Explosive document: Airbus confesses sharing bribes in Ghana as £3bn corruption fine bites

Aircraft manufacturer, Airbus, has confessed to paying bribes in Ghana and other countries between 2011 and 2015 in a corruption investigation of its business deals dating back more than a decade.

Court documents obtained by theghanareport.com show that Europe’s largest plane maker has been fined 3 billion pounds for greasing the palms of public officials and fixers over a string of hidden payments as part of a pattern of worldwide corruption to facilitate the sales of its wares.

According to The Guardian, the “planemaker agreed to pay the penalties on Friday after reaching settlements with investigators in the UK, France, and the US to end inquiries that started four years ago.”

The UK-based newspaper reports on the outcome of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation that “Allison Clare, for the SFO, told the court the company had paid bribes in Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana between 2011 and 2015.”

The company is reported to have “used a network of secret agents to pay large-scale backhanders to officials in foreign countries to land high-value contracts.”

Documents filed by US prosecutors alleged that Airbus used marketing team that had a $300 million annual budget to finance bribes and win aircraft sales in a number of countries around the globe.

Ghana between 2011 and 2015 acquired three Airbus C295 from the company as part of an effort to augment and modernise the fleet of the Ghana Armed Forces.

The first order of the military aeroplane arrived in Ghana on  November 17, 2011, followed by a second on March 19, 2012. The last order came in on December 4, 2015.

In November 2014, President John Dramani Mahama announced that Ghana would acquire an additional C295, in addition to other aircraft, including five Super Tucanos, Mi-17s and four Z-9s.

Ghana is said to have spent about $150 million on the three aircraft. One of them recently overshot its runway. The Defence Ministry explained that the accident happened because the aircraft had not gone for its scheduled maintenance.

In Ghana, Airbus is accused of hiring and disguising payments to a close relative of a government official with no aerospace experience in connection with a sale of military transport planes, the UK’s SFO investigations revealed.

File photo: One of the C295s Ghana bought from Airbus

Prosecution’s case on Ghana

The UK prosecutor’s case against Airbus was that between 1 July 2011 and 1 June 2015 Airbus SE  failed to prevent persons associated with the company from bribing others concerned with the purchase of military transport aircraft by the government of Ghana.

The bribery, the document said was intended to obtain or retain business or advantage in the conduct of business for Airbus.

According to the court document between 2009 and 2015 an Airbus defence company engaged an unnamed person, only identified as Intermediary 5, a close relative of a high ranking elected Ghana government official (also not named but referred to as Government Official 1), as its business partner in respect of the proposed sale of three aircraft to the government of Ghana.

“A number of ofAirbus employees knew that Intermediary five was a close relative of Government Official 1, a key decision-maker in respect of the sales.

However, “a number of Airbus employees made or promised success based commission payments of approximately €5 million to Intermediary 5.

“False documentation was created by or with the agreement of Airbus employees in order to support and disguise these payments. The payments were intended to induce or reward improper favour by the Government Official 1towards Airbus,” the document suggests.

“Intermediary 5 is a UK national born in Ghana. He was brought to the United Kingdom as a young child and lost touch with his Ghanaian family until the late 1990s. He had no prior experience or expertise in the aerospace industry. A “CV” provided to Airbus in 2011 listed Intermediary 5’s employment before 2009 as an events manager for a local authority, director of a football merchandising company and facilities manager for an estate management business,” the document said.

The Airbus agreement with the United Kingdom, France and the United States of America is effectively a plea bargain that insulates the company from criminal prosecution that would have banned it from bidding for public contracts in the US and the European Union.

The fine is said to be the biggest corporate fine for bribery and will be shared among France, UK and the United States, the three countries that have worked on the investigation.

Airbus, which is also a military supplier was slapped with five charges under the UK’s Bribery Act over allegations that it failed to prevent firms from being offered financial incentives to buy planes and other equipment.


