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Editorial

Emphasizing An Independent Inquiry…

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Few days following various newspaper publications on what many referred to as “a dubious deal” by the administration of the Liberia National Police or LNP, a denial was on Friday, August 2, 2013 issued by Deputy Police Director for Administration, Col. Rose Striker. Col. Striker, who’s at the core of the “double deal”, told a news conference at the LNP headquarters that at no time did the LNP award any contract to the Monrovia Merchandise Mart or MMM owned and operated by a Liberian businessman, Mr. Edward Gbor.

Emphasizing An Independent Inquiry into the “Double-Deal” at the LNP

According to the Deputy Police Director for Administration, the bidding process executed by the Procurement Department of the LNP was fraudulent, and therefore, nullified upon her return from the United States. Even though Deputy Director Striker has denied the awarding of the contract by the LNP to the MMM, documents in the possession of this paper strongly detest such denial.

Following the competitive bidding process, in which the MMM and others were involved, the LNP, on August 26, 2011, officially wrote Mr. Gbor and his company, declaring him winner of the bid, following which he immediately travelled to the United States of America and began the process of procuring, storing and shipment into the country over two thousand pieces of uniforms and accessories for the Liberian police at the cost of US$200,000.00. Without reference to the Procurement Office of the Liberia National Police, Deputy Director Striker, immediately upon her return from the United States, in a communication on October 6, 2011 nullified the contract awarded to Liberian businessman Edward Gbor, in favour of a Lebanese businessman, only  identified as Bassam to whom she awarded the same contract.

Perhaps depending on “connections” in the government, the intervention of the Public Procurement and Concession Commission or PPCC, which investigated and found the Deputy Police Director guilty for illegally cancelling the contract, may have just been very fruitless, as Striker and the Police Administration continue to disregard its ruling. The PPCC ruling- a copy of which is in the possession of this paper, reads: After reviewing and analyzing documents submitted by the complainant and the respondent entity, and referencing the applicable provision of the PPCC Act and its regulations, the panel is of the opinion that Madam Rose Striker, Deputy Inspector General of the Liberia National Police (LNP) acted illegally when she nullified complainant’s award as winner of the police uniforms bid proceedings.”

The panel further ruled that the action taken by Madam Striker was not only in violation of the PPCC Act of 2010, as she had no authority under the said act to nullify a procurement proceedings or decision reached by the procurement committee of the LNP, but also an attempt to usurp the exclusive authority of the complainants, appeal and review panel conferred by the act.

“There being no evidence of corruption, fraud, coercion, collusion or violation of the PPCC act by either the procurement committee of the LNP, or the Monrovia Merchandise Mart, the panel herby upholds the complainant’s contention that the action taken by Madam Strike is contrary to the PPCC Act of 2010 and violation thereof, and also uphold the decision of the procurement committee of the LNP, declaring the Monrovia Merchandise Mart as belonging to the Liberian businessman, Edward Gbor, winner of the police uniforms bid proceeding as being consistent with law,” said the PPCC ruling.

The PPCC, then, instructed the Liberia National Police to proceed to award the police uniforms procurement contract to the Monrovia Merchandise Mart, as that was the stage at which the proceeding was when it was wrongfully and illegally interrupted and stopped- something the hierarchy of the Liberia National Police, including Rose Striker, continues to defy.

Col. Striker’s Friday’s denial may simply be suggesting a “complete falsehood” of the official letter to the MMM by the LNP Procurement, as well as including the PPCC ruling (which is in the possession of this paper), something with which we beg to differ. This situation at the LNP may seems simple, but very harmful to President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf’s ardent belief in accountability and transparent as the surest way of preventing corruption in our Liberian society.

In the wake of these claims and counter-claims between the Monrovia Merchandize Mart headed by Mr. Edward Gbor and Deputy Police Director for Administration Rose Striker, it is in our best interest if this situation can attract the attention of President Sirleaf. Towards this direction, the urgent need for an independent inquiry must be emphasized.

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