Tuesday, September 29, 2009
We Bribed NDC
MABEY & JOHNSON (M&J), a British engineering firm has admitted paying £470,000 in bribes, to leading members of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Government and additional £750,000 into a ghost fund dubbed, 'Ghana Development Fund', between December 1994 and 18th August 1999, to gain contracts worth £26 million.
Seeing the opportunity in doing business with the 'world's most corrupt regimes', as stated by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) of the United Kingdom, M&J went on further to bribe government officials of Jamaica and Iraq among other countries, to get the juiciest of contracts in the respective countries.
Ghana is to benefit from reparation of £658,000 to be paid by the British firm.
The Jamaican officials have since resigned from government even before the court ruling on Friday, while the Ghanaian officials implicated in the high-profile bribery scandal, including Ministers of State, continue to wine and dine with President Atta Mills who had promised to fight corruption with all his might.
At the time of the court ruling on Friday, DAILY GUIDE learnt that Dr George Sipa Yankey, Minister of Health, who took £15,000 as his share of the booty, was with the President in far away Washington DC attending the United Nations General Assembly.
Sources said the President had been informed about the culpability of some of his ministers and top officials in the damning bribery scandal, but he blinked over it, pretending that nothing was amiss.
Even NDC publications had given indications about the Mills appointees' neck-deep involvement in the bribery and corruption scandal.
Other NDC gurus mentioned in the scandal are Kwame Peprah, SSNIT Board Chairman and former Minister of Finance, who incidentally had served prison terms with Dr Yankey over the Quality Grain scandal; Alhaji Baba Kamara, Ghana's High Commissioner designate to Nigeria and former NDC National deputy Treasurer; and Alhaji Amadu Seidu, Minister of State at the Office of the President, Osu Castle.
The bribery payments were laid bare at the instance of Judge Rivlin, at the Southwark Crown Court in London last Friday September 25, 2009.
M&J admitted guilt and accepted the ruling of the court indicating no recourse for appeal. “However we would submit ourselves to the UK Serious Fraud Office for monitoring of any future international business transactions”.
A company representative told DAILY GUIDE at the court soon after the ruling that they have contacted the President of Ghana, John Evans Atta Mills, prior to the sentencing to discuss any reparation.
“The President delegated one Dr Dodoo of the Office of the President to continue with further discussions”, he added.
Before delivering his sentence, Judge Rivlin, indicated that he would direct maximum reparations to be paid to Ghana and Jamaica if the respective countries would accept, “but if they reject it, the Serious Fraud Office can pay it to any charity they want”.
Consequently, Ghana's acting High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Martin Quansah, who was present in court, contacted the Office of the President which gave him the go-head to inform the court of the President's willingness to accept the reparations.
The court was therefore informed of the willingness of the Government of Ghana to accept the reparations as announced by the lead prosecutor, QC John Hardy.
QC Hardy relayed the Ghana government message to the court when he was making a statement to accept the verdict of the court.
Meanwhile, a cross session of Ghanaians, including lawyers and some UK anti-corruption organisations who were present in the court, called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Government officials and party gurus mentioned in the damning bribery scandal.
They were of the view that the said officials need to face the full rigors of the law to serve as a deterrent to other government officials who intend to take bribes.
•Dr. George Sipah-Yankey (Minister of Health, NDC) £15,000
•Dr. Ato Quarshie (ex-Minister of Roads and Highways, NDC) £55,000
•Saddique Bonniface (ex desk officer ministry of Finance) £10,000 + £13,970 + £2,500 + £500 (school fees)
•Amadu Seidu (Minister of State at the Castle, NDC) £10,000
•Edward Lord-Attivor (Chairman inter-city transport) £10,000
•Edward Attipoe - £10,000
•Danny Ofori-Atta also known as Kwame Ofori (EGLE/NDC ) -The 'agent'
•Baba Kamara (aka I. B. Ibraimah), (High Commissioner designate to Nigeria and a former deputy National Treasurer of the NDC) – 'Agent' £750,000 dubbed the "Ghana Development Fund" ("GDF")
•Kwame Peprah- SSNIT Board Chairman and former Minister of Finance
Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy (permanent representative at the UN) $5,000
Lt-Col Jean Tsaranasy (former public works minister) £33,000
Joseph Uriah Hibbert (former works minister) £100,000
Antonio Gois (former general manager state bridges agency) $1.2 m
Joao Fucungo (former director state bridges agency) $13,000
Carlos Fragoso (former head of DNEP, directorate of roads and bridges) £286,000
Khandaker Rahman (chief engineer, roads & highways dept).
Culled from The Guardian, UK
From Ernest Peprah Antwi, London
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