Akufo-Addo’s ‘Expensive’ trips: Ofori-Atta running away from accountability – Minority

The minority in parliament has accused Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta of adopting delay tactics by requesting more time to provide answers on the cost for President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips on a private jet.

North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa had his urgent question originally scheduled for Thursday deferred upon a request from Ken Ofori-Atta to the Business Committee for more time.

Speaking to the media, Ablakwa argued the finance minister is running away from accountability.

“This is the pinnacle of luxury as you have all researched and found out. It’s called the Pent House in the Skies. This about Financial accountability, this is about financial prudence, this is about national priorities, this is about protecting the national purse. Now we brought them to the more appropriate forum where they are constitutionally bound to be accountable and there is all of these delay tactics. It must strike you as very strange because really what do they have to hide? Is as though something is happening behind the scenes and they need time to complete whatever they are doing. These are not the tenets of accountability and good governance. If you have nothing to hide if you don’t need to buy time to do anything untoward you just respond, ” the North Tongu MP said.

But majority chief whip Frank Annor-Dompreh who disagreed with him said the request is to ensure adequate answers are provided and thus the accusations from Ablakwa are unnecessary.

Nitiwul’s response

Dominic Nitiwul mounted a spirited defense for the decision by President Akufo-Addo to charter a private jet for foreign trips for 15,000 pounds an hour.

He argued that safety and security of the president was the ultimate factor in deciding the type of aircraft used for his travels.

Speaking in Parliament on Wednesday, June, 16, 2021, Hon. Dominic Nitiwul argued the Presidential jet is handicapped in handling long-distance travels which will require refueling.

He also revealed that the jet lacks enough luggage capacity as well as a place for the president to shower while onboard the presidential jet.

“The decision to travel to long and multiple destinations such as the president travelling to France, Belgium and South Africa, will always require a larger aircraft even when the Falcon is airworthy…When the President is travelling with more than 20 people for a business trip…you will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the people will have to go more than a day ahead of the president to prepare themselves.

“The president himself must go more than a day ahead to prepare himself because no president can shower in this aircraft, so you can’t move from this aircraft straight into a meeting,” Mr Nitiwul added.

But Hon. Ablakwa in reacting to Hon. Nitiwul stated that President Akufo Addo must be thrifty in spending the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

“The point must be made that you have so many options if you think that the Falcon is not big enough for you, as for you you like a large number of ministers, a large size of an entourage, you want to live large, that’s fine. If you want to do that, don’t do it at the taxpayers’ expense, that is our concern. Once it is taxpayers funds you are using then there are other economical options, you can fly commercial.

“If it’s about showers in the sky I’ve told you it’s Emirates first class and nobody will really be angry that our President has traveled first class, it’s the office we respect him, he must be comfortable. So you can travel first class and it will be far cheaper, we’ll not spend anywhere near even 10% of this £15,000 an hour for an aircraft. Even if you want to charter there are bigger aircrafts at far less a cost, there are cheaper options available than this.”

Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for South Tongu had in a Facebook post last month alleged that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo spent a whopping Ghc2.8m on a private jet on his recent trips to France and Johannesburg.

He alleged that the president decided to rent an aircraft that cost the Ghanaian taxpayer £15,000 an hour.

The former Deputy Education Minister further added that the President left Accra for Paris on the 16th of May and then from Paris to Johannesburg and back to Accra on the 25th of May accumulating a total of 23 hours amounting to a colossal £345,000. At the current exchange, the amount totals GHS2,828,432.80.

He subsequently filed an urgent question in Parliament demanding answers from the Defence Minister.

Source: Kasapafmonline.com

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