Liberia: ‘PPCC Did Not Approve’ Elections Commission US$182k Thermometer Rental for the By-elections

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MONROVIA – The Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Madam Davidetta Brown-Lansannah would have to provide more explanations to justify her payment of US$182,320 for facial 20 facial recognition thermometers as the Public Procurement Concession Commission (PPCC) has distanced itself from the approval of said contract.

The thermometers were rented from Tuman Enterprise by the NEC to be used during the just-ended by-elections in Nimba, Grand Gedeh, Bong and Bomi Counties.

The thermometers were used to perform non-contact automatic body temperature detection, brush human face, and perform high-precision infrared human temperature acquisition, and high effect.

The actual price of the non-contact face recognition thermometer cost at most US$1,300, however, it is baffling how the NEC rented each piece for US$9,166.

This has raised eyebrows and subjected all the commissioners of the Elections Commission to investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission (LACC).

Sources within the LACC informed FrontPageAfrica the NEC Chairperson admitted to investigators that the company from which the special thermometers were rented belong to her brother. She reportedly added that PPCC approved the rental, thereby, the contract went through due process.

FrontPageAfrica has not been able to verify Madam Lansannah-Brown’s statement to the LACC.

However, FrontPageAfrica has seen a communication from the PPCC to the LACC indicating that the PPCC is unaware of any contract for the rental of facial recognition and temperature check machines, neither did they approve any such contract.

The PPCC’s communication disclosed that the NEC submitted its procurement plan on August 17, 2021 and it was reviewed and approved on August 27, 2021.

A procurement plan is a document prepared by a procuring entity indicating type of items (goods, works, and services) to be procured, coding with procurement method, timelines for invitation or advertisement, bid opening, evaluation, procurement committee approval and expected delivery date, etc.

“The PPCC states that there was no contract package nor description for facial recognition and temperature testing machines presented and indicated by the NEC on its Bong, Nimba, Grand Gedeh, and Bomi Counties by-elections procurement plan and accompanying notes,” the PPCC indicated in the communication.

The PPCC further explained that the NEC’s procurement plan included only four rentals including vehicle rental and lease (sole source), verification equipment (restricted bidding), Motorbikes rental and lease, and conference hall rental.

The PPCC indicated that the procurement processes below US$200,000 are not subject to the PPCC’s prior review and approval before award of contract as the procedures and regulations.

However, PPC Act Part 1 and 27(c) requires a procuring entity to conduct processes in consonance with applicable procedures: invite bidders, issue bidding document, conduct bid opening, conduct due diligence, and evaluate the proposals from bidders, recommend a responsive bidder in line with the predetermined criteria and submit to the Procurement Committee for acceptance or rejection and institute all applicable values and principles during the conduct of these processes.

The PPCC informed the LACC that the post review of procurement and the contract were not conducted.

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