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NEWS

ANTI CORRUPTION COMMISSION REPORT FOR THE DEPUTY COMMISSIONER ON INVESTIGATION OF ALIEU SESAY
Posted by on Jun 1, 2010, 02:06

Alieu Sesay.....Rope In By Anti Corruption Commssion Report
This report relates to various forms of alleged corrupt practices against Mr. Allieu Sesay, Commissioner General of the National Revenue Authority and others, and the allegations are two folds:

 

(1)That sometime in 2009 the National Revenue Authority (NRA) awarded contracts using DFID grants, for which process the prescribed procurement procedures and guidelines were breached by both bidders and the Commissioner General, Mr Allieu Sesay.

 

(2)That between September 2008 and December 2009 NRA awarded contracts for the supply of monthly drinks and cleaning materials to the Commissioner General’s wife, Mrs Fatmata Sesay, proprietress of Fatma Allie Enterprises situated at 29 Rawdon Street, Freetown. An indictment has been prepared in respect of both allegations.

 

DFID CONTRACTS

The Procurement Unit was supervised by the Deputy Director- Administration Mr. A.O. Kamara and that the Procurement Committee consisted of six persons with Mr. M.S. Bamba- Commissioner Customs and Excise as the Chairman.

 

Verbal instructions were given by the then Commissioner of the NRA Mr. Allieu Sesay to award contracts and the Commissioner determined to whom contracts were to be awarded. Similar instructions were also given with respect to the award of contracts concerning the DFID funds. He

would call the officer into his office and gave him the names of contractors vis-a-vis Cee Dee Investment, Tabod International and Taria Enterprises and instructed him to work with them. He said he was the Chief Executive and that he would award contracts to those he felt would

do the job.

 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed between NRA and DFID for the ASYCUDA Project. To this end the Commissioner-General appointed a Committee to oversee the Procurement process of this project. The membership included: Mr. Alfred Demby as Chairman,

 

The Director of Finance, Mr. Abdulai Conteh, The Deputy Director Administration, Mr. A. O Kamara, Mr. Gaiva Lavaly DFID Procurement Consultant (SALMARCON), Mr. Henry Vagg DFID Engineer, Mr. Gerald Ganda, Director IT NRA and himself.

 

It was suggested that because of the quantum of money involved and the time frame in the execution of

the project the Commissioner seeks a waiver from the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) for the use of a Restricted Bidding Process. This letter was written by the Commissioner-General and approval was given. The approval letter stated that for the restricted method of Procurement at least five suppliers should be shortlisted.

 

The same Procurement Committee and Evaluation Committee were responsible for overseeing these three contracts:-namely 1).The supply and installation of Split Unit Air Conditions to Customs House which

was awarded to Taria Enterprises; 2) the supply and installation of local area Network at Customs House which was awarded to CEE Dee Investment and; 3). The supply and installation of Local Area Network and Communication Mast for the Quay side facilities which was awarded to Tabod International.

 

Award of Contract to Taria Enterprises for the Supply and Installation of Slit Unit Air -Conditioners at the Custom House

 

With respect to the award of contract for the supply and installation of Split Unit Air conditioners at Customs House which was awarded to Taria Enterprises, a shortlist of five suppliers was given to the relevant officer by the Commissioner-General, Mr. Allieu Sesay in his office. The

names of suppliers included Taria Enterprises, S.V Electricals, M.P Traders, T. Choithrams and Yengae Investment.

 

The bid documents were prepared in consultation with the DFID Procurement Consultant Mr. Gaiva Lavaly. The Bid Opening process was organized in the presence of some bidders or their representatives. The following persons were present at the Bid Opening: himself, Miss

Josephine Gbondo SALMARCON Ltd, Mr. Henry Vagg DFID Engineer,Mr. Alfred Demby, the Chairman of Procurement Committee, Mr. Abel Jones NRA staff, Mr. John Conteh NRA staff, Miss Coleridge- Taylor- NRA

staff and others which he could not remember. An attendance register was prepared and signed by all present at the bid opening. At the bid opening, bids were opened and prices read out and recorded including any other document attached to the bid document.

 

Copies of all bid documents were given to the DFID Engineer, the Director IT, Mr. Gerald Ganda and the Architect Consultants of T S Company Mr. Thomas S

Koroma. The Architect Consultant prepared an Evaluation Report and sent same to Victor Jitta Labor for onward transmission to the Procurement Committee. This document was sent to the Procurement Committee for their comments. The Procurement Committee met on July

14, 2009 and minutes of that meeting have been submitted to the ACC.

