Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu has said his decision to pull the breaks on his probe into the Airbus scandal is neither “stupidity” nor “cowardice”, as thought by former President John Mahama.
Last week, Mr Mahama, who is the presidential candidate of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC), described Mr Amidu as a “coward” for deferring investigations into the scandal after having identified him as the infamous ‘Government Official 1’ in the matter in his Agyapa corruption and anti-corruption risk assessment report.
The former president said Mr Amidu smuggled a paragraph about the Airbus scandal into the Agyapa report for equalisation because the report indicts Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta and the Akufo-Addo-led government.
Mr Mahama noted that if the Special Prosecutor were “man enough”, he should have probed and written a report on the Airbus scandal, to which he [Mahama] will respond appropriately.
Mr Mahama further said it was “stupid” to add a paragraph about the Airbus scandal in an Agyapa report when the two cases have nothing in common.
Addressing a gathering as part of his campaign in the Greater Accra Region, Mr Mahama said: “Amidu goes and investigates Agyapa and I thought he was man enough. They say investigate Agyapa, present a report on Agyapa, if you’ve investigated Airbus, present a report on Airbus. But, in the Agyapa report, you know that it is going to be damning of this government; you go and put one paragraph there about Airbus.
“Nobody asked you about Airbus. If you are man enough, present Agyapa and do a report on Airbus separately and then I’ll come as a man and answer you on Airbus.
“If you think I am indicted on Airbus, accuse me directly but because he’s a coward and they knew that Agyapa was going to be discussed today, so, put a paragraph on Airbus to equalise the discussion. I mean what stupidity is this?”
“You’re investigating Agyapa, present a report on Agyapa. You’ve indicted the president’s cousin and you are afraid presenting only a report on Agyapa, so, in the Agyapa report, put some other report that balanceS the equation”.
“I thought he was man enough. The point is: ‘you say I’m the leader of a political party’ and I say: ‘if you have a legal basis of investigating me, go ahead and investigate me…”
Mr Mahama insists he did not benefit from the Airbus deal in any way.
In his response, however, Mr Amidu said: “The long public service of the Special Prosecutor spanning various aspects of security and intelligence from the period of 1982 to 7th January 2001 and July 2009 to January 2012 makes him more experienced in determining when it is not conducive to the national security interest to foolhardily take certain law and order actions.
“The Special Prosecutor owes that exercise of discretion to his vast experience over the years, his responsibility to maintain national stability and his conscience as a patriotic anti-corruption crusading Ghanaian.”
“There is no question of stupidity or cowardice about it. Any person aspiring to be President of Ghana for a second term who does not know that a cardinal principle in security and intelligence is that ‘caution is the better part of valour’ was not and is not worth the vote”.
A judgment from the Crown Court at Southwark, UK, indicted Ghana alleging that contrary to section 7 of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, Airbus failed to prevent its close associates or persons associated with them 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 advantages in the conduct of business.”
The document stated that the bribery allegation took place between 2009 and 2015 where the European aviation giant engaged the services of a close relative of a high-ranking elected Ghanaian government official who served as an intermediary to facilitate the sale of three military transport aircraft to the government of Ghana.
“A number of Airbus employees knew that the intermediary was a close relative of Government Official 1, who was a key decision-maker in respect of the proposed sales.
“A number of Airbus employees made or promised success-based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5”, the document continued.
Also, the document pointed out that “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 toward Airbus.
Payments were eventually stopped due to the arrangement failing the due diligence processes required by the Liquidation Committee.