Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, Alexander Afenyo-Markin has raised red flags over the approach and style with which the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, is making inquests into what the latter has described as extravagant travel expenses of President Nana Akufo-Addo.
He has alleged that t an amount of GHS 2.8 million was spent on Nana Addo’s recent travels to only South Africa and France using the services of one of the most expensive private jets in the world.
According to Afenyo-Markin, it is on record that Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa had filed an urgent question in Parliament over the president’s travels expenses thereof he, ought to have followed the rules of Parliament after filing such a question rather than play to the gallery in a one-sided trial by media even before the question he had filed gets admitted on the Floor of the House.
“Admission of questions is the sole mandate of the Speaker, and in fact, that is the basis upon which the jurisprudence of Parliament is mounted. You file a question, you are not sure whether it has been admitted or not, then you go out there in the media litigating the matter. So at the end of the day, if the question is not admissible, who do you blame? The Speaker or you will say you are being gagged?”, Afenyo-Markin told Citi News.
He said the fact that Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa had gone public with the matter when the urgent question he had filed was yet to be admitted was not the best of practices in the building of a democracy.
Afenyo-Markin described the conduct of the North Tongu MP as harmful.
“I am saying that it is important that as MPs we will respect our own rules of engagement and create an atmosphere where the debate will be enriched, but this one-way approach and leaking things to the press and somebody has written a letter of resignation which hasn’t even gotten to the recipient, but it is already in the media, what are you seeking to achieve?” Afenyo-Markin added.
Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa, on the other hand is compleely unperturbed by the position taken by Afenyo-Markin.
The North Tongu MP is still very visible on his social media handles probing and interrogating the question on the President’s travel expenses.
He recently took to his Tweet account to restate his case and deny reports that Speaker Alban Bagbin has rejected the said question.
Okudzeto Ablakwa, in a in a tweet on Monday June 7, wrote:
“Kindly disregard and treat with contempt the fake news in circulation claiming that Rt Honuorable Speaker has rejected my urgent questions to the Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance on the state of the presidential jet and the total cost of President Akufo-Addo’s recent profligate luxury travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa respectively.
“It goes without saying that I have confidence in the venerable Speaker Bagbin to wisely exercise his sole discretionary authority of admissibility under Order 66 (1) of Parliament’s Standing Orders, particularly, when the two crucial questions in issue are of great public interest and are at the heart of the financial accountability which is a cardinal constitutional mandate of the legislature.
“It is also worth of note that my questions do not flout any of the conditions of admissibility of questions under Order 67
“How befuddling that those who accuse me of engaging in unfounded propaganda are in the same breath so morbidly apprehensive taking advantage of the appropriate forum my questions to provide to expose that unfounded propaganda they speak of, and forever have me discredited on this infamous £15,000 an hour luxury jet affair- Very strange indeed.
“Best of the week, folks. May the Good Lord bless our efforts”, Okudzeto Ablakwa added.
The North Tongu MP alleged that : “The Airbus AC J320neo owned by Acropolis Aviation based in Farnborough, UK and registered as G-KELT, is the most luxurious and the most expensive in the Acropolis fleet. The manufacturers describe it as “the most outstanding ambassador for Airbus Corporate Jets.” It costs the Ghanaian taxpayer approximately £15,000 an hour when President Akufo-Addo rents it”, the legislator alleged in a post on Facebook.
He also accused the President of blowing the money “to satisfy his insatiable appetite and comfort at the expense of the suffering masses”.