When the Ministry of Education in 2019 decided to purchase pickup trucks, it opted for a single-source procurement and chose the Kantanka brand produced by Kantanka Automobile Ltd.
The company was founded by Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka of the Kristo Asafo Church and Group of Companies.
The procurement process fell on the laps of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA). However, on the board of the authority was a Deputy Secretary of the Kristo Asafo Church, Dr Emmanuel Yaw Boakye.
It should have raised red flags.
Again, Dr Boakye was the Technical Director of the Ministry for Procurement (MoP) and Sarah Adwoa Safo, the daughter of Apostle Safo, was the Minister of State at that ministry.
Another red flag. Ignored.
The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has revealed that Dr Boakye took part in Board Technical Committee meeting which considered and approved the MoE’s application for the procurement of the vehicles worth GH¢27 million from Kantanka Automobile Company Ltd, a subsidiary of the Kristo Asafo Group of Companies.
Sitting on the committee that approved the procurement of the vehicles put Dr Boakye in a conflict of interest position, CHRAJ has said.
Before his appointment to the now-defunct Ministry for Procurement, Dr Boakye was the Project Director of the Kristo Asafo Group of Companies and a Board Member of Kristo Asafo Schools. He had been the Deputy Church Secretary for over two decades.
He told CHARAJ that he had resigned as Board Member of the Kristo Asafo Schools in 2017 when his party, the New Patriotic Party (NPP), came to power. He was appointed to various positions.
The revelations are contained in the latest CHRAJ report of the investigations into the activities of the dismissed CEO of the Public Procurement Authority, Mr Adjenim Boateng (A.B.) Adjei and member of the PPA Board.
This investigative report is the second from CHRAJ on the PPA and its CEO since The Fourth Estate’s Editor, Manasseh Azure Awuni, released his “Contracts for Sale” investigative documentary. The documentary revealed that companies owned by Mr A.B. Adjei were winning government contracts and selling the contracts to prospective buyers.
This latest report is in response to a separate complaint that the Ghana Integrity Initiative, Ghana’s chapter of Transparency International, filed with the anti-graft body to conduct a broader scope of investigations into the activities of the PPA CEO and the board.
This report goes beyond A.B. Adjei and his companies to cover the board of the PPA such as Dr Boakye.
“On his relationship with the founder of the Kristo Asafo Church and Kantanka Group of Companies, Dr Boakye said that he is a member of the Kristo Asafo Church and that the founder, Apostle Kwadwo Safo Kantanka, took care of him. He also said that he considers Apostle Kwadwo Safo as his father and Apostle Kwadwo Safo’s children as siblings.
“He also admitted that he participated in the 25th Meeting of the BTC in 2019 that discussed and approved the request made to the PPA Board by the MoE for approval to use single-source procurement to engage Kantanka Automobile Ltd…,” he said.
Asked why he failed to recuse himself from the meeting that approved the deal although he had a close relationship with Kantanka Automobile Ltd, he had a rather interesting explanation.
“He said that the fact that he did not disclose that fact that the founder of Kristo Asafo Group of Companies had helped him before or took care of him, does not totally amount to having a relationship with him. He also said that he has no interest in the companies, and is not also a Board Member of the companies.
“More so, per the records of proceedings at the meeting, he did not influence the decision of the Board. He further argued that there is no evidence to show that somebody was going to make money out of it. Moreover, the companies now belong to one of the founder’s sons,” he told CHRAJ.
But the Commission disagreed as it found the explanation unsatisfactory.
For his sins, Dr Boakye has been barred from holding public office for three years. His disqualification is, however, limited to only public boards, councils and
commissions, and not to extend to public office generally.
Code of conduct
Code of conduct for PPA officials required Dr Boakye to recuse himself in the procurement process since he had a personal relationship with the supplier of the vehicles.
“Where any member of the Tender Evaluation Panel has a conflict of interest in any tender evaluation, he/she shall declare his interest in the tender, leave the meeting while the matter is considered and shall not participate in the deliberations or decision-making process of the Panel in relation to that submission,” the PPA’s Manuals – Public Procurement Act, 2003 (Act 663) advises.
According to the Commission’s Guideline on Conflict of Interest (COI), “when the promotion of private interest of a public official result or is intended to result in or appears to be or the potential to result in an interference with the objective exercise of the person’s duty and an improper benefit or an advantage by virtue of his/her position, then it constitutes a COI.”
The CHRAJ defines a Public Officer as a person nominated, elected or appointed to serve in a public office.
The document notes that private interest could be financial or other interest, such as family members, relations, clubs and associations, among others.
Article 286 of the 1992 constitution requires that “(1) A person who holds a public office mentioned in clause (5) of this article shall submit to the Auditor-General a written declaration of all property or assets owned by, or liabilities owed by, him whether directly or indirectly, (a) within three months after the coming into force of this Constitution or before taking office, as the case may be, (b) at the end of every four years; and (c) at the end of his term of office”
But Dr Boakye never did.
He, however, told CHRAJ in a letter dated August 18, 2020, that he was ready to right the wrong “if it is the view of the Commission that he is required to declare his assets and liabilities, he was prepared to do so.”
CORRECTION: In the earlier version of this report, we quoted GHc270 million as the cost of the vehicles, which was contained in the CHRAJ report. Our attention has however been drawn to the fact that the correct figure was GHc27 million, as contained in an attachment in the CHRAJ report. The error is deeply regretted.