News24

Ghana officials quit over bribes

2009-10-10 18:10

Accra - Two senior members of Ghana's government resigned after allegations they accepted bribes from a British construction firm, the ministry of information said.

Minister of Health George Sipa Yankey and Minister of State Amadu Seidu stepped down, the ministry said in a statement issued late on Friday.

The resignations come after the West African country, the world's No 2 cocoa producer, launched an investigation last month into accusations that government officials took bribes from bridge manufacturer Mabey & Johnson between 1993 and 2001.

Mabey & Johnson, the first firm to be prosecuted in Britain for overseas corruption, was convicted last month for its dealings in Ghana and Jamaica, and also pleaded guilty to applying for contracts under the Iraq oil-for-food programme in breach of United Nations sanctions.

Atta Mills expresses regret

Ghana's government said in the statement that it would invite the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to conduct further investigations into allegations against other Ghanaian public officials in the case.

"The President (John Atta Mills) expressed regret at the resignations and was hopeful that the decision to ask CHRAJ to investigate the case would offer a platform for the public officials named in the case to clear their names and hard won reputations," according to the statement.

London's Southwark Crown Court was told Johnson & Mabey paid out £1m in sweeteners it thought helped it to win contracts worth £60m, the Press Association reported.

A subsequent investigation found it had also paid bribes to individuals in Madagascar, Angola, Mozambique and Bangladesh.

Five of the company's eight directors stepped down in early 2008 after the firm approached authorities to say it might have engaged in corrupt practices.