Sunday, August 28, 2016

The Chief Fire Officer, Albert Brown Gaisie’s Involvement In The ‘Condom’ Camouflage Uniforms Saga

The uniforms, most of which had already been worn, were donated by the Swiss Army to the  expatriate husband of Madam Maud Nongo (Supplier), who is a very good friend of Albert Gaisie. She therefore decided to sell the uniforms to the Fire Service after failed attempts to sell it to the Ghana Armed Forces but finally succeeded with the connivance of her friend Albert Gaisie, who was the then Acting Chief Fire Officer.

The contract document was signed by Albert Gaisie, who was the then Acting Chief Fire Officer and he intentionally did not indicate it in his handing over notes to Brig. Gen. J.B.E. Guyiri, who took over from him.
When the committee was established to investigate the issue, Albert Brown Gaisie, the main culprit was rather left off the hook and members of the Acceptance Board, whom he coerced and threatened to accept the uniforms were interdicted.

The matter was referred to EOCO and the report was made available only to him, all the other officers who were investigated were not given copies of the report. Justice Tsar, who happens to be a member of the EOCO Board and a good friend of Albert Gaisie is very much aware of this issue.

In relation to this, a petition was written by the late DCFO KWAKU OHENE OBIRI, the former Director Legal of GNFS, who died mysteriously in the early part of 2015 after being transferred from the National Headquarters to Volta region then some few months later again transferred to the Upper East Region, all aimed at frustrating  him.

The Facts of the aforesaid subject matter are as follows:

That I was the Director Legal for the Ghana National Fire Service (2009-2013)

That GNFS contracted JILD Ventures to supply 16,339 pairs of camouflage uniforms at a cost of GH₵ 789,663.87 in 2010

That the Ministerial Tender Review Board of the Ministry of Interior approved 16,339 pairs
That adverts in the Ghanaian Times edition of 25th and 26thMay, 2010 and the Daily Graphic edition of June, 2010 quoted 16,339 pairs

Opening of tender box at a meeting on 28th June 2010 quoted 16,339 pairs and the amount quoted was GH₵ 789,663.87.

That the contract agreement between GNFS and JILD ventures was signed by Albert Brown Gaisie, the then Acting Chief Fire Officer quoted 16,339 pieces as the same amount.

That JILD ventures supplied the camouflage uniforms at the central stores James Town Accra and the Acceptance Board conducted an inspection on 15th June, 2011 at 13:45 hours 

That recommendations of the acceptance board members, who were threatened and compelled by Albert Brown Gaisie, to approve the uniforms are as follows:

That the board accepted all camouflage uniforms supplied by JILD ventures to the Central Stores, though about half of the uniforms were used uniforms.

That all the camouflage uniforms inspected were in good condition.

That there was a disagreement between the parties as to the use of the words PAIRS AND PIECES with series of letters to the sector ministry and vice versa.

That the disagreement meant that the GNFS had to pay double the amount quoted delayed the payment for the camouflage uniforms

That the Plaintiff (JILD ventures) went to court to recover the Price of goods sold, Interest, Damages for Breach of Contract and Cost.

That all these transactions went on without involving me (the Director Legal).

That the order of the court was as follows:

GNFS to pay the principal sum of GH₵ 749,791.62,

Interest from 15th August,2011 to the date of final payment.

Damages for Breach of Contract GH₵ 5,000.00

Cost GH₵ 5,000.00

The Fast Track High Court Accra, entered judgment against GNFS of the 8th of June 2012

That an Application for Stay of Execution was put before the  Court on 6th July 2012 but was refused on 24th  July, 2013.

That the Application was repeated at the Court of Appeal.

That the Trial High Court proceeded to issue a Garnishee Proceeding against the accounts of GNFS held at the Bank of Ghana and Ghana Commercial Bank – Osu respectively.

That GNFS accordingly filed an application for Judicial Review on 11thAugust,2012 before the Supreme Court, which quashed and set aside the Garnishee Order absolutely against GNFS account on 24th January,2013

That the Fast Track High Court Garnishee Order dated 13th May,2013,ordered the GNFS to pay a total amount of GH₵ 1,264,454.94.

That when the Camouflage uniforms were being distributed to staff, it was detected that;
Some of the uniforms have been used and washed

A great quantity are faded, tatted, patched and some with name tags and pens.

