Thursday, July 7, 2011

Graft in Procurement

Poor systems causing procurement graft
Wednesday, 6th July, 2011
By Brenda Asiimwe

POOR investigation of corruption cases and lack of effective systems to punish those implicated are the major causes of the vice in public procurement, Jasper Tumuhimbise, Lantern Consult director for operations, has said.

Quoting surveys carried out by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority, IGG and USAID, he said because of insufficient safeguards against corruption in procurement processes, a large amount of public money is misspent by the Government every year.

“As a result, funding devoted to basic public services such as health is deviated,” Tumuhimbise said.

He added that the ‘best bribers’ were the ones that win public tenders instead of the best qualified contractors.

“This means that the cost of projects is several times more than the market rate or the acquisition of unnecessary goods,” Tumuhimbise observed.

This was at a workshop organised by the Institute of Procurement Professionals of Uganda last week at Grand Imperial Hotel in Kampala.

Public procurement is one of the sectors riddled with deep-rooted corruption in Uganda, according to the Auditor General’s recent report. The report said 70% of public spending, an estimated 20% is lost through corruption.

Tumuhimbise called for the involvement of the public and civil society organisations in the monitoring of the procurement processes to ensure value for money.

He stressed that this would help in sensitising people against corruption in procurement and demand for action against the corrupt.

“By involving civil society groups, they will collaborate in promoting transparency, accountability and integrity in public administration,” he argued.

Tumuhimbise also advised procurement officers to stop being cowardly so that they are not easily lured into fraudulent deals.

He said this could be done when one has a ready procurement plan.

Meanwhile, Dan Musinguzi, the Intra Speed regional director, said there was need to harmonise procurement with clearing and forwarding agencies to harness the procurement process.

He added that procurement practitioners needed to appreciate the role of the agents, involve them locally and use them.

The procurement body has advised CAA to proceed with the tender process.

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