Captain Benjamin O.N Davies was a senior employee of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority in the 1990s. He was asked to quit when it became apparent that his activities were not in conformity with the administrative and developmental aspirations of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority. His departure from the scene was not a happy and memorable one as he was accompanied by angry workers outside the gates of the ports, who wanted to lynch him.
Several years gone by, memories about him as an integral part of the Management of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority faded away, and in 2007 when the APC won the Presidential and Parliamentary elections, Captain Benjamin O.N.Davies was among the list of Presidential nominees and expected to serve for a considerable period of time if performance is the watchword of the government.
It first came as a rumor that the Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment has been affected by a Cabinet Reshuffle carried out by President Ernest Bai Koroma and has been replaced by a University Lecturer named Dr. Sandi. Few hours later the rumour became a reality when Dr. Sandi assumed the seat of Minister of Lands, Country Planning and the Environment and Captain Benjamin O.N. Davies re-introduced into the Country’s Labour Market. For weeks, running into months, Captain O.N.Davies was living in a state of uncertainty, as there was no job forthcoming and no hope of getting one in the near future, when suddenly he was named by State House to occupy the seat of General Manager at the Sierra Leone Ports Authority (SLPA). The appointment of Captain O.N.Davies as General Manager was received by many with mixed feelings, especially when his history at the Ports was re-visited and how he exited the scene.
As the administrative head of the Ports, his assignment included, but not limited to general supervision and the adoption of decisions that are in the interest of growth, expansion and revenue generation of the establishment. On 27th October, 2009 Captain O.N.Davies wrote a letter to the Minister of Transport and Aviation reporting the collision of a vessel, named MV Oriental Hero that caused severe damage to the walls at the Quay, Berth Number Two.
It would appear that the collision was one of the sources of his dismissal as funds provided for the rehabilitation and other developmental projects were being tampered, without due consideration of the element of honesty to one’s nation and credibility as a key requisite for leadership position.
The recent Audit Report of funds provided by the World Bank to upgrade the infrastructure and provide working equipment at the Ports featured Captain O.N.Davies as the key player in the fraudulent nature contracts were being awarded and procurement procedures neglected.
The report published in this edition faltered and accused Captain of a number of procurement irregularities, which clearly put an additional dent on his personality that subsequently led to his dismissal and not termination, as it remains unclear what the Sierra Leone Ports Authority Act states relating to dismissal and termination of the services of Senior Personnel.
A document dated 17th January, 2012 signed by the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Sierra Leone Ports Authority has this to say “You are hereby informed that after a review of your performance as Chief Executive of the Authority by the Board of Directors, It was unanimously decided that your services are no longer required. Therefore, in accordance with Article 9.2.1 and 9.4 of the SLPA Conditions of Service, you are dismissed from the Services of the Authority with immediate effect. Please return all properties belonging to the Authority which are in your possession without delay to the Company Secretary” This type of letter to Captain O.N.Davies, according to one of his many friends is not new to him. He has been used to it whenever his services are engaged either by the Central Government or the Sierra Leone Ports Authority. With this letter, he is not entitled to benefit or compensation for services rendered to the Sierra Leone Ports Authority.
Meanwhile, Captain Bloomer who is approaching the age of superannuation this year in the month of August is the acting General Manager. Sources at the National Commission for Privatization (NCP) have intimated this medium that the Board’s decision may soon be reversed. How true is this, remains to be seen as the Audit report clearly implicates the former General Manager.