Ghana Waves App
National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah has told parliament that he cannot disclose to the house how much President Nana Akufo-Addo’s recent trips cost the state kitty.
“Mr Speaker, recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa by President Akufo-Addo are paid for out of the operational funds from the Ministry of National Security”, Mr Kan-Dapaah said.
He added: “Mr Speaker, payments out of the ministry’s operational funds are glued with rules of confidentiality and state secrecy and it is not the normal practice…to make the suggested disclosures.”
His answer was in response to a question filed by North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who has been tracking and making exposures concerning the president’s foreign travels.
In the heat of the controversy, the Minority in Parliament said President Akufo-Addo could have used Ghana’s “airworthy” presidential jet, Falcon 9Gexe, instead of chartering a £15,000-per-hour “lavish, ostentatious and extravagant” AJC320neo flight for that 9-day trip abroad that cumulatively cost the Ghanaian taxpayer £345,000 (GHS2,828,432.80) – per Mr Ablakwa’s computation.
“Today, we want to present to you further evidence that we are definitely certain that the presidential jet is available, in good shape”, Mr Ablakwa told journalists on Friday, 28 May 2021.
According to him, on 11 May 2021 – five days ahead of his 9-day trip – the president used the presidential jet to Uganda to attend the ceremony swearing-in of President-elect Yoweri Museveni.
Denying claims that the Falcon cannot travel long hours without refuelling, Mr Ablakwa said the president’s Uganda trip on the presidential jet was 5h:4m while his Paris trip took six-and-a-half hours.
“The Minority insists that the Falcon could have been used”, Mr Ablakwa stressed.
“One, the Falcon is airworthy and it took this same president to Uganda only a few days prior to the 16th of May when the president departed to Paris with this rather luxurious monster; the most outstanding, extravagant, luxurious airbus aircraft to be manufactured – the Airbus AJC320neo, which originally was manufactured to take 150 people at the minimum but it has been reconfigured to take only 17 people so a luxurious empire can be created”, he said.
In the Minority’s view, instead of the president using the chartered flight, which has a master bedroom, an en-suite bathroom with showers, dining facilities for all 17 passengers and sophisticated IT connectivity installations, he could have opted for other chartered flights from the same company, Acropolis Aviation.
“First of all, our contention is that the Falcon is available”, he stressed, emphasising: “It’s airworthy”.
“If it can take you to Uganda safely, it can take you to Paris safely and Brussels, Belgium safely”, he argued.
“So, the point we are trying to emphasise is that in this time of austerity, where the president himself has said: Times are rough; let’s bear with him’, … the president himself embarked on this trip to go and beg for debt forgiveness and this is how you go and beg for debt forgiveness when the person you are going to beg for debt forgiveness from doesn’t travel in such luxury, in such ostentation”, noting: “The level of extravagance, the extreme opulence that the president displayed is condemnable, unconscionable”.
“How do you think these western leaders will perceive African leaders? No wonder they have very little respect for a lot of our leaders but we cannot continue this way”, Mr Ablakwa said.