27th May 2024

An airbus plane

 Countries and companies around the world implicated in the Airbus bribery scandal have initiated investigations into the matter.

Airbus is to pay a record £3bn in penalties after admitting to paying huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to land contracts in 20 countries, including Ghana.

A Colombian airline group, Avianca Holdings SA, has since appointed a law firm to probe into its business relationship with Airbus.

The law firm is to investigate whether Avianca was a victim of the alleged bribery schemes. Avianca has said it will take legal actions, if necessary, to defend the interests of the company and its shareholders.

AirAsia chiefs step aside

AirAsia Group Chief Executive Officer Tony Fernandes and Chairman Kamarudin Meranun have stepped aside, as the airline and the Malaysian government probe the allegations. The two, according to the company, will step aside for at least two months.

In a joint statement, the two co-founders of Asia’s largest budget airline denied any wrongdoing or misconduct.

Ex-CEO, wife remanded

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ordered a full investigation after the UK’s SFO reported that Airbus had hired the wife of a SriLankan Airlines executive as its intermediary in connection with aircraft negotiations.

Airbus allegedly misled UK’s export credit agency UKEF over her name and gender while paying her company $2million, the SFO said.

A former chief executive officer of Sri Lanka’s national flag carrier, Kapila Chandrasena, and his wife were subsequently remanded in custody for their involvement in the scandal.

Mr Chandrasena and Priyanka Niyomali surrendered to the Criminal Investigation Department three days after arrest warrants were issued for them.

According to the SFO, Airbus allegedly hired Ms Niyomali as an agent and paid her $2 million to “influence” the debt-ridden SriLankan Airlines to purchase 10 aircraft from the company in 2013. The payment by Airbus had reportedly been made through a Brunei shell company to Ms Niyomali’s company in which she was the only director.

Kuwait seeks information

Kuwait’s anti-corruption authority, NAZAHA, says it is receiving information about alleged bribes paid to secure Airbus plane orders involving Kuwaiti parties.

NAZAHA’s spokesman, Mohammad Bo-Zober, is quoted as saying the authority has started reaching out to local newspapers and media outlets that had covered the scandal to collect all possible evidence.

French prosecutors said their corruption probe involved transactions in a number of countries, including Kuwait. The NAZAHA spokesman said the authority could summon people to provide statements, and confirmed Kuwait would cooperate with British prosecutors to collect evidence.

Mahama suspected in Ghana

What is happening is these countries is similar to Ghana’s case, following a directive from President Akufo-Addo to the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu, to institute an inquiry into the scandal.

A statement signed by Eugene Arhin, director of communications at Jubilee House, indicated that Mr Amidu had been directed to “conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present, involved in the said scandal.”

The statement further disclosed that the President wants “necessary legal action taken against any such official, as required by Ghanaian Law.”

There are growing suspicions that former President John Mahama could be the main culprit in the payment of bribes to the country’s officials to enable Airbus to secure contracts for the supply of aircraft. He has since failed to comment on the allegations, even though all fingers appear to be pointed at him.

The Office of the Special Prosecutor has said there is “reasonable suspicion of corruption” in the Airbus scandal.

Source: Daily Statesman



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