Debt Court Summons Liberian Senate Over Alleged Failure to Pay Vehicle Vendor
Monrovia – FrontPageAfrica has learned that the debt court in Monrovia Tuesday issued the Liberian Senate a writ of summoned to response to accusation of their failure to pay vehicles vendor “United Motor Corporation” for vehicles they took on account of government.
Report by Henry Karmo – [email protected]
According to sources, Senate Pro-tempore Amah Jallah who heads the Senate refused to accept the writ from the sheriff but rather refereed them to the legal department of the Senate and according to one of our sources no one was in the department to receive the writ.
Staffs in the legal department who asked to be anonymous confirmed that a writ came from the court but said there was procedure error on the part of the court as to who the writ should have been served.
“I think there was procedure error in this Senate individual senator have their lawyer but if the writ is for the entire body the procedure is that it goes to the secretary of the Senate and they will circulate it and sent it to the legal department but to go directly to the Pro-Tempore I see that as procedure error,” our source said.
In an attempt to contact the company a man believe to be in the higher ups of the company who refused to disclosed his identity via telephone confirmed that he had sue the Senate but said, going to the media wasn’t an option for him.
“I choose to solve it this way and not by going to the media so if you want to know anything about this case ask the lawyers or the judges. I am not prepared to comment,” he said.
In 2016 FrontPageAfrica reported what appeared to be a broad-day light case of breaking the law – and trying to get away with it; unfolded in the upper house of the Liberian legislature.
In a confidential letter obtained by FrontPageAfrica, all 30 members of the Senate acknowledged breaching the Public Procurement & Concessions Commission regulations regarding the purchase of some 30 vehicles and asking the President to intervene on their behalf to pay the vendors.
“In view of the above mentioned, the Members of the Liberian Senate would have me to further inform Your Excellency, that the Body would appreciate highly were you to timely intervene, so that the vendors will receive their payments and save the face of the Liberian Senate in this manner.
Please accept, Madam President, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration and esteem, regards” – J. Nanborlor P. Singbeh, Sr., Secretary, Liberian Senate
FrontPageAfrica learned that the Senators individually took it upon themselves to take the vehicles on credit from a local vehicle importer, GBK Motors on the condition that they would pay when the budget passes.
However, when the Senators reneged on their pledge to pay and the vendors came knocking on their doors, the Senators reportedly appealed to the President to join them in breaking the law by breaching the PPCC regulations.
A copy of the letter submitted to the President in possession of FrontPageAfrica states:
I have the honour to present my compliments and by directive of the Liberian Senate (IN SESSION), apprise Your Excellency that, the Liberian Senate took thirty vehicles from vendors in favour of Members of the Senate in the total amount of one million three hundred ninety five thousand United States Dollars (US$1,395,000.00), to facilitate to and fro work movement of its Members, so as to obtain quorum for the commencement of its legislative duties and County Visitation.
This transaction is to be paid during the FY-2015/2016 Budget that is now coming to an end.
Accordingly, the vendors are currently mounting pressure on the Senate to effect payment for said vehicles, and PPCC is interposing objection to the process, accusing the Senate of not adhering to the PPCC Procurement Law.
In view of the above mentioned, the Members of the Liberian Senate would have me to further inform Your Excellency, that the Body would appreciate highly were you to timely intervene, so that the vendors will receive their payments and save the face of the Liberian Senate in this manner.
Please accept, Madam President, the renewed assurances of my highest consideration and esteem.
Nanborlor P. Singbeh, Sr.
Secretary, Liberian Senate
The PPCC regulations regarding Threshold for Procurement and international open competitive bidding states that the Thresholds above which international open competitive bidding shall be used are the ceiling the Thresholds for national open competitive bidding.
The regulations states: “The ceiling Thresholds for national open competitive bidding shall be the following estimated contract prices. Above these ceilings, international open competitive bidding shall be used.
In the case of contracts for the procurement of goods, US$500,000; In the case of contracts for the procurement of services, US$200,000; In the case of contracts for the procurement of works, US$1,000,000.
The regulations put the thresholds for the requests for quotations shall be the following estimated contract prices as follows:
In the case of contracts for the procurement of goods, US$10,000; In the case of contract for the procurement of services, US$10,000; In the case of contracts for the procurement of works, US$30,000.
In the FrontPageAfrica 2016 article it was discovered that the Senators ignored the Open competitive bidding which requires government entities to nationally advertise or internationally advertise prior to purchasing.
“This is not the first time. They always buy things and call PPCC to back date documents”, one source told FPA. Violating this provision of the PPCC Law is punishable by fine and imprisonment.
“Any person who contravenes any provision of this Act like receiving or giving kickbacks or bribes, being involved with connivance, collusion, cohesion, conflict of interest, not timely or properly executing contracts, etc. commits an offence.
Any such person convicted by a Court of a violation of this Act shall, upon summary conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a period not exceeding five (5) years and or a fine not exceeding US$100,000. Violation of provisions of this Act may also constitute grounds for debarment.
The Commission may recommend for prosecution any person who in the view of the Commission has contravened in any material respect the provisions of this Act.”
Despite the letter to the President, authorities at the Senate insists that they did nothing wrong and claimed that they followed the PPCC process.
Senator George Tengbeh (UP-Lofa County), Chairman on Rules, Order and Administration in the Senate said: “The PPCC gave us the go-ahead to get our vehicles and the government is paying for them.”