Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, says the Minister for National Security is best placed to provide Parliament with details of the cost of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign trips.
Mr Ofori-Atta maintains the President’s domestic and international travels are issues of the National Security Ministry and not the Ministry of Finance.
Answering questions on the floor of Parliament from North Tongu MP, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Finance Minister indicated that he did not make any specific releases to the Chief of Staff for the President’s trips to France, Belgium, and South Africa.
“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters of National Security. The National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honourable House with the details needed.”
“In line with the 2021 judgment implementation instructions, the Ministry of Finance did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff, especially for His Excellency, the President’s trip to France, Belgium, and South Africa,” the Finance Minister.
The Minister further added that although his outfit gives funds to the various agencies, the coordination of the “The current practice is that the Ministry of Finance releases quarterly funds to the Heads of Department, in this case, Office of Government Machinery, Chief of Staff for all the operational activities of the Office. To facilitate the safe coordination of the President’s travels, domestic and foreign, the Office of Government Machinery and the National Security Secretariat work together to achieve this.”
NDC Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, filed a question in parliament demanding answers from the Finance Minister about the chartered flights for the President’s foreign travel.
This was after the Defence Minister answered the first part of the question on the airworthiness of the presidential jet.
The Finance Minister had delayed in appearing before the House to render accounts of the foreign presidential trips.
Mr Ablakwa threatened to initiate a vote of censure against the Minister if he failed to come to Parliament this time around.
He had also accused the Majority side of the house of shielding the Finance Minister from answering his questions, but Deputy Majority Leader, Alexander Afenyo Markin, vehemently denied the allegation.
The Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had also denied any complicity in the re-scheduling of the question on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s travels.
Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who is also a Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament had alleged that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, spent an amount of GHS 2.8 million on his recent travels to only South Africa and France using the services of a private jet.