Sierra Leone Telegraph: 15 February 2019:
The government of Sierra Leone has been losing millions of dollars in revenue every year from the country’s sea port at Water Quay in Freetown, because of corrupt government officials and crooked company executives.
This too has robbed thousands of well-meaning citizens that are shipping goods to the country for business, personal and charitable causes, who are faced with exorbitant costs of clearing their goods, and debilitating and unnecessary delays at the Water Quay sea port.
But today president Julius Maada Bio has decided that enough is enough – corruption and poor management at the Water Quay must end.
He has terminated the government’s contract with Transport and Ports Management System (TPMS) West Africa Ltd. and Global Transport and Maritime Solutions (GTMS) with immediate effect.
An investigation conducted into the running of the sea port a few months ago found that the company responsible for tracking goods at the sea port has colluded with ministers and officials to defraud the state. The content of the Government Transition Team Report makes for worrying reading.
Transport and Ports Management System (TPMS) West Africa entered into an agreement with the government in November of 2014 to track and monitor all cargoes brought into and leaving the port of Sierra Leone.
According to the Government Transition Team Report, “The company was contracted to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority in its non-core activities.”
“The company levies import and export fees on every cargo, with a schedule of payments set into the contract. The company was to keep 60% of this and Government was to be given 40%.”
“TPMS should have deposited into Government’s Consolidated Fund $10,990,216 USD and in 2018 the amount would have been $4,036,068 USD.” The company was to pay penalty charges of 12% on payments to the Government.
The GTT report found that “Since the signing of the agreement in 2014, official records show that TPMS has paid only $1 million USD.”
“The records also indicate that in 2016, the APC Government, without explanation, had this profit-sharing arrangement based on percentage of profit revoked, and pegged Government’s receipts from the ports at $331,000 USD – a massive potential loss of $10 million USD in just two years to the time that the current Government took office.”
“Since the contract was signed, TMPS has not honoured its responsibility under the contract to provide Global Tracking & Maritime Reports to GoSL and NRA, amidst reports of under-invoicing of shipping items or goods, resulting in significant loss of revenue by Government”.
“The GTT understands that this corrupt arrangement was made to profit Sahr William , a major APC donor and Director of the company, at the expense of the GoSL.”
“Mr. Ngegba is also behind a project to expand the seaport at the extortionate cost of almost $700 million USD.”
“Mr. Sahr Ngegba be investigated and made to account for the US $10 million that the GoSL lost after this fraudulent arrangement was confected,” the GTT report recommended.
Yesterday president Bio acted swiftly to implement this recommendation so as to bring sanity and order at the Water Quay sea port in Freetown that has become infested with corruption, bribery and fraud at the expense of the state, the people of Sierra Leone and the economy.
This is president Bio’s Executive Order made yesterday to end the madness: