Public cry for head of PPA boss

BY THEPUBLISHERONLINE - Nov 03, 2020 at 7:02am 100

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The public is seething with anger over what it describes as the failure by the government to initiate processes for the prosecution of the dismissed Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Chief Executive, James Adjenim Boateng Adjei.

It argues that the slap on the wrist directive of just removing Mr Adjei from office is no deterrent at all.

Already, Senior Fellow at IMANI Africa, Dr Theo Acheampong has stated that banning the former PPA boss from holding public office for the next five years is not deterrent enough.

Dr Theo Acheampong argues that considering the level of proven conflict of interest he engaged in, Adjenim Boateng deserves more years.

“In other countries like the UK, people can be debarred for as long as 20 to 30 years in terms of holding public office,” he said on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday.

Jail him

Dr Acheampong is not alone in the call for stiffer punishment for, Adjenim Boateng.

Some members of the public THE NEW PUBLISHER spoke to over the raging controversy expressed similar sentiments.

In the view of some members of the public, the instruction by the government asking Adjenim to pack out without dragging him before the law court is a vote for him (Adjenim) to go home and enjoy his booty.

It further argued that this posture only emboldens other public office holders to recklessly squander state funds and conduct themselves anyhow when expected to serve the country.

One person who did not want to be named stated: “this is a great test for Nana Addo to show that he abhors corruption…”

“Now is the time for the president to walk the talk of rooting out corrupt practices in his government…” another argued.

The President Nana Akufo-Addo on Friday acting on the recommendation of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) terminated the appointment of Adjenim as Chief Executive Officer of the PPA with immediate effect.

The sack letter also bars the former PPA Boss from holding public office for the next five years.

The move follows a report submitted to the President by the Commissioner of CHRAJ, Mr Joseph Whittal, which concluded that “on the totality of the evidence, Mr Adjenim Boateng Adjei had put himself in a position where his personal interests conflicted with the performance of his functions as CEO and Board Member of the PPA.”

It also stated that he abused his high office of trust.

Ghost cash

The Commission also held that Adjenim Boateng Adjei was unable to explain the source of large volumes of wealth moving through his various bank accounts.

CHRAJ said it analyzed data provided by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) which puts the total transactions during the period within which Mr Adjei assumed office at GH¢ 14.8 million being the total figure from 4 Dollar and Euro accounts held at two banks.

It will be recalled that on 22nd August 2019, President Akufo-Addo suspended Mr Adjenim Boateng Adjei from office, following the broadcast of allegations made against him in an investigative documentary conducted by Manasseh Azure Awuni, titled “Contracts for Sale”.

In the documentary, Manasseh revealed that a company Mr Adjenim Boateng co-owned, had sold government contracts it won through single-source and restrictive tendering to the highest bidder.

In suspending him, President Akufo-Addo also directed CHRAJ and the Office of the Special Prosecutor to investigate his appointee for conflict of interest and corruption.

“However, we can see from the records received from the 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,” CHRAJ said.

CHRAJ added: “The Respondent opened USD Account Number 9040002473180 at the Stanbic Bank on 03 April 2017, after his appointment as CEO of PPA. As of 28 August 2019, a total amount of USD 516,225 had been credited to the account, and his debits stood at USD 504,607.87.

“In respect of his Cedi Account No. 9040002313337 at the same bank, opened on 21 January 2017 before his appointment, a total of 3.83 million Cedis was credited, and 3.81 million Cedis debited, to the account between the date of his appointment as CEO and 29 August 2019.

CHRAJ further revealed: “His Euro Account at the same bank also had EU54,500.00 credited and 37,333 debited for the same period, in addition to his UMB USD Account No. “428872” which had seen cash flow of over 110,000 USD between December 2018 and March 2019 alone.

When confronted with the evidence of the sheer volume of cash that passed through his accounts the Respondent indicated that Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd does not have a bank account and that proceeds from the sales of the water are lodged in his account, the report noted.

“Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd is the company the Respondent 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 records from the Registrar- General show that Frosty Ice Natural Mineral Water Ltd was incorporated on 29th January 2019. So how could a company established in 2019 accumulate so much revenue in 2017 and 2018, before its establishment? CHRAJ wondered.

“Even though the Respondent is a director of over 19 companies, he himself claims that he did not receive the director’s fee from any of those companies except Beachfront Stevedoring Company Limited.

“We find that the Respondent’s explanation is 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” CHRAJ concluded.

CHRAJ has, however, referred the findings to the Economic and Organised Crimes Office for further investigations for possible money laundering crimes.