Seal loopholes in public tendering to tame graft

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2019 00:00 |
Integrity Centre, Nairobi. Photo/Courtesy

The government’s pledge to slay the hydra-headed dragon of corruption will come a cropper unless it boldly addresses the cesspool graft at public procurement.

It is no-brainer that this is where public resources are pilfered through inflated tenders for goods and services. 

Unfortunately, this brazen theft is crafted and clothed in legal apparel—and this makes it harder  to investigate and prosecute the purveyors and beneficiaries of the vice even where there is more than sufficient suspicion.

With the government considered the highest spending entity in the economy, State organs charged with fighting corruption must now refocus the spotlight to procurement process across State agencies and departments and their links to shadowy leaches sucking blood out of the economy.

This will call for surgical precision, including relooking at the law and instituting strigent measures to curb the menace, which thrives on the criminal laxity of those charged with running State corporations and other public offices.

The avenues of corruption, include inflation of tender prices, supplying of poor quality goods or services—and at times supply nothing. This is compounded by unnecessary contract variations which affect absorption of funds and overall performance of the economy.

The latest status report on public procurement investigations by Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), which received 488 complaints, is testimony to the rot in the procurement regime.

Of the 355 complaints that were reviewed, 40 per cent were as a result of flaws in tender evaluation and development of specifications, 21 per cent on delayed payments, 15 per cent on alleged corrupt practices during procurement proceedings and 9 per cent on alleged irregularities. This is damning!

Tragically, such a report that can be used by the County and National government to stem theft of public resources and thus deny the public crititical services, are treated offhandedly, a pointer to lack of the will to reform. 

Perhaps, this should be key discussion in Building Bridges Initiative report chapter on anti-graft fight. 

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