Mahama has been accused of having links to a corrupt network in a case of kickbacks in the contract for the sale of Airbus military equipment to Ghana. A former star of the successful British series Coronation Street, Philip Middlemiss, his girlfriend Leanne Davis and John Dramani Mahama’s brother, Samuel Adam Mahama, are suspected of having acted as intermediaries between Airbus and Mahama.
French, British and US authorities carried out a joint investigation into the alleged corruption at the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in 23 countries, including Ghana, and shed new light on the exchange. The former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, dared Mahama to appear before his office to prove his innocence in the Airbus scandal.
Speaking on the issue for the first time, Mahama said his hands are clean, insisting that the aircraft were rather bought at a cheaper price compared to what was on the market then.
“Airbus is still an issue of investigation for the special prosecutor so I’d rather not go into the merits of that. The previous special prosecutor, Martin Amidu, investigated. He called the Armed Forces, he went through the procurement procedures and we got these aircraft cheaper than they could have been bought on the market,” Mahama told Paris-based The Africa Report magazine.
“Even in the UK, the Serious Fraud Office has shut down that investigation. And so, we are just waiting to see what the [current] special prosecutor will say.
“It was in the interest of the country. The current Air Force commander was the head of the technical team that made the decision to buy Airbus; Airbus wasn’t me. The military have detailed every step they went through,” Mahama, who is the presidential candidate of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) added.
Between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus subsidiary specialising in the defence sector hired the brother of a high-ranking Ghanaian elected official, as well as a friend of the said brother and a third person to serve as commercial partners in the sale of three military transport aircraft, model C295, to Ghana.
Airbus knew they had no previous experience in international trade or the arms industry, but knew of the family ties between one of the three middlemen and the member of the government, and hoped to take advantage of them.
According to the British and American records, Airbus dangled commissions of nearly 5 million euros in front of the middlemen.
In September 2011, an external audit commissioned by Airbus revealed that one of the middlemen was clearly close to a member of the Ghanaian government.
The aircraft manufacturer was therefore at risk of violating the OECD convention on combating bribery of foreign public officials – a convention to which the sales agreement signed a month earlier was a signatory. As a result, Airbus had to forgo paying the agreed commissions directly into the account of a company owned by the intermediaries.
However, the company did not abandon the idea of payments, far from it: it simply made it more opaque, channelling the money – ultimately nearly 4 million euros – through one of its commercial partners in Spain, which was less likely to arouse suspicion.
As a result, Ghana has indeed bought three Airbus C295 military transport aircraft – two in 2011 and another in 2015. But the British judge in charge of the case found that Airbus had sought, through these kickbacks, to obtain an “undue favour” from a member of the Ghanaian government.
Although the court records do not reveal any names, the elements they contain do identify some of the players.
For example, it states that the intermediaries established a company in Ghana on 7 December 2009 and that a company with the same name was established in the United Kingdom in February of the following year.
However, only one company, Deedum Limited, fits this description. The Ghanaian company they looked into was owned by the brother of a senior member of the government, serving from 2009 to 2016, and by a British television actor who had publicly claimed to be his “best friend”.
According to them, this is precisely the case of Deedum Limited, whose shareholders are Samuel Adam Mahama and Philip Middlemiss, who told the Manchester Evening News in 2010 that he was the “best friend” of the Ghanaian vice-president’s brother.
Source: Daily Mail GH