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Airbus scandal: It’s unnecessary to know who ‘GO1’ is

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The National Democratic Congress (NDC) has described as unnecessary, calls for former government officials who allegedly received bribes from aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, between 2009 and 2015 to be named.

According to the party, knowing the names of those involved is immaterial to the substance of the matter.

The National Communications Officer of the NDC, Sammy Gyamfi who addressed the press on Thursday said the allegations that supposed top government officials received bribes from Airbus were inaccurate.

“In fact, not even the unnamed so-called government official 1 (GO1) is cited in the report or approved judgement for demanding or receiving a bribe or committing any offence…We can state with a large degree of certainty that the UK SFO would have stated that bribes were paid to the said GO1 if they had found so in their investigations,” he said.

He added that “to the extent that the said Government Official 1 is not cited for any offence in any of the approved judgement, his or her identity is completely immaterial.”

The recent Airbus bribery scandal cited top Ghanaian officials who were in office between 2009 and 2015 as receiving bribes from Airbus to grant the company business favours.

Although no name was mentioned, the opposition New Patriotic Party (NPP) alleged that former President John Mahama was the “elected Government Official 1″ named in US and UK court documents.

According to the NPP, they believe John Maham is involved in the scandal because he served as Vice President and President during the period in question.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in stating facts of the case said between 2009 and 2015, “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)”.

Significantly, “Government Official 1 was a key decision-maker in respect of Government of Ghana aircraft orders.”

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 (3) 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.”

Sammy Gyamfi at the NDC’s press conference said the court documents did not state that beyond the intention, there was an actual offer or receipt of bribe from Airbus.

“They [SFO] carefully chose the words “intended to induce.” There is no indication that this intention was actualized,” he said.

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