The Director of Communications at the Jubilee House has dismissed claims by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that the President hired another luxurious aircraft on his recent foreign trips to the UK and Germany.
According to Eugene Arhin, the information put out by Mr Ablakwa on the Presidents’ recent travel, is false, adding that President Akufo-Addo did not use a Luxembourg-based aircraft registered LX-DIO as suggested by the MP.
Speaking to the media at the Jubilee House, Tuesday, he said, “let me put it on record that the Member of Parliament for North Tongu who made this disclosure put out the information that the President travelled on a jet with the number LX-DIO.”
“I travel with the President on every single trip and on the trip to the UK first, for the Global Education Summit, and subsequently to Germany, the President did not use this jet. I don’t know where he got his information from.”
Although he did not give details on the flight President Akufo-Addo travelled on, Mr Arhin stated categorically, that the flight mentioned by Mr Ablakwa, was not used by the President.
This comes after Minority Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, revealed that the nation paid GH¢3.4 million for President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips to the United Kingdom and Germany.
“If our government is dealing directly with the operators of the LX-DIO, then it is costing the Ghanaian taxpayer at least, $14,000 per hour. However, if our government is leasing the aircraft via brokers or middlemen, as it has gained notoriety in many sectors, you shouldn’t be surprised the Ghanaian taxpayer is being billed between $18,000 and $22,000 per hour,” he wrote in a Facebook post.https://www.myjoyonline.com/akufo-addo-hired-another-jet-to-uk-and-germany-which-cost-14k-per-hour-ablakwa-alleges
In May 2021, Mr Okudzeto stirred controversy when he alleged the nation paid £15,000 an hour as the President opted for luxurious aircraft instead of using the Presidential jet on his travels to France, Belgium and South Africa.
The Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee told JoyNews the President is abusing his discretionary power by not using the presidential jet for his foreign travels.
He filed a question, and Parliament summoned Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, to answer questions on the cost and why Ghana’s presidential jet was not used.
The Minister justified the President’s decision to rent the aircraft, arguing that the capacity of the presidential aircraft can no longer carry the President’s entourage.
He told the House that the Finance Minister is best to provide those details regarding the cost incurred on the trip.
Not satisfied with this answer, Mr Ablakwa filed another question to summon the Finance Minister to discuss the cost.
Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before Parliament and noted that questions on the cost and travels of the President will be best answered by the National Security Ministry.
Whilst the nation is yet to be informed of the actual cost incurred by both trips, the former Chief of Staff has suggested an alternative method that can be adopted to halt the extravagant lifestyle of leaders at the expense of taxpayers.
Kwadwo Mpiani, in an interview with JoyNews on Wednesday, noted that policies that will oblige Presidents to pay for their private foreign travels will protect the public purse.