Ghana’s name would not be in the bad books of the international media if the government sunk a fraction of the energy and time it is investing in probing the £5m Airbus bribery scandal into investigating worse local corruption scandals involving several hundreds of millions of dollars, Imani Africa President Franklin Cudjoe has said.
In a Facebook post, Mr Cudjeo wrote: “I am intrigued at the amount of time and investment being put into the alleged £5m Airbus scandal”, saying: “If we invested a quarter of the resources and collective anger into preventing the tall list of recurring and far worse infractions such as $178m KVG, EC $150m, millions of dollars in galamsey deals (just to name a few), we wouldn’t need external entities telling us what we have become and are, when we get power”.
“Just look at the monumental political impediments we have erected in the way of Special Prosecutor Amidu and Auditor-General Domelevo, who was nearly jailed because he is simply asking how $1m of our public money was allegedly paid to an entity for no work done,” he wrote on Facebook.
“We need to find a way of unshackling our central governments from the overly powerful constitution which gives such unfettered power to misbehave. It seems to me that none of the two major political parties can boldly campaign on their anti-corruption credentials and be taken seriously by the electorate. Do not get me wrong. We must all be accountable for our actions, even if well-intended. But it is becoming nauseating to hear the holier-than-thou postulations by the political class when it comes to public graft. None is clean.
“It would be better to look out for which of the two parties left lasting impressions on crucial matters of inequality, inclusivity as far as health, education, infrastructure and general living conditions are concerned”, Mr Cudjoe added.
Just recently, the UK media landscape was replete with reports that former Coronation Street star Philip Middlemiss is being sought by police in Ghana over the alleged £5 million Airbus bribery scandal.
Prosecutors named the former UK actor among four people they would like to speak to in relation to the £50 million sale of three Airbus C-295 military planes to the country.
Middlemiss famously played Coronation Street's womanising Des Barnes for eight years in the 1990s.
After starring in the ITV Soap, Middlemiss reportedly headed to Ghana to start making a film.
He then claims to have befriended the brother of the country's vice-president, before heading back to the UK.
Middlemiss lives in a smart £400,000 detached property in Greater Manchester, reports The Sun, despite him being declared bankrupt in 2012 over unpaid tax.
Ghana's special prosecutor Martin Amidu states Middlemiss is believed to have been a project manager for Airbus, which sold the planes, when the alleged bribery took place.
It is also alleged that he incorporated a company in the UK in 2010 through which he assisted Airbus with the suspect deal.
Of those wanted two of the others are British nationals and the third is a dual national of the UK and Ghana.
The French air industry giant agreed to pay more than £3.1billion in fines over bribery action against the company in January this year.
US documents state this was in relation to the company's scheme to use third-party business partners to bribe government officials and airline executives.
Assistant attorney general Brian Benczkowski of the US justice department said: 'Airbus engaged in a multi-year and massive scheme to corruptly enhance its business interests by paying bribes in China and other countries and concealing those bribes.'
The governing party in Ghana has used the allegation to accuse former president John Dramani Mahama of fostering corruption during his tenure.
The government is also using the revelations against Mr Mahama's electoral comeback in the West African nation.
Middlemiss's girlfriend Leanne Davis told The Sun last night she had no knowledge of any investigation.
'I don't know anything about that. Phil's not here. I'm not sure when he'll be back,' she said.
Following the UK media reports, a local group calling itself the Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability (ASEPA), issued a statement and said the government of Ghana is investing millions of dollars into sustaining investigations into the Airbus bribery scandal.
The statement signed by Mr Mensah Thompson, Executive Director of ASEPA, accused the Akufo-Addo government of blowing huge sums of taxpayers’ money to revive, what, in his view, is “the already-dead and discredited Airbus affair”.
