The Accra High Court has dismissed an application by the former Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Adjenim Boateng Adjei, to set aside findings of the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) against him in the “Contracts For Sale” scandal.
The former CEO had wanted the court to grant an order of certiorari to quash the finding on grounds that it breached the rules of natural justice; however, the court presided over by Justice Elfreda Amy Dankyi ruled otherwise.
The judge in her ruling said “analysing the facts of the case and applying the relevant laws and cases stated supra this court is of the opinion there has been no breach of natural justice and certiorari does not arise”.
It is the case of Mr Adjei that he was not given a fair hearing by CHRAJ in the investigative report which found him guilty of conflict of interest in the award of government projects.
In the said report, CHRAJ found overwhelming evidence to show that Mr Adjei put himself in several positions where his personal, relational,and pecuniary interest in Talent Discovery Limited (TDL) and other companies actually conflicted with the performance of the functions of his office as CEO and Board Member of PPA, therefore, contravening article 284 of the 1992 Constitution.
Mr Adjei was the CEO of PPA from March 2017 to August 2019 when he was suspended from his office and his tenure ending on October 30 last year following the termination of his appointment by the President.
His appointment was terminated after he was captured in a video documentary titled “Contract for Sale,” engaging in an act CHRAJ considered as a grave abuse of his high office of trust.
In the documentary, Mr Adjei was accused of establishing TDL, which won some government contracts through restrictive tendering but sold the contracts to individuals or contractors.
Suppliers and contractors interested in buying those contracts from TDL had to register with the company by paying a non-refundable fee of GH¢5,000.
In the documentary, TDL was ready to sell a contract worth GH¢22.3 million to a non-existent entity that, a journalist, Manasseh Azure Awuni’s team had made up.
Mr Adjei was accused of using information he acquired as the CEO of PPA to the advantage of TDL in which he owned 60 per cent shares.
President Nana Akufo-Addo, following the documentary referred him to CHRAJ to be investigated on conflict of interest claims. It was the findings of the said investigations that Mr Adjei was challenging.
His grievance in court
Mr Adjei’s grievance against CHRAJ was the fact that the commission invited 17 people and took statements and evidence from them to arrive at its findings without giving him the opportunity to access and respond to the evidence or cross-examine the witnesses.
CHRAJ, he said, made site trips to several locations to gather evidence which it relied on to arrive at its decision without an invitation to him to be present at any of those site trips.
Mr Adjei said he objected to the entire proceedings on the basis of lack of a complainant but CHRAJ overruled his objection and rather ruled that President Akufo-Addo was the complainant.
Again he said CHRAJ relied on submissions made by another lawyer other than his lawyer in a different matter filed by a different complainant as part of the report and made conclusions from the submissions.
For these reasons, he said CHRAJ acted in bad faith and therefore prayed the court to quash the findings which purportedly influenced his sack.
CHRAJ, in opposition to the application for certiorari, argued that the appointment and removal from office as CEO of PPA was an executive decision of the President for which reason the President was not bound by its findings and recommendations.
Therefore “the prayer by the applicant for an order to rescind the decision of dismissal of the applicant by the President of the Republic of Ghana has no legal basis”.