The Ghana Gas Company has confirmed that four helicopters of the company are not missing as has been reported by the media.
A statement released by the company’s Communications Directorate has indicated that the choppers are in the custody of the Ghana Air Force for safekeeping, saying that reports indicating that the choppers are missing are erroneous and must be disregarded.
“The management of Ghana Gas wishes to respond to an allegation circulating in the media regarding the whereabouts of the helicopters procured to provide surveillance services to the oil and gas installations in the Western Region. The company wishes to make it known to all stakeholders and the public that on Wednesday, 23rd September, 2015, then President, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, commissioned the four Z-9 EH helicopters at the Air Force Station at Burma Camp,” according to the statement.
“The helicopters were to ensure adequate security surveillance of the nation’s oil and gas enclave in the Western Region. Four helicopters in total, not seven as reported by some media outlets, were acquired. The said helicopters were procured from China National Aero Technology Import and Export Corporation (CATIC). The contract to that effect was signed on 21st December, 2012 (sic). The helicopters are currently stationed at the Air Force Headquarters at Burma Camp,” the company stated.
“Ghana Gas does not have the expertise and hangars to operate and maintain the helicopters. The Ghana Air Force, however, possesses such facilities. Ghana Gas, therefore, mandated the Ghana Air Force to operate and maintain them on its behalf. The helicopters are in good working condition and not ‘broken down’ as erroneously reported. It is worth noting that there is a helipad at the Atuabo Main Camp,” it added.
Ghana Gas has been in the news these few days following claims by the Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC) that three helicopters belonging to Ghana Gas could not be found.
A leading member of PIAC, Steve Manteaw, had said that the government paid $150 million for the purchase of three helicopters but they could not be traced.
“I have asked about the helicopters but there are no answers forthcoming,” Manteaw told Adom FM on Tuesday.
Before the gas company made an official public statement about the status of the helicopters, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, Minister for Monitoring and Evaluation, reportedly confirmed that Ghana Gas Company indeed purchased the helicopters.
However, the erstwhile National Democratic Congress (NDC), under which tenure the helicopters were procured, hit back, describing the publications as false.
Former Power Minister Dr Kwabena Donkor and his deputy claimed that there were no missing helicopters.
They said the helicopters are currently parked in the hangars of the Ghana Air Force at the Air Force Base in Accra, as confirmed by the gas company.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor had said it is a sign of “substandard leadership” for Dr Akoto Osei to go public on the whereabouts of the helicopters when he (Dr. Akoto Osei) could have found out from officials of the former government.
Later Mr Donkor’s deputy, John Abdulai Jinapor, said on Starr FM in Accra that “we procured four helicopters and they were commissioned by John Mahama in public. Ghana Gas does not have the pilots and expertise to fly the helicopters…The helicopters are not supposed to be parked at Atuabo… The Ghana Armed Forces was asked to manage the helicopters.
“The helicopters are not missing…Before I left office, the helicopters were in good shape and were working…The management saying they do not know about the procurement of the helicopters is surprising.”
By William Yaw Owusu