From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

Local News
In Sierra Leone, SDI Boss Talks on Contract Watch Monitoring System
By Dauda Koroma
Jun 9, 2010, 17:04

The Executive Director Society for Democratic Initiative (SDI) Barrister Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai has spoken on the importance of the recently launched Contract Watch Monitoring Initiative by his institution.

In an exclusive interview with the Awareness Times on Tuesday 8th 2010, Barrister Abdulai noted that the Contract Watch Monitoring is an initiative aimed at monitoring and reporting on Government assigned contracts to various institutions across the country. He said in most cases, Government and service providers businesses are conducted in secret and thus prone to excess and abuse of such contracts. He, as an example, reiterated early claims this week that the Anti Corruption Commission in the first six months of this 2010 year alone before the resignation of Abdul Tejan-Cole, had engaged in a series of serious malpractices such as mal-procurement to the tune of over half a billion leones which was contrary to the Anti Corruption Act of 2008 and the country’s Procurement Laws. The ACC had earlier denied at least one of the allegation which was that their Makeni building’s construction was given to a contractor without proper procurement rules being followed.

Mr. Abdulai went on to state that Contract Watch would also look into some key bi and multi-lateral donor funding involving the award of contracts for construction, delivery of services among others.

According to Mr. Abdulai, the Contract Watch bulletin covers various procurement activities from various state apparatus, adding that the next edition of this bulletin would follow up issues of delay in the execution of Government contracts by contractor to which it assigned, unfinished contracts, bad bidding processes and wrongful award of contracts.

He hammered the point home that corruption is mostly embedded in areas of procurement and awarding of contracts. In that light he went on, "there is no way Government could reduce if not combat acts of corruption without putting in place active procurement monitoring and contract watch systems. Civil Society has a role to play in such society accountability mechanism and that is exactly what SDI has chosen to engage in now" the eloquent lawyer concluded.

© Copyright 2005, Freetown, Sierra Leone.