  1. Osei says

    Why no real names were mentioned? Were the bribes not paid to human beings?

    1. Youngstriker says

      Corporate bribes are mostly coded . Ghana needs to do its own thorough investigations to fish them out. I heard this in the news a day or two ago and I was so ashamed to hear Ghana’s name in this. Just disgusting!

      1. Wise up says

        They used synonymous figures telling us chances are, they can skip the case as usual because we are fools.

      2. Ferguson Asante Solomon says

        Upon critical thinking, names don’t need to be mentioned, we ought to Know those who aucastrated for such froud.
        Former UK television anchor

    2. Anonymous says

      Exactly my mind. Why are there no names? Well in all of this I will say I don’t care, why because I have not come by anything which says or points to the fact that nobody in government has not taken brine from foreign companies doing business in Ghana. Until names are mentioned this is a news item fit for the wiping of the anus. Simple and easy. Come to think of it, one thing strikes me though, one of those military carriers overshot it’s runway because it was due for maintenance and that was not or has not been done. In any seriouse country people would be in the docks by now.

    3. Anonymous says

      Liars and crooks

  2. Anonymous says

    Ask and ask again………. oh Ghana 😭😭😭😭

  3. Anonymous says

    Most Ghanaians strenuously attempt to discern an iota of a difference between these two major political parties that alternate the administration of the government between them.

    Some keenly observant Ghanaians however are of the opinion that there is very little if any to choose between the two

    The NDC has managed to mesmerize most Ghanaians that every Ghanaian from any ethnic group is welcomed for the raiding expedition. Any one in possession of a condom is welcomed for the orgy.

    The NPP however seems to exclusively welcome only Alan’s for the raid or the orgy. Any non Akan participant is solely for window dressing or cosmetic.

    Cry for the beloved country

    1. Anonymous says

      Don’t be a tribal bigot

    2. Anonymous says

      Whats the essence of this comments with regard to the article……?????? Ahhba

    3. Anonymous says

      It’s not true the ndc has always sought to paint the npp as being tribalistic but then they’re all lies.
      They said Aliu Mahama was contested because he was northerner meanwhile they allowed Nana Konadu to contest a sitting president. Why they followed due process like in the case of the npp

    4. Ogo says

      You’re an idiot!

  4. Tutu Saka says

    Ghana must do it’s own investigation, fish out the crooks, collect those monies from them, and jail them. We need to build a country where the rule of law is respected and the public purse protected.

    1. Rashid says

      Lol..Ghana should do what? Investigation? The entire judiciary is corrupt. And they are a very terrible people. Over here, we live by the Grace of God.

      1. Anonymous says

        It hurts to admit that you’re just right!

  5. Anonymous says

    Ghana didn’t pay the bribe this time around but Ghana was rather bribed to fast track the business, glad to hear that but come to think of it, every business deal that anyone at all brings to a company must earn a commission and that sounds genuine to me. 5% commission isn’t too bad, is it ????

    1. Anonymous says

      So I was thinking. Most workers are paid by commissions.

      1. Anonymous says

        Can you quantify how much money u stole from UeW SRC? C thief calling someone a thief. U are a walking example of corruption. come with clean hands when u preach equity. Armed robber like u. U have gone done in history as the worst SRC president UEW has ever had

    2. Anonymous says

      what if we paid more than we should

    3. Anonymous says

      Are you being intentionally facetious, I can’t tell.
      The issue is not with payment of commission, which is standard. But rather that state dealings are used to line personal pockets. The state does not belong to a select few but to all of us. If there is commission, it should be paid to the state (i.e. all of us) not to Intermediary X, Y and Z!

  6. Anonymous says

    I am beginning to believe then Vice president during Atta Mills regime was been under investigation before his subsequent death. Manasseh the fourth John could ve captured this?

