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Statement By The Ministry  Of Communications & Digital Economy On The Allegations By Malagen Newspaper And Other Media Houses 

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Hon Ousman Bah, Minister Of Communications & Digital Economy


As the Permanent Secretary and on behalf of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (MOCDE), I want to clarify that we did not sign any contract with IIHT but sent Government officials to be trained at IIHT. We normally receive training proposals from various training institutions. Once relevant to our trainings needs, we then identify people to participate with the approval of PMO. This also, depends on the availability of funds for training to upgrade the capacity of staff. 

In this particular instance, we received two proposals from IIHT as normally done by most training institutions. We reviewed the proposals, which were found to be very relevant to expose our ICT staff to the trending digital transformation and data security issues. Hence, our decision to send our ICT staff for the training. Our decision was not directed or influenced by Honourable Minister Ousman Bah as the paper erroneously alleged. 

We would like to clarify that the Honourable Minister was on leave and travelled out of the country when Malagen reached out for his reaction. By the time he returned, he received a letter, which was accordingly responded to, by the Ministry.

Response to Malagen’s Allegations of Contract Award Before Proposal 

The Ministry wishes to strongly refute that a contract was ever awarded before receiving a proposal from IIHT. The proposals for the 90 days and 10 days training were both dated 15th May, 2023 and received by the Ministry on 16th May, 2023 as per mail received records and the relevant minute in the file that requested the letter to be written on 22nd May, 2023.

Crucially, we would like to clarify that the Action Officer made a mistake with the date, which was supposed to be 23rdMay, 2023 instead of 23rd April, 2023. This was confirmed during our review of the whole process, which can be substantiated from our mail dispatch records and the response from IIHT. We are willing to provide this information to any interested party to verify and confirm.

Response to Allegations of Irregularities and Flouting of Procurement Rules 

Staff training and development matters are handled by PMO as mandated by Section 5(2(a) of the PSC Act, General Orders and the Personnel Procedures Manual. So, it is grossly misleading to say that we did not follow the GPPA procurement process. Therefore, it is important to note that, we’ve diligently followed the process outlined for approving trainings. As mentioned earlier, we obtained training clearance from PMO as per the required procedure. It has been our understanding and general practice of all Ministries and Departments to request endorsement of trainings from PMO, which is governed by a specific law, the PSC Act. There has been no indication or requirement that GPPA approval need to be sought for trainings of our personnel.

It may interest you to know that prior to IIHT we sent staff to other institutions such as MDI, GFS, DEPC, SMI, Relief Financial Consultancy amongst others through same process.

Response to Malagen’s Allegation of Inflated Cost 

At this point, it is imperative to mention that the alteration of the 90 days to 10 days with a pen was maliciously done to taint the image of the Ministry and its hardworking staff. In this regard, we would like to set the records straight that the proposed 90 days training was supposed to be conducted 2 days per week and 2 hours per day without food and refreshments. This corresponds to 48 hours over 90 days. The second proposal was 10 days intensive course to be conducted over eight (8) hours per day.

Following discussions between MOCDE technical staff and IIHT, MOCDE to ensure value for money, settled for the 10 days, which gives 80 hours training time with food and refreshments inclusive for the participants. Being the vote controller, I agreed to this option, because it was the most pragmatic, most cost effective and guaranteed value for money.

It is important to highlight that the training fee paid for a course is set by PMO, which is D35, 000 from Grade 7 and above. Based on this rate, it would cost D875, 000 for 25 ICT personnel to be trained. However, in line with PMO policy, the rate for technicians from Grade 6 and below is D25, 000. This reduced the total amount from D875, 000 to D765, 000. The trainee composition was 14 participants from Grade 7 and above and 11 participants below Grade 7. After the adjustment, MOCDE paid on average D15, 300 per week for each trainee since the training took 2 weeks. Therefore, the insinuation that the training cost was inflated is untrue and calculated to tarnish the image of the Ministry and the Minister.

Finally, as the Permanent Secretary and Chief Accounting Officer of the Ministry, I want to assure all and sundry that the decision to conduct this training with IIHT for 10 days was the most cost effective, value for money and with maximum impact for the trainees. IIHT was found to be a specialized ICT institution with adequate and relevant capacity to deliver the training.


The Permanent Secretary, 

Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (MOCDE)

7th September, 2023

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