By Aruna Momoh Kargbo
What was believed to have been a shady deal that was entered into between the government of Sierra Leone through the Ministry of Transport and Aviation and Autospect Sierra Leone Limited has been exposed.
This was revealed by the recent Audit Report which maintained that the contract was awarded to Autospect Sierra Leone Limited without following due process.
“A review of contract documents revealed that a contract was agreed between the Government of Sierra Leone and Autospect (SL) Ltd. for the development, operation and implementation of the following services at the Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority: Construction/rehabilitation of vehicle inspection stations and related systems, development of an electronic vehicle registration cards system, production of license plates, using a vehicle secured plates system and implementation of radio frequency identification windshield stickers system,” the Audit Report stated.
That procurement documents such as adverts, bids, bid register, bid opening minutes, evaluation reports and contracts in order to justify that the contract was awarded to Autospect in an open, transparent and competitive manner were not submitted for audit.
Responding to the issue, the Executive Director of Sierra Leone Road Safety Authority (SLRSA) stated that the Procurement Manager by then was on suspension and that efforts have been made to reach him in order to respond to the audit query.
The Auditor General maintained that the issue remains unresolved as documents to justify the credibility and openness of the contract were not produced by the SLRSA.
Prior to this audit, three indigenous companies that were producing license number plates for the country had expressed their dissatisfaction over the SLRSA and the Ministry of Transport moves to terminate their contract.