February 20, 2014 3 By STANDARD TIMESPRESS


In our yesterday’s front page edition, the grand plan by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and members of its Committee to extend the fire engine contract to the same contractor named DIACO INVESTMENT without observing a fresh bidding process to give equal opportunity to other Sierra Leoneans to participate was brought to the public domain.

After being schooled by their political heads to convince authorities at the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) for a “No Objection” to what superficially would appear genuine, but underneath very rewarding to a handful of them at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the head of the National Fire Department a meeting was scheduled to endorse the plan.

Present at the meeting were Mr. Prince E.O.Cole, the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary and Chairman of the meeting, Mr. Peterson Jusu Boima Procurement Officer and Secretary of the meeting, Mr. Nazira A.A.Kamanda Bongay Chief Fire Officer as member, Mr. Hardyn B.Bockarie Accountant and member, and Mr. Julius O.Asgill Staff Superintendent and member.

The two Ministers were conspicuously absent to make it appear that the decision emanated from an independent group of people that were very concerned with the status quo.Further, Government would be convinced that there is an urgent need for the purchase of five more Fire Engines and the contract should be awarded to the same contractor who purchased the initial five that are giving mechanical problem. Little or no knowledge was grasped by members of the public as to the real meaning of the meeting. An action that does not only constitute conspiracy against the state and its people, but contains element of extortion by those members who sat on 5th November, 2013 to manipulate ways that the contractor for the poor quality of Fire Engines can make money dubiously to which they too can benefit.

It was rumored that while the conspiracy process was proceeding both Ministers were allegedly at the background directing the affairs so that the objective can be observed.(See minute of meeting dated 5th November, 2013

The recommendation of the Committee was obvious as planned. They recommended as follows, that a change of supplier will compel the Ministry of Internal Affairs (procuring entity) to procure equipment/engines not meeting the requirements of interchangeability with already existing equipment/engines.

That the National Fire Force Department, which is the beneficiary, had expressed satisfaction with the quality of the Fire Engines offered by the current supplier.

That the present supplier has satisfactorily supplied Fire Engines for the past two years with no major repairs.

Concluding, they said “In light of the foregoing, the Committee Members unanimously decided to sole source the procurement of the Fire Engines to the current supplier and signed by all members present at the meeting whom have been described as “conspirators”.

The decision by the Committee only sent shockwaves to some sections of the public, but for those who are aufait with the identity of the supplier and the proximity between him and the Ministers that had since been extended to members of the Committee; it was no news about the manipulation and why they should betray the State of Sierra Leone for personal reasons.

The Five Engines that the Committee recommended as good and satisfactory cannot perform a single fire exercise, not to mention their inability to put off fire disaster in a small village.

Just last month the Engines supplied to President Koroma’s home suffered some mechanical fault when called upon to put of fire in Makeni. It was a very shocking sight to witness a new Fire Engine in a state of disgrace at the time it was needed to rescue the people. So many valuables were consumed by the inferno including a house. As mentioned in yesterday’s publication that the Engine in the Capital City of Bo has been transformed to a water supplier, servicing the homes of Senior State Officials resident in that part of the Country. Even during this unofficial duty, it always suffers from breakdowns. In Kenema, it is only serving as a monument and identity to showcase to the people of Kenema that there stands a Fire Engine. The sad part is when put into action.

The minute of 5th November, 2013 was sent to the National Public Procurement Authority for approval, but did not receive what the plan had detailed; the manipulation and extortion mapped out suffered a serious blow from the Authority, which had probably left the Ministers and members of the Committee in total shamble.