As Sierra Leone was fighting the deadly Ebola virus in 2014 the already established Ebola Operation Center (EOC), was renamed National Ebola Respond center (N.ER.C).
In a statement from state house, the president stated that his current Minister of defense (RTD) Alfred Palo Conteh will be made chief executive director of NERC whiles him the president take over the duty as minister of defense.
At that time everybody thought it was a good calculative move made by the president in order to fight the deadly Ebola virus , but the recent released Auditor general report paints a different picture, Inside Salone investigation has revealed
Reading the Audit report, One could clearly tell that the appointment of Palo Conteh as NERC chief executive office was a total cover up move by State house to dodge potential corruption and embezzling scandal that was looming around the ministry of defense and Mr Palo Conteh was at the center of it.
The just released Audit clearly highlights the huge corruption scandal that was hanging over Palo Conteh and the defense ministry he was heading.
In November 2013, the then minister of defense Palo Conteh acting on behalf of the Sierra Leone government entered into agreements for the procurement and supply of 126 common use and specialized vehicles in two lots of 69 and 57 with two suppliers involving the sums of US$5,058,368 respectively .
Here is the part where everything get trick and totally ridiculous and cringe worthy, of the 126 vehicles ordered only 49 were delivered leaving a total balance of 77 outstanding, when the invoices where compared to that of other government agencies the audit report stated that vehicles ordered by the Minister Palo Conteh where overpriced by over LE30 billion (US6.1million).
Despite the over pricing of the vehicles most of the vehicles delivered did not match the specification in the contract agreement. A typical example was that the supplier was contracted for two ambulances were contracted for instead what came was two mini buses. Two defective vehicles the report said were returned back to the supplier at a value of of $620,00 have not been replaced or fix by the contractor.
Despite all the irregularities the Minister also let the whoever the supplier was get away with Le 9.7 billion UN-paid taxes. As the law requires the supplies is suppose to foot the bill for all taxes levied and other expenses the audit report that their was no evidence of such payment.
Overpricing and not getting exactly what paid for ,paying for total amount of vehicles not getting all back ,returning defective vehicles not getting them back, helping supplier evade taxes sounds like the perfect tune for a serious corruption scandal that will probably put the retired army major close to the doors of Pademba road prison.
But as evidence show that state house itself which is the president Koroma administration have helped cover up this act of total disregard of spending public funds, will their be any corruption investigation? Will their be any question ask into when we will be getting the remaining 77 vehicles left?that where paid with tax payers money?
Will the toothless Anti-Corruption commission be able to get a bite and seek prosecution against Palo conteh? If not for anything but the mere fact that suppliers got away with le9.7 billion?
Did the president deliberately connived to cover up a corruption scandal that might have cost sierra leone tax payers over 10 million dollars.