The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) has dismissed allegations of conflict of interest against Francisca Oteng Mensah, Deputy Minister of Gender, Children, and Social Protection, regarding the purchase of personal protective equipment (PPE) for the National Youth Authority (NYA).
On January 28, 2021, the commission received a complaint from one Ismail Mohammed, a citizen, alleging that Ms. Mensah presided over a board meeting on March 30, 2020, as the Board Chairperson of the NYA, which set aside GH3 million for the procurement of PPE for the fight against COVID-19.
The complainant claimed that hand sanitizer/alcohol was purchased for more than GH700,000 from Adonko Bitters Limited, a subsidiary of the Angel Group of Companies, a limited liability company owned by Ms. Mensah personally and her biological father, Kweku Oteng.
The complainant claimed that the move constituted a conflict of interest.
According to the complainant, the board chairperson’s actions not only violated Article 284 of the Constitution of 1992, which states that “a public officer shall not place himself in a position where his personal interest conflicts or is likely to conflict with the performance of the functions of his office,” but also violated Section 7 of the act that established the NYA.
CHRAJ dismissed the allegations in a 111-page report signed by the Commissioner, Joseph Whittal, and released on February 2, 2023, on the grounds that they lacked merit, as investigations conducted by the commission and evidence provided did not support the case of conflict of interest against Ms. Mensah.
In its findings, the commission stated that evidence showed that on March 31, 2020, at a board meeting chaired by Ms Mensah, the NYA board approved GH3 million to fund the ‘Youth in COVID-19 Campaign’ and related activities.
According to the NYA, a portion of the GH3 million was used to purchase PPE for the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, with the PPE consisting of alcohol-based hand sanitizer worth GH68,980.58 from Adonko Bitters Ltd, of which Ms Mensah and her father were directors and shareholders.
Source: Graphic Online