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Ghana's Minority Party Skeptical of Deal Made with China

Ghana’s government has finalized a deal with a Chinese corporation that involves the exchange of a presidential jet for military equipment. The covert nature of the transaction has caused the minority in parliament to question the government’s intentions in this matter. The minority party will hold a press conference today, in which they will demand full disclosure of the contract details.

Doe Ajaho, the deputy minority leader, spoke with English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about this situation. “The press conference has to do with the statement issued yesterday by the honorable minister of information and national orientation to the effect that government has traded off the presidential jet gulf stream three as a down payment for K8 military aircrafts and one simulator. We are not aware of the details and we will be calling on the government among other things for a full disclosure of that transaction. Because we see it as contrary to the constitution of the republic of Ghana, in article one seven eight, clauses one and two, made it clear that there can not be any expenditure without the approval of parliament. And article one eight one, clause five, made it clear that all international economic and business transactions must be approved by parliament before it comes into full operation. None of these provisions of the constitution has been complied with by the government of the New Patriotic Party.”

The minority leader explained why some think the arrangement is unwise. “It cannot be a very good deal because on a letter from HSBC bank who structured the deal for the purchase of the gulf stream wrote to honorable J.H Mensah, then leader of government business and chairman of the committee put up by the NPP administration to look into the circumstances leading to the purchase and to determine whether there was any criminality or any fraudulent deal in the process to the effect that they would fly the jet to Savannah, Georgia. And that they will dispose of it on behalf of the government at the cost of nine million dollars, they warned government that the price might fall if they do not do that. They decided to treat that offer with contempt and today they are telling us that they are trading it off for five million dollars instead of the nine million dollars that we could have got in 2001. At a time we have not even finished paying the total cost of the plane. So we are not satisfied and we see it clearly as a financial loss to the state.”

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