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Monday, October 5, 2009

President dispatches A-G to UK over M & J scandal

President wants more actionable information on M & J bribery scandal
President wants more actionable information on M & J bribery scandal

The President, John Evans Atta Mills, has directed the Minister of Justice and Attorney- General to "immediately" proceed to London to seek thorough information about the Mabey & Johnson bribery case to enable the government to decide on the matter.

President Mills gave the directive on Saturday after holding series of high level discussions with government officials at the Castle, Osu to find ways of dealing decisively with the Mabey & Johnson bribery case in which some of his appointees have been implicated.

He is of the view that although the Attorney-General, Mrs. Betty-Mould Iddrisu, already had some information on the matter, a direct meeting with the Serious Fraud Office of UK, other bodies and individuals involved in the matter, would provide more details about he case.

Meanwhile, the president will would be meeting his officials who have been mentioned in the case for questioning Monday, October 5, 2009, according to a Deputy Information Minister, Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa.

The Ghanaian Times newspaper quotes sources as saying the President expressed worry over the matter and made it clear to those he held the discussion with, particularly the Vice President, the Chief of Staff and the Attorney-General, that he would ensure that all those found culpable were punished.

"The President does not take kindly to the fact that some of his people have been mentioned in the case," the source said.

Expressing his commitment to the rule of law, he said he would ensure that no one was shielded.

President Mills, who was in the United States to attend the UN General Assembly when the story broke, swiftly ordered the A-G to investigate the matter.

The directive for the A-G to proceed to London, on his return to Ghana, Mr Ablakwa told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show host, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, was indicative of the President's resolve to deal with the matter.

He said the president is determined not to “prove the cynics - who said he could not do anything about the case - right.”

The A-G is expected to leave for London today, Monday. On Friday, September 25, Mabey & Johnson Ltd. which appeared at Southwark Crown Court, London for sentencing in relation to the admitted offences of overseas corruption and breaching UN sanctions, admitted having paid bribes to some Ghanaian officials during its operations in the country in the 90s in order to win contracts.

Those mentioned to have received the bribes from the British firm include Dr George Sipa Yankey, current Minister of Health, Kwame Peprah, a former Minister of Finance, Dr Ato Quarshie, Minister of Roads and Highways under the previous NDC regime.

Also mentioned were Alhaji Boniface Abubakar Saddique, a former Minister of Works and Housing, who was then a student at Exeter University in UK, Amadu Seidu, a former Deputy Roads Minister and Edward Lord-Attivor, then chairman of Inter-City Transport Corporation.

Source: The Ghanaian Times

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