THE EXPLOSIVE AIRBUS SCANDAL: WHO WAS THE ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL?
- The revelations of bribery/corruption are contained in court documents, they are not allegations, assumptions or perceptions.
- They are revelations because the ‘payers’ of the bribes confessed to paying.
- Even though those to whom the bribe monies were paid directly, were not said to be in government or government officials (intermediaries) at the time, at least one of them named as “Intermediary 5” is said to be a relative of an ELECTED government official.
- The Elected government official is said to have been a key decision maker in the purchase of the military aircrafts. The Payments were meant to induce or seek favours from this elected government official in relation to the purchase of the military aircrafts.
- The Elected official assumed office in 2009 and was still in office or in government in 2015. So could this influential elected government official be?
- There are three Government officials who could be described as key decision makers for the purchase of Military aircrafts: ( i)The President of the Republic and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces (ii)The Vice President and Chairman of the Ghana Armed Forces Council and (iii) The Minister for Defence.
- But Ministers of Defence even if they are elected MPs cannot, technically, be referred to or described as elected government officials. As far as their Ministerial portfolios are concerned, they are appointed government officials. They get to be Ministers by Appointment not by elections. But let’s even assume that where such ministers are MPs, they can be referred to as elected government officials and continue the analysis.
- In 2009, the Minister for Defence was Lt.Gen. Henry Smith. He was an appointed government official not an elected one. He was not also an MP. So he possibly could not be the key elected government official we are looking for. The next Defence Minister who was an MP was Mark Woyongo, who served from Feb 2013 to July 2014. But Woyongo was elected as MP in the 2012 elections and so could not have been the elected official we are searching for who was in power in 2009. The other Defence Minister was Dr. Ben Kumbour who was also an MP. But he was not Defence Minister until July 2014 and thus would not have been a key decision maker in 2009. That leaves President Mills and then Vice President Mahama as the ‘key suspects’ that is elected government officials with Key decision-making powers in relation to the purchase of Military air crafts.
- But President Mills died in July 2012. He, therefore, could not have been the elected government official who was still in power in 2015 referred to by the court document. At this stage, we are left with Vice/President John Mahama.
- Vive President Mahama was elected in 2009 together with President Mills. He was, thus, an elected government official. As Vice President, he was the Chairman of the Ghana Armed Forces Council. He was thus a Key decision maker in the procurement of Military equipment including aircrafts. In 2015, he was still an elected government official, this time as President. So could he be the one in question?
THE STATEMENT BY FORMER AG
The statement issued by the former Attorney General accusing the media of misreporting, by itself, contains aspects of misreporting. Paragraph two of the statement says: The reports alleging that Airbus SE paid bribes during the administration of President John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani Mahama are false, misleading and do not reflect the approved judgment.” This statement is rather false and misleading. The Court said airbus officials admitted paying bribes to intermediaries, one of whom, (Intermediary 5) was a relative to an elected government official.
So yes, bribes were paid, according to the payers. Did the said key elected government official for who the bribe monies were intended, receive the bribe monies? We don’t know. But we need to know.
By Sulemana Braimah, head of Media Foundation for West Africa
Source: Daily Mail GH