“Yes, folks, your government is spending millions of your taxes to attempt to influence newspapers and online portals in Europe to revive Airbus DPA to smear its political opponent, John Mahama”, Mr Thompson said in a statement, adding: “Unfortunately for the government, several of the most reputable media outlets in Europe have declined to swallow the bait based on what they describe as serious privacy concerns (which was very prime in the Airbus investigations in the UK)”
“A close relative of President Akufo-Addo is the chief architect of this Airbus revival aagenda and has control of a huge slush fund containing millions of dollars to achieve the objective,” the statement alleged as captured in full below.
GOVERNMENT SPENDING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO REVIVE AIRBUS SCANDAL – ASEPA REVEALS
The Alliance for Social Equity and Public Accountability, ASEPA has for the past few weeks been following a trail of several behind the door arrangements by the Government and persons close to Government and can confidently report to the good of people of Ghana that Government of Ghana is Spending huge sums of taxpayers’ money to revive the already dead and discredited Airbus affair.
Yes, folks, your government is spending Millions of your taxes to attempt to influence Newspapers and Online Portals in Europe to revive Airbus DPA to smear its Political opponent, John Mahama.
Unfortunately for the Government, several of the most reputable Media outlets in Europe have declined to swallow the bait based on what they describe as serious Privacy Concerns (which was very prime in the Airbus Investigations in the UK.)
A close relative of President Akufo-Addo is the Chief Architect of this Airbus Revival Agenda and has control of a huge slush fund containing millions of dollars to achieve the objective.
The Special Prosecutor's Office is the conduit through which this smear campaign is being coordinated. It will be recalled that pressure from the Presidency was brought to bear on the OSP to publish the biodata of some foreign Nationals and invite them to his Office for questioning (even though he knows that was practically impossible) just to incite more International attention on the case amidst serious Privacy issues which we believe can later have serious consequences for us as a Country if these Foreign Nationals decide to seek legal redress for that reckless action by the Special Prosecutor. Was this reprieve granted the Special Prosecutor in order to influence his subsequent conduct?
Recently there have been many behind the scenes movements aimed at putting pressure on the Special Prosecutor to achieve parochial political interests. There are many questions begging for answers. For instant why was there an almost complete change in the panel in the course of the trial with the newly appointed Chief Justice installing himself as the head of the panel? Why was there a surprise adjournment two weeks ago when the court was about to give its ruling? And what was the subject of the closed-door discussion between the President and Martin Amidu before the Supreme Court verdict was given?
It is common knowledge that Nana Akufo-Addo has been putting pressure on the OSP to invite former President Mahama to his Office amidst heavy fanfare just to give the former president bad publicity ahead of the elections.
After several reputable media outlets failed to accept to publish stories on Airbus, they have fallen on tabloid portals like the Sun Newspaper in the UK to rehash the failed agenda and also turned their guns home by recruiting local online portals in a desperate attempt to revive an already dead story. Isn't it interesting that even before The Sun had uploaded the story, a cousin of the President, Mr J.B. Danquah Ofori-Atta, was first to begin posting it on social media? A case of cooking your own food and serving yourself first?
The desperation of Akufo-Addo and his family on this Airbus issue is due to the brick wall they have hit trying to enlist the cooperation of the UK Authorities in their political witch-hunt.
The Nana Akufo-Addo is renowned for his penchant for selective justice. While he has become an agent for clearing corrupt persons in his regime, he lied on an international platform recently that all corruption allegations against his government have been investigated and cleared.
What the world is wondering is why the President has not referred the bribery scandal involving the former TOR MD to the Office of the Special Prosecutor with the same alacrity as he did in the case of the Airbus?? several CSOs like ASEPA, IMANI and other Anti-Corruption Groups have also asked the same questions over and over again.
Is it not because the former TOR MD was a major financier of his in the 2016 election? And that the Turkish promoters of the AKSA plant are close friends of the family and indeed have one of his cousins as their Legal Consultant?
We will closely monitor the OSP after his miraculous reprieve in the recent Supreme Court case and how he conducts himself.
More to come soon...
Executive Director, ASEPA