By Mama A. Touray
Continuing his testimony before the ongoing Commission, Ebrima Sanyang has testified on Kanifing Municipal Council’s radio station, town hall, and other projects.
Testifying before the Local Government Commission of Inquiry at Djembe Hotel on Monday, Director Sanyang said KanifingMunicipal Council awarded the contract for the radio station to Media Matic owned by Harouna Drammeh, and that the municipal radio station was under the KETP Project.
He added that Kanifing Municipal Council entered an agreement with Media Matic in June 2022, and the cost of the project was One Million Two Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D1, 200,000).
In the GPPA file, provided to the Commission, there was no supporting documentation and the Commission requested GPPA to provide the Commission with the full records.
Testifying on KMC’s Town Hall Project, Sanyang said On 28 February 2022, the Contracts Committee of the KanifingMunicipal Council held a meeting to evaluate the bidding documents for the KMC Town Hall project.
The town hall project according to Director Sanyang is divided into three components or Lots: Lot 1 was for the supply of Furniture, Lot 2 was for air conditioning and Lot 3 was for the furnishing of the interior”.
He disclosed that the shortlisted companies for the supply of furniture were Sonko Jileng, Julaba Trading, and Adonis Suppliers.
The Lead Counsel, Yakarr Coxx, noted that Sonko Jileng did not provide proof of business registration and was shortlisted, adding that Sonko Jileng was marked non-compliant but was shortlisted by the Contracts Committee.
He noted that the Contracts Committee did a site visit to the three shortlisted companies to finalize the decision taking for the award of the contract, and Sonko Jileng proposed a 3-year warranty.
The contracts committee he said labeled one of them as a “briefcase” supplier because the materials belonged to a third party. That supplier took the Committee to “1 Plus 1 Shop”. The other company could not show the furniture instead they showed a catalog”.
He informed the commission that Kanifing Municipal Council later offered Sonko Jileng the contract after finding out that the other suppliers did not have the furniture. And further informed that Sonko Jileng’s bid amount was Five Million Six Hundred and Sixty-Six Thousand (D5,666,000) while KMC’s budget was Five Million Five Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D5,500,000).
On the 8th of March 2022, he said, Kanifing Municipal Council wrote to GPPA seeking approval for the award of a contract for the supply of furniture for the town hall. Adding that Lot 1 was awarded to Sonko Jileng for the supply of furniture and Lot 2 was awarded to MP Trading for the supply of air conditioner.
The Commission of Inquiry further looked into the Waste Bin Project of KMC. The estimated value for the procurement of ten thousand (10,000) waste bins was Twenty-Five Million Dalasis(D25,000,000). KMC agreed to use a restricted tendering method to limit the procurement to five (5) suppliers due to urgency. Ebrima Sanyang said this did not fulfill or justify the use of restricted tendering.
“Urgency is not a reason to justify the use of restricted tendering,” Sanyang said.
“The document sent by KMC to GPPA indicated that they wanted to procure 10,000 waste bins. GPPA wrote to the manager of KEPT Project approving the procurement despite the discrepancies. GPPA approved the procurement method of restricted tendering and approved the shortening period of tendering to 2 weeks” the reports revealed.
The companies that were identified for the restricted tendering he said were five (5) but the invitation to bid was sent to four (4) companies. In the end, only two of them ended up submitting their bids. On 10 May 2022, there was an evaluation of the bidding documents.
Sanyang testified that KMC intended to use Seventeen Million Five Hundred Thousand Dalasis (D17,500,000) for Ten Thousand (10,000) wheel bins. Adding that, KMC accepted to pay Sixty Percent (60%) of the money as pre-financing and pay the remainder 40% after a successful implementation of the project.
Lead Counsel Yakarr Cox said Regulation 145 provides that an advanced payment shall not exceed 20% of the total sum. And that the Regulation further provides that where the need is to pay above 20%, KMC is under obligation to obtain approval from GPPA. It further provides that under no circumstance that advance payment can be made beyond 50% of the total sum agreed. In this project, KMC agreed to pay 60% of the project funds as advanced payment without obtaining approval from GPPA.
“60% is not in line with the provision of the GPPA Act and Regulation,” Sanyang said.
The contract for the town hall was awarded to Tabis Quality.
Chairperson Jainaba Bah told the witness that the procurements by KMC did not refer to the council’s procurement plan to indicate whether the procurements were part of their plan.
Chairperson Bah also pointed out that no reference was made to show that the procurements were not budgeted. The witness responded that they will endeavor to provide the Commission with KMC’s procurement plan. Ebrima Sanyang said the councils fill out Form 100 indicating whether funding is available or not.
“We rely on the information provided to us. We do not go there to verify,” Sanyang affirmed.
The Commission further looked into the KMC Municipal Library. The estimated value of the procurement for the Municipal Library was Thirty-Four Million Dalasis(D34,000,000) and the evaluation report captured the bid amount and bid security amount.
The report revealed that KMC did not use the GPPA standard evaluation form and that the bid evaluation form was different from the one GPPA developed.
In his testimony he said 20th July 2022, GPPA wrote to KMC informing them that they have approved the award of a contract for the construction of a municipal library to the tune of almost thirty-five million Dalasis. KMC furnished GPPA with the contract documents indicating that the contract was thirty-two million Dalasis instead of the GPPA’s approved thirty-four million.
Lead Counsel Yakarr Cox asked the witness why the discrepancy in the price, but the witness said he does not have an answer. The witness said if there was a negotiation, KMC should generate a negotiation report and submit it to GPPA.
Lead Counsel Yakarr Coxx further noted that the approval was for KETP to enter a contract with the contractor, but the contract document showed that it was KMC that entered an agreement with the contractor.
“Article 15 of the agreement between KMC and the contractor indicated that KMC agreed to pay an advanced payment of 30% of the contract price. The law makes provision for KMC to seek approval from GPPA for the advanced payment above 20%. The witness said KMC did not seek approval for the payment of the advance payment of 30%. The contractor was supposed to provide a bank guarantee, but KMC did not supply GPPA with such documents”.
“Apart from the bid security, is it a requirement to provide performance security?” Chairperson Jainaba Bah asked.
“Yes, if requested by the contracts committee. It depends on the nature and circumstances. If required, it is mandatory,” Witness Sanyang answered.
When asked by Chairperson Bah whether the municipal library was constructed, the witness said he does not know but he will verify.