Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Ghana’s parliament rejects request to investigate Airbus bribery scandal

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The request for the probe was made by the Assin South MP, Rev. John Ntim Fordjour, who wanted a full-blown parliamentary inquiry into the matter.

“Mr. Speaker, with due regard for the diligent commitment exhibited by President Akufo-Addo in respect of the judgment by the UK and USA courts in relation to the Airbus SE bribery scandal, as demonstrated by promptly charging the Office of the Special Prosecutor to collaborate with its UK counterpart to conduct inquiry into determining the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present and to take the necessary action required by Ghanaian law, I, in the spirit of patriotism, do accordingly implore the House to explore our legitimate option fortified by Order 191 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, to conduct inquiry into the matter, as an independent institution, to establish complicity or otherwise of Ghanaian government officials, past or present, relative to this Airbus bribery scandal,” the New Patriotic Party MP requested.

Ruling on the matter, the Speaker of Parliament, Prof. Mike Oquaye, turn down the request for probe into the Airbus scandal.

According to him, the matter has been referred to the Office of Special Prosecutor and that parliament has the capacity to probe the matter in due season.

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“As a House of debate, this House has competently, generally, dealt with this matter, considering the circumstances of this matter in its totality and the technical prerequisites for examining it in full and mindful of the referral already to the Special Prosecutor’s Office and not forgetting that at any time, this House can by any of its appropriate procedures go further into the matter. We will hold our horses by what I will rule now and we shall revisit it in due season,” he said.

Background

Airbus, Europe’s largest airplane manufacturer, admitted paying bribes in Ghana and other countries between 2011 and 2015 in a sweeping investigation dating back to almost a decade.

The company has been fined 3 billion pounds for bribing public officials and fixers over a string of hidden payments as part of a pattern of worldwide corruption to facilitate the sales of its wares.

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“The planemaker agreed to pay the penalties on Friday after reaching settlements with investigators in the UK, France, and the US to end inquiries that started four years ago,” UK’s The Guardian newspaper reported.

The report follows the outcome of UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation that “Allison Clare, for the SFO, told the court the company had paid bribes in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana between 2011 and 2015.”

Airbus is accused of hiring and disguising payments to a close relative of a government officials in Ghana with no aerospace experience in connection with a sale of military transport planes, the SFO said.

The SFO noted that the bribery was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus.

According to the court document between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged an unnamed person, only identified as Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghana government official (also not named but referred to as Government Official 1), as its business partner in respect of the proposed sale of three aircraft to the government of Ghana.

“A number of ofAirbus employees knew that Intermediary five was a close relative of Government Official 1, a key decision-maker in respect of the sales.

However, “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5.




“False documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments. The payments were intended to induce or reward improper favour by the Government Official 1towards Airbus,” the document suggests.

The document, sighted by Pulse.com.gh, said between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged an unnamed person, only identified as Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghana government official (also not named but referred to as Government Official 1), as its business partner in respect of the proposed sale of three aircraft to the government of Ghana.

“A number of ofAirbus employees knew that Intermediary five was a close relative of Government Official 1, a key decision-maker in respect of the sales.

However, “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5.

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“False documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments. The payments were intended to induce or reward improper favour by the Government Official 1towards Airbus,” the document said.

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