Details are now emerging over the rationale behind the decision by TJGM, LLC, an American-based development company, to file the $511 million legal suit in the US District Court of Columbia against the Republic of Ghana, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA), its chief Executive, Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije, and Dr. Kwabena Duffour, former finance minister.
Yesterday, The Chronicle reported that TJGM had sued Ghana, claiming a total compensation of $511 million for the way and manner the contract for the construction of a sewer system in Accra was taken away from them, and awarded to another American company, Conti Construction Company.
A careful study of the writ shows that almost all the directors of TJGM hold dual citizenship of Ghana and the US, with one of them stating that he attended the same university with Dr. Alfred Okoe Vanderpuije in the US.
The directors of the suing company have been named in the writ, which was filed on behalf of the plaintiffs by MICHAEL LASLEY & ASSOCIATES, a legal firm, as Dr. Gideon Adjetey, a resident of the State of Illinois, now residing in the city of Chicago, who holds dual citizenship of the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America, Dr. Mark Adjetey, a resident of the State of Maryland, now residing in the city of Baltimore, who holds dual citizenship of the Republic of Ghana and the United States of America, Jonathan Adjetey, a citizen of the Republic of Ghana, now residing in the city of Accra, Ghana, Anthony L. Weaver, a citizen of the State of Missouri, now residing in St Louis County, Missouri, and Atty. Elbert A. Walton, Jr., a citizen of the State of Missouri, now residing in the county of St. Louis, Missouri.
The following is part of the unedited version of the writ, which catalogues the background to the suit.
7. Dr. Adjetey was born in Ghana and spent his childhood up through completion of his secondary education in Ghana.
8. Dr. Adjetey and the Mayor were school mates, and became friends while attending school together.
9. Both Dr. Adjetey and Mayor Vanderpuije received their college or university education in the USA, remained in the USA upon completion of their education in the USA, became citizens of the USA, and remained in contact and friends over the years.
10. Therefore, upon the Mayor’s visit to Chicago, he telephoned Dr. Adjetey, and they visited with each other while the Mayor was in Chicago.
11. The Mayor advised Dr. Adjetey of various business opportunities in Accra, and invited Dr. Adjetey to come to Accra to explore potential infrastructure development projects that might be awarded to a development company with whom Dr. Adjetey might be affiliated.
12. Dr. Adjetey contacted Elbert Walton, an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri, whom he had met when they both worked for the same client, and inquired as to any interest Atty. Walton might have in forming a partnership with Dr. Adjetey, and establishing an infrastructure development company that could do business in Ghana.
13. Atty. Walton expressed an interest, and solicited Anthony Weaver, whom Dr. Adjetey had also met while in St. Louis, to be a partner in the business venture.
14. Dr. Adjetey recruited his two brothers, Dr. Mark Adjetey, D.Pharm, who like Gideon Adjetey had come to the US to receive his university education, and remained therein and became a US citizen, and Jonathan Adjetey, a Ghanaian business man, who, unlike his brothers, did not move to the US, but remained in Accra, Ghana.
15. Walton, Weaver and the Adjetey brothers formed TJGEM, LLC, as an international infrastructure development company.
16. TJGEM was organised to advance a “Marshal Plan” type Initiative, Business Plan and Model for infrastructure redevelopment in Sub-Saharan African countries by African American business persons, in partnership with Sub-Saharan Africans, and pursuant thereto, TGJEM developed a valuable proprietary work product, business plan and operational model for the financing and redevelopment, reconstruction and improvement of the infrastructure of underdeveloped Sub-
Saharian African nations, and the general overall development, improvement, and economic growth of African countries, while concurrently improving the business and employment opportunities of US citizens, and particularly, African-Americans, through exporting US manufactured products, goods and supplies, and employment of US personnel on said projects.
17. In order to meet its purpose and objectives, TJGEM’s representatives met with various architectural, engineering, construction, and project and construction management companies to explore their interest and qualifications toward forming, either a joint venture, or serving as subcontractors on infrastructure development projects in Ghana.
18. In January, 2011, at the invitation of Mayor Vanderpuije, Walton, as General Counsel, and Gideon Adjetey, as Ghana Projects General Manager, and as representatives of TJGEM, LLC, at great expense of time and funds, then flew from the United States of America to Accra, Ghana, to meet with Mayor Vanderpuije to explore and discuss potential infrastructure redevelopment projects, on which TJGEM might be employed by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly, as a development company.
19. The TJGEM representatives intended to also talk with various other governmental officials of Ghana, during said visit, in order to explore and determine their needs and interest in infrastructure development, or redevelopment projects.
20. The first public official to be visited by the TJGEM team was Mayor Vanderpuije.
Upon arrival in Accra, Dr. Adjetey contacted a Ghanaian friend of his, Chandiram Vasnani, who is a professional engineer and a resident of Accra, to discuss potential infrastructure projects that TJGEM should seek to develop for the Republic of Ghana and the city of Accra, as well as to identify various public officials that had authority to contract with individuals or entities for such infrastructure projects.
