MPs mediate between TPMS, NCP


January 24, 2019

By Jariatu S. Bangura

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Transport and Aviation have yesterday commenced a mediation processes between the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) and Transport Port Management Services (TPMS).

The mediation was triggered by a complaint forwarded by the Chief Executive Officer of TPMS to the committee, in which he claimed that NCP has terminated their contract.

According to NCP Chairman, Umaru Napoleon Koroma, when he took up office, he observed that there had been some breach of agreement in the contract between Government of Sierra Leone and other companies, of which TPMS was among.

“We did give notice of termination because we wanted room for negotiation as it was in the agreement that a notice must be served. But he has not complied with the agreement and a letter was written to him requesting him to provide performance bond, but he never did. We cannot go ahead with this contract,” he insisted.

The NCP boss noted that the said breach was a substantial reason for the contract   to have been terminated in 2015, 2016.

He pointed out among other issues that, the TPMS chief failed to do payment for a cargo to the Consolidated Revenue Found, despite several reminders from his predecessor.

 “The issue is now left with you. I will leave you with all the correspondences sent to him for payment so that you can peruse and judge,” he said.

He told the committee members that the agreement was signed in 2014 and that TPMS started breaching it immediately it was signed.

“He is only ready to pay after the issue has been taken to the Attorney General and now Parliament,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hon. Emerson Lamina noted that government cannot provide jobs for everyone, thus emphasising the importance of the private sector.

“I want to see a situation where the government wins and the investor also wins. We want to see all parties satisfy in our fight to promote local content policy. Am hoping that we call both parties and address the issue amicably,” he pleaded.

On his part, Chief Executive Officer of TPMS, Sahr Gbebah, admitted that some clauses in the agreement were not followed but that they were ready for negotiations with NCP and Port Authority.

He said the cargo tracking served as risk profiling of the port and other concessioners, adding that since they commenced operations, they realised that there should be a system.

He said in 2015, when they started operations in the country, they encountered some shortcomings of which performance bond payment should be agreed on, but that they did it late.

He said they later realised that they had paid far more than what was expected of them, as it was evident in the supplemental letter from NCP and the Port Authority.

He said since then, all the shipping companies have been paying below the agreed amount.

“I know I did owe the government, but $700,000 has been paid out of $1,527,000 based on the correspondence sent to us by the Anti-Corruption Commission. We have stopped payment because of the mode at which it is made.NRA has written to us on behalf of NCP for payment of $710,000 and the ACC as well is also asking us to pay similar amount. I’m confused,” he expressed.

Meanwhile, the Committee has promised to create room for negotiation between the parties as soon as possible.