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Africa's Public Procurement & Entrepreneurship Research Initiative – APPERI

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Namibian government needs to ‘close anti-corruption gaps’


SypplyManagement.com

15 December 2013 | Will Green

A think tank has criticized Namibian government procurement as “not always based on transparency, competition and objective criteria”

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) said the government needed to “close anti-corruption gaps” to bring it into line with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC).

The IPPR said it had identified a number of areas where there were “weaknesses” in terms of compliance with UNCAC, to which the government is a signatory, including a lack of laws covering whistleblowing, declaration of assets by public servants and access to information; and transparency over finances.

Namibia’s public procurement decision-making is not always based on transparency, competition and objective criteria,” said the IPPR.

Meanwhile, the Public Procurement Bill, intended to overhaul government procurement processes, has been withdrawn from parliament “until further notice” following criticism from parliamentarians, the state-owned newspaper New Era reported.

The Namibian government’s Anti-Corruption Commission did not respond to SM’s request for comment.

Ugandan government suspends 58 suppliers


Supply Management

28 November 2013 | Will Green

The Ugandan government has published a list of 58 suppliers who have been suspended from bidding for public contracts.

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) has suspended the firms for a range of reasons including submitting forged bid securities, works not completed on time and invoicing for work not carried out.

The suspensions range in duration from one to five years.

Among the firms is Amman Industrial Tools & Equipment Ltd, which has been suspended indefinitely for causing a $1.7 million loss to the government in connection with a contract to provide 70,000 bicycles.

In a statement the PPDA said: “The firms and their directors will no longer be allowed to participate in any public procurement process during the duration of their suspension.

“Some firms like Amman Industrial Tools & Equipment Ltd and their directors have been suspended indefinitely for causing $1.7 million financial loss to the Government of Uganda.”

A full list of the suspended providers can be found here.

 

Kenyan government to investigate corruption allegations over new procurement policy


SupplyManagement

November 24, 2013

By Will Green

The Kenyan government has launched an investigation into allegations of corruption surrounding the implementation of a new procurement policy targeting disadvantaged groups.

Under a presidential directive, 30 per cent of government tenders will go to the young, women and the disabled, who need to sign up to a register administered by the National Treasury.

In a statement, the National Treasury has responded to allegations that officials have taken money as part of the registration process.

The statement said: “We would like to assure the general public that the registration and certification undertaken by the National Treasury is offered free of any charge whatsoever. Anyone purporting to extort money from the public will be dealt with in accordance with the law.

“Although we are confident that the exercise is being done openly and transparently we have initiated investigations and are monitoring the process keenly to ensure that our confidence in the process is well founded.”

Kenya Set To Resort To Online To Fight Graft


coastweek.com

NAIROBI, (Xinhua) — Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Wednesday he will set up a website in an effort to fight corruption which has retarded development in the East African Nation.

Kenyatta, who officially launched the 30 percent affirmative action of government procurement for women, youth and persons with disability in Nairobi, said the website will enable the public to report government officials who engage in graft, so that appropriate action would be taken against them.

The president warned public officials that his government will not tolerate graft, saying the days of corrupt officials in service are numbered and called for joint efforts to wipe out the vice.

“We have reached a point where if you want to keep your government job, you must be satisfied with the salary you are paid. If you think it is not enough, you are free to quit and look for other forms of employment,” he warned.

The warning came as the authorities took war against graft a notch higher in the most credible attempt so far to showcase Kenyatta’s acumen as a reform-minded African leader serving his first term in office.

The president also warned the Public Procurement Directorate to seal all loopholes that would allow corruption to compromise the procurement process, saying no laxity on their part will be tolerated.

He said he would closely monitor the allocation of the 30 percent government procurement to see exactly how many women, youths and persons with disability benefit.

 “For far too long we have characterized our women as people who are dependent. I want them to be people who we can depend on. Our youth were viewed as people who lacked vision and direction, I want to make them the engine that drives Kenya,” he said.

The president said if the 30 percent procurement allocation to the youth, women and persons with disability was replicated in all 47 counties and in the private sector, poverty would significantly reduce in the country.

Malawi president dissolves cabinet in wake of graft scandal


Defenceweb.com

Malawi President Joyce Banda dissolved the cabinet on Thursday after police arrested several junior officials in her government in recent weeks on suspicion of stealing state funds.

The presidency of the southern African state said in a statement that Banda, who came to office in April 2012, “will announce a new cabinet in due course.” It did not elaborate.

The presidency had said on Wednesday that Banda would meet her cabinet the following day to discuss the financial scandal and who was responsible.

It did not disclose details of Thursday’s meeting, but a senior government official, who asked not to be named, said Banda told the cabinet that she had “lost faith” in them.

The scandal, known locally as “cash-gate”, forced the government to shut down its payment system last week so that it could investigate over $4 million that went missing, delaying the payment of salaries to teachers, nurses and doctors.

Banda, who faces an election next year, has won acclaim in the West for austerity measures and moves to bolster the economy of the aid-dependent, impoverished country.

But steps such as an IMF-backed devaluation of the kwacha currency have stoked inflation, raised the price of food for the rural poor and eroded Banda’s domestic support.

The police said that about 10 junior government officials had been arrested so far for suspected graft, and that they had recovered tens of thousands of dollars in cash from their car boots and homes.

A small group of protesters marched in the capital Lilongwe on Thursday and delivered a petition calling for the sacking of top officials, including Finance Minister Ken Lipenga, over the scandal. Lipenga has denied any wrongdoing. He was not immediately available for comment on Thursday.

Last week, envoys from eight Western donor nations, whose aid traditionally has accounted for about 40 percent of the state budget, asked Banda to deal with the alleged corruption at the treasury and investigate an attack on the budget director.

