Details shared by Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, that a whopping GH¢948,500, the equivalent of $140,000.00, was spent on the chartered flight that brought down the MP for Dome-Kwabenya, who had gone on Absence Without Leave (AWOL) in the US for some weeks, and had to be flown into the country to cast a crucial vote.
The ¢948,500, in addition to the GH¢120,000, allegedly given by the Chief of Staff, Frema Osei Opare, to Sara Adwoa Safo, amounts to a total of GH¢1,068,500 blown on the MP to have the 2022 Budget statement and economic policy approved.
What is interesting is that, the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has had details of the rented jet that brought Adwoa Safo, but has remained silent about it.
The first mention of the rented jet was on a TV programme by the Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu, who doubles as the MP for Tamale South in the Northern Region.
He had shown a picture of the jet and claimed his side was investigating as part of the impersonation of the Dome Kwabenya MP, but that was the last heard of it, until Kennedy Agyapong, the MP for Assin North and a father of two of Adwoa Safo’s kids, decided to go into tantrums and revealed details of the Akufo-Addo government’s interaction with the Dome Kwabenya MP, including the payments and the renting of a jet.
Per Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa’ findings, the carrier hired for the task was a Gulfstream G-550 registered HB-JOE operated by Premium Jet AG based in Belgium, costing $4,800 an hour.
“With an 11-hour flight distance, payment of reposition fees (as it flew from Belgium to pick her up in the States), payment of one-way fees (as the business jet flies back home empty), crew per diem fees, landing and wait-time fees; it cost a staggering $140,000.00. At today’s exchange rate, that is ¢948,500.00,” he said.
The development, does not sit well with the North Tongu MP, and in a Facebook post yesterday, March 1, Mr Ablakwa, expressed worry that an amount of GH¢1,068,500, will be spent lavishly in the face of an economy that experts say is on its knees at the expense of “the obnoxious E-Levy.”
“The Chief of Staff called me and I went, I swear my mother’s grave, Chief of Staff gave me ¢120,000 and deposited it into Adwoa Safo’s Fidelity Bank account. “I took the money there into the Fidelity Account, ask her personal assistant if what I am saying is not the truth,” a furious Mr Agyapong, said and very how a traditional ruler was sent to the US to get her to return to Ghana but was snubbed.
He added “Now we are in opposition, the way Adwoa Safo is treating the party, it is clearly showing that we are in opposition and this shouldn’t be tolerated at all,” he told Asaaso Radio on Tuesday February 22 in an interview with Kweku Nyirah Addo.
Mr Agyapong, had raised issues against the conduct of Adwoa Safo, accusing her of showing gross disrespect to the Chief of Staff, whom she had kept waiting at her gate with a motorcade for over 30 minutes, and her living room for 35 minutes just to plead with her to be in Parliament to help approve a government policy, but by the time she came, the Speaker of Parliament, Alban Bagbin, had left the House as he was tired, since he is unwell.
He said that the Minister of Gender, Children and Social Protection, has failed in life for demanding that Alexander Afenyo-Markin, should publicly be kicked out for her to be made a Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, wondering why a cabinet minister will now want to occupy a position that is below the rank of a Minister of State.
“Hon Sam Okudzeto Ablakwa writes
“It is surprising that the focus of many including Civil Society Organisations in the series of Adwoa Asafo revelations has been on the alleged GHS120,000.00 transfer into her bank account from the Chief of Staff.
“The cost of the private jet used to ferry her from the USA to Ghana which is much higher than the GHS120,000.00 cannot be ignored.
“We now know that a Gulfstream G-550 registered HB-JOE and operated by Premium Jet AG based in Belgium was the executive aircraft chartered to bring in Hon. Adwoa Safo for her vote on the obnoxious E-Levy.
It cost US$4,800 an hour to rent the HB-JOE.
“With an 11-hour flight distance, payment of reposition fees (as it flew from Belgium to pick her up in the States), payment of one-way fees (as the business jet flies back home empty), crew per diem fees, landing and wait-time fees; it cost a staggering US$140,000.00. At today’s exchange rate, that is GHS948,500.00.
“It is most intriguing that an economy which is said to be broke can lavish a fantastic GHS948,500.00 plus GHS120,000.00 (a total of GHS1,068,500.00) just for one E-Levy vote. Imagine what our country can do with 1million Cedis in the midst of our economic challenges, NABCO demonstrations and labour agitations?
“The dubious claim that Adwoa Sarfo’s flight cost was paid for by her friends is most insulting. Who are these friends? What is their motivation? Why do these friends want the unpopular E-Levy passed so badly? What do these friends expect in return? What are the tax records of these friends? Why are these friends being shielded?
How ironic, that the political tradition that in time past roundly rejected the reported kindness of President Rawlings’ friends will today be boldly canvassing a bizarre kind of friendship support.
“The Office of Special Prosecutor must look into the entire GHS1,068,500.00 expenditure for Adwoa Safo’s E-Vote and not only the GHS120,000.00 deposited in her account.
“The current composition of Ghana’s 8th Parliament should lead us to a patriotic, mature and frugal path of consensus building in the national interest; and not the present embarrassing spectre of opting for an extremely partisan, destructive, wasteful, small-minded and reckless road to perdition.
“May God save us,” Ablakwa wrote on Facebook.