Editor-In-Chief of the New Crusading Guide newspaper, Abdul Malik Kweku Baako Jr. has disclosed the name of the public official who was part of the alleged government business delegation on board a US plane that was grounded in Iran.
Brouhaha over a US-flagged private jet said to belong to Mr. Ibrahim Mahama, brother of President John Dramani Mahama which landed in Iran with a business delegation without approval seems to linger on.
Iran had said that the plane, which landed in Tehran last week, was leased to the office of Ghana's President, and carrying a business delegation from the West African nation.
Tehran's comments came after The New York Times reported on Thursday that a plane, owned by the Bank of Utah, was parked in Mehrabad Airport in Tehran on Tuesday.
It was later reported that the plane was leased to Engineers and Planners (E&P), a mining firm founded by Ibrahim Mahama, brother of Ghana's President.
The presence of an American plane in Iran was striking as Washington and Tehran have been caught up in a long standing diplomatic standoff for decades, and the Islamic Republic is under a number of economic sanctions.
On Friday, Iran's State news agency, IRNA, quoted Iranian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Marzieh Afkham, as saying that the plane was transporting Ibrahim Mahama, the brother of Ghana's President and a mining delegation.
'The plane is on lease to Ghana's presidential office, and its passengers were Ghanaian senior officials led by the president's brother. None of its crew members were American,' Afkham was quoted as saying.
He also added that the 'Ghanaian senior officials' were in Tehran to follow up on agreements reached between the two countries two years ago.
There are widespread reports that there was a government appointee on board the private jet, government communicators as well as the Information Ministry, refused to disclose his or her name.
But contributing to a panel discussion on 'Kokrokoo', Kweku Baako found it surprising that government officials are shunning away from disclosing such information because to him, 'it is no secret'.
He said the Manifest of an airplane is there for everybody to see and 'so even if government officials do not say anything, anybody can walk in and get such information' and he mentioned Dr. Mustapha Ahmed, Minister of State in charge of Development and Member of Parliament (MP) for Ayawaso East as the government official on the private jet.
'What is the secret about this? There should be no effort to hide the people on the plane. He is a public figure and so I don't see why he should be hidden. He was on the plane but it was not for an official visit. The Iranians have even constructed a hospital in his constitution and so he already has a relationship with the Iranian government,' he stated.
Kweku Baako also added that to help end the controversy, it will be in the interest of Dr. Mustapha Ahmed to speak to the issue and clear the air.
'It is not a big deal. Ghana has no obligation to follow the US sanctions against the Iranians. It is a storm in a tea cup,' he added.
Credit: Rebecca Addo Tetteh