Last week, Airbus entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, with the British Serious Fraud Office (SFO), which was investigating the company for bribing or failing to prevent corruption in transactions in five countries, including Ghana.
Under the agreement the British SFO agreed to suspend the prosecution of Airbus for a period of three years. If Airbus complies with the terms of the agreement within the period, the prosecution will be discontinued.
The mention of Ghana in the agreement has sparked a flurry of political activity with the opposition NDC issuing a statement denying that its officials in the erstwhile Mills and Mahama administrations were involved in any corruption with Airbus, which supplied military aircraft to Ghana in 2012.
The deferred prosecution agreement didn’t specifically name any officials who might have been bribed or corrupted during Ghana’s negotiations with Airbus but it refers to personalities involved as Government Official 1 (a high-ranking elected public figure) and Intermediary 5 (a British national and close relative of Government Official 1), among others.
The governing New Patriotic Party believes that the person referred to as Government Official One is former President John Mahama.
At a news conference in Accra, Communication Director of the party, Yaw Buabeng Asamoah, asked the former president to officially respond to the court documents.
“In the face of these facts, it is very necessary for president Mahama to come out and be heard publicly,” Mr Buabeng Asamoah said.
“He cannot continue to hide behind his party members including a former attorney general. Of course, we are all aware that he hates answering questions on corruption but the answer he must because at this moment all fingers point to him and one of his brothers.”
But the opposition NDC through its former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Marietta Brew Appiah-Oppong has already come out to deny the reports.
In her statement released on the issue, Marietta Brew described the reports alleging that Airbus SE paid bribes during the administration of former President John Evans Atta Mills and John Dramani as false, misleading and not a reflection of the Approved Judgement.
But Mr Asamoah insists the defence by the NDC is weak. He believes the former president is not fit to lead the country again.
“Candidate Mahama is no stranger to speaking to the international community. He has been known to assemble diplomats and speak to them even when he was telling lies. Now we want him to assemble the diplomats and tell them whether he is involved with the airbus scandal as government official 1. We should tell the whole nation. It’s a serious matter and the accusations demand immediate action.
“We must also realize that this is not the first time a court has declared the Mahama regime as corrupt. This is not the first time and this is the UK declaring there were issues in the contract, confirming what the Ghanaian court had earlier said that his government came to create loot and share environment.”
Meanwhile, the General Secretary of the NDC says the recent revelation that aircraft manufacturer, Airbus bribed some public officials between 2009-2015 is diversionary.
According to John Asiedu Nketia, whenever the governing NPP has its back to the wall, it comes up with certain issues to divert attention.
“They are trying to divert the attention of the nation from the campaign against the creation of a new voters’ register and other burning issues. It is much ado about nothing,” he told Joy News’ Mamavi Owusu-Aboagye, Monday.