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General News of Monday, 22 May 2006

Source: JFM

Prez Jet Sale Shrouded in Mystery

..No Parliamentary Approval ... No Transparency
The NDC minority in parliament says there are question marks over government?s deal to trade-of the controversial Gulf Stream III presidential jet.

Sources close to the minority say the caucus will address a news conference tomorrow to demand a full disclosure of the details of the transaction between the government and the Chinese company ? China National Aero-Technology Import and Export Corporation.

The company is offering four K-8 military aircrafts and one K-8 flight simulator to the Ghana Air Force for the Gulf Stream, which is valued at five million dollars.

The minority says government?s failure to seek parliamentary approval for the transaction is a violation of Article 179 of the constitution, and an attempt to keep the deal away from public scrutiny.

Our sources say the minority will also be calling for the full disclosure of the terms and conditions of payment of the outstanding balance and where government intends to get the money. The sources say the minority group?s ongoing investigations into the deal are revealing that the government is required to pay some huge amount of money for the four aircrafts.

According to sources, the caucus sees the explanation being offered for the non-disclosure of the deal untenable and would put out its figures if government continues to keep the transaction in the dark.

According to a local radio station - JoyFM - the Gulf Stream has been flown to its new owners.

Early on in the day, Minister of Information and National Orientation told the radio station that information emerging from its investigations into the purchase of the Gulf Stream III presidential jet indicate that there are still shady areas in the deal which warrant the questioning of Mr. Kwame Peprah, a former finance minister.

Kwamena Bartels said for the past five years or so, the security services investigating the deal have run into several difficulties in unraveling what he describes as the mystery surrounding the purchase of the jet.

Mr. Bartels refused to give details of the deal reached with the Chinese company but said the offer is in the best interest of the country.

Mr. Bartels said he however couldn?t tell whether the transaction required parliamentary approval.

But the Deputy Minority Leader, Edward Doe Adjaho says government?s decision to trade off the controversial Gulf Stream Presidential jet is a bad deal.

The MP for Avenor Ave says the deal exposes government?s incompetence in the management of the country?s resources.

Mr. Adjaho says the deal should have gone to parliament for approval because it is an international transaction, whose consequence should be considered by the legislature.