The deafening silence of former President John Dramani Mahama on the Airbus bribery scandal seems to be cementing the perception that he is indeed the Government Official 1 (GO1) mentioned in the case.
Noted for his swift comment on issues of national importance, the loud silence of the NDC flagbearer, several days after the scandal was reported and linked to him, has sparked some controversies among sections of the populace.
For instance, the executive director of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Sulemana Braimah, in an article, virtually concluded that John Mahama is the GO1 the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) referred to in its investigations
Listing names of some key appointees of the previous NDC government who might have been involved in the transaction, he stated: “But President Mills died in July 2012. He, therefore, could not have been the elected government official who was still in power in 2015 referred to by the court document. At this stage, we are left with Vice/President John Mahama.”
“Vice-President Mahama was elected in 2009 together with President Mills. He was, thus, an elected government official. As Vice-President, he was the Chairman of the Ghana Armed Forces Council.
“He was, thus, a key decision maker in the procurement of military equipment, including aircraft. In 2015, he was still an elected government official, this time as President,” he added.
The president of Imani Africa, Franklin Cudjoe, thinks the international bribery scandal will have a direct effect on the presidential ambition of the former President.
Meanwhile, a group known as Patriots for Peace and Development (PPD) is calling on the leadership of the NDC to organise an extra-ordinary congress to elect a new flagbearer to lead the party in the 2020 general elections.
The group is of the view that it will be in the interest of the party to put out a new candidate who is “more credible” instead of going into the election with the attainted former President.
A statement signed by Richard Danso, leader of the group, said the opposition NDC must “disqualify John Mahama”, adding that he has become a liability to the electoral fortunes of the party.
“The NDC as a party must tread cautiously since this big scandal would definitely have some ripple effect on the chances of the party during the 2020 general elections,” said the group.
“Eminent people with much more credibility like Prof Joshua Alabi, Hon Alban Bagbin, Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Sylvester Mensah, Kwesi Ahwoi, among others, could be considered as a presidential candidate,” it added.
Meanwhile, the governing NPP has called on Mr Mahama “to come out and clear himself.”
The NDC flagbearer, described by the NPP as a man who is “no stranger to speaking to the international community… even if he has nothing to say except lies”, has curiously remained silent on the matter.
This seems to be cementing the strongly held opinion by many Ghanaians that the GO1, as was stated in the ruling of the UK court, refers to him.
Ghana’s purchases of aircraft from Airbus, during the erstwhile Mills and Mahama administrations, are now at the centre of what is said to be the biggest bribery case in a UK court.
The “chop-chop” deal was led by Mr Mahama, who was the Vice-President under the late President Mills, and later became the President.
Airbus has admitted in a London high court to paying huge bribes to enable it secure the contract for the supply of the aircraft.
It has agreed to pay a record £3billion in penalties after admitting it had paid huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to land contracts in 20 countries.
Source: Daily Statesman