General News Fri, 2 Jan 2004

Presidential Jet For Sale

Four Companies Bid
Minister refuses to disclose names

The government is in a final stage of concluding negotiations for the sale of the controversial presidential Jet, the Gulf Stream, purchased by the erstwhile NDC regime.

For companies have put in bids for the jet, which has been grounded at the Air force station. The Attorney General and minister of Justice, Papa Owusu Ankomah, who disclosed this in an interview in Accra, declined to name the companies or exactly when the jet would be sold but only said, ''that the decision would be very soon''

When President J A Kufuor assumed the reins of power in 2001, he refused to use the jet and directed that the Gulf Stream should be disposed off as quickly as possible and a decision made on the best mode of transport for him.

The President was of the conviction that there are still a lot of unanswered questions about how the jet was acquired by the previous government and that those questions were worrying enough to make the NPP, then in opposition, take a decision not to use the jet if voted into power.

Papa Owusu Ankoma said the government was determined to conduct the sale of the jet in a very transparent manner. He explained that it had e government about three years to arrive at this decision because of the uncertainty on the aviation market since September 11, 2001 World Trade Centre bombing.

He said after the bombing the market for planes plummeted and the situation of the Gulf Stream had not been helped because it was custom made and could not be used for commercial purposes.

He explained that another problem that had contributed to the delay in taking the decision for the sale of the aircraft was the determination of the government to get value for money.

Asked about the legal implications of the sale, Papa Owusu Ankomah said the sale had to be done free of any liability as the government had some liability with the HSBC bank.

He said the aircraft was registered in Ghana and the sale could only be effected after it had been reregistered.

Papa Owusu Ankomah said the government was also considering the sale of the aircraft to the manufacturers, who he said understood the market better because of their expertise.

When the Gulf Stream was acquired in 1999, the then government said it will have it would have to make full and direct payment of a total of $14,000,000 inclusive of the cost of a comprehensive warranty, as the value of a Gulf Stream III serial 493 executive aircraft if it had sought an outright purchase of the jet from Wings Aviation, marketing agent for the aircraft.

The government of Ghana, owing to it inability to make full payment for the aircraft for reasons of resource constraints, entered into agreement with Wings Aviation, marketing agent for the Gulf Stream aircraft for the lease of the aircraft with option to buy it at $2,300,000 at the end of the 5 year lease period.


In September 1999 the then Minister of Finance, Mr Kwame Peprah, told the Ghana News Agency that the government had so far made a down payment of $2 million on the lease and would be expected to make semi annual payment of $1.5 million over a five-year period.

In response to question about parliamentary approval for the down payment of $ 2 million on the lease of the jet, Mr Peprah explained that the opportunity to acquire the aircraft occurred at a time when the appropriation bill for the year 1999 had been passed by parliament.

Source: .
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