Ghana Politics

Focus on benefits of President’s travel and not expenses – Sam Okudzeto

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Lawyer Samuel Okudzeto, has indicated those who accuse President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo of expensive travels should rather focus on the benefits that the President’s travel has on the country.

According to him, the constant attacks on the President based on his travel is not productive for the country.

GhanaWeb monitored comments he made on Joy FM during an interview on Wednesday, September 22, that, there are some benefits that the country gains any time the President travels. Adding that Ghanaians should not spend more time criticizing the travel and how much it cost but also consider the benefits derived by the country.

“When he was going to Germany, there was hue and cry. ‘Why is he travelling? He takes these expansive planes? It cost so much per day.’ People do not understand what diplomacy is all about. Diplomacy is an expensive process, but there are always benefits.

“The President cannot sit down there in the Jubilee House and think all these [benefits] will just be coming to us. I don’t think it (attacks) is productive and helps the country,” the member of the Council of State said.

He argued further, “… We spend more time criticising than sometimes looking at the benefit that comes to us because we don’t even study the system.”

The veteran lawyer is of the view that, if there are concerns over the President’s travels, there are a lot of propositions that can be done to explore other ways he can travel rather than the “daily wholesale attacks” rained on him.

“That is why I am saying that as a nation we can agree on certain basic principles so that we all operate upon them instead of these attacks,” Sam Okudzeto stressed.

Lawyer Sam Okudzeto’s comments come at a time the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is demanding full disclosure of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s foreign travels in a yet to be filed urgent question in Parliament.

According to the MP, President Akufo-Addo on his trip to the US to attend the 76th session of the UN General Assembly hired “the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany.”

He alleged the President’s attendance by way of travel expense to and from the summit is costing the taxpayer GH₵3.7 million.

Ablakwa explained to Joy FM on Tuesday, September 21, that, “the fundamental objection to this chartering of luxurious aircraft is that we have a functioning Presidential jet. It is in a pristine state, it has not gotten to the end of its lifespan.”

The Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee in an earlier post on Facebook accused Eugene Arhin, the Director of Communications at the Presidency when he said the President did not travel in a luxurious aircraft during his trips to Germany and the UK of “peddling falsehood” especially when he was unable to provide alternative facts.

In a post on his Facebook timeline, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wrote:

“A presidential spokesman should not be desecrating what is expected to be hallowed precincts of the seat of government in this Goebbelian manner.

“I can authoritatively confirm without a scintilla of doubt or any equivocation for that matter that President Akufo-Addo on his current trip to the United States of America has again chartered the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany — the Luxembourg-based luxury jet registered LX-DIO and operated by Global Jet Luxembourg. Same Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 62515 and Line Number 5659.”

Meanwhile, the Presidency has indicated that Ghana’s Presidential jet was used by George Oppong Weah, the President of Liberia, when he attended an ECOWAS summit in Accra recently.

In a Joy News report monitored by GhanaWeb, the presidency claim the decision for the Liberian President to use the Presidential jet was based on a request made to the office of the President.

A video sighted online shows Ghana’s Falcon landing on the tarmac with the inscription ‘Republic of Ghana’ as Liberia President George Oppong Weah in white apparel steps out of the presidential jet at the Kotoka International Airport.

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