Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, has justified a decision to hire a private jet for President Nana Akufo-Addo’s Europe trip instead of the Presidential falcon jet.
According to him, the safety and security of the president was the ultimate factor in deciding the type of aircraft he used for the trip, adding that the president cannot even take his shower on the aircraft.
This comes after President Akufo-Addo allegedly spent £15,000 an hour on a chartered top-range luxury aircraft for his trip to Europe in May 2021.
North Tongu Member of Parliament, Okudzeto Ablakwa, who questioned why the President will refuse to use the official Presidential jet, which he claimed is in good shape, filed an urgent question to demand full disclosure on the issue.
Appearing before Parliament to answer the questions raised by Mr Ablakwa, the Defence Minister argued that there are challenges with the current presidential jet.
“This aircraft will carry a load of 11 persons minus the crew. When this aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of the USA or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage. So it depends on where it is going,” he said.
He said they include the limited passengers it can carry, the number of times required for refueling on a trip, and luggage capacity among others that make the aircraft not fit for purpose.
“I have also said the aircraft has to do refueling stops, and also in this COVID-19, when you are travelling to multiple destinations like the president’s recent travel, the Falcon couldn’t have been taken because he would have had to do technical stops which are not desirable.
“When he is travelling with more than 20 people like he has been doing for business trips that brought huge sums of money for this country, he will need more than just a Falcon, otherwise, the others would have to go a day ahead before the president to prepare themselves because no president can shower in this aircraft, so you can’t move from this aircraft straight into a meeting,” he argued.