Speaker rejects request to probe Airbus scandal

The Speaker of Parliament, Professor Aaron Mike Oquaye, has rejected a request by the Member of Parliament for Assin South, John Ntim Fordjuor, for a Parliamentary inquiry into the Airbus scandal.

The first term lawmaker in a statement on the floor of the House in Accra yesterday said the scandal had dragged Ghana’s name into disrepute.

A top Ghanaian government official was said in a Crown Court at Southwark, United Kingdom  ruling to have been possibly corrupted in the purchase of Airbus SE for the Ghana Military between 2009 and 2015.

The ruling led to the European multinational aerospace corporation being fined US$3.9 billion for the payment of bribes to secure deals in five countries, including Ghana.

“I, in the spirit of patriotism, do, accordingly, implore the House to explore our legitimate option fortified by Order 191 of the Standing Orders of the Parliament of Ghana, to conduct inquiry into the matter, as an independent institution, to establish complicity or otherwise of Ghanaian government officials, past or present, relative to this Airbus bribery scandal,” Mr Fordjour prayed the House.

But in a sharp rebuttal, the Minority said the request was needless and implored the Speaker to dismiss same.

Yapei/Kusawgu Member, John Jinapor, said no Ghanaian official had been indicted in the judgement and that constituting a Parliamentary probe would be a fruitless venture.

He said there were more grave acts of corruption under the current regime which must agitate the mind of the maker of the statement than the Airbus scandal and asked the Speaker not to entertain the request.

Some ‘senior’ members on the Majority side, meanwhile, thought there was no need for a Parliamentary inquiry.

Though the House has the power to probe the scandal, there was the need for the Special Prosecutor to be allowed to probe the matter, Majority Leader, Osei Kyei-Mensah-Bonsu said to murmuring among his ‘junior’ colleagues.

Tafo Member, Dr Anthony Akoto-Osei who also thought the request was premature said “we don’t have the expertise.”

He reminded the House that the allegations were not about value for money which Parliament has the capacity to investigate but bribery which was above Parliament.

In his ruling the Speaker of Parliament, Professor Mike Ocquaye, said although Parliament has the powers to do so, it would be premature since the matter has been referred to the Special Prosecutor.

“We will hold our horses for now and revisit it at the appropriate time,” Speaker Oquaye hinted.

BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI

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