The infamous £5 million Airbus bribery scandal, involving some former Ghanaian government officials, has reared its head again, after a top British newspaper, The Sun, reported in its latest edition that former President John Dramani Mahama was complicit in the scandal, and has been accused of having links with a corrupt network.
According to last Tuesday’s edition of the newspaper, an arrest warrant has been issued by law enforcement agencies in Ghana for the arrest of four people, including a brother of Mr Mahama and a popular British actor, Philip Middlemiss, who had allegedly said before that his friend’s brother was the Vice-President of Ghana, ostensibly referring to Mr Mahama as then Vice-President under the late President Mills.
They are being investigated after being named by the aircraft manufacturer for their roles in the scandal.
The Sun newspaper, currently enjoying the 2nd largest circulation in the UK, reported that the former actor, who played womanising bookie Des Barnes for eight years in the 1990s, was named by investigators in Ghana.
Middlemiss is believed to have moved to Ghana after leaving the ITV soap to make a film but ran out of funding before it was finished, according to the paper.
He then worked as a “travel consultant” and “said in one interview his best friend’s brother was vice-president of Ghana”.
Mr Martin Amidu, the Special Prosecutor, in February launched a formal investigation into the matter and announced that he had summoned four people and released their passport details online.
“They include Middlemiss, who lives in a smart £400,000 detached property in Greater Manchester despite him being declared bankrupt in 2012 over unpaid taxes.
Two other Britons and a UK/Ghanaian citizen are wanted for questioning,” the paper reported.
In January, Airbus agreed to pay a £3billion fine after the UK, US and French authorities launched a joint investigation into the use of middlemen to sell planes.
The Office of the Special Prosecutor issued a public notice, saying the four “are hereby invited to assist the on-going investigation of bribery and corruption” totalling more than 5million euros.
The investigation also includes “collaborating with Ghanaian public officers to use their public office for private profit or benefit in the purchase of three C-295 aircraft by the Government of Ghana from Airbus”.
Mahama in turmoil
In an article published in theafricareport, authored by Oliver Holmey, under the headline “Ghana: John Mahama splashed by Airbus corruption affair”, he notes: “One could hardly have imagined a more unlikely setting for a revelation of this nature.”
“The scene takes place in November 2010: Philip Middlemiss, former star of the successful British series Coronation Street, goes with his girlfriend, actress Leanne Davis, to a charity gala at a cricket club in the north-west of England,” he writes.
“When a local newspaper asks him what his plans are, Middlemiss’s answer is unexpected to say the least. “I’m working out in Ghana, in West Africa. My best friend’s brother’s the vice president. So I went out there thinking of directing a feature film and now I’m working with the government.’ The journalist, obviously taken aback, asked him if this was a joke. ‘No, no, that’s the truth!’ he replies, laughing.
“Ten years later, the results of a joint investigation by French, British and US authorities into alleged corruption at the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus in 23 countries, including Ghana, shed new light on the exchange. And they have plunged John Dramani Mahama, the former president who was planning to make a political comeback this year, into turmoil,” Oliver writes.