From Awareness Times Newspaper in Freetown

SLPP Condemns NPPA Silence Over Ojukokoro GST Receipt Deal
By Momoja Lappia
Jun 30, 2010, 17:14

An ‘Ojukokoro’ in the local Sierra Leone parlance, is a shameless thief so much so that no-one likes to be associated with such or to be labeled as such and all efforts are usually made to explain one’s innocence in Ojukokoro allegations. This is why many eyebrows have been raised when it is learnt that Professor Alfred Kandeh, Chief Executive of Sierra Leone’s National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA) has evaded a request for him to comment on a US$9.6 million National Revenue Authority’s topical ‘Ojukokoro’ mucky deal with Jospong Printing Company in Ghana for the printing of GST tax receipt books. Kandeh’s silence is even as scores of government officials continue to try to launder themselves so as to cease receiving the wrath of Public accusation over the matter.

This silence has resulted in stalwarts of the country’s main opposition SLPP Party, which set up the NPPA whilst they were in Government, to condemn the hierarchy of the NPPA for "seemingly now openly taking part in the APC’s destruction of the principles of transparency and accountability that we in the SLPP so carefully laid as a foundation for all Government procurement". As far as senior SLPP stalwarts are concerned, "silence means acquiescence by NPPA to the Ojukokoro GST Receipt Printing Deal".

While Sierra Leone’s High Commissioner to Ghana, His Excellency Osman Yansanneh is on his image-laundering, the Deputy Finance Minister Dr. Richard Konteh in a swiftly organized press conference quite recently in Freetown while trying to exonerate himself heaped blames on both the NPPA and the NRA for all that might have gone wrong.

"NPPA negotiated with a Ghanaian Company to print GST receipts for NRA," Dr Richard Konteh maintained, adding that he advised the NRA to ensure that the contract is vetted by the Law Officers’ Department.

However, the contract which has partly being honored with $200,000.00 still receives tremendous public dissatisfaction despite claims that the receipts are of better quality beyond counterfeiting.

These claims have been received with derision by citizens who still recall similar pronouncements of how newly launched currency notes are incapable of counterfeiting only for currency counterfeits to flood the country.

On clarification for why the contract was not put to tender as demanded by the NPPA Act for transparency and accountability, the NPPA boss, Professor Kandeh when contacted by journalists yesterday 29th June 2010, has refused to comment on grounds of "the sensitive nature of the issue". A pensive and nervous looking Kandeh however said that he would only be in such position to comment if this newspaper’s Publisher expressed a desire for comments through a manner of official written correspondence to the Authority.

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