The entire membership of the Leipzig chapter of the New Patriotic Party (NPP-Leipzig) in Germany, has observed with dismay the deafening silence from the former president, H.E. John Dramani Mahama, on his role and tacit involvement in the purchase of some military transport aircraft, under dubious circumstances from Airbus SE.
Following the 31st January 2020 judgment of the crown court in Southwark, United Kingdom between the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (UK) and Airbus, in which the latter was fined to the tune of $3.9 billion for the payment of bribes to secure deals in some countries, including Ghana, investigators in France and the United States of America (USA) have equally found the world’s second-largest aerospace manufacturer guilty of fraud, bribery and corruption.
While investigations have begun in some countries linked to this shameful act, including Sri Lanka and Columbia, Indonesia has concluded her investigations. Over a week ago, the Jakarta Corruption Court sentenced the former president director of Garuda Indonesia – the flag carrier of Indonesia – to eight years in prison for accepting US$3.4 million in bribes and laundering. For Ghana, the President, His Excellence Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo acted swiftly by referring the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) for further investigations: A commendable act which promises to bring a logical conclusion to the matter.
It is worthy to note, that preliminary investigations by the OSP point to UK nationals Philip Middlemiss, Sarah Furneaux, Leanne Davis and John Dramani Mahama’s brother, Samuel Adam Mahama, as having acted as intermediaries between Airbus and Mr. John Mahama resulting in bribes to the tune of about €5 million. Notwithstanding the referral to the OSP, it is important to note that the former president who doubles as the presidential candidate for the National Democratic Congress (NDC) for the 2020 general election still resides in the country and can respond directly to these damning issues about him. However, Mr. Mahama has since gone on regional tours, organized policy dialogue series and featured on digital conversations with the public on healthcare and infrastructure and COVID-19 response on his John Mahama Live internet broadcasts. His insatiable quest to win the next presidential election has led him to comment on every little issue, including the number of Ghana’s COVID-19 cases, save the Airbus scandal.
Former president Mahama owes the nation a great deal of responsibility and accountability, especially in this Airbus scandal, for all fingers point to him. Recalling his remarks in a BBC focus on Africa interview, Ghanaians are aware former president Mahama finds it difficult answering questions on corruption since he will like to know if the question relates to him “as a president or as a person”. Like the BBC’s Peter Okwoche, we inquire, “Mr. President, did you take it?”
This is not the first time a court has ably declared the Mahama administration as corrupt. The UK court ruling only affirmed Justice Dotse JSC’s position, that former president John Mahama created an atmosphere to “create, loot and share” the nation’s resources. It is of no surprise that the Accra High Court on 12th May 2020 sentenced three former government officials in the Mahama administration, Eugene Baffoe-Bonnie, William Matthew Tetteh Tevie and Alhaji Salifu Mimina Osman, to various terms in prison after convicting them of willfully causing financial loss of $4m to the state. Sadly, the former president who watched as his apparatchiks misappropriated the nation’s scarce resources only cited the popular quote from British-born Jewish-U.S. lawyer Louis Nizer, “When a man points a finger at someone else, he should remember that four of his fingers are pointing at himself”. One wonders the implicit meaning to this response from a man who touts his party’s ideals in probity and accountability. Is he faulting the court, or the prosecutors? Is his wish to protect people who are involved in corrupt practices?
Over the past few years, the nation has had to painfully bear a non-stop series of corruption allegations made against former president John Dramani Mahama and his government during and after his tenure of office. He is alleged to be involved in international scandals such as the Ford saga and Armajaro, just to name but few. As he once posited in 2014, “Corruption amounts to mass murder because it deprives government of resources to address the basic needs of people”, we will like to ask, how many people has he killed with the genocides he has committed over the years?
For us in Germany, this is more or less a test case for Ghana, if the destiny of the nation can once again be entrusted in the hands of the NDC, and of course, a person who has shown time and time again of potentials of enriching himself at the dire expense of the nation that offered him free senior high education and gave him an opportunity to serve in all levels of governance.
We therefore make a passionate appeal to all well-meaning Ghanaians, home and abroad to rise up to hold the former president accountable for all of the corruption scandals either overtly or covertly. We also appeal to civil society organizations, the media and all stakeholders in Ghana to add their voice to this worrying issue.
We therefore call on the former president to as a matter of urgency clear his name at this material time, while the case is still under investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP).
God Bless our homeland Ghana
Ag. Director of Communications,
NPP Leipzig, Germany.