The Office of the President has expressed surprise that the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa failed to back his claim that President Akufo-Addo travelled to Brussels aboard a chartered flight with evidence.
According to the presidency, the lawmaker has resulted into shifting of goalposts than apologising after he was caught pant down for lying about the President.
Mr Ablakwa has been criticizing President Akufo-Addo for what he believes is his seeming extravagance with regard to the flights chartered for his trips abroad.
In a post on social media, the NDC lawmaker said the President is renting another ultra-modern private jet at the astronomical cost of €20,000 an hour.
“Being a more expensive luxury carrier, its oligarchic features include a Master bedroom with double bed and connecting bathroom with shower; 2 additional bedrooms; 3 washrooms; a Master bathroom with a walk-in shower; Air Humidification system; Airshow and 5 external cameras; Gogo 2Ku high-speed Wi-Fi, up to 70 Mbit/sec for streaming and video calls (charged extra); Video on demand and DVD including a 55” screen; music streaming; PlayStation; external cameras with tailfin view; airshow and a satellite phone,” Ablakwa alleged on his Facebook wall.
He added, “For President Akufo-Addo’s current trip to Belgium and Rwanda beginning Sunday the 19th of June, 2022 to attend the 15th Edition of the European Development Days Forum in Brussels, Belgium, and the 26th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations in Kigali, Rwanda; we can confirm a conservative bill of €480,000.00.”
President Akufo-Addo, left Ghana on Sunday to attend the 15th Edition of the European Development Days Forum in Brussels, Belgium, as well as the 26th Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Commonwealth of Nations in Kigali, Rwanda.
President Akufo-Addo is one of eleven leaders who spoke at the opening ceremony of the European Development Days Forum. Organised by the European Commission, the forum brought key actors together to share ideas and experiences in ways that inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
In another statement issued Sunday June 26, 2022, to give additional response to Mr. Ablakwa claims after it was revealed the President boarded commercial transport to Brussels via France, the Director of Communications at the Presidency Eugene Arhin said he was hoping that Mr. Ablakwa would back up his claim that President Nana Addo traveled by air to the Belgian capital.
Mr. Arhin refuted the claims and further said that unashamedly, Mr Ablakwa has refused to make mention of it, let alone apologise for it.
“Again, after being caught out on the Accra-Brussels-Kigali lie, the Honourable Member of Parliament tries to justify the so-called “21-hour” cost of the flight with some voodoo charges. What is shocking, in his Friday statement, is the admission of the fact that he does not know for a fact the cost of the charter.
“The so-called €480,000 cost he is bandying about is the result of guess work, and on the reliance of a ‘generous 21-hour cost analysis’. He provides no evidence or documentary proof whatsoever to back up his €480,000 cost claim, because he has none. Once again, it is obvious that the Honourable Ablakwa finds these attacks on the President to be his pathway to political prominence through negative propaganda, and is determined to pursue this course, no matter how ridiculous and insulting his statements are.
“He further states that, if Brussels Airport was closed due to the strike, President Akufo-Addo could have arrived in Kigali “through the many (other) busy transit routes”, for example Paris. For Hon. Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the President, sitting in a cafe at the train station in Paris, with practically no official security around him, and waiting to board a train, is of no moment. The State owes it a duty to be fussy about these things, even though the President may not be fussy about them.
“Is it acceptable to Hon. Ablakwa that the President cannot attend engagements that he is spending his valuable time to make because connecting flights get cancelled? Or that he has to wait around airports because flights have been delayed? Or, as happened in his last trip, he arrives at his destination from an overnight flight without any luggage of his arriving with him, such that he cannot even have a change of clothes to make the appointment he travelled for in the first place? It is a shame that an honourable Member of Parliament has no regard, whatsoever, for the security and safety of his President.”
Earlier, the Director of Communication mentioned that President Akufo-Addo travelled to Brussels on a commercial means of transport.
Mr Arhin clarified that President Akufo-Addo travelled from Accra to Paris on Sunday, June 19 on a commercial flight.
He said even the Air France flight made a stopover in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso before proceeding to the French capital.
“In fact, all of President Akufo-Addo’s 12-member delegation travelled commercial,” Mr Arhin said in the statement on Friday, June 24.
“Upon arrival in Paris, 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, and later held meetings with the President of European Investment Bank on two key subject areas.”