Contracts for sale: High Court quashes CHRAJ report on former PPA boss

After almost four years of legal tussle, the High Court has quashed a report by the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) that contained adverse findings against the former Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei.

The court in its verdict delivered on July 13, 2023, presided over by Justice Audrey Kocuvie-Tay, ruled that CHRAJ violated the fair hearing rule by substituting portions of the original complaint filed by the Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII) with its own allegations. It further concluded that CHRAJ failed to provide the applicant, A.B. Adjei, with the opportunity to cross-examine the witnesses called during the investigation before reaching their conclusions.

The Court also determined that CHRAJ neglected to investigate the substantive complaints made by the GII, the complainant in the case. Instead, the Commission focused on matters that were not part of the GII’s submissions.

In 2019, Adjenim Boateng Adjei was sacked by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for allegations made against him in an exposé by ace journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni.

This follows adverse findings against him by CHRAJ.

CHRAJ in a report stated that the evidence also established a pattern of movement of large volumes of cash through the Respondent’s bank accounts between March 2017 and August 2019, far in excess of his known income (Stanbic Bank: USD Account – $516,225.00; Cedi Account – ¢3.83 million; Euro Account – EU54,500; UMB Bank: $110,000). The Respondent could not offer a satisfactory explanation as to the source of that huge volume of cash that passed through his bank account between March 2017 and August 2019 (unexplained wealth).

But A.B. Adjei fought back and urged the High Court to quash CHRAJ’s report and expunge it from the records.

The High Court in a judgment delivered on July 13, 2023, said “failure of [Mr. A.B. Adjei] to declare assets made against you” and that “the introduction of this means that CHRAJ for that particular allegation was complainant and any finding therefore was a self-serving exercise by CHRAJ.”

The Respondent (CHRAJ) in its decision annexed to the Applicant’s application as Exhibit A surprisingly focused more on this allegation than any of the allegations in the complaint and dedicated 7 pages (from pages 144 to 162) to discussing the said failure to declare assets which were not part of the complaint.

The court noted that the Respondent, however, failed and/or neglected to investigate and address the issue in relation to the subcontracting, subletting, and sale of contracts, the crux of the Complainant’s petition. Even Exhibit B2, the video which culminated in the proceedings before the Respondent was titled “Contract for sale”. It is, therefore, surprising that the Respondent chose to substitute the complaint of the complainant with its own complaint and proceeded to address the same.

In 2019, investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni premiered his ‘Contracts for Sale’ documentary in which a company jointly owned by the PPA boss and his relative bid for government contracts.

The company, Talent Discovery Limited was only incorporated in 2017 but has since won a lot of contracts. More disturbing, TDL does not execute the contracts but rather sells them to the highest bidder.

The contract, including road projects, remain unexecuted until a buyer comes.

The company, however, denied the allegations and said its general manager, who is at the forefront, acted of his own volition.

Source:

EMMANUEL TORNYI

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