Ablakwa exposes Akufo-Addo on decision to purchase a new presidential jet

Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has released a parliamentary document which seems to suggest that President Akufo-Addo as Member of Parliament for Abuakwa Constituency was against the purchase of a presidential jet during the regime of late Flt. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings



Hon. Okudzeto Ablakwa has for months put the President under fire, accusing him of wasting taxpayer’s money on hiring luxurious jets for his foreign trips instead of using the existing presidential jet.

But the government has rubbished the claim, explaining that the current presidential jet was not convenient for official trips as it couldn’t take more numbers and had limited facilities for the comfort of a president.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday September 27, 2021, the Director of Communications at the presidency, Mr. Eugene Arhin hinted that the government has started processes to acquire a new and bigger presidential jet. He said the Minister of Defence, Mr. Dominic Nitiwul is handling the processes and will later give details.

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In reaction to this, Hon. Ablakwa posted the parliamentary document which captures a debate of the house on Tuesday, 15th February, 2000.


In this report, Nana Akufo-Addo while calling for the house to reject the deal, supported his colleague of Member of Parliament for Offinso North, Dr. K.K. Apraku in saying that it was wrong for the government to think of purchasing a new jet at a time when “there is a crying need for greater public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when the students are crying for an increase of public expenditure on tertiary education”.

“Already, my hon. colleague, the Member for Offinso North (Dr. K.K. Apraku), has, in his usual powerful presentation, alerted us to the sensitivity of this transaction; that at a time when there is a crying need for greater public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when the students are crying for an increase of public expenditure on tertiary education, they are met with a cry that there is no money but the President is entitled to have spent for himself $19million over the next five years on this aircraft”, he stated.

 

He argued that, if anything demonstrates the need that had been consistently urged from his side of the House (the minority) for them to review and prioritise public expenditure, it was the decision to purchase the presidential jet.

“I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that if the priorities are spelt out properly, the purchase of an Executive jet will come very low down on the scale of priorities”, he asserted.



He then called on the majority to support his side of the house to reject the deal as to him, neither the public interest nor the government would benefit from the transaction.

“Mr. Speaker, the public interest has not benefited from this transaction; constitutional government has not benefited from this transaction. The conduct is one that is reprehensible and however difficult the Majority may find it to deny the President this latest expensive toy that he seeks in the sunset of his career, the public interest is not served by this transaction. And Mr. Speaker, we are going to call upon the House and our colleagues in the Majority to join us in rejecting this transaction”, he argued.



Below is the MP’s post on Facebook:

Time they say is no one’s friend. It appears principle and consistency are such rare commodities.

Find below, an extract from Nana Akufo-Addo’s debate contribution in Parliament some 21 years ago when President Rawlings initiated steps to purchase Ghana’s third Presidential Jet – the Gulfstream GIII.

 

“Nana Akufo-Addo (NPP — Abuakwa): Thank you very much, Mr. Speaker, for the opportunity to contribute to this debate. It is good to see that the Minister and his spin-doctor, the Minister of Communications, are both here to listen to us on this matter. Mr. Speaker, I intend to limit my intervention to two main issues.

 

Already, my hon. colleague, the Member for Offinso North (Dr. K.K. Apraku), has, in his usual powerful presentation, alerted us to the sensitivity of this transaction; that at a time when there is a crying need for greater public investment in our social services, in our health system; at a time when the students are crying for an increase of public expenditure on tertiary education, they are met with a cry that there is no money but the President is entitled to have spent for himself $19million over the next five years on this aircraft.



Mr. Speaker, if anything demonstrates the need that has been consistently urged from this side of the House for us to review and prioritise public expenditure, this case justifies that call. I have no doubt, Mr. Speaker, that if the priorities are spelt out properly, the purchase of an Executive jet will come very low down on the scale of priorities.

 

…Mr. Speaker, we have to express our displeasure at the manner in which the powers of this House have been subverted. Mr. Speaker, when we are saying these things, I know that in a matter of a jet, it is an emotional matter for Members of the Majority, especially since it concerns their all powerful President, Jerry John Rawlings and his comforts.

 

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…Mr. Speaker, the public interest has not benefited from this transaction; constitutional government has not benefited from this transaction. The conduct is one that is reprehensible and however difficult the Majority may find it to deny the President this latest expensive toy that he seeks in the sunset of his career, the public interest is not served by this transaction. And Mr. Speaker, we are going to call upon the House and our colleagues in the Majority to join us in rejecting this transaction.

 

…Mr. Speaker, by the grace of His Excellency, the all powerful President. Soon we shall be calling him His Majesty in this House, Mr. Speaker — at his grace. Mr. Speaker, we are saying that this transaction is a most unsatisfactory one.”

 

Parliamentary Debates (Official Report)

Fourth Series; Vol. 24; No. 21

Tuesday, 15th February, 2000.

Columns: 1653,1654,1682 & 1683.


 

Read also:

North Tongu: Ablakwa gifts longest serving midwife a 2015 Toyota Prius hybrid

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