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United States Probes President Mahama's Brother   
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The circumstances under which a US flagged jet, linked to Ibrahim Mahama, junior brother of President John Dramani Mahama, landed on Iranian soil (Tehran), allegedly without approval or prior notification of the US authorities, is currently a subject of investigation by the US.

The identities of the supposed members of the business delegation from Ghana who flew to Iran have since been shrouded in secrecy.

The Iranian authorities say: “The plane’s passengers included a high ranking Ghanaian delegation, comprised of that country’s officials and led by a brother of Ghana’s president.”

Although the firm operating the aircraft, Engineering & Planners Company Limited, a company whose Chief Executive Officer happens to be Ibrahim Mahama, has denied breaking any international aviation rules flying the plane to Iran, a country under strict economic sanctions, it is also unclear if Ghana stands in violation of any Western sanctions against Iran.

The U.S. registered Bombardier Challenger, N604EP, sporting small US flag, was surprisingly seen on the ramp at Mehrabab Airport in Tehran last week Tuesday, raising speculations about its mission in that country.

The New York Times reported that while federal aviation records show the plane is held in a trust by the Bank of Utah, Brett King, one of its executives in Salt Lake City, said it had no idea why that plane was at that airport.

The paper further quoted Mr. King as saying: “If there is any hint of illegal activity, we are going to find out and see whether we need to resign.”

The New York Times reported that the Tuesday Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, the federal governments primary enforcer of sanctions against Iran, declined to comment on the plane’s presence in Iran.

It insists that “Under United States law, any American aircraft would usually need prior approval from the department to go to Iran, without violating a complicated patchwork of rules governing trade.”

The plane in question is reported to have been spotted leaving an airport in Zurich, around the time of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Another paper also reported that the plane departed a London airport for Ghana last October.

It is not readily known if it is sheer coincidence that the President, John Dramani Mahama, was at these places during the time the plane was spotted on each occasion.

A statement signed by the Executive Director of Engineers and planners, Mr. Adi Ayitevie, emphasized, however, that the President has never had the privilege of traveling in that plane.

“We wish to also state that the President of the Republic of Ghana, His Excellency John Dramani Mahama, has never been transported by the said aircraft,” the statement said.

The former Iranian President, Mohmound Ahmadinejad, visited Ghana in April 2013, as part of his three leg African tour.

Ibrahim Mahama is not new to controversy in Ghana. A loan his company, Engineers and planners, contracted from Merchant Bank in 2007, because the subject of controversy, following the proposed sale of the bank to FirstRand of South Africa.

The GH57million loan his company accessed from the bank had accrued a huge interest o about GH175 million when the controversies surrounding the sale of the bank emerged. He has, however, retired the debt.
Source: The Chronicle

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