January 30, 2015 By Victoria Saffa
Following the release of a damning audit report for the 2013 financial year in December last year, Auditor General Lara Taylor-Pearce has in an interview on Radio Democracy FM 98.1 condemned procurement practice in MDAs which, she said, violates national procurement rules, as well as implicitly aid and abet unscrupulous contractors to defraud the state.
Madam Taylor-Pearce maintained it was disheartening to note that government officials in ministries, departments and agencies would deliberately circumvent procurement rules, noting that most of their findings in the 2013 report relate to breach of procurement policies.
“Under procurement laws, any transaction above Le60 million must first be advertised so that a standard bidding process is carried out, but that rule is now being compromised by most procurement officers in these MDAs and contracts handled in secret,” she revealed.
She further explained that certain procurement officials, in a bid to circumvent procurement rules, would divide contracts into several sub-contracts to make it look like they are separate.
However, she noted that single disbursements and quick payments would be made to contractors for huge contracts which had been awarded in piecemeal.
She urged lawmakers and the Attorney-General’s office to investigate and where possible prosecute procurement officers who surreptitiously bypass procurement rules, as a huge quantum of government subvention is spent on procurement.
Additionally, the Auditor General also frowned at MDAs who have failed to implement recommendations contained in previous audit reports, thus making government lose billions each year due to wastage, bad procurement, and undocumented expenditure.