Victor Mengot: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 05 February 2024:
The price one pays for patriotism – my role in public transport transformation in Sierra Leone.
For those who don’t know me, I am Victor Ako Mengot a qualified Urban Planner and Chartered Transportation and Highway Engineer.
It will be amiss if I do not state my position and role in issues relating to the introduction of the Waka Fine buses in Freetown. This is because there has been a lot of falsehood; misinformation and disinformation some of which have even resulted in personal attacks and character assassination.
I was initially contracted by a UK-based consultancy company (www.itpworld.net) who was selected through international competitive tender jointly by the World Bank and the Government of Sierra Leone to provide technical support and capacity building for state and non-state actors in the public transport sector.
I was not an employee of the Government. I was the Institutional Development Adviser from September 2020 up to a period of two years.
Having performed my duty with diligence and professionalism. Instead of walking away at the end of my contract, I decided to serve our country without any financial reward by organising the stakeholders in the public transport sector to form a company that will manage and operate the new Waka Fine buses.
The main players involved in the Waka Fine Buses Company are as follows:
- Passenger Welfare Association
- Poda Poda & Bus Owners Association
- Motor Drivers and General Workers Union
- Sierra Leone Commercial Tricycle Union
The result was the establishment of a company that is registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission in Sierra Leone called Metro Transport Company SL Ltd. In recognition of my contribution, the shareholders agreed unanimously to appoint me as Board Chairman.
This arrangement has the approval of the World Bank who funded the project by providing a $50 million grant for infrastructure development and rehabilitation; procurement of the 50 Waka Fine buses; and technical and capacity building support for the Ministry of Transport and its Departmental Agencies; the Freetown City Council and the Sierra Leone Police.
In conclusion, let me clearly state that I do not operate any transport in Sierra Leone; I am not paid by Metro Transport Company Ltd; and I have no financial reward in the whole project.
Events in the past couple of weeks have led me to rethink my position and involvement in the transformation of public transport in Sierra Leone, especially the management and operation of the Waka Fine buses. If any other Sierra Leonean at home or abroad can do a better job, they are most welcome to do so.
You can read more on the background to the Sierra Leone Integrated Resilient Urban Mobility Project here: