Interpol red alert for four people over Airbus saga renews debate

The head of the public affairs unit of the Criminal Investigations Department says the move follows a request from Ghana’s Special Prosecutor, but NDC bigwigs protest

The International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) has issued a red alert for four people alleged to be involved in the Airbus saga.

They are Samuel Adam Foster, also known as Adam Mahama, Philip Sean Middlemiss, Leanne Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux.

A press release signed by Juliana Obeng, head of the public affairs unit of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Ghana Police Service said the move followed a request by the Special Prosecutor (SP).

“Following a request by the Office of the Special Prosecutor through the CID to the Interpol General Secretariat, the latter has issued a red notice in respect of the following individuals,” the statement said.

It said their names had been published in the Interpol Red Notice in connection with the Airbus scandal being handled by the Office of the Special Prosecutor.

Interpol Red Notice on Samuel Adam Mahama

However, leading members of the opposition National Democratic Congress have described the Interpol arrest warrant variously as being of “dubious validity”, politically motivated or a ploy by the Special Prosecutor to justify his position. They include Sammy Gyamfi, the NDCs national communications officer, and Edudzi Tamakloe, a high-ranking member of the partys legal team.

Big backhanders

Investigations in France, the United Kingdom and the United States found that Ghana is just one of five countries where the European aviation giant Airbus paid or attempted to pay millions of dollars in bribes in exchange for contracts. The other countries were Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

On 31 January 2020 the high court in London, presided over by the president of the Queen’s Bench Division, Dame Victoria Sharp, imposed a record fine on the company of over €3.5 billion (£3 billion or US$3.8 billion).

The British court co-operated in the investigation with peer organisations in France and the United States: the Parquet National Financier and the US Departments of Justice and State.

Under the terms of the penalties, fines were to be paid to the governments of all three countries which investigated Airbus, with €2.1 billion (£1.7 billion or $2.4 billion) going to France and €525.7 million to US officials (£479 million or $601 million). The UK Treasury was to receive €991 million in total (£820 million or $1.13 billion) – €983.97 million in fines plus Serious Fraud Office costs of €6.9 million.

Airbus admitted to five counts of failing to prevent bribery, using a network of secret agents to pay large-scale backhanders to officials in the five foreign countries to land high-value contracts.

According to an official report, there were six key actors involved in the scandal regarding Ghana.

Investigators from the UK’s Serious Fraud Office identified them only as “Government Official One (high-ranking and elected), “Intermediary Five” (a British national and close relative of Government Official One), “Company D” (corporate vehicle for Intermediary Five – shareholder), “Intermediary Six” (British national and associate of Intermediary Five), “Intermediary Seven” (British national and associate of Intermediary Five) and “Intermediary Eight” (a Spanish company that acted as a front for Intermediary Five).

Three other British citizens – Philip Sean Middlemiss, Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux – are connected to the case because of their roles in the scandal. 

The Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) in Accra launched formal investigations into the bribery scandal in which, between 2009 and 2015, Airbus allegedly bribed certain Ghanaian officials to influence a decision by the Government of Ghana to acquire three C-295 military transport aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF).

Government sources say the OSP, led by Martin A B K Amidu, began its investigations on 4 February 2020 on the basis of a referral made to him by the Office of the President.

Who is Samuel Adam Mahama?

Samuel Adam Foster (aka Samuel Adam Mahama) was born in Tamale on 14 December 1962 to Emmanuel Adama Mahama and Nana Suluwu.

One of the guarantors for his current Ghanaian passport was John Mahama, described as the former president of Ghana. The second guarantor was Alfred Abdulai Mahama, described as a civil servant.

Alfred, John and Samuel are brothers in descending order of seniority. All three had the same father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama.

Mahama père was a Member of Parliament in the First Republic and served as the first Minister for the Northern Region of the newly independent Ghana, under the presidency of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah.

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Ghana News Agency
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