By Arret Jatta
The Local Government Commission of Inquiry (LGCI) has detected “misconduct” in the procurement of Banjul City Council’s (BCC) Crab Island Project. During the Commission’s sitting on Wednesday 9th August 2023, the Director of Procurement, Policy and Operations at the Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), Mr Ebrima Sanyang, informed the Commission that they received a letter from the BCC informing them that they have secured funding from the European Union through Ostend City Council in Belgium and intend to use part of it for the procurement of solar for the former Crab Island Lower Basic School.
Director Sanyang revealed that BCC further informed GPPA that they conducted market research which indicates that there are few suppliers available in the market with the capacity of fulfilling this procurement. According to Mr Sanyang, due to this, BCC requested the use of restricted tender to proceed with the procurement in line with the GPPA Act.
In response, the Deputy Lead Counsel of the Commission, Patrick Gomez put it to Mr Sanyang that there are inconsistencies in the BCC letter which requested the approval of an open tender but within the content of the letter BCC is actually requesting the approval of a restricted tender. Director Sanyang agreed with Counsel Gomez and revealed that most of the letters councils sent to their office are copied and pasted and in this instance for BCC, the authority went by the heading which is a request for open tender.
Counsel Gomez queried Director Sanyang highlighting that the GPPA should have replied to BCC seeking clarification. However, Director Sanyang argued that their letter of reply sent to BCC was clear that they were approving an open tender and not a restricted tender.
Another issue the Commission noticed was that no adequate advertisement was made according to the evidence before them. “What we have before us cannot clearly explain that there was adequate advertisement made or that open tender procurement method was used,” said Counsel Gomez.
Director Sanyang responded to explain that in their files exists a receipt with an invoice attached from the Standard Newspaper. According to the GPPA Director, the BCC submission to their Authority notes that the successful bidder was Unique Energy but they have not seen any attached list of bidders identified.
“According to our findings, the contract was signed not long ago but not implemented. I don’t know why it was not implemented but I know the contract was signed with the successful bidder but has not taken effect,” noted the GPPA Director.
When Counsel Gomez asked if GPPA has any reporting mechanism to follow up on the progress of projects they have approved for procurement, Director Sanyang responded in the positive that they have mechanisms that require procuring organizations to report to the authority by completing the supplier assessment which informs the authority on the level of project implementation or if there are any problems encountered by the suppliers or contractors.
GPPA Director Sanyang informed the Commission that one Ousman Krubally named by BCC in their minutes as a representative of the GPPA is inaccurate as they do not have any staff with such a name.