While in opposition, Nana Akufo-Addo travelled business class as a presidential candidate, former President John Mahama’s special aide, Mrs Joyce Bawah Mogtari, has said, contrasting the past with the present where the President now charters private jets for his international trips.
“Now, the president’s private travels and lavish accommodations alone, during his last trip to some European countries, cost about GHS4.9 million, the former deputy minister of transport told Hajia Bintu Saana on CTV’s morning show Dwabre Mu on Friday, 25 February 2022.
“How many NABCo graduates can’t that money pay?” she wondered.
North Tongu MP Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa recently computed that the Ghanaian taxpayer would shoulder a staggering US$776,000 or the cedi equivalent of GHS4,979,328.16 for the president’s 10-day working visit to France, Guyana, Belgium, Germany and UK for opting to travel on a chartered private jet instead of Ghana’s presidential jet.
According to him, the cost was much higher than the GHS4.6 million the government has been unable to release to the Student Loan Trust (SLT) since last year, which has made it impossible for the SLT to cater for the needs of thousands of tertiary students for more than a year.
“What should further embarrass all well-meaning Ghanaians is the fact that our real-time tracking reveals that none of the African presidents joining President Akufo-Addo for these meetings is engaged in such unconscionable hedonistic misconduct. They are all making good use of their national presidential jets,” Mr Ablakwa said in a Facebook post.
The President left for Accra on Thursday, 10 February 2022 and returned on Sunday, 20 February 2022.
In Bawah Mogtari’s view, such trips were unnecessary.
“At least, if I don’t know anything, I know about international law and how it works. If, for example, the UK has voted that this amount will come to Ghana, whether you travel there or not, the money will come”, she told Hajia Bintu Saana on the Accra-based station.
Contrasting the Ghanaian leader’s foreign trips with those of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, Mrs Bawah Mogtari said the latter is “a man of enormous wealth” and “can own any jet under the sun but we’ve seen photos of him travelling commercial”.
“In any case”, she noted, “what do presidents do?”
“President Kufuor used to travel first class; President Mahama, the same; President Mills, the same”, she observed.
In fact, she recalled, “At the time when Nana Addo was Candidate Nana Addo, there were many times when we were travelling, as part of the presidential entourage, [and] we would meet him on the flight. Even then, he was travelling business. So, what are we talking about?”