President Akufo-Addo may be compelled to use commercial flights for all his foreign travels for the next four months as JoyNews has been informed that the presidential jet is due for major repair works.

According to the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, it would be flown to France, where it will be until, at least, October, 2022.

“By the end of this month, we will not have a presidential jet because the one we have is going to France for re-service; it’s one of the reasons the President will not use it for four to five months,” he said in an interview with JoyNews’ Evans Mensah.

Since last year, the Minority in Parliament had criticised the President for using what they describe as luxurious private jets for his travels when the official presidential jet was still in good condition.

But the Minister, in interview on JoyNews PM Express on Tuesday, stated that the President has been using the presidential jet for all travels within Africa and West Africa.

“We only advised the President not to use it for very long journeys but all the movements within Africa, all the short movements within West Africa, that’s the plane the President uses,” the Bimbilla legislator added.

Background

The Ranking Member of the Foreign Affairs Committee has been condemning the President for using a chartered luxurious private jet for his foreign trips.

On February 12, this year, he alleged that the President spent over GH¢4 million on his 10-day trip to some European countries and Guyana.

He has accused the government of wasting taxpayers’ money and called on Ghanaians to hold government accountable.

In May, 2021, the MP 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.

He subsequently filed a question and Parliament summoned the 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.

Presidential jet to undergo major repair works within the next 4 months – Defence Minister
North Tongu Member of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

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 through both trips, a former Chief of Staff, Kojo Impiani suggested that an alternative method should be adopted to halt the extravagant lifestyle of leaders at the expense of taxpayers.

Presidential jet to undergo major repair works within the next 4 months – Defence Minister
Finance Minster, Ken Ofori-Atta

Mr Ablakwa again in September alleged that the President hired another luxurious aircraft for 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, dismissed the claims stating that the information put out by Mr Ablakwa on the President’s recent travel were false.

He added that President Akufo-Addo did not use a Luxembourg-based aircraft registered LX-DIO as suggested by the MP.