COLLUSION and corruption are distinct problems within Namibia’s public procurement system, yet they may frequently occur in tandem, and have mutually reinforcing effect best viewed, therefore, are concomitant threats to the integrity of public procurement.
As we have seen with the basis for investigations into the recent Namibia Airports Company (NAC) airport scanners tender and that which is reported in this publication today involving over N$200 million, the distinctiveness of public procurement and its context makes the process particularly vulnerable to collusion and corruption, while also increasing the magnitude of harm that these offences cause.
In essence, tackling collusion and corruption are not mutually exclusive goals, so there is a need to accommodate both in order to better protect the public procurement process.
For decades, tenderpreneurs have been magnets of corruption and controversy and at the centre of them, those working as frontmen have crippled the scope of public procurement and their selfish activities have eventually hurt the tender beneficiaries and often, the public watches painfully as every storm blows away with seldom anyone being brought to account.
Indeed our tender processes surely still have loopholes similarly as big as those that characterised the old system and faces enormous predicaments. These are non-compliance with public procurement policy and regulations, inadequate planning and the linking of demand to the budget, accountability, fraud and corruption, inadequate monitoring and evaluation, unethical behaviour among other critical concerns.
With taxpayers in mind, many including this publication have raised concern over a porous system in which the tender board has constantly been exposed for tender irregularities, a system that has seen Government fall prey to tenderpreneurs who continue to damage the reputation of commercial parastatals in particular.
What we understand is that, public procurement is guided by a number of related policies and regulations which clearly denote jobs that should always go on tender relative to amounts of purchases yet compliance with these policies and regulations has become a major problem.
Critically, accountability constitutes a central pillar to public procurement and without transparent and accountable systems, the vast resources channelled through public procurement systems run the danger of being entangled with increased corruption and misuse of funds and the Anti-Corruption Commission will be burdened with an unending task of investigating organisational heads at a time that they should be driving the Harambee initiative forward.
Government is aware of the fact that over the last few years, the impact of fraud has led to the promulgation of special legislation and improvement in existing legislation that led to the creation of the Public Procurement Bill and hence, there is an urgent need to rethink innovative ways of curbing corruption and some other administrative malpractices within Namibia’s spheres of Government despite new legislation.
To fight the scourge of maladministration, mismanagement of finances, fraud and corruption, Government needs to strengthen and review existing internal control systems to detect deficiencies bearing in mind that the tendering process is central to national Government. The goods and services bought by Government represent a large amount of public money, and it is very important that national Government puts in place measures to manage how these goods and services are acquired.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015