Corruption at Ministry of Works

Following the Audit Service Sierra Leone (ASSL) 2014 Report which uncovered massive discrepancies at all the various MDAs, it was discovered that at the Works Ministry, procurement procedures were not used for procuring works, goods and services.

However, it was observed that the Ministry did not follow procurement procedures in awarding contracts for consultancy services for the design, tender and full supervision of construction works for a new ministerial building.

A contract for feasibility studies of eight trunk roads which totaled Le4,773,912,000 had no request and solicitation from the ministry or expressions of interest from bidders.

In addition, even though the procurement officer and the internal auditor recommended that the Ministry should liaise with SLRA for the award of contracts for the construction of trunk roads, the Ministry did   not follow their recommendations.

There  were  also  no  minutes  of  procurement  committee  meetings  and  approvals  by  the  committee.

Furthermore,  the  audit  team  observed  that  the  professional  wing  of  the  Ministry  had  done  a  similar design for the new Ministerial Building for which the contract had been awarded.

Procurement  of  works,  goods  and  services  totaling  Le14,168,845,828  were  not  done  according  to procurement procedures.

These procurement were done through restrictive bidding method instead of National  and  International  Competitive  Bidding  methods  (NCB  &  ICB)  as  required  by the  Public Procurement Act. The procurement activities were also not advertised.

It was therefore recommended that the PS should do the following; provide documentary evidence to justify  the  fact  that  recommendations  of  the  Procurement  Officer  and  the  Internal  Auditor  were  not adhered to;  provide explanations to justify why the Ministry failed to use the design of the professionals;and provide evidence to justify the fact that the contracts were done through restrictive bidding instead of NCB and ICB.

The PS said that the third and fourth issue was as a result of an urgent executive directive, for which the Ministry later sought a legal contract document, the concurrence of NPPA as well as approval for payment by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development.

He  noted  that  the  use of  the  restrictive  bidding  was  approved  by  the  procurement  committee  and  approval was sought  from  the  National  Public  Procurement  Authority  (NPPA)  to  carry  out  restrictive  bidding  procedures.

Minutes of the procurement committee and approval from NPPA would be submitted for verification.

According to the ICT Manager, AFCOM SL Ltd. was chosen based on quality and location.

He stated that after feasibility studies, it was discovered that AFCOM had a location, and that they had got similar experience with them. He noted that it was on that basis that (the ICT Unit) recommended AFCOM because of their signal strength.

He also noted that the total service package in terms of Customer care and Technical response is effective.

He added that brochure comprised of different packages which suits the Internet requirements of the Ministry of Works, Housing and Infrastructure head quarter.

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