NEC Thermometer Vendor Causes Havoc Over COVID-19 Certificates  Arrival, Frustrating Hundreds Of Travelers

NEC Chairperson Davidetta Browne Lansanah (center), is the sister of David T. Browne or Mtotaling Browne (left) and Arnold H. Badio (right), Vice President for Operations and President/CEO of Tuma Enterprises, respectively.

As if the controversy Mtotaling Brown, Vice President for Operations of TUMA Enterprises and half-brother of Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah, chairperson of the  National Elections Commission (NEC), is yet satisfy amidst heavy legal proceedings over recent criminal investigation by the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission surrounding a US$180,000 for 22 pieces of thermometers that were rented by the institution for the just ended By-Elections in four countries, Mr. Mtotaling Brown is again at the center of another situation at Incident Management System (COVID-19) where  thousands of United States dollars reportedly paid by  incoming travelers for COVID-19 certificate are yet to be accounted for.

According to GNN investigation quoting sources at both within the Incident Management System (IMS), and incoming travelers, hundreds of passengers travelling to Liberia to participate in ongoing bicentennial celebrations were denied boarding several airlines for connecting flights to Liberia due to constant breakdowns and malfunctioning of the COVID arrival mobile app currently management by Mtotaling Brown, Vice President for Operations of TUMA Enterprises.

Source further informed this paper that Mr. Mtotaling Brown’s TUMA Enterprises, is allegedly  accruing thousands of United States dollars from management of the mobile app monthly, with an additional $10.00 USD on each passenger arriving to Liberia. Regrettably, ccording to our sources the app stopped working since November 2021 while Mr. Brown and his friend continued to pocket thousands of dollars for doing nothing.

Recently the government launched the beginning of celebrations for Liberia’s 200 years since the return of free black slaves to Africa, but it remain unlikely that the repeated shutdown of the COVID-19 arrival app to allow passengers login to access their COVID application and certificate might just leave thousands of Afro-Americans wishing to visit Liberia to a change of mind to stay.

It may be recalled; the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission recommended the dismissal of the National Elections Commission (NEC) Chairperson, Madam Davidetta Browne-Lansanah and the Head of the Procurement Committee of NEC for alleged corruption.

The LACC subjected the entire leadership of the NEC to a criminal investigation surrounding a US$180,000 for 22 pieces of thermometers that were rented by the institution for the just ended By-Elections in four countries.

Addressing reporters, LACC Chairman Cllr. Edward Martin said that the NEC Boss reportedly confessed awarding the contract to her brother David Brown, Vice President for Operation of the Tuma Enterprise Incorporated during the investigation without disclosing her interest.

“During the investigations, Madame Dividatta Browne Lansana admitted and confirmed to the investigation that Mtotaling Brown, Vice President for Operations of TUMA Enterprises is her brother from the same father, while Arnold Badio, owner and incorporator of Tuma Enterprise Inc. is a brother to David Browne from the same Mother,” Cllr. Martins stressed.

Cllr. Martins said the National Elections Commission also awarded a certificate of completion to Tuma Enterprises on October 24, 2021, and paid a full amount of US$182,320.00 while the stipulated date for the contract to end was November 20, 2021.

The Anti-Graft Chief maintained that the NEC boss and the head of the Procurement Committee needed to be discharged of their duties, claiming that their action violates Chapter 1, Section 1 &3 of the National Code of Conduct for all public officials which amount to a conflict of interest.

The LACC’s recommendation was contained in its final investigative reports on the allegation of conflict of interest and financial improprieties into the procurement of the thermometers by the NEC.

The LACC in its November 2021 investigation, reported that elections authorities were conflicted in the award of the contract and did not follow procurement regulations and there was no value for money.

“These allegations found the bases for the commencement of investigations into the matter,” Cllr. Martins said.

Part II, Section2.2 of the Act establishing the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission describes inside-trading as an act of corruption and also in violation of section 15.3 (predicate offenses for money laundering under section 15.2 of the Money laundering Act of 2012 which provides(t) Insider Trading and Market Manipulations.

Subsequently, the indictment will be drawn for court’s prosecution, the LACC maintained.

It can be recalled that the entire Board of Commissioners of the National Elections Commission were subjected to investigation by the LACC following a report that the Commission spent US$182,000 to rent 20 facial recognition thermometers for the by-elections in four counties.

The special thermometers were rented from Tuma Enterprise.

The NEC reportedly rented each of the equipment for US$9,166 though a single piece costing not more than US$1,500.

The NEC was accused of secretly outsourcing the contract to Tuma Enterprise.

A proforma invoice, dated September 9, 2021, shows a breakdown of costs for all the equipment and accompanying services for setup and installation, totaling 182,320 for 20 units of the equipment. But NEC claimed that only “Tuma Enterprises was the most responsive in the bidding process,” hence their final selection band approval by a panel of procurement officials.

The leased equipment costs not more than US$1,500 on Amazon.com; but NEC opted not to procure its own, spending US$9,166 to rent a single facial recognition system from Tuma Enterprises, paying a total of US$183,320 for 20 units of the equipment. If the NEC had purchased the equipment, it would have saved a whopping US$153,320, while owning the equipment out rightly, instead of leasing it.

The systems were leased to detect the temperatures of trainee poll workers ahead of the November 16 by-elections in Nimba, Bong, Grand Gedeh, and Bomi Counties as well as to monitor access and attendance for safe and efficient access control of personnel.

As Mtotaling Brown, and his TUMA Enterprises meddle with the COVID-19 incoming traveler’s app, numerous sources informed this paper that the platform breakdown has embarrassed a lot of Afro-Americans making their way to Africa’s first black Independent country due to the lack of access to the mobile app.

Highly placed sources within the Incident Management System, informed this paper that the system is currently being operated from a base in Australia to which operators have complained lack of payment by Mr. Mtotaling Brown, Vice President for Operations of TUMA Enterprises, leading to ongoing breakdown and embarrassment for passengers.

Recently Delta airlines denied passengers to its connecting Brussels flights due to non-access of the COVID arrival platform.

At the Roberts’ International Airport (RIA), there are reports of daily fist-fights by incoming passengers who are prevented from disembarking due to current health protocol setup by Liberia’s Incident Management System-COVID-19.

Efforts by this paper to seek further clarity from the head of Liberia’s Incident Management -COVID-19, Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah , proved futile up to press time.

Efforts by this outlet to contact those reportedly linked to this over the weekend to verify the report, and to get their side of the story regarding the above proved. However, tireless effort will still be made to get the actual facts on this report. GNN also made effort to reaching out to the Minister of Health, Dr. Wilhemina S. Jallah and the Chairperson of the National Elections Commission (NEC), Dividatta Browne Lansana did not materialize.

Investigation continues

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About Cholo Brooks 17460 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.

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