 

The outcome of the Procurement Committee meeting with respect to the supply and installation of split unit air conditioner was as follows: (1) to re-run the whole process (2) to negotiate with the contractor GEKAL and

MABITEX for the installation of the Split Unit Air Conditioners. The preferred supplier should send his specifications of AC for the approval of the Architect Consultant. The preferred supplier should confirm the

availability of stock for Air Conditioners. These recommendations were to be sent to the NRA management for their final decision and a way forward.

Minutes were submitted to the Commissioner General (CG).

 

To this end the Commissioner informed that he would not negotiate with the proprietor of GEKAL Construction as prices quoted were grossly under quoted and this was discussed in a meeting with the Architect Consultant. The other option to re-run the entire process was also not

selected because the process should have taken a while and the installation of the Air Condition was needed immediately. A letter was then written by Victor Jitta Labor to TARIA Enterprises on the instruction of the Commissioner to confirm specifications and availability

of stock. Taria’s reply was sent to the Architect Consultant for approval.

 

The Architect Consultant replied and approved the specifications as submitted by Taria Enterprises. This reply was sent to the Commissioner-General.

 

Upon receipt of the letter from the Architect Consultant, the CG asked him to prepare a contract for his signature. Management’s decision was not communicated to the procurement Committee for final approval.

After the contract document had been prepared, it was submitted same to the Director Legal and Policy Affairs who in turn submitted the draft contract to the CG. The final contract was then signed between the NRA

represented by Mr. Allieu Sesay and Taria Enterprises represented by one of its officials.

 

With regards the issue of change of brand, the contractor wrote a note to the CG informing him that he had ran out of stock of the Kelvinator

Brand as specified in the contract document and offered instead the Midea Brand. The CG then summoned the contractor of Taria Enterprises Mr. Gabisi to a meeting in his office. During the meeting, the contract again stated his constrains in getting the Kelvinator Brand and

to offer the Midea brand instead. The CG informed the contractor that he would personally visit the site to test the suitability of the Midea Brand.

 

Victor will inform the court that the CG went to the site with a technician and thereafter, approval was given for the Midea Brand to be installed.

 

Award of Contract to CEE DEE Investment for the Supply and Installation of ICT Equip ment at Customs House Cline Town

 

The then CG selected the five companies to participate in the bidding

process. Bidding documents were then prepared by him and sent to the

said suppliers. The bid documents were returned and bids were

eventually opened by the Bid Opening Committee. Copies of the bid

documents as submitted were sent to the DFID Engineer Mr. Vagg and

the Architect Consultant Mr. Thomas Koroma.

An Evaluation Committee met to evaluate the bids and the report was

submitted to the Procurement Committee. The Procurement Committee

met on the 14th July 2009 and requested additional information prior to

the approval of the contract. Among the information required were; the

profile of CEE DEE Investment; the IT Director to check and confirm if all

items as required were quoted; the approval budget for that contract;

submission of a revised specification and price list. These issues were to

be forwarded to the CG for his final decision and a way forward.

The DFID Procurement Consultant requested a negotiation meeting with

CEE DEE Investment. This meeting was cancelled by the CG. The CG

further requested that the contract document be prepared by him for his

signature which he did accordingly. The contract was subsequently

awarded to CEE DEE Investment Company.

The correct procedure should have been as follows: firstly, the short

listing should have been done by the Procurement Committee which was

instead done by the CG. This then prevented the Committee from

assessing the ability of the suppliers to do the job. Secondly after the

meeting of July 14th, all action points raised should have been adhered to

especially the negotiation meeting. If these actions were carried out then

their reports should have been sent back to the Procurement Committee

for a final decision.

 

Award of Contract to Tabod International for the Supply and Installation of Local Area Network and Communication Mast for the Quay Side Facilities

 

Five companies were given to the Procurement Committee by the then

CG. The CG insisted that Tabod was his preferred supplier for this

contract. Bids were prepared and issued to the five suppliers as

requested by the CG. The bids were opened by the Bid Opening

Committee in the presence of the bidders and or their representatives,

the DFID Engineer and Procurement Consultant. The bids were

submitted to the DFID Engineer and the Architect Consultant. An

Evaluation was sent to the Procurement Committee and in the meeting of

July 14, 2009 the Procurement Committee requested additional

information from Tabod prior to the approval of this contract. The

information requested for by the Procurement Committee included: The

profile and details of the Mast installation.

