A timely summons – three cheers for Parliament
We have been reliably informed that the House of Parliament has summoned the Minister of Transport and Aviation, Leonard Balogun Koroma, to clarify the much-criticized procurement process of the country’s hundred new buses.
The call comes in the wake of widespread allegation that the Transport Ministry hyper-inflated the cost of the buses, thereby defrauding the nation the huge sum of $6.5 million. Many other critically-minded Sierra Leoneans have been accusing the ministry of purchasing old and defective buses, especially when the new buses started breaking down few hours after being commissioned by His Excellency the President, Ernest Bai Koroma.
In the midst of the barrage of criticisms, the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is now hard at work investigating the procurement process of the buses. So, we view as very timely parliament’s decision to summon the minister to face them and explain how the buses were procured and how much they cost.
We believe the Transport Minister’s explanation of the procurement will either settle the dust, if satisfactory, or raise a bigger cloud of dust if not satisfactory. The explanation will prove right or wrong the Chairman and Leader of the newly-formed Alliance Democratic Party (ADP) Mohamed Kamarainba Mansaray’s accusation the the entire procurement process of the buses was laden with massive fraud and gross disrespect for the procurement laws of this country.
We give parliament a big accolade for taking the right step at the right time; this is a glaring manifestation of the fact that we now have a parliament that holds our public officials accountable to the people.
However, we are advising the Members of Parliament not to swallow hook, line and sinker whatever explanation the Transport Minister will give them today on the procurement of the 100 new buses. Our parliamentarians should conduct their own independent investigation to prove beyond every reasonable doubt whether the minister’s explanation is in line with the truth.
Baogun’s explanation should not be enough to exonerate or indict him; a thorough parliamentary investigation must be mounted so that the hard and documentary facts will come out. Needless to say here that Balogun will never have the audacity to admit to the Parliamentarians that, indeed, the prices of the buses were inflated and that his ministry defrauded the country $6.5 million via the procurement of the 100 buses.
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