The Defence Minister has debunked reports President Akufo-Addo refused to fly the presidential jet on his last trip abroad because he prioritised showering over the cost of the flight.
Dominic Nitiwul told Parliament Wednesday that the Falcon was not conducive and presented many challenges when the President was embarking on his 10-day foreign travel.
He stated that despite the jet not being safe to fly, it lacked certain facilities like a washroom and it couldn’t contain more than eight passengers.
“This aircraft will carry a load of 11 passengers minus the crew. When this aircraft is travelling to the eastern part of the United States of America or Asia, it will not load a crew of more than eight plus the luggage.
“In fact, the President would also have to go a day ahead because no president can shower in this aircraft. He cannot move from this aircraft straight into a meeting,” he stated.
But this comment, the Bimbilla MP said, has been misconstrued.
Speaking to Evans Mensah on Joy FM’s Top Story, Mr Nitiwul explained that to ensure the safety of the President and his crew, the G-Kelt aircraft was hired.
“What we looked at was the safety of the passengers and the crew, not the amount involved in it. That is the first thing we look out for before we look at other factors.
“It doesn’t mean we don’t look at the amount [cost of hiring one] but what we look at first is the safety of passengers. When it comes to the choice of the President’s travel, it is a schedule. It is determined by two groups of people; National Security and the Ministry of Foreign affairs.
“Also in this Covid Era, when you are travelling to multiple destinations like the President recent trade, Falcom jet couldn’t have been taken because we would have had to do technical stuff which are not desirable. When he is travelling with more than 20 people like he has been doing that has brought huge sums of money to this country the President may need not just the Falcom.
“At no point did I ever say that President Akufo-Addo cannot shower that is why he used the G-Kelt aircraft,” he said.
The decision to empoly the use of a more condusive aircraft he stated has saved the country some money.
According to him, the state would have incured additional cost if the presidential jet had been used instead.