By Ralph Sesay
The National Public Procurement Authority and the Anti Corruption Commission has reviewed and launched Tender Documents in Freetown to be used as tools in the execution of the functions of Practicing Procurement Officers and MDA’s in the public procurement process in the country.
The launching of the Tender Documents together with Integrity Packs bearing the ACC ‘Pay No Bribe’ campaign inscription was developed according to the NPPA Chief Executive Officer was to further professionalize and work towards ensuring that, Practicing Procurement Officers always consider doing the right thing in the best interest of the people.
NPPA Chief Executive, Ibrahim Brima Swarray during his opening remarks at the launching, noted that, the journey to sanitizing the procurement climate in Sierra Leone has been very turbulent over the last ten years and that there has been no pathway, hope, faith or direction.
He assured all that, there is now a new dawn and that his administration is determined to turn things around for the better.
Ibrahim Brima Swarray disclosed that, he has leading the change in the sector based on his past experiences as a practicing procurement Officer.
The launching of the reviewed tender document according to him will squarely exonerate practicing procurement Officers with regards the actions of members of the various procurement committees.
He underscored the point that, the practice of the profession is challenging but urged his colleagues to use the reviewed tender documents and the integrity packs to professionalize the profession and also prevent corruption in the public procurement sector.
The NPPA Chief Executive Officer challenged those people who are of the opinion that, things will not change for the better in Sierra Leone and noted that this is the time for change.
He urged his colleagues to professionally the tender documents and all other tools to make their work better.
The tender documents, Mr. Swarray concluded are very much consistent with those at the World bank and other IFC institutions.
ACC Commissioner Francