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A call for professionalism in procurement


New Vison

By Francis Emorut        

March 5, 2014

The World Bank has called for professionalism in handling procurement processes in the country in a call made by senior procurement specialist, Howard Centenary.

“It’s a high time we looked at procurement processes beyond compliance but emphasize the need to build professionalism,” he told senior procurement officers, chief administrative officers and heads of departments.

The World Bank specialist argued that experience has shown that 100% compliance has not produced results.

Procurement officers in the country have been castigated for time delays in executing procurement processes and are riddled with corruption.

“Procurement is associated with compliance but I have seen that 100% compliance gets no results,” he argued.

He said there is need to look beyond compliance and focus on the entire procurement process beginning from planning.

“In order to address all the areas we need to build professionalism. Professionals need to exercise discrete judgment when handling procurement processes,” he said.

He made the remarks during the closing of a two-day workshop meant to launch procurement and contract management training manuals programme in Kampala.

The training was conducted by Civil Service College Uganda in conjunction with the ministry of public service and supported by the World Bank.

During the workshop, Centenary talked of early leadership development and underlined that it is the leaders to cause change.

The specialist tasked procurement officers not only to focus on compliance but also bring in innovations which will introduce change in evaluation processes.

The World Bank specialist was backed by the deputy head of civil servants, Hilda Musubira who also advocated for professionalism if service delivery in procurement is to be realized.

“You should make public procurement better by imbibing and demonstrating principles of transparency, accountability, professionalism and impartiality,” said Musubira.

She also appealed to the officers to ensure that they conduct procurement business with outermost efficiency and effectiveness in order to make the public gain confidence in the process.

Aggrey Kibinge, the undersecretary in the Office of the Prime Ministe, raised concern on behalf of trainees that there is need to develop a mechanism of conflict resolution arising out of bidders’ complaints.

The training was based on six modules; emerging trends in public procurement, contracts and contract management, disposal of public assets, evaluation of bids, public procurement and introduction to public procurement and disposal.

New Reports Measuring Gender, Trade, and Public Procurement Policy


AllAfrica.com

25 SEPTEMBER 2013

PRESS RELEASE

The World Bank and Commonwealth Secretariat launched two new publications this week centering on women in business.

‘Women, Business and the Law 2014’ measures how national laws, regulations and institutions differentiate between women and men in ways that may affect women’s capacity to work or set up and run businesses.

The report was launched by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC) at the Commonwealth Secretariat’s headquarters in London on Tuesday, 24 September.

Dr Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director of Global Indicators and Analysis at the World Bank and IFC said: “In 79 countries the law restricts the types of jobs that women can do. These jobs are often in industries that are higher paying and that creates a pay gap. In the twenty-first century many of these restrictions no longer make sense.”

The Secretariat also presented ‘Gender, Trade and Public Procurement Policy‘, which focuses on how policies for procuring goods and services for government departments can be used effectively to enhance business opportunities for women.

The procurement market often makes up to 10-15% of the GDP of developed countries and can amount for as much as 30-40% of GDP of developing countries. The report looks at how public procurement policies can be used as a tool to open up the market to Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), including women’s businesses, which are often in the informal sector.

It includes case studies and lessons from four Commonwealth countries: Australia, India, Jamaica and Kenya.

Interim Director in charge of Gender, Health and Education at the Secretariat, Esther Eghobamien said: “The research has demonstrated the impact of public procurement policy as a vehicle for enhancing opportunities for SMEs and women-owned business. Any growth in that sector will translate into real gains for women living below the poverty line.”

World Bank Advised Ethiopia to Audit Large Telecom Agreements


Business Ethiopia

Reporter

January 11, 2013

The World Bank (WB) in its report on the status of corruption in Ethiopia advised the government to audit Ethio Telecom’s large agreements. 

According to the report launched this morning at the Hilton Addis, focusing on the level of corruption in the country in different sector sectors, the government needs to apply standards to Ethio Telecom that are in line with Ethiopia’s Public Procurement Proclamation.

The report, “Diagnosing Corruption in Ethiopia”, in its subtopic that assessed the level of corruption in the telecom sector also stated that absence of uniform procurement standards is one of the major causes of corruption, among others.

