The Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) has asked the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu to step aside from investigating the controversial Airbus bribery allegations if he is found guilty of conflict of interest.
Mary Awelana Adda, Programs Manager of the anti-corruption organization stated on JoyNews’ PM Express that once an issue of conflict of interest is established in the corruption saga, it is advisable to let the person in charge of the Office recuse himself and hand over the baton to other members of the office equally capable of investigating such matters.
Ghana and 19 other countries have been fingered in fresh bribery allegations regarding the purchase of aircrafts from one of the world’s largest aerospace manufacturing companies, Airbus.
In the case of Ghana, it was revealed that Airbus paid or promised to pay an amount of about 5 million euros to a top-ranking elected government official under the Mills-Mahama administrations in exchange for contracts.
After the disclosure was made on Friday, January 31, President Akufo-Addo swiftly referred the matter to the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate and make the officials face the brunt of the law.
The swift response in the matter has been commended by many but at the same time, some, including the head of the Media Foundation for West Africa Sulemana Braimah, believe that the special prosecutor may be an “interested party” in the ongoing investigation.
Reacting to these claims, Mary Adda noted that even though the capacity of Martin Amidu to effectively investigate the issue is not in dispute, “it won’t be too much to ask that he recuses himself” once evidence is established he was indeed a witness to the bribery allegation.
“In issues of conflict of interest, I believe that one of the things we should be looking at in the matter of the Special Prosecutor is to find out if indeed at the point he was involved in the process. If he was, then it won’t be too much to ask that he recuses himself from the investigation”
“Then again, we know the gentleman Martin Amidu and his stature and what he has been able to do in the past. This is the situation where we could see Martin Amidu do his work and do it very dispassionately without any influence. But if it is clearly determined that he was involved in these processes, a potential conflict of interest issues arise and it would be good for him to recuse himself. I believe it is an office, it is not just him, there are other members in the office who can do the job and do it very well,” she noted.
“We are waiting on that office but the core is that we are hoping that this will go as fast as it’s supposed to go, it is done as thorough as possible so that we are able to uncover whoever Government official 1 is and Intermediary 5 is, and whoever owns the corporate vehicle that was created by Intermediary 5 and 6 as they are mentioned as directors, we want to know as a people who these persons are and what they were able to do and also how they benefited from the deal.”
Mrs Adda, however, described as ‘amusing’, the posture of the two major political parties, the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) in discussing the issue.
She believes a bribery scandal of such nature is a national issue and must be discussed from an apolitical point of view.
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