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General News of Friday, 23 July 2021


Kweku Baako defends Ofori-Atta's failure to disclose expenditure on luxurious jet

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide Abdul Malik Kweku Baako, Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide

• Kweku Baako says he was disappointed that Ken Ofori-Atta did not provide figures to Parliament

• He however agrees with his decision to defer the question to the National Security Ministry

• He is hopeful that the National Security Ministry will make the disclosure

Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jnr, the Editor-in-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper has opined that Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta did not commit any administrative error with his decision to defer a question on President Akufo-Addo’s trip to France, Belgium and South Africa to the National Security Ministry.

Baako disclosed on the Good Morning Ghana show on Metro TV that Ofori-Atta was only following due process.

According to him, budgets and expenditure for foreign trips by President Akufo-Addo are done by office of the Chief of Staff in partnership with the National Security Secretariat.

Baako said that the two institutions collaborate to plan the trip by the President hence his conviction that the Finance Minister made no mistake in referring Parliament to the National Security Ministry.

“The important thing is to look at the substance of the answer the minister gave. First of all, he has redirected the question to the National Security Minister. I hear Ken Ofori-Atta make a case that the president’s travels, especially the foreign ones are the responsibility of National Security and office of government machinery. Is that valid or not? Is there any document to that effect?

“My own checks are that when it comes to foreign travels, there is a unit known as Foreign Travels Unit that takes care of these things. National Security Ministry are all components of the government machinery. Monies are released in terms of budgetary line. When the President is travelling, the budget has already been given to the office of government machinery.

“They, in collaboration with National Security, will deal with the issues. The budget outline will come from the office of government machinery and the Ministry will be aware because of the collaborations between them so in terms of the framework, the Minister of Finance is not entirely wrong” he said.

Baako however said like most Ghanaians he was unhappy that Ken Ofori-Atta did not mention figures when he appeared before Parliament.

He expressed disquiet that Ken Ofori-Atta could have spared Parliament the time he demanded to prepare the answer for the question if he had just communicated to the house that it is the National Security Ministry that is in charge of Presidential travels.

“A lot of people were expecting the Finance Minister to provide figures relative to the President’s trip to France, South Africa and Belgium. When the Finance Minister appeared before Parliament and did not give figures, it’s natural that a lot of people were disappointed and I don’t have a difficulty with that. If I may be honest with you I was also expecting figures.” Ken Ofori-Atta on Wednesday courted the anger of some minority MPs after he declined to speak to issue of the amount government spent on the president’s trip.

“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. Therefore, the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honorable House with the details needed,” he said.