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Minister for Parliamentary Affairs and Majority Leader of Parliament, Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu, has disclosed that the National Democratic Congress (NDC) government was indecently hasty in procuring aircraft from airbus.

According to him, when the issue first came up for discussion in the House, during his time as Minority Leader, he asked the then NDC Majority to err on the side of caution and not rush in purchasing the planes; but his admonishment was ignored.

In 2011, the NPP, then in opposition, vehemently challenged the cost of two Airbus C-295 aircrafts for the Ghana Army, which the ruling NDC government was spearheading.  

That procurement has now been cited in a major bribery scandal involving the manufacturer, Airbus and some top Ghanaian officials.

Parliamentary Flashback

On 20th July, 2011, then Chairman of the Finance Committee in Parliament, James Klutse Avedzi, submitted the committee’s report on the motion to secure a loan from the Deutshe Bank Sociedad Anonima Espanola (Spain) for the acquisition of the two military aircraft.

In the course of the debate, the MP for Suame expressed shock that whiles on the website of Airbus the price of the C-295 is quoted as US$22m, documents tabled before Parliament pegged the price of the aircraft at €24 million per piece.

“…..Mr Speaker, the cost price of the C-295, the Shell is US$22m from the manufacturers – their own website. Here, we are saying tha it is €24 million. Again, you wonder where these figures are being conjured from,” he said.

To him, this was “unacceptable”.

Aba! What Is This!?

Hin Osei Kyei Mensah Bonsu also expressed surprise that within just a day, the document had been sent to the Attorney-General’s office for advice, forwarded to the Minister for Finance and sent to the Office of the President for Executive approval.

“Mr Speaker, the A-G and Minister for Justice proffered his opinion on it on 21st June, 2011. The same day, it went to the Hon Minister for Finance and Economic Planning and on the same day, he also okayed it and sent it to the pResidency – the Office of the President – on the same day, 21st June, 2011, we had Executive approval. Ahba! Ahba! What is this!?” he quizzed.

Speaking on Okay FM’s ‘Ade Akye Abia’ programme, he explained that “as minority then, we did not oppose the purchase of the Airbus because it is something that we had started during former president kuffour’s tenure as president and we were doing it with caution to ensure value for money for the people of Ghana.

“As parliament, we welcome the decision to have Martin Amidu the Special Prosecutor investigate the matter….

“However, I employ EOCO and Serious Fraud Office to take the matter up and cause investigations into the bribery scandal which involves some former government officials,” he added.

The Crown Court at Southwark in the United Kingdom passed judgment on 31st January 2020, between the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and Airbus SE, in which the European multinational aerospace corporation was fined $3.9 billion for the payment of bribes to secure deals in five countries, including Ghana.

The London High Court found Airbus guilty and imposed a fine of three billion pounds (£3bn) as penalties.

Airbus was charged with five counts of failing to prevent bribery, having used a network of secret agents to pay large-scale backhanders to officials in foreign countries to land high-value contracts.

The Office of the President, in this respect, charged the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, to with immediate effect delve into the bottom of the Airbus bribery scandal and investigate the complicity of any public official, “past or present” who may have been involved in the saga.

A statement signed by Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin stated that these investigations are expected to be conducted in collaboration with the United Kingdom authorities.

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Source Author: Michael Ofori Amanfo Boateng