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Procurement irregularities

- PAC raps Health Ministry

April 28, 2015 By Jariatu S. Bangura

  ACTION … Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah

ACTION … Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Abu Bakarr Fofanah

As the Public Accounts Committee ( PAC) in Parliament continues to look into the 2013 Auditor-General’s report, officials from the Ministry of Health and Sanitation have been found wanting for being in breach of procurement rules.

Officials at the ministry, according to the parliamentary committee, had paid Fife International 71 percent fee even though they were yet to supply all the materials as per the contract, in gross violation of the Procurement Act of 2004.

According to the contract document, Fife International was awarded contract of Le2,320,000,000, (two billion, three hundred and twenty million Leones) to supply 77,600 yards of white uniform materials to the ministry. However, the company is yet to supply 21,877 yards valued at Le437,540,000.

The special condition of the contract states that an advance payment of 30 percent should be made available after signing the contract and the remaining 70 percent on acceptance of delivery, with the contract signed in November 2011 and the delivery period slated for 16 weeks from the date of signing the contract.

However, audit team noted with great concern that the terms of the contract were not followed as the contractor had already been paid Le1,644,100,000, representing 71 percent of the contract price, 41 percent in excess of what should have been paid before complete delivery of the items.

But Senior Procurement Officer in the ministry, Ibrahim Swaray, told the hearing he was not aware of the audit and that some of the documents were available in his office for auditing.

Members of the committee expressed dissatisfaction over the way and manner in which the ministry was going about with procurement, in blatant violation of the Procurement Act.

Chairman of the committee, Hon. Chernor Bah, requested that officials avail to them relevant supporting documents on or before the next hearing.

He lamented the frequent change in personnel at the ministry, which he reckoned impacts their oversight duty, and ordered that erstwhile Health Minister, Miatta Kargbo, Permanent Secretary, Sidique Kapuwa, and officials of Fife International should attend the next hearing of the committee.

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