By Makutu Manneh
Mr. Ebrima Sanyang, Director of Procurement Policy and Operations at Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), continuing his testimony before the ongoing Commission of Inquiry into Area Councils and Municipalities revealed that Banjul City Council (BCC) used the trial procedure to purchase 30 led lights from Dakar, Senegal without prior approval by the GPPA, and this was wrong.
He said no procuring organization should be engaged in such an act as the Act has made it clear that no procuring organization should go into procurement without passing through the authority at every single stage of the procurement proceedings.
“So as such, the answer is no they should have come to the authority for approval before proceeding with such an exercise,” he told the commission.
“The practice is completely wrong because no procuring organization should use public funds without passing through the authority for approval,” he reiterated.
He said the implication for this act is possible corrupt practices, fraud, and no value for money plus many more implications.
It was discovered that some members of the BCC contract committee have objected to this procedure arguing that 30 lights for trial is too much.
The local government commission of inquiry found out that BCC decided to use the trial procedure to purchase these 30 lights after GPPA declined to approve its request to purchase 348 LED lights from Dakar.
The cost of this project was Four Million Seven Hundred Thousand and BCC informed GPPA in a letter that this came as a result of the 2 million subventions received from the government.
The council has also informed GPPA that they want to purchase the LED- lights from Senegal because the kind of specifications they wanted were not available in The Gambia. GPPA said they declined BCC’s request because there was no procurement method.
Also, this was because of the link the Mayor of Banjul, RoheyMalick Lowe has with the Mayor of Dakar.
Mr Sanyany testified that as BCC wanted to use single sourcing to make these purchases, it was not in line with any rules governing the use of single sourcing.
When deputy lead counsel Patrick Gomez asked about the stage of the project, Sanyang said he was informed that the led-lights were purchased in pieces because BCC did not have funds to buy them at once.
He added that even with the use of piecemeal purchase of the LED lights, they should have been approved by the GPPA.
However, Jainaba Bah, Chairperson of the commission, pointed out that BCC’s letter to GPPA clearly indicated that they have secured funding and intended to use part of it for the street lights.
Sanyang said he was informed that there was no tendering and so the lights were purchased in piecemeal.