November 15, 2019
By Ibrahim Tarawallie
Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) yesterday stated that getting procurement right would help reduce corruption by 50% in Sierra Leone.
Francis Ben Kaifala said procurement is one area that has held the country to ransom, because a lot has been lost due to bad procurement processes, which is why conscious steps must be taken to stop it.
Mindful of the fact that procurement officers operate in a very difficult circumstance, Mr. Kaifala reminded them that they are stationed in institutions to help in preventing what will go wrong as they are also serving as integrity officers.
He was speaking in the conference room of the Ministry of Finance during the launch of the Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) developed by the National Public Procurement Authority (NPPA).
He noted that if the problem around contract is taken care of, it would be difficult for the country not to get it right.
He said ordinary Sierra Leoneans, including business people and foreigners have taken advantage of the weaknesses in the country’s procurement regime to enrich themselves.
He urged procurement officers not be afraid as nobody is out to get them or take the powers they have, but stressed that they are working towards ensuring that the country to be on the trajectory of change for good.
“Many people have become millionaires by merely being procurement officers through the shady deals and contracts they make as well as agreements with bidders,” the ACC Commissioner said.
Earlier, Chief Executive of NPPA, Ibrahim Brima Swaray stated that they decided to review the document to ensure that it meets international best practice and can be compared to that of the World Bank and the African development Bank.
“The standard bidding documents should be our working tool as procurement officers. From today onwards, the previous tender documents we have been using have become obsolete. We have imbibed in this reviewed documents integrity path with a clear pay no bribe on each page,” he said and stressed that it is not a witch-hunt.
He challenged procurement officers to use the document, which will come into effect in the 2020 financial year to ensure that things are done the right way and to be able to see clearly the beauty of their job.
He emphasized that procurement is just the prevented arm of corruption so as to ensure that things are done properly.