The suspended CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr. Adjenim Boateng Adjei also known as AB Adjei, has a long history of working in the supplies, procurement and materials sector.
But his conduct has never been without questions, including allegations of embezzlement and conflict of interest.
His first major brush with the law came in 2001, soon after the Kufour administration took office after the 2000 elections, which was won by the New Patriotic Party (NPP).
President Kufour appointed Nana Akufo-Addo the Attroney-General. He served from 2001 to 2003. From 2003 to 2005, Papa Owusu Ankomah was appointed the Attorney-General, taking over from Nana Akufo-Addo, who was appointed Foreign Minister.
Soon after the Kufour administration took office, the newly appointed Minister of Works and Housing, Kwamena Bartels set up the Justice Nicholas Yaw Boafo Adade Committee of Enquiry to investigate cases of embezzlement at the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL) following a report by the Chief Internal Auditor, which had found a number of staff culpable of various offences and among them was AB Adjei.
Among others, the Adade Committee found that certain regions had acquired 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 also found 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 embezzlement and misappropriation of public funds. For instance, an untraceable amount of ¢800 million (old cedis) was written off from the creditors’ records of the company while an excess amount of about ¢3 billion (old cedis) was paid to a supplier.
Mr. Adjei, was the Chief Manager – Materials at the Ghana Water Company at the time, as his profile details on the website of the PPA show. The website indicates that prior to working with Ghana Water Company as the Chief Manager – Materials, he was the Supplies Manager for the State Gold Mining Corporation and later Goldfields Ghana Limited, where he was responsible for the total procurement and supply chain management functions.
He is also described as a seasoned procurement and supply chain management specialist, and among other academic qualifications, he holds a Master of Law Degree (LLM) in Procurement Law and Policy from the Nottingham University, UK.
The Committee’s report further found three chief managers and 14 other workers implicated. The Committee found that, AB Adjei, together with Messrs Charles Mensah, Peter Deamesi had misused an amount of ¢72.5 million (old cedis).
The Adade Commission therefore, recommended that some of the officials should be dismissed and additionally, they should be investigated and prosecuted for causing financial loss to the state – among them was AB Adjei.
But when the report was forwarded to the Attorney-General’s Department, it said it couldn’t prosecute the individuals, for lack of sufficient evidence, and so, after three years of the processes, by the year 2004, AB Adjei and the others walked free and were reinstated at the Ghana Water Company. Adjei was later appointed the first CEO of the PPA in 2005, when it was set up.
On August 21, 2019, however, Mr. Adjei was exposed in an investigative documentary titled ‘Contracts for Sale’, which suggests that he was involved in potential conflict of interest as a company he is a shareholder in, Talent Discovery Limited was bidding for and winning contracts from the PPA. By the afternoon of August 22, under the orders of the President, Nana Akufo-Addo, Mr. Adjei was suspended. The President further asked the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice and the Office of Special Prosecutor to investigate Mr. Adjei.
According to Citinews, citing correspondence between the Office of the Special Prosecutor and the Presidency, the Special Prosecutor, Martin Amidu has already initiated investigations into the activities of AB Adjei before the investigative documentary was aired.
In 2004, AB Adjei went free when Akufo-Addo left the Attorney-General’s Department and Owusu Ankomah took over, for lack of sufficient evidence. In 2019 would he face the full rigours of the law if he has to, now that Akufo-Addo is President?
BY Emmanuel K. Dogbevi
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