Mr. Adjenim Boateng Adjei, alias AB Adjei, the suspended CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) seems to have a very long history and even an indelible footprint on procurement in Ghana. When the sacked former Chair of the Electoral Commission of Ghana was confronted with her own cases of procurement breaches soon after the Akufo-Addo government took over office in 2017, one of the people who testified against her, was AB Adjei.
Mrs. Osei was accused of a number of infractions, among them the procurement of a law firm for the EC. She was eventually sacked. The first woman to be appointed EC Chair after the longest serving and most respected Dr. Kwadwo Afari-Djan had left office, she presided over the 2016 general elections.
The EC had procured the services of the law firm, Sory@Law. But it didn’t appear to have followed proper procedures to secure the services of the firm.
A five-member committee was then set up to investigate her. The committee chaired by Supreme Court Judge, Justice Anthony Alfred Benin, included Justice Samuel K. Marful-Sau and Justice Agnes Dordzie, both of them Justices of the Appeals Court. The other members were, Mr. Welbeck Abra-Appiah, a banker and Ms Rose Karikari-Anang a former Executive Secretary of the Ghana Employers Association.
In his testimony to the Committee, Adjei said his office didn’t have records of the EC’s appointment of Sory@Law as its lawyers.
The Committee found that there was no formal letter from the EC appointing the law firm, but it found letters from the firm requesting for payment for services it had rendered to the Commission.
Adjei is now himself caught in a web of possible conflict of interest. An undercover investigative report by Manasseh Azure Awuni found that his company Talent Discoveries Limited was doing business with the PPA and winning several contracts worth several million dollars through restrictive tendering.
Following the airing of the investigation, Adjei has been suspended and referred to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Office of the Special Prosecutor.
Adjei used to work for the Ghana Water Company as Manager in charge of Materials. In 2001 the Internal Auditor of the water company reported cases of embezzlement against a number of the employees including Adjei. The Justice Adade Committee found Adjei and some others culpable of embezzlement and recommended that they should be prosecuted, but by 2003, they were left off the hook because the Attorney-General said there was not sufficient evidence for prosecution and in 2005, when the PPA was established, Adjei was made to head it, until his removal when the National Democratic Congress government removed him from office when it won the 2008 elections. He was however returned to that office after the 2016 elections.
Since the matter came to light, the Ghanaian public and civil society organisations have been demanding substantive action from the state.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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