The Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Madam Matilda Parker has admitted to lodging four Ghanaian consultants in her mother's house in the Mamba Point District of Monrovia.
Recently, the NPA hired four Ghanaian consultants headed by Mr. Ben Owosu in the areas of Land Tendering, Finance, operations and Marine services.
The four professionals who arrived in the country early February were lodged by the NPA in the residence of its Managing Director, Madam Matilda W. Parker for an unspecified amount of dollars.
The NPA Management has said that the four men were the only ones qualified for the six months contract which has no trace of competitive bidding process.
Liberian law requires that contract amounting to US$1M meets all Public Procurement and Concession Commission (PPCC) regulations.
Speaking to reporters over the weekend during a visit of US Ambassador, Deborah Malac at the Free Port of Monrovia, Madam Parker admitted to hosting the four consultants at her Mamba Point residence, but said it was done on a "pro bono" basis.
She said when the consultants came to the country, "all hotels in the City were booked by delegates of the High Level Partner (HLP) Meeting which took place early February. She added that she was 'constrained to host the consultants at her residence, but received not a cent for the service.
The Monday, February 18, 2013 edition of the Women Voices Newspaper, quoted Madam Parker as saying "It is better to bring people from Ghana and not Europe because the standard of European ports are different from African ports and the NPA needed to hire someone who understands the terrain."
During the meeting, Madam Parker presented to the U.S Envoy the issues of capacity building, financial system, and marine management, amongst others, as key areas of priority. She further informed the Ambassador that the NPA needs equipment to handle its operational capacity.
In response, Ambassador Marlac pointed out that there are many American companies that have expressed interest in investing in the ports of Liberia, but there are little or no information available on areas of investment for potential companies to partake, especially as it relates to open bidding process. She urged the NPA to make available information on investment activities on its website or through other means.
Recently, the Head of the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission, Madam Francis Johnson-Allison accused some government officials of establishing companies and awarding them government contracts outside the PPCC guidelines.
Speaking at the launch of the Open Budget Electronic Billboard in Monrovia, Cllr. Allison warned that the implementation of the government's budget must be done with high level of openness and transparency. She furthered that the awarding of government contract has to be open and transparent if the country is to succeed in fight against corruption.
The NPA currently plays a landlord role in the administration of the Freeport of Monrovia; while cargo handling and marine services are contracted to APM Terminals.
Why hired consultants when the Port has Managing Directors, for administration, legal affairs, operation and a captain of the port. Moreover, the port of Monrovia, for the first time since its establishment, does not have a Port Manager.
As it stands, APM Terminals have taken over marine services of the port of Monrovia, why hire a consultant for such service when the NPA has a captain? The NPA recently completed the US$21M dredging contract for the ports of Monrovia and Greenville.
Since the completion of the contract, the management has failed to give copy of such contract to the public amidst written request.
The hiring of the four Ghanaian consultants suggests that Liberia clearly lacks the trained manpower to carry out such function. Moreover, the refusal of the NPA to conduct competitive bidding process or request single sourcing from the PPCC remains everyone wonder. Author's contact, 231886270297; email: