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Mahama denies wrongdoing in Airbus scandal

Former President John Dramani Mahama has broken his silence on the Airbus scandal by dismissing allegations of wrongdoing in the purchase of the two aircraft for the Ghana Armed Forces.

John Mahama

He has also denied benefiting from the deal financially.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday, Mr Mahama declared: “Let me state without any equivocation that no financial benefit accrued to me. Neither was there any form of inducement in the purchase of the aircraft. My singular motivation was to equip and retool the Ghana Armed Forces in a manner that would make the discharge of their national and international roles efficient and less burdensome and for all the sacrifices that our men and women in uniform make, they do not deserve less”.

“I am happy that the said aircraft have become the backbone of the Ghana Air Force and its operations. They are used for troop transportation, logistics deployment and medical evacuation,” he stated.

He said he felt fulfilled that as Vice-President and later as President and Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, his “overarching desire to ensure that our men and women in uniform were provided with the tools and equipment they needed to fulfil their constitutional mandate of ensuring public safety, security and protecting the territorial integrity of our nation were reasonably met”.

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“I am proud that under my tenure as Chairman of the Armed Forces Council and as Commander-in-Chief, the security services saw the biggest retooling and equipping in the history of Ghana.”

The said aircraft were purchased for the military when Mr Mahama was the Vice-President and Chairman of both the Armed Forces Council and the Police Council.

Giving a background for the purchase of the two aircraft, Mr Mahama said as Vice-President between January 7, 2009 and July 24, 2012, he was assigned responsibility for the Ghana Armed Forces Council and the Police Council by the then President John Evans Atta Mills, who retained the Chairmanship of the National Security Council.

Mr Mahama explained that at the time of the acquisition of the aircraft and other equipment, Ghana’s security services required retooling.

“The Police Service had an ageing fleet of Peugeot and Mahindra vehicles, the Ghana Navy had no vessel with which to patrol our coastal waters, the Ghana Air Force had only one functional 37-year-old F27 aircraft, which was still flying, only because of the ingenuity of our aeronautical engineers,” he said.

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Mr Mahama said the Infantry Brigade of the Ghana Army relied on old Dongfeng trucks and a fleet of smoking pick-up vehicles, the Prisons Service, the Ghana Immigration Service, and the National Security Council Secretariat were virtually immobile due to lack of equipment.”

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