President orders probe into Airbus scandal …but NDC fights back

The President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to collaborate with the United Kingdom (UK) Serious Fraud Office to probe Ghanaian officials allegedly involved in the airbus scandal.

The two anti-graft institutions are to conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present, involved in the raging controversy.

A statement signed and issued in Accra on Sunday by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin, said they are “to take the necessary legal action against any such official, as required by Ghanaian law.”

The inquiry comes at the back of a January 31, 2020 judgment of the Crown Court at Southwark, in UK, between the director of the Serious Fraud Office and Airbus SE.

The embattled European multinational aerospace corporation has been fined $3.9 billion for the payment of bribes to secure deals in five countries, including Ghana.

The Ghana part of alleged bribery took place between 2009 and 2015 during the tenure of the late former President Professor John Atta Mills and former President John Dramani Mahama.

Statement of facts in the case has disclosed that during the period “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5”, who is said to be “a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghanaian Government official (Government Official 1)”.

It adds that “Government Official 1 was a key decision maker in respect of Government of Ghana aircraft orders” while the payments to Intermediary 5 by officials of Airbus SE were, thus, “intended to induce or reward improper favour by Government Official 1” over the purchase of three C-295 military transport aircraft.

Out of the €5 million promised Intermediary 5, €3.85 million was paid between March 2012 and February 2014. However, the names of the parties involved have not been revealed because investigations were still ongoing.

According to the statement from the Presidency, “President Akufo-Addo has taken notice of the judgment and its implications”, hence the directive that the matter be investigated.

Meanwhile the National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was in power during the period the bribes were allegedly paid, has denied that government officials during that time received bribes.

A statement signed and issued in Accra on Sunday by former Attorney General, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong said “The reports of the alleged bribery were “false, misleading and do not reflect the Approved Judgment.”

The statement said the Approved Judgment of the Crown Court approving the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) between Airbus and the UK Serious Fraud Office did not allege that any payment was made by Airbus to any Ghanaian government official.

“It is therefore a gross distortion for the media to conclude that officials of the government of Ghana between 2009 and 2015 were bribed or paid any commissions by Airbus for the acquisition of the Casa C-295 aircraft”, it said.

BY TIMES REPORTER

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