Did Health Perm. Sec. pocket millions in kickbacks from Atlas Trading?

Written by Saja

The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health has denied an allegation that he is among the senior government officials who pocketed D11million from Atlas Trading for giving them the contract to supply dialysis consumables to the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital. 

Speaking to What's On-Gambia, Momodou Lamin Jaiteh said: "The person who said that, let him prove how can I make that amount. If he has evidence, let him prove. Where is his evidence that I have done so." 

A whistleblower at the Ministry of Health alleged that Jaiteh and some procurement officers received D11million in kickbacks from the CEO of Atlas Trading, Mbye Bahoum for single-sourcing dialysis consumables from his company without any bidding. 

"The D23million contract given to Atlas Trading is far more than the threshold in the GPPA Act for single sourcing. The Act provides that any single sourcing more than D10,000 should take quotations at least from 3 suppliers. In this case, the Ministry should have at least requested for quotations (RFQ) from a minimum of 3 suppliers," said the whistleblower. 

The permanent secretary denied deviating from the Public Procurement Act saying:" Atlas was selected by the procurement committee, not me. He had stock readily available for three months because people were dying due to lack of dialysis." 

He added: "How can I receive millions on something that has been quantified and approved by the GPPA:" 

Asked whether the owner of Atlas Trading is his friend, Jaiteh fumed: "Bahoum is a normal business person, like any other person. He is not a friend. He is not a relative." 

When reminded about the core principles of the Public Procurement Act which include transparency, accountability, fairness, integrity and the need to promote competition to obtain value for money, the permanent secretary said: "There was always open bidding before this one."