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Government pursues Airbus for over $30 million compensation

Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, Minister of Information

Information Minister-designate, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said that Ghana has engaged a law firm to assist with the repatriation of its share of some $3.9 billion in fines imposed on Airbus by the joint justice systems of France, the UK and the US.

Official documents from a joint three-country investigation on the Airbus scandal have shown that Ghanaian parties involved in the affair received millions of Euros in bribe money.

The corrupt Airbus deal took place between 2009 and 2015, during the previous National Democratic Congress (NDC) administration under former president John Mahama.

Speaking to Asaase Radio about this development, Oppong Nkrumah said: “Government is aware that out of the $3.9 billion in fines imposed on Airbus, some $30 million relates to actions taken in Ghana.”

Oppong Nkrumah said that government has “since June, this year, been engaging with an international law firm that has got extensive experience in investigations and anti-corruption [related to international transactions] to see how they can best assist Ghana to repatriate our share of the fines, which can be put to good use.”

The Airbus scandal, investigated by the United Kingdom, the United States and France, led to the fining of Airbus, after the company, in light of fraudulent financial records, admitted to paying huge bribes to government officials in Ghana, Sri Lanka, Indonesia and Malaysia using family members of top officials, to secure aircraft contracts.

Whether Ghana is certain to recover funds lost in the corrupt Airbus deal through the fines, the Minister for Information said: “There is history and precedence the world over, other countries that have succeeded in getting a repatriation of parts of international fines or damages [include] the United States and Kyrgystan.”

“We are optimistic that working through this channel [the law firm], we believe that we will be able to at least retrieve the $30 million component that accrues to Ghana, repatriated to Ghana so that we can put to good use in enhancing our anti-corruption institutions.”

Details of the corrupt Airbus deal were made public early 2020 when two Ghanaian officials were identified in the United Kingdom’s Crown Courts documents as Government Official 1 and Government Official 5.

Former Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu fingered NDC Flagbearer, John Mahama, as being identified as the Ghanaian Official 1 who used his brother to receive the Ghana share of the bribes. He was, however, unable to complete his investigations before leaving office.

Nkrumah also confirmed that international investigations also reveal that persons involved in the Ghanaian part of the scandal have recently been questioned with more expected to follow soon.

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