Another Veep deal crumbles, as Embrear 190 joins STX in the grave
5/18/2012 10:30:42 AM -
Another deal led by the Vice President of the Republic of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, has once again failed to materialise.
Just like the STX Housing deal which was brokered by the Vice President, the July 2011 decision by the Mills-Mahama government to purchase an Embraer 190 executive jet to serve as a 'Strategic Airlift Aircraft' for the Ghana Airforce has also failed.
Information reaching the New Statesman cites two reasons for the failure of this deal brokered by the Vice President. Sources in Brazil attribute the failure of this deal to 'corporate issues' and the controversies over the pricing of the jet.
At the time of completing the transaction, Ghana was quoted to have agreed to pay a basic price of $55 million for the jet, as opposed to Embraer's price quote of $28.5 million-$40 million, irrespective of enhanced accessories.
Whilst John Mahama's deal had indicated that government was buying the Embraer 190 aircraft at $55,264,000, the deal had also requested the option of configurations to convert the luxury jet into a military aircraft, bringing the total amount to $88million.
Configurations to the Embraer 190, as proposed by the Mills-Mahama administration, to convert the luxury jet into a military jet included an extra fuel tank costing $8 million; air staircase costing $1 million and in-flight entertainment of $1.4 million.
The New Statesman in July 2011 revealed that contrary to claims by Government that the Embraer 190 aircraft was being acquired as a 'Strategic Airlift Aircraft' to 'significantly enhance the operations of the Ghana Armed Forces, the Embraer 190 was not built to airlift military personnel.
Indeed, the acquisition of the E190 would have made lower middle income Ghana the only country to acquire a commercial jet, and spend an extra $1 million to enhance it to first class, executive status and classify it as a troops' carrier!
New Statesman investigations also revealed that out of the over 1,000 firm orders from 60 companies in 40 countries and the more than 750 Embraer jets delivered, Ghana was the only client which had ordered an E190 to be used as a military transport jet.
Our checks also suggested that there was no model described as E190 SAA, as indicated by the Mills-Mahama administration in the purchase agreement presented to Parliament.
It is recalled that on Thursday, 23rd April 2009, barely two months after President Mills had stated in his first state of the nation address that 'we will review the decision to purchase two executive presidential aircrafts because Ghana simply cannot afford the expenditure at this time', representatives from Embraer, led by Antonio Neubarth flew to Accra to make a presentation to Vice President John Mahama, Lt Gen JH Smith and the Military High Command for the purchase of the Embraer 190.
At that time, Embraer was not a manufacturer of any military transport aircraft. A week prior to the presentation made by Embraer to Ghanaian officials, however, Embraer had signed a contract with the Brazilian Air Force to begin the production of the KC-390 military transport programme, an aircraft specifically designed to serve as a military transport aircraft, serving as a troop carrier and effective cargo and tanker aircraft and estimated at a fully-kitted, total flat cost of $50 million per unit.
Thus, if the Ghanaian officials wanted a military transport aircraft, as Government had sought to project the purchase, they ought to have known that the E190 was not it and if it had to be an Embraer then it had to be the then yet to be manufactured KC-390, which made its first flight in 2011.