After preliminary investigations into an alleged act of corruption in the purchase of three aircraft from Airbus SE for Ghana, the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, has invited four persons to answer some questions on the various roles they allegedly played in the sale and purchase of the aircraft.
Samuel Mahama, whom Mr. Amidu describes as a brother of former President John Mahama, as well as three British nationals namely Philip Sean Middlemiss, Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux are expected to make themselves available for questioning.
Airbus, Europe’s largest aerospace multinational, confessed to a High Court in London of paying huge bribes in order to secure contracts in Ghana, between 2011 and 2015.
The plane maker has been fined three billion pounds (£3bn) as penalties. Anti-corruption investigators, according to The Guardian Report, described the court’s decision as the largest ever corporate fine for bribery in the world after judges declared the corruption was “grave, pervasive and pernicious”.
“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,” the report stated.
The Court, however, noted that Airbus “used a network of secret agents to pay large-scale backhanders to officials in foreign countries to land high-value contracts’.
Prosecution on Ghana
The prosecutor stated: “Between July 1, 2011, and June 1, 2015, Airbus SE failed to prevent persons associated with Airbus SE from bribing others concerned with the purchase of military transport aircraft by the Government of Ghana, where the said bribery was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus SE.”
Airbus “between 2009 and 2015 engaged intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghanaian government official (Government Official 1), as its BP in respect of the proposed sale of three aircraft to the government of Ghana. A number of Airbus employees knew that intermediary 5 was a close relative of Government Official 1, a key decision-maker in respect of the sales. A number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately £5 million to the intermediary. 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 Government Official 1 towards Airbus,” parts of the prosecution case relating to Ghana read.
Intermediary 5, according to the court document, is a UK national born in Ghana. He was brought to the United Kingdom as a young child and lost touch with his Ghanaian family until the late 1990s. He had no prior experience or expertise in the aerospace industry.
“A CV provided to Airbus in 2011 listed Intermediary 5’s employment before 2009 as an events manager for a local authority, director of a football merchandising company and facilities manager for an estate management business.
“Intermediary 5 was assisted in his Airbus work by two other UK nationals: Intermediary 6 and Intermediary 7.
“Intermediary 6 has publicly described Intermediary 5 as his “best friend”. There is no evidence which suggests that either Intermediary 6 or Intermediary 7 had any prior experience or expertise in the aerospace industry.
“A “CV” that Intermediary 6 provided to Airbus in 2011 listed his pre-2009 employment as a UK television actor and film director. Intermediary 7 was also a former UK television actor,” the document further added.