The ruling for the Mabey and Johnson trial will be made today, 25th September 2009 by the presiding judge, Honourable Mr. Justice Morrison.
Mabey & Johnson is accused of corruptly influencing politicians and officials in Ghana between 1994 and 1999 to land build-bridging contracts. The firm has admitted conspiring to obtain contracts by corruptly influencing Ghanaian politicians but has so far refused to name those who were influenced after a police interview. Contracts worth £22m were awarded in the 1990s for the construction of nine bridges in rural areas.
But even before the ruling is made today, investigations by foreign correspondents of The Statesman have already revealed the names of five senior members of the Mills government allegedly caught in the web of bribe taking. One such name is health minister George Sipa-Adjah Yankey.
The case was brought by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office and is the first case in which a British company is being prosecuted in the United Kingdom for engaging in corruption in a foreign country, and Ghana, under President Jerry John Rawlings and Vice President John Atta Mills, is one of the countries where this corruption took place.
The Reading based company, owned by one of Britain’s richest families, had admitted on 7th July 2009 at Southwark Crown Court to paying bribes to win contracts in Ghana, Jamaica and Iraq. Evidence available to The Statesman suggests that perhaps as much as $6 million was paid as bribery money to top Ghana government officials during the two Jerry John Rawlings-headed National Democratic Congress governments (1993-2000) for the construction of bridges to facilitate transport and the carting of foodstuffs from the rural areas.
However, it has emerged that the bridges it had been paid to build in Ghana were defective. According to a high court judgment, the firm had to spend more than £2m rebuilding and repairing the bridges. The weakened bridges contained a variety of design faults after Mabey staff had made simple engineering miscalculations.
According to the charge sheet of case number 0902300773, the first badges of bribery for the first Ghana project, Priority Bridge Programme 1, were paid between 01/01/1994 and 01/01/1995, one year after the nation returned to constitutional rule under President Rawlings.
The second corruption case took place between 01/01/1995 and 01/01/1997 for the Priority Bridge Programme 2.
“Between the 1st day of January 1994 and 18th day of August 1999, [respondent] conspired with certain of its directors, executives, employees and agents to give or agree to give corrupt payments contrary to Section 1 of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906 to Ministers, officials and other agents of the Government of Ghana as inducements to secure, or as rewards for having secured contracts from the Government of Ghana, known as "Priority Bridge Programme 1", Priority Bridge Programme 2" and "Feeder Roads Projects" for the supply of goods to the said Government of Ghana by Mabey and Johnson Limited. Contrary to Section 1 of Criminal Law Act 1977,” the first charge reads.
Source: The Statesman Online
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