creation of Atuabo Freeport under the Free Zones Act was itself unlawful. It is only under the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority Act (PNDCL 180) that any port can be created in Ghana. And once created, such a port automatically comes under the regulatory oversight of the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority. The Free Zones Act only allows the President to declare an existing port a freeport. The Free Zones Act does not permit the President to create a freeport out of nothing.

The creation of Atuabo Freeport outside the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority Act was deliberately and unlawfully done (possibly under pressure from Lonrho Ports Ltd) to take Atuabo Freeport out of the regulatory oversight of the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority. This is wrong. It poses a threat to national security.

Accordingly, we shall be bringing a separate law suit to challenge the creation of Atuabo Freeport.

We wish to assure the general public that we shall pursue this matter to the very end. And we are confident we will prevail. We thank the general public, especially the workers of Takoradi Port for the support they continue to give us.

Kofi Brako

(MP, Tema Central Constituency)

Source: 3news.com|Ghana

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