Five members of the NDC Caucus in Parliament have filed a private members motion asking the House to probe President Akufo-Addo over the use of chartered flights for his foreign travels.
The MPs in question are Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Builsa North MP, James Agalga, MP for Korle Klottey, Zanetor Agyeman Rawlings, Ajumako-Enyan-Esiam MP, Dr. Ato Forson and MP for Ablekuma South Constituency, Alfred Oko Vanderpuije.
Among other things, the five MPs are also asking Parliament to ascertain the justification for the decision to use the chartered flights, determine the financial cost and the implication to the Ghanaian taxpayer and make a consequential recommendation for the consideration of member of the House.
The filing of the motion follows assurances from Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa that upon Parliament’s resumption from recess, he will ensure that government renders account for President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips that allegedly cost the country millions of cedis.
In a post on Facebook, Mr Ablakwa noted that all forms of ploys or stunts orchestrated towards preventing government from being accountable in this regard will be unsuccessful.
Describing the foreign trips by the President as ‘Arabian-king-style’, he stated: “May I state for the record that despite government’s shenanigans and attempts at obfuscation, our comprehensive tracking system makes it impossible for the President’s profligate travels to escape our vigilance.
“This means that the good people of Ghana can be assured that when Parliament resumes, every one of these Arabian-king-style trips and every single minute of flight time plus every associated incidental cost at the taxpayer’s expense shall be accounted for to the People’s Representatives.”
In May this year, Mr Okudzeto stirred controversy when he alleged that the nation paid £15,000 an hour as the President opted for luxurious aircraft instead of using the Presidential jet on his travels to France, Belgium and South Africa.
The Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee told JoyNews the President is abusing his discretionary power by not using the presidential jet for his foreign travels.
He filed a question, and Parliament summoned Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, to answer questions on the cost and why Ghana’s presidential jet was not used.
The Minister justified the President’s decision to rent the aircraft, arguing that the capacity of the presidential aircraft can no longer carry the President’s entourage.
He told the House that the Finance Minister is best to provide other details regarding the cost incurred on the trip.
Not satisfied with this answer, Mr Ablakwa filed another question to summon the Finance Minister to discuss the cost.
Ken Ofori-Atta appeared before Parliament and noted that questions on the cost and travels of the President will be best answered by the National Security Ministry.
Whilst the nation is yet to be informed of the actual cost incurred by both trips, the former Chief of Staff has suggested an alternative method that can be adopted to halt the extravagant lifestyle of leaders at the expense of taxpayers.
Kwadwo Mpiani, in an interview with JoyNews on Wednesday, noted that policies that will oblige Presidents to pay for their private foreign travels will protect the public purse.
Mr Ablakwa again in September alleged that the President hired another luxurious aircraft on his recent foreign trips to the UK and Germany.
According to him, the nation paid GH¢3.4 million for President Akufo-Addo’s recent trips to the United Kingdom and Germany.
But, the Director of Communications at the Jubilee House, Eugene Arhin has dismissed the claims stating that the information put out by Mr Ablakwa on the Presidents’ recent travel, is false.
He added that President Akufo-Addo did not use a Luxembourg-based aircraft registered LX-DIO as suggested by the MP.