The Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, has refuted the response of the Finance Minister to the question on President Akufo-Addo’s spending on foreign trips.
According to Mr Iddrisu, the cost of the President’s travels has nothing to do with the National Security, thus, not a matter for the National Security Minister to answer.
The Ranking Member on Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, revealed that President Akufo-Addo spent £345,000, i.e. ¢2,828,432.80 at the current exchange rate in flight cost during his nine-day visit to France, Belgium, South Africa, and back to the country.
Therefore, I filed an urgent question on Thursday, May 28, demanding full disclosure on the issue.
But after nearly eight weeks, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, told Parliament that the President’s domestic and international travels are issues of the National Security Ministry and not the Ministry of Finance.
He also indicated that he did not make any specific releases to the Chief of Staff for the President’s trips to France, Belgium, and South Africa.
“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters of National Security. The National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honourable House with the details needed.”
“In line with the 2021 judgment implementation instructions, the Ministry of Finance did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff, especially for the President’s trip to France, Belgium, and South Africa,” the Finance Minister.
But speaking at a forum organised by the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry, the Minority Leader said the evasive attitude of the government on the issue is against the Right To Information Act.
Thus, cautioning that Parliament will not condone such practices.
He further added that the Finance Minister’s excuse was a ploy to avoid the question.
“The Minister of Finance is struggling to come and provide an answer to a question of Parliament on how much the President has spent on presidential travels, but this should not be difficult in a democracy.
“But understandably, I can see him struggling and hiding behind National Security and laws. To say a Minister of Finance does not know how much the President spent on travels is very wrong.”
However, the Majority leader in Parliament dismissed reports that the government is hiding behind technicalities to avoid accounting for President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips.
According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, far from that, National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, will make available the financial report to Parliament as stated by the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta.
“I think when the Minister for National Security gets invited, he will relate to it. But, sometimes, I think it is manipulation management, and when there is a communication gap, people fill in with all manner of things.
“I think it is important that it is also not made to appear as though anyone is hiding anything from anybody. If you want to build trust and confidence, no attempt should be made to hide anything away from anybody. That would freeze things,” he said.
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