Gvt Sweats Over Rampant Procurement Corruption

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Matabeleland North Correspondent

GOVERNMENT is worried about rampant disregard of procurement regulations, by senior bureaucrats who continue dealing with unregistered suppliers of goods and services despite being regularly flagged in audits.

Permanent Secretary in the Office of the President and Cabinet, Corporate Governance Unit and Procurement, Willard Manungo said of 203 procuring entities, 142 were non-compliant.

He was speaking at a public procurement conference hosted by the Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (Praz) in Victoria Falls Friday.

“In order to improve accountability and transparency in emergency spending, PRAZ has set aside oversight performance matrix and evaluations for each procuring entity. I have been duly informed through the periodic PRAZ reports emanating from its monitoring and evaluation processes that whilst 203 procuring entities (59 percent) have been complying with the emergency procurement reporting guidelines for Cocid-19, 142 procuring entities (41 percent) are not fully complying with set Covid-19 emergency protocols,” Manungo said.

He said 37 percent of procuring entities have not been registered with Praz and a significant number of procurements (73 percent) have had no or inadequate supporting documents.

“While the PPDPA set the procurement record adequacy level standard at 100 percent, the assessment of Covid-19 of Covid-19 emergency procurement by PRAZ indicated an overall record adequacy level of 44

percent with local authorities being at 41 percent, Ministries 35 percent, parastatals 46 percent and commissions ate 37 percent. In addition considerable procurements are still being done outside the framework arrangements,” said Manungo.

Officially opening the same event, Vice President Costantino Chiwenga said the Covid-19 pandemic has created significant corruption opportunities and procurement law compliance challenges, not only in Zimbabwe but across the globe.

He said Zimbabwe uses Praz and the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission (ZACC) to uproot the scourge of corruption in public procurement.

“As Government we are concerned about the low levels of compliance by procuring entities with the procurement law as reported by PRAZ. Three ears after implementation of procurement reforms began compliance levels are still far from where we want them to be.

“We are now past our two-year transitional period during which we expected all our procuring entities to acquaint themselves fully with the procurement law and for the practitioners to self-develop by acquiring professional qualifications. We were expecting 100 percent compliance by this time and nothing less,” Chiwenga said.

He also said members of the public who fail to report acts of corruption by any public or private sector official are also guilty of corruption, a cancer that threatens the country’s development.

“Among other agencies of the state, Praz is central to the achievement of our development objectives as it plays the vital role of regulating procurement in the entire public sector. I would like to make it clear that if a public procurement official solicits or extorts a bribe from you, but you are unwilling or afraid to expose the official by reporting the crime, it means that you are not only equally to blame, but also corrupt. This is because the highest risk of corruption for the Government lies in public procurement. A citizen who is aware of corruption which has taken place and is unwilling or afraid to expose perpetrators by reporting the matter to the responsible authorities,” he said.

The conference ended Friday and the theme was: “Balancing emergencies with efficiency and integrity.”