Liberia: Labor Minister to ‘Risk’ National Security Documents and Data in Shady Bid for the Production of Residence and Work Permits

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MONROVIA – Minister of Labor, Cllr. Charles Gibson is back in the spotlight for allegedly tampering with the bidding process that could see Liberia’s residence and work permit data land the hands of a Dubai company that has no experience in handling national security documents and data.

The bid is intended to procure the professional services of an ideally competent and experienced digital international vendor to deliver goods and services for the procurement of digitalized Residence and Work Permits under a contractual agreement beginning FY2020/2021.

Documents obtained by FrontPageAfrica shows that the Ministry of Labor in collaboration with the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) crafted the tender in a manner that sought to suppress local companies’ ability to ably compete the bid.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that the though the Minister of Labor was advised by the Public Procurement Concession Commission, he insisted on giving out the bid forms for US$3,000 and interested companies must have a bank balance of not less than US$15 million or its equivalent in any valid foreign currency.

“You may obtain copy of the bidding document from the Project Officer/Procurement Section of the Ministry of Labor for a fee of US$3,000 (Three Thousand USD) beginning December 2, 2020 from the Ministry of Labor, Ministerial Complex, Congo Town…,” the invitation to bid states.

The invitation to bid also states that “All Bids must include two proposals (Technical Proposal and Financial Proposal) and must be accompanied by a Bid Security in form of Manager’s check/Bank Guarantee of US$160,000 from a reputable bank”.

Though the invitation to bid also requests proof of three years of similar services rendered, FrontPageAfrica gathered that the Minister of Labor is favoring Contec Global from Dubai which has not been able to demonstrate its experience in meeting international standards in delivering the required service.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that the Labor Ministry has not sought ‘no objection’ on this bid from the PPCC.

Contec Global executives, FrontPageAfrica gathered, were part of United Arab Emirates (UAE) delegation that visited Liberia sometime last year, promising to massively invest in Liberia.

The UAE delegation, according to an Executive Mansion source familiar with the development, were invited into the country by Minister of State without Portfolio, Mr. Trokon Kpui and Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Mr. Nathaniel McGill.

FrontPageAfrica gathered that, but has been unable to confirm, Labor Minister Gibson has been acting under the instructions of Minister McGill and has, therefore, remained adamant on heeding to PPCC’s advice to amend and reissue the bid to accommodate local firms that have the capacity to deliver the service.

Authorities at the Labor Ministry could not be reached for comments up to press time on Wednesday.

Sources also informed FrontPageAfrica that there were issues raised with the absence of a warranty provision, rollout plan with timeliness, defect liability, pre-financing arrangements, among others in the current bidding document.

Cllr. Gibson was confirmed as Labor Minister last October having been denied confirmation for other positions previously twice with issues surrounding his character being key for those denials.

However, his third preferment was greeted with sympathy by Senator Milton Teahjay (Unity Party, Sinoe) who pleaded with his colleagues for mercy on him.

According to Senator Teahjay, Cllr. Gibson has been denied two times by the Senate, and according to him, Gibson is a family man who has responsibility to take care of his family and that for the past three years Gibson has been without a Job.

Said Senator Teahjay: “This is Cllr. Gibson third appearance here. A good number of senators have been able to review his credential and know that he is qualified. This is an appeal to my colleagues; it is an appeal from my heart. I know what existence means in the absence of employment.”

Added Senator Teahjay: “All of us are men, fathers and know what it means to be without job. This is a time for this Senate to show compassion and put ourselves in his shoes to give him the chance to prove himself beyond what we have been hearing and for which he has been repeatedly recall. We should not allow him to be recalled this time. We cannot allow our friend to perish with all his qualification. My appeal is please let’s give him the opportunity this time to serve.”

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