19.06.2002 General News

Heads to roll as former Water boss, others are found culpable

19.06.2002 LISTEN
By Ghanaian Chronicle

The former managing director of Ghana Water Company Ltd, (GWCL) Mr Charles Adjei, and chief manager in charge of materials Mr A.B. Adjei, are to cough ¢2.4 billion, being monies from some fraudulent transactions they undertook in the importation of water meters for GWCL two years ago.

The deal, which transpired between Mr Charles Adjei and A.B. Adjei on one hand, and the managing directors of FON Limited and SOMFER Ltd, Messrs Fred Ntim and Ofosu Mensah, respectively on the other hand occurred when they were contracted to supply water meters for GWCL.

This was contained in the report of the justice N.Y.B. Adade Committee of Enquiry on GWCL, set up last year to investigate some corrupt practices in the company. According to the report, Messrs Charles Adjei and A.B. Adjei, in their capacities as officials of GWCL, collaborated with the two companies to dupe GWCL to the tune of $300,000 in the supply of 30,000 meters.

The committees established that while the meters could be obtained locally at ¢180,000 (US$30) each, the two GWCL officials deliberately asked that FON Ltd supply them at US $40 each so that an excess amount of $10 could be fraudulently realised from each of the 30,000 meters.

The committee’s report which recommended that the two be dismissed and subsequently be referred to the Attorney- General’s department for possible prosecution also indicated that FON and SOMFER Ltd. be blacklisted from transacting any business with GWCL.

On the award of contract to the companies, the committee found out that Charles Adjei negotiated with the suppliers in terms of quality and price before going to the Board of Directors for discussions on the issue. Whiles GWCL suppliers were scrambling for tender documents after the contract was advertised, 20,000 out of the 30,000 meters were already stocked at a warehouse in Accra.

“Charles Adjei showed much more than management interest in the award and opened himself to charges of suspicion of fraud and corruption,” was the Adade committee’s observation.

The report revealed that even though, the Board of Directors of GWCL held several meeting on the supply of the meters and that until 6 July 2002 that final approval for the award of the contract was given, FON limited had by 30 April 2002, imported the meters into the country.

Therefore Charles Adjei could not wait for the approval of the minutes the meeting held on 6 July 2002 but quickly issued the award letter to FON limited by morning of 7 July 2002, having in mind that the meters had already been imported into Ghana well ahead of tender. FON Ltd accepted the offer the same day.

The term of the reference of the contract was that suppliers were supposed to deliver multijet water meters. However, they supplied singlejet, which were relatively inferior to and cheaper than the former. In an attempt to divert attention from the wrong specifications, the committee reported, Charles Adjei continued to describe the meters as multijets and paid higher prices even though he knew they were singlejet.

The committee therefore recommended that Charles Adjei and A.B. Adjei be jointly and several held responsible along with Fred Ntim and FON Ltd to return the excess payments of ¢1.136 billion and $82,000 to chest.

The 179-page report which is in ten sections was necessitated by an Internal Audit report which revealed that certain regions had built up large stocks of printed stationary contrary to the GWCL board’s directive that such stocks should not be purchased in excess of a year’s (12 months) requirements of a particular region. Some of the regions had stock that could last for more than 100 years, according to the report.

Members of the committee included a retired Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice N.Y.B. Adade as chairman, Ing. Sqn (Ldr) C.M.C. Sowu, former NDC Member of Parliament for Anlo, Mr Samuel Yaw Anim and Mr Samuel Boateng Asare, all members, with Mr Frank K. Dei as secretary.