A couple of million dollar questions about the ex-C.E.O.’s $121,000 contract

Dear Editor,

I refer to your article “C.E.O defends $121,000 six months contract” on your Mon 18th Feb 2019 issue.

Something does not sound right here. I question the procurement process used by the CEO and the Board (Chairman) and I urge the authorities involved and Government to look at: 

1. The procurement of the contract fails to uphold the Guiding Principles as detailed in “Part K.2 of the Treasury Instructions”

a. Open and fair competition

b. Wide participation of eligible bidders

c. Transparency

d. Responsiveness

e. Accountability

f. Consistency

g. Effectiveness

h. Legality

i. Value for money

2. Pursuant to Part K.7.2 (also see section F 5.09 – F 5.11; Procurement & Contracting; Consulting Services; MOF 2014), Single Source Selection can only be used for exceptional circumstances, which this procurement does not satisfy.

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a. There is no continuation of service (All projects are on the roll, i.e No emergency project that needs continuation) 

b. There is no need for rapid selection as there is no Emergency

c. This is not a small emergency assignment and the Consultant is NOT the only Consultant in Samoa that has the knowledge and skills to do the assignment. This Contract is definitely in Breach of Procurement Guidelines

3. I’d also like to raise the issue of conflict of interest. Did not the appointed Consultant act as a Personal and Professional referee for the current CEO? Tell me there is nothing wrong here when the referee is appointed to a $20,000 a month contract? The whole Board knows the former CEO who has been with them for the last nine consecutive years. Therefore the award of the contract, in my books is not right. 

4. The “Scope of Services” of the consultant are very similar or the same as what the 3 currently employed Technical Managers of the LTA are doing right now. That is a duplication of roles and unnecessary expense to the Government. Isn’t that the main reason why the Government has opted to MERGE the 2 Health entities? To prevent Duplication of roles and hence prevent unnecessary expenses?

5. Then comes the million dollar question. Does the procurement of the Consultant have anything to do with the premature and cessation of the employment contract of the most senior and experienced Technical Manager of the LTA, to justify the hiring of the former CEO as a TA (Technical Adviser) only for 6 months at $121,000 tala? Or is it just a coincidence? 

6. Million dollar question 2: Is the TA really for the technical divisions? Or is he hired to help the CEO of LTA who was appointed to look after our Country’s most important Civil works? (Roads, bridges, drainages, contractors etc). Se come on, e le valea uma kagaka.

7. Did the Contract ever get to the negotiation stage regarding remuneration? OMG, $121,000 is a lot of money for only 6 months. $20,167 per month, $10,083 fortnightly, for duplicating what the 3 Technical Managers are doing? Are you expecting poor old Leasi to do a miracle in 6 months to our roads, when he was there for 9 consecutive years as CEO and couldn’t do it?

Ia ae soia ia, the Contract has been signed and the man will be paid. 

I just wanted to ask these questions, and for Samoa to know about these happenings. Because it is NOT the first time some interesting stuff has popped up from LTA during the past few years.

As you can see I have gone into some depth in quoting Government Procurement Guidelines as a message to madame CEO that it is all good to quickly quote and recite Guidelines, but it is another thing to follow them. 

And not only you know how to quote these simple things. It’s all copy and paste. And I must applaud your talent in answering media questions, as it was in the story.

Ia e sao ai loa la Stui “Mea lea e leaga ai le aumai o le Chemical Engineer pule I auala a le Civil Engineer” Not me. THE MAN himself said those exact words.

Manuia Samoa. Manuia LTA ma tatou auala

 

L.G.F.D.F.

Igisigia Savai’i

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