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21.06.2005 Crime & Punishment

Dr. Dodoo’s Case Is Adjourned Again After 4 Years

Palaver

Dr. Robert Dodoo, the last Head of Civil Service in the administration of the NDC, appeared yet again in the Accra High Court on Thursday 16th June, 2005 to take another adjourned date in the long running (since 2001) and ridiculous case of the Republic vs. Dr. Robert Dodoo. The case was adjourned to Friday, July 15, 2005 pending the determination of an appeal before the Supreme Court.

Dr. Dodoo is only one of the numerous very high profile public officers of the NDC era who have been subjected to investigative and subsequently prosecutorial harassment and humiliation. Until his almost 40 years of loyal and dedicated public service was rudely truncated through being included in the "proceed on leave prior to retirement" saga of the NPP administration, he also occupied the prestigious position of the elected President of the African Association of Public Administration and Management (AAPAM) – a professional grouping in Africa made up of Head of African Civil and Public Sector Institutions, Researchers, Administrators and Lecturers in Africa.

Dr. Dodoo is standing trial for having "…wilfully omitted to ensure the supply and installation of the lift… in accordance with the terms of the contract" The lift costing ¢70,822,200 was intended for the OHCS Annex building.

At the same time as the farcical drama involving Dr. Dodoo was being played out, the 'Daily Graphic' also reported in its Saturday, May 28, 2005 edition under the headline, "JOB 600 $350,000 Rip-Off" in which Works and Housing Minister, Hackman Owusu-Agyeman is reported to have informed a team of journalists that an amount of $350,000 was released to a contractor for the purchase and installation of lifts for the rehabilitation works on the State House, Tower Block in Accra and which the contractor had bolted with.

The Minister in this instance indicated that they were seeking Interpol's assistance for the apprehension of the contractor – Electrovator Construction Company, the same contractor who bolted with the OHCS ¢70,822,200 for which Dr. Robert Dodoo is being held liable.

But in the instance of the Job 600 case, neither the then Speaker of Parliament, the Clerk of Parliament nor any public official for that matter, is being held liable, criminalized, and humiliated.

In his report to Parliament in 2000, the Auditor –General commented on the OHCS lift for which Dr. Dodoo is being tried. The Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee then chaired by now NPP Senior Minister, J.H. Mensah, with Mr. Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu now NPP Minister of Finance and Economic Planning as his Deputy, also deliberated on the issue and found the contractor, not Dr. Dodoo, liable and ruled as follows:

"The Office of the Head of Civil Service should write a letter to the Attorney General's Office for them to institute legal proceedings (civil) against the contractor, one Mr. Patti, for the recovery of the sum of ¢70,822,200".

(A copy of the letter which was issued by the OHCS to the Attorney General's Office in compliance with the Parliamentary Committee's directives was tendered in Court by the first Prosecution witness, the Chief Director, PW1)

Parliament further directed that the company and its Directors should be blacklisted from all Government contracts, as there is a track record of non-performance by the Company (paragraph 389 of the Auditor-General's Report).

The report of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee, which was tendered in evidence referred to similar cases of non-performance by the same contractor and involving lifts in other public organizations, once of which is the Job 600 lift case.

Another case of non-performance, cited in the Parliamentary Accounts Committee report, and which also involved the same contractor, involved a lift that was to be supplied and installed at the Ministry of Trade and Industry. According to the report, the terms of the contract were that the lift costing a little over ¢120,000,000 was to be paid and supplied within six months.

In the case of the OHCS lift for which Dr. Dodoo is in court, according to the Parliamentary Committee report, which has been tendered in evidence, the similar terms of the contract were payment first, then supply and installation in four months time.

That nobody from the other organizations-Parliamentary Service and Ministry of Trade and Industry, has been charged for court, is reflective of the selective justice under the NPP.

The "no case" submission made on behalf of Dr. Dodoo and overruled has travelled to the Court of Appeal and is now before the Supreme Court, hence his monthly appearances before the High Court for adjourned dates pending the outcome of the appeal.

In the meantime, the harassment, embarrassment and humiliation of Dr. Dodoo for four agonising years dating as far back a 2001 with the inception of the NPP Government, continues.

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