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Sierra Leone Business: NASSIT awarded contract valued over Le876m more than the bid price

former NASSIT Boss in 2015

In 2015, the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) awarded contract for a value more than the Bid Price. This was discovered during a review of the procurement documents submitted for the supply, installation and commissioning of solar system by the Audit Service Sierra Leone The Audit Report 2017 revealed a difference of Le876 million (Le876,718,613) between the bid documents and the evaluation reports (Le1,604,201,070) and the signed contract (Le2,480,919,683).  The audit team was not provided with any documentary evidence to substantiate the variance and they recommended that the Acting Head of Procurement provide explanation supported by documentary evidence for the difference between the amount on the bid documents and evaluation reports, and the amount on the signed contract. NASSIT Director General (DG) at the time of the audit responded that the Management has noted the observations of the auditors as explained during the audit and the difference was as a result of an addition to the original contract as an addendum.  “This was submitted in respect of the above; clearly stating the correct calculation in the evaluation report which has now been indicated into the addendum consistent with the excerpts as approved by the procurement committee” he said. The Auditor General said that they have noted the response of the Management but that they did not provide any documentation necessitating the need for the addendum. “Moreover, from a review of the documents submitted, we noted that the addendum did not relate to the difference of Le876,718,613, therefore the issue still stands.” They were also faulted for Contract Splitting which led to the Trust evading the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) procedures, when procurement of sanitary items totalling Le107,560,000 was divided into two separate procurement of Le54,900,000 and Le52,660,000 undertaken on 18th and 19th July, 2015 respectively. The acting head of procurement was asked to respond on the above query with documentary evidence to justify why procurement were not done using the NCB method. In their Official Response, the Director General said that these are sanitary items that are urgently required during the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic.  However, to follow up the procurement procedure, the Procurement Committee endorsed the purchasing of these items through a restricted procedure for which six pre-qualified firms were shortlisted and invited from the Trust’s database and validated for 2015 transactions. The LPs prepared were based on the items available for supply immediately but all went through the required procedure.

The Auditor noted the Management’s response but that the issue remains unresolved.

By Zainab Iyamide Joaque

Monday January 14, 2019.

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