17 January 2013

Liberia: PPCC Refutes Media Report

The Public Procurement and Concessions Commission (PPCC) has strongly refuted a story recently published in the National Chronicles Newspaper under the caption, "At Transport Ministry: PPCC Violates Bidding Process" carried in its Tuesday, January 15, 2013 Vol. 18 No. 237 edition.

The Commission has described the paper's publication as falsehood and misinformation and has thereby provided what it calls accurate accounts in keeping with its mandate to promote integrity and public confidence in the procurement process.

According to the allegation in the paper, "PPCC is on the verse of approving a request by the Ministry of Transport to sole source West Africa Architects Construction Engineers (WA/CE) for Weigh Bridge, even though WAACE did not participate in the competitive bidding process conducted."

According to PPCC's Director of Information and Communications Department, Nathan N. Bengu, the National Chronicle's assertion as informed by Movement For he Restoration of Accountability and Transparency (MORAT) "At Transport Ministry: PPCC Violates Bidding Process" "MORAT, a whistle blower, is requesting the relevant government agency to prevent PPCC from engaging into acts which run contrary to the effort of the President in deinstitutionalizing and tackling corruption in government.

Responding to the allegation, Mr. Bengu said PPCC does not conduct bidding processes for procuring entities. He noted, "Public Procurement is decentralized. Every procuring or concession entity is responsible for procurement or concessions carried out by the entity, according to Section 21(2) of the PPC Act," Bengu clarified.

He said the Commission is a major component of the public financial management reform agenda in Liberia adding, "Procurement alone accounts for a significant portion (over 50%) of the national budget." PPCC disclosed that owing to its monitoring activities, public procurement procedures have been significantly enhanced, which contributed largely to Liberia moving up to number three (3) on the Transparency International's (TI) Corruption Index, as reported on national and international wires late last year.

According to PPCC, the sole source procurement method, on the contrary, involves the consideration of only one contractor, for which prior approval must be obtained from PPCC in accordance with Section 55 of the PPC Act.

The Commission said as a part of its due diligence, it requested and received documents which established that W AACE, the only locally authorized dealer as enshrined in the manufacturer's authorization from John Maguire & Sons who are the official manufacturers of Weigh Bridges, having factories as Apple Bay, Wiggin, in the United Kingdom.

"it is noteworthy to state that the Commission is disappointed that some civil society organizations, in this case MORAT and media institutions, in this case National Chronicle, will provide misleading information for the consumption of the general public, without first contacting the concerned institution; in this case the Commission. The falsehood of this news article is further evidenced by the caption of the photo of PPCC's Executive Director as carried by the National Chronicle which states that she is at work when actually the Executive Director was delivering opening remarks at a workshop on October, 2012, held in Bomi County to build the capacity of local county officials in keeping with the PPCC Ac," a release from the Communication Director averred.

The PPCC then urged media institutions in the country to recognize that what they publish speaks to the editorial quality of their work. The Commission at the same time called on media institutions to take advantage of the Freedom of information Act by requesting relevant and factual information to validate their news articles before publication.

The Commission said civil society organizations who are to represent the collective interest of the citizenry must be responsible enough so as not to mar their integrity by engaging in the dissemination of malicious information as this act undoubtedly undermines the peace and stability which Liberians are now enjoying.

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