July 22, 2015 By Patrick Jaiah Kamara
Chairman and leader of the Alliance Democratic Party (ADP), Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray, has told newsmen that a whopping sum of US$6.5 million was allegedly missing in the procurement of the 100 buses that are now the subject of serious debates among the Sierra Leonean populace, especially for the quantum of money said to have been expended to procure the vehicles and other items.
While addressing a presser at his party’s headquarters in Freetown on Monday 20th July, Mansaray claimed that he has authentic documents to prove that the Minister of Transport and Aviation “has defrauded the people of Sierra Leone” of the said amount “by inflating the cost of the buses”, which he said were purchased through a loan from an arms and ammunition company called Poly Technology Inc. in China.
The ADP leader challenged the unit cost of the buses and the other items quoted in the procurement package by the Minister of Transport, insisting that the cost of the 50 city buses, 30 provincial buses, 20 tourist coaches or coasters, 2 mobile recovery vehicles, and 3 operational vehicles were all grossly blown up.
Giving a breakdown of the categories of prices for the buses and others items, Mansaray claimed that the fifty 28-seater buses cost US$33,140 each, but that the unit cost was inflated to US$74,815, while each of the thirty 44-seater buses cost US$71,120 but was inflated to US$137,950.
He further claimed that the twenty 31-seater tourist coaches cost US$52,400 each but the unit cost was hiked to US$104,000, while the two mobile recovery vehicles cost US$87,400 but the cost was inflated to US$251,460, adding that the three operational vehicles cost US$32,400 each, but the price was inflated to US$61,200.
According to Mansaray, the proposed total cost for the 100 buses should have been US$4.6 million rather than the alleged inflated government cost of US$10.6 million, which he said is still less than the US$12.2 million earlier announced by the Minister of Transport and Aviation.
“The procurement bidding process was completely flouted by the government despite using the sole sourcing method. My party is therefore calling on the Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate this matter with urgency,” he urged.
The burgeoning politician also frown at development that 50 of the buses were insured by RITCORP, an insurance company said to be owned by the President, thus depriving the state-owned National Insurance Company (NIC) from benefiting from such a service.
However, Transport Minister Leonard Balogun Koroma had earlier maintained in a radio interview in Freetown that the deal was clean and that the entire package for the purchase of the buses and other facilities cost US$12 million.