Ebola contracts awarded to APC affiliates
July 12, 2018
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
The report released by the Government Transition Team (GTT) has revealed that all major Ebola-related contracts were awarded to small businessmen with close personal ties to top officials of the former All People’s Congress (APC) administration.
According to the report, which was made public last week, contracts were awarded on a pro-forma basis, and that contractors were given huge advances that were way beyond the legal limit.
“In fact, all the major contracts – for ambulances, medication, building of treatment centres, and vehicles and funeral hearses – were awarded to little known companies in a non-transparent and non-competitive manner; and standard processes for the award of state contracts, including those designed for emergency situations, were ignored,” the report stated.
The GTT report indicated that a major contract was awarded to Premier Logistics and Supplies Limited to procure 10 Hard Top DM-SRS ambulances, 20 Hard Top Standard Basic ambulances and 20 Hard Top customised utility/hearse vehicles amounted to Le12, 700,885,120, but claimed that the contract was improperly entered into, and the goods were overpriced.
During the first phase of the Ebola outbreak – from late May 2014 to the end of October 2014 – the report said the APC government relied mostly on locally generated resources – both state allocations and donations by individuals and businesses in Sierra Leone and that government expenditure towards the outbreak amounted to Le.84 billion (US$19 million) during the period. The Audit Service report found that 30% of the funds could not be accounted for.
The Bio-led administration was urged to launch an investigation into the matter with a view to prosecuting and punishing those who mismanaged the Ebola funds.
“The GTT further recommends that all proceeds from the successful prosecution relating to the Ebola Funds and contracts should be used to compensate Ebola victims and survivors.”
Also, in December 2017, Centre for Accountability and the Rule of Law (CARL) and survivors of the Ebola outbreak sued the government of Sierra Leone in the ECOWAS Court alleging that the former government mismanaged the response effort, leading to many unnecessary infections and death.
The Transition Team report urged President Bio’s administration to settle the aforementioned embarrassing case out of court with the plaintiffs.
The Government Transition Team was established on April 6 with Professor David Francis as its head to assess the conduct of the former APC administration in running the affairs of the state.
However, there have been criticisms from former ministers in the past government and some sections of the public since the report came out with regards issues raised therein. Some claimed that some of the findings are not factual, while others have urged the government to prosecute the alleged looters.