ACC investigation into Sierra Leone government $12 million buses from China

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 8 July 2015

Koroma commissions 100 buses

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calls for an investigation by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) into the violation of the country’s procurement laws by the minister of transport for the purchasing of 100 buses from China are growing, with increasing allegation of corruption and contract kickbacks.

This blatant violation of the public procurement regulations comes just months after the publication of the Auditor General’s report into the missing $14 million Ebola funds, which showed that contracts were arbitrarily awarded to contractors without due process, valued at millions of dollars.

The Ebola report also exposed massive fraud, abuse of office and misappropriation of public funds.

In response to accusations of corruption and impropriety, the Koroma government says that most of the $14 million had to be hurriedly spent, without keeping proper records and by-passing procurement laws because of the need to respond to the unfolding Ebola crisis.

Whilst this lame excuse is seen by many as woefully unconscionable and unacceptable, there are serious concerns now as to what the government’s excuse is this time, with regards the spending of $12 million on 100 buses, without going out to competitive tendering as required by Law.

Speaking yesterday about his role in facilitating the purchase and importation of the buses, the transport minister said: “This is what you do when you are committed to your job and to your government.”

Balogun Koroma3

Perhaps the minister ought to be reminded about the oath of office that he took. No minister – What you do when you are committed to your job and to your government, is to obey the law – not violate it with impunity. (Photo: Transport Minister – Balogun Koroma).

So, now that the $12 million buses have finally made their way to Freetown and commissioned by president Koroma, it is important that the government comes clean and answer the following questions:

Why was the procurement regulation not followed? Whose decision was it to set aside the procurement regulation? Was the president informed, when and by whom? Did president Koroma approve the decision not to go out to competitive tender?

The minister of transport must make public, by publishing all relevant documents pertaining to the awarding of the contract to the preferred supplier, in accordance with the Freedom of Information legislation.

Acc boss - Joseph kamara

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph are calling upon the Anti-Corruption Commissioner (Photo) to conduct an investigation into the procurement of the 100 buses; in particular to hold those responsible for violating the country’s procurement regulations accountable in court.

The ACC must bring criminal charges against those suspected of abuse of office, misappropriation of public funds relating to the purchasing of the 100 buses, including bribery and corruption.

Readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph are further calling upon the office of the Auditor General to conduct full and comprehensive audit into the purchasing of the 100 buses. In particular, to determine whether value for money was the primary factor for the government in deciding on the preferred supply.

Also, Readers are calling upon the Auditor General to satisfy herself and the public that best value has been achieved by the tax payer, and that the decision to purchase and add an additional 100 buses to the already congested traffic is the best solution to solving the capital’s chronic traffic congestion and transportation problems.

100 buses arrive1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Auditor General needs to be satisfied that the government could not have made concerted effort and take appropriate spatial measures to eradicate congestion in the capital.

(Photo: Are these the same buses the public were told to expect? See photo below).

Readers of the Sierra Leone Telegraph are also expecting the Auditor General to satisfy herself and the public, that the decision by the government to spend $12 million on 100 buses, is a prudent economic policy, rather than creating the necessary economic conditions and enablers for private sector operators to invest in new buses.

100 buses missing

Clearly, the commissioning of the 100 buses was a politically divisive affair, suggesting that the government is more interested in boosting the electoral capital of the ruling APC party, rather than  addressing the genuine needs of the country.

buses2

According to local media: “Some of the buses are painted in the national colours of green, white and blue, but many people have criticised the painting of some of the buses in red. There was jubilation among many government officers and onlookers, with the singing of the APC party song when the buses were offloaded.”

This cannot be good for the promotion of peace and political stability in Sierra Leone. Is Sierra Leone going communist?

4 Comments

  1. Indeed President Koroma is making marks in the history of Sierra Leone. Mr minister, I hope all procurement principles are in agreement with the purchasing of those hundred buses.Thanks for taken us to another Exodus on transportation.

  2. We the poor citizens of Salone are calling on the ACC to investigate this 12million dollar scandal now.
    justice delayed is certainly justice denied. Those in power cannot continue to treat us like children in this country.
    The auditor general must also conduct her own investigation. Please act now.

  3. It is sad to see out great party gone from bad to worse. Siaka Stevens was a thief and a dictator, but his soul must be turning in his grave, when he sees what is going on in Sierra Leone today.

    The ACC must step in and carry out this thorough investigation into the spending of $12 million.

    We dont want any white wash of the investigation.

    The commissioner must investigate without fear or favour and show that he is a man of credibility and honour.

    How will the other leaders who will be seating with president koroma at the UN conference on Friday perceive Sierra Leone, with such blatant corruption and impunity?

  4. The ACC should be pressured to act now and conduct this investigation. Enough of the rhetoric on fighting corruption.

    The ACC should raise their game and go after the big players when such procurement breaches are strongly suspected. Sierra Leoneans deserve to know whether the US$12 million spent was value for money. And if procurement laws were broken, then action should be taken.

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