Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Yaw Buaben Asamoa has said that the decision by the government to purchase a new presidential jet was informed by security advice that was given by Defence Minister, Dominic Nitwul.
The government has announced plans to purchase a new presidential jet for the president’s foreign travels.
This was disclosed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin at the Jubilee House Monday, September 27 during the Presidency’s weekly press briefing.
According to Mr Arhin, the government of Ghana, through the Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul has already started the processes for the procurement of the new jet.
“You would recollect that when the government of President Kufuor left office in 2008, it had procured two jets – the current Falcon and a bigger one but for one reason or the other, the bigger jet was cancelled, and we were left with just one. That has happened, but you will recall that the Defence Minister stated clearly that the government has decided to buy a bigger jet to save us from all these troubles.”
“I don’t want to go into the details, but I am sure that when the minister gets the opportunity, he will give further information on what the government is doing in that respect, but I am sure of the fact that government is already in the process of getting a bigger jet for use”, he told pressmen Monday.
This revelation comes at a time when the presidency has dismissed claims made by Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that Akufo-Addo uses luxury chartered jets while on foreign travels which according to him has cost Ghana GH¢10 million so far.
The presidency has however failed to disclose the cost of the president’s travel.
When the North Tongu MP filed an urgent question on the floor of parliament to have the Minister of Finance respond to the cost of the president’s foreign travels the first time, the minister asked for more time to get the figures but he later appeared before the House and said the issue was a matter of National Security.
The MP says he will not relent in his efforts to demand accountability from the government on the matter.
The government has been criticsed for this move. For instance, Mr Abraham Amaliba, a member of the legal team of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) said “said purchasing a new jet is needles because the current Falcon jet is fit for purpose.
“This aircraft I’m told has a life span of 30 years and we have just done eleven so it is a baby in the aviation industry so why will we be citing one or two instances where it develops a fault and based on that we want to buy a new jet
“We all know this plane is good, it can do long-distance travel but I just think that we have a president who has a different taste altogether.”
But reacting to these concerns, Mr Buaben Asamoa who is a former lawmaker for Adentan said “I think at some point we must agree that somebody takes that ultimate decision. The ultimate decision-maker is the manager of the president’s safety and security.
“Those managers are saying that we didn’t have an aircraft that is reliable, we don’t have an aircraft that is serviceable, we don’t have an aircraft with enough capacity to deal with the state’s requirement of the presidency. All these are being said by the manager through the defence Minister.”