In a public statement released on Saturday, Fixing the Country Movement has expressed its dismay over the lack of progress in the Airbus Corruption investigations involving former Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama.
The movement has announced its intention to occupy Mr. Mahama’s office in 14 days if action is not taken on the matter.
The movement highlights that it has been over three years since Airbus SE, a global aircraft provider based in France, agreed to pay hefty fines totaling more than $3.9 billion to resolve foreign bribery charges. The charges were brought forth by authorities in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom, stemming from the company’s scheme to bribe government officials and non-governmental airline executives worldwide.
As part of the global resolution, Airbus also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over bribes paid in several countries, including Ghana.
The investigation revealed that Airbus engaged in a scheme from 2008 to 2015, offering and paying bribes to decision-makers and influencers to gain improper business advantages.
Of particular concern to the movement is the revelation that Airbus employed intermediaries, including renowned British actor Philip Middlemiss and John Mahama’s brother Samuel Adam Mahama, to facilitate the sale of military transport aircraft to Ghana.
The British and American authorities’ court records indicate that Airbus sought to obtain an “undue favor” from a member of the Ghanaian government, identified as “Government Official 1.”
The movement asserts that the Ghanaian justice system should conduct a thorough inquiry into the Airbus corruption, as the former President Mahama may have significant questions to answer. Despite a year passing since the Special Prosecutor announced the new phase of investigations, there has been little progress on the matter.
Recently, Fixing the Country Movement petitioned the Office of the Special Prosecutor to provide an update on the case, but they have yet to receive a response. In response to the lack of action, the movement is issuing a 14-day ultimatum for progress to be made. If no action is taken, the movement plans to lead a citizen coalition in front of Mahama’s office to peacefully protest and demand answers.
The movement emphasizes that a nonchalant attitude towards the Airbus corruption affair is unacceptable, and it urges the relevant parties to take immediate action. The Ghanaian public deserves transparency and accountability in addressing this corruption scandal involving a former President.
Signed by Ernest Kofi Owusu-Bempah Bonsu, Convener of Fixing the Country Movement, the statement serves as a call to action for the Ghanaian justice system and highlights the movement’s determination to seek answers and hold accountable those involved in the Mahama Airbus Corruption case.
Read full statement below;
Public Statement by Fixing The Country Movement
Notice to occupy Mahama’s office in 14 days on the Mahama Airbus Corruption
Fixing the Country Movement is appalled at the nonchalant attitude being deployed on the Airbus Corruption investigations.
It has been over three years when Airbus SE, a global provider of civilian and military aircraft based in France, agreed to pay combined penalties of more than $3.9 billion to resolve foreign bribery charges with authorities in the United States, France and the United Kingdom arising out of the Company’s scheme to use third-party business partners to bribe government officials, as well as non-governmental airline executives, around the world.
As part of this coordinated global resolution, the Company also entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) over bribes paid in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Indonesia and Ghana, and the Company agreed to pay approximately 990 million Euros equivalent (approximately $1.09 billion) pursuant to the SFO agreement. The PNF and SFO had investigated the Company as part of a Joint Investigative Team.
According to admissions and court documents, beginning in at least 2008 and continuing until at least 2015, Airbus engaged in and facilitated a scheme to offer and pay bribes to decision makers and other influencers, including to foreign officials, in order to obtain improper business advantages and to win business from both privately owned enterprises and entities that were state-owned and state-controlled.
As a matter of fact, judicial records made public on 31 January 2020 by the British and American authorities, which Airbus acknowledges to be true, shows that between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus subsidiary specialising in the defence sector hired the brother of a high-ranking Ghanaian elected official(GovernmentOfficial 1), 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.
It turned out that Philip Middlemiss, a renowned British actor, Leanne Davis and John Mahama’s brother, Samuel Adam Mahama were the intermediaries between Airbus and the former President.
In fact, per the court records, “Government Official 1” had such a reputation as a prolific bribe-collector that within three weeks of the election of the incoming Government, AND BEFORE IT WAS SWORN IN, Airbus reached agreement with brother of “Government Official 1,” described in the US version of Court documents as “Individual 1.”
Intriguingly, 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.
As a result, Ghana indeed bought three Airbus C295 military transport aircraft – two in 2011 and another in 2015, all under the presidency of Mills/Mahama.
Again, the UK court documents revealed 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.
The Ghanaian company they looked into was owned by the brother of Mr Mahama, and a British television actor who had publicly claimed to be the “best friend” of John Mahama.
Indeed, the former Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, who had found the corruption suspicions credible enough to open an investigation in February 2020, announced that he had summoned four “suspects,” Philip Middlemiss and his collaborator Sarah Furneaux, as well as Leanne Davis and Samuel Adam Mahama.
The current Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng has in a public statement indicated that he is investigating the matter.
It has been over a year since the Special Prosecutor announced the new phase of investigations into the matter.
Just last week, I personally petitioned the office of the Special Prosecutor to help the public with the status of the Airbus/Mahama case. And we’re yet to receive any response from the office of the Special Prosecutor.
In the light of the above, we are issuing 14 days ultimatum to whoever it may concern to see to it that action is taken on the Mahama Airbus Corruption affair.
As trusting citizens, we want the Ghanaian justice system to open a thorough enquiry on the Airbus Corruption because we strongly believe that former President Mahama has a lot of questions to answer.
And if after the 14days, there’s no action in that regards, Fixing the Country Movement will lead a citizens coalition to congregate and picket in front of the office of former President, John Mahama.
The nonchalant attitude being deployed on this Airbus matter ought to give way to real action.
Ernest Kofi Owusu-Bempah Bonsu (Convener – Fixing the Country Movement)
-By Vincent Kubi