The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, has called his first witness in the corruption case against former Public Procurement Authority (PPA) Boss Agyenim Boateng Adjei.
Investigative Journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni on Tuesday, November 29, mounted the witness box as the first witness.
Mr AB Adjei has been charged with 17 counts of using public office for profit and nine counts of directly and indirectly influencing the procurement process to obtain an unfair advantage in awarding procurement contracts.
On the other hand, his brother-in-law is facing one count of using public office for profit. They both pleaded not guilty and are currently on a GH¢5 million bail.
The trial started on Tuesday, November 29, with the Special Prosecutor calling the first prosecution witness to the stand.
After the witness was sworn in, he identified a witness statement filed as his and attempted to tender the same as evidence before the court.
But the defence lawyers who had informed the court of the absence of the lead counsel said they had objections to some portions of the statement the witness wishes to tender in.
Accused persons are also requesting original copies of some exhibits submitted.
After listening to the parties briefly, the trial judge Mary Maame Ekue Nsenkyire, adjourned the case to December 13 to hear the grounds for the objections and also because of the absence of the lead counsel.
Meanwhile, all accused persons were present in court.
Facts before the court
The Special Prosecutor, Kissi Agyebeng, who initiated the action, said Mr AB Adjei improperly and unlawfully conducted and participated in tendering processes in awarding government contracts to Talent Discovery Limited without disclosing that he was a significant shareholder of the company.
The SP said as a member of the governing board of PPA, Mr Adjei used the company as a sure bet of winning the public bids and, as the implementor of the decision of the board, unlawfully altered the decision to favour his company.
Within a short period, the SP said Mr Adjei amassed a “fantastic amount” of GH₵41 million in his account, which is why he was in court.
Mr Arhin, on the other hand, was to run the company until the retirement of Mr AB Adjei from public service, and the two will subsequently share proceeds from the contracts awarded.
The former PPA boss AB Adjei was implicated in a corruption exposé titled ‘Contracts for Sale’ by investigative journalist Manasseh Azure Awuni.
The documentary, released on Wednesday, August 21, 2019, and aired by Joy TV, contained allegations of conflict of interest, abuse of office and corruption by Mr Adjenim Boateng Adjei, the then Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA).
In the documentary, a company known as Talent Discovery Limited (TDL), owned by Mr Adjenim Adjei, was found to be getting many government contracts through restrictive tendering.
These contracts were then sold for huge sums of money to the highest bidder, and the proceeds went into the pockets of the culprit.
After months of investigations, CHRAJ stated in its report dated October 27, 2020, that Mr Adjei “put himself in several positions where his personal, relational, and pecuniary interest in TDL and other companies actually conflicted with the performance of the functions of his office as CEO and Board Member of PPA”.
The commission held that the accused, Mr AB Adjei, has contravened article 284 of the 1992 Constitution of Ghana.
It concluded that the accused had gravely abused his high office of trust.