The report highlighted that the vendor financing contract entered into by the then ETC (Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation now named Ethio Telecom) in 2006 appears to be highly unusual. “…This brief study should not be seen as an investigation or interpreted as alleging in itself that corruption has necessarily occurred. However, the circumstances as perceived both by stakeholders and by independent observers do raise serious questions about the control of risks in this sector.”

The stakeholders of the then 1.5 billion US dollars vendor financing argue that ETC’s financial requirements were not provided in detail to those suppliers (other than possibly the winning supplier –China’s ZTE) that had been approached to consider providing such financing. The report also stated that there is no evidence of a formal tender procedure for the finance package.

“The supplier selected by the ETC to supply the finance package that suited the ETC’s purposes. The equipment supply element of the vendor financing contract was not put out to competitive tender.”
The report stated that generally the contract was not in accordance with the ETC’s procurement procedure and no competitive tender for the contract and subcontracts.

“Difficulty in measuring technical compliance: By appointing one supplier without competitive tender, the ETC has no opportunity to assess the degree of technical compliance of the supplier’s equipment. The contract was also inappropriate and went through unclear procedures for ensuring technical quality and competitive pricing,” according to the report.

In addition, the report further mentioned that Ethio Telecom is vulnerable to corruption because it is under government monopoly.

Health, education, water, justice, construction, land and mining are also the sectors surveyed by the report sponsored by the World Bank, Canada International Development Agency, UK Aid and the government of the Netherlands.

“Some of the recommendations of the report are under implementation,” said Ali Suleman, Commissioner of the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC).  While the report also recalled that in January 2008, the FEACC 2008 brought charges against a former ETC CEO and 26 former ETC executives for allegedly “procuring low-quality equipment from companies that were supposed to be rejected on the basis of procurement regulations.”

World Bank country Director, Guang Zhe Chen, on his part stressed that the purpose of the study is conducted to support evidence-based policy formation.

Ethiopia: Is ECX at it again? ECX’s upcoming procurement bid


Nazret.com November 29, 2012


By Wondwossen Mezlekia, 

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is currently conducting a high-ticket international procurement – the first of its kind since a multi-million dollar bid was busted in 2010 due to alleged fraud and corruption during the bidding process.

The bid for the supply, installation, and maintenance of a futures trading software that ECX floated back in 2010 was marred by dishonest maneuvering, seemingly to favor the Sri Lanka based company, Millennium IT, and World Bank withdrew ECX’s award proposal and cancelled the loan. The loan was part of what the government had borrowed from International Development Association (IDA) for the purposes of financing the Rural Capacity Building project. [1] Strangely, the said futures trading software was not needed to begin with and would have been running idle today had ECX purchased it in 2010, because the government is, as it has always been, decidedly against price speculations and hence would not allow Forwards and Futures trade operations that the software was supposed to support.

ECX is once again preparing to spend some of the money that the government has borrowed from the Investment Climate Facilities for Africa Trust (ICF) and other donors on an online trading platform at an estimated total cost of more than $10 million (exact amount and details are withheld). Arguably, much like the futures trading software, the merit of this investment is also questionable, especially in light of ECX’s and the government’s current priorities, the details of which is for another article. The purpose of this article is to equip concerned citizens with the information and resources they need to be on their guard against corruption, and to put on notice anyone who may be under temptation or illusion to fraudulently benefit from the upcoming bid. Although there is no evidence so far, it is better to prevent corruption than to prosecute it.

According to ECX’s budget proposal that was reviewed for this article, almost 76% of the budget for the online trading project will be covered by funds from the World Bank’s Rural Capacity Building Project. ICF has agreed to cover the financing gap of about 24% of the total estimated budget through a grant. The procurement is being conducted under the auspices of the outgoing officers, Dr. Eleni Gebre-Medhin, Solomon Edossa, and Ahadu Woubshet who only have an advisory role under a one-year contract, even though the new CEO, Anteneh Assefa and other officers have already assumed their positions.

The Invitation for Bid (IFD) for the procurement of a core system for online trading, including its risk management, surveillance, and clearing components (Procurement Reference Number ECX-ICF/G/002/2012) was advertised on November 1, 2012 on national papers and online, including on dgMarket. [2] Accordingly, the bid will be opened in two phases: the technical bid will be opened on November 30, 2012 at 10:30 am local time at ECX Media Room, and the opening date for the financial bid will be announced thereafter.[3] The bidding will be conducted in accordance with the open International Tendering Procedures contained in the public procurement guidelines of the Government of Ethiopia, the ICF Guidelines[4], and the International Competitive Bidding (ICB) procedures.

The past record of the government in detecting or prosecuting suspected fraud and corruption is dismal. On the other hand, donor’s guidelines have proved to be reliable sources of defense in past disputes involving international procurement bids. Among these, ICF’s guidelines appear to be by far clearer and strictly dictating how the borrower and bidders alike should behave during the bidding process. For example, ICF not only offers to provide assistance of audit services and monitoring (Article 1.6), but also explicitly states the steps that it takes to fight fraud and corruption (Article 1.7).

Review, Assistance, and Monitoring

1.6 ICF and auditors appointed by ICF shall review the Grant Recipient’s selection process for the selection of suppliers proposed by the Grant Recipient in the Procurement Plan to ensure compliance with the Grant Agreement and these Guidelines. The Grant Recipient shall retain all documentation with respect to each contract during project implementation and up to two [y]ears after the closing date of the Grant Agreement. This documentation would include, but not be limited to, the signed original of the contract, the analysis of the respective proposals, and recommendations for award the record of justification, the capabilities and experience of the suppliers, for examination by ICF, auditors appointed by ICF or by its suppliers.

Fraud and Corruption

1.7 It is ICF’s policy to require that Grant Recipients, as well as suppliers and their subcontractors under ICF-financed contracts, observe the highest standard of ethics during the selection and execution of such contracts. In pursuance of this policy, ICF will reject a proposal for award, cancel the portion of the Grant allocated to a contract; sanction a supplier if it at any time determines that the tender process was marred by corrupt, fraudulent, collusive, coercive, or obstructive practices. In addition, ICF will have the right to require that, in contracts financed by an ICF grant. a provision is included requiring suppliers to permit ICF to inspect their accounts and records and other documents relating to the submission of proposals and contract performance and to have them audited

Articles 2.1, 2.15, and 2.21 of ICF’s guidelines also require borrowers to conduct bidding by following a two-tiered approach and based on Quality and Cost Based Selection (QCBS), which uses a competitive process that takes into account the quality and the cost of the services in the selection of the winner. The guidelines prohibit evaluators of technical proposals from having access to the financial proposals until the technical evaluation is concluded.

The Selection Process

2.1 QCBS uses a competitive process among short-listed firms that takes into account the quality and the cost of the goods and supplies in the selection of the successful supplier. Cost as a factor of selection shall be used judiciously. The relative weight to be given to the quality and cost shall he determined for each case depending on the nature of the assignment.

Evaluation of Proposals: Consideration of Quality and Cost

2.15 The evaluation of the proposals shall be carried out in two stages: first the quality, and then the cost. Evaluators of technical proposals shall not have access to the financial proposals until the technical evaluation is concluded. Financial proposals shall be opened only thereafter. The evaluation shall be carried out in full conformity with the provisions of the RFP.

Articles 2.11 and 2.12 if IFC’s guidelines even go as far as to dictating the minimum time that grant recipients need to allow between the different stages of the procurement process. For example, the minimum time-limit for receipt of proposals should not be less than 40 days from the date of the advertisement, except in emergency situations.

While these and other Articles of ICF’s guidelines appear to provide reasonable controls around each segment of the procurement processes, any control is only as strong as the people applying them. It is thus imperative that concerned citizens and bidders get engaged and attentively monitor all international bidding processes conducted at ECX and other institutions in order to prevent misappropriations of foreign aid in Ethiopia.

Report suspected fraud and corruption to Investment Climate Facility for Africa at info@icfafrica.org or projects@icfafrica.org; the World Bank Group’s Integrity Vice Presidency at investigations_hotline@worldbank.org; or Transparency International at transparency@transparency-usa.org.

[1] http://poorfarmer.blogspot.com/2012/03/is-government-serious-about-fighting_19.html
[2] http://www.dgmarket.com/tenders/np-notice.do~8547811 (dgMarket is an international portal for tenders and procurement opportunities from governments and international organizations)
[3] The time elapsed between the date of advertisement and the bid opening date appears to be shorter than the minimum time limit set under Articles 2.11 and 2.12 of ICF’s Procurement Guidelines
[4] http://www.icfafrica.org/documents/ICF-Procurement-Guidelines-for-Goods–Suppliers.pdf

Read more about ECX at http://poorfarmer.blogspot.com/p/ecx-watch.html
Contact the writer at poorfarmer@gmail.com

World Bank Bars Two Oxford University Press Subsidiaries From Contracts


Ventures

By Busayo

July 4th, 2012

VENTURES AFRICA – In order to enforce corporate integrity, two wholly-owned subsidiaries of Oxford University Press (OUP), Oxford University Press East Africa Limited (OUPEA) and Oxford University Press Tanzania Limited (OUPT), have been blacklisted from participating in World Bank projects and other agency projects which have an agreement with the World Bank like the African Development Bank.

In their place, Oxford’s archrivals Kenya Literature Bureau (KLB), Longhorn Kenya and state owned Jomo Kenyatta Foundation (JKF) are expected to be the major beneficiaries of the three-year ban.

According to the World Bank, the Kenyan and Tanzanian subsidiaries were blacklisted for irregular payments to government officials for two contracts to supply text books under programmes funded by the Bretton Woods institution.

Oxford East Africa was penalised and delisted by the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) from the World Bank’s multi-billion shilling project for three years after it was linked in a bribery scandal with top government officials.

The publishing house parent company, Oxford University Press (OUP), was billed Sh292 million ($3.5 million) as part of the settlement.

Oxford’s debarment comes one year after donors pulled out of the $80 million (Sh6.7 billion) Kenya Education Sector Support Programme (KESSP) citing rampant fraud involving senior officials at the Ministry of Education.

The bribery scandal investigation that culminated in a penalties and sanctions started in May last year and closed early this year after establishing that the subsidiaries bribed government officials directly and through agents to win tenders and publishing contracts for textbooks.

Investigators found that Oxford East Africa was involved in widespread bribery that spanned five countries including Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan and Uganda.

“This debarment is testimony to the bank’s continued commitment to protecting the integrity of its projects,” said Leonard McCarthy, the World Bank Integrity vice-president.

“OUP’s acknowledgment of misconduct and the thoroughness of its investigation is evidence of how companies can address issues of fraud and corruption and change their corporate practices to foster integrity in the development business,” he added.

The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants.

The Oxford University Press is to pay the World Bank $500,000 (Sh42 million) for flouting agreed procurement rules and additional £1.9 million (Sh250 million) to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for the same offences.
Oxford University Press voluntarily reported the bribery scandal to the World Bank and SFO on suspicion of the underhand dealings at its regional subsidiaries.

“We do not tolerate such behaviour,” said Nigel Portwood, Oxford’s chief executive adding that the company was committed to maintaining the highest ethical standards.

Oxford’s debarment follows a similar one on its rival Macmillan which was banned from bidding for world-bank funded contract till 2014 for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan. Macmillan was asked to pay Sh1.5 billion penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

In July last year, Macmillan paid a Sh1.5 billion ($18 million) penalty to SFO after investigations revealed that it had bribed government officials in pursuit of public and World Bank-funded contracts in Africa.

The publishing house was found to irregularly won tenders for the supply of text books to public schools in Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia between 2002 and 2009.

The publisher remains banned from bidding for World Bank–funded contracts up to mid-2014. After the scandal, Macmillan sold its Kenyan and Ugandan subsidiaries to veteran publisher David Muita for Sh300 million ($3.6 million).

Since 1970, foreign publishers like Thomas Nelson, Heinemann, and Longman have exited the Kenyan publishing market thereby creating more room for local publishers.

Misconduct in a World Bank-financed project in Zambia


 World Bank

Enforcing Accountability: World Bank Debars Alstom Hydro France, Alstom Network Schweiz AG, and their Affiliates

 Press Release No:2012/282/INT

Companies commit to pay $9.5 million in restitution following acknowledgement of misconduct in a World Bank-financed project in Zambia

 

WASHINGTON, February 22, 2012—The World Bank Group today announced the debarment of Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG (Switzerland) – in addition to their affiliates – for a period of three years following Alstom’s acknowledgment of misconduct in relation to a Bank-financed hydropower project.

