The Minister for National Security, Mr Albert Kan-Dapaah says he is unable to tell Parliament about the cost of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo’s travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa because it has national security implications.
According to Mr Kan Dapaah, any such disclosure has the potential to compromise the security of the entire state.
“Mr Speaker… the Planning, cost, logistics and execution of Presidential travels has national security implications such that any disclosure prior to, during, and after such travels have the potential of compromising the security of the entire state.
“I must request Parliament to bear with my inability to make such disclosures on the cost of Presidential travels for reasons of national security considerations”
The Minister made this known when he appeared before Parliament to respond to a question by Mr Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Tongu about how much the President’s recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa in May this year cost the Ghanaian taxpayer.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said the President’s recent official travels to France, Belgium, and South Africa were paid for out of the operational funds of the Ministry of National Security, and payments from these funds are clothed with confidentiality and state secrecy.
He added that it was not a practice in the intelligence community to make details about a President travels public.
Mr Kan-Dapaah said by convention and public policy considerations the utilization of operational funds are not subject to the oversight of any institution and are not normally disclosed.
However, Mr Ablakwa challenged his response, arguing that the details of the cost of travels for the UK Prime Minister and the American President were made public each year to the House of Commons and the US Congress.
In response, Mr Kan-Dapaah suggested that if Presidential travels in other jurisdictions are disclosed, it may be because they were not paid out of operational funds.
He said payments that were made out of operational funds were always guided by proper financial management practices to ensure that there was value for money.
Mr Kan-Dapaah has also informed Parliament that the cost of air travels of former President John Mahama when he used chartered flights between 2013 to 2016 cannot be disclosed because those travels were covered under the operational funds of the national security and clothed with confidentiality and state secrecy.
It would be recalled that the question on the cost of the President’s travel to France, Belgium, and South Africa was initially directed to the Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta who declined to respond to the query and asked Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa to forward the question to the National Security Minister who was best placed to answer the question on the Presidential trips.