Minister for Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has jumped to the defense of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s decision to charter a private jet that costs £15, 000 per hour private for his recent trips.
The MP for Bimbila who was answering an urgent question on the floor of Parliament filed by North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on why the president had to spent so much on his trips, said the jet bought by the Ghanaian taxes is not fit for purpose.
“In fact, the president would also have to go a day ahead because no president can shower in this aircraft. He cannot move from this aircraft straight into a meeting,” Nitiwul disclosed.
He also indicated the president’s safety accounted for the decision of the government to go for the aircraft that has been described by some Ghanaians as lavish.
Nitiwul stated the current Presidential jet lacks the requisite space for the president’s entourage during such travels, luggage capacity and the number of times required for refueling on a trip could not be overlooked, stressing it is not fit for purpose.
“This aircraft will carry a load of 11 persons minus the crew. When this aircraft is traveling to the eastern part of the USA or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage. So it depends on where it is going,” Nitiwul stated.
“Secondly, I have also said the aircraft has to do refueling stops, and also in this COVID-19, when you are traveling to multiple destinations like the president’s recent travel, the Falcon couldn’t have been taken because he would have had to do technical stops which are not desirable, and when he is traveling with more than 20 people like he has been doing for business trips that brought huge sums of money for this country, he will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the others would have to go a day ahead before the President, ” he revealed.
The president has come under severe criticism after Ablakwa disclosed the amount the government spends on his foreign trips.
Ablakwa in a statement last month alleged that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo spent a whopping Ghc2.8m on his recent trips to France and Johannesburg, after renting an aircraft that cost the Ghanaian taxpayer £15,000 every hour.
In his estimation, Ablakwa said the Akufo-Addo left Accra for Paris on the 16th of May. and then to Paris where he proceeded to Johannesburg before returning to Accra on the 25th May 2021.
He said the 23 hours president spent on the luxury jet accumulated a total of £345,000. He went on to calculate the amount spent at the current exchange rate which he said amounted to GHS2,828,432.80.