By: Mohamed M. Sesay
The Speaker of the Fifth Parliament of the Second Republic of Sierra Leone Hon. Dr. Abass Bundu, has on Thursday 23rd of March 2023, decried the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for 3 million euros substandard work on the renovation of the House of Parliament.
Speaker Abass Bundu noted with dismay that the application of the 3 million Euros to Parliament had been applied in ways that fall far short and certainly do not meet with our expectations. He revealed that the contract for the renovation works was awarded by the European Union Office in Freetown to UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services). Evidently lacking the technical capacity to deliver on the contract, Speaker Bundu said UNOPS subcontracted the contract to a number of contractors.
“You will all recall that some renovation works have been going on in Parliament; some have reached completion and others are still in progress. These works have come about as a result of an EU grant of 27 million Euros in 2016 to support the governance sector in Sierra Leone and Parliament was allocated the sum of 3 million therefrom. For this generous assistance, we wish to express our thanks and appreciation to the European Union”, he edified.
Regrettably, Dr. Abass Bundu said some of the subcontractors have performed manifestly poorly and considerably below par, using materials and workmanship that are grossly substandard. He added that as a result such heinous act, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) authorized a Parliamentary Quality Assurance Committee to be constituted by the Clerk in July 2022. He intimated that the Committee had completed its assignment and had produced an excellent report notwithstanding the lack of cooperation by the UNOPS. “I want to take this opportunity to thank the Assurance Committee for a job well done”.
The Speaker of Parliament assured that the Report of the Parliament Service Committee is going to be considered by the Parliamentary Service Commission. Without prejudice to the ultimate decision that the PSC will take on the Report. He therefore, made it abundantly clear that unless immediate remedial measures are taken to ensure that the Fifth Parliament gets value for money through the rectification of the deficiencies and shortcomings in the works already done. He said they shall all take a dim view of the UNOPS and its subcontractors to the extent of considering their poor performance as contempt of Parliament as defined by the provisions of Section 95 of the Constitution.
He concluded by given strong worded warnings to UNOPS that the Fifth Parliament would not allow them to take refuge behind the shield of diplomatic immunity. He maintained that once they have descended from their exalted position as a diplomatic agent and come to the market place as a contractor, by that act alone, they cannot juristically be allowed to claim immunity from the laws of the market place that relate to contractors in this country.