Police gets court order to stop ASEPA demo against Agyapa deal

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The Alliance for Social Equity and Accountability (ASEPA) has been slapped with a High Court restraining order, barring the pressure group from going ahead with its scheduled demonstration against the controversial Agyapa deal.

The order was secured by the Ghana Police Service after it had earlier communicated its decision not to sanction the demonstration.

The court says it granted the ex-parte motion after examining the affidavit presented by the Ghana Police Service and the response submitted by the counsel of the plaintiff.

“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 according to Citi Fm reads.

ASEPA in a communique to the Ghana Police served notice of its intent to demonstrate against the Agyapa Gold royalties management deal undertaken by the government of Ghana.

The police in its response to ASEPA said it was unable to sanction the demonstration due to the COVI-19 pandemic and its existing protocols.

“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 police statement signed by Assistant Commissioner of Police, Deputy Regional Commander for the Accra Region, E. A Sakyi stated.

However, in a subsequent reaction to the police, the Executive Secretary of ASEPA, Ernest Thompson who has been enjoined in the restraining order said the pressure group was still going to go ahead with the demonstration scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2020.

The Government of Ghana through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) set up Agyapa Royalties Limited to oversee the country’s gold revenue and royalties for higher returns to benefit the nation.

The Company in exchange for the gold resources plans to make between $500 million and $750 million by listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange and the London Stock Exchange to be invested in national developmental projects.

The Agyapa deal over the period has generated controversy between government and the ruling party on one hand and the opposition as well as numerous Civil Society Organisations on the other hand arguing for and against the deal.