A former Northern regional minister and government envoy to Angola, Moses Bukari Mabengba (left in above picture), was escorted out of the Tamale International Airport VIP lounge Monday by a worker.
According to the worker, it was a decision from higher authority not to allow former NDC diplomats and heads of government departments to use the leisure room any longer.
“Since January we’ve been using this place until this morning I got to the place and a young man came to inform me that please you are no more allowed to come and use the VIP lounge, and I asked why and he said orders from above,” Mr. Mabengba told Starr News.
Mabengba noted he was relaxing in the lounge with raft of other VIPs including an NPP Member of Parliament for Ewutu Senya East Constituency and Minister for Special Development Initiative, Mavis Hawa Koomson whose pleas for the senior statesman to be spared was ignored.
Her other interventions were not recognized and the airport worker who was sent to carry out the orders adamantly took the former minister out to join private citizens at the public waiting room.
“Fortunately for me, I was sitting in the lounge with one of the NPP MPs and also a minister, Hawa Koomson, and I told her ‘look at what your people are doing – they are asking me a former ambassador, minister, an MP not to use the lounge’.
“Meanwhile, I know that while we’re in government this place was free and even cited several examples…I remember when we lost [and] the vice president visited, I received them at the airport, all of them including non-appointees of government, we were all allowed to pass through the VIP and today they did that to me,” Mabengba told Starr News.
The former ambassador was heard loudly protesting while being driving out of the hospitality facility.
“In fact, I wanted to refuse that order but I said if I do it that young man might lose his job because they would say he asked me to leave and I didn’t leave,” he stated.
Another former NDC government appointee Joyce Bawa-Mogtari, now spokesperson for former president John Mahama, was also seen waiting with a pack of travellers at the public waiting room. It is, however, not clear whether she was also denied access to the lounge. She was unavailable for comments.
The VIP lounge patrons enjoy special privileges and do not go through tedious booking procedures.
Mabengba, a former Ghana ambassador to Angola, said the decision to bar former NDC government appointees from using the lounge was politically motivated.
“I told them, fortunately for me there was so many NPP people in the lounge with the minister that I will make case out of it not because I want redress but just wanted to be on record that after we left off, we were prevented from using some facilities so that if in future my party comes to government and the same measures are put in place, no sanctimonious pastor or civil society organizations or whatever should come and tell us that what we are doing are not correct” , the NDC executive warned.
However, authorities of the airport have responded denying issuing such orders and said they were yet to receive briefing on the Monday incident.
Airport manager Micheal Omane Mensah spoke to Starr News saying, “all former diplomats are allowed to use the VIP”, adding: “I don’t know where that directive is coming from.”
Omane who said he was away from the region pledged to launch an immediate probe into the issue.