The debarment is part of a Negotiated Resolution Agreement between Alstom and the World Bank which also includes a restitution payment by the two companies totaling approximately $9.5 million. The debarment can be reduced to 21 months – with enhanced oversight – if the companies comply with all conditions of the agreement.

This case demonstrates a clear commitment from the World Bank to ensure development funds reach their intended beneficiaries while setting a high standard for global integrity where project resources may be at stake,” said Leonard McCarthy, World Bank Integrity Vice President. Alstom’s settlement with the Bank is a wake-up call to global companies that are involved in development business that need to ensure their operations with the World Bank are clean. Alstom is a major player in the hydropower sector and their commitment under this agreement is a significant step in deterring the risks of fraud and corruption.

In 2002, Alstom made an improper payment of €110,000, to an entity controlled by a former senior government official for consultancy services in relation to the World Bank-financed Zambia Power Rehabilitation Project. During the debarment period of Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz AG, Alstom SA and its other affiliates are conditionally non-debarred.

Under the Agreement, Alstom SA, Alstom Hydro France, Alstom Network Schweiz AG and their affiliates commit to cooperating with the World Bank’s Integrity Vice Presidency and continuing to improve their internal compliance program. The debarment of Alstom Hydro France and Alstom Network Schweiz qualifies for cross-debarment by other MDBs under the Agreement of Mutual Recognition of Debarments that was signed on April 9, 2010.

————————————————————————————————————-

About The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT)

The World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency (INT) is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of fraud, collusion and corruption in World Bank projects, capitalizing on the experience of a multilingual and highly specialized team of investigators and forensic accountants.  INT’s work during this fiscal year included:

   62 debarments of firms and individuals for engaging in wrongdoing, whilejointly debarring 14 entities with other Multilateral development Banks

   Based on an INT referral, UK authorities ordered Macmillan Publishers Limited to pay over £11 million. WBG debarred Macmillan for 6 years (2010), for bribery linked to an education project in Sudan.

   The Norwegian Authorities also took prosecutorial action against three former employees of “Norconsult,” based on an INT referral.

   An International Corruption Hunters Alliance brought together 286 senior enforcement and anticorruption officials from 134 countries, to inject momentum into global anti-corruption efforts.

   A cross-debarment agreement among the Multilateral Development Banks, so that companies debarred by the Bank Group can no longer seek business from other multilateral development banks (MDBs), closing a loophole in multilateral development programs

   Cooperation agreements in support of  parallel investigations, asset recovery and information sharing with the UK Serious Fraud Office, the European Anti-Fraud Office, Interpol, the International Criminal Court, USAID, and the Australian Agency for International Development.

   Enhanced preventive training and forensic audits designed to identify and address red flags and integrity controls in World Bank projects. 

Contacts:

In Washington: Dina Elnaggar (202) 4733245, Delnaggar@worldbank.org 

For further information on the World Bank Integrity Vice Presidency, please visit:

www.worldbank.org/integrity

Achieving better results from public sector institutions


The World Bank

By Linda Van Gelder

Feb. 6, 2012

After a year of intensive consultation among development partners and with technical experts within the World Bank, I am pleased to announce that the World Bank Approach to Public Sector Management (2011-2020) has been agreed by the Public Sector Governance Board (the internal body that maintains professional standards on PSM and governance work within the Bank).

The Approach focuses on Public Sector Management (PSM) as a vehicle to overcome development challenges from budgeting to service delivery, reflecting both research findings and practitioner experiences. It is far-reaching–in its focus on the range of development outcomes that hinge on Public Sector Management–and pragmatic–in its emphasis on fitting reforms to country contexts. It also orients the Bank towards understanding PSM as a problem-solving endeavor, not a goal in its own right. The Approach charts a course for PSM work that combines the experience of public management experts with sound empirics and detailed diagnostics of the immediate context–including political economy realities–to find the most promising and sustainable method for easing binding constraints to improved public sector performance. It sets a learning agenda to systematically import lessons from research, while simultaneously laying a stronger empirical foundation for the discipline in the future. The Approach offers some clear directions for the Bank’s operational work, its approach to research, and its staffing and structures. Importantly, it commits the Bank to reviewing progress annually…Read more

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