The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) have referred the Executive Director of the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), Mr Mensah Thompson, to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for further investigations over an allegation that the presidential aircraft was used by relatives of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for a shopping trip to the United Kingdom between December 20 and 30, 2021.
Although the GAF, which operate the Falcon Ex presidential jet, denied the allegation in a statement issued on Sunday, January 9, they added: “In view of the seriousness we attach to such malicious publications, the issue has been referred to the Inspector General of Police for further investigations.”
The GAF statement was in reaction to a Facebook post by Mr Thompson on January 7, this year, on an alleged illegal use of the presidential jet.
Mr Thompson stated: “So between the 20th and 30th of December, 2021 during the Christmas, the children of a close relative of the President took Ghana’s Presidential Jet, the Falcon EX jet on a trip to the UK just for Christmas shopping.They didn’t go alone, they went with their friends and partied in the sky all through the trip, taking snap videos and flaunting their lucky adventure.
“Ghana has spent close to half a billion dollars in the last two years renting private jets for our President, while his family members continue to lavish in our rejected aircraft at the expense of the poor taxpayer.
“The Ministry of National Security, the Ghana Airforce and the Civil Aviation Authority would have to provide answers to the good people of Ghana why a national security asset like the Presidential jet was left at the mercy of spoilt youngsters who went partying around the world playing in Ghana’s Presidential jet, creating an international diplomatic spectacle, embarrassing the country Ghana.”
But the GAF, in a statement signed by their acting Director Public Relations, Commander Andy La-Anyane, said: “We wish to state without any equivocation that the said publication is untrue, frivolous and without any basis. We additionally wish to state that the said aircraft has not been to Europe for a very long time and this publication is, therefore, a figment of the author’s imagination. These allegations can easily be verified, since there is always a task order for the movement of all Ghana Air Force platforms.”
The statement said the publication was a calculated effort to undermine the image of the GAF in the eyes of the general public.
“More disturbing is the fact that whilst the GAF are focused on their mandate of protecting the territorial integrity of the country against serious external and internal threats, others are working very hard to distract us from our core mandate,” it said.
Furthermore, the statement called on all Ghanaians, especially politicians, not to drag the GAF into partisan politics.
“The Ghana Air Force platforms will continue to be used for the interest of all Ghanaians, including its traditional role of maintaining fighter ground attack capabilities and providing close air support during operations, as well as providing transport support to the Ghana Armed Forces.
“We will continue to provide surveillance over the air space of Ghana and over the Exclusive Economic Zone of the country,” the statement added.
Withdrawal and apology
Mr Thompson has, meanwhile, withdrawn his allegation and apologised to the GAF.
Taking to Facebook, he stated: “I have had an extensive conversation this morning with the PRO of the Ghana Armed Forces pursuant to the usage of the Presidential jet by the children of the relatives of the President.
“In the same medium I made the earlier publication, I withdraw the publication pending an official response from the GCAA. I unreservedly apologise to the Ghana Armed Forces if their image was in anyway affected by my publication. We shall put out for your consumption the response to our request from the GCAA records of the Falcon 900-EX.”
No police invitation
Reached by the Daily Graphic yesterday, Mr Thompson said he had not received any invitation from the police.
Nevertheless, he said once he was invited, he would have no choice but respond accordingly.
Mr Thompson explained that he withdrew the publication and apologised to the GAF in the interest of respect.
According to him, he received a call from the PRO of the GAF on the matter and out of respect, he withdrew the publication.
Asked why he did not render an apology to the President, who was at the centre of the publication, he answered: “ But the President has not said it is not true.It is the Ghana Armed Forces who have come out to complain.”