Former President John Mahama has denied benefitting financially from the Airbus deal to supply aircraft to the Ghana Air Force.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, Mr Mahama is reported to have said: “Let me state without any equivocation that no financial benefit accrued to me. Neither was there any form of inducement in the purchase of the aircraft.
“My singular motivation was to equip and retool the Ghana Armed Forces in a manner that would make the discharge of their national and international roles efficient and less burdensome and for all the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make, they do not deserve less.”
Ghana’s deal with Airbus was cited as part of a case in the UK courts in which Europe’s largest aircraft manufacturer admitted to paying huge bribes to win contracts in 20 countries, including Ghana.
As part of a settlement, Airbus agreed to pay a fine of £3 billion.
Since the deal was signed under the Mahama administration speculations have been rife that he might have engineered the deal to his own personal benefit, with his opponents pointing to the scandal as an example of corrupt dealings under his presidency.
Suggestions have been made that Mr Mahama is the Ghanaian Government Official 1 named in British court documents in the case against Airbus.
Since the issue came up in February, Mr Mahama has not commented on it until the interview he reportedly granted the Daily Graphic.
The newspaper quotes Mr Mahama as explaining his silence on the matter as part of his general stance to refrain from commenting on any of the many corruption allegations against him and his administration.
“I recognised that it was the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor in Ghana, following the almost immediate referral to that body by the President,” he said.
According to former president Mahama he has not been invited by the Special Prosecutor to answer any questions on the Airbus scandal but he has come to the realisation that the governing New Patriotic Party is intent on using it to gain political capital.
“I intend to address all the allegations of corruption made against me over the years, and I will also take on fully, Nana Akufo-Addo on his own record of corruption,” President Mahama asserted.
“I am proud that under my tenure as Chairman of the Armed Forces Council and as Commander-in-Chief, the security services saw the biggest retooling and equipping in the history of Ghana.”
He added, “All the processes and negotiations by government in the acquisition of the aircraft were conducted directly with Airbus and my administration without any untoward influence either directly or indirectly through any agents it may have appointed.
“Indeed, nowhere in the available UK Court Documents has it been said that Airbus paid any public or government official on the side for the purchase of the aircraft.
“Some of our gallant and highly efficient officers who composed the technical team are still in active service in the military and I reject any idea that they have arrived at their decisions through inducement or coercion by any person.”
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