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Minority raise red flags over purchase of new air craft for GAF

The Minority in Parliament has sounded a note of caution to government to be extra diligent in the purchase of aircraft and other equipments for the Ghana Armed Forces Peace keeping efforts undertaken by the United Nations Organization and other agreed uses.

The group is calling for all the necessary and better particulars covering the purchase to be made available to the Committee on Defence and Interior as they begin to probe the purchase agreement.

Government of Ghana has entered into an agreement with AirBus Defence and Space S.A.U for the acquisition of one (1) C-295 CASA Aircraft and related equipment at an estimated cost of €33,325,126.00 under the Credit Facility Agreement between the Government of Ghana and VTB Capital plc, London (as Arranger and Facility Agent) for an amount of Three Hundred million United States Dollars (US$ 300 million).

The Minority Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu raised the red flags on the floor of Parliament soon after the Paper (Agreement) was laid in Parliament and referred by the Speaker Rt. Hon. Doe Adjaho to the Committee on Defence and Interior.

“Mr Speaker, I’m sounding a note of caution, urging that all detailed documentation about this acquisition must be made available to the committee to do due diligence, as we have traveled this road before. I’m doing so with hindsight after what happened in the purchase of aircraft for the Armed Forces under the Mills administration where a committee was set up by the President to investigate the purchase after it had been done” he said.

The decision by the National Democratic Congress government to acquire five new aircraft for Ghana's armed forces at a cost of $102 million in 2011, sparked a lot of uproar with the minority side led by its Leader Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu accusing the government of corruption and claiming to "smell a rat" in the purchase.

The proposed purchase includes a Brazilian-made Embraer E 190 jet with hangar facilities, two Italian-built Breda BA 42 Guardian Surveillance jets and another two CT95 aircraft.

The debate on the purchase which was heavily debated in Parliament ended up with the minority abstaining from the voting, and the purchase being approved.

The Embraer E 190, which has a passenger capacity of 100, will be used to carry military personnel on peacekeeping missions and its proposed hangar facilities include an ambulance and a bus.

The furore surrounding the acquisition led President J.E.A Mills to set up a committee to probe the purchase.

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