The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) and subcontractors that performed poorly during the renovation of Parliament will soon be dragged in for contempt of Parliament after they were found wanting for deceiving lawmakers and bringing the name of the House into disrepute.
The Speaker of Parliament, Hon. Dr. Abass Chernor Bundu did not mince his words in the Well of Parliament on Thursday 23rd March 2023 that “unless immediate remedial measures are taken to ensure that this Parliament gets value for money through the rectification of the deficiencies and shortcomings in the works already done, we shall take a dim view of the UNOPS and its subcontractors to the extent of treating their poor delivery as a contempt of Parliament by the provisions of Section 95 of the Constitution.”
Section 95 of the Constitution of Sierra Leone states that “Any act or omission which obstructs or impedes Parliament in the performance of its functions, or which obstructs or impedes any Member or officer thereof in the discharge of his duties or affronts the dignity of Parliament, or which tends either directly or indirectly to produce such a result shall be a contempt of Parliament.”
The Speaker stated that “Hon. Members, You will all recall that some renovation works have been going on in Parliament; some have reached completion and others are still ongoing. These works have come about as a result of an EU grant of 27m Euros in 2016 to support the government sector in Sierra Leone and Parliament was allocated the sum of 3m therefrom. For this generous assistance, we wish to express our thanks and appreciation to the European Union.
However, the application of the 3m Euros to Parliament has been applied in ways that fall far short and certainly do not meet our expectations. The contract for the renovation works was awarded by the EU Office in Freetown to UNOPS (United Nations Office for Project Services).
Lacking the technical capacity to deliver, UNOPS subcontracted several subcontractors.
Regrettably, some of the subcontractors have performed manifestly poorly and considerably below par, using materials and workmanship that are grossly substandard. As a result, the Parliamentary Service Commission (PSC) authorized a Parliamentary Quality Assurance Committee to be constituted by the Clerk in July 2022. This Committee has completed its assignment and has produced an excellent report notwithstanding the lack of cooperation by the UNOPS and I want to take this opportunity to thank the Assurance Committee for a job well done.
This Report is going to be considered by the Parliamentary Service Commission. Without prejudice to the decision that the PSC will take on the Report, I hasten to make it abundantly clear at this point that unless immediate remedial measures are taken to ensure that this Parliament gets value for money through the rectification of the deficiencies and shortcomings in the works already done, we shall take a dim view of the UNOPS and its subcontractors to the extent of treating their poor delivery as a contempt of Parliament by the provisions of Section 95 of the Constitution.
I also want to sound a warning to UNOPS that this Parliament will not allow them to take refuge behind the shield of diplomatic immunity.
Once they have descended from their exalted position as diplomats and come to the market place as contractors, by that act alone they cannot juristically be allowed to claim immunity from the rules of the market place that relate to contractors.”
Members of Parliament thanked the Special Committee for a job well done. Hon. Lahai Marrah of the main Opposition All People’s Congress Party said that this is what he was expecting from the administrative wing of Parliament because since the rehabilitation started there is nothing to write home about. “UNPOPS need to be brought to book and must refund the money back to Parliament”, he said.
Hon. Alusine Kanneh, the Deputy Government Whip said that this was what they expected from parliament, whilst thanking the good work done by the Committee. He noted that the whole work was poorly done.
Disclaimer: Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Sierraloaded or any employee thereof.
Be the first to comment