The Deputy Director General of the National Social Security and Insurance Trust (NASSIT) Gibril Saccoh yesterday explained to journalists how NASSIT procured or acquired the former United States Embassy.
He explained that the procurement of the former US embassy building as the headquarters of Nassit was a continued pursuit to improve performance in terms of efficiency and effectiveness since staff at their headquarters were located on rented premises.
He further explained that on the appointment of the new Employment and Social Security Minister Minkailu Mansaray, an offer was received for the sale of the former American embassy building at the cost of $US3.2 million. He said the Minister authorized negotiations for the purchase of the property subject to an independent assessment of the cost and related expenses.
“As a result, a task force was set up with the responsibility to negotiate with the owners to purchase the building. This task force was complemented with the representation of the chairpersons of the board sub-committees. The process included inspection, conducting due diligence and establishing actual ownership of the property and negotiating the cost with the owner. Due to the amount involved, two independent valuators were hired to advise the Board and Management as to the value of the building and equipment it contained” he explained.
Mr Saccoh digressed further that after several negotiations with the representative of the owner, J. Milhen and sons (Dev) company, a final offer of US$2,750,000 was reached and accepted with the full complement of modern furniture in every room, two 5,000 KVA generators in working order, eighty-three split unit air conditioners and several large storage tanks for both fuel and water.
He stated that the Minister who authorized the purchase of the building led a team to Lebanon in March 2008 where the deed of assignment was signed and the purchase effected. “The rehabilitation work which entails both civil and electrical work was put on limited tender while the work on the IT infrastructure was put on open tender and the building handed over to the contractors in May for NASSIT to occupy in June 2008, thereby saving on the huge rental cost the Trust is paying for the rented premises” he stressed.
He clarified that NASSIT undertook no shady deal regarding the purchase of the building and the procurement of all goods and services were done in line with the procurement policy of the Trust and the National procurement Act.
By Ishmael Bayoh