Akufo-Addo hired $14k per hour jet while President Weah uses our jet – Okudzeto Ablakwa
The Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has said President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has for the second time, chartered a $14,000 per hour luxury jet on his recent trip to the United States of America.
According to the member of the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, while President Akufo-Addo hired a luxury jet, Liberia’s President George Weah was using Ghana’s presidential jet.
“I can authoritatively confirm without a scintilla of doubt or any equivocation for that matter that President Akufo-Addo on his current trip to the United States of America has again chartered the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany.
The Luxembourg-based luxury jet registered LX-DIO and operated by Global Jet Luxembourg. Same Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 62515 and Line Number 5659,” he posted on Facebook Tuesday, September 21.
“Our monitoring reveals that President Weah landed at the Roberts International Airport (Robertsfield) in Liberia onboard Ghana’s Falcon at 10:00GMT on 18th September 2021. It was the second time in the same week the Liberian leader was exclusively using our presidential jet,” he added.
Mr Ablakwa further said a cumulative sum of President Akufo-Addo’s recent three luxury trips abroad imposes a colossal GH₵10million on the Ghanaian taxpayer.
Mr Ablakwa bemoaned the situation and called for such an amount of money to be channelled to support critical sectors of the economy, saying, “reflect on what GH₵10million can do in the ailing health sector or the limping education sector of our dear nation.”
The Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3
The Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 with Manufacturer Serial Number (MSN) 62515 and Line Number 5659 is a 19-seater luxury jet with a HEX code 4D0213. It is a configured VIP plane and has 2x CFMI engines and was delivered to the current operators in November 2015.
“It provides a VIP lounge for relaxation, Five-Star dining facilities, Royal Master bedroom, Cinema Room specially delineated for watching movies which is a separate accessory from other in-flight entertainment systems, and of course complete with a luxury shower,” Mr Ablakwa said.
Filing of urgent question
The North Tongu MP has therefore hinted at filing another urgent question in parliament demanding full disclosure on the cost of the President’s foreign travels.
A few months back, the MP filed an urgent question in Parliament demanding that the government explains why President Akufo-Addo did not use the presidential aircraft for a trip to France.
He said that the decision to file the question was to ensure the Akufo-Addo government was accountable to the citizenry.
Growing concerns about trips
Over the years, a major concern for Ghanaians has been the frequent foreign travels by presidents and the huge expenditure paid from the taxpayer’s money.
The issue keeps recurring throughout the Fourth Republic, with the trips being extended to other public officials, who mostly fly first and business classes.
Former President J.A. Kufuor, former President John Atta Mills and former President Mahama have all come under the public lens of scrutiny for splashing millions of cedis on foreign trips.
Akufo-Addo criticised over GH₵62.5 million for trips
In 2019, during the first term of President Akufo-Addo, the debate was rekindled.
The Ranking Member on the Finance Committee of Parliament, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, raised the alarm, indicating that the President spent GH₵62.5 million on foreign travels in the first nine months of 2019.
The breakdown of the expenditure by the Office of Government Machinery as part of the budget estimates indicated that about GH₵63 million was spent on foreign trips, GH₵5.8 million on hotel accommodation in Ghana and GH₵1.9 million spent on refreshments, while GH₵68.9 million was spent on operational enhancement expenses.
But the Presidency justified the expenditure, saying every amount was within the budgetary threshold of GH₵222 million.
Mahama cited for $6milion expenditure on US trip
At the time President Akufo-Addo was receiving a backlash over the expenditure, a supporter of the NPP Fadi Daboussi alleged that former President Mahama was not innocent in splashing huge cash on travels.
According to him, former President Mahama spent $6million on a single trip to the USA when he visited CNN and posed for a Samsung Photoshoot”.
He added that the Cedi equivalent at the time was GH₵35 million on “just one single week travel for a week”.
Again in 2016, former President Mahama was cited for spending $28,692 on his family while he was on a trip to South Africa in 2011. At the time, he was Vice President of Ghana.