Ghana A UK citizen who was named as a suspect in the Airbus scandal, Phil Middlemiss, has had all charges against him dropped by the UK Serious Fraud Office after months of investigation by the UK anti-graft body.
The UK citizen disclosed that three months ago, after more than two years of investigation, he has finally been cleared of any wrongdoing in the Airbus SE scandal “following a review of the evidence”, Middlemiss told the UK Mirror.
This development could likely affect Ghana’s case against the man who had been declared wanted in Ghana along with two others for the Airbus scandal. It also could make it difficult for Ghana’s Special Prosecutor who is relying on the UK SFO to get anyone in Ghana or the UK prosecuted over the Airbus SE scandal, experts suggest.
The OSP then headed by Special Prosecutor Martin Amidu upon completion of a “preliminary investigation”, said he was inviting a UK/Ghanaian citizen Samuel Adam Foster alias Samuel Adam Mahama and UK nationals; Philip Sean Middlemiss; Sarah Davis and Sarah Furneaux.
A public notice by the OSP said the individuals identified by acronym in the Statement of Facts and accepted as findings of fact in a judgement of the UK Crown Court are to assist in the investigation of corruption and corruption-related offences in the purchase of the Aircraft.
Speaking to the UK Mirror, the first time Middlemiss is ever speaking about the matter publicly since the multi-billion pound international bribery scandal broke, Mr. Middlemiss said the Airbus scandal and its attendant publicity caused him so much damage and is only now trying to put his life back together having been diagnosed with PTSD.
Middlemiss detailed the role he came to play for Airbus- the company sought them out in early 2010 for their assistance with the sale of their C-295 aircraft to Ghana to be handled on a commission basis.
“My role was to help the Airbus staff in the country to facilitate meetings, transport and arrange visas on arrival as they usually needed to travel at short notice. I would be paid on a commission basis following the successful sale of its planes.”
Phil claims no illegal incentives were offered to him during his work for Airbus, nor did he offer any to anyone else. He says: “I never received one single penny and thank God I didn’t. As it goes they never offered it.” Even though they visited Airbus HQ in Paris, Phil insists he and his friends covered costs, driven both by the commission and the promise of work with Airbus long term.
He says: “We were doing it for a commission. When you are working with one of the biggest aviation companies in the world, you expect them to know what they are doing.”
Phil is now planning to take legal action against the SFO and sue for damages. His lawyer Adam Rasul, CEO of Holborn Adams, says: “The poor investigation by the SFO and subsequent no further action has had a catastrophic impact on Mr Middlemiss. We are advising him on an action against the SFO along with civil remedies that include psychological/psychiatric damage.”
“It’s amazing someone like myself could go out there and get wrapped up in this,” says the 58-year-old, who denies any wrongdoing. “Suddenly I went from being a rogue on the cobbles to ‘lord of war’, according to one of the African newspapers.”
The actor has spent the past two years facing possible prosecution by the UK’s Serious Fraud Office in relation to allegations of bribery and corruption and the £50 million sales of three C-295 military planes by global aerospace giant Airbus to the Ghanaian government.
“It’s been a complete, utter nightmare,” he says. “I have felt despair and helplessness. During the heat of all this, there didn’t seem to be any way out.”
Following the publication of the international investigation’s report on Airbus last year, Ghana’s then special prosecutor Martin Amidu launched a separate probe, announcing the identities of those alleged to be involved, including former president John Mahama, Phil, and three other British nationals.