Following the UK court’s ruling in the bribery case that has put Ghana on a pinnacle of international disgrace, the governing NPP has authoritatively declared that the “Government Official 1” (GO1) cited in the scandal is former President John Dramani Mahama.
At a press conference in Accra yesterday, the party’s director of communications, Yaw Buaben Asamoa, insisted that Mr Mahama cannot exonerate himself from the scandal, which is said to be the biggest bribery case in a UK court.
Making reference to President Mahama’s account of his sibling in his book, “My First Coup D’état”, the NPP’s communications director further noted that the profile of “Intermediary 5 (I5)” appears to fit perfectly that of the long-lost and found brother of the former president, Samuel Mahama.
In the court papers, I5 is identified as a UK national born in Ghana. He is said to have migrated to the United Kingdom as a young child and thereafter lost touch with his Ghanaian family until the late 1990s.
Mr Buaben Asamoa indicated that, having been found, I5 conveniently surfaces to be the preferred business partner (BP) of Airbus in its dealings with the Government of Ghana through GO1.
“Remarkably, but not surprisingly, I5 had no experience whatsoever in the aerospace industry. A ‘CV’ provided to Airbus in 2011 listed his employment before 2009 as an events manager for a local authority, director of a football merchandising company and facilities manager for an estate management business. Yet, I5 was able to initiate contract between Airbus and the Government of Ghana about aircraft sales,” he said.
“Court records state that as early as January 2009, immediately power changed hands, Airbus had understandings with I5 to pursue GO1, which fed directly into the expression of interest sent out by the Government of Ghana around June 2009. From 2009, I5 and his associates worked on the sales to the Government of Ghana without any written consultant agreement.
“This included consistent liaison with GO1, as the key decision maker, regarding the potential Airbus C-295 sale.
On December 7, 2009, I5 and another registered Company D in Ghana. A company of the same name was incorporated in the UK in February 2010. Company D was the corporate vehicle through which I5 and his associates provided go-between services to Airbus and GO1,” he said.
Call to speak
Meanwhile, the NPP has challenged Mr Mahama to tell the world what he knows about the bribery scandal.
“Candidate Mahama is no stranger to speaking to the international community. He has been known to assemble diplomats even if he has nothing to say except lies as demonstrated in the false tapes saga of Ayawaso West Wuogon constituency matters.
“The NPP calls on Candidate Mahama to tell the whole nation what he knows about GO1 and the processes leading to the purchase of the aircraft form Airbus SE,” said Mr Buaben Asamoa.
SP to probe?
In a related development, President Akufo-Addo has directed the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, to institute an inquiry into the scandal.
He is to collaborate with his UK counterpart to unravel the names of persons behind the deal.
A statement signed by Eugene Arhin, director of communications at the presidency, indicated that Mr Amidu has been directed to “conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present, involved in the said scandal.”
The statement further disclosed that the President wants “necessary legal action taken against any such official, as required by Ghanaian Law.”
In a sharp rebuttal, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, in the erstwhile Mahama administration, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong, has denied that officials of Airbus paid or attempted to pay bribes in exchange for contracts.
“The reports alleging that Airbus SE paid bribes during the administration of President John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani are false, misleading and do not reflect the Approved Judgement,” she said in a statement.
NPP question cost
It has now emerged that the then minority NPP in parliament had raised concerns about the cost involved in the purchase of the aircraft.
Discussing the Credit Agreement between Government of Ghana and Deutsche Bank Sociedad Anonima Espanda (Spain) for the purchase of two C-295 military aircraft for Ghana Armed Forces, the NPP minority then, led by Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, questioned the amount involved.
Their position was that the government was buying aircraft which the manufacturer had stated on its website as costing US$22 million, even though Ghana was buying it for €24.5 million.
“But it cannot be said that the manufacturers themselves are telling us that the shell cost is US$22 million and you come before us and tell us that it is €24.5 million. It cannot be justified,” said Mr Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu, as was captured by the Parliamentary hansard of July 20 2011.