“These are worrying developments that potentially risk Malawi’s stability, rule of law and reputation,” the envoys said in a statement.

Budget director Paul Mphwiyo was shot last month, but survived the attack.

After the shooting, the government’s Anti-Corruption Bureau and police launched an investigation into the budget director and unnamed ministers over suspected graft, indicating the scandal extended beyond just a few junior officials.

“People have lost confidence in (Banda’s) leadership and the best thing she can do is to order the arrest of senior officials involved and ask her finance minister to resign,” Lazarus Chakwera, leader of the opposition MCP, said at a public rally over the weekend.

Malawi’s troubled economy has shown signs of improvement in the past few months with inflation that was once running over 30 percent easing slightly, while earnings from its main export tobacco are expected to double this year from 2012.

Indian arms deal probe exonerates Denel


Defenseweb.com

By Oscar Nkala

October 2, 2013

India’s Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) has closed its eight-year long corruption probe into South African arms manufacturer Denel following allegations that it paid kickbacks to Vara Associates, a company based in the Isle of Man, to help secure five deals between July 1999 and April 2005, to supply the Indian Army with 1 000 anti-material rifles and over 300 000 rounds of ammunition.

Indian defence procurement rules and the country’s Prevention of Corruption Act expressly forbid original equipment manufacturers who bid for contracts with the army from hiring any middlemen or intermediaries to influence or ‘swing’ the adjudication of the contracting process.

According to reports from the Indian capital New Delhi, the CBI dropped the case on Monday after eight of years of trans-national investigations in South Africa, the Isle of Man, Switzerland and the UK failed to prove the allegations levelled against Denel.

The probe started in June 2005, two months after the Indian government stopped all dealings with Denel amid allegations that the South African company had paid ‘commission’ to the value of 12.75 per cent of the total worth of the arms deals secured with the Indian Army to Vara Associates, based in the tax-haven Isle of Man, to ‘swing’ the five contracts in its favour.

The contracts involved the supply of 700 NTW-20 anti-material rifles (bunker-busting and light armour penetrating), knocked-down kits for another 300 rifles of the same make and 398 000 rounds of ammunition. According the CBI case opened in June 2005, allegations against Denel were that it had made the pay-offs to Vara Associates, accused by investigators of acting as an intermediary, disguised as technical assistance and consultancy fees.

In the course of its eight-year probe, the CBI sent requests for information to judicial and investigative authorities in the UK, South Africa, the Isle of Man and Switzerland which all reported that they could not find any evidence to support the charges against Denel.

Several employees of Vara Associates and the Indian Ministry of Defence were being probed alongside Denel on allegations of conniving with Vara Associates to swing the five contracts in question in favour of the South African company.

After the Denel deal fell through, India’s Ordnance Factory Tiruchirappalli began manufacturing the locally developed Vidhwansak multi-calibre anti-materiel rifle, which bears many similarities to the NTW-20. Available in 14.5 mm, 12.7 mm and 20 mm calibres, it has an effective range of approximately 2 000 metres.

Swaziland finance minister announces procurement reform


Supply Management

29 February 2012 | Angeline Albert

This year, the Swaziland government plans to introduce a public procurement agency to oversee the purchasing carried out by public bodies.

In this national budget speech, finance minister Majozi Sithole said that the Swaziland Public Procurement Regulatory Agency will be created in the 2012/13 financial year.

As well as overseeing public purchasing, the agency will provide an independent forum to assess suppliers’ complaints. In addition, a code of conduct for public sector procurement officials will also be adopted.

The changes come as a result of the country’s Procurement Act of 2010, which gained assent from His Majesty King Mswati III last year. The act also disqualifies public sector workers and politicians from supplying government with goods and services.

In his budget speech, Sithole said: “Government understands that improving public procurement can generate savings without compromising services to the public. It is also an area prone to corruption. That is why we have a new procurement act. In 2012, the government will apply the changes required.”

The minister emphasized the need for stronger fiscal discipline in government by investing in cost-saving policies, improving procurement and public finance management and fighting corruption.

Tanzanian minister calls time on procurement corruption


SupplyManagement

28 June 2013 | Adam Leach

The United Republic of Tanzania plans to review its procurement legislation to close loopholes that make it possible for corrupt officials to profit from the public purse.

Addressing parliament this week, minister of state Stephen Wassira, pledged to take action to ensure items could not be purchased at inflated prices under the law, which results in unreasonably high profit margins for suppliers. As well as helping to reduce corruption, he said the more robust rules would boost competitiveness among businesses looking to supply to government.

Announcing his intention, Wassira, said: “The time has come to review the law. You can hide under the law and steal according to the law. If we do not act now and [instead] let corruption thrive, everything we buy or make will be substandard. And if we continue like this we will erode development.”

Around 70 per cent of the country’s development budget will be channelled through public sector procurement. The minister used this to strengthen the case for ensuring regulations are tight and robust.

99 percent of Ugandan contracts over budget


SupplyManagement

2 July 2013 | Adam Leach

Lack of attention to detail and poor market research by buyers are to blame for more than 99 out of every 100 public sector contracts in Uganda last year running over budget, according to the Inspector General of Government.

In its third annual report into corruption within government, the IGG found that the number of procurements that kept to budget had dropped to just 0.7 per cent of those let over the past year. It blamed purchasers for leading to unrealistic estimates of overall costs. The situation also appears to be deteriorating as in 2009, only half of contracts were found to have gone over their original budget.

The report said: “Price increase during execution, through change orders in specifications or cost, may be grounds for corruption. This is a significant red flag of a possible entry point of corruption and calls for integration of risk management into public procurement.”

The report, which covered contracts in 2012, also criticised public sector buyers for taking too long. It found that less than a third of procurements – 29 per cent – were completed when they were supposed to.

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