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General News of Friday, 24 July 2020


Gasping Martin Amidu still can’t mention Airbus bribe collectors

Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu Special Prosecutor, Mr. Martin Amidu

The Special Prosecutor, who is under pressure to justify his continuous stay in office, is still unable to mention the names of those to whom the alleged Airbus bribes were paid by the people he has gotten an Interpol arrests warrant, to have captured and extradited to Ghana for criminal prosecution.

Having come out with four names, including Adams Mahama alias Foster Mahama, many have demanded from him to also come out with the names of people to whom the airbus military jets bribes were paid to, but this has been missing in his several communications, including his latest statement released yesterday.

Adam Mahama, said to be a younger brother of ex-President John Mahama, is being charged with "accepting a bribe to influence a public officer" and "acting in collaboration with a public officer for the public officer's private profit".

He is facing up to 25 years in prison.

Interestingly, those to whom the said bribes were handed to, remain unknown per Mr Amidu's statements since President Akufo-Addo referred the matter to him for investigation and prosecution. Under the law, both the giver and recipient of bribes are punishable.

In the statement in reaction to many concerns raised on the Interpol warrant, Mr Amidu, rather charged on the Police Criminal Investigations Department (CID), describing as needless a statement which sought to distance itself from the INTEPOL Red Notice attributed to his office.

Martin Amidu, also took on lawyers who had expressed views about the arrest warrant, calling it superfluous.

According to the former Justice Minister in the Atta-Mills government, the action of the police CID was "unusual, extraordinary, needless and gratuitous"since such arrest notices state the law enforcement agency at whose request it was issued.

A press release by DSP Juliana Obeng,had explained that, following a request by the office of the Special Prosecutor through the police CID to the Interpol General Secretariat, the latter issued a Red Notice in respect of Samuel Adam Foster, Philip Sean Middlemiss, Leanne Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux.

But Mr Amidu in his statement dated July 23, 2020, sounded unhappy, while defending his Interpol Red Notice alert, saying he made a strong case to get the request for the capture and extradition of the individuals he came up with as those involved in the Airbus Bribery Scandal,granted, by the Interpol General Secretariat in Lyon, France.

"On 17th July 200, it came to the notice of the SP that the Police/CID had usually gone out of its way to issue a news release to the media dated 16th July 2019 on the publication of Interpol Red Notice" informing the public that the Red Notice was issued at the behest of this Office. This office as an independent and active agency took the view that the publication made in its behalf was unusual, extraordinary, needless and gratuitous as every Interpol red notice states its content the law enforcement agency at whose behest it is issued".

He hit back at lawyers who had criticized his work describing them as "unethical and inexperienced" in what looks like an indirect reference to lawyers; Sammy Gyamfi and Edudzi Tamakloe both of the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC).

According to him, to "learn later and read online that a bunch of young, inexperienced and unethical lawyers were referring to the Red Notices as fake, while at the same time heaping insults and attributing unwarranted motives to the person and character of the SP for doing his work as the Special Prosecutor to fight provable corruption."

Mr Amidu, boasted that "the SP is well known in this country and amongst the community of ethical lawyers and the senior judiciary as a person who had practiced the law ethically for upwards of forty years. Some of the unethical lawyers who were assaulting the person and character of the SP on the airwaves are lawyers who are in their twenties and early thirties: they have not been yet cut their teeth at the Ghana Bar. The SP refused to be drawn into the affray of turning law into politics as is the forte of those unethical and inexperienced lawyers with no or very limited distinguished courtroom practice vindicating their standing as lawyers in the Ghana Law Reports."

"The SP wishes to assure the noise makers that the investigation into the Airbus SE bribery case in Ghana has been so thorough that it has even unearthed suspected commission of other related crimes of impersonation as graduates of the University of Ghana, a civil servant and forgeries in the application for the acquisition of a Ghanaian passport connected to this bribery case. The unethical and touting layers ought to know better that the guarantors of the Ghanaian passport are prima facie abettors of the impersonation and forgeries, as much as the guarantor who claimed falsely to be a civil servant. The passport has relevance to documents employed in facilitating the Airbus SE (Ghana) bribery," the Special Prosecutor's office noted in a statement.

"The SP wishes to inform Ghanaians that his Office has conducted an independent investigation and gathered credible evidence for the steps it has taken so far, and will continue to take in the gluttonous Airbus SE (Ghana) bribery case."

The red alert had noted that "extradition will be sought upon the arrest of the person, in conformity with national laws and/or the applicable bilateral and multilateral treaties."

Although no names were listed by the UK's Serious Fraud Office, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and Akufo-Addo government have named former President Mahama as the person identified as the "elected Government Official 1â?³ named in US and UK court documents.

The NDC, which was in power during the period the bribes were allegedly paid during the procurement of the aircrafts for the military, denied the claims.

Mr. Mahama has also insistently denied he was not part of any underhand dealings in the matter.

Critics have taken on the Special Prosecutor and the Akufo-Addo government for the Red Alert saying the Interpol action was unnecessary.

Touching on allegations of political witch-hunting and deliberately take actions against the brother of the NDC presidential nominee, Mr Amidu said, he will not destroy his hard-earned legal reputation by wading into debates that aim at turning the law into an issue of politics.

Mr Amidu, also claimed that his investigations have shown that some of the individuals mentioned in the scandal, engaged in impersonation and forged documents for the acquisition of a Ghanaian passport.

He explained some of the players portrayed themselves as graduates of the University of Ghana and civil servants and forged other documents.

On January 31, Ghana was cited as one of five countries in which global aerospace group, Airbus SE, allegedly bribed or promised payments to senior officials in exchange for business favours between 2009 and 2015, according to the UK's Serious Fraud Office.

This led to a record £3 billion in settlement by Airbus with France, the United Kingdom and the United States to avoid corporate criminal charges.

President Akufo-Addo later referred the Airbus bribery scandal to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for investigations.

These investigations were expected to be conducted in collaboration with UK authorities, according to a statement from the presidency.In addition to Ghana, the company allegedly paid bribes to officials in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Taiwan within the same period.

The UK's Serious Fraud Office, however, in its statement of fact did not name the individual Ghanaian officials nor the Airbus agents involved in the crime because investigations were still ongoing.In the case of Ghana, the UK court found that the company's bribe was to land the contract of purchase of a military transport aircraft.The documents indicated that one of the unnamed Ghanaian officials was "a key decision-maker in respect of Government of Ghana aircraft orders."

A number of Airbus employees "made or promised success-based commission payments of approximately £5 million" to one of the Ghanaians implicated in the acts of corruption.

Although, no names were listed by the UK's Serious Fraud Office, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) has come out to insist that former President John Mahama is the person identified as the "elected Government Official named in US and UK court documents.The National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was in power during the period the bribes were allegedly paid, denied the claims.

Mr Mahama also said he was not part of any underhand dealings in the matter.He held that claims that he made some financial gains from the purchase of the two aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces were untrue.

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