Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has said media reports that quoted him as saying, although the Falcon aircraft was airworthy, it lacked certain facilities like a washroom and it couldn’t contain more than eight passengers, is mischievous.
He said he never referred to Akufo-Addo when he made a comment to that effect.
“I said that no president using this aircraft can shower in this aircraft , no president can freshen up . I never said Akufo-Addo or John Mahama or Kuffuor. In fact three presidents have used this aircraft before. President Mills has used it. President Mahama has used it, Akufo-Addo has used it . I was very amazed that they chose the word ‘Akufo-Addo cannot shower’. Why couldn’t they say President Mahama couldn’t? “Why couldn’t they say President Mills could not shower in? That is why I said this is pure mischief and propaganda.
“I said no president and so why did they pick Akufo-Addo’s name? What is the motivation to pick Akufo-Addo’s name? Were they trying to ridicule him to the people of Ghana?” he said on Goodevening on Thursday June 17.
Justifying government’s decision to hire a luxury aircraft for President Akufo-Addo’s latest foreign trip which is alleged to have cost £15,000 per hour, he said “In practical experience since the aircraft was acquired in 2010 whenever the aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of United States or Asia, the aircraft will not load through more than eight plus the luggage. So it depends on where it is going and the payload with it.
“Secondly, I have also said the aircraft has to do refuelling stops, and also in this Covid-19, when you are travelling to multiple destinations like the President’s recent travel, the Falcon couldn’t have been taken because he would have had to do technical stops which are not desirable.
“Again, when he is travelling with more than 20 people for a business trip, as he has done and brought huge sums of money for this nation, he will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the others would have to go a day ahead before the president to prepare themselves.”
He alleged that Mr Akufo-Addo spent an amount of GHS 2.8 million on his recent travels to only South Africa and France using the services of a private jet.
“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 analyze 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 — a 6 and half hour duration. Airlifted the President from Paris to Johannesburg for 11 hours on the 23rd of May.”
“Then Johannesburg to Accra on the 25th of May was a five and half hour flight. 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”, he posted.
By Laud Nartey|3news.com|Ghana