Presidency refutes €480,000 on private jet to Belgium

The Office of the President has denied claims that the state spent €480,000 on a private jet for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s recent trips to Belgium and Rwanda.

A statement signed by the Director of Communications at the Jubilee House, Eugene Arhin, said the allegations made by the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, had no basis.

“According to Mr Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa, the President’s trips to Belgium, and subsequently to Rwanda were aboard an Airbus ACJ319, registered D-Alex.  He further adds that “the €480,000 which is derived from 21 hours of total flight time plus other industry charges works out to some 4.1million Ghana Cedis at current exchange rate”.

“These claims by the North Tongu MP are not accurate, and as a Member of Parliament, I was hoping he would have been factual and truthful in his claims, and resisted the urge to engage in propaganda,” the statement said.

In a detailed explanation on the President’s trip to both countries, the statement said President Akufo-Addo left Ghana on Sunday, June 19 to attend the 15th edition of the European Development Days Forum in Brussels, Belgium onboard an Air France Commercial Flight (AF0584)

The flight departed Accra at 7:20pm, made a stop-over in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, and then continued to Paris, it said, and added that upon arrival in Paris, President Akufo-Addo and his delegation travelled via train to Brussels to attend the European Development Days event.

Prior to the President’s departure from Accra to Brussels on Sunday, June 19, the statement said Ghana’s Mission in Brussels had sent notice of an impending strike in the aviation sector in Belgium to the Presidency and to the Foreign Ministry.

“Indeed, on June 17, unionised Brussels Airline workers, including pilots and crew, had announced their decision to embark on a strike beginning Thursday, June 23, to Saturday, June 25. This was going to result in the cancellation of over 300 flights, including those from Brussels to Kigali”.

“In furtherance of this, Belgium’s largest airport, Brussels Airport, was compelled to cancel all outgoing flights on Monday, June 20, the day President Akufo-Addo arrived in Brussels, because employees at the airport had joined in an aviation sector strike,” it said.

With the Presidency having been given prior information regarding the strike action before the President’s trip to Brussels, the option to travel using a direct commercial flight from Brussels to Kigali was not available, according to the statement.

It said a decision was taken to charter a flight for President Akufo-Addo and his entourage to make the eight hours and 40 minutes flight from Brussels to Kigali on Wednesday, June 22 to ensure that the President made it to Kigali on time.

“I do not think the Member of Parliament for North Tongu is suggesting, in any shape of form, that the President, in view of these challenges in Brussels and also in view of the President’s security, should have travelled from Brussels to Amsterdam or London, for example, in the forlorn hope of trying to get a flight to Rwanda,” it said.

The statement said the First Lady, Mrs Rebecca Akufo-Addo, arrived in Kigali on Wednesday, June 22 using the Presidential Jet, and further explained that there was a plan that the President and some members of his delegation, together with the First Lady, would use the Presidential Jet to make the four hours 45 minutes return flight from Kigali to Accra on Saturday, June 25.


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