Parliament rejects request to probe Airbus scandal

Parliament on Friday declined a request to set up a committee to investigate a request by Rev John Ntim Fordjour, MP for Assin South, to probe the Airbus bribery scandal.

Airbus, an European aircraft manufacturer, is alleged to have paid bribes to some government officials of Ghana when it sold three military aircraft, in 2011 and 2015, and Rev Fordjour, in a statement to the House, said the scandal discredited the name of Ghana.

However, there was an application thereafter, by Majority Leader Osei Kyei-Mensah to the Speaker to stay contributions, and rather allow the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP), on the request of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, to proceed with the probe into the Airbus bribery scandal.

Speaker Oquaye initially rejected the application by the Majority Leader.

And during the contributions, which appeared rather than a debate, the Minority Side, argued that by the Standing Orders, the request should have come through a motion rather than a statement.

With the support from some other members that the parliamentary probe would not lead the investigation anywhere, the Speaker acceded to the request to have the OSP to proceed with the probe.

Speaker Oquaye, in his ruling, said although Parliament had the powers to do so, it would be premature since the President asked the Special Prosecutor to investigate the matter.

He however said the House would still live by investigative powers granted it, and would come into the probe as and when it mattered.

Deputy Minority Chief Whip, Ahmed Ibrahim said the Leadership should recommend a statement to the Speaker and the House by its Standing Orders by a motion to appoint an adhoc committee to investigate a matter.

Furthermore, he argued that members of the House were part of the delegation that went for the purchase of the aircraft, adding that the proposed parliamentary probe would be tantamount to conflict of interest.

He further called for the House to expunge the request for the probe from its records.

Mr Inusah Fuseini, MP for Tamale Central said it was the same Parliament that approved the sales contract, which was found to be satisfactory.

He said two of the three aircraft in question came as are result of a breach of OECD 1997 rules, and on behalf of the Minority welcomed an investigation that would be fair just and transparent, with the hope that the House would be vindicated.

Mr John Jinapor, MP for Yapei Kusawgu, said Rev Fordjour’s request for a parliamentary probe was needless because no Ghanaian government official was indicted of any crime by the UK authorities.

Mr Okudzeto Ablakwa, MP for North Tongu welcomed the enquiry, but indicated that it would open the floodgates for investigations into scandals that also affected the ruling government.

Rev Fordjour, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, MP for Ofoase-Ayirebi; Patrick Boamah, NPP MP for Okaikwei Central; and Bernard Oko Boye, NPP MP for Ledzokuku, did not agree with the Majority Leader’s request for Parliament to leave the enquiry entirely in the hands of OSP.

First Deputy Speaker Joseph Osei Owusu, who sits close to Second Deputy Speaker Alban Sumana Kingsford, said he had consultations with the Second Deputy Speaker, and the agreement was that the OSP proceeded with the President’s request for the probe as a number of such parliamentary inquiries, from experience had ended nowhere.

Source: GNA

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