January 14, 2022
By Jariatu S. Bangura
In contravention of the provision in Section 37(1) of the Public Procurement Act 2016, procurement methods indicated in the approved procurement plan were not adhered to by the Procurement Unit of the Ministry of Sports in the execution of selected procurement activities during 2019, according to the 2020 Audit Report.
Auditors said sole-sourcing instead of Request for Quotations (RfQs) procurement method was used in procurement activities worth Le72,000,000.
“There was no evidence of approval from the Procurement Committee as well as from the NPPA and the Ministry of Finance. We therefore recommended for the submission of evidence of approval from the Procurement Committee as well as from the NPPA and the Ministry of Finance for the use of the sole-sourcing procurement method,” the report states.
The Permanent Secretary in his response said: “Evidence of the two activities referred to above cannot be identified from the point of reference submitted in the draft. No sole sourcing method was however applied in all procurement activities undertaken in the FY2019.”
He said the ministry was challenged with the willingness by suppliers in doing business, because of the delay in receiving payment for items supplied. “Nevertheless, few suppliers were willing to undertake business venture with the ministry irrespective of those aforementioned challenges.”
He stated that the ministry through the Procurement Committee was planning to undertake Framework Contract with eligible supplier(s) in the future.
However, auditors said there was no evidence that the approved procurement method as indicated in the procurement plan was used and that the issue remained unresolved.
The report further revealed that in 2018 and 2019, the ministry artificially split procurement activities worth Le181,240,000 into smaller amounts and used RFQs rather than the National Competitive Bidding (NCB) procurement method and awarded the contracts to various contractors.
The action, according to the report, was contrary to Section 37(2) of the Public Procurement Act of 2016.
The Permanent Secretary in his response said: “I agree that contract accumulated for the said activities (office furniture and equipment) were undertaken.
According to the former Senior Procurement Officer ,Mr. Abdul Kamanda, the alleged act was not deliberate.
“The reason for it was that, office furniture and equipment were procured and distributed to different units in the ministry at different dates based on the requisitions submitted by different end users. The alleged portions of activities were undertaken as a result of unavailability of funds at that time, operating on a transaction with a promise of making payment when funds are available in the future,” he said.
Auditors stated that “We acknowledge the response from management and urge the ministry to design a framework contract where necessary; especially for commonly used items or activities. This will assist in mitigating the challenges in the delay of getting of funds from government. The issue is therefore unresolved.”