The Ghana Police Service through the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) has secured a High Court order to restrain the Alliance for Social Equity and Accountability (ASEPA) from going ahead with its planned demonstration to protest the controversial Agyapa Royalties agreement.
Joined to the restraining order is Mensah Thompson, Executive Secretary of the group.
According to the Court, its decision was arrived at after scrutinising the affidavit presented by the police and the response submitted by the counsel of the plaintiff on the ex-parte motion filed on the matter.
“It is hereby ordered that, the respondents herein namely ASEPA and Mensah Thompson or any other group of persons affiliated to the respondents are prohibited and restrained from demonstrating against an agreement passed by the Parliament of Ghana popularly known as Agyapa agreement which demonstration is intended for 21st September 2020”, the restraining order, as sighted by citinewsroom.com noted.
ASEPA, a civil society group had written to the police seeking permission to protest the controversial deal that seeks to monetize Ghana's gold royalties .
But the police, in an earlier response to the group's request for a civil demonstration, indicated that the demand cannot be granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The reply from the police indicated that although it acknowledges the receipt of the group's letter, restrictions imposed on public gatherings of more than 200 people without face masks due to the COVID-19 pandemic is still in full force.
Police officials therefore said, ASEPA's request to have 20,000 people gather for the demonstration is impossible .
“There is the tendency that COVID-19 protocols would be breached. If permitted to demonstrate in this manner, public health and security could be endangered. Your notification to demonstrate in this COVID-19 pandemic era cannot be sanctioned please,” the statement signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Regional Commander for the Accra Region, E. A Sakyi explained.
The government through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), has set up Agyapa Royalties Limited to manage and invest Ghana's gold royalties and revenue from equities for higher returns for the benefit of the country.
In exchange, the company plans to raise between $500 million and $750 million for the government on the Ghana and London Stock exchanges to invest in developmental projects.
The deal has for the past few weeks sparked controversy among different groups in the country following concerns from members of the opposition.
Civil Society groups in Mines and Energy have also described the Special Purpose Vehicle as one which is not transparent and must be suspended.