Put all Govt. contracts to Tenders Board, Cabinet

The Minister of Finance Sili Epa Tuioti has warned all Government ministries and agencies chief executive officers and board directors to ensure all contracts go to the Tenders Board for its deliberation and Cabinet for final approval.

Sili, who is also the chair of the Tenders Board, said even contracts below $250,000 should go through that process and unilateral decisions will not be accepted. 

“It does not matter if the contract was issued by the CEO and the Board is under the threshold (of $250,000), procurement laws prohibits sole sourcing without consideration by the Tender’s Board and final approval by Cabinet,” he said, in response to questions from the Samoa Observer. 

The Minister said CEOs and board directors across Government including state-owned entities (SOE) should be reminded that they have to comply with procurement laws.

The warning by Sili comes on the back of a decision last month to award a $121,000 six-month consultancy contract to the former Land and Transport Authority CEO Leasi John Galuvao. The contract was approved by the current CEO Galumalemana Ta'atialeoitiiti A. Tutuvanu-Schwalger and the LTA Board. However, Leasi has refused to take up the contract. 

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Under Samoa's procurement laws, such a contract should have gone before the Tenders Board, according to the Minister. 

“It should’ve come to the Tenders Board. We need to make sure we review who is the best candidate for any contract and again under procurement laws, whether it is short term six months, 12 months or so, the fact remains that is has to go through the tender process,” he said.

Sili said the proper process would be for the Ministry or the SOE to put in a request with the Tenders Board for a single source contract along with the reasons justifying such an appointment. 

“And after our review, we will submit to Cabinet for their final approval. The CEOs have been reminded of this process," he added. 

The Minister then criticised Galumalemana and the LTA Board for awarding the contract without going through due process. 

“The CEO and LTA Board should have known, she has been in that position for more than 12 months, surely she should have known,” he said. 

Samoa Observer has sought comments from Galumalemana. 

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