Source: Daily GuideInformation Minister Mahama Ayariga has said there is nothing wrong with the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, using the Presidential Jet for his trips.
Even though he could not confirm or deny media reports that the Asante monarch used the Presidential Jet for a personal trip to London on September 5, 2013, he told DAILY GUIDE that if indeed it happened, it was nothing out of the ordinary.
He however promised to contact the necessary agencies and individuals responsible for the Presidential Jet to verify the reports.
The report is coming at a time the Otumfuo is in the eye of the storm over malicious publications that he facilitated bribes to the Justices of the Supreme Court who sat on the election petition to rule in favour of President John Mahama.
According to Mr Ayariga, any other prominent Ghanaian could use the Presidential Jet, if the President deemed it fit.
He had earlier repeated the same view when interviewed by Accra-based Radio XYZ.
“Even though it is a Presidential Jet, it is not out of the ordinary for any major public officer [to use it]. When it becomes absolutely necessary, the President can grant a dispensation for them to use it,” he told the radio station.
However, analysts said the issue was not about the use but government’s inability to come clean on the matter; making it look like a secret deal.
DAILY GUIDE gathered that Colonel Lawrence Attachie, a military attaché in the Flagstaff House, is responsible for the Presidential Jet, but attempts to verify if Otumfuo Osei Tutu II indeed used it for his trip was parried by the colonel who refused to divulge any information.
When contacted by DAILY GUIDE on Monday, he simply asked: “Who told you (that he was responsible for the Presidential Jet)?”
Afterwards, he told this paper he was going to cross-check and get back.
At the time of going to press, he was unreachable and had not contacted the paper with the information he promised.
DAILY GUIDE thereafter sent him a text message that read: “Hello Col. We spoke earlier today about the Otumfuo’s alleged trip abroad with the Presidential Jet. You promised to get back to us about the real facts; we are still waiting for your information. Thank you.”
The Colonel did not respond to the text message.
Attempts at a Linkage
Media reports indicated that the Asantehene flew to London on September 5, 2013 aboard the Presidential Jet. The plane was said to have been flown to Kumasi from Accra to convey the traditional leader.
Reports about the Asante monarch’s alleged trip abroad has generated intense public debate and thickened the plot over the alleged alliance between President Mahama and the Otumfuo.
The New Free Press and some faceless individuals recently ruffled the John Dramani Mahama administration by claiming the Asante king was used as an emissary to “bribe” the nine justices who sat on the just ended election petition to rule in favour of President Mahama, a respondent in the landmark petition.
The President described the bribery allegation against Otumfuo as lies.
President Mahama explained it as “a recent lie that somehow Otumfuo was the conduit for passing bribes to the judges and now you can’t hold anybody responsible because somebody did it online.”
By: Raphael Ofori-Adeniran