• The government recently confirmed its intention to buy a new presidential jet
• MP for North Tongu says it is a pity that we “lend” our jet but the president refuses to use it fully
• Ablakwa unearthed a parliamentary dossier in which Akufo-Addo opposed the purchase of a presidential jet in 2000
North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa denounced President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo over plans to purchase a new presidential plane.
Ablakwa, who is also a member of the Foreign Affairs Rankings, referred to parliamentary debates over two decades ago to highlight the president’s inconsistency in his attempt to buy a new jet.
According to the report of the parliamentary debates of February 15, 2000 unearthed by Ablakwa, Akufo-Addo – then member of Parliament for Abuakwa – had risen in the room to expressly oppose the plans of the government of Jerry John Rawlings to buy a presidential jet. .
The aircraft in question – the Gulfstream GIII – was to cost the taxpayer $ 19 million. Akufo-Addo, in his bid, argued that purchasing an executive jet was “very low on the priority scale.”
Read Ablakwa’s full article below:
The weather they say is nobody’s friend. It seems that principle and consistency are such rare commodities.
Below is an excerpt from Nana Akufo-Addo’s contribution to the debate in Parliament some 21 years ago, when President Rawlings made moves to purchase Ghana’s third presidential jet – the Gulfstream GIII.
“Nana Akufo-Addo (NPP – Abuakwa): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this debate. It is good to see that the Minister and his spin-doctor, the Minister of Communications, are both here to listen to us on this file. Mr President, I intend to limit my intervention to two main questions.
“Already, my dear. his colleague, the deputy for Offinso North (Dr KK Apraku), in his usual powerful presentation, alerted us to the sensitivity of this transaction; this at a time when there is a crying need for increased public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when students demand increased public spending on higher education, they are greeted with a cry that there is no money but the president has the right to have spent on him- even $ 19 million over the next five years for this plane.
“Sir. Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need that has been constantly urged on this side of the House for us to review and prioritize public spending, this case warrants that appeal. I have no doubt, sir. the president, that if the priorities are well defined, the purchase of a business jet will end up very low in the scale of the priorities.
“… Sir. Mr. Speaker, we must express our displeasure at the way in which the powers of this House have been subverted. Mr. Speaker, when we say these things, I know that in an airplane affair, it is t is a touching affair for Majority Members, especially as it concerns their almighty President, Jerry John Rawlings and his comfort.
“… Sir. Mr. President, the public interest did not benefit from this transaction; constitutional government did not benefit from this transaction. The conduct is one which is reprehensible and as difficult as the Majority can find. to deny the Speaker this last expensive toy he is looking for at the sunset of his career, the public interest is not served by this transaction. And Mr. Speaker, we will ask the House and our colleagues in the Majority to join us in rejecting this transaction.
“… Sir. Mr. Speaker, by the grace of His Excellency the Almighty President. Soon we will call him His Majesty in this House, Mr. Speaker – by his grace. Mr. Speaker, we say this transaction is more unsatisfactory.
Parliamentary debates (Official report)
fourth series; Flight. 24; No. 21
Tuesday February 15, 2000.
Columns: 1653, 1654, 1682 and 1683.
Ablakwa campaign against luxury presidential travel, new jet
Ablakwa has been at the forefront of demands for transparency in the president’s travel versus the cost and his lack of use of the presidential jet for overseas travel.
He revealed in the past three months that the president’s three overseas trips to Europe were on luxury chartered jets for as long as he was away. He said the trips cost Ghana more than 10 million cedis.
Presidential spokesman Eugene Arhin disputed claims that the president flew on particular jets mentioned by Ablakwa, but also tacitly admitted that those trips were not aboard the presidential jet.
Ablakwa’s recent revelation that the Ghanaian plane was being used by the Liberian president prompted a response from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.
The ministry revealed that it was not just the Liberian leader but that those in Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau had also used it at one point.
In an October 1 post on his Facebook page, Ablakwa wrote: “Following the confirmation of my claims by the Ghanaian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, we must all sincerely salute and congratulate the Presidents of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea-Bissau for not making moves to purchase their own “bigger” and “obscenely luxurious” presidential jets in the midst of a pandemic as one of their colleagues is now famous.
“Instead, they choose to share our presidential jet with us in the true spirit of Pan-Africanism.
“Even more impressive, they don’t seem to mind the claims from government spokespersons that our Falcon is not so safe and fit for purpose (whatever that means).
“The presidents of Ayekoo, Oppon Weah, Maada Bio and Sissoco Embalo! There is still hope for Africa after all. “