Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.
The Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa wants to know why Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, could not inform Parliament earlier that his outfit is not mandated to inform the House on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s foreign trips.
This follows an explanation from Mr. Ofori-Atta on Wednesday, that the National Security Minister is best placed to give the needed details on the cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent foreign trips to France, Belgium and South Africa.
“Mr Speaker, the President’s domestic and international travels are matters to do with National Security. Therefore, the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this Honorable House with the details needed,” he said.
Following his submission, Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa informed the House that Mr Ofori-Atta did not object when summoned by Parliament to address the matter and further requested more time to brief the House after being summoned on June 7.
He, therefore, wants to know why the Finance Minister took the time only to inform the House today that the Ministry of National Security is responsible to update the House on President’s foreign trips on the G-Kelt aircraft instead of the presidential jet at an alleged cost of £15,000 per hour.
“The clerk attorney, informed me as is the practice that the honourable minister has requested for more time. That is why it was taken from the order paper that day.
“So I want to find out, why the Finance Minister asked for more time if all this while, several weeks, you duly acknowledged that this question was rightly admitted and was in your bosom.
“What has happened that suddenly we are being told that it is for the National Security Minister to respond to when all along in your communication with Parliament, you have not raised any objection about this questions. You have not said you don’t have the answers,” he stated.
Mr. Ofori Atta while addressing the House further emphasised that his outfit did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff in relation to the President’s trips.
“Mr Speaker, in line with the 2021 budget implementation instructions, the Ministry of Finance did not release any funds to the Chief of Staff, specifically, for the President’s trip to France, Belgium and South Africa or any other destination.
“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,” he explained.
Meanwhile, Speaker Kingsford Sumana Alban Bagbin has, admonished members of the House to proceed with the matter and allow the Ministry of National Security to present its details on the matter.
“The Minister says the National Security Minister is best placed to furnish this house with the details needed. Let’s proceed that way,” he said.