The Former Minister of Water Resources Momodu Maligie has been named in a $3.176-million-dollar procurement scam by the State Counsel at the Commission of Inquiry Robert Kowa. According to Kowa while making his final submissions before Commissioner Bankole Thompson on Thursday 16th January 2020, that the former minister of Water Resources made the Government of Sierra Leone to lose $3.1 million USD in procuring 14 water bowsers due to his selfish want. Kowa told the Judge that the former minister breached procurement procedure, over priced and used an exchange rate which led the Government to lose Le769 million. Making his case further, the State Counsel noted that he relied on the evidences by Michael Swarray and Charles Kamanda, the Procurement Officer and Permanent Secretary respectively in the Ministry of Water Resources, adding that those are testimonies that unraveled all of what happened in the procurement of the 14 water bowsers. Kowa said the former minister directly dealt with the suppliers PCS and Holding and West Stars General Supplies in negotiating for the bowsers. Mr Kowa furthered that the former minister recommended the suppliers to former President Koroma, who then approved together with quotations, adding that the minister then entered into dealing with PCS Holding for the supply of the 14 water bowsers at the cost of $4.991million USD.
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He however submitted that “the action of the minister breached the Public Procurement Act of 2004, as replaced in 2016. My lord Sections 41(a)(b), 42, 46, 47 and 48 were not compiled with.” He cited that the cost of one water bowser as per the evidence in the Commission is $83,137, adding that the 14 bowsers should have cost $1,163,918 instead of $4,991,000, making the Government to lose $3,176,082 (Le14billion). Due to the aforementioned issues by the State Counsel, he however submitted for the Judge to recommend banning the former minister from holding any public office and also for him to refund the $3.1million to the Government of Sierra Leone within six months after the report or confiscate and sell his properties. Lawyer Kowa also submitted for PCS Holding to refund the Le 769 million to the Government, as recommended by Cabinet then within a period of six months after the report or faced with confiscation and possible sale of the company assets. Kowa said the investigating team of the Commission did not come in contact with any fixed asset of the former minister of Water Resources in Sierra Leone except his vehicles. Counsel for the Person of Interest, Ady§ Macauley will respond in the next sitting.
By Mohamed J. Bah
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