It has emerged that the then New Patriotic Party (NPP) Minority in Parliament raised concerns about the cost of the two military aircrafts the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government wanted to procure in 2011.
Parliamentary records available to Citi News showed that the then Minority Leader, Osei Kyei Mensah expressed shock in how the processes to purchase the aircraft, which had become a subject matter in the recent Airbus bribery scandal, were rushed through.
James Klutse Avedzi, who was the Chairman of the Finance Committee at the time, on 20th July 2011, submitted the committee’s report on the motion to secure a loan from the Deutche Bank Sociedad Anonima Espanola (Spain) for the acquisition of two C-295 Military Aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces.
While debating the matter, at the time, Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu, the Member of Parliament for Suame said he found that the price of the C-295 was captured on Airbus’ website as US$22 million but was shocked to see that the documents tabled before Parliament pegged the price of the aircraft at €24 million per piece.
“… Mr Speaker, the cost price of the C-295, the Shell is US$22 million from the manufacturers –– their own website. Here, we are saying that it is €24.5 million. Again, you wonder where these figures are being conjured from,” he said.
“Mr Speaker, the X 24.5 million euros certainly, is going to be in the region of about US$35 million –– US$35 million for the purchase of one, when we know that the manufacturers themselves are saying that the cost of the C-295, also known as ‘Persuader’ is going for US$22 million,” he noted.
The Suame MP took a serious view of the situation saying it was “unacceptable.”
He also said he was surprised that within just a day, the document had been sent to Attorney General’s office for advice, forwarded to the Minister for Finance and sent to the office of the President for executive approval.
“Mr Speaker, the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice proffered his opinion on it on 21st June, 2011. The same day, it went to the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and on the same day, he also okayed it and sent it to the Presidency –– the Office of the President –– on the same day, 21st June, 2011, we had Executive approval. Aba! Aba! What is this,” he quizzed.
Alhaji Mustapha Ahmed, the Member of Parliament for Ayawaso East, however, challenged the then Minority Leaders’ position, saying that the price he quoted was for the shell of the aircraft and that one could not move.
“Mr Speaker, the price on the internet refers to the Shell price of an aircraft. Mr Speaker, what we are dealing with is the operational price of the aircraft.”
But Osei Kyei Mensah-Bonsu insisted that his findings were right.
The Deputy Minister for Finance and Economic Planning, Seth Terkpeh subsequently moved for the approval of the motion for the loan agreement.
The motion was seconded by the James Klutse Avedzi.