The CEO of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Adjenim Boateng Adjei who was sacked by the President, Nana Akufo-Addo for conflict of interest, is not new to procurement related breaches (While heading procurement at the Ghana Water Company in the 2000s, he bought stationery to last 100 years) but he couldn’t explain to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) how his personal bank account opened in 2017 was receiving monies on behalf of a company he registered in 2019.
Adjei told the CHRAJ that he registered and ran a company, Frosty Ice Natural Water Ltd, with his wife in 2019 and because the company had no bank account, payments to Frosty Ice were made into his personal account.
According to the CHRAJ report, the records from the Registrar-General show that Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd was incorporated on January 29, 2019, and so it asked, “how could a company established in 2019 accumulate so much revenue in 2017 and 2018, before its establishment?”
“Even though, the Respondent is a director of over 19 companies, he himself claims that he did not receive director’s fee from any of those companies except Beachfront Stevedoring Company Limited. We find that the Respondent’s explanation completely unsatisfactory, and that he could not explain the source of the large volumes of excess wealth that passed through his bank accounts between March 2017 and August 2019 (unexplained wealth),” it said.
The documentary that exposed Adjei alleged that he has been taking advantage of his office to improperly enrich himself, to which he strenuously denied through his solicitors.
“However, we can see from the records received from the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) of the bank accounts of the Respondent that he handled large volumes of cash exceedingly in excess of his known income as CEO of PPA. The Respondent opened US dollar Account at the Stanbic Bank on April 3, 2017, after his appointment as CEO of PPA. As of August 28, 2019, a total amount of $516,225 had been credited to the account, and his debits stood at $504,607.87. In respect of his Cedi Account at the same bank, opened on January 21, 2017 before his appointment, a total of GH¢3.83 million was credited, and GH¢3.81million debited, to the account between the date of his appointment as CEO and August 29, 2019. His Euro Account at the same bank also had €54,500.00 credited and €37,333 debited for the same period, in addition to his UMB USD Account which had seen cash flow of over $110,000 between December 2018 and March 2019 alone,” the CHRAJ said.
According to the report, when he was confronted with the evidence of the sheer volume of cash that passed through his accounts Adjei indicated that Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd does not have a bank account and that proceeds from the sales of the water is lodged in his account. Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd is the company he owns with his wife, Mercy Adjie.
He also claimed that he receives money from other family businesses but could not name the family businesses, the report said.
The CHRAJ noted that whether or not Adjei has put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of his office, as noted earlier, the Respondent is a public officer, having been appointed by the President of the Republic of Ghana in March 2017 as CEO of PPA in accordance with section 9(1) of Act 663, as amended.
Citing relevant laws, it said Article 284 of the Constitution places a constitutional injunction on a public officer putting himself in a position where his personal interest actually conflicts or is likely to conflict with the exercise of his public duties. It provides that: “A public Officer shall not put himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office.
“The 1992 Constitution, inter alia, declares and affirms Ghana’s commitment to freedom, justice, probity, and accountability and the principle that all powers of government spring from the sovereign will of the people (see Preamble). Article 35(8) of the Constitution provides thus:
Sections 34 A and 38(1) of Act 663 requires that procurement entities that decide to use the restricted tender method must apply to the PPA for approval and must justify why they had decided the use that method of procurement.”
The CHRAJ found that the regulations for restricted tendering in awarding contracts were not followed, except in one case.
The evidence available to the Commission shows that except the Ministry of Education which provided specific reasons for its application to the PPA Board, many of the applications for restricted tender between March 2017 and August 2019 from procurement entities reviewed in the course of this investigation did not provide any justification, and yet the same were approved by the PPA Board. The PPA Board is directed to pay closer attention to this irregularity and ensure the practice does not recur.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi