The Office of the President says it is inaccurate, claims by the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that €480,000 was spent on President Nana Akufo-Addo’s trips to Belgium and Rwanda.
According to the Presidency, Akufo-Addo did not travel to Belgium aboard a chartered Airbus ACJ319, as claimed by the North Tongu MP, who has in the past criticised the President’s spending on air travels.
A response issued by Director of Communications, Eugene Arhin on Friday, June 24, 2022 said the assertions by the National Democratic Congress (NDC) MP was only propaganda.
In giving the facts of the matter, Mr Arhin indicated that “The President travelled to Belgium onboard an Air France Commercial Flight (AF0584), which departed Accra on Sunday at 7:20pm, made a stop-over in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and then continued to Paris.”
The presidency also said all of President Akufo-Addo’s 12-member delegation travelled on commercial flights.
Upon arrival in Paris, the Presidency said President Akufo-Addo and his delegation travelled via train to Brussels to attend the European Development Days event, where, on Tuesday, 21st June 2022, he was a keynote speaker.
It stated that prior to President Akufo-Addo’s departure from Accra on Sunday, June 19, Ghana’s Mission in Brussels had sent notice about an impending strike in the aviation sector in Belgium.
According to the presidency, as a result of the strike, President Akufo-Addo had to travel via charter flight to Kigali because of flight cancellations.
“This was going to result in the cancellation of over three hundred (300) flights, including those from Brussels to Kigali.
“In furtherance of this, Belgium’s largest airport, Brussels Airport, was compelled to cancel all outgoing flights on Monday, 20th June, the day President Akufo-Addo arrived in Brussels, because employees at the airport had joined in an aviation strike.
“With the Presidency having been given prior information regarding the strike action before the President’s trip to Brussels, the option to travel using direct commercial flight from Brussels to Kigali was not available.”
It explained that the decision, therefore, to charter a flight for the President was to let him make it to Kigali in time.
“This was done to ensure that the President made it to Kigali on time to participate in the ground-breaking ceremony on Thursday, 23rd June, for the commencement of work on the Pan-African Vaccine Manufacturing Project, involving Ghana, Rwanda, Senegal and BioNTech SE, the German biotechnology company, as well as attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, which also is being held in Kigali, Rwanda.”
“I do not think the Member of Parliament for North Tongu is suggesting, in any shape or form, that the President, in view of these challenges in Brussels and also in view of the President’s security, should have travelled from Brussels to Amsterdam or London, for example, in the forlorn hope of trying to get a flight to Rwanda.”
Find the response below:
By Vincent Kubi