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General News of Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Source: Isaac Yeboah

Tony Aidoo: Army letter on presidential jet is fake

Former Deputy Defence Minister, Dr. Tony Aidoo of the National Democratic Congress, has denied categorically that a letter purported to have emanated from the Ghana Armed Forces requesting the State to augment its fleet of aircraft existed while he was in office.

According to Dr. Tony Aidoo, the letter said to have been written in 1997, is a mere fabrication that offsets the chain of command of the Ghana Armed Forces and could not have come from that ‘meticulous’ institution on such an important request.

“It’s a fake planted by this government,” he said.

Dr. Tony Aidoo, who spoke to Citi FM on Tuesday, said a publication of the Ghanaian Observer of March 17, 2008 carried what was supposed to be the said letter from the Army justifying Government’s decision to acquire a fleet of aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces.

“…it is a fake. It is not on a letter head, it is purported to be a letter from the Ghana Armed Forces, and the recipient is the Ministry of Defence and the person signing it is the Chief of the Airforce, A. Bruce. This is unusual, it offends the system of command and control of the Ghana Armed Forces. Bruce as the head of the Ghana Airforce, will not write to the Ministry of Defence except through Chief of Defence Staff. And if there is a letter purported to have come from the Ghana Armed Forces, then the signatory should be the Chief of Defence Staff and not Bruce.”

Tony Aidoo insisted that though Air-Vice Marshall J.A. Bruce was the Commander of the Airforce, he was not the Commander of the Ghana Armed Forces which comprises the Army, Airforce and Navy, and if he had any communication to the Ministry of Defence, he would only have gone through the CDS.

He said apart from the flawed chain of command, all the divisions of the military are very meticulous in the quotation of reference in terms of documenting authorised recipients of official letters.

“If this letter is purported to have been sent to the Ministry of Defence, then the reproduction would have been the copy of the letter received by the Chief of Defence, and at the Ministry of Defence we would have stamped received stamp on the letter. The letter has no heading, the references are all messed up. There is no section for addressee, …It’s a fake, planted by this government.”

Dr. Tony Aidoo said on seeing the newspaper publication of the said letter, he got in touch with Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu, then Defence Minister at the time the letter was alleged to have been written, and he denied ever coming across the said letter.

“We are tired of these lies.”

Egbert Faible: He goofed badly

But the Editor in Chief of the Ghanaian Observer newspaper, Egbert Faible, whose paper first published the letter said Tony Aidoo cannot right in his claims.

“First of all I want to assure Dr. Tony Aidoo that he is wrong and completely wrong. You see when a human being tries to play omniscience, like God, that because he was in a particular office at a particular point in time, everything that took place there he must see or should have seen it, it is wrong and unfortunate.”

Egbert said if Dr. Tony Aidoo had not come into contact with the said letter, a copy of which was in his possession, he should not discredit the letter because it exists and was indeed written for the consideration of the then Defence Minister, Alhaji Mahama Iddrisu and the then Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, former President Rawlings.

As to what Dr. Tony Aidoo referred to as a chain of Command in the Military, Egbert said even though Tony Aidoo was a Deputy Defence Minister, his knowledge of the Military structure was not something he would want to rely on because the letter was indeed signed by the Chief of Air Staff, Air-Vice Marshall J.A. Bruce.

“What kind of chain of command is that? The recommendations were there and everything…”

He maintained that Dr. Tony Aidoo could help himself by reverting to those he worked with again, including the former Minister, the Air-Vice Marshal and the former President.

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