Former President John Dramani Mahama has served notice that since the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) has made the issue of corruption a major item of debate in the lead-up to the 2020 elections, he has readily picked up the gauntlet.
“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 stated in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
Mr Mahama, who was speaking in his first public comments on the Airbus saga, debunked claims that he personally benefitted from the deal financially.
He also dismissed allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of the two aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces.
“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,” the former President stated.
Earlier this year, news went viral that Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace multinational, admitted paying huge bribes in order to secure contracts in Ghana, under the erstwhile Mills-Mahama administration.
Airbus was found guilty by a High Court in London and is to pay a fine of 3 billion pounds (£3bn) as penalties. Anti-corruption investigators according to The Guardian Report, has described the court’s decision as the largest ever corporate fine for bribery in the world after judges declared the corruption was “grave, pervasive and pernicious.”
Ghana under late President John Atta-Mills in 2011 and former President John Mahama in 2015, acquired three Airbus C295 planes from the company as part of an effort to augment and modernize the fleet of the Ghana Armed Forces.
It emerged that the first order of the military aeroplane arrived in the country on November 17, 2011, followed by a second on March 19, 2012. The last order arrived in the country on December 4, 2015.
President John Dramani Mahama, in November 2014, announced that Ghana was to acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including five Super Tucanos, Mi-17s and four Z-9s.
A total of about $150 million was spent in acquiring all the three aircraft, one of which overshot the runway recently. Ghana’s Ministry of Defence stated that the accident happened because the aircraft had not gone for its scheduled maintenance.
Following the naming and involvement of former high-ranking former Ghanaian officials in the scandal, Ghana’s Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu launched further investigations into the matter in February.
Special Prosecutor Invitation
The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in March invited four individuals to assist in investigations into the alleged act of bribery and related offence in the purchase of three aircrafts from Airbus SE for Ghana.
A public notice by the OSP said the individuals identified by acronym in the Statement of Facts and accepted as findings of fact in a judgement of the UK Crown Court are to assist in the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences in the purchase of the Aircraft.
A public notice by the OSP said: “SAMUEL ADAM FOSTER a. k. a. SAMUEL ADAM MAHAMA a UK/Ghanaian citizen, and the three other UK nationals: PHILIP SEAN MIDDLEMISS, LEANNE SARAH DAVIS and SARAH FURNEAUX are hereby invited to assist the Office of the Special Prosecutor in the on-going investigation of bribery and corruption involving in excess of 3,596,523.00 Euros and 1,665,000.00 Euros respectively, and collaborating with Ghanaian public Officers to use their public office for private profit or benefit in the purchase of three (3) C-295 aircraft by the Government of Ghana from Airbus SE”.