President Akufo-Addo, on Thursday 22nd August, suspended from office, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjeinim Boateng Adjei, after he was unmasked in an exposé over the sale of juicy government contracts he had through the institution he heads, awarded himself and his brother in-law; Francis Arhin.
But the suspension has left behind many unanswered questions, including the role of the Ministry of Public Procurement led by Sarah Adwoa Safo in the award of the state contracts.
Sarah Adwoa Safo, according to The Herald’s information, remains the Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, with many saying, her Ministry doesn’t exist in reality, leaving many state agencies doing public procurement mainly through restrictive tender.
The contracts said to be 14 in number, were awarded the PPA boss’ company; Talent Discovery Limited (TDL) incorporated in June 2017, shortly after his appointment as PPA boss by the Akufo-Addo administration.
TDL, won 14 government contracts through restrictive tendering where few companies are allowed to bid, but with a known outcome.
It also unclear, why the President only suspended the PPA boss, but has kept the PPA board led by Prof. Douglas Boateng, with Samuel Richard Nee Baidoo, Godfred Yeboah Dame, Deputy Attorney-General, Patricia Safo, Ernestina Swatson Eshun, Emmanuel Yaw Boakye and Stella Williams as members, although they reportedly cleared the contracts awarded TDL.
Interestingly, a similar corruption case reported at the Ghana Cylinder Manufacturing Company (GCMC) Limited, saw that board rather dissolved with the CEO, Awurabena Frances Essiam, still at post.
Also in the case of the Ghana Maritime Authority (GMA), the board was maintained in office and even asked to investigate a procurement matter it was indicted in.
The sacking of the PPA boss, comes on the back of broadcast allegations made against him in investigative journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni’s latest piece, ‘Contracts for Sale’.
The video revealed the PPA boss creaming procurement contracts from state institutions like Ghana Cocoa Board, the Ministry for Special Initiatives, Ghana Water Company, despite empowered by law to scrutinize contracts brought before him by these same state institutions, ahead of their awards to private companies to ensure the country gets value for money.
State institutions from which he got contract were the Ministry of Works and Housing, Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHPHA), Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development, Roads and Highways Ministry and others.
Interestingly, most of these institutions have at various times, been involved in restrictive tender processes running into several millions of dollars.
In the 46-minute video, it emerged that the company was engaged in the sale of contracts and was ready to sell one worth GH¢22.3 million to a non-existent entity during an undercover investigation.
The President’s Director of Communications, Eugene Arhin, has revealed that the President has referred the allegations involving conflict of interest to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and those relating to potential acts of corruption to the Office of Special Prosecutor, for their prompt action.
The President, has also notified the Chairperson of the Board of the PPA to ensure that Mr AB Adjei hands over his office expeditiously to Frank Mante, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the PPA.
But it is not clear, if the suspended PPA boss, ever executed any of the 14 contracts his companies; Talent Discovery Limited (TDL) and B-Molie Limited got awarded.
It is also unclear, how many companies have been registered since 2017 in the advent of the Akufo-Addo administration, and how many of these news companies, got awarded government contracts just like Adjeinim BoatengAdjei’s Talent Discovery Limited (TDL) and B-Molie Limited, which has ties to his wife; Mercy Adjei.
Meanwhile, The Herald is informed that this is not the first time that Adjeinim Boateng Adjei is having issues with the procurement.
This paper learnt under the Rawlings Presidency, he was involved a similar incident at the Ghana Water Company and was sacked, but got reinstated after New Patriotic Party (NPP) won election in year 2000 and assumed power in 2001.
There is, however, media reports which raises questions as to what due diligent was done on him before he was made to head the PPA.
An inquiry at Ghana Water Company led one Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade, was said to have found Mr Adjei and others to have embezzled or misappropriated public funds, withThe Ghanaian Chronicle newspaper quoting Mr Kwamina Bartels in 2002, saying they were going to face the law.
“Going, some people are going to go, heads are going to roll and people would have to vomit what they fraudulently took from the company,” said A.R. Musah, the acting chairman of the reconstituted board of the GWCL. He assured that far from the fears that seem to be harboured by a section of the local press, the GWCL is not out to shield anybody found to have misconducted him or herself.
Kwamena Bartels, the then Minister for Works and Housing, on March 12, 2001 had set up the Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade Committee of Enquiry to investigate a report by the Chief Internal Auditor of GWCL that certain regions had built up large stocks of printed stationery, contrary to the GWCL board’s directive that such stocks should not be purchased in excess of a year’s requirements of the particular region.
The committee found out that some regions had stocks of stationery that could last for 100 years. In the course of the investigations, the committee found other issues such as those of embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds.
For instance, an untraceable amount of 800 million was written off from the creditors’ records of the company while an excess amount of about 3 billion was paid to a supplier.
Those indicted and asked to face prosecution are ;Messrs Charles Adjei-Managing Director, A.B. Adjei- Chief Manager (materials), Robert Tackie- Duputy Manager (Finance and Administration), Charles Mensah- Chief Manager (commercial), S.G.O. Lamptey- Deputy Managing Director (operations) and E.N.A. Amarteifio- Stores Manager.
Others are Peter Deamesi- Chief Manager (Administration), Albert Asomoah- Eastern Region stores, Eric Owusu-Ansah- Western Region stores, Madam Mary Ofori- Ashanti Region stores and Kenneth Ennin- Principal Revenue Officer.The rest are Messrs Kofi Quarshie- Purchasing Officer, Atta Poku- Senior Audit Assistant, Henry Forson- Storekeeper, Charles Ansong Lawson – Public Relations Manager and Capt Victor Ansah (rtd).
The report indicated that Cobbie Kessie, former deputy Managing Director, who, after having been confirmed, was dismissed by the board on the orders of Charles Adjei, should be compensated for wrongful dismissal. Against the company may decide to reinstate him if the need to employ another deputy MD arises in future.
However, he, together with Messrs Charles Mensah, Peter Deamesi and A.B. Adjei misused an amount of 72.5m so they should be investigated and prosecuted for causing financial loss to the state.
There were some individuals who did not work at GWCL, but as established by the committee, used their private companies to benefit from the fraudulent deals. Their companies are therefore to be blacklisted from doing any business with GWCL, while the persons involved are investigated by the security agencies and subsequently made to face prosecution.
They include Messrs Fred Ntim and his FON Ltd, SOMFER Ltd., Seth Yeboah (of Dawu Youngsters Football Club) and his group of companies namely Sakisko Ltd, Fago Ltd, September 18 Enterprise, Best Time Press, Alifax Ltd, Skyko Company, JSV Printing Press, Serry Printing, Printhony Press and Distribution Enterprise and Safeway Print.
In the same vein, Patrick Amoh’s group of companies- UNIK Press, Formosa Enterprise, Speedway Press and Horizon Printing Press are to be blacklisted.
Others are Mike Obuobi and his Intelligent Solutions International, Dr Peter Omari’s Omari Computek Ltd, Mr Afedzi Hayford and his TARA Systems Ltd.