President’s Rice for President Brother!
President Koroma’s authorization for the supply of take home rice to serving soldiers seemed to cast aspersion of a ‘hoax’ in the creation and enhancement of the company of his younger brother getting the government contract.
Soon after President Koroma’s authorization to have soldiers get a bag of rice every month, officials of Defence Ministry quickly put out a bid, requesting suitable business organizations apply.
To all, it was looked at as a level playing field. Interested companies applied and were thoroughly examined.
‘Harmony Trading’ which was amongst companies that applied (a company owned by the younger brother of the President) was apparently disqualified on grounds of ‘irregularities’ observed.
The African Sunshine Company was therefore awarded the contract and in writing, told to immediately begin to supply rice to the military.
After months of consistent and timely supplies of rice, officials of national procurement came out with a report, ordering a ‘redo’ of the Army rice contract.
It is prominent in the report put out by procurement officials that the company of the younger brother of the President appealed against African Sunshine, and had claimed it bidded the lowest and so, should be awarded the contract.
It was observed that the name ‘Harmony Trading’ was changed to Sierra Commodity.
Of course, findings have it that Sylvanus Junior Koroma caused a change of name from Harmony to Sierra Commodity on the grounds of detracting minds of the public on the issue of tax and duty waiver unlawfully and conspiratorially granted his company.
Documentary evidence states how sacked Minister David O. Carew (subsequent Finance Minister) wrote a letter to the head of National Revenue Authority (NRA), ordering that duty waiver to the tune of Le2+billion be unconditionally granted to the company of the younger brother of the President.
The order, according to content in the letter, explains vividly that government agreed to grant tax and duty waiver to Harmony Trading.
That apart, Harmony which recently metamorphosed into becoming Sierra Commodity, hoodwinked another government contract using political authority – President’s Brother.
Whether the withdrawal of the Army rice contract from African Sunshine to Sierra Commodity was the making of President Koroma or not, society continues to question the involvement of President’s family members into retail business.
It must be noted that ‘conflict of interest’ has extreme influence and privileged circumstances to corruption.
After careful study of clauses in the procurement act, it is observed that the phrase ‘responsive bidder’ outweighs ‘lowest bidder. In fact, the law has made no provision for ‘lowest bidder’ in the act at all.
In essence, the phrase ‘lowest bidder’ was a coined up tactic to indirectly encourage public officials delve into corruption.
‘President’s rice for President Brother’ as in the headline of this piece, questioned President Koroma’s unconcerned innocence to the ‘in the pond’ and ‘out of the pond’ conducts of procurement officials in relation to the Army rice contract.
Records have it that the APC government unwarrantedly gave duty free concession to Harmony Trading for rice it imported for sale.
The sum of Le 2,746,813,483.44 was slackly let loose to Harmony Trading because it is owned by the President’s younger brother.
Money of such could have helped solve the ballooning problems of society’s vulnerable and helpless of persons.
Again, it boils down to the fact that family members of President Koroma must have their hands off retail business.
Months after that came the Army rice contract. African Sunshine was legally awarded the contract for the supply of rice to the military.
It supplied for two consecutive months and later was told to stop because the younger brother of President Koroma appealed against the award.
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