Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Ghana orders investigation into Airbus bribery allegations in aircraft deal

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Ghana has ordered a probe into accusations of bribery by European planemaker Airbus to ensure the purchase of three military planes between 2009 and 2015.

Ghana was among over a dozen countries involved in a $4-billion settlement Airbus agreed with European and U.S. regulators concerning alleged bribes to clinch sales of its aircraft.

Airbus hired – and disguised about 5 million euros in payments to – a close relative of a government official in Ghana with no aerospace experience in connection with the sale of the planes, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Friday.

The SFO’s disclosures, made public after a nearly four-year investigation, came as courts on both sides of the Atlantic formally approved settlements that lift a legal cloud that has hung over Europe’s largest aerospace group for years.

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But in Ghana the matter looks set to continue.

The West African country will “conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present,” President Nana Akufo-Addo’s office said in a statement late on Sunday.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was in power at the time, denied the bribery claims in a statement on Sunday.

“The reports alleging that Airbus SE paid bribes during the administration of President John Atta Mills and John Mahama are false,” the statement said.

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