22. Ghana has two annual seasons, dry and rainy. During the rainy season, the country is subject to flooding as a result of major rain storms, which flooding often results in loss of lives and destruction of property.
23. Vasnani met with Dr. Adjetey and Atty. Walton, and advised them that the city of Accra suffered heavy losses of lives and property during the rainy season from flooding, during rain storms, due to the inability of the sewer system to effectively and efficiently drain away the storm water. He, thus, expressed a need for reconstruction of the sewer system in Accra, in order to alleviate the flooding problem.
24. Vasnani then accompanied the TJGEM team to meet with the Mayor of Accra, Alfred Vanderpuije, in his office at the City Hall, to explore potential infrastructure projects that TJGEM might develop, through contract with the city of Accra.
25. During the meeting with the Mayor, Vasnani repeated his opinion of the need for reconstruction of the sewer system in Accra to prevent flooding and the heavy loss of lives and property.
26. The Mayor enthusiastically agreed with Vasnani that there was a dire need to reconstruct the sewer system, and emphatically solicited TJGEM’s representatives to prepare a proposal for reconstruction of the sewer system, to alleviate the flooding problem.
27. The Mayor represented to TJGEM that he had executive authority to solicit such a proposal, and that the Accra Metropolitan Assembly had the power to enter into a contract with TJGEM, LLC to reconstruct the sewer system of Accra.
28. He, furthermore, represented that as the Metropolitan Chief Executive, he had the loyal and strong support of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA) to enter into a contract with TJGEM to reconstruct the sewer system.
29. The Mayor then requested that TJGEM schedule a date in which they could return from the USA to Accra with an U.S. engineer to survey the sewer system and flood plains and to present a formal contract between the AMA and TJGEM that could be adopted by the Accra Metropolitan Assembly.
30. The Mayor also represented that he had a relationship with a U.S. bank, which was going to finance the construction of a mass transit system in Accra, and that he could secure funding from said bank’s officials to finance the sewer project as well.
31. In order to give credence to his representations, and as an inducement for TJGEM to pursue the sewer project, the Mayor showed the TJGEM team a proposal for the construction of said mass transit system, along with information on the bank that he alleged would finance the transit system project.
32. TJGEM’s representatives advised the Mayor that they would return with the engineer, and furthermore, advised the Mayor of their intention to meet with other Ghanaian public officials to explore other potential infrastructure projects.
33. The Mayor responded that there was heavy competition among the various governmental officials of Ghana for public funding of projects, and that he would like to avoid any competition from any other projects, he, thus, urged and induced TJGEM to focus solely on the sewer project, and to make no effort to meet any additional public officials in Ghana, or explore any additional infrastructure projects with any other Ghanaian public officials, by representing to, and assuring
TJGEM’s representatives that the AMA would enter into a contract with TJGEM for the sewer project.
34. The Mayor represented to TJGEM’s principals that there would be no competitive bidding on the sewer project, that he had the ultimate authority to select the developer on the project, and that TJGEM would be the exclusive and only company invited to present a sewer project proposal, and that TJGEM would be awarded a contract by the AMA, once an engineering study had been completed, and the Mayor and TJGEM reached an agreement on the contractual terms.
35. As a result of the inducement, assurances, and representations provided by the Mayor of Accra that the AMA was going to enter into a contract with TJGEM on the sewer project, and with an expectation that the Mayor was negotiating and dealing with TJGEM in good faith and fairly, TJGEM’s representatives were induced by the Mayor’s representations to forego meeting with any other public officials in Ghana, and to explore additional developmental and economic opportunities, or additional infrastructure development economic opportunities that may have been available to them through the Republic of Ghana and its political subdivisions.
36. TJGEM’s representatives then returned to the USA.
37. Pursuant to the representations of the Mayor that a contract to redevelop the sewer system in Accra would be awarded to TJGEM, TJGEM and its principles did thereafter, invest valuable professional time and funds to generate a work product, business plan, and operational model, as to said sewer project that may be presented to the Mayor.
38. TJGEM representatives, with a great expenditure of time and money, met with various financiers, consultants, architects, engineers, general contractors and construction management companies to discuss the sewer project, and determine both their interest in such a project, as well as their qualifications and ability to provide professional services for such a project.
39. The sewer system in the St. Louis, Missouri, USA, Metropolitan area, is administered by an entity entitled, the Metropolitan Sewer District of St. Louis.
40. Thus, TJGEM’s personnel also met with, and visited Sewer District personnel and reviewed sewer district documents, in order to gather comparable information, as to a modern sewer system, that might be employed to prepare a proposal for reconstruction of the sewer system in Accra, including a basis of determining the cost thereof, as well as the means to finance the construction, operation, and maintenance of a sewer system.
To be Continued