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SLBC’s Gbanabome blasts KPMG

SLBC’s Gbanabome blasts KPMG

Director General of the Sierra Leone Broadcasting Corporation, (SLBC) Elvis Gbanabome Hallowell derided claims of massive corruption at the SLBC calling their accusers, cheap blackmailers. Gbanabome reacted on an alleged document said to have been leaked by the auditing firm, KPMG

The DG said lots of contradictions have emerged in pages of newspapers on KPMG’s internal audit draft report which is yet to be made a public document. He said he reserves his comment and opinion on the issue until he is able to establish that the auditing firm is actually involved in the scam. Elvis Gbanabome Hallowell said KPMG had queried the SLBC on certain issues to which they have responded and are still waiting for the auditing firm’s reply which was still not due as at going to press.

One of the local tabloids quoted certain sections alleged to be part of the KPMG’s draft audit report and raises serious issues related to procurement mal-practices on the award of contract to a consultancy of Trans-tech Company for the procurement of a satellite uplink which was approved by the board on 18th November 2010.

Some excerpts read “…sufficient and appropriate audit evidence is lacking” for “property, plant and equipment amount to eleven billion Leones”, and the corporation has maintained an “unhealthy” cash management…

Gbanabome said the idea of purchasing a satellite uplink was adopted in a board meeting minutes to the effect following alerts from the United Nations that they shall be delinking the SLBC from their broadcasting services due to a policy of confidentiality the UN was maintaining. He said there was an ardent need for the purchase of a satellite uplink to replace the vacuum the UN’s transmitter was about to create adding that the SLBC could not afford to deny it services to its audiences across the country and the sub-region that the UN radio used to cover.

Gbanabome said the SLBC opts for a sole source supplier bid notice because they had no money to pre-finance the procurement of the mentioned equipment which trans-tech as a client offered to supply and the deal was sealed under procurement requirements enhanced by officials of the NPPA.

Sierra Express contacted a source on the issue at the NPPA headquarters and he confirmed to us that, “based upon the instructions of the then acting Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Ibrahim, Mr. MJ Musa, head of Monitoring and Evaluations Department and Officer Frank Bameh went to the SLBC headquarters at New England Ville on the 10th of May 2011 to do an investigative monitoring of the satellite link contract”, the source stated. He said the officers wrote a comprehensive report on the issue upon their competition of the work under review, which has been made available to the auditing firm.

According to section 9(b) of the business contract Act, with which the SLBC entered into deal with the procuring entity for the procurement of satellite equipment the section provides that the broadcaster should pay procuring entity and consultancy in full before supplies are being effected but he said the SLBC failed to meet the required pre-financing clause and that the contractor (trans-tech) accepted though a part payment of US $ 400,000.

The reconciled figure agreed per contract by the SLBC to pay as outstanding amount to the contractor (trans-tech) is Le, 1,457,742,915. Below are details of the outstanding payment in the transaction between the SLBC and Trans-tech

Transaction Cost Le Paid Le Outstanding Le
Makeni Transmitter Outstanding 434,995,415 193,750,000 241,245,415
Admin & Consultancy 553,500,000 45,000,000 508,500,000
Back up system 940,747,500 465,000,000 475,747,500
Main Backbone 848,025,000 835,375,000 12,650,000
Space Segment for May/June 219,600,000 0 219,600,000
Totals 2,996,867,915 1,539,125,000 1,457,742,915

Sierra Express however investigated the issue further to ascertain the basis upon which the document was leaked to the press. It is an open secret that there are moles in the country’s revered institutions of integrity; so the honourable thing which they often do when confidential documents are entrusted to them.

Sierra Express contacted sources around the auditing firm, KPMG to ask them on how irrational it is leaking confidential documents considered to be classified information to the press, one source maintains innocence as he alluded that professional ethics of their firm do not tolerate such rip-offs.

This follows in a row another circumstance whereby Philip Neville’s documents entrusted to the Anti Corruption Commission were leaked to 96.2 radio, Momoh Konte’s statement on the Aljazeera timbergate saga was also leaked and the TV network responded with a press release accordingly and now the KPMG internal audit report which is yet to be published.

The investigators would have done themselves good if they spared a little time going through the contract document from which they should have retrieved vital information.

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