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Editorial News of Saturday, 18 December 2021

Source: GNA

Kan Dapaah decline to give cost of Presidential travels

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo

Minister for National Security, Kan Dapaah has told Parliament that he is unable to disclose the cost of the President’s travel to France, Belgium, and South Africa because it has national security implications for the country.

According to him, the exposure on the cost of the President’s travels abroad has the potential to compromise the security of the entire state.

“Mr Speaker… the Planning, cost, logistics and execution of Presidential travels has national security implications such that any disclosure prior to, during, and after such travels have the potential of compromising the security of the entire state.

“I must request Parliament to bear with my inability to make such disclosures on the cost of Presidential travels for reasons of national security considerations”

Mr Dapaah made the observation when he appeared before Parliament to respond to a question by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu how much the President’s recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa in May this year cost the Ghanaian taxpayer.

Mr Dapaah also explained that the recent official travels of the President to France, Belgium, and South Africa were paid for out of the operational funds of the Ministry of National Security, and payments from these funds are clothed with confidentiality and state secrecy, adding that it is not the general practice in the intelligence community to make the suggested disclosures public.

He said by convention and public policy considerations the utilization of operational funds are not subject to the oversight of any institution and are not normally disclosed.

He suggested that if Presidential travels in other jurisdictions are disclosed, it may be because they are not paid out of the operational funds, saying he does not believe there are disclosures anywhere.

When asked whether the country has a threshold on the operational budget for Presidential travel, Mr Dapaah clarified that whenever they were making payments out of the operational funds, they were always guided by proper financial management practices and that there was value for money in their activities.

Meanwhile, Mr Dapaah has also informed the House that the cost of air travels of former President Mahama using chartered flights between 2013 to 2016 cannot be disclosed to the public since those travels were covered under the operational funds of the national security and are clothed with confidentiality and state secrecy.

He said it is not the general practice in the intelligence community to make such revelations public.

It would be recalled that the question on the cost of the President’s travel to France, Belgium, and South Africa was initially directed to the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta who declined to respond to the query and ask Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa to forward the question to the National Security Minister who was best placed to answer the question on the Presidential trips.

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