As a matter of Procurement procedure, all information requested from

Tabod should have been sent to the Procurement Committee for their

final approval.

The Director of the Modernization Programme and Acting Commissioner

of the Non Tax Revenue Department at the National Revenue Authority

(NRA) was aware of the following DFID contracts with respect to NRA, to

wit: Contract for the Supply and Installation of Air Conditioners;

Contracts for the Renovation of Customs Building; Contract for the

Renovation of Quay Site facility; Contract for Installation of IT Equipment

and Installation of Mast and Contract for the supply and installation of

IT equipment.

Through a signed MOU to support NRA to carry out renovation and

installation works at the Customs compound in Cline Town and at the

Quay, DFID agreed to provide a fixed amount for financing five (5)

contracts already identified and costed for the speedy implementation of

the ASYCUDA project. The DFID grant to the NRA under this MOU was a

direct grant to the NRA under the CG, Mr. Allieu Sesay.

The CG asked him as Director of Modernization Programme to Chair a

Special Procurement Committee comprising the Director of Finance-

Abdulai Conteh, the Senior Procurement Officer – Mr. Victor Labor, the

Director I T -Gerald Ganda, two DFID nominees mentioned in the MOU,

-Mr. Gaiva Lavalie Procurement adviser SALMARCON and Mr. Henry

Vagg DFID Field Engineer. Another member of this Committee was Mr.

Thomas Koroma the architect for grant under the MOU.

With regards to the role of the Extended Procurement Committee (EPC),

consultation and discussion demanded a working procedure based on

the MOU with DFID. The procedures were as follows:

(a) Bidding process which includes: Short listing of clients for contracts

was done by the NRA Procurement Unit and a list of clients

submitted to the Committee for discussion and recommendation

particularly by the DFID representatives on the Committee

mentioned in the MOU.

(b) Bid Opening is organized by the NRA Procurement Unit and

members of the EPC are invited to attend including the two DFID

representatives Henry Vagg and Gava Lavali.

Bid Evaluation/successful bids from the opening are evaluated by the

NRA Procurement Unit and their recommendations tabled at the EPC

Meetings for discussion and endorsement by the DFID representative on

the Committee. Conclusion and or recommendations of this EPC are

sent to the NRA procurement Unit for action. The NRA procurement unit

prepares the tender documents and ensures that the issues raised are

addressed and final contract document submitted to the EPC for

endorsement by the DFID representatives. They would sign or certify the

contract documents which are then taken by the procurement unit to the

CG for the signing of the contract documents. All payments for contract

from the DFID grant must be certified by the DFID Field Engineer Henry

Vagg, for ongoing contract evaluation of work done is initiated by the

project Architect Mr. Thomas Koroma and certified by Henry Vagg.

These valuation payments are convey to DFID through the Modernization

Programme Office and payment by DFID and made directly to an NRA

designated Bank Account. Payments are made from the NRA designated

Account by cheques signed by the CG and the Director of Finance.

 

The contract for supply and installation of Air Conditioners, the issues there were:

 

The bid value submitted for the contract was above the amount provided

on the DFID grant for this contract, therefore the Committee requested

the Director of Finance to verify that there were sufficient fund in the

grant to pay for the bid value. Another issue raised was that the

preferred bidder provides evidence that they had the Air Conditioner in

stock locally.

 

The contract for the supply and installation of Local Area Network and the Mast, the issues there were:

The EPC requested that the NRA Director Information Technology (IT)

review the contract documents to ensure that the contract covers the

scope of works required. This Committee also requested the profile of the

companies because none of them was a known entity for this kind of

work. The Committee also requested that some bidders resubmit their

contract documents in Leones since some had submitted foreign

currency.

 

The contract for the Supply and Installation of IT Equipment at

Customs House

The issues there were similar to the issues highlighted in (2) and

clarification/further action sought. The EPC advised that these issues

be resolved before the contracts documents are prepared and finalized.

According to the procedures highlighted above these issues in respect of

the three contracts was, to be resolved by the NRA Procurement Unit and

later reported to the EPC with drafts contracts document for

endorsement by the DFID representatives on the EPC. However this did

not happen in the case of the three contracts. After the recommendations

for action made at the meeting of 14/7/09 there was no contract from

the Procurement Unit of the NRA about the three contracts in spite of

their repeated request for action.

