February 3, 2020 / 10:58 AM / 15 days ago

Ghana to probe bribery accusations in Airbus deal

ACCRA, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Ghana has ordered a probe into accusations of bribery by European planemaker Airbus to ensure the purchase of three military planes between 2009 and 2015.

Ghana was among over a dozen countries involved in a $4-billion settlement Airbus agreed with European and U.S. regulators concerning alleged bribes to clinch sales of its aircraft.

Airbus hired - and disguised about 5 million euros in payments to - a close relative of a government official in Ghana with no aerospace experience in connection with the sale of the planes, Britain’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) said on Friday.

The SFO’s disclosures, made public after a nearly four-year investigation, came as courts on both sides of the Atlantic formally approved settlements that lift a legal cloud that has hung over Europe’s largest aerospace group for years.

But in Ghana the matter looks set to continue.

The West African country will “conduct a prompt inquiry to determine the complicity or otherwise of any Ghanaian government official, past or present,” President Nana Akufo-Addo’s office said in a statement late on Sunday.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC), which was in power at the time, denied the bribery claims in a statement on Sunday.

“The reports alleging that Airbus SE paid bribes during the administration of President John Atta Mills and John Mahama are false,” the statement said. (Reporting by Christian Akorlie; Writing by Juliette Jabkhiro; Editing by Edward McAllister and Mark Potter)

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