Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Let Us Strengthen The Hands Of Those Committed To Corporate Good Governance Principles In Ghana's Private Sector

There is a real need to strengthen the hands of those in Ghana's private-sector who believe in corporate good governance principles. It would make for a more responsible and positive  corporate culture in many private sector entities in our country.

There are far too many ruthless and unprincipled business owners in  Ghana. The painful truth is that in reality  many of them are nothing more than crooks callously exploiting their workers and thieves cheating Mother Ghana.

Ghanaian society would benefit tremendously if private businesses were run by individuals committed to corporate good governance - for there would be far less high-level corruption in Ghana as a result: since most private companies would be unwilling to bribe politicians and upper-echelon public officials, for example.

Perhaps there is a need to take a fresh look at all the laws covering bribery in our country,  and consolidate them in a new anti-bribery act, similar to that of the UK's - but covering bribery by companies registered here that  take place both in Ghana and outside its borders.

If we had such a law in place perhaps businesses like Smarttys Management and Productions Limited would think twice about ripping off the nation.

It was the investigation and subsequent prosecution  of executives of the British company Mabey and Johnson under the UK's Anti-Bribery Act (2000)  that led to the revelation that the company had bribed politicians in Ghana to win a contract to build Bailey bridges across the country.

Mabey and Johson became the first company to be convictd under the Anti-Bribery Act. The trial of the company and its conviction eventually led to the jailing of David Mabey, a major shareholder and director of that British company and two company executives.

To show how an anti-bribery act could help strengthen the hands of corporate executives in Ghana, who believe in ethical behaviour, today, we are publishing a culled article from the British newspaper, the Guardian, to illustrate the effectiveness of the UK's Anti-Bribery Act.

Principled private-sector company directors here, could always point out the repercussions  of bribery to their fellow directors tempted to resort to bribery to win business in Ghana (and other jurisdictions), if Ghana had an anti-bribery act similar to the UK's.

The story  was written by David Leigh and Rob Evans.

Please read on:


''British firm Mabey and Johnson convicted of bribing foreign politicians

BAE the next target as bridge-building firm becomes first major UK company to be convicted of foreign bribery

David Leigh and Rob Evans

Friday 25 September 2009 17.50 BST

A string of foreign politicians and officials were named as having received corrupt payments from a British firm today, as the company admitted it had systematically paid bribes around the world to win contracts.

The bridge-building firm, Mabey and Johnson, is the first major British company to be convicted of foreign bribery. Many of its contracts were financially supported by the British taxpayer.

The conviction by the Serious Fraud Office comes as the fraud agency turns its attention to a bigger target, BAE, Britain's biggest arms firm.

The SFO has given BAE until Wednesday to decide whether to bow to an ultimatum and agree to some version of a plea bargain over long-running corruption allegations.

Richard Alderman, the agency's director, has put his credibility on the line, and, according to Whitehall sources, is committed to asking law officers for consent to prosecute the arms giant if it fails to accept multimillion-pound penalties.

Today, at Southwark crown court, London, John Hardy QC for the SFO, revealed the names of 12 individuals in six countries alleged to have received bribes from the Reading-based Mabey and Johnson.

He said the company paid "a wide-ranging series of bribes" totalling £470,000 to politicians and officials in Ghana.

He identified five who travelled to Britain to collect sums of money from £10,000 to £55,000 from bank accounts in London and Watford.

Ministers and officials in Angola, Madagascar, Mozambique, Bangladesh, and Jamaica were also bribed, Hardy told the court.


Hardy said that over eight years, the firm gave £100,000 "to buy the favours" of Joseph Hibbert, a key Jamaican official in awarding contracts, one of them worth £14m.

The court was told how the firm, owned by one of Britain's richest families, paid bribes totalling £1m to foreign politicians and officials to get export orders valued at £60m to £70m through covert middlemen.

The Mabey family built up a fortune of more than £200m by selling steel bridges internationally.

The company also broke UN sanctions by illegally paying £363,000 to Saddam Hussein's government from 2001 – 2002.

This first conviction has been hailed as a landmark by the British government, which has been heavily criticised for failing to prosecute any UK firm for foreign bribery. Campaigners said the failure rendered the 1997 pledge to crack down on corrupt exporters worthless.

The firm will pay out more than £6.5m, including fines and reparations to foreign governments.

It pleaded guilty to corruption in a pioneering deal with the SFO. It is the first time the agency has concluded a US-style plea bargain with a firm accused of corruption overseas.

The company said it had reformed itself, stopped making corrupt payments, and got rid of five executives. Timothy Langdale, the firm's QC, said: "This is a new company. It is not the one which made these payments."

The SFO investigation continues to look into whether individuals should be prosecuted.
Overseas politicians and officials named as recipients of bribes from Mabey and Johnson

Ghana

Ato Qarshie (former roads minister) £55,000

Saddique Bonniface (minister of works) £25,500

Amadu Seidu (former deputy roads minister) £10,000

Edward Lord-Attivor (chairman inter-city transport corp) £10,000

Dr George Sepah-Yankey (health minister) £15,000

Madagascar

Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy (permanent representative at the UN) $5,000

Lt-Col Jean Tsaranasy (former public works minister) £33,000

Jamaica

Joseph Uriah Hibbert (former works minister) £100,0000

Angola

Antonio Gois (former general manager state bridges agency) $1.2 m

Joao Fucungo (former director state bridges agency) $13,000

Mozambique

Carlos Fragoso (former head of DNEP, directorate of roads and bridges) £286,000

Bangladesh

Khandaker Rahman (chief engineer, roads & highways dept)"

End of culled Guardian article by David Leigh and Rob Evans.








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