Ellen Ama Daaku has questioned why Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu Constituency, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, does not travel by bicycle to his constituency but incessantly berates the president for hiring a jet.
She believes the legislator dragging the name of President Akufo-Addo through the mud over the cost of his travel is sheer hypocrisy because the country’s presidential jet cannot embark on a long haul and the president has to rent a jet to carry out his foreign trips.
“Since time immemorial, they [the minority] claimed the President showers in the sky, which is false. Okudzeto also claims there are playing cards in the plane. They’re all blatant lies,” she asserted.
“I have a question for Okudzeto. When he’s traveling to his constituency, North Tongu, which car does he travel with?” the NPP communicator quizzed on Original 91.9FM’s Adwenekasa program on Thursday, September 30, 2021,
“The vehicle available,” Kwaku Owusu Adjei, the show host answered.
“Which one is available for him? I have enquired from people close to him and depending on what is available, he sometimes embarks on the journey with V8, Pick Up, or salon car – depending on what is available.”
“Why doesn’t he travel by bicycle, motorcycle, or tricycle?” visibly perturbed Ama Daaku questioned.
“He didn’t take the MP car loan and foot the bills for his transports then we will understand but he took the loan. He’s trying to say while in government and a minister he never used the government’s car and fuel? Per his position that time, he enjoyed the benefits that come with his position. And his position now what is entitled to him is what he gets,” Ms. Daaku ranted.
Justifying why the acquisition of a new presidential jet is a step in the right direction, Ms. Daaku said Ghana’s current jet is not airworthy and it has on multiple times developed faults while the president is on tour.
“Experts remain our current presidential jet cannot embark on a long haul and on three different occasions the engine of the aircraft stopped and eventually there was an emergency landing and a new jet was hired to bring the president home. Former President also had a similar experience.”
Ms. Daaku, therefore, noted that “The long and short is there’s a problem with the aircraft and it can’t embark on a long haul.”
President Nana Akufo-Addo has been at the receiving end of some heavy criticisms for renting jets for his foreign trips over the few months.
A key critic is the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who believes the country’s presidential jet is airworthy for the president to travel with.
He claimed the president, on his last 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.
Mr. Ablakwa said at US$14,000 an hour, Ghanaians should be expecting to pay US$616,000; that is GHS3.7million by the president’s return.
He indicated that while Nana Akufo-Addo was traveling 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.
Mr. Ablakwa further said a cumulative sum of President Akufo-Addo’s recent three luxury trips abroad imposes a colossal GHS10million on the Ghanaian taxpayer.
This is not the first time Mr. Ablakwa has raised concerns over the cost the nation incurs anytime the President travels abroad and hires a luxurious jet for his trip.
The Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 62515 and Line Number 5659 is a 19-seater luxury jet that has a HEX code 4D0213 which is configured VIP, has 2x CFMI engines, and was delivered to the current operators in November 2015.
According to Mr. Ablakwa, the jet comes equipped with multiple sections to guarantee exceptional comfort.
“It provides a VIP lounge for relaxation, Five-Star dining facilities, Royal Master bedroom, Cinema Room specially delineated for watching movies which is a separate accessory from other in-flight entertainment systems, and of course complete with a luxury shower.”
Mr. Ablakwa said he will file another urgent question in Parliament demanding full disclosure on the cost of the President’s foreign travels.