E-levy Vote: It took ¢1 million to charter flight for Adwoa Safo from US – Okudzeto Ablakwa

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In the heat of the clamour to pass the controversial Electronic Transfer (E-Levy) Bill in December last year, government attempted to shore up the numbers for the vote in Parliament.

MP for Dome-Kwabenya, Sara Adwoa Safo who had been on leave in the US for some weeks was flown into the country to cast her vote to ensure that the bill was passed.

Though the passage was unsuccessful, questions have emerged about what it took to convince the MP including a said ¢120,000 paid into her account by the Chief of Staff.

Fresh details shared by Ranking Member on Foreign Affairs Committee, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, indicated that another ¢948,500 ($140,000) was spent on her chartered flight from the US for the said purpose.

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Per his 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.

Full text below:

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 (ONE MILLION, SIXTY-EIGHT THOUSAND AND FIVE HUNDRED GHANA CEDIS) 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. 🙏🏽🇬🇭🙏🏽

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