More details, have emerged about the operations of McDan Aviation at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) with revelations that, although the company does not have a certificate to operate as a private jet hiring service, the company has been doing so on the blindside of the Ghanaian authorities.
Reports available to The Herald, also reveals President Nana Akufo-Addo’s powerful cousin, Gabby Asare-Otchere Darko, is among a long list of people who have patronized the illegal charter activities of McDan Aviation, which Parliament, has revealed, has an expired license, meaning the company has no authority to be operating in the Ghanaian airspace.
Gabby, The Herald’s intelligence picked up, chartered the private jet owned by Daniel McKorley, to the Central African country; Equatorial Guinea for a business transaction and back.
The revelation comes amid reports from the Transport Ministry that, another family member of President Akufo-Addo, had desperately tried to usurp the authority of the Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.
Nana Bediatuo Asante, the Executive Secretary to the President, had lied that President Akufo-Addo, had as a result of tight schedule, nominated Alhassan Tampuli Sulemana, a Deputy Minister to inaugurate the troubled McDan Aviation’s private jet company, on his behalf.
This was when it became obvious that, neither Ghana Airport management nor Transport Ministry’s officials, were going to be at the inauguration of the company as result of the company’s heavy indebtedness to the Ghana Airport Company.
McDan, had also been accused of showing gross disregard to ensure that all the technical requirements are put in place to save Ghana from attracting sanction from international bodies in-charge of aviation, especially the Canadian-based UN agency; International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) responsible for international air navigation, planning and development air transport to ensure safety and orderly growth.
The Herald nosing in and around the Ministry, reveals that, but for the good working relationship between the Minister and his deputy, Nana Bediatuo Asante, the Executive Secretary to the President would have succeeded in knocking their heads together, thus creating a fracas in that ministry, consequently affecting the performance of the sector.
Meanwhile,The Herald is still speaking to its sources in the capital, Malab,o to ascertain who and who Mr Otchere-Darko went with, and for what purpose.
This paper is also digging through files to find out how many times Gabby has flown on that jet and how much he has been paying.
Sources at the McDan Aviation, revealed to The Herald that Gabby like many others who have hired the private jet to some foreign countries, was sneaked into the aircraft through the backdoor posing as a technician of the company.
The passengers were mostly dressed in reflective vest to pose as workmen of the company to board the aircraft and fly to whichever destination to conduct their businesses and return.
Daniel McKorley, the owner of McDan Aviation, is a close pal of Gabby, Nana Bediatuo, as well as President Akufo-Addo himself.
It is believed that his closeness to them, has given him the impetus, as well as the impudence to disregard regulatory measures that could lead to Ghana being banned from international air travels.
There have also been fears by the government that,the private jet company could become a sources of Money laundering, narcotic drugs smuggling, as well as the activities of terrorists.
It is unclear, whether the Ghana Airport Company and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority are aware of the illegal activities of the McDan Aviation at the country’s major airport, and what they plan doing with the company.
Interestingly, a Member of Parliament on the Transport Committee, Yusif Jajah, has said it will take between one to two years for McDan Aviation to regularise its private jet services at the Kotoka International airport.
Yusif Jajah, said this came to light at a crucial meeting held in Parliament on Thursday, February 3, 2022, between officials of Ghana Airport Company Limited, the Ministry of Transport and the Parliament’s Transport Committee.
“From the meeting we had, I can foresee McDan Aviation operating commercially in the next one to two years, because as we speak, he does not have the license.”
“It is still now going through the process to acquire the commercial license and it takes some time to acquire the license.”
Yusif Jajah, further explained that the suspension of McDan’s services was not only based on the company’s failure to meet financial obligations.
“If you look at the letter technically, it stated some operational requirements and obligations. So it is not only the financial aspect of it. What he did was to get a private jet license.”
According to him, the information provided by the Ghana Airport Company Limited and the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, shows that McDan Aviation was only given a private jet license to operate for a period of three months only.
Mr. Jajah, said that the license has also expired; leaving the company no authority to operate.
“From our meeting, what we have gathered from the Ghana Civil Aviation and Ghana Airport, I can’t foresee McDan Aviation operating commercially in the next one to two years. Because as we speak now, he doesn’t have the license.”
“He’s still now going through the process to acquire the commercial license and it takes some time to be able to comply with the process to be able to acquire a commercial license to operate.”
His submission comes after the Ghana Airports Company Limited, accused McDan Aviation of breaching the laid down procedure after procuring its license to operate in 2019.
The airport authorities, said the McDan Group, undertook some activities without approval. Some of which include the commencement of the construction of the private jet terminal without a Plan of Construction Operation approval.
GACL, later ordered the newly launched McDan Aviation to suspend the use of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) until further notice.
But, Mr. Jajah, believes the processes involved in acquiring a new license would derail commercial operation for another two years.
Meanwhile, Mr. Jajah says the Roads and Transport Committee would invite the CEO of McDan Aviation, Daniel McKorley, to give an account of the circumstances leading to the suspension of his company’s operations.
He also added that the Transport Minister told the committee that “his outfit is going to sanction McDan Industries at least for defying their orders, and what have you, so a meeting would start next week to see to that.”
The Ghana Airports Company Limited accused McDan Aviation of breaching the laid down procedure after procuring its license to operate in 2019.
It raised concerns in a letter on Friday, January 28, which was the scheduled date for the McDan Group of Companies’ Private Jet Service launch at KIA Terminal 1 in Accra.
Despite a GACL directive to call off the event, the company went ahead to hold the ceremony last Friday. It was, however, boycotted by GACL leadership.
Other government officials who boycotted the outdooring of what Daniel McKorley, described as a feat in the country’s aviation sector included Transport Minister, Kwaku Ofori Asiamah.
The airport authorities said the McDan Group undertook some activities without approval.
According to the GACL Managing Director, they only became aware of this “during routine security patrols.”
“…and we had to ask you to stop and submit a PCO [Plan of Construction Operation] for review and approval before construction continued.”
Another issue was that the private jet company was “yet to fulfil its financial obligations to Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL). “
According to the 2-page letter sighted by Myjoyonline.com, “McDan owes GACL a total of $4,505,034 and ¢227,293 respectively.”
On January 31, GACL ordered the newly launched McDan Aviation to suspend the use of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA) until further notice in a letter signed on January 31.
The Managing Director of the Airports Company, Yaw Kwakwa, stated “we note with concern your failure to comply with the directive despite the outstanding issues on the prior terms and conditions for the use and operations of Terminal 1 as a Private Jet Terminal.
“Management has consequently directed the suspension of your use of Terminal 1 until further notice.”
Meanwhile, the Managing Director of McDan Aviation, has written to confirm their suspension of operations as instructed by the Airport Company.