Defense Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has defended the government’s decision to charter a private jet at £15,000 an hour for President Akufo-Addo, saying things that the existing presidential jet ditched for the luxury jetliner did not have bathroom accessories that President Akufo Addo loved to have in the air.
Answering an urgent question in Parliament from the North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa on why the Presidency would rent the Airbus ACJ320neo from UK Company Acropolis Aviation despite Ghana having a presidential jet, Mr. Nitiwul listed a litany of shortcomings of the presidential jet.
“In fact, the president would also have to go a day ahead because no president can shower in this aircraft. He cannot move from this aircraft straight into a meeting,” the Defense Minister justified the luxurious chartered jet used for President Akufo Addo’s recent nine-day trip to Europe and South Africa.
“This aircraft will carry a load of 11 persons minus the crew. When this aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of the USA or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage… Secondly, I have also said the aircraft has to do refueling stops when he is travelling with more than 20 people like he has been doing for business trips that brought huge sums of money for this country, he will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the others would have to go a day ahead before the president to prepare themselves,” Nitiwul stated to the utter shock of lawmakers in the chamber.
Nitiwul had been summoned by Parliament Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu, had earlier published a write-up expressing indignation over the government’s profligate lifestyle amidst growing public debt and budget deficit.
Hon. Ablakwa had claimed President Akufo-Addo has spent an amount of GHS 2.8 million on that contentious trip.
“The Airbus ACJ320neo owned by Acropolis Aviation based in Farnborough, UK and registered as G-KELT, is the most luxurious and the most expensive in the Acropolis fleet. The manufacturers describe it as “the most outstanding ambassador for Airbus Corporate Jets.” It costs the Ghanaian taxpayer approximately £15,000 an hour when President Akufo-Addo rents it”, he alleged in a post on Facebook.
“Let’s further analyse President Akufo-Addo’s latest trip to Europe: per Flightradar24, the G-KELT aircraft left Accra with the President to Paris on the 16th of May…This gives us accumulated flight travel of 23 hours; so at £15,000 an hour, it thus cost us a colossal £345,000. At the current exchange rate, that is a staggering GHS2, 828,432.80,” Ablakwa posted.
Ablakwa was outraged by the President was splurging on his personal comforts while Ghanaians struggle amidst dire economic situation in the country.
But the government has since been responding that the need arose to rent a larger jet with more accessories because the Presidential jet has too many shortcomings.