The Director was not a Member of the NRA Procurement Committee and

he did not attend a meeting of that Committee on the 14th July 2009,

which was referred to earlier.

In all the contracts, the supposed bidders all denied being part of any bid

process or of sending representations. It is worth noting that both Tabod

International and Cee Dee Enterprises are owned by Samuel Cole as his

First Fidelity which put in bids as well.

 

Conclusion:

The investigation established that the Commissioner General of NRA, Mr. Allieu Sesay breached procurement procedures in the award of contracts to Cee-Dee Investments; Tabod International, and Taria Enterprises:

 

That he awarded these contracts without the approval of the Extended Procurement Committee,

 

That he unilaterally permitted Taria Enterprises to install a brand of Air Conditioners that was not specified in the contract.

 

That as a result of Mr. Allieu Sesay’s overbearing influence in the award of these contracts, fictitious enterprises were short listed and fake bids submitted, which inevitably tilted the process in favour of his preferred bidders who eventually won the respective contracts.

 

The investigation further established that Mr. Samuel Cole and Mr. Franklin Pratt engaged in collusive bidding practices. Mr Samuel Cole is the Chief Executive officer of Cee-Dee Investments and has shares in Tabod International and First Fidelity Company. That First Fidelity

placed bid for the same contracts as Tabod and Cee-Dee Investments.

 

That Franklin Pratt is the Corporate Secretary for both First Fidelity and Cee-Dee Investment. The action of Mr. Samuel Cole and Mr. Franklyn Pratt influenced the bidding process in their favour.

 

CONTRACTS TO FATMA ALLIE ENTERPRISES

On 18th September 2008 the NRA received a letter dated 17th September 2008 signed by Mrs Fatmata Sesay in which she introduced her business enterprises to the NRA imploring them to consider her enterprises for

business transactions. On 20th September 2009, Mr. Allieu Sesay minuted the said letter to Mr. Abdulai Charm, Ag. Director of Administration Human Resources and Management stating that Fatma Allie Enterprises should be included into NRA supplier data base.

 

On 22nd September 2009 Mr. Abdulai Charm minuted the said letter to the Ag. Senior Procurement Officer, Mr. Victor Labor instructing him to ‘deal with it’. Mr. Victor Labor mentioned in his statement that Mr. Allieu

Sesay called him into his office and told him that Fatma Allie Enterprises was owned by his wife and he should ensure that all contracts for supply of drinks and cleaning materials were awarded to her business.

 

That in September 2009 the ACC required Mr. Allieu Sesay to provide information on dealings between NRA and Mrs Fatmata Ojubara Sesay or any business in which she has any interests. Mr. Sesay informed the

ACC that NRA had never transacted business with Mrs Fatmata Ojubara Sesay. His response on this matter is misleading. Mr. Sesay knew his wife, Mrs Fatmata Sesay is also called Mrs Fatmata Ojubara Sesay and she is the proprietress of Fatma Allie enterprises, with which NRA had been dealing and he failed to declare as such.

 

That in December 2009, the ACC further wrote Mr. Allieu Sesay requiring him to provide information about transactions between NRA and Fatma Allie Enterprises. And Mr. Abdulai Charm confirmed to the ACC that

NRA had been transacting business with Fatma Allie Enterprises, a business in which Mrs Fatmata Ojubara Sesay has interest in.

 

That available procurement documents show that NRA purchased drinks and cleaning materials from Fatma Allie Enterprises with total value Le64,775,175/00.

That Mr. Allieu Sesay claimed he declared his interest in Fatmata Allie Enterprise to the Procurement Unit through Mr. Abdulai Charm. But there is no evidence that it was done in writing.

 

Conclusion:

The conduct of Mr. Allieu Sesay in the transactions between the NRA and his wife business enterprises was found to be improper. And it borders on the following:

Mr. Allieu Sesay misled the ACC by failing to state that NRA had been transacting business with Mrs. Fatmata Ojubara Sesay.

 

That Mr. Allieu Sesay failed to disclose to the NRA in writing his interest in Fatma Allie Enterprises.

That Mr. Allieu Sesay as Commissioner General of NRA abused his office in having contracts for supply of drinks and cleaning materials awarded to Fatma Allie Enterprises.

The investigation having been concluded, a ten count indictment had been prepared. This now awaits the signature of the relevant officer.

 

Submitted by the

Department of Intelligence, Investigation and Prosecutions,

Anti Corruption Commission

10th May 2010.     






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