That the Fire Service Council and Management constituted a Board of Enquiry to investigate the matter and the findings are as follows;

That fire volunteers and NYEP Personnel were not employees of the Service but the then Acting Chief Fire Officer, Albert Brown Gaisie, wanted to procure camouflage uniforms for them even though the Service Personnel lack adequate uniforms.

PNDC Law 229 gives the Service the only responsibility of training Fire volunteers and not to cloth them.
The Ministerial Tender Review Board gave approval for the procurement of 16,339 pairs of Camouflage uniforms and not pieces

That the contract and the notification letters were both prepared by the Albert Brown Gaisie without the involvement of the then Acting Director Logistics.

That the Contract Letter was signed on 1st December,2010 and per the terms of the contract, the uniforms were to be supplied by 31st January,2011,but JILD Ventures could not meet the deadline and thus the contract should have been abrogated by the then Acting Chief Fire Officer(Albert Brown Gaisie). He also failed to indicate in his handing over notes to Brigadier J.B.E. Guyiri, that the contract had expired, neither did he brief the Brigadier.

That the contract letter was not dispatched through the Service Central Registry.

That the reference number of the contract letter signed by the then Acting Chief Fire Officer, Albert Brown Gaisie is foreign and anonymous to the Service’s Central Registry.

That the Acceptance Board failed to inspect all the camouflage uniforms to determine whether or not they met all the expectations. They did Random Sampling during inspecting and checking and never inspected and checked all items as indicated in their report.

That the Board of Enquiry INDICTED all the members of the Acceptance Board as well as the then Acting Chief Fire Officer at the time, Albert Brown Gaisie.

That the Director Legal was instructed by the GNFS Council Chairman, Alhaji Amadou Sorogho to constitute a Disciplinary Tribunal based on GNFS Disciplinary Regulations -2003  L.I. 1725,to try only the Acceptance Board Members, EXCLUDING- Albert Brown Gaisie.

That whiles the Disciplinary Tribunal was being constituted, the Fire Service Council instructed the then Acting Chief Fire Officer, Brig. Gen. J.B.E. Guyiri, to suspend members of the Acceptance Board without Pay, whilst Albert Brown Gaisie was left unpunished.

That as the Legal Director, I gave my legal opinion to the Acting Chief Fire Officer on the GNFS Council’s decision to suspend the members of the Acceptance Board, which according to L.I. 1725,constitutes a Major Punishment.

That on 24th December,2013, the GNFS council met and invited me(Director Legal) at 16:30 hours, for my legal opinion and why the delay in constituting the disciplinary tribunal.

That The delay in constituting the tribunal was because the Acting Chief Fire Officer lost the father and travelled to the Upper West Region, the Membership committee was later changed by the Chairman of the GNFS Council and there was the need for clarification for the suspension of the Acceptance Board members.

That my opinion as Director Legal was that the Council should have waited for the tribunal to try the Officers before meting out the suspension, which could amount to Double Jeopardy (Punishing an offender twice for the same offence).

That my submission as Director Legal, did not go down well with the Council especially the Chairman who categorically said that he could no longer work with me.

That immediately after the meeting, the Acting Chief Fire Officer was instructed by the Council to transfer me to the Volta Region as Regional Commander on or about 17:30 hours on 24th December,2013, to take over from the late DCFO Attobrah who was sick and on admission at the Police Hospital and died later.

That Eight Months after my transfer, I was again transferred from the Volta Region to the Upper East Region, on 18thSeptember,2014 as the Regional Commander, to take over from DCFO Edwin Blankson who was my junior and had been transferred to Headquarters.

That I strongly suspect someone’s interest is being protected by branding me as an NPP member and getting me out of National Headquarters, since I have all the facts and documents of the said case.

Facts Of The Case

In 2010 the Fire Service invited public tenders for the supply of various items including 16, 339 pairs of camouflage uniforms. The invitation for public tender was carried in the National Dailies in 2010.

Madam Nongo put in a tender and having been declared successful, entered into a formal contract with the GNFS for the supply of the camouflage uniforms.

