ElectionsFact Check

Viral image suggesting John Mahama was featured on UK’s Guardian newspaper’s front page over Airbus scandal is fake

Several Facebook posts claim the UK’s Guardian newspaper featured former president, John Mahama, on its front page in a report on the Airbus scandal.

The Guardian Newspaper has denied featuring John Mahama on its front page as claimed in the viral image saying “the screenshot and headline you share is not a published Guardian front page or news article”. The supposed photo of the newspaper’s front page is doctored.  

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Many Facebook posts including this and this claim that Ghana’s former president, John Mahama, has been featured on the front page of the UK’s Guardian Newspaper in a report the newspaper did on the Airbus scandal on Tuesday, November November 24, 2020.

The claim is based on a photo that shows John Mahama and his brother Samuel Mahama on what is claimed to be the newspaper’s front page with the headline, ” Airbus scandal: UK Authorities question Samuel Mahama, John Mahama next.”

C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\John Mahama fake1.JPG

About the Airbus scandal

On January 31, 2020, Ghana was cited as one of five countries in which global aerospace group, Airbus SE, allegedly bribed or promised payments to senior officials in exchange for business favours between 2009 and 2015, according to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO).

This led to a record £3 billion in settlement by Airbus with France, the United Kingdom, and the United States to avoid corporate criminal charges.

President Akufo-Addo referred the scandal to the Office of the Special Prosecutor for investigations.

Martin Amidu, the former Special Prosecutor before he resigned from office, stated in a report that John Mahama was the government official who was code-named ‘Government Official 1’ in the UK SFO’s report. 

Mahama was not indicted in the report.  


The Guardian Newspaper uploads photos of its front page and publishes its major news reports daily on its website; Guardian.co.uk

Based on the date on the viral image, Tuesday, November 24, 2020, we visited the Guardian UK’s website in search of that day’s reports. 

For the Tuesday, November 24, 2020 edition of the newspaper published online, the headline story was titled, “UK vaccine ‘brings world step closer to ending Covid.”

An image of the front page on the website was completely different from what is claimed in the viral posts.

C:\Users\Jonas\Desktop\1400 (3).jpg

Through a series of Google searches, we found that other reports on the front page of the viral posts were sourced from different articles. 

For instance, the report on the top left corner of the viral post was traced to October 7, 2020, front page of the Guardian Newspaper

The button right article on the viral post was also sourced from this article published on the Guardian UK’s website.  

The article title located on top of the “Guardian” logo was also sourced from this article published on the November 24, 2020, edition of the Guardian newspaper. 

The press office of the Guardian newspaper in response to an email we sent saying, “the screenshot and headline you share is not a published Guardian front page or news article,” adding a screenshot of a photo of the front page of the newspaper which corresponds with this we uploaded earlier.


The viral post claiming that the UK’s Guardian Newspaper featured John Mahama on its front page issue of Tuesday, November 14, 2020, in a news report on the Airbus bribery scandal is false. The image was doctored to create a false impression. 

The reporter, Jonas Nyabor, produced this fact-check under the auspices of the Dubawa 2020 Fellowship in partnership with Citinewsroom to facilitate the ethos of “truth” in journalism and to enhance media literacy in the country.

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