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Ablakwa calls for a forensic audit of coronavirus expenses, accuses govt of inflation.

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Ablakwa calls for a forensic audit of coronavirus expenses, accuses govt of inflation. 46

 

 

The Minority’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa has accused the government of inflating the cost of the evacuation of stranded Ghanaians during the peak of the coronavirus outbreak.

The MP for North Tongu says the Foreign Affairs Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchway who appeared before the House to respond to questions on the issued lied.

He stated that the Minister accounted for less than the amount used in evacuating Ghanaians from Lebanon as stated in the 2021 budget.

“Strangely, whereas government says it spent GH¢46,398,452 on Ghanaians from Lebanon at page 273 of the 2021 Budget, the Foreign Minister accounted for less than GH¢25million of, that amount in Parliament on Thursday. No one knows what happened to the over GH¢21million missing as she couldn’t provide satisfactory answers to my supplementary questions despite her best efforts.”

He also said whereas foreign airlines charged less in evacuating Ghanaians, Ghana’s own aircraft charged far in excess to evacuate their own citizens.

He has therefore called for a forensic audit of all Covid-19 related expenditure.

“When you also consider that government claims to have spent a colossal GH¢44,460,530 which in some cases translates to as much as GHS9,139 on the cost of quarantine for an individual, it becomes ever more imperative that a special forensic audit is commissioned on all COVID-19 related expenditure.”

Read his full statement below:

It has emerged in Parliament following the Foreign Minister’s response to my question on cost of evacuations that KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines, Middle East Airlines and Emirates Airlines evacuated Ghanaians from the UAE and China for $396 per passenger and also airlifted our compatriots in Lebanon at $269 per person.

However, our own Casa aircraft operated by the Ghana Air Force somehow managed to evacuate Ghanaians from neighboring West and Central Africa at a staggering cost to the taxpayer of $940 per passenger.

It seems to me that foreign airlines were more empathetic to the plight of stranded Ghanaians than the aircraft managed by our own government.

Strangely, whereas government says it spent GH¢46,398,452 on Ghanaians from Lebanon at page 273 of the 2021 Budget, the Foreign Minister accounted for less than GH¢25million of that amount in Parliament on Thursday. No one knows what happened to the over GHS21million missing as she couldn’t provide satisfactory answers to my supplementary questions despite her best efforts.

When you also consider that government claims to have spent a colossal GH¢44,460,530 which in some cases translates to as much as GH¢9,139 on the cost of quarantine for an individual, it becomes ever more imperative that a special forensic audit is commissioned on all COVID-19 related expenditure.

Obviously, the Sputnik-V scandal, the Frontiers heist; the shocking GHS54.3million for cooked food during the lockdown are not isolated cases. We need a comprehensive forensic audit NOW!