The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has denied reports by a section of the media that the nation’s presidential jet was in France during the recent visit of President Akufo-Addo to that country.
Some media outlets have republished a statement made by Randy Abbey on Good Morning Ghana, Metro TV, that the presidential jet was in France at the same time the president travelled to that country on a chartered airliner.
However, in an exclusive interview with Asaase Radio, the defence minister said the reports are “totally false.”
The claim on the current affairs show on Metro TV was that the presidential jet was seen in France the day before President Akufo-Addo arrived there on a chartered flight.
“It is simply not true. That aircraft has been nowhere near France this year,” Nitiwul stresses, adding, “this is easily verifiable.”
The presidential jet, according to Nitiwul, actually made a regional trip when the president was away in France and Belgium. It carried the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, and the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, from Accra to Mali, for an emergency meeting to mediate the political crisis in Mali.
“It cannot be true that the presidential jet was in France at the same time the President was there. My colleague Minister for foreign affairs travelled with it together with the special envoy on the Malian crisis, President Goodluck Jonathan to Mali for a meeting with Malian Authorities,” Nitiwul said.
“The plane subsequently brought the Foreign Minister back to Ghana,” Nitiwul added.
Further checks made by Asaase Radio confirm that President Akufo-Addo instructed his foreign minister to leave Paris for that emergency trip to Bamako and she flew to Accra on a commercial airline to join President Jonathan to Bamako on the presidential jet.
Further checks made by Asaase Radio with the Ghana Air Force confirm that Ghana’s presidential jet has not been to France this year. That, the last time the 16-seater Dassault Falcon 900EX presidential jet was in France was in August 2020 for service. Our checks show that the F900EX is due for another servicing in France in July 2021.