*For presidential travels’
Story: Atta Kwaku BOADI
Former UN Advisor on Good Governance, Professor Baffour Agyeman-Dua says Ghana’s Presidential Jet Falcon 900 EX-Easy is not good for long distance travels.
Whiles he supported the call on the current administration to account for the cost incurred by the State on each travel President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo makes abroad,he was against the use of the Falcon jet by President Akufo-Addo.
Prof.Agyeman-Dua who claimed he had inspected the Falcon jet for academic purpose, stressed that the country’s presidential jet was not good for President Akufo-Addo.
“Accountability is part of good governance, therefore the call on the ruling government to let Ghanaians know how much it spends on Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips is in order”, he said.
In recent past president Akufo-Addo’s travels had received massive criticisms.
He was alleged to have spent £15,000 per hour on 10-day foreign travel to France and South Africa.
The Ranking Member of Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has been on the forefront ,demanding accountability from Jubilee House on how it spends the tax payers’ money on the the president’s foreign travels.
Commenting on the two questions filed by Mr Okudzeto in Parliament ,demanding disclosure of the full cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign trips without using the official presidential jet, Prof.Agyeman-Dua who is also the Chief Executive Officer of The John A. Kuffour Foundation, lauded the patriotism of Mr Okudzeto who is also Member of Parliament(MP) for North Tongu Constituency in the Volta Region.
According to the co-founder of the Ghana Centre for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana),” value for money is important in this circumstance. It is important we know how much the president’s foreign trips bring to us”.
He made these observations at the weekend on Amansan Television’s (ATV) political show, ‘Kanawu’.
He was, however,quick to say that the privacy of the president including his security detail must not be made public.
His comment was in support of the MP for Abetifi, Bryan Acheampong who is also the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament that President Akufo-Addo’s foreign travels must be kept secret.
Mr. Acheampong, who was once a Minister of State at the Ministry of Interior, believes this will enhance the President’s security, as it will frustrate attempts to track his movements.
“My advice to the National Security Minister is that he should reclassify the President’s travels; the present and past, from confidential to secret or top secret. We have to be sensitive.”
“If the President decides that he needs to make a quick trip to Mali, even if he decides to go with the presidential flight, using flight tracker, you will know this is the tail number of Ghana’s presidential flight, and you are able to track it. Is that how you want to expose our President?” he was reported to have quizzed.
The governance expert, nonetheless, advised the president to cut down his foreign trips so aa to save the country money.
Also commenting on the same issue on the show, the 2020 running mate of the Progressive People’s Party (PPP) ,Kofi Asamoah-Siaw ,supported the call for the disclosure of the full cost of President Akufo-Addo’s trips abroad.
“Good governance is about accountability and transparency,so it is not out of place to ask how much the State spends on our president’s trips abroad”,he said.
Like Prof.Agyeman-Dua he was also against the disclosure of his security detail.
Pix:Prof. Balfour Agyeman-Dua, fmr UN Advisor on Good Governance