Action aid has said the awarding of a $30 million contract to two companies linked to Prominent influential persons, using forged documents as revealed in the FIC report was pure criminality and shows how weak governance systems were in the previous government.
Action Aid Country director, Nalucha Nganga Ziba has therefore called for the strengthening of the Public Procurement Act of 2020 in the area of justifications for single sourcing and prosecution of perpetrators of public procurement related corruption.She said its full implementation is key in mitigating some of the public procurement corruption techniques.
Below is the Full Press Release
The revelation of the FIC report where two companies linked to Prominent Influential Persons won $30 million using forged document was deliberate, pure criminality and shows how weak our governance systems are and/or were especially under the previous regime. It is also clear demonstration that public procurement is one of the highly exposed government activity to corruption and hence the need to immediately address this problem with the urgency it deserves by undertaking vigorous legal and policy reforms as well as enhancing prosecution of the perpetrators of corruption.
Last year the government amended the Public Procurement Act whose operationalization commenced this year on 16th April, 2021 as per Statutory Instrument No. 26 of 2021 issued by the then Ministry Finance. The amended Public Procurement Act provides for
the mitigation of some of the techniques used by perpetrators of corruption in public procurement related transactions.
For example Section 12 of the new Act provides for benchmarking of prices for common use supplies in subsection (2) and the undertaking of a price reasonableness analysis for items not covered in the quarterly market price index in subsection (4). This provision mitigates the problem of over pricing and consequently assuring of value for money in public procurement. Furthermore the Act in section 19 generally provides for the mitigation of Corrupt, coercive, obstructive, collusive or fraudulent practice and conflict of interest. However, Section 19 is only limited to technocrats in government institution and does not adequately address the influence of Prominent Influential Persons like cabinet ministers.
In section 16 the Act also provides for E-procurement which increase transparency and facilitate access to public tenders as in the cited procurement. The e-procurement simplifies information exchange and transactions through streamlined online communication systems. It facilitates internal anti-corruption controls making it easier to detect integrity breaches.
We are, therefore, of the view that though the Public Procurement Act of 2020 may still need strengthening in the area of justifications and/or reasons for single sourcing and prosecution of perpetrators of public procurement related corruption as suggested by most stakeholders even before it was enacted, its full implementation is key in mitigating some of the public procurement corruption techniques as in the cited case.
We also except the new government under their zero tolerance to corruption policy to show political will and effectively implement the Public Procurement Act and mitigate public procurement related corruption as indicated in the FIC typology report.
Finally, we also expect the law enforcement agencies to move in quickly, investigate and prosecute such kind of corrupt activities which are very clear.
Nalucha Nganga Ziba
Country Director – ActionA