After nearly five months of holding his silence on the Airbus bribery allegation, former President John Dramani Mahama has stated categorically that he did not receive any bribe from the purchase of three military aircrafts by the government of Ghana between 2009 and 2015.
According to the former President, his only motivation for purchasing the aircraft was to equip and retool the Ghana Armed Forces for the efficient discharge of their duties.
“Let me state without any equivocation that no financial benefit accrued to me. Neither was there any form of inducement in the purchase of the aircraft. My singular motivation was to equip and retool the Ghana Armed Forces in a manner that would make the discharge of their national and international roles efficient and less burdensome and for all the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make, they do not deserve less.
“I am happy that the said aircraft have become the backbone of the Ghana Air Force and its operations. They are used for troop transportation, logistics deployment and medical evacuation,” he told the Daily Graphic.
An investigation by United Kingdom’s Special Fraud Office (SFO) released on Friday, January 31, revealed that a top-ranking elected government official under the Mills-Mahama administrations took bribes of ‘approximately €5 million from aerospace manufacturer, Airbus, to award them contracts between 2011 and 2015 with the help of an ‘Intermediary 5’ who is the unnamed government official’s sibling.
In the heat of the debate about who was Government Official One and Intermediary 5, the governing New Patriotic Party called on the former President John Dramani Mahama to respond to allegations since all accusing fingers pointed to him.
But in an interview with state owned Daily Graphic, Mr Mahama indicated that all the negotiations by government in the acquisition of the aircraft were conducted without any ‘untoward influence’ from any Government officials.
“I am proud that under my tenure as Chairman of the Armed Forces Council and as Commander-in-Chief, the security services saw the biggest retooling and equipping in the history of Ghana. All the processes and negotiations by the government in the acquisition of the aircraft were conducted directly with Airbus and my administration without any untoward influence either directly or indirectly through any agents it may have appointed. Indeed, nowhere in the available UK Court Documents has it been said that Airbus paid any public or government official on the side for the purchase of the aircraft,” he stated.
According to Mr Mahama, he decided to remain silent in the face of all the allegations because “ he recognized that it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Ghana, following the almost immediate referral to that body by the President.”
“I intend to address all the allegations of corruption made against me over the years, and I will also take on fully, Nana Akufo-Addo on his own record of corruption,” he added.