Ghanaian officials have written to the United Kingdom’s (UK) Serious Fraud Office (SFO) to name persons involved in the Airbus scandal.
A Deputy Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mr Godfred Yeboah Dame, said “a letter has been written by the Attorney General to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) requesting for the information, so the process has been triggered for such information to be given”.
Interacting with the media on Tuesday, Mr. Dame said: “Given the limits on the exercise of extraterritorial enforcement jurisdiction in commercial crime and the fight against corruption, states in modern times have developed mechanisms to ensure that complex commercial crime with international dimensions committed by multinational companies is punished effectively, while safeguarding some important collateral benefits from activities engaged in by companies involved.
“One of the most important lessons to be learnt from the judgement of the Crown Court in the Airbus scandal, with regards to law enforcement is the innovative reform made by the UK legislation in so far as the prosecution of some crimes is concerned. We observed a departure from the traditional approach to the resolution of alleged criminal conduct through the introduction of a new mechanism of a deferred prosecution agreement by the UK Crime and Courts Act, 2003.”
“The statement of facts of the Airbus scandal supported by over 30 million documents reviewed by the relevant authorities, was undisputed by the parties.
“However, it is remarkable that in spite of the clear uncontroverted facts of the case, the key government officials in Ghana who negotiated the illicitly procured three aircraft for Ghana have maintained utter silence about same, as if there was no such transaction or the principal actors do not exist,” he said.
Mr Dame noted that many of the senior government officials involved in the illicit procurement of the aircraft were still around but continued to maintain a deafening silence or reprehensible indifference to the explicit findings of the Crown Court in England, adding that “at least there was a vice president who transformed into a president during the period in question. While maintaining his silence, contrary to the tenets of accountability to the people, probity and integrity, he is rather remarkably campaigning for votes from the same people he does not want to open up to on the Airbus scandal. There was a minister of defence in the period in question. There was an attorney general at all material times”.
He said in the spirit of accountability to the people, probity, integrity and transparency, one would have expected those key government officials who negotiated and/or were involved in the impugned transaction to self-report and voluntarily cooperate with the investigations directed by the President of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo
“From the Preamble to our constitution, probity and accountability are the bedrock for the democratic principles on which the affairs of the state are run.
“Having previously sworn an oath to defend the constitution and its principles, it is ironic that the past government officials in question will not open up to the people on the role they played in a transaction the subject matter of a criminal matter in a British court,” Graphic Online quoted him.
Ghana’s Special Prosecutor, Mr Martin Amidu, has started investigations into the Airbus bribery scandal.
In a statement, Mr. Amidu said the probe kicked off February 4, 2020, after establishing that there is reasonable suspicion of corruption in the Airbus scandal.
Last week, president Nana Akufo-Addo referred the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor after court documents from the UK and the US found Airbus SE guilty in a series of unlawful business deals in countries including Ghana where a relative of a top elected government official was allegedly bribed.
“The Special Prosecutor has determined that the said referral and deferred prosecution of agreements and judgments accompanying them raise reasonable suspicion of the commission of corruption and corruption-related offences of bribery of public officers and the use of public office by public officers for private office which are offences falling within the mandate of this office under the office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017 Act (595). A preliminary investigation was, accordingly opened on 4 February 2020 by this office into the allegations contained in the judgements referred to this Office aforesaid,” Mr Amidu said in his statement.
The statement further noted that the relevant domestic public institutions have been invited to provide relevant documents to aid in the probe.
It, therefore, urged the public not to speculate or politicise the content of the UK and America courts on the matter until after the outcome of the investigations.
“The relevant domestic public institutions which can assist the ongoing investigations have been contacted to provide information and documents under Act (595).
“The Office of the Special Prosecutor appeals to the general public not to speculate or politicise the disclosures made in the deferred prosecutors agreements and judgements so as to allow this office to treat the suspected crimes as suspected crimes simplicita and nothing more pending the conclusion of the investigations,” the statement said.
European aviation giant, Airbus, has confessed to paying huge sums of money as bribe to government officials and persons close to the seat of government during the Mills and Mahama administration.
Court documents reveal that Ghana is among countries Airbus doled out millions of dollars as bribe between 2011 and 2015 to strike deals through secret agents.
“It was a pervasive and pernicious bribery scheme in various divisions of Airbus SE that went on for a number of years,” US District Judge Thomas Hogan said.
The European planemaker has now agreed a record $4bn settlement with France, the United Kingdom and the United States as a result of the scandal. The US Department of Justice said the deal was the largest-ever foreign bribery settlement.
The scheme was run by a unit at Airbus’ French headquarters, which its one-time chief executive, Tom Enders, reportedly called “bullshit castle”.
The disclosures, made public after a nearly four-year investigation spanning sales to more than a dozen overseas markets, came as courts on both sides of the Atlantic formally approved settlements that lift a legal cloud that has hung over Europe’s largest aerospace group for years.
Source: Daily Mail GH