Aircraft maker, Airbus, has confessed to paying huge sums of money as bribe to government officials and individuals close to the corridors of power during the Mills and Mahama regime.
Court documents sighted disclosed that Ghana is one of many countries Airbus doled out millions of dollars as bribe between 2011 and 2015 to secure deals through secret agents.
“It was a pervasive and pernicious bribery scheme in various divisions of Airbus SE that went on for a number of years,” US District Judge Thomas Hogan said.
The airplane manufacturing giant has now agreed a record $4bn settlement with France, the United Kingdom and the United States as a result of the scandal. The US Department of Justice said the deal was the largest-ever foreign bribery settlement.
Ghana between 2011 and 2015 acquired three Airbus C295 from the company as part of an effort to augment and modernize the fleet of the Ghana Armed Forces.
The first order of the military aeroplane arrived in Ghana on November 17, 2011, with the second arriving on March 19, 2012. The last order came in on December 4, 2015.
In November 2014, then-President John Dramani Mahama announced that Ghana would acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including five Super Tucanos, Mi-17s and four Z-9s.
Ghana is said to have spent about $150 million on the three aircraft.
Prosecution’s case on Ghana
The UK prosecutor case against Airbus was that between 1 July 2011 and 1 June 2015 Airbus SE failed to prevent persons associated with the company from bribing others concerned with the purchase of military transport aircraft by the government of Ghana.
The bribery, the document said was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus.
According to the court document between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged an unnamed person, only identified as Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghana government official (also not named but referred to as Government Official 1), as its business partner in respect of the proposed sale of three aircraft to the government of Ghana.
“A number of ofAirbus employees knew that Intermediary five was a close relative of Government Official 1, a key decision-maker in respect of the sales.
However, “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5.
“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 the Government Official 1 towards Airbus,” the document suggests.
“Intermediary 5 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,” the document said.