Ablakwa to file another urgent question in Parliament over Akufo-Addo’s ‘extravagant’ foreign trips

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Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa is set to file another urgent question in Parliament demanding full disclosure on the cost of the President’s foreign travels.

The Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee has alleged President Akufo-Addo’s three recent foreign trips is costing the taxpayer a whopping ₵10 million.

Mr. Ablakwa in his latest statement is accusing the president of chartering a luxurious jet costing the taxpayer ₵3.7 million in his current trip to the United States.

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Ablakwa to file another urgent question in Parliament over Akufo-Addo's 'extravagant' foreign trips

In a Facebook post, the MP indicated that the President “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.”

Speaking on Joy FM’s Newsnight Tuesday, the legislator said “the fundamental objection to this chartering of luxurious aircraft is that we have a functioning Presidential jet. It is in a pristine state, it has not gotten to the end of its lifespan.”

Ablakwa to file another urgent question in Parliament over Akufo-Addo's 'extravagant' foreign trips

Earlier today, Mr Ablakwa replied to the claim by the Director of Communications at the Jubilee House, Eugene Arhin that the President did not travel in a luxurious aircraft in his trips to Germany and the UK.

In the post on social media, the North Tongu MP accused the President’s Spokesperson of “peddling falsehood” especially when he was unable to provide alternative facts.

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“A presidential spokesman should not be desecrating what is expected to be hallowed precincts of the seat of government in this Goebbelian manner.

“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,” his post read.

Ablakwa to file another urgent question in Parliament over Akufo-Addo's 'extravagant' foreign trips

Meanwhile, the Presidency has declined to comment on the issue regarding the president’s travel as it is a matter of national security.

It, however, confirmed that Liberia President George Weah used the country’s presidential jet for the ECOWAS meeting here in Accra. This is granted based on a request made to the office of the president.

An online video Myjoyonline.com has sighted shows the Falcon landing on the tarmac with the inscription ‘Republic of Ghana’ as Liberia President George Weah in white apparel steps out of the presidential jet at the Kotoka International Airport.

 

Read Mr Ablakwa’s full post below:

It is bad enough to be obstinate and continue to exhibit metastatic arrogance by treating the Ghanaian people with gross disrespect as you continue to dissipate taxpayer funds to charter ultra-luxury VIP aircrafts at the neglect of our functioning presidential jet but for God’s sake don’t add blatant lies.

President Akufo-Addo’s spokesperson, Mr. Eugene Arhin looked Ghanaians in the eye from the Jubilee House on 7th September, 2021 and peddled naked untruths when he claimed the President did not use the Boeing 737-900ER BBJ3 operated by Global Jet Luxembourg and registered LX-DIO for his travels to the UK and Germany.

A presidential spokesman should not be desecrating what is expected to be hallowed precincts of the seat of government in this Goebbelian manner.

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.

The blue and white LX-DIO’s features have not changed: 19-seater luxury jet which has a HEX code 4D0213 which is configured VIP, has 2x CFMI engines and was delivered to the current operators in November 2015.

As is now well known, this luxury monster comes equipped with multiple sections to guarantee exceptional comfort. 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.

So Mr. Eugene Arhin doesn’t accuse me of fabrications ever again, may I provide some further particulars: the LX-DIO carrying President Akufo-Addo took off at 20:50GMT from Accra on Friday 17th September, 2021; refueled at Lajes International Airport on the Azores Islands (North Atlantic) resumed flying at 04:00GMT; it finally landed at William Hobby Airport in Houston at 7am Houston time on the 18th of September, 2021. Our unimpeachable real time tracking continues.

Rather intriguing, it does appear other Presidents have more confidence in Ghana’s Presidential Jet than President Akufo-Addo. While President Akufo-Addo was engaged in his Arabian-King-style cruise on the LX-DIO at our expense, our Presidential Jet was being used by Liberian President, George Weah. 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.

While the Ghanaian taxpayer is being burdened with the bills from the President’s insatiable and unconscionable appetite for obscene luxury, it is obvious the struggling taxpayer is additionally being saddled with extra presidential travel cost from at least one other President who has happily discovered the availability of the Ghanaian Presidential Jet.

As President Akufo-Addo continues with his intransigence and disdain for the Ghanaian people who had been misled to believe he was sincere when he promised to protect the public purse, other African leaders are giving us a glimmer of hope and shaming President Akufo-Addo. The Namibian President, Hage Gottfried Geingob continues to use Namibia’s Presidential Jet for all presidential travels. The jet known as NAM 001 (No link to NAM1) flew  President Geingob to the USA last Saturday. Interestingly, Namibia has a similar Presidential Jet – a Falcon 900B which is much older than ours. The Namibian jet was purchased in 1991. 19 good years before our Falcon arrived in Ghana and yet President Geingob keeps faith with it unlike his Ghanaian counterpart. (See last slide for picture of NAM 001)

Another ray of inspiration from the continent is Zambia’s new President, Hakainde Hichilema who insisted on flying commercial via Qatar Airways to the UN General Assembly and he impressively did so with a lean delegation of three.

These African Presidents are showing President Akufo-Addo how the public purse is protected.

At US$14,000 an hour, Ghanaians should be expecting to pay a staggering US$616,000; that is an elephantine 3.7million Ghana Cedis by the President’s return.

This is the flight distance breakdown: [6 hours to Azores; 1 hour refueling; 10 hours to Houston; 3 hours from Houston to New York; New York to Accra 11 hours plus 1 hour of refueling break; 12 hours of pick up and drop off time — this works out to a total flight time of 44 hours).

A cumulative sum of President Akufo-Addo’s recent three luxury trips abroad imposes a colossal GHS10million on the suffering Ghanaian taxpayer. Reflect on what GHS10million can do in the ailing health sector or the limping education sector of our dear nation.

Just imagine for a second if President Mahama had engaged in this wanton wastage just to satisfy his creature comforts when there’s a functioning presidential jet in pristine condition and what would have happened to him!

President Akufo-Addo has only recently courageously launched a campaign targeted at Ghanaian professionals accusing them of not paying taxes; the question is, even if some Ghanaian professionals aren’t paying up their fair share in taxes, why should they be motivated to do anything else when the President doesn’t give a hoot how much he squanders on his vulgar extravagance?

One thing is certain: the unrelenting pursuit of full accountability when Parliament resumes. This debauchery must be stopped!

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