.. Razak Kojo Opoku Writes
Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa has started needless propaganda with support from NDC members against the recent foreign trips by President Akufo-Addo to France, Belgium and South Africa.
The premise of Ablakwa’s position is that, renting $15,000 per hour for a private jet for nine-day foreign travel by President Akufo-Addo is a wastage of public funds, and that, if Ghana was President’s private company would he have behaved in that way?
First and foremost, the argument by Okudzeto Ablakwa is without substance, it is completely unnecessary.
If the Presidential jet was in good shape, and in a better condition for long hours far distance travels (France, Belgium and South Africa) there is absolutely NO WAY President Akufo-Addo as prudent as he is, would have gone for renting of a private jet at the cost of GHC2.8 million (around $500, 000).
The discussion should rather be, as a country should we buy a new modern presidential jet, at what cost, specifications, mode of payment or should we only focus on repairing the existing one?
It is very interesting to note that, in 2011, the same Okudzeto Ablakwa raising concerns about the cost of foreign travel by President Akufo-Addo was busy defending the government’s decision of Mills-Mahama to use the taxpayer’s money of over one million dollars for just In-flight entertainment.
The decision of the Mills-Mahama administration to use $1 million for in-flight entertainment in 2011 defended by Okudzeto Ablakwa was very reckless, highly irresponsible and a complete waste of public funds.
Around 20th March 2008, Mr. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wrote an article under the headline, “Purchase of Presidential Jets: President Kufuor’s End of Service Package?”
Okudzeto Ablakwa in his strongly worded and harsh propaganda article questioned and suggested that the proposed purchase of the Chinese two aircraft by Kufuor’s government was intended as the end of service benefits to President Kufuor.
Through the article, Okudzeto Ablakwa was able to use his packaged lies and misinformation against Kufuor’s government in 2008.
However, in 2011, under the Mills-Mahama administration, the same Okudzeto Ablakwa was very busy jumping from one media platform to another defending the Mills-Mahama government’s decision to purchase 5 “Entertainment” aircraft at the cost of over Two Hundred and fifty million dollars ($250 million) at the expense of the taxpayer.
The breakdown was as follows:
1. Embraer E 190 Jet with a hangar purchased with a loan of $105, 370,177.09 from the Brazilian Development Bank.
2. Two BA 42 MPP Guardian Surveillance aircraft with a loan of 11.75 million from the Fidelity Bank Ghana Limited.
3. Two CASA 295 Military Transport aircraft with a credit facility of 60,034,636 from the Deutsche Bank SAE of Spain.
4. $17 million for the building of a hangar.
5. $1 million was used for In-flight Entertainment. In fact, this is one of the worst political decisions ever made since independence.
When Ghanaians complained bitterly about the cost of the Jets, the loans for the purchase of the Jets and its adverse effect on the economy at the time, Okudzeto Ablakwa vehemently told Ghanaians that, “we are buying aircraft not Landcruiser, or Tico or Nissan Toyota so it is important for us to look at the facts of the matter”.
Now, what stops Okudzeto Ablakwa to look at the facts of the matter in the case of President Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign trips?
If anything at all, President Akufo-Addo was able to secure €170 million for the establishment of Development Bank Ghana(DBG) similar to Brazilian Development Bank where Mills-Mahama secured a loan of $105,370,177.09 for the purchase of just E190 Jet.
Okudzeto Ablakwa’s argument against recent foreign trips by President Akufo-Addo is a complete joke.
Razak Kojo Opoku
(CVM Founder and President)