Airbus Saga: Why I Kept Silent Till Now – Mahama Opens Up
Former President John Dramani Mahama has offered explanations to his loud silence on the controversial Airbus scandal since the news first broke.
Mr Mahama disclosed that his reluctance to personally comment on the various allegations made in respect of the acquisition of the aircraft, was because some ex- government officials and members of his staff had already reacted to the matter.
“I recognised 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,” he told the Daily Graphic in an exclusive interview.
The NDC flagbearer and former President, for several months refused to speak to the issue of the Airbus scandal, even after The Sun, a United Kingdom tabloid, linked him strongly to the bribery scandal.
Crown Court Airbus Ruling
It would be recalled that on February 1, UK’s Royal Courts of Justice found Dutch firm Airbus SE guilty of paying bribes in shady deals in some countries including Ghana, South Korea, Mexico, Colombia and Malaysia.
For Ghana, the scandal involved government officials in 2011 and 2015 who negotiated for the deal with Airbus agents including Samuel Mahama believed to be a brother of former President John Mahama.
“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,” the ruling on Ghana’s deal read in part.
“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,” court documents reveal.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo immediately referred the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) with Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor launching a formal investigation into the scandal.
In February he announced he had summoned four people including British Actor Phil Middlemiss and Samuel Mahama and released their passport details online.
But in sudden volte-face, the former president whose silence on the controversial subject has gone unnoticed, finally opened up to the state-owned daily on the infamous incident on the eve of the New Patriotic Party (NPP’s) parliamentary primaries.
Mr Mahama accused the current Akufo-Addo led NPP administration of not being interested in the issue as a matter of good faith, but seeking to dredge up the matter for selfish political interests.
Asked if the Office of the Special Prosecutor had reached out to him on its investigations, Mr Mahama answered in the negative.
To him, the Airbus saga was an issue between the parent company and its representatives who were found to be in breach of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) rules.
Thus, for anyone to seek to attempt to rope him or any other government official in the saga, is simply a gross misrepresentation of facts and spread of deliberate falsehoods.
“This is clearly and unambiguously stated in all the available documents of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO). It has nothing to do with the government of Ghana or with any official of government. To state otherwise is to misrepresent the conclusions of the SFO report and spread deliberate falsehood,” the ex-president posited.