SPECIAL PROSECUTOR BEGINS PROBE INTO AIRBUS BRIBERY SCANDAL

Sources within the government told the Daily Graphic last Saturday, February 8, 2020 that the Special Prosecutor had acknowledged receipt of the President’s request to commence investigations into the matter.

Efforts to contact Mr Amidu to elicit further information on the possible timelines and other details, had proved unsuccessful as his phone had been off since Saturday while a text messages to him as of press time yesterday had not received any response.


MARTIN ALAMISI BURNES KAISER AMIDU, GHANA'S SPECIAL PROSECUTOR

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) has started formal investigations into the Airbus bribery scandal in which some Ghanaian officials, between 2009 and 2015, were allegedly bribed prior to the acquisition of three C-295 military transport aircraft by the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

THE SPECIAL PROSECUTOR IS TO INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE CASES OF ALLEGED OR SUSPECTED CORRUPTION AND CORRUPTION-RELATED OFFENCES UNDER THE PUBLIC PROCUREMENT ACT, 2003 (ACT 663); INVESTIGATE AND PROSECUTE ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION AND CORRUPTION-RELATED OFFENCES UNDER THE CRIMINAL OFFENCES ACT, 1960 (ACT 29) INVOLVING PUBLIC OFFICERS, POLITICALLY EXPOSED PERSONS AND PERSONS IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR INVOLVED IN THE COMMISSION OF THE OFFENCE

The OSP, led by Mr Martin A.B.K. Amidu, according to government sources, began the investigations on February 4, 2020, on the basis of the referral made to him by the Office of the President.


Corruption


Sources within the government told the Daily Graphic last Saturday, February 8, 2020 that the Special Prosecutor had acknowledged receipt of the President’s request to commence investigations into the matter.


Efforts to contact Mr Amidu to elicit further information on the possible timelines and other details, had proved unsuccessful as his phone had been off since Saturday while a text messages to him as of press time yesterday had not received any response.


Mandate


The commission of corruption and corruption-related offences, including bribery of public officers and the use of public office for private gain, falls within the mandate of the Special Prosecutor, as provided for in the Office of Special Prosecutor Act, 2017 (Act 959).


Per provisions of the Office of the Special Prosecutor Act, 2017, Act 959, the Special Prosecutor is to investigate and prosecute cases of alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences under the Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663); investigate and prosecute allegations of corruption and corruption-related offences under the Criminal Offences Act, 1960 (Act 29) involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence, and investigate and prosecute alleged or suspected corruption and corruption-related offences involving public officers, politically exposed persons and persons in the private sector involved in the commission of the offence under any other relevant law.


Complaint procedure and referrals


Under Article 27 (1) of the Special Prosecutor Act, “A person may lodge a complaint under this act if that person has knowledge of the commission of corruption or a corruption-related offence.”


Section Two states: “The complaint referred to in Subsection (1) shall be made in writing or orally.”


Recall


On Sunday, February 2, 2020, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that he had referred the judgement of a court in the United Kingdom (UK), in which the European multinational aerospace corporation had been fined $3.9 billion for the payment of bribes to secure deals in several countries, including Ghana, to the Special Prosecutor.


The judgment was issued on Friday, January 31, 2020 by the Crown Court at Southwark, UK, in a case between the director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the UK and Airbus SE.


A statement signed by the Director of Communications at the Presidency, Mr Eugene Arhin, said facts in the case between 2009 and 2015 indicated that “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success-based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5”, who is said to be “a close relative of a high-ranking elected Ghanaian government official (Government Official 1)”.


It quoted the judgment, which stated: “Government Official 1 was a key decision maker in respect of government of Ghana aircraft orders.”


Improper favour


Referring to the judgment, the statement from the Director of Communications at the Presidency added that the payments to Intermediary 5 by officials of Airbus SE were thus “intended to induce or reward improper favour by Government Official 1 “over the purchase of three C-295 military transport aircraft. Indeed, out of the €5 million promised Intermediary 5, €3.85 million was paid between March 2012 and February 2014”.


“President Akufo-Addo has taken notice of the judgment and its implications and has referred it to the Office of the Special Prosecutor to collaborate with its UK counterpart to conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present, involved in the said scandal and to take the necessary legal action against any such official, as required by Ghanaian law,” it said.


Background


According to US and UK court documents, Airbus h