Government has defended the decision to purchase four more helicopters for the Ghana Armed Forces.

Defence Minister Lt. General Joseph Henry Smith said the country is in dire need of the choppers, especially as election approaches.

This is the second request from government this year for Parliament to support its quest to equip the military but both have not been without controversy.

Early this year, Parliament approved the purchase of five aircraft at a total cost of over 100 million dollars. But the Minority in Parliament refused to be part of the approval of only the airbus, accusing government of corruption. They subsequently walked out of Parliament.

When news broke of a new request made for the purchase of four more choppers for the military at a cost of €62 million, a section of the public questioned the prudence of the expenditure.

But the sector minister said the country is better off with the purchases.

According to him, the country has no single functioning helicopter in the country.

“As I speak to you now, only one is serviceable and it is in the theatre. The other one, we brought it back home with a problem so we are trying to get spare parts to fix it,” he said.

He said Ghana by not having a functioning chopper is in breach of a UN agreement.

“The agreement we have with UN is that at any one time we should have at least two helicopters there [peacekeeping]. So you can see, we are already breaking the agreement with the UN,” he said.

He stated the choppers will assist greatly in security and emergency situations in the country.

He also observed that as Ghana approached an election year, it was imperative to have the helicopters to facilitate the transfer of election materials across the country.

He admonished all to support government in its bid to equip the Armed Forces.

Play the attached audio for excerpts of the interview