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Former Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr Koku Anyidoho who served during President J.E.A. Mills’ era has justified why Ghana needs to procure a new and bigger aircraft for presidential travels.
He acknowledged that the current Falcon for presidential travels has occupancy challenges apart from the issue of stopping to refuel when on long haul travels.
Speaking in a radio interview with Accra based Okay FM, monitored by Graphic Online on Wednesday morning (September 29), Mr Anyidoho said “that is why President J.A. Kufuor wanted to buy two aircrafts, the Falcon and a bigger one, either an Airbus or a Boieng.
Somehow, the second one was not procured and the Falcon became “an albatross around our neck,” he said.
Mr Anyidoho said with the current debate on the need for a bigger presidential aircraft, he completely supports the move.
Mentioning himself as part of the people who should stop politicising the issue of procurement of a presidential jet and mentioning how the then opposition – National Democratic Congress (NDC) – opposed President Kufuor’s decision on purchasing two aircrafts in 2007, Mr Anyidoho said his experience in government between 2009 and 2012 was indicative that President Kufuor’s decision was in the interest of the state, safety for the presidency and cost saving.
Touting his experience and close working relations with the late President J.E.A. Mills, Mr Anyidoho elaborated the difficulties President Mills went through especially on international travels where he had to travel commercial.
He revealed that led to President Mills opting for a chartered flight on one occasion from USA to Venezuela.
He also revealed that in 2009, President Mills travelled with a chartered flight from Accra to Tamale and that since the flight was hired from Italy, the crew was not familiar with the Tamale runaway and nearly dropped President Mills on an old and an abandoned runaway in the Tamale area.
He said it was from that experience that the Ghana Airforce decided to take complete control over the President Mills’ air travels both locally and internationally and President Mills also decided to adequate equip the airforce to enable it discharge its duties.
Mr Anyidoho said even though, it was the wish of President Mills to limit himself to commercial flights for international travels, the experience on the job made it clear that, the Ghana Airforce needed a bigger aircraft which could be used by the airforce and also serve presidential travel needs.
more to follow….
Source: Graphic Online