Upon the delivery of the uniforms, the service took issue with the plaintiff that the contract was for the supply of 16,339 pairs of uniforms. The plaintiff, however, intimated that the formal agreement entered into with the defendant was for the supply of 16,339 pieces of uniforms and not 16,339 pairs as contended by the defendant.

Issues Set For Trial

After the service of the plaintiff’s writ of summons and its accompanying statement of claim on the defendant, an appearance was filed and later a Statement of Defence for and on behalf of the GNFS.

At the application for directions stage, the court adopted issues including, “Whether or not the invitation for tenders by the Defendant was an invitation to treat for the supply of 16,339 pairs of camouflage uniforms by the plaintiff to the Defendant’, and whether or not the insertion of the word ‘pieces’ in the contract, dated, 1st December, 2010 was inadvertent and not pursuant to the invitation for tenders by the defendant.”

The court also looked at “whether or not the delivery of 8,373 and 7,757 pieces of camouflage uniforms by the plaintiff was in accordance with the contract of 1st December, 2010.”

Issues Not In Dispute

According to the court, exhibits tendered showed that it was not in dispute, the plaintiff put in a tender to supply 16,339 pieces of camouflage uniforms from Switzerland at a price of GH¢48.33 a piece at a total cost of GH¢789,663.87.

It is also not in dispute that the GNFS, on November 25, 2010 addressed the plaintiff through a letter titled “Notification of Award: Supply of Camouflage Uniforms.

In the amount of GH¢789,663.87 in accordance with the instructions to Tenderers as hereby accepted.”


The court said that some of the exhibits of the defendants had requested the plaintiff to furnish the GNFS with a Performance Bond “within 14 days of the receipt of Notification of Award of the Contract,” adding “as a result the plaintiff furnished a Performance Bond exhibit ‘E’ herein which she procured from Phoenix Insurance. Exhibit ‘E’ was dated 29thNovember, 2010.”

“I find that by exhibit ‘F’ dated the 1stday of December, 2010, the defendant executed a formal contract with the plaintiff for the “Supply of 16,339 pieces of camouflage uniforms,” adding “there is evidence to the effect that after the execution of the contract, the plaintiff obtained a loan from the Bank and imported the camouflage uniforms.”

“I find from exhibit ‘2’ that the actual quantity of camouflage uniforms supplied by the plaintiff was 16,130 pieces comprising 8373 trousers and 7757 jackets. This finding is supported also by the plaintiff’s answer in admission during cross examination. Nevertheless, an inspection team formed by the defendant accepted the goods supplied by the plaintiff herein and wrote an acceptance report dated 7thJuly, 2011 received in evidence.”

The court said it found that after the supply of the uniforms, the defendant paired them by way of one trouser to one jacket as a result of which 7757 pairs were generated leaving 616 excess trousers, adding that “these excess trousers of 616 were rejected by the defendant who then wrote exhibit ‘K’ a letter dated the 7th day of July, 2011 in which the defendant requested the plaintiff to submit fresh invoices for “7,757 full sets of camouflage uniforms or 15,514 pieces at a rate of GH¢48,33 per piece. Exhibit ‘K’ also requested the plaintiff to ‘take back the 616 pieces of trousers still in the possession of the defendant.”

The court said that there was evidence on record that despite directives from the Sector Minister that the GNFS pays for 15,514 pieces of uniforms as a result of which some exhibits were requested and furnished, the defendant was still unwilling to pay the plaintiff the cost as directed.

“The plaintiff’s lawyer, therefore, wrote to the Minister a letter dated the 22nd August, 2011 pointing out the fact of non-compliance with the Minister’s directives by the defendant.”

“The court finds that the defendant’s unwillingness to pay for the goods supplied by the plaintiff which it had accepted arose from various correspondences between it and the Ministry for Interior.”

Fire Service Council

Justice Kwame Asiedu said that the court found the evidence on record that the Fire Service Council played a major role in the non-payment of the plaintiff for the goods which she supplied and were accepted by the defendant saying “there is evidence that the Fire Service Council met on the 13th July, 2011.”

“In the opinion of the court the Fire Service Council fell into a grievous error when it stated, without recourse to the contract document, that “naturally uniforms are worn in pairs,” adding, “The court can take judicial notice of the fact that whether apparel can pass for ‘uniform’ depends on the organisation concerned.”

