Flagbearer of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), former President John Dramani Mahama is said to be rolling up his sleeves to face an apparent battle to extricate himself from the £3 billion airbus bribery and fine scandal that has hit Ghana and other countries.
Airbus SE, Europe’s largest aircraft manufacturer admitted paying huge bribes in order to secure contracts in many countries including Ghana, under the erstwhile Mahama administration.
Consequently, the company was found guilty by the Royal Court in the United Kingdom (UK) and was to pay a fine of £3 billion as penalties.
Former government officials under the Mahama administration were said to have received some of the bribes in order to push through the purchase of military planes for the Ghana Armed Forces.
Again, documents from the Court ‘fingered’ an elected high government official, tagged ‘Government Official 1’ as part of the bribe taking brigade that received kickbacks to ensure Ghana purchased military aircraft from the company.
Even though no name has been mentioned in connection with ‘Government Official 1’, former President Mahama has been challenged to come clean since the deal occurred under his administration and also as a high-ranking elected government official.
A sequel to this, some communicators of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) had insisted the ‘Government Official 1’ referred to in the UK court ruling is the NDC’s 2020 flagbearer and dared him to respond to the scandal.
Many of former President Mahama’s appointees have so far spoken on the matter in a spirited attempt to disassociate him from the local and international disgrace.
However, there are still a plethora of calls on the former President to break his long silence and personally address the issue.
Now, the Member of Parliament for North Tongu, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, has disclosed that the former President will soon comment directly on the scandal.
According to him, Mr. Mahama will comment on the issue even though he instructed the former Attorney-General, Mrs Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong to do so some time ago.
Speaking on 100 Degrees on Onua TV last Friday Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa insisted the former President has already commented on the issue through his lawyer.
The MP, however, noted that if Ghanaians want a direct response from Mr. Mahama, it will come during one of his Facebook Live sessions.
“He is speaking thematically and when it comes to fighting corruption when it comes as a thematic area, I am sure he will speak to it,” Mr Ablakwa who is also the Ranking Member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of Parliament stated.
The UK’s Royal Courts of Justice found the Dutch Firm Airbus SE guilty on February 1, 2020, of paying bribes in shady deals in countries including Ghana, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia, and Malaysia.
In the case of Ghana, it involved government officials in 2011 and 2015, beginning from the time Mr John Mahama was directly involved as Vice President in negotiations for purchase of military aircraft and subsequently becoming the President of Ghana.
Part of the ruling on Ghana indicated that, “Between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghanaian Government official (Government Official 1) as its BP in respect of the proposed sale of three military transport aircraft to the Government of Ghana.
“A number of Airbus employees knew that Intermediary 5 was a close relative of Government Official 1, who was a key decision-maker in respect of the proposed sales. A number of Airbus employees made or promised success-based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5.”
Intermediary 5 is now conclusively identified as a younger brother of former President Mahama, Samuel (Adams) Mahama.
Referral to OSP
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has since referred the global scandal to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), which is still under investigation.
The Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has so far invited four people to make themselves available to assist in the ongoing investigation into an alleged act of corruption in the purchase of three aircraft from Airbus SE for Ghana.
According to the Special Prosecutor, upon completion of preliminary investigation, his office will require Samuel Mahama, who he described as a brother of former President John Mahama; Philip Sean Middlemiss; Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux, all British nationals, to come and answer some questions on the various roles they allegedly played in the sale and purchase of the aircraft.
Airbus scandal ruffles NDC
It appeared the gargantuan £3 billion bribery scandal ruffled the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) ahead of the 2020 general election.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, which seemed to have reduced the heat on the scandal, NDC spin doctors ran from one FM station to another since the exposé, to parry strong allegations that their presidential candidate, former Mahama was complicit in the massive scandal.