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LE1,350 BILLION FOR 8 ROTTEN AMBULANCES

…Premier Logistics in procurement fraud

The vision by the Government to secure One Hundred and Fifty Ambulances in the fight against the epidemic plaguing the country is currently faced by a lot of setbacks.  Eight out of the Thirty Ambulances bought have been classified as scraps and not worthy to be on the roads.

Investigation by this medium has revealed an unfortunate reality, that out of the eight Vehicles received by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, six have been proven to be scraps and unworthy to be on the roads and the six sources say have disappeared into thin air.

It could be recalled that a lot of concerns have been raised over the snail pace the burial team continues to convey corpses to designated sites for burial which many have attributed to lack of Vehicles and personnel.

As a way of improving the dismal situation, President Koroma’s Government thought it prudent to listen to the request of the Ministry of Health and Sanitation for the purchase of Thirty Vehicles to be used as Ambulances for the burial team.

This will be followed by additional Vehicles, which would be seventy in number that will be distributed countrywide for Health and emergency purposes.

Alas! When it was discovered that eight of the said vehicles were not compatible for the task at hand, President Dr. Ernest Bai Koroma ordered the immediate replacement of the eight vehicles.

Findings have revealed that the contractor that supplied the cheap and poor road worthy vehicles is Premier Logistics owned by a Lebanese Shylock.

Realizing the deceitfulness in the transaction and how the supplier has defrauded the state of Sierra Leone of Billion of Leones for the supply of poor quality goods, the Ministry of Transport and Aviation contacted the Company, Premier Logistics responsible for the supply of the vehicles and requested for the engines and chassis numbers of the eight vehicles.

Sadly, the chassis and engine numbers of two of the eight ambulances were only provided by the Ministry of Health and Sanitation to the Ministry of Transport and Aviation, claiming that the supplier gave them the numbers of two of the vehicles

At the time the contract was awarded to Premier Logistics, the substantive Minister of Transport and Aviation Hon. Balogun Koroma was out of the Country on an official assignment to Moscow. The procurement and documentation of the thirty Ambulances was a transaction described by many government officials knowledgeable in procurement procedures as fishy and one that failed to observe official procurement regulations, no wonder a senior civil servant concluded by saying that they supplied them with scraps” The process was handled by the Deputy Minister of Transport and Aviation Mr. Ibrahim Mansaray alias “Wushangai” whom many has described as a hotspot for money and a complete and total novice in political administration. The substantive Minister who returned from his official assignment few days back is reportedly trying to clear the mess, but the question is whether he would be able to clear the mess in a short time or not is another issue left to be looked at.

The ugly situation has sparked a lot of controversies. The supplier, Premier Logistics, sources revealed during investigation has been contacted to replace the eight rotten Ambulances that are not roadworthy. The vehicles were bought in Belgium/Brussels by Premier Logistics, not in Dubai as was perceived by many Sierra Leoneans.

The Permanent Secretary of the Health Ministry Mr. SM Kapuwa is yet to provide the said information relating to the chassis and engine numbers even when the Supplier requested for them. Some say it is a mockery for the Supplier to request for engine and chassis numbers when he should have them as a buyer from the Company or individuals the transaction was done with.

Meanwhile, report states that State House has cancelled the contract for the purchase of seventy (70) Ambulances awarded to D and S Associates located at 112 Circular Road. The move by State House to cancel the contract for seventy (70) Ambulances to D&S Associates has been described as a welcome idea, considering the track record of the Company that dented its little reputation in a generator contract for Lungi and Kono. .

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