You are here: HomeWallOpinionsArticles2007 12 10Article 135749

General News of Monday, 10 December 2007

Source: Gye Nyame Concord

Crossfire over new prez jet

Fresh controversy is brewing over the publication by a specialised French magazine, Africa Intelligence, that the Ghanaian government had sealed the purchase of a Falcon airbus jetliner A319 at the cost of $37 million.

The controversy follows firm denials and rejections of the claims by the magazine by deep throat sources within government, who insisted in various interviews over the weekend that the publication was inaccurate.

GYE NYAME CONCORD began its probes following the receipt of an initial eight-page hardcopy of the French-language magazine and subsequent follow-up stories suggesting that the Kufuor administration had sealed the $37 million deal through the French owned Societe General and SSB Bank, with a tentative date of delivery of the plane fixed for February 2010.

But sources say the report, published last month, November 8, 2007 and subsequently updated numerous times on the per-pay-news French/English website of Africa Intelligence are inaccurate.

The first report on the alleged presidential jet, which was carried on page 4 of the AfricaIntelligence magazine and was couriered to the Managing Editor of this paper from the US, suggested that the deal is sealed and done with.

Sources, however, say no deal has been sealed on the Airbus/Dassault Aircraft Falcon Executive Jet.

No MOU has been signed, no agreement has been inked, a source said, admitting, however, that the government had received offers from the two leading global airline manufacturers, Airbus of Europe and the American-led Boeing manufacturers, and was yet to take a firm decision on whether the country ought to go in for an Executive Jet.

Sources say both offers have exploited the possibility of delivering an executive jet if the government agrees to their terms, between 2010 and 2011.

Other credible sources say the discussion so far favours the European manufacturers, EAD, with its headquarters in France, and that the publication in the French language newspaper could be a deliberate ploy at weakening the French proposal and thwarting the proposal by the manufacturers of the Airbus range of planes.

Airbus and Boeing are said to have offered tantalising deals to build an executive jet following the Ghanaian government disposal of its previous fleet of presidential jets.

The old Folker 28 bought by General Kutu Acheampong and the Gulfstream III bought under very controversial circumstances from Wings Aviation, a single purpose company set up purposely for the lease and ultimate sale of the Gulfstream, have been disposed off, following parliamentary approval of a deal that saw the planes being exchanged for M-17 choppers from China almost two years ago.