North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, alleged last week that it cost £15,000 an hour when the President decided to ditch the state’s Presidential jet to fly a luxurious and expensive private jet, at the expense of the taxpayer.
It is not known how much the total cost of the flights to the three countries cost the taxpayer but estimates put it around a significant amount of million Ghana cedis.
While the matter was generating intense public comments and criticism, Jubilee House remained tightlipped until it died down.
Although he has filed an urgent question in Parliament over the matter, in a determined attempt to put the matter back on the discussion table, Mr. Ablakwa, NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, has released a statement suggesting that silence of government suggests complicity in his allegations of profligate travel spending.
“Government’s record-breaking dead silence and stonewalling on the ostentatious £15,000 an hour luxury jet affair has been most telling.
“In the past, even when we have filed questions in Parliament, it has not stopped Government from issuing statements and speaking to the issues in contention – rightly so, because there’s no provision in Parliament’s Standing Orders stopping parties from public commentary when a question has been filed,” the Minority Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs stated.
Read his full statement below.
Today marks exactly a week since I published details of President Akufo-Addo’s unconscionable profligate luxury travels to France, Belgium and South Africa at taxpayers’ expense.
Government’s record-breaking dead silence and stonewalling on the ostentatious £15,000 an hour luxury jet affair has been most telling.
In the past, even when we have filed questions in Parliament, it has not stopped Government from issuing statements and speaking to the issues in contention – rightly so, because there’s no provision in Parliament’s Standing Orders stopping parties from public commentary when a question has been filed.
I do also recall how President Akufo-Addo himself made public pronouncements which many considered prejudicial during the bi-partisan parliamentary enquiry into the cash for seats saga. Similarly, President Akufo-Addo didn’t shy away from “premature commentary” when I raised the infamous Oslo Chancery deal in Parliament.
In this pinnacle-of-luxury-travels case — despite actively speaking to many national concerns in recent times from galamsey, the culture of silence to a radio station’s perceived attack on Free SHS; the President has conveniently ignored the massive public outrage at the obscene penthouse in the skies Airbus ACJ320neo debacle reminiscent of how people avoid folks who test positive for COVID-19, particularly, before vaccines were developed.
The NDC in Parliament’s quest for full accountability will be vigorously and fearlessly pursued for that is what Ghanaians who have the country at heart expect of us. We cannot spend so much purchasing and maintaining a presidential jet (Dassault Falcon 9G-EXE) only to recklessly burden taxpayers by hiring the most expensive top-of-the-range wonder luxury jet whose purpose rather ironically was to ferry our President on a debt forgiveness-cum-additional borrowing diplomatic mission.
Media threats by Deputy Majority Group Leader, Alexander Afenyo-Markin that their side will not support my question is rather inconsequential because Order 66(1) is unambiguous: “Mr. Speaker shall be the sole judge of the admissibility of a Question.” The Speaker is not required to consult anyone or seek the support of both sides of the House before admitting a question. No MP can therefore usurp the Speaker’s authority so to speak.
As for the pathetic attacks on my person by minions and hirelings, it only affirms the maxim: “When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the loser.”
We shall stay focused, unperturbed, and relentless in our pursuit for full accountability and the protection of the public purse as the President himself pledged to uphold. Failure in that constitutional and moral imperative cannot be an option. The job of an opposition MP in a functioning democracy and within checks and balances parameters is not to be quiet and sit idle when you can take genuine and concrete steps to stop the blatant rape and plunder of the national kitty, more so, in these harsh economic times. That will be tantamount to either complicity or dereliction.
In the pursuit of our lawful mandate of oversight, we eagerly await the day of full accountability rather sooner than later when the Defence Minister and the Minister responsible for Finance will appear in Parliament to respond to my two questions on this matter of utmost national interest.
For God and Ghana.