Hiding the cost of presidential trips detrimental to national security – Col Festus Aboagye
Security analyst Col. (retired) Festus Aboagye questioned the government’s decision to classify the president’s travel expenses as national security concerns that could not be disclosed.
According to him, knowing the expenses that accompany presidential trips does not affect national security.
Speaking on Joy FM Top story Colonel Aboagye said: “[national security] concerns the protection and defense of the State. It is about dealing with threats that can harm the interests and well-being of the state. So how does the cost of presidential flights become atheistic for the state? “
He said the cost of presidential travel cannot be categorized as hostile outside countries, terrorism, national disasters, and other national security threats.
“I am inclined to suggest that an attempt by the authority to cover up the cost of the country’s presidential flights is detrimental to national security,” Colonel Aboagye added.
This follows comments from National Security Minister Albert Kan-Dapaah that he is unable to disclose the cost of the president’s travel for security reasons.
Appearing before parliament on Friday, Kan-Dapaah explained that funding for the president’s trip came from national security coffers and that such estimates are not intended for public consumption.
“The president’s recent official trips to France, Belgium and South Africa are paid for out of official funds from the Ministry of National Security.
“Mr. President, payments from the operating funds of the ministry are [treated] with confidentiality and state secrecy, and it is not customary in the intelligence community, here and elsewhere, to make suggested disclosures public, ”explained Mr. Kan-Dapaah.
Meanwhile, Col. Aboagye believes that labeling expenditures for national security make them inaccessible to some state institutions.
This, he explained, in turn creates a black hole, adding that people are forced to accept any amount cited as expenses without any proof.
“On the contrary, if the Ghanaian people know how much their president has spent and rejoice in it, this feeling of satisfaction and contentment promotes and strengthens national security,” added Colonel Aboagye.
However, reacting to the minister’s explanations, North Tongu MP Mr. Okudzeto Ablakwa said Mr. Kan-Dapaah’s arguments were untenable. According to him, there is no law preventing the minister from disclosing the cost of the president’s travel.
Citing the practice in other jurisdictions like the United States of America, Ablakwa stressed that the cost of presidential travel is not a well-kept secret in the intelligence community, as the minister said.
In his view, it is necessary to disclose the cost to promote accountability. He therefore disagrees with the explanations of the Minister of National Security.