You must speak on the Airbus corruption scandal – Open Letter to John Mahama
Please accept my compliments.
At the risk of not allowing my voice to be stifled by those who wish I was never born to take position on issues that speak to the afflictions of my dearest nation, I write to you to officially bring to your attention my indignation over your deafening silence on the Airbus SE corruption.
As you are aware, Airbus SE has agreed to pay nearly $4 billion to resolve foreign bribery and other charges with authorities in the United States, Britain and France.
The aircraft maker has admitted using intermediaries over several years to bribe government officials and airline executives in order to win lucrative contracts the world over uncluding Ghana.
The European aircraft manufacturer, is alleged to have paid bribes in Ghana when it sold the three-military aircraft to the country.
The company admitted hiring the brother of a top elected Ghanaian official as its consultant in the sale of the aircraft. Also, Airbus confessed paying the said consultant through a third party when its Compliance Unit raised red flags about the close relationship between the consultant and the top elected official who was a key decision maker in the purchase of the military aircraft.
The Airbus corruption is the biggest corruption case ever. Indeed, payment of bribes were made and received and the beneficiary was GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL 1. Again, documents were falsified in making the payments to disguise the payment of bribes to GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL 1. GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL 1 is on the record of the Court as the recipient of the corrupt proceeds from this transaction.
Paragraph 136 of the US Court documents actually described Government official I as having a reputation for bribe taking.
Sir, this “sad story” dates back to 2009 -2015 when you were in full control of governance.
Respectfully sir, everyone who is privy to the core details of the series of court documents published by the Department of Justice (DOJ) of the United States and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom cannot allege ignorance of the persons who have brought our nation into this international shame.
And since these matters came to light, most Ghanaians have had reasons to believe that government official 1 codenamed in the courts documents is no other person than your good self.
As a matter of fact, the deputy Attorney General, Godfred Odame has made comments to the fact that you are indeed the codenamed individual.
I am aware the president of Ghana has referred the matter to the investigative authorities. Whereas I do not doubt the competence of our investigative authorities to get to the bottom of this massive international corruption, and bring you to justice, I respectfully submit and appeal to your good self to tell Ghanaians the role you played in this massive corruption scandal.
Sir, why is it difficult for you to come clear on these matters and submit yourself to the investigative authorities?
Respectfully sir, it is incumbent on you to come out and respond to allegations that an individual close to a top government official was bribed by Airbus between 2011 and 2015.
The €35 million involved in the purchase of the aircraft as at that the time was equivalent to $40 million and I am wondering why Ghana should spend $40 million to buy an aircraft that was selling at $25 million on the market.
A host of former world leaders have served time behind bars for corruption committed while they were in power. From Europe to Middle East to Asia to South America to Africa. The list is endless. Some have been able to avoid prison through appeals and others are on trial, such as South Africa’s past president Jacob Zuma who is facing 16 counts of graft from before his presidency.
In Brazil, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has been ordered to start a 12-year sentence for corruption.
In Croatia, Ivo Sanader was Prime minister from 2003 to 2009, he was arrested in late 2010 on charges of corruption, embezzlement and abuse of power. Sanader served time in 2011 and again in 2012-2015, when he was released after a court overturned a nine-year sentence and ordered a retrial. Other trials are due.
Portugal’s Jose Socrates who was prime minister between (2005-2011) spent more than nine months in temporary detention before being placed under house arrest in September 2015 over bribery corruption.
Ollanta Humala served as President of Peru from 2011 to 2016, Humala entered prison in July 2017 on a sentence of 18 months of pre-trial detention. This followed charges of accepting illegal campaign donations worth $3 million from Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht.
These are just a few of the many former presidents who have had their day with the law.
Bearing in mind the above realities, it is most unfortunate that the international community has, for political expediency, treated you with kids gloves.
I expected both the US and UK to come hard on your involvement in this corruption scandal.
Sir, do you ever go to bed at night thinking about this Airbus saga how it has already ruined your chances of becoming president again?
Clearly, this has dent your already battered reputation and it has make you unfit to contest the highest office of the land.
Sir, do yourself a favour by stepping aside as NDC flagbearer in order to clear your name from this international shame. You cannot sanitize your and corrupt deeds by juxtaposing them with the governing flaws of the the current regime.
Indeed, you owe it to the good people of Ghana who reposed their confidence in you as president for 4 years.
Ernest Kofi Owusu Bempah