The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has officially cleared Paul Adom-Otchere, the Board Chairman of the Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), of allegations related to the procurement of Christmas decorations for the company in 2021.
Mr. Adom-Otchere was placed under scrutiny by CHRAJ after a petition was filed by Sacut Amenga-Etego. The petitioner accused the Board Chair of breaching various provisions of the Public Procurement Law and other regulatory rules during the acquisition of the Christmas decorations.
In its final report dated October 30, 2023, which was signed by Commissioner Joseph Whittal, CHRAJ recognized a minor infraction in Mr. Adom-Otchere’s conduct. Specifically, it was acknowledged that the Board Chairman had requested an invoice from one of the suppliers, Favors and Arts, in the joint names of himself and GACL, which was deemed a “breach of Act 663 albeit minor.”
However, CHRAJ’s investigation revealed no substantiated evidence supporting the broader allegations that Mr. Adom-Otchere had violated other provisions of Act 663 or other principles of corporate governance.
It was alleged that GACL, under the supervision of Adom-Otchere, spent about $118,000 of taxpayers’ money on the said Christmas trees and lighting.
Sacut Amenga-Etego thus dragged the Board Chair of the company before CHRAJ over the allegations.
Among his requests was a declaration that Mr. Adom-Otchere breached various provisions of the Public Procurement Law, the Public Financial Management Law, and the principles of corporate governance in the procurement of the decorations in December 2021.
He also sought an order directing GACL to surcharge Mr. Adom-Otchere for the amount involved, as well as a request for CHRAJ to refer its investigations and recommendations for the prosecution of the respondent to the appropriate authorities.
CHRAJ in its report said: “Our investigations did not reveal that the respondent breached several provisions of Act 663 as amended. The procurement of the Christmas inspirations was done by the management albeit with some active participation by the respondent in the sense that he requested an invoice from one of the suppliers, Favors and Arts.”
“This invoice was issued in the joint names of the respondent and the GACL. As the provisions of Act 663 do not require that invoices be submitted in the personal names of Board Chairmen of state-owned enterprises, we agree that was a breach of Act 663 albeit minor.”
CHRAJ further said, “Apart from this, we did not find that the respondent breached other provisions of Act 663 as amended. We also find that the respondent breached some but not several provisions of corporate governance in some roles that he played in the procurement of the inspirations and his appearance via media on media matters relating to the procurement.”
Despite exonorating the Board Chairman of GACL, CHRAJ however rebuked him for “requesting for invoices and his appearances in the media in respect of matters involving the GACL of which he is the Board Chairman.”
CHRAJ said such practice “does not auger well for good corporate governance.”
“We recommend that the respondent should restrain himself from interfering in the work of management and restrict himself purely to his prescribed functions as Board Chairman.”