Heads of public procurement departments have complained about threats issued by interested parties in tenders announced by public institutions.
Judge (rtd) Thomas Mihayo, acting chairman of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA), made this observation when closing a training stint for heads of purchasing units in the country.
“A lot of money is used in procurement of various sorts of machinery; where there is a road being built that is procurement. Threats come from certain quarters where there are individuals with vested interests on the tenders being issued,” he said.
Citing an example, he said that when someone makes a tender application he also seeks to ensure that his application is one among those being prioritized by the procurement department. Once an applicant fails to use other means to obtain the tender such a person is likely to resort to threats, the retired judge noted.
“They level threats of harming an officer or use some key administrative office which would remind the (youthful) tender officer that if he doesn’t issue the tender to that person he will be sacked or transferred.
He said, however, that were it to be ascertained that a certain purchasing or procurement tender was issued in contravention of the Procurement Act it could lead to foreclosure of the tendering process.
Judge Mihayo said that the training has included advice on how to deal with such threats, in which case amended legislation that is being prepared shall go a long way to resolve challenges of that sort, in case purchasing executives conduct their work diligently.
He also urged procurement experts to form an umbrella body to spell out rules of probity in the profession, and if anyone among them goes against its provisions he would be punished according to provisions thereof.
“Many of you here were painfully taking account of the state of the procurement industry, that it is ensnared in scandals, or in short let us say it is seen to be dirty,” he said, citing a presentation by the PPRA chief executive where he revisited intense debate at the time of the passage of the new procurement act last year.
“What this means is that the masses are concerned and may not be confident about you, who re responsible for procurement,” the judge intoned.
PPRA chief executive Dr.Ramadhan Mlinga said that the new procurement law whose accompanying regulations are yet to be gazetted, provides that obtaining a tender without following lawful procedures, including by use of threats, will be prosecuted as a criminal offence.
“Anyone convicted of that offence faces a jail term of seven years or 10m shillings fine,” he added.