The Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has described the Airbus scandal as “embarrassing” and a dent on Ghana’s image on the global stage.
The scandal which came to light after a series of court documents were published by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom revealed incidence of bribery and corruption spearheaded by Airbus where the European Aviation giant paid millions of bribes to state officials of five countries including Ghana in exchange for lucrative contracts.
Speaking on Accra based Joy FM, Mr. Nkrumah said “it is embarrassing when you meet international investors who during the coffee break say ‘is this what happens when Ghana government officials do deals? They take bribes before they do deals? It is not fair to Ghana. That is why it is important for all of us to be concerned and we need to have disclosure so that we can go through the process of having these persons also defend themselves”.
Documents released by the DOJ and SFO indicted Ghana alleging that contrary to section 7 of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, Airbus failed to prevent its close associates or persons associated with them from “bribing others concerned with the purchase of military transport aircraft by the Government of Ghana, where the said bribery was intended to obtain or retain advantages in the conduct of business.”
The document stated that the bribery allegation took place between 2009 and 2015 where the European Aviation giant engaged the services of a close relative of a high-ranking elected Ghanaian Government official who served as an intermediary to facilitate the sale of three military transport aircraft to the Government of Ghana.
“A number of Airbus employees knew that the intermediary 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” the document continued.
Also, the document pointed out that “false documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments. The payments were intended to induce or reward “improper favor” by Government Official 1 towards Airbus.
Payments were eventually stopped due to the arrangement failing the due diligence processes required by the Liquidation Committee.”
This has led to series of speculations linking the said Government Official indicted in the document to former President John Mahama.
However, Mr. Oppong Nkrumah emphasized that if indeed the former president is the said government official, “they should name him so that he can defend himself properly.”