Private legal practitioner, Martin Kpebu, says the spotlight should be put on Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu as the country continues to demand closure in a bribery scandal involving aviation giant, Airbus and a reputed top Ghanaian politician.
This follows reports by a UK court on January 31, 2020, that Ghana, together with four other countries had dealings with Airbus, in which the planemaker paid or attempted to pay millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for contracts, leading to Airbus being fined some £3 billion.
The document also alleged that contrary to section 7 of the UK’s Bribery Act 2010, Airbus failed to prevent persons associated with it from “bribing others concerned with the purchase of a military transport aircraft by the Government of Ghana, where the said bribery was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business.”
President Akufo-Addo subsequently tasked the Office of the Special Prosecutor to conduct an inquiry into the scandal.
A letter signed by Communications Director at the Presidency, Eugene Arhin stated that this investigation is expected to be conducted in collaboration with the United Kingdom authorities.
But while many are debating whether Martin Amidu is fit to lead the charge, Lawyer Martin Kpebu believes government should be more focused on if the special prosecutor is adequately equipped to handle the issue.
According to him, since it is a break or make for the office, more light should be thrown on Martin Amidu and help provided the office. This, he said, would lead to the citizenry being given regular updates on the investigation.
“So far we have been interested in the conspiracy theories far more than reaching out to Mr Amidu to find out what he is doing.
“This one is a make or break for him, so, I think we should rather throw the searchlight on help Mr Amidu needs to be able to finish this investigation quickly because people’s reputations are at stake. Also apart from that, as Ghanaians, we are also curious now that the conspiracies are all over on who is government official 1 and intermediary 5. So let’s ask him what he needs,” he said to host of Joy News’ Newsfile Samson Lardy Anyenini.
Backing his learned colleague on the same show, Dr. Justice Yankson lauded the decision by the President to refer the issue to the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
“As a country, we cannot continue to sit aloof when issues of corruption come forward. If you look at the transactions and how it happened, Ghana’s name featured in count 5. It was all about Ghana and not just Ghana but the government of Ghana is involved. So the state technically is involved and I think the right call is what the President has put out there.”
“For the OSP, I think this is a very good opportunity for them to do a good job for the people of Ghana for all of us to have confidence in them that irrespective of whoever is involved, they will always be there to do the right thing,” he said.
But in an interesting twist, Lawyer Bobby Banson, who was also on the show, expressed worry about the involvement of Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu.
According to him, he would prefer an independent committee investigating the issue instead of Martin Amidu, who was Attorney General and penned his opinion on the purchase of the military aircraft at the heart of the scandal.
“I would have preferred that the president would have constituted a committee to handle this. I am not interested in parliament investigating this but in the same way, a committee [Commission of Inquiry] was set up for the Ayawaso West Wuogon situation because this is something that affects the nation of Ghana.
“An independent commission made up of civil society groups, qualified person to sit and dispassionately analyse the evidence and come out with a report after live streaming will work for me,” he argued.
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