As the National Democratic Congress and the New Patriotic Party fight over the contingent that accompanied President Mills to the UK, and who is wasting the tax payer’s money on foreign travels, The Chronicle has laid hands on officials documents which reveal that President Mills’ government spent about GHc34, 953 on air tickets during the trip.
A similar trip made by exÃ‚Â-President Kufuor, while in office, also cost the nation GHc142, 763.
Investigations indicate that the GHc34, 953 was spent on 18 out of the 30 member delegation, whose air fares were not catered far by the British government.
The 18 were compelled to board the economy class of British Airways.
While the 18 were predominantÃ‚Âly government officials and journalÃ‚Âists, in the case of ex-President Kufuor the 41-member delegation was made up of relatives and secreÃ‚Âtaries of the former first couple, drivers of the former first lady, journalists, and party functionaries.
In a letter written to the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning by the former Chief of Staff, Mr. Kwadwo Mpiani, on October 28, last year, headlined “Payment of Air Tickets,” it stated that approval had been given for an amount of one hundred and forty-two thousand, seven hunÃ‚Âdred and sixty-three Ghana Cedis, forty-eight pesewas (GHÃ‚Â¢142,763.48) to be paid to British Airways.
“The amount covers the cost of air tickets issued by the company for a forty-seven (47) member presÃ‚Âidential delegation to travel to The Netherlands (State Visit) and the UK for Chatham House Award Ceremony, from 18th to 29th October, 2008,”the letter said, adding “Bank of Ghana is hereby authorised to issue the appropriate amount involved into the Airline Cedi Account as indicated below:
Bank STANCHART’, Cedis Account No. 0100113163600.”
The Kufuor government also spent GHÃ‚Â¢381, 179 on only air tickÃ‚Âets of the 52-member Presidential Delegation which visited Washington D.C and New York and the 63rd UN General Assembly from 10th to 30th September, 2008.
On September 19, 2008, at the time the delegation was in the USA, the Country Manager of British Airways, Mr. Paul Dhami, submitted the invoices to the Presidential Affairs Office at the Castle.
The invoice included the air tickÃ‚Âet of former Minister of Finance, Hon. Kwadwo Baah Wiredu, who could not make it for the trip, because he was sick at the time.
The letter headlined RE: PRESIÃ‚ÂDENTIAL TRIP” stated: “Kindly find attached invoices together with the list of Presidential delegation that travelled on British Airways from the 11th September2008 from Accra-London-Washington-/New York-London-Accra.
Thank you for choosing British Airways. We hope our services continue to meet your expectations.
Mr. Mpiani responded on October 13, 2008 in a letter that, “Approval has been given for an amount of three hundred and eighty-one thousand, one hundred and seventy-nine Ghana Cedis, thirteen pesewas (GHÃ‚Â¢381,179,13) to be paid to British Airways.”
According to the Chronicle, Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa refused to comment on the figures relating to the current government.
Source: The Ghanaian Chronicle