Airbus scandal: You’re a coward, Mahama replies Amidu

John Mahama says the Special Prosecutor's decision to tag him as Government Official 1 in the Airbus bribery scandal amounts to "stupidity"

The flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama, has lashed out at the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, saying he is a coward for indicting him in the Airbus bribery scandal.

In his corruption risk assessment report on the Agyapa Royalties deal, Amidu revealed in a plethora of cases he is investigating that the former president has been identified as Government Official 1, making him a principal actor in the scandal.

“This Office also has warrants of arrest issued by the Courts of Ghana, and an Interpol Red Alert Notice outstanding for execution in the case of the Republic v Samuel Adam Mahama and Others (known as the Airbus SE – Ghana Bribery Scandal, involving the then Government of Ghana), not to talk of documentary evidence of suspected forgeries and deceit of a public officer by the three full-blood brothers in the corruption transaction to obtain a Ghanaian passport for Samuel Adam Mahama,” Amidu said, delivering his report on the Agyapa deal.

He added: “This Office has established the identity of elected Government Official 1 to be former President John Dramani Mahama, whose brother of the full blood is Samuel Adam Foster, also known as Samuel Adam Mahama. The only reason the former President has not been invited for interrogation (in spite of all threats from some of his followers and lawyers) is the fact that he got himself an insurance as the presidential candidate of the other largest political party in Ghana and prudence dictated that the interrogation be held in abeyance during this election season.”

Speaking to a group of students of the University of Ghana on Wednesday, 4 November 2020, the presidential candidate of the largest opposition party said Amidu’s decision amounts to “stupidity”.

“Amidu goes and presents Agyapa investigations and I thought he was a man enough. They say investigate Agyapa, so present a report on Agyapa. If you have investigated Airbus present a report on Airbus. In the Agyapa report, you know that it is going to be damning of this government and so you go and put one paragraph there about airbus. Nobody asked you about Airbus,” Mahama stated.

He added: “If you were man enough present Agyapa and do a report on Airbus separately and then I will come and answer you on Airbus. If you think I am indicted on Airbus accuse me directly. But because he is a coward and they knew Agyapa was going to be discussed today, so he put a paragraph on Airbus to equalize the discussion. What stupidity is this?”

Wanted for questioning

The Ghana Police Service has declared the British television and radio actor Philip Middlemiss wanted over the role he played in the alleged £5 million Airbus bribery scam.

Ghana’s Special Prosecutor launched a full-scale investigation into the Airbus scandal in February and has released the passport details of the actor and four other individuals online as wanted for questioning.

He is being sought along with four others in relation to the £50 million sale of three Airbus C-295 military planes to Ghana. According to the Sun newspaper, after starring in the ITV soap opera Coronation Street, Middlemiss reportedly headed to Ghana to start making a film.

He claims he then befriended the brother of the country’s former vice-president, before heading back to the UK.

Middlemiss lives in a smart, £400,000 detached property in Greater Manchester, the Sun reported, even though he was declared bankrupt in 2012 over unpaid tax.

Documents from Ghana’s Special Prosecutor show that Middlemiss could have been a project manager for Airbus, which sold the planes to Ghana, when the alleged bribery took place.

It is also alleged that he incorporated a company in the UK in 2010 through which he assisted Airbus with the suspect deal. Of the people who have been declared wanted, two other than Middlemiss are British nationals and the third is a dual national of the UK and Ghana, the Sun said.

Middlemiss’s girlfriend Leanne Davis told the Sun she had no knowledge of any investigation. “I don’t know anything about that. Phil’s not here. I’m not sure when he’ll be back,” she said.

Airbus confesses

The European aviation giant Airbus confessed to paying huge sums of money in bribes to government officials and people close to the seat of government in Ghana during the Mills and Mahama governments.

Court documents show that Ghana is among the countries to which Airbus doled out millions of dollars in bribes between 2011 and 2015 to strike deals through secret agents. “It was a pervasive and pernicious bribery scheme in various divisions of Airbus SE that went on for a number of years,” US District Judge Thomas Hogan said.

In January this year, it was announced that the European planemaker had agreed to pay a record settlement worth US$4 billion to regulators and anti-fraud agencies in France, the United Kingdom and the United States in connection to the Airbus saga. The scandal related to aircraft sales to five out of a total 20 countries investigated – Ghana, Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Taiwan. The US Department of Justice said the sum was the largest-ever foreign bribery settlement.

The bribery scheme was run by a unit, based at the Airbus headquarters in France, which the company’s one-time chief executive, Tom Enders, reportedly used to call “Bullshit Castle”.

The disclosures, made public after an investigation lasting nearly four years and spanning sales to more than a dozen overseas markets, came as courts on both sides of the Atlantic formally approved settlements which lifted a legal cloud that had hung over Europe’s largest aerospace manufacturer for years.

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