Airbus scandal: Amidu begins probe

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The Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has begun probing the Airbus scandal. The probe begun on February 4 2020.

In a press statement, Mr. Amidu said there is a reasonable suspicion of corruption in the Airbus scandal.

President Nana Akufo-Addo referred the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor after court documents from the UK and the US found Airbus SE guilty in a series of unlawful business deals in countries including Ghana where a relative of a top elected government official was allegedly bribed.

“The Special Prosecutor has determined that the said referral and deferred prosecution of agreements and judgments accompanying them raise reasonable suspicion of the commission of corruption and corruption-related offences of bribery of public officers and the use of public office by public officers for private office which are offences falling within the mandate of this office under the office of the Special Prosecutor Act 2017 Act (595). A preliminary investigation was accordingly opened on 4th February 2020 by this Office into the allegations contained in the judgements referred to this Office aforesaid,” Mr Amidu said in his statement.

The statement further noted that, the relevant domestic public institutions have been invited to provide relevant documents to aid in the probe.

It, therefore, urged the public not to speculate or politicise the content of the UK and America courts on the matter until after the outcome of the investigations.

“The relevant domestic public institutions which can assist the ongoing investigations have been contacted to provide information and documents under Act (595).

“The Office of the Special Prosecutor appeals to the general public not to speculate or politicize the disclosures made in the deferred prosecutors agreements and judgements so as to allow this office to treat the suspected crimes as suspected crimes simpliciter and nothing more pending the conclusion of the investigations,” the statement said.

Airbus saga

A judgment from the Crown Court at Southwark, UK, indicted Ghana alleging that contrary to section 7 of the UK’s Bribery Act2010, 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.”

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