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General News of Thursday, 23 September 2021


Stop criticizing Akufo-Addo’s luxury trips, focus on benefits – Sam Okudzeto

Member of the Council of State, Samuel Okudzeto Member of the Council of State, Samuel Okudzeto

Member of the Council of State, Samuel Okudzeto has told Ghanaians to stop criticizing President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s travels abroad and focus on the benefits such trips will bring to the country.

According to him, the wholesale attacks on President Akufo-Addo over the cost of his travels is not productive and does not help the country.

“When he was going to Germany, there was hue and cry. ‘Why is he travelling? He takes these expansive planes? It cost so much per day.’ People do not understand what diplomacy is all about. Diplomacy is an expensive process, but there are always benefits,” Mr Okudzeto said.

“The President cannot sit down there in the Jubilee House and think all these [benefits] will just be coming to us. I don’t think it (attacks) is productive and helps the country,” he added.

He noted that presidents all over the world are travelling and with Nana Akufo-Addo, “he was invited by the people so he has to go. We spend more time criticising than sometimes looking at the benefit that comes to us because we don’t even study the system.”

Mr Okudzeto said these in an interview with Kwesi Parker-Wilson of Accra-based Joy FM.

He said, “as a nation, we can agree on certain basic principles so that we all operate upon it instead of these attacks”.

Mr Okudzeto’s comment comes after North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa disclosed that Nana Akufo-Addo, on his latest trip to the United States of America for the 6th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, chartered the same ultra-luxury aircraft he used to the UK and Germany — the Luxembourg-based luxury jet registered LX-DIO, operated by Global Jet Luxembourg.

According to Mr Ablakwa, at US$14,000 an hour, Ghanaians should be expecting to pay US$616,000; that is GHS3.7million by the president's return.

Mr Ablakwa noted that while Nana Akufo-Addo was travelling in a luxurious jet at the expense of the taxpayer, Ghana’s presidential Jet was being used by Liberian President George Weah.

“Our monitoring reveals that President Weah landed at the Roberts International Airport (Robertsfield) in Liberia onboard Ghana's Falcon at 10:00GMT on 18 September 2021. It was the second time in the same week the Liberian leader was exclusively using our presidential jet,” he stated in a post on Facebook.

Mr Ablakwa further said a cumulative sum of President Akufo-Addo’s recent three luxury trips abroad imposes a colossal GHS10million on the Ghanaian taxpayer.

This is not the first time Mr Ablakwa has raised concerns over the cost the nation incurs anytime the President travels abroad and hires a luxurious jet for his trip.

Mr Ablakwa said he will file another urgent question in Parliament demanding full disclosure on the cost of the President’s foreign travels.

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