Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu

The Majority leader in Parliament has dismissed reports that the government is hiding behind technicalities to avoid accounting for President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.

According to Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, far from what the Minority has been touting, 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. Sometimes, I think it is a 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.

Speaking to JoyNews’ Joseph Opoku Gakpo on Tuesday, the Majority leader insisted the assertion that Mr Ofori-Atta’s inability to disclose the needed information implies he is fleeing accountability, is inaccurate.

“It is not that the Minister is running away. He said he doesn’t have the responsibility and our rules provide that you ask questions to Ministers who have official responsibility for a matter. It is not to be assumed that Minister for Finance is the one who makes monies available to pay contractors. That is not how it operates. So ask the question to the Minister responsible so if the Minister responsible comes and says ‘I’m not the one responsible’, we have cause to worry.

He, however, holds the position that, “the matter will not come to that.”

The Finance Minister on Wednesday, July 21, told Parliament that the Ministry of National Security, rather than his outfit, is mandated to account for the President’s trip.

“Mr. Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. Therefore, the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honorable House with the details needed,” he stated.

Since this revelation, the NDC MPs have described the news as a means for the government to evade accountability.

Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu, during an event by the Ministry for Parliamentary Affairs on consensus-building, stated that the government is working hard so it doesn’t disclose the figures.

“The Minister of Finance is struggling to come and answer a question to Parliament on how much the President has spent on his recent travel. In a democracy, that should not be difficult. But I can see he is struggling, hiding behind National Security, hiding behind the law to say a Minister of Finance does not know how much is spent on Presidential travel and that go to the budget of the Flagstaff House or government machinery, that is wrong,” he bemoaned.

According to the MP for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwah, the luxurious trip by the President on the G-Kelt aircraft instead of the presidential jet cost £15,000 per hour.

In response to these allegations, Mr Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu stated that the need to hire the G-Kelt aircraft for the President’s trips was not because of luxury.

For him, such assertions are unfounded, especially when the presidential jet provides security to the President in comparison to the hired aircraft.

“The presidential jet gives greater security to the President than the plane the state had to hire. The presidential jet is much more secure and stable than that plane so why will the President not use that if there was no challenge?

“The Minister for National Security will have to explain why we had to do that. It was not to satisfy or provide luxury for the President but as I’m saying, the truth will come out,” he stated.