CHRAJ finds former PPA boss guilty of conflict of interest
Special Prosecutor to announce investigation findings into Contract for Sale
It has emerged that the dismissed Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei has successfully cleared all funds in his various bank accounts which were declared frozen by the Office of Special Prosecutor in 2019.
Adjenim Adjei was indicted after an investigation by the Office of the Special Prosecutor which followed an investigative piece by journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni.
Manasseh’s piece dubbed “Contracts for Sale” realized the transfer and deposit of millions of monies into Adjenim Adjei’s accounts while he was in office.
For the two and half years that he was head of PPA, Adjenim Adjei accumulated more than GH¢41 million in his cedi, dollar and euro accounts.
The investigation by Manasseh Azure Awuni found that the CEO formed a company, named Talent Discovery Limited, with his brother-in-law after his appointment as the CEO of the PPA.
This company is said to have won a number of government contracts which were approved by the PPA board of which Mr. Adjei was a member through the restrictive tendering method.
Manasseh’s investigation found that the company did not have the capacity to execute the contracts and that, Talent Discovery Limited went on to sell the contracts to individuals and companies without the knowledge or approval of the awarding entities.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo following the premier of Manasseh’s Contract for Sale video, suspended AB Adjei in August 2019.
The president further referred Mr. Adjei to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) and the Office of the Special Prosecutor (OSP) to investigate his conduct.
CHRAJ in 2020 released a report on its investigation conducted into the matter and found Mr Adjenim guilty of conflict of interest and other offences.
CHRAJ subsequently banned Mr Adjei from holding public office for 10 years. An appeal which was later filed on his behalf at the High Court against the ban failed.
“We find the Respondent’s [Mr. Adjei’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),” CHRAJ’s report said.
However, Martin Alamisi Burnes Kaiser Amidu, the Special Prosecutor at the time in a statement deferred with CHRAJ on the amount accumulated in Mr Adjei’s accounts.
“The only problem with the CHRAJ report is that for some reason it understates the amounts disclosed by the bank statements from the three bank accounts of Mr. Adjei exhaustively reviewed by the Auditor-General and this Office,” Mr Amidu said.
Martin Amidu stated that Mr Adjei from 2017 to August 19, 2019, had 15,691,559.30 Cedis, US$4,467,655 and 54,500 Euros deposited into his three bank accounts.
As part of his investigations, the then Special Prosecutor said “I froze the bank accounts of all the suspects together with their legal entities.”
However, in an updated investigation report by the Fourth Estate, the media institution noted that Adjenim Adjei has since successfully withdrawn all the monies which were contained in the investigated accounts.
“Our sources say, the freezing order expired and Mr. Adjei applied to the court to have it lifted. The sources say the OSP could not have kept the account frozen for more than 12 months without acting on the reason for which the account was frozen.
“The Fourth Estate’s sources further revealed that when Martin Amidu resigned from office in 2020, investigations into the ‘Contracts for Sale’ scandal stalled.
“In the intervening period between his resignation and the assumption of office of his successor, AB Adjei went to court and had the freezing order lifted,” the report said.
Following the lifting of the order, the former PPA CEO went ahead to clear his accounts of all the funds it contained.
“According to sources, other state agencies such as the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) could have frozen the accounts when the OSP’s order had expired. If this was done, the accounts would still remain frozen by the time the case was ready for prosecution.
“The FIC, according to sources, is the body that could have flagged and dealt with the huge sums of cash deposits passing through Mr. Adjei’s accounts even if he was not involved in the ‘Contracts for Sale’ scandal,” the Fourth Estate’s report noted.
Meanwhile, the current Special Prosecutor, Kissi Adjebeng in February this year, announced that his office was soon going to put out its conclusions on some corruption-related cases.
The cases as announced by the Special Prosecutor included the Contracts for Sale saga which formed part of some 45 corruption and corruption-related cases under investigation by the office.
The Special Prosecutor’s Office is however yet to make its announcement on the matter which is supposed to also outline further actions to be taken by the office.