PPA boss suspended;President orders OSP, CHRAJ probe

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President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo “has suspended” the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr A.B. Adjei with immediate effect.

The action of President Akufo-Addo was in response to allegations levelled against Mr Adjei by investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni in a documentary titled ‘Contracts for sale’.

A statement signed by the Director of Communication at the Presidency communicating the decision by the president on Thursday, 22 August 2019, said Mr Akufo-Addo has, subsequently, “referred the allegations involving conflict of interest to the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), and those relating to potential acts of corruption to the Office of the Special Prosecutor, for prompt action”.

The statement added that the Chairperson of the Board of the PPA has been notified of the President’s action and instructed: “To ensure that Mr A.B. Adjei hands over his office expeditiously to Mr Frank Mante, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the PPA”.

The report revealed that Talent Discovery Limited, a company incorporated in June 2017, has won several government contracts through restrictive tendering.

Mr Awuni has also confirmed that the company was engaged in selling contracts. Undercover encounters with the General Manager of the Company, Thomas Amoah, revealed that the company was selling a GHS22.3 million road contract to K-Drah Enterprise, a fake company Manasseh used for the investigation.

This contract was awarded to B-Molie Limited, a company Mr Amoah said was a sister company of TDL.

The company also had for sale a Ministry of Works and Housing contract to construct a concrete drain in Santa Maria in Accra as well as a contract to build a one-story dormitory block in the Asante Akim North District.

After demanding and taking a registration fee of GHS5000 and deposit from Manasseh’s undercover agent, the General Manager of the TDL, who is also the one who signs the contracts on behalf of the company handed over three contracts, when K-Drah Enterprise promised to come on a particular Thursday and pay for one of the projects.

The Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have confirmed that the contracts being sold by Talent Discovery Limited are authentic contracts that have been awarded to the company. The company has had contracts with the Ghana Water Company (GWCL), Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), Ghana Ports and Harbours Authority (GHPHA).

It also has contracts with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Works and Housing, and four contracts with the Ministry of Special Development Initiatives to construct dams under the government’s One Village One Dam Project. Talent Discovery Limited had been shortlisted for restrictive tendering by the Bank of Ghana for the supply and installation of air purifiers. The company has also been shortlisted by the Roads and Highways Ministry for three road contracts and the evaluation is currently ongoing.

The PPA Board has confirmed that TDL was shortlisted by the Ministry of Inner Cities and Zongo Development for a contract in 2018. The board also confirmed TDL was brought to the PPA on 14 occasions for restrictive tendering approvals.

Such contracts are approved by the PPA, of which Adjenim Boateng Adjei (AB Adjei) is the CEO.

The General Manager of TDL said the company had links “at the top” so Manasseh Azure Awuni went digging into those behind the company. A search at the Registrar General’s Department revealed that the two directors of the company are Adjenim Adjei and Francis Arhin.

Of the two directors and shareholders of TDL, one of them pointed to the CEO of the PPA, Adjenim Boateng Adjei. The unique spellings of his “Adjenim” and Adjei are the same as those contained in the registration document.

But his official name, as found in documents he signs, is not Adjenim Adjei. He is Adjenim Boateng Adjei, but he uses AB Adjei in official documents, including approval letters at the PPA.

But there are more clues. Two of the companies of the TDL Group, Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water and ABM Logistics Ghana Limited have two shareholders and directors namely Mercy Adjei and Adjenim Adjei. The Tax Identification Number (TIN) of the ‘Adjenim Adjei’ used to register the Talent Discovery Group is the same Tax Identification Number used by the ‘Adjenim Adjei’ in the companies he jointly owns with Mercy Adjei.

The address of Frosty Ice, a member of the TDL Group, is a street in Airport Hills, and that is where the PPA boss, Adjenim Boateng Adjei lives. The investigation also revealed that the wife of the PPA CEO is called Mercy Adjei, so it was highly probable that the ‘Adjenim Adjei’ of the TDL Group was the same as the ‘Adjenim Boateng Adjei’ of the Public Procurement Authority.

Further investigation revealed more clues that suggested that the head of the public procurement authority was the same person who owned the company engaged in selling government contracts. In March 2018, there was a funeral in Aburi and the three shareholders in the TDL Group of Companies and the CEO of the Public Procurement Authority all featured in the funeral invitation.

The invitation named AB Adjei CEO of the Public Procurement Authority as a brother of the deceased. It also named Francis Arhin (CEO of Talent Discovery) and Mrs Mercy Adjei as in-laws of the deceased.

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