Former President Kufuor has denied claims by the Mills administration that the NPP government made arrangement for the purchase of two presidential jets.
The Former President says his administration had only put in a bid to purchase a second aircraft later if Government had the means. The commissioning of the new falcon EX-900 has sparked disagreements among members of the Government and the opposition New Patriotic Party, with the latter accusing the NDC of dishonesty and double standards when it had criticized the then NPP government for making similar moves.
The NDC upon taking delivery of the jet has explained that it was only against the purchase of two jets instead of one, and also had issues with the purchasing procedure. In his first public comment on the matter, Ex-President Kufuor told Citi News his administration never purchased or planned to purchase two planes as being propagated by the NDC.
“It’s never true that we paid for a second flight, the airbus. Yes! We were approached and we said we might need it and they agreed to put our name down for 2011, by which time we will be ready to buy. So we said putting our name down will keep us on the queue so that when the time came, we would see if we could buy out of the budget since we didn’t want to contract any loan. But these days everybody is alleging we bought two planes. If we bought two planes then two planes would have arrived. It would have been the same contract. And I am not against the President having a plane like this, because when we were purchasing it, I knew it will come after I had gone but I knew that the Presidency needed a flight like this to work efficiently for Ghana” he added.
The Ex President has also been criticized for disposing off the Gulfstream Presidential jet purchased by the NDC administration under Former President Rawlings.
But Mr. John Kufuor told Citi News comparing the two is like comparing apples with oranges. He said aside the Gulfstream being very old even at the time of its purchase; circumstances surrounding the purchase were held in secrecy. The Falcon-900 he said was bought at a very affordable price in its brand new state. “There was some mystery about its purchase. It was a second hand so we needed to clear the source of that plane, where it was bought and how much. We needed to establish everything about it. It was also bought without prior approval of Parliament so when people are comparing, they should compare well. The Falcon is brand new from Factory”.
“The Market value then was almost 40million but because I appealed to the French President Sarkozy, he intervened and a discount of about two million dollars was given to Ghana. And then the waiting time that was three years to get this brand new plane, because of the intervention of President Sarkozy, Ghana’s position was jumped from ten months ahead. I also said Ghana didn’t have the ready money to pay for the plane, so the Societe Generale, the French Bank laid out more or less something like a high purchase for five years. So all that Ghana had to do was to find the deposit of One Point Eight Million dollars which is what has brought this plane” said.