He said in his justification during a debate on the 2022 budget statement in Parliament on Tuesday November 23, that the President’s trips have always inured to the benefit of Ghana.
The Member of Parliament of Abetifi constituency said “anytime our president travels he returns with goodies. He visited Germany and he came home with vaccines. Anytime he travels, he comes with goodies,” he said.
His comments come after Member of Parliament for North Tongu Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa disclosed that Nana Akufo-Addo, on his latest trip to the United States of America for the 6th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, chartered the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany — the Luxembourg-based luxury jet registered LX-DIO, operated by Global Jet Luxembourg.
According to Mr Ablakwa, at US$14,000 an hour, Ghanaians were expected to pay US$616,000; that is GHS3.7million by the president’s returned.
Mr Ablakwa noted that while Nana Akufo-Addo was travelling in a luxurious jet at the expense of the taxpayer, Ghana’s presidential Jet was being used by Liberian President George Weah.
“Our monitoring reveals that President Weah landed at the Roberts International Airport (Robertsfield) in Liberia onboard Ghana’s Falcon at 10:00GMT on 18 September 2021. It was the second time in the same week the Liberian leader was exclusively using our presidential jet,” he stated in a post on Facebook.
Regarding this same issue of the President travels, it is recalled that the Minister of Finance Ken Ofori-Atta answered Mr Ablakwa on his urgent question regarding the cost of President‘s recent three-nation travel to France, Belgium and South Africa.
Mr Ablakwa who is the Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, the entire expenditure of the travel could have been used to fix a lot in the country.
He questioned why the presidential jet was abandoned despite being in good condition for a luxurious aircraft owned by Acropolis Aviaition based in the UK.
He filed the two-fold question in May.
Since then, the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, had appeared on the floor to give account of his side of the question.
The Finance Minister however, failed to be in the House, since then, to answer the question on the cost, requesting more time on the first occasion his attention was drawn to the question.
On Wednesday, July 21, however, Mr Ofori-Atta said he did not release any funds to the Office of Government Machinery (OGM) this year in line with the 2021 budget implementation instructions.
“The current practice is that the Ministry of Finance releases quarterly funds to the Heads of Department, in this case, Office of Government Machinery, Chief of Staff for all the operational activities of the office,” he said.
“To facilitate the safe coordination of the President’s travels, domestic and foreign, the Office of Government Machinery and the National Security Secretariat work together to achieve this.
“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. The National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honourable House with the details needed,” he said.
Bryan Acheampong said he advised the Minister of National Security not to release the information.
He said during the debate on the 2022 budget statement on Tuesday November 23 that information about the President’s travels cannot be made public because of national security reasons..