The Office of the Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia together with his wife, Hajia Samira Bawumia have both received a quantum of verbal lashing for travelling with large number of delegates on some official trips.
Dr. Bawumia is being criticised for travelling with 21 of his staff and government officials to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in 2017.
A list sighted by some media houses showed that other participating countries had gone with at most five delegates while Ghana went with over 20 people.
As though a conspiracy to rock the boat of the second family, a letter surface yesterday on social media in which the wife of the vice president had requested for 20 people to be given a Schengen entry visa.
In the letter which addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hajia Bawumia will lead the 20-member delegation to attend the First World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Conference on Air Pollution and Health in Geneva, Switzerland from October 28 to November 2, 2018.
This action amongst others has since triggered questions on how public funds are being used to finance government officials.
Meanwhile, government has defended the vice president’s travel detail indicating that, it is in line with protocol arrangements for the office of the Veep.
In a statement issued by the Government’s communication team, the supposed bloated number rather falls in line with the conventional arrangements and even less than previous regimes.
“The Vice-President, Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia, attended the meeting as the only one in his capacity invited by UNCTAD as the guest of honour. The other countries did not have their Vice Presidents or heads of states invited as the special guest of honour and therefore did not attend. The delegation from Ghana thus could be higher than all other countries because of the special security details and other members who are mandated by standard protocol to travel with the Vice President,” the statement read.
It continued: “He was accompanied by an entourage of 16 comprising official delegates/participants and, as is standard protocol practice for any Vice-President, by ancillary or support staff. These include security detail, media, administrative and a protocol officer.”
For the additional four or members of the entourage, government says they were not delegates or participants at the meeting and, ought not to have been listed.
Others they said, did not travel with Dr. Bawumia because they are officers of the Ghana Embassy in Switzerland and resident in Geneva.
For Mrs Bawumia’s alleged entourage, it has emerged that the said letter making waves could be ducted.
“Let me state for the records that the office of the wife of the vice president is not travelling with the delegation of over 20 people…. In due course the office of the first lady will respond with the full facts but I can assure you that the list coming from social media cannot and should not be relied upon because it is not factual,” Deputy Information Minister, Pius Hadzide told Accra based TV3.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org