Friday, June 26, 2009

Procurement frauds and flaws

I have just read a letter titled "Has corruption eaten up Uganda's institutions?" The Independent Issue number 066 (June 26th-July 2) and the concerned bidder from Henliski Finland was surprised that a tender for consultancy of preliminary designs for building/construction of a ferry to replace other marine vessels and improve Port Bell had already been awarded even before evaluation! He was quite surprised.I would wish to inform the bidder at least not to be surprised since the' writing on Uganda's corruption dispensation is clearly on the wall'. Bidders are normally invited not to promote transparency and competition but as a way of showing that the procurement process at least is being adhered to.

This reminded me of the Identity Card project where a Minister Musumba irrespective of the procurement processes awarded a tender to one of the bidders and introduced them to the President; Hon Kuteesa Sam also directed that a firm be 'awarded' a CNN deal to the tune of .75m US $. Zzimwe construction has been given deals including Nakulabye-Nansana Road as well as Busega-Nateee on directive of Ministers; Surprisingly all that our Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority does is to either endorse retrospectively such processes or just wait for complainants whose cases will take ages to be addressed.

I have read and know the fact that the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Act (2003) is to be amended to give more powers to PPDA; but in my opinion if you cannot use the powers you have now then any amount of paperwork power will only make you feel good and a bit more confused.

What we need now is action rather than written codes; enforcement rather than lip service; detention rather than threats; the alternative is unacceptable and letters like that from Finland will only facilitate our distress as a nation without values.

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