    1. Anonymous says

      He wrote briefly about Mills in the book though…

    2. Anonymous says

      You are right my brother

  7. Francis says

    I love this investigation so far. These unnamed government officials must mist be investigated further and their names exposed. They have account numbers with banks and where ever those monies were channeled can be found…..greed at the expense of the taxpayer !!

  8. 2SDAY says

    The payer of bribes and the receiver are all guilty. Ghana can appeal to the courts of the three countries and they can give them the details if the culprits for further action.
    If they paid bribe, what shows that the prices of the planes were not inflated to recoup the bribe paid? Knowing the NDC for who they are what shows they didn’t pay for any mediocre plane just to make their cut? The 30 non-functional ambulances is a testimony to their disregard for quality.

  9. Wilson Dabuo says

    Every watchman steals but John Dramani Mahama as the first watchman and gentleman of our State affairs stool more than all in History, first as Vice president and President. This is the man who wants to be President again? To steal more? As if he hasn’t stoolen enough. Very pathetic!

  10. Fingured H. M. says

    “Intermediary 5 is a UK national born in Ghana.
    He was brought to the United Kingdom as a young child and lost touch with his Ghanaian family until the late 1990s.
    He had no prior experience or expertise in the aerospace industry. A “CV” provided to Airbus in 2011 listed Intermediary 5’s employment before 2009 as
    an events manager for a local authority,
    director of a football merchandising company and
    facilities manager for an estate management business,” the document said.

  11. Ben Dudley Wright says

    Doing business in foreign countries? Business as usual. Gee, what a revelation. Pay or don’t play is the rule everywhere. How naive can we get?

  12. Anonymous says


  13. Kwasiedem says

    The alleged bribe is the 5% commission it received and moreover you baught the air craft at the company selling price if someone facilitated lobbied for the sale you should pay him I am not getting the malice in this case

    1. Anonymous says

      Are you Intermediary 6 by any chance?

  14. Abdul-Rauf Katouri says

    If monkey run diarrhoea who cares, the fact I am a Ghanaian but there nothing that can be done in this case. Forget it.

  15. Faiz says

    But like seriously! Most of our governments are culpable to some of these heinous crimes, none can be trusted. I think this is business as usual.

  16. Anonymous says

    This is rumour news. Don’t believe everything you read. Give me specific news. I am not giving you my email address for your tricky data collection for money.

  17. Anonymous says

    Actually, this is not what Ghanaians are interested now. What happensed to the so call conteminated oil? Those that call for equity must come with a clean hand.

  18. Anonymous says

    Pls let’s decode person of interest 5 and let’s stop beating about the bush. The late President Mills was investigating some aircraft purchases before he died. Can we revisit that case??? I’m only asking a question oooh

    1. Jones says

      A useless article by all standards. OK

  19. Anonymous says

    Mahama John Dramani at it again and he is not satisfied with all he had stolen but hoping to come and steal more. God punish him and his generations.

  20. Addai Boadi says

    Interesting times ahead. A test case for our judicial jurisprudence. A good name is better than riches, “they say”

  21. Anonymous says

    We no definitely not Uncle Attah

  22. Anonymous says

    Our biggest problem is the hypocritical and corrupt media. There are only few who have mother Ghana at heart. You guys are our mouth piece but always choose to ask when it suits you. How far have we gone with contaminated fuel, PDS, Ameri in which case the whole president was allegedly missled, the missing tricycles , missing premixed fuel, keni GVG, Ghc800,000 for website, missing 500 excavators etc . Chasing this Airbus case is one of the goose chase.

    1. Anonymous says

      These two political parties have never taken us serious and will never take us serious because they can easily buy the masses. (civil society groups and media houses) . We are doom as a nation. This is why we are where we are. God save us from the hands of the wicked.

  23. Anonymous says

    So why is it that Airbus commits corruption in Ghana and the fines for the crimes go to UK, US and France? Someone please explain this back-handed, colonialist re-thievery for all of us in the front.

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