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Investigate Airbus scandal within 14 days or we hit the street – Owusu Bempah to OSP

Mahamaa And Owusu Bempah.png John Dramani Mahama, Former president and Owusu Bempah

Mon, 25 Sep 2023 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

The Fixing the Country Movement has issued a 14-day ultimatum, warning that they will take to the streets if action is not taken to investigate the Airbus scandal allegedly involving former President John Dramani Mahama. The movement has expressed concern over the lack of progress in the investigation into the case.

Ernest Kofi Owusu-Bempah Bonsu, the Convener of the Fixing the Country Movement and Deputy Director of Communications of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has expressed frustration with what he referred to as a lack of action on the Airbus/Mahama case.

He recently petitioned the office of the Special Prosecutor to provide an update on the status of the investigation but has not received feedback.

In response to the perceived inaction, the Fixing the Country Movement has issued a 14-day ultimatum, demanding that the authorities take concrete steps to investigate the Airbus Corruption affair. The movement believes that former President John Mahama has questions to answer in relation to this scandal.

“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 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 inquiry on Airbus' Corruption because we strongly believe that former President Mahama has a lot of questions to answer.

“And if after 14 days, there's no action in that regard, 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.”

The Airbus Corruption scandal came to light over three years ago when Airbus SE, a global aerospace corporation based in France, agreed to pay substantial penalties of over $3.9 billion to resolve foreign bribery charges with authorities in the United States, France, and the United Kingdom. These charges stemmed from Airbus's use of third-party intermediaries to bribe government officials and airline executives worldwide.

As part of this global resolution, Airbus entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the United Kingdom's Serious Fraud Office (SFO), relating to bribes paid in several countries, including Ghana. This case involved allegations of bribes paid to individuals with close ties to the Ghanaian government to secure contracts for military transport aircraft.

Court documents revealed that individuals identified as "Government Official 1," later known to be a high-ranking Ghanaian elected official, had connections with intermediaries hired by Airbus for these corrupt dealings. Notably, the intermediaries included Philip Middlemiss, a British actor, Leanne Davis, and Samuel Adam Mahama, the brother of former President John Mahama.

The scandal took a more alarming turn when it was disclosed that Airbus had sought to obtain an "undue favor" from a member of the Ghanaian government through these kickbacks. Consequently, Ghana purchased three Airbus C295 military transport aircraft during the presidency of Mills/Mahama.

Former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu initiated an investigation into the case in February 2020, summoning four individuals, including Philip Middlemiss and Leanne Davis. The current Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyabeng, has also indicated that he is investigating the matter. However, despite these efforts, there has been limited progress in the case over the past year.

Read the full statement below:

Public Statement by Fixing The Country Movement

For Immediate Release

Notice to occupy Mahama's office in 14 days on the Mahama Airbus Corruption

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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.

Signed:

Ernest Kofi Owusu-Bempah Bonsu (Convener - Fixing the Country Movement)

AM/SARA

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