Mam Lai Jasseh, a staffer of the Banjul City Council has been paid D1.4Million dalasis, through a single source contract in respect of a contract that was awarded to a company that he is operating on the sideline called UXL Group, to restructure the BCC, Freedom Newspaper can reveal. Mam Lai, a former resident of the United Kingdom, secured the contract through the help of Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe. She and the Mayor are related.

The Gambia Procurement Public Authority (GPPA) in a report entitled: “COMPLIANCE REVIEW FOR THE YEAR ENDED 31st DECEMBER 2019” has cited the BCC for gross violation of the GPPA ACT, failing to follow procurement regulations, lack of receipts to reconcile some of the single source contracts that it awarded to companies having close ties with council among other queries.  

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“The above-mentioned procurements further reveal to the review team that Council had not fully adhered to the thresholds of procurement method as provided for in the Regulations. Furthermore, we observed that there was No justification for the use of single source method for the above procurements. In addition, no prior approvals were sought for above mentioned single source procurements,” GPPA investigators wrote.

The company UXL Group, has been traced to Mam Lai Jasseh. He is said to be the owner of the company.

The GPPA reviewers noted that it is illegal for council to allow its officials to bid for contracts. They also lamented about the lack of credible procurement office at the BCC. Contracts that are meant to be subjected to public bidding are awarded through single source, which they said was in total contravention of the authority’s regulation.

Mam Lai and the Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe also have had hands in the Crab Island rehabilitation project. The project was awarded through a single source. The procurement unit was sidelined during the contract awarding.

“In addition to the use of single source above the threshold, Council has conducted procurement has also use RFQ for certain procurements above the threshold without prior approval example the procurement of Rehabilitation of the Crab Island Public toilets. The procurement procedure was not in line with the provisions in the Act and the Regulations,” the report stated.

“Furthermore, the procurement was conducted by individuals outside the Procurement Unit. The contract was awarded to Bassen Enterprise at bid price of D662,156.00. As per the minutes of the Contracts Committee on the said procurement, the invoices were collected by a group that visited Oostende with the Lord Mayor,” the report intimated.

The GPPA reviewers had this to say:

Non-Compliance

The separation of responsibilities by the PO is weak because of the lack of adequate involvement of the members of the SPU. Our review revealed that procurements were conducted by individuals from all departments during the period under review.

Council has conducted many procurements above the threshold provided in the Regulations without seeking prior approval from the Authority.

The Internal Audit is only involved in the procurement process after the goods are already supplied.

Implication:

  •  Unreported procurements are eminent.
  •  Transparency of the procurement process could be compromised.
  •  Potential conflict of interest as the procurement is done outside the SPU.
  •  Checks and quality assurance could be compromised.
  •  Prolong lead time may be experience.
  •  Violation of the provision of the Act.

 Recommendations

  •  The BCC should ensure that all procurements transactions are carried out by the SPU. The BCC should ensure that the SPU is establish and the procurement staff are train on public procurement and given the powers to conduct procurement.
  •  The internal Audit Unit should be involved in the process in making sure that all relevant documents are attach from the beginning rather than after the process.
  •  The PO should enhance its procurement planning and identify appropriate procurement methods.
  •  The PO should resort to competitive procurement through framework agreements to reduce single source procurement. Further, Council should ensure that single source procurements above the threshold are send to the Authority for prior approval.

With all the payments added, Mam Lai Jasseh was paid D1.4 million dalasis

There was no contact listed number for Mam Lai Jaiteh. Mayor Rohey Malick Lowe is said to out of work because she has tested positive for coronavirus.

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