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General News of Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Source: Ghana Celebrities

Ghana Mixed Up In British Bribery Probe

Bridge-building company confesses to influencing Ghanaian govt
Mabey and Johnson, a UK based company, has pleaded guilty at Westminster Magistrates Court in London, UK, to ten charges of corruption relating to contracts in Ghana, Jamaica and Iraq between 1993 and 2001.

The international bridge building firm is accused of seeking to corruptly influence politicians and officials in Ghana between 1994 and 1999 to land build-bridging contracts.

The Reading-based firm says it is not prepared at this time to divulge any names of Ghanaian officials it tried to influence

A check with the Westminster Crown Court, where the case was heard last Friday, revealed that even then there had been no name dropping.

The prosecution for corruption arose from the company's voluntary disclosure to the British Serious Fraud Office(SFO} of evidence to indicate that the company had sought to influence decision-makers in public contracts in Jamaica and Ghana by bribing them.

The successful prosecution is the first of its kind against a UK company operating overseas.

The temporary steel bridge manufacturer's guilty plea follows voluntary disclosure to the UK's SFO in 2008 after an internal investigation uncovered evidence of corruption.

The UK's Financial Times said that Mabey's prosecution comes after years of attacks on London for its alleged hypocrisy in criticising poor countries over corruption, while failing to tackle the British companies and managers that feed it by paying bribes to win contracts.

The Jamaican minister State Minister in the Ministry of Transport and Works has resigned as a result of this case.

Five of Mabey & Johnson's eight directors have stepped down in the midst of the corruption saga and new management installed.

The case will continue to be heard at the Southwark Crown Court this Friday, 17th July.