Mabey & Johnson Scandal: Police Clears Peprah, Ynkey & Others
By Aaron Okyere
After almost twenty-two months, the seven men at the centre of the Mabey & Johnson bribery scandal who all denied collecting bribes from the British engineering firm years ago as alleged can heave a sigh of relief.
Reports gathered by this paper reveal that painstaking investigations by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service has turned up nothing incriminating against any of them.
According to very credible sources at the upper echelons of the Police Service, the final report of the investigations presented to the Attorney-General by the Police Administration found all the seven accused persons not guilty of the allegation of collecting bribes from Mabey & Johnson Limited. The seven accused persons are Mr. Kwame Peprah, Board Chairman of SSNIT, Dr. George Sipa Yankey, a Former Minister for Health, Alhaji Amadu Seidu, a Minister of State, Baba Camara, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Nigeria, Bonniface Abubakar Saddique, a Former Minister for Works and Housing, Brigadier-General Lord Attivor, Managing Director of Intercity STC and Mr. Ato Quarshie, a Former Minister for Roads.
The scandal broke out in late September 2009 when the new Directors of the British engineering firm in a plea- bargain with the UK Serious Fraud Office allegedly confessed having bribed government officials in some developing countries, including Ghana in the mid-90s for the award of contracts to them. The allegations led two Ministers of the Mills government, Health Minister Dr. Sipa Yankey and Alhaji Seidu Amadu, a Minister of state to resign to enable them have time to clear their names.
To get to the bottom of the allegation, President Mills directed the then Attorney-General, Betty-Mould Iddrisu, to investigate the case. After a trip to London on a fact-finding mission during when she met officials of the UK SFO, the Attorney-General advised that Commissioner for Human Rights & Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) investigate the case. AFAG, a pro-NPP pressure group also dragged the matter before the CHRAJ.
However, before the Commission could begin hearing the case, six out of the seven accused persons filed a writ at a High Court challenging the jurisdiction of CHRAJ to investigate the matter after Mr. Emile Short, Commissioner of CHRAJ allegedly made prejudicial statements on the case in an interview on Metro TV. An Accra High Court which sat on the case ruled in favour of the accused persons but on appeal, the ruling of the High Court was quashed by the Appeals Court. The accused persons then proceeded to the Supreme Court for direction. The Supreme Court then dropped CHRAJ in favour of a court of law. The CID of the Ghana Police Service therefore began investigations into the matter by first inviting the accused persons to write their statements, a standard procedure before a matter is taken to court if investigations reveal that the accused persons have questions to answer. .
The accused persons started appearing before the CID as far back as January 2011 to write their statements and assist the police in their investigations. According to the police source, investigations conducted clearly established that the seven accused persons are not guilty as far as the charges leveled against them are concerned.
“We found nothing that suggests the people mentioned received bribes from Mabey & Johnson. Our report cleared them of any act of impropriety. We have handed over the report to the Attorney-General whose duty it is to submit it to the President, advising him on the next line of action to take” a police source told the Daily Post.
All eyes are now on the Attorney-General, Martin Amidu, to act with dispatch on the report with many NDC supporters waiting with bated breath for him to hand over the report to the President for justice to be done.