After cancelling some major projects that were ongoing at the time the APC Government assumed the mantle of leadership in the country , the general perception held by many Sierra Leoneans when these acts were being carried out was that it is in the interest of the state and with the new dispensation in flow many and would benefit.
Little was dawn on the majority of Sierra Leoneans that these acts of cancelling ongoing projects are ways the APC money sharks can exploit the system and enrich themselves at the mercy of the unsuspecting public. The Pre-Inspection Destination Project was one among the many projects cancelled on the basis that it was not providing the expected financial returns for the state, and it was changed to Destination Inspection.
This time round, goods are inspected on arrival at the ports assessed and value paid for them. It is no more a pre inspection exercise where the Company undertakes the exercise to know the prices of the goods and origin before shipped to Sierra Leone and other countries. Knowing the prices of these goods can determine the Customs and Excise duty to pay, but the APC Government had argued that with the economic trend and market liberalization, coupled with currency variations between and among countries and other reasons goods imported to this country should undergo destination inspection and value determined and paid for.
Invoices would be prepared by the inspection company after scanning the goods in collaboration with the Customs and Excise Department. The argument, on a first sight may sound logical and beneficial, but symbolically it was a way by the APC money sharks to make money and enrich themselves. What became very suspicious was the manner the contract was awarded. It was awarded to a Company that did not take part in the bid process.
One would not comment on a purported bag loaded with US$400,000(Four Hundred Thousand Dollars) conveyed to a place where it was surrendered to an unidentified person(s). The reason for not commenting is due to the fact that there is no evidence to substantiate the claim made by other competitors and observers of the ugly and fraudulent process.
The inception of the bidding process at the Ministry of Trade was described as transparent and fair, as each of the bidders had the opportunity of submitting bids and each was present when the bids were opened. There was a committee put in place to accomplish this goal as the APC Government had criticized the previous Government of not handling the process well to the benefit of the State. It was all a scheme and a hoax, only for a few of them to benefit from the process.
As indicated, several companies took part in the bid process. Companies with enviable and attractive international track records, and with experience in pre- shipment and destination inspection. Just as how Ghana suffered and incurred serious revenue loss so the situation has presented itself in Sierra Leone.
With few party stalwarts and financiers enjoying from the exercise so is it in Sierra Leone.
The Committee had set a ceiling having criteria, ranging from technical qualifications to financial. This is to ensure that the right company for the job gets it, but not for the APC Politicians whose ambition was how to make money at the expense of the state. The technical scores of the respective firms that were shortlisted and subsequently emerge as the winners are thus, BIVAC scored 64% Web Fontaine 79%, Contecna 70%, Ghana Link Network Services 86% and Sierra Inspection Company 50%. On the list there was no African Link, but what we now see at the ports that has caused a troubled revenue loss with no value added is African Link, a Company that was registered after the bid process had been over, but because the proprietor was able to pay huge sums of dollars to those that can determine the cause of governance of the state the contract was awarded to him.
Candidly, this was not done in the interest of the state, but as the President once said “that he was going to run Sierra Leone as a business” so it was business as usual for the APC money sharks.
It came out very embarrassingly that the entire process was corrupt and self seeking. Sadly, the Law Officers Department contributed to the down trend and loss of revenue. In a document dated 3rd August, 2011 authored by the Principal State Counsel, Mr. LM. Farma he wrote,
“Re: Draft Contract (Agreement)-Destination Inspection Scheme in Sierra Leone:
“I refer to your memorandum of even referenced dated 3rd August, 2011 with the attached amended Draft: Agreement as cited above. I have examined it and have no legal objection to its form and content and advice that you take necessary steps to execute it accordingly” Mr. L.M Farma is very notorious for giving legal blessings to corrupt and fraudulent contract agreements in this country. This is just one, many would be flying around. He was aware that African Link did not take part in the bid process and was also aware that it is wrong in principle to have awarded the contract to a company that did not participate in the process, but if asked why he did what he did, his response would be “I am a worker and I take instructions from my superior” Where the instruction is wrong and has to do with his professional reputation he would not mind taking the action just to satisfy his superiors. History for this kind of people we find in our midst will haunt them wherever they go.
After the contract had been awarded to the non participating company, its owner Nick Danso Adjei submitted a Memorandum of Understanding detailing the company that took part in the process Ghana Link Network Services as shareholder with 100% (See document) What may surprise the reading public is the corrupt arrangement where the current Secretary General of the Party had his son employed as Deputy General Manager of the Company. Mr. Mugabe Yansaneh with no knowledge in inspection or transshipment is at the office joining and calculating revenues that are paid for scanning of goods at the ports, even when the scanners are not working importers pay for non working scanning machines.
This is how the APC party is running the country putting square pegs in round holes and conniving with foreigners to fleece the people, but it is all business eh?
The ports contract was awarded to African Link, while contract for the borders, that is Guinea and Liberia, which was initially awarded to Web Fontaine Group FZ-LLC gone to Sierra Inspection Company owned by both Mrs. Lillian Lisk and Alhaji Savage, that turned out to be a mockery. It is for the desire to safeguard the interest of this country that the machinations of these faceless individuals must be exposed. It is time to let these sharks whose sole purpose is to fleece the state for their personal enrichment know that times have indeed changed. The Lillian Lisk-Alhaji Savage drama is another interesting reading. How they sold the contract to Nick Danso Adjei of Ghana Link (African Link) show the mentality of some private individuals who claimed to do business in the country. How they fell apart and how Alhaji Savage seized one of the Company’s vehicles with threat of exposing the syndicate to the police and the governors of the state is a clear case of fraud against the country and its citizens. But it’s all business eh?
Destination Inspection Contract: APC Government in fraud
The manipulation of the APC Government in the award of the destination inspection contract at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority has exposed the ruling party of its involvement in a fraudulent exercise that has cost the country serious revenue loss.
Since the assumption of operation by the African Link inspection company, otherwise known as Nick TC Scan, there has been more trouble at the port that anyone could have imagined.
The contract was not won by African Link, but bought with an amount that could not be ascertained by this medium. How the Ministry of Trade and Enterprises that pioneered the establishment of a bidding process and the award of the destination inspection contract to a non participating company was done had left many insiders pondering as to what may have happened behind the curtain.
Sources at the Country’s revenue generation outfit have regrettably disclosed that the APC is responsible for the mess at the Queen Elizabeth Quay 11, where a foreign company is collecting 1% commission of the value of goods paid for by importers with a scanning machine that has been described as a potential source for Cancer. Although, it has been reportedly non functional for weeks, nonetheless, it is still paying dividend on a daily basis to its owners.
This is borne out of the fact, according to a member of the Ghanaian team “We have to recover money spent to be awarded the contract”. The situation at the ports is not only crucial but calling on the APC Government that manipulated the award of the contract to correct the ugly situation as it has exposed the Government of not working in the interest of the ordinary consumers who bear the brunt of their selfish and wealth seeking actions.