Pieces vrs Pairs

The court found that evidence adduce at the trial was that it was not entirely correct as stated by the Fire Service Council that uniforms are worn in pairs, adding “the defendant did not contract with the plaintiff for the supply of what are ‘worn in pairs’. Rather the contract evidenced by exhibit ‘F’ was for the supply of 16,339 pieces of camouflage uniforms.”

“Even in the Fire Service, uniform is not necessarily a reference to a particular shirt and trouser but it includes the cup and the boots as well as the socks and the belt and many others apparels on the dress worn sometimes with reference to the rank of the officer in question.”

Justice Asiedu held that per the evidence adduced, the invitation for tender published in the various newspapers was not part of the contract documents, adding “hence it was wrongful for the Fire Service Council to rely on the invitation to treat as constituting a contract and then say that uniforms are naturally worn in pairs.”

“Worse still in the 21st century, where the law is held supreme, it sounds oppressive and totalitarian for the Fire Service Council to conclude as it did that: ‘Should this arrangement not be acceptable to the supplier then the entire consignment delivered by the supplier should be rejected’.”

“Within the context of exhibit “F” the contract executed between the plaintiff and the defendant herein, the word ‘piece’ as used in the phrase ‘supply of 16,339 pieces of camouflage uniforms’ in my view, therefore, cannot be interpreted to read ‘pairs’.”

“That will surely amount to re-writing the contract for the parties. In my opinion given the context in which ‘piece’ has been used in the contract between the parties, the most appropriate meaning is that which connotes singleness or a unit of. Hence, the phrase “16, 339 pieces of camouflage uniforms” will imply “16,339 units of camouflage uniforms or units of camouflage uniforms which adds up to 16, 339,” the judge held.

The court held that the GNFS contracted with the plaintiff to supply parts of or sections of or individual items or units of uniforms that sums up in total to 16, 339, adding that “in the view of the court it will be unconscionable for the defendant to contract with the plaintiff to supply 16, 339 pieces of uniforms at GH¢48. 33 per piece and then when it comes to paying for the commodity for the defendant to turn round to say a ‘piece’ means ‘pairs’ to enable the defendant take two pieces for the price of one piece contrary to the agreement as shown in the contract exhibit ‘F’.”

“The plaintiff put in a tender for the supply of 16, 339 pieces of camouflage uniforms. Subsequently, the defendant, on 25th November, 2010 wrote a ‘notification of award – supply of camouflage uniforms’ to the plaintiff evidenced by exhibit ‘D’. Here again, the defendant indicated to the plaintiff that she was to supply 16, 339 pieces of camouflage uniforms. Then on the 1st December, 2010 the defendant executed a formal contract with the plaintiff for the “supply of 16, 339 pieces of camouflage uniforms”.

In my opinion the GNFS has exhibited all the outward signs of agreement that the plaintiff was to supply 16, 339 pieces of camouflage uniforms. I hold that the defendant is bound by the contract to which it had manifestly and voluntarily expressed its assent even if its actual intentions were different.”

The judge said that if the GNFS had in fact made a mistake by its inability to express its intentions clearly on the contract document by stating ‘16,339 pieces’ instead of ‘16,339 pairs’, the plaintiff should not be the one to suffer for it, holding that “the defendant must bear the brunt and the consequences of its own mistake. I hold, therefore, that the defendant – Ghana National Fire Service is bound to pay for all the goods supplied by the plaintiff which it had by exhibit ‘H’ accepted.”

The court also acknowledged that the plaintiff agreed to take back six hundred and sixteen (616) pieces of the trousers supplied and ruled that “the defendant is, therefore, liable to the plaintiff for the cost of the remainder of the goods totalling 15,514 pieces at GH¢48.33 which sums up to GH¢749,791.62.”

In the end, the court had entered an amount of GH¢749,791.62 as judgment for the plaintiff against the defendant and also held that the plaintiff was also entitled to recover interest in view of the delay in the payment by the defendant.

Costs of GH¢5,000.00 was also awarded against the defendant.

The GNFS was represented in court by DOIII Emmanuel Jiaggey with Cecil Adadevor supported by Tricia Quartey as counsel for the GNFS while Ken Anku, holding the brief of Acquah Sampson, represented the plaintiff on judgement day which was August 8, 2012.

Source: Eagle-Eyed Vigilante Group