President George Manneh Weah has made his third batch of appointments. But like the previous two batches, this one seems to have come with much controversy centered around the integrity of one of the nominees.
Though background checks are still on-going on new appointees, integrity issues hover over the newly named Deputy Managing Director for Administration (DMDA) at the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation, Moseray Momoh, if documents in the possession of the Daily Observer are anything to go by.
Momoh once served the LWSC as Procurement and Contract Management Expert in the Department of Technical Services, though briefly.
Investigation conducted by the Daily Observer revealed that Mr. Momoh was “asked to resign” by the LWSC’s Management for tampering with bid evaluation processes.
“He was one of the most powerful in the procurement department so he thought to use his position to manipulate the processes along the way. He had connection with people and companies in whose favor he was working,” a former employee familiar with the circumstances surrounding Moseray’s dismissal, told the Daily Observer yesterday.
According to the source, the Management of the LWSC launched an investigation after it was informed about complaints of conflict of interest and bid tampering by some employees of the Corporation. “When the investigation started, he was asked to recuse himself from the entire process,” the source said.
“In receiving the report of the bid evaluation panel on the White Plains water treatment plant, the attention of the Management was brought to a separate report explaining the circumstances which led to Mr. Moseray Momoh’s recusal from the rest of the proceedings,” concluded the committee appointed to investigate the matter, in its final report.
The key issue highlighted by the investigation was that the Procurement Expert (Momoh) did not indicate the nature of his or that of his company’s relationship with one of the participating bidders prior to the commencement of the bid evaluation exercise. This, according to informed sources, is critical because in such cases full disclosure allows all parties to be protected.
“Such an admission called into question the transparency of the process. However, the review of the documents concluded that this allegation is factual and that the situation didn’t obtain despite the fact that the accused claimed that the other Momoh was his son,” the report from the investigation said.
The investigative team also said in its report that the procedures utilized by the bid evaluation committee were not sufficiently robust to avoid several lapses which obtained. His alleged dubious act was in connection with a Chinese-Liberian company, which was alleged to be of interest to him.
Although Chen-Liberia, originally called China and Liberia Enterprise, was established through Articles of Incorporation signed in 1992 and amended in 2012, both names were used interchangeably. More importantly, the bid documents were paid for by China-Liberia Enterprise though the bid was submitted by Chen-Liberia Enterprise, the document indicated.
Robust examination during the preliminary examination of bids revealed that Chen’s registration for both Liberia and China had expired since and their translations into English were not notarized.
The committee recommended that the procurement expert be terminated for issues of conflict of interest and the Procurement Manager be sanctioned for negligent oversight of the process since it lies within his area.
“Management has continuously reminded of the reputational challenges that the corporation faces and the need to ensure that such lapses in bid receipt and documentation do not obtain,” the source noted.
Based on the recommendations from the investigative team, Mr. Momoh did not spend a year in the employ of the Corporation. This according to reliable sources, was as the result of some unwholesome acts he was allegedly involved in. He got employed with the LWSC on October 1, 2014 and was discharged of his duties on May 21, 2015.
The solicitation of the bids, which he was accused of tampering with and for which he was eventually sacked, was intended for the White Plains water treatment plant project. He was initially suspended by the LWSC Management without pay for a month during the course of the investigation.
A letter signed by the then Managing Director, Charles Allen and signed May 21, 2015 noted, “In view of the allegation levied against you by the bid evaluation committee, the LWSC is constrained to suspend you with immediate effect without pay until completion of a full investigation which will not exceed 30 days. During your suspension, you are hereby ordered to handover UWSSP documents to Mr. Zohn Doebo, procurement manager and make yourself available when required by the committee.”
Momoh was among over seventy appointees named by President Weah prior to his day-long working visit to the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Since his ascendency, President Weah’s appointments have not fallen short of controversy.
His first two batches of appointees reportedly had people with tainted characters. Most notable among these were the first Justice Minister designate, Charles Gibson, who is reported to have defrauded a client of a huge sum of money.
Though he finally paid back the client’s money, Cllr. Gibson’s nomination was however rescinded by the President, but this was after he had gone through confirmation hearings and widespread public condemnation of Gibson’s nomination.
Another controversial pick is Assistant Minister for Extension and Research at the Ministry of Agriculture, Alvin Wesseh, who was expelled from the University of Liberia.