The main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) has refuted any wrongdoing with regards to the Airbus bribery scandal.
A judgment from the Crown Court at Southwark, UK, said: “The fifth count alleges that contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010, between 1 July 2011 and 1 June 2015, Airbus SE failed to prevent persons associated with Airbus SE 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 business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus SE. 53.
“Between 2009 and 2015, an Airbus defence company engaged Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high-ranking elected Ghanaian government official (Government Official 1) as its BP in respect of the proposed sale of three military transport aircraft to the government of Ghana.
“A number of Airbus employees knew that Intermediary 5 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.
“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 favour’ by Government Official 1 toward Airbus. Payments were eventually stopped due to the arrangement failing the due diligence processes required by the Liquidation Committee.”
The governing New Patriotic Party called on former President John Mahama to respond to the allegations saying “all fingers point to him and one of his brothers”.
In response, the NDC said the whole Airbus case is about legal infractions by employees and agents of Airbus.
“Foreign companies who do business with Ghana have their own internal modus operandi. The nature of the infractions committed by Airbus SE as contained in the approved judgments are such that, the government of Ghana could not have known at the time of the transaction,” the National Communication Officer of the party, Mr Sammy Gyamfi said at the press conference in Accra on Thursday, 6 February 2020.
According to him, Ghana did not lose any money in the Airbus deal and no government official under the NDC did any wrong.
Read Mr Gyamfi’s full speech below:
Good afternoon friends from the media.
We thank you for honouring our invitation at such short notice. We are grateful for your indulgence whenever necessity calls on us to serve our nation.
The purpose of today’s press conference is twofold. First, we will address the judgements of the Crown Court of Southwark, England and the District Court of Columbia in a case involving Airbus SE, the giant aircraft manufacturers. Second, we will speak on the latest revelations of massive corruption and thievery in Akufo-Addo’s so-called fight against “galamsey”.
THE AIRBUS SCANDAL
Ladies and gentlemen of the press,
Last Sunday, the much respected former Attorney General, Mrs. Marietta Brew Appiah- Opong issued a statement which primarily sought to correct the mischievous twist to the approved judgements of the Crown Court of Southwark and the District Court of Columbia involving Airbus SE. She basically stated, that reports by a section of the media that Airbus paid bribes to the government of Ghana between 2009 and 2015 are false and do not reflect the Approved Judgements.
Ladies and gentlemen, the said investigation was triggered by a complaint from competitors of Airbus over suspected violation of OECD rules by the company. A careful reading of the approved judgments of the Crown Court of Southwark and the District Court of Columbia on the matter, shows that the entire case is about legal infractions by employees and agents of Airbus and nothing more.
According to the approved judgments of the Crown Court of Southwark and the District Court of Columbia:
1. Airbus on their own accord, engaged intermediaries or better still hired agents to help them sell military aircrafts to Ghana between the years 2009 and 2015.
2. While the use of agents or business partners is common practice with multinational companies, the approved judgments held that Airbus failed to follow OECD rules in appointing their business intermediaries.
3. The approved judgments further found, that payment by Airbus of success-based commission to their intermediaries was in excess of the agreed 5% commission as captured in the transaction Agreement.
4. Whereas, there have been claims that success-based commissions were paid to agents of Airbus with the intent to induce or reward improper favour by the said “government official 1”, it is instructive to note, that there is no indication either in the approved judgments of the Crown Court of Southwark or the District Court of Columbia that any such inducement took place.
Now let’s be clear about the facts:
First, no ex-government official of Ghana is cited in any part of the approved judgments for receiving a bribe or committing any offense. In fact, not even the unnamed “government official 1” is cited in the report or approved judgement for demanding or receiving a bribe or for committing any offense.
This point becomes even clearer when juxtaposed with the facts narrated in the approved judgment of the Crown Court of Southwark with regard to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Taiwan, where the UK SFO made findings on how bribes were actually disbursed to senior executives of Airline companies.
We can state with a large degree of certainty that the UK SFO would have stated that bribes were paid to the said “government official 1” if they had found so in their investigations. Instead, they carefully chose the words “intended to induce” without more. And there is no indication that this intention was actualized.
Therefore, to the extent that the said “government official 1” is not cited for any offense in any of the approved judgements, his or her identity is totally immaterial.
Second, there is no finding in any of the approved judgments that Ghana lost any money through the said transactions. No such finding is contained in any of the approved judgments. The fact is, government of Ghana paid fair commercial value for the aircrafts and was not in any way shortchanged. Indeed, the Ghana Airforce conducted its own independent technical and financial evaluation of the transactions in line with best practices of the Military.
Third, there is no finding in any of the approved judgements that the transactions and the processes leading to same, violated any law. In fact, the first transaction under which success-based commission was paid by Airbus to their intermediaries, adhered to the Public Procurement law and received the legal opinion of the then Attorney General before it was finally approved by the August House of Parliament.
Additionally, there is no finding in any of the approved judgements, that the government of Ghana or any government official, engaged the services of or paid any monies to any intermediary relative to the said transactions. Therefore, any infractions arising from the engagement and payment of intermediaries by Airbus SE are entirely its business.
Distinguished friends from the media, it is clear from the foregoing that, the whole Airbus case is about legal infractions by employees and agents of Airbus, a private company. Foreign companies who do business with Ghana have their own internal modus operandi. The nature of the infractions committed by Airbus SE as contained in the approved judgments are such that, the government of Ghana could not have known at the time of the transaction.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The indecent haste with which Yaw Buaben Asamoa of the NPP jumped to pass judgement on the NDC was pathetic and most reckless to say the least. No serious minded person would draw conclusions based on conjecture and willful misinterpretation of the Approved Judgement of the UK Crown Court. And so we treat with contempt his statements and those of other NPP hirelings who may have thought wrongly that this was an opportunity for political equalization.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Airbus matter is nothing like the recent conclusively established corruption cases, such as the doling out of a whopping GHS136 million for the private hotel project of the in-law of President Akufo-Addo, Dr. Nyantakyi, the missing excavators scandal, the missing 400 tricycles scandal, just to mention a few.
The NPP should be reminded that, mulitple Ambassadors from Western nations have in recent times publicly decried the alarming spate of corruption under President Akufo-Addo. Strangely, President Akufo-Addo only few weeks ago, shamelessly warned ambassadors and foreign envoys in Ghana not to speak publicly about the alarming heights corruption has reached under his administration.
Whether it was the Ameri-Mytelinous scandal in which President Akufo-Addo gave executive approval for a deal which was inflated by an amount of US$800 million or the BOST scandal where five (5) million liters of contaminated fuel was illegally sold to unlicensed businesses and the proceeds misappropriated, or the PPA scandal or the Australia Visa Fraud scandal or the “#12” scandal or Galamsey Fraud” scandal, or the PDS scandal which caused this nation a huge financial loss of US$190 million, President Akufo-Addo has proven to be the biggest enabler and promoter of corruption in the history of Ghana.
This fact is buttressed by the latest Corruption Perception Index (CPI) of Transparency International, in which Ghana dropped two (2) places and the recent Afrobarometer findings by CDD-GH, that 53% of Ghanaians think corruption has worsened under the Akufo-Addo-led government.
In all this, it is important to remind the NPP that per the latest CPI of Transparency International, the most reputable and internationally recognized corruption index, President Akufo-Addo’s best score of 41 points is far worse than President Mahama’s worst score of 43 points which was recorded in the year 2016 before the NDC exited office.