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Agyapa deal: Fantastic bunch of patriots – Gabby laughs off NDC’s threat of demo

Cousin of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, Gabby Asare Otchere-Darko says the National Democratic Congress (NDC) takes Ghanaians for a joke.

His comment was a direct reaction to the NDC’s threat to hit the streets in its quest to put pressure on the government to retrieve from him and the Finance Minister supposed monies they have benefited for roles played in the controversial Agyapa transaction.

The NDC at a press briefing held on Tuesday, November 10, 2020, said it is giving the government up to seven days to take appropriate steps in retrieving monies paid to some persons involved in the Agyapa deal or risk the wrath of the party through a series of protests and legal actions.

According to the National Communications Officer of the party, Sammy Gyamfi, the nation in the first week of December will witness what will be the biggest demonstration to ever hit the country if Gabby Otchere-Darko and the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta do not refund monies they have benefited from the Agyapa deal.

“They should brace themselves for the biggest demonstration ever seen in the history of this country. In the first week of December this year, if Ken Ofori-Atta and Gabby Otchere-Darko, in particular, don’t refund the billions of taxpayers monies they have been paid, we will demonstrate,” he stated.

Reacting to the NDCs threat Mr. Otchere-Darko in a post sighted by GhanaWeb said the NDC has taken the Mickey.

In what the private legal practitioner described as a piece of pro bono advice to the NDC and the campaign team of its presidential candidate, John Mahama, Gabby wrote that “since you are going on a street protest because you love Ghana so much, why don’t you, the NDC, begin with a demonstration for the return of millions of bribe money that the giver, Airbus, has confessed to prosecutors in (1) France, (2) US and (3) the UK, to have paid allegedly through a brother of the person you are returning as your presidential candidate?”

According to Mr. Otchere-Darko, the NDC should be able to demonstrate over the Airbus scandal if indeed the party sees it prudent to demonstrate over the Agyapa transaction which the president has instructed to be put on hold pending review.

Arguing why the NDC should be more concerned about the Airbus bribery scandal instead of the Agyapa transaction, Gabby Otchere-Darko pointed out that there is no equality between Agyapa and the Airbus scandal as the former is established by a British Crown Court ruling as an incident of bribery while, in contrast, the Agyapa deal “per a presidential response to all the issues, has been put on hold for review until the 2020 general elections are over.”

He adds that “if the NDC is so confident of winning the 2020 presidential race and also taking majority seats in Parliament, then they would have a more clinical option of canceling the whole deal after December 7” and conclude in his response that “Ghanaians will have no problem with any other group or political party organising such a protest walk, but I am not so sure about the NDC under John Mahama! After all this is the season. My last advice to them: please encourage your protestors to wear mask. A mask is a must.”

Read below Mr Otchere Darko’s full response to the threat by the NDC:

NDC TAKES THE MICKEY

You are calling on your supporters and Ghanaians to join you on the street to stage a massive demonstration to ask for a refund for fees paid to transaction advisors, including law firms for services rendered per a contract? (Note: Databank has received no money for work done so far. Databank was only to earn success fee at the end of the transaction). That is why, with tongue in cheek, I wish to proclaim: I love the NDC! Fantastic bunch of patriots! Bless them!
But, a small piece of pro bono advice to John Mahama’s campaign team: since you are going on a street protest because you love Ghana so much, why don’t you, the NDC, begin with a demonstration for the return of millions of bribe money that the giver, Airbus, has confessed to prosecutors in (1) France, (2) US and (3) UK, to have paid allegedly through a brother of the person you are returning as your presidential candidate? Not my words! Not my assessment, not my investigation, not my prosecution and certainly not my Crown Court judgment.

Surely, if you can protest over an anti-corruption risk assessment over a transaction that has been put on hold and under review, then doing same for the biggest global corruption scandal ever on which judgement has been given and Ghana government official(s) mentioned as allegedly receiving millions of euros in bribery, should be pretty easy. See Case No: U20200108 in the Crown Court at Southwark, London, UK.

Why so? Let’s look at Paragraph 134 (page 67 of 104) of the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) of the USA on the Airbus matter, which mentions the figures involved. I had done well to restrain myself all this while from commenting on the Airbus deal. I had limited my one and only comment last February to questioning why it was just the western governments benefitting from the record penalty payment of $4 billion and not victim countries, including Colombia, Ghana, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. But, this push by the NDC on Agyapa really takes the mickey.

At para 135 of the DPA, it is stated clearly with evidence of correspondence to back, that, “Beginning in or around 2009, a few months after Individual 1 [Government Official 1 in UK court] took office, Individual 1 was in direct and repeated contact with senior airbus executives… Individual 1 was influential in having the Government of Ghana approve aircraft purchases and Individual 1 contacted Airbus senior executives during the government approval process.” It is this same individual public servant whose brother served as an intermediary in this bribery business as investigated and admitted in a UK court by Airbus, the bribe giver.

Beyond blood contact, the intermediary (Consultant 4 or Intermediary 5) had NO CONTRACT to back his entire involvement in the government transaction with Airbus, but he got paid millions in Euros and, per the court records, as a “conduit.” I’m not the one saying it. The people involved have been interrogated by investigators there and conclusions reached on the culpability of the multinational company.

See Paragraph 134 of the DPA for the millions of euros that prosecutors concluded that “In fact, Airbus or its vendors had paid, offered, or agreed to pay political contributions, fees, or commissions in connection with these sales…” Indeed, there are emails to the effect that Intermediary 5, the brother of Individual 1 (Govt Official 1) was still claiming a small change of 71,393 euros as left outstanding, even after receiving six zero sums. See Para 143.

While at it, look at Para 136 of the DPA about how closely Individual 1 and his brother Consultant 4 (Intermediary 5) worked in the same loop on this transaction as evidenced by emails in the custody of prosecutors and confessed to by Airbus senior executives.

Look further at Para 181 of the Statement of Facts (page 36 of 40), the UK court files, which shows that the brother “and his associates worked on the sales to the Government of Ghana without any written agreement. This included liaison with Government Official 1 regarding the potential Airbus C-295 sale.”
You can advance your curiosity further to para 182, which talks about joint meetings in London with Government Official 1, Airbus officials and his brother who had no written contract but ended up being paid the alleged bribes in the centre of the whole prosecution case. See also Paras 172, 173, 183 and 184 of the Statement of Facts.

Another advice to the NDC: focus on trying to convince Ghanaians, if possible, that you offer something perhaps better than the opportunity you squandered just four years ago.

I’d restrained myself all this while from commenting on the Airbus saga. But, if as it is stated in paragraph 173 of the Statement of Facts, Government Official 1 saw nothing wrong with actively facilitating an aircraft deal with his brother as a consultant (intermediary) when that brother, “had no prior experience or expertise in the aerospace industry”, then we should pause for a moment. The NDC are, of course, free to go on a demonstration because Ken Ofori-Atta’s company, that has won 8 annual awards as the best securities company in Ghana, is involved in an IPO.

This is not equalisation! You can’t equate a crown court judgment of a bribery case after a guilty plea, to a transaction that, per a presidential response to all the issues, has been put on hold for review until the 2020 general elections are over. If the NDC is so confident of winning the 2020 presidential race and also taking majority seats in Parliament, then they would have a more clinical option of cancelling the whole deal after December

7. Ghanaians will have no problem with any other group or political party organising such a protest walk, but I am not so sure about the NDC under John Mahama! After all this is the season. My last advice to them: please encourage your protestors to wear mask. A mask is a must.

The NDC must surely take Ghanaians for a joke.

 

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