Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has obtained a load of documents alleging that the Director General of the General Services Agency, Mary Broh, has sold government vehicles to several individuals despite a government mandate halting the sale of all scrap vehicles under the GSA.
Madam Broh’s decision to auction vehicles – documents of transactions in FPA possession – contravenes instructions by the government, violates public procurement regulations and further drains government’s vehicles assets.
News of the GSA boss’ action comes amid lingering concerns that the new administration has inherited a broke government and would struggle to manage existing resources.
The FPA probe also comes on the heels of a recent mandate by President George Manneh Weah urging former public officials to turnover government vehicles by February 9 – a deadline that has already elapsed.
Ahead of the transitional period, which ushered in the Presidency of Mr. Weah, the Cabinet, under the administration of former President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, ordered the preservation of “all state assets under the ambit of the GSA” until a review process is conducted by the GSA, Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) and the Governance Commission.
The Committee’s Recommendations
Following the revision process, the committee again recommended to the office of the former President that the sale of all government vehicles should be stopped, declaring that the process adapted to auction government vehicles was illegal.
The body also recommended that no previous administration official should be allowed to purchase government vehicles.
“In short, our recommendations were that – the way and methods in which government vehicles were being scrap should be stopped and that the law should be followed to the letter,” says Dorbor Jallah, Executive Director of the PPCC.
“We suggested that if anything (vehicle) should be scrap, it should go through open tender.”
Jallah, however, said until the end of the transitional process up to the inception of the new government, the moratorium placed on the sale of government vehicles had not been rescinded.
And further investigation by FPA shows that the moratorium is still in place while the Cabinet has not convened under the new administration to hold extensive discussions on the issue.
In the main time, Mr. Jallah said the law still prevents the sale of government vehicles and recommendations following the revision process should still be adhere to in accordance with the law.
Partiality in Selling Scrap Vehicles
The committee was concerned about the partiality of the auction process often at the disadvantage of a long serving public officials assigned with vehicles but have to turn over said assets to successors, who would make a request and purchase the vehicle after serving for just a year.
The committee also suggested that if vehicles were to be sold, it should be done through a public auction where bidders would compete fairly in compliance with the law.
Said Jallah: “And the public auction should not be limited to any segment of society or you have a public tender for it, where people can come… PPCC was simply saying that all of those things should be done with a reserve price by looking at the value of the car and price it but don’t just leave it open and that’s what the law requires.”
The report also advised that the GSA should transfer a particular scrap vehicle to another agency/ministry instead of auctioning vehicles since all public institutions do not have the same budgetary strength.
This, in the wisdom of some budget experts, would reduce government’s recurrent expenditure on the purchase of vehicles.
But Broh has turned a complete blind eye to the committee’s recommendations and existing PPCC regulations selling at least five vehicles since November 2017.
On November 1, 2017, Madam Broh sanctioned the sale of a 2012 Nissan Patrol to one Morris Freeman for US$500 and later on November 3, she also ordered the sale of a Toyota Land Cruiser SUV for US$200 to Miekee Gray.
On January 18 and 19, 2018, she then ordered the respective sale of a Toyota Hilux to Rockson Nemly for US$1,000 and a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado to Varney A. Sirleaf for US$3,000.
At the same time, some aggrieved workers of the GSA have raised red flag over the alleged sale of heavy-duty equipment, which they claimed “worth millions of United States dollars but has disappeared in thin air”.
The workers alleged that 10 forklifts donated by the Chinese government, 280 containers provided by the United States Ebola response team as well as a crane and two forklifts donated by the US team, have all gone missing.
When an FPA reporter sought clarity from the GSA Boss about her recent auctioning of government vehicles and other allegations, she responded angrily.
Said Broh: “Go and report whatever you have. I don’t care. Just make sure you should write the facts or else if you lie on me I will sue your a**.”
‘Under fire’ Broh Criticized
Madam Broh is one of few top officials retained by the new administration, but her reappointment at the GSA has come under scrutiny after some employees accused her of misdeeds at the agency.
In their petition statement rejecting the reappointment of Madam Broh, the workers outlined a seven point accusations.
They mentioned corruption, nepotism, huge disparity in the distribution of allowances, use of invective on employees, lack of capacity building programs, denying employees’ benefits from government partners, and arbitrary dismissal and suspension.
“We as citizens of Liberia (that) massively voted the CDC because we are fed up with massive corruptions and abuse of power,” the workers said in their petition, while calling on the President to reexamined her preferment “because she has violated all the norms and values we stood for as Liberians”.