The Minority in Ghana’s parliament is demanding a probe into what it terms a wasteful expenditure on President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips.
A member of the caucus, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa (MP) has filed an urgent question in parliament as he insists, figures show that the President had spent close to £345, 000 on his recent trips to only South Africa and France using the services of a private jet.
“The Airbus ACJ320neo owned by Acropolis Aviation based in Farnborough, UK and registered as G-KELT, is the most luxurious and the most expensive in the Acropolis fleet. The manufacturers describe it as “the most outstanding ambassador for Airbus Corporate Jets”. It costs the Ghanaian taxpayer approximately £15,000 an hour when President Akufo-Addo rents it”, the lawmaker alleged in a post on Facebook as he accused the President of blowing money at the “expense of the suffering masses”.
“Let’s further analyze President Akufo-Addo’s latest trip to Europe: per Flightrader24, the G-KELT aircraft left Accra with the President to Paris on 16th of May – a 6 and half hour duration. Airlifted the President from Paris to Johannesburg for 11 hours on the 23rd May.”
“Then Johannesburg to Accra on 25th of May was a five and half hour flight. This gives us accumulated flight travel of 23 hours; so at £15,000 an hour, it this cost us a colossal £345,000. At the current exchange rate, that is a staggering GHS 2, 828,432.80”, he posted.
Abandoned Falcon Jet
Mr Ablakwa who is a Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament has granted interviews to several radio stations on the issue shortly after his post on Facebook.
He told Accra-based Citi FM that the state’s Falcon Jet, used by the presidency has been abandoned for a chartered private flight.
“I can confirm on authority”, the MP for North Tongu said on the station’s flagship programme, Eyewitness News on Thursday.
Asked whether the presidential jet may have developed a fault for which the presidency had to seek the services of Acropolis Aviation, Mr Ablakwa said: “That is why we are summoning the Defence Minister, who has oversight of the Air Force to tell us if the Falcon has developed a fault in these few days because we do know that the Falcon has a pristine condition and that the other ministers have been using it”.
“So we want to hear from the government on why the President chose that option”, he added.
Ghana presidency blows ¢70m on foreign travels, ‘Item 13’
This is not the first time such issues had cropped up.
In December 2019, the Minority called for a similar probe into how the presidency blew a whopping ¢70million on foreign travels, hostel accommodation and Item 13 between January and September.
The figures emerged after documents on operations expenses of the presidency went to parliament, but some minority members questioned how the office of the President could spend that kind of money within 9 months.
“What sort of operational expenses is this? Is he buying a new plane from 62.5 million cedis. Refreshment, partying, tea, 1.980 almost 2 million Ghana Cedis on refreshment. The Vice President’s office has a similar situation. We demand accountability”, an NDC MP, Cassiel Ato Forson said.
But the government fought back.
A Deputy Chief of Staff at the time, Samuel Jinapor said: “We do this to demonstrate to the finance committee that the amount they approve stay within the budget and that’s transparency”.
SOURCE: DAILY MAIL GH