Former President John Dramani Mahama has said the New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration is only interested in doing propaganda with the Airbus SE bribery scandal and has no genuine interest in the case.
According to him, the posture of the NPP government on the matter shows it is not acting in good faith and was only pushing it to score political points.
Government Official 1
The former President appeared to have removed the mystery surrounding the Government Official 1 (GO1) or Individual 1 tag in the explosive bribery scandal when he commented on the matter for the first time last week since news broke that Airbus SE officials paid about five million Euros in bribes to a top Ghanaian leader during his tenure.
In a media interview, Mr. Mahama made what looked like a tacit admission that he was indeed GO1 or Individual 1 as referred to in separate investigations in the United Kingdom and the United States, as having received at least five million Euros in kickbacks from Airbus officials.
He then denied vehemently that he took bribes during the transaction to procure aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces during his tenure in spite of mounting forensic evidence against him.
“Let me state without any equivocation that no financial benefit accrued to me. Neither was there any form of inducement in the purchase of the aircraft,” he claimed.
According to the ex-President, who is staging a comeback after being trounced at the polls in 2016 as the incumbent, “My singular motivation was to equip and retool the Ghana Armed Forces in a manner that would make the discharge of their national and international roles efficient and less burdensome; and for all the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make; they do not deserve less.”
“I am happy that the said aircraft had become the backbone of the Ghana Air Force and its operations. They used it for troop transportation, logistics deployment and medical evacuation (Sic),” he said.
Mr. Mahama said the Office of the Special Prosecutor headed by Martin Amidu, which had been tasked to investigate the matter, had not invited him for any questioning concerning the scandal.
It is on record that his brother, who was mentioned in the Airbus scandal as being an Intermediary in the five million Euros kickback payments, had been invited by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
According to the former President, because the issue was referred to the Special Prosecutor, he decided not to respond to the allegations.
“I recognized that it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Ghana, following the almost immediate referral to that body by the President,” he said.
Mr. Mahama said he had accepted the challenge from the NPP for the corruption debate including the Airbus issue and was lacing his boots for the showdown.
“I intend to address all the allegations of corruption made against me over the years, and I will also take on fully Nana Akufo-Addo on his own record of corruption,” he stated.
The global aeroplane manufacturing giant, Airbus SE, in February 2020, was fined a record three billion pounds in penalties by the UK Crown Court of Southwark, London, after admitting it had paid huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to land contracts in 20 countries, including Ghana and in the United States. The damages against Airbus SE, with Case No.: 1:20-cr-00021 (TFH), was being assessed after the historic judgement at the District Court of Columbia.
UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), in documents sent to court, quoted at least five million Euros as payment of kickbacks to a top Ghanaian official through an intermediary who is a close relative of “a high-ranking elected Ghanaian government official” during the Mahama administration.
In the UK Crown Court documents, the SFO named the elected NDC guru as GO1 and that powerful official was the same person being referred to as Individual 1 in the US court documents.
In the same vein Intermediary 5 (I5) in the UK court documents, who has been described as the brother of the powerful elected official in Ghana, was the same person being referred to as Consultant 4 by the US authorities.
Per both documents, GO1 or Individual 1 was not content with having I5 (his brother) handle his alleged bribe-collection arrangements.
According to the documents, GO1 was in “direct repeated contact with senior Airbus SE executives.”
There are six key actors involved in the corruption-infested case regarding Ghana and the UK investigators from the SFO, who have lined them up as GO1 (high ranking and elected), I5 (British national and close relative of GO1), Company D (corporate vehicle for I5 – shareholder), Intermediary 6 (British national and associate of I5), Intermediary 7 (British national and associate of I5) as well as Intermediary 8 (Spanish company and front for I5).