Presidential travels: This shall not be the end of the road

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Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa

North Tongu Member of Parliament (MP), Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, says he will remain resolute in his quest to seek the cost of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips.

According to him, he cannot fathom why an administration that pledged to protect the public will relent on accountability.

“If they don’t have anything to hide and have taken the best of decisions, don’t you think it will be in your interest to make full disclosure and put out the facts and defend?”

His comment comes after the National Security Minister, Kan Dapaah, told Parliament on Friday he cannot make public the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s trips.

Mr Ablakwa in June filed urgent questions in Parliament to know the cost involved in the trips.

He had claimed the president hired a luxurious private jet to travel to Belgium, France and South Africa which cost the taxpayer about three million Ghana Cedis, instead of using the presidential jet.

But the Majority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, assured the National Security Minister will make available to Parliament the cost of the president’s latest foreign trips, insisting government has nothing to hide.

However, appearing before Parliament, Mr Dapaah noted it was not normal practice to disclose such information, arguing it was due to confidentiality and national security considerations.

Reacting to the development on Asempa FM’s Ekosii Sen, Mr Ablakwa described the Minister’s response as despicable, adding he was angry about it.

To him, all Ghanaians must also be angry about the hoarding of information as it does not make sense why the taxpayer cannot know the cost.

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“I filed the question in June and it has been over six months so I was expecting the Minister to follow international best practice and make full disclosure of the travels.

“Even the travel cost of the royal family who does not stand for election and one can argue that they should not be accountable are made public and available to the House of Commons,” he said.

He queried, “So why are we treating ours like a secret code? It is obvious there is every governmental effort to conceal the cost.”

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