Government has confirmed that it has commenced efforts to get the country’s share of the Airbus compensation repatriated to Ghana.
Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said government has, since June this year, been engaged with an international law firm with extensive experience in investigations and anti-corruption to see how they might best assist Ghana to repatriate its share of the fines.
International courts fined Airbus, the International aeroplane manufacturer about $3.9 billion in compensation for admitting it paid bribes to various international actors as part of its operations.
Records available to government suggest about $30 million of the fine is as a result of bribes paid to then government officials in Ghana.
Government’s approach is not without precedent. For example, in 2008 the United States, Switzerland and Kazakhstan established and NGO, the BOTA Foundation, to manage the return of over $100 million that had been paid in bribes to top Kazakh officials through US and Swiss bank accounts.
This process allowed the repatriated funds to be used towards projects of top importance to the Kazakh government; ultimately benefiting the Kazakh people.
Again in Kyrgyzstan, the US repatriated stolen assets from the prior Kyrgyz regime of Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his son, Maxim, which had been identified in a New York insider-trading case and were collected and approved for repatriation.
The Kyrgyz Republic agreed to use the funds to improve public access to healthcare and new water supply systems for rural populations.
Government expects that any share of the fines recovered be used exclusively to enhance the capabilities of Ghana’s anti-corruption and law enforcement agencies.
The Ofoase Ayeribi MP said governemt is also collaborating with international investigative agencies on efforts to bring the persons behind the scandal to book.
Airbus, the European aircraft manufacturer, is alleged to have paid bribes in Ghana when it sold the three military aircraft.
The aerospace multinational admitted hiring the brother of a top elected Ghanaian official as its consultant for the pitch to sell the aircraft to the country.
Again, Airbus confessed paying the said consultant through a third party when its Compliance Unit raised red flags about the close relationship between the consultant and the top elected official, who was a key decision-maker in the purchase of the military aircraft.
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.
Mr Oppong 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.