Health Ministry hires construction company for catering services costing 2.3 billion Leones

Lawrence Williams: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 26 December 2020:

It is appalling as it is alarming to note that the National Corona Virus Emergency Response Centre (NaCOVERC) could hire a construction company to provide catering services for quarantined homes when there are catering services providers across Sierra Leone.

The 2019 Auditor General Report found that contracts for the provision of catering services valued at Le2.3 billion was awarded to a construction company named Swendeh Construction and General Services Company Limited.

The auditors say the Ministry of Health and Sanitation used the sole sourcing method to award six contracts totalling Le2.3 billion to Swendeh Construction Company.

What is even more baffling is that the Ministry of Health and Sanitation went ahead and chose this construction company to provide catering services, with the full knowledge that the company had no track record or experience in catering or supplying cooked food.

The auditors probe revealed that Swendeh Construction had no previous catering experience as a construction company, and furthermore lacked the financial capacity to execute the contracts because their tax liability for both 2019 and 2020 was a paltry Le9 million.

The report says the sole sourcing selection process for the six contracts was not transparent, and the contract failed to outline the specification of food items to be delivered to persons held in quarantine, so Swendeh Ltd. could have delivered anything.

The auditors observed severe internal control weaknesses in quarantine management. This ranged from the lack of transparency in procurement processes, poor contract details, lack of due diligence in the processing of payments to contractors and suppliers to poor coordination between various stakeholders.

The auditors say it is possible that all the goods and services paid for by NaCOVERC and the Ministry of Health were not completely delivered to the intended beneficiaries.

6 Comments

  1. Mr Fallay, I totally respect your arguments. My only wish, you or anyone of us in this forum, stop comparing our country with what is happening in Trump’s America. Our country’s economy is not fit for purpose. The covid19 pandemic and the uncertainty it creates, has just exacerbated the economic woes in our country. For the benefit of educating the general public, regarding how Bio’s government is managing our country, the pandemic and the impact of Bio’s economic policies, is having on families right across our country, is not a record to be proud of. The important thing is we stick with the facts.

    That is the only way we can drag our country from poverty and want. By comparing Sierra Leone whose economic output is less than 4 billion dollars, and an American economy worth over 20 trillion dollars, is not only misleading, but it doesn’t do any justice to the average struggling family, that can barely put food on the table. Yes the covid19 pandemic has killed a lot of Americans, and Europeans. What is less known, unknown is why Africa, with a population of almost a billion people have less than sixty thousands deaths. So far, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Guinea combined is less than four hundred deaths from this pandemic. Long may it stay in the lower figures.

    With a combined population of less than 20 million people, there is still no explanation why we have few deaths compared to Italy or France. Maybe a young African population, or because our continent is so used to deadly pandemic diseases like Ebola, TB, AIDs etc, etc, in certain ways, our continent was more prepared for this sort of pandemic than any other country around the world. In Africa, the only countries that are running away with higher death rates from covid19, is Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa and these are the three major economic powers in Africa.

  2. Sometimes when you read stories like this, you start to wonder if taxpayers monies that are spent on behalf of the public, is really going through all the protocols set up by government to prevent waste, duplication and fraud. Don’t be fooled by anyone, the laws are there, to prevent this sort of corruption, but in reality like everything in our country is not being followed through. The people responsible for guiding us through, for the betterment of our country, are themselves corrupt to their bone marrow.

    Otherwise, how do you explain this mess we call Sierra Leone? The management at the NACOVERC, had shown they lack the skill-set, or they are complicit in awarding contracts to front companies that have no experience in running a catering company. Now these front companies are becoming increasingly sophisticated in the way they carry out their fraudulent activities against the state. Surely, before they award these contracts, the catering company must have shown a certificate from the foods standard agency and that they are well equipped to supply clients what is asked of them. Most importantly, have the facilities or structures of a cartering company, not building materials. Or has the spoon replaced the shovel?

    Tbey must have been tested for public health and handling of foods and since we are in a tropical climate where is the foods stored? Since we are talking about a construction company, SWENDEH, it begs the question what has a construction company have in common with a catering company? Answer, only in a corrupt system like Sierra-leone. Why is Sierra Leone full of contradiction? More like anyone can turn up with a clipboard in our government’s ministries and claim to be running a company, and is guaranteed a government contract? Our country is full of false prophets, you really start to wonder when is all this unchecked corruption going to end?May God bless Sierra Leone.

  3. I personally hope and pray that the NACOVERC will continue to save lives and livelihoods during this difficult time around the world and not get distracted by this so-called corruption allegation. I have been proud about the steps taken by the New Direction government from day one during this unexpected pandemic, because Sierra Leone is probably the last country in the world to report any case due to the proactive measures that were implemented.

    Thanks to the Almighty while even some of the richest and medically developed nations are still struggling with how to handle the second wave of COVID-19, there are still conspiracy theorists that believe this dreadful disease is non existent in Sierra Leone. But the government is only reporting cases just to get money from the international community. Even while the government has been making tremendous efforts to feed and accommodate people under quarantine, which is even unheard of in the USA, where the citizens are still waiting for their president to sign just $600 check to alleviate the suffering of the citizens, Sierra Leoneans are talking about the name of a catering company that continues to feed the sick and quarantined people.

    For argument sake, the name of the company is Swendeh Construction and General Services Company Limited. There is a possibility that the General Services involves Catering, but I personally believe that all the sick and quarantined people need is just food to survive as compared to USA where you are on your own. I also believe that the citizens of the USA where almost 350,000 people have died from COVID-19, will be questioning our mentality if they happen to read this article based on the fact that only 75 people have died due to the wonderful and proactive job of the NACOVERC. I hope the ACC will investigate this matter speedily so that the NACOVERC can continue to save lives and livelihoods without any distraction.

  4. “their loyal tribesmen”- these three words killed your cogent argument. The paopa stealing involves every tribe and region. There are limbas, temmenes, kissys, mendes, Konos, susus etc thieves and looters in paopa and they’re all the same. So projecting this thieving as a tribal thing is simply daft.

    • Hey man! On this glorious forum, remember to tread cautiously because you are always on thin ice. Now what I have stated here is an irrefutable fact that came from my paid reliable sources in Freetown. Now please allow me to clarify and reiterate once again for all those deserving of our empathy because they have been entrapped by the clouded, murky perspectives of their delusional minds – the brazen robbery being committed by the Criminal SLPP is strictly being committed by their “LOYAL THIEVING TRIBESMEN” (There you go – I have it written in all caps to make things much easier for you guys to understand).

      Now show me your proof that it isn’t so, and I will gladly show you mine. Time is of the essence; Grab your shovel and hoe and start digging deeper and deeper and bring me every piece of evidence your conjecturing hands can find… I’LL WAIT!(lol)

  5. Hahaha here we go again – An incompetent corrupt government with all their priorities jumbled together (lol). I have always maintained that these individuals do not know the plain and simple difference between their knees and their elbows – crooked, shady buffoons lacking in integrity, dignity and good conscience that’s who they are; who would have thought that these criminals would stoop so disgracefully low, to the point where their unchecked unprincipled impulses will be forcing them to award billions in catering contracts to a construction company? Goodness gracious! Since when did construction workers with shovels and hoes become caterers with baking pans and pots?

    This is corruption in its worst forms, plain and simple; soon they will be paying their loyal tribesmen who are lawyers and doctors countless trillions to do the jobs of experienced fisherman just for the purposes of milking the system dry.

    Gentlemen – From rooftops I blew loud trumpets, warning everyone that these people were corrupt to their innermost core, even as the evidence to support my claims just kept on gradually accumulating like grains of sand being transformed into massive dunes by the tenacious strength of a relentless desert storm – now you can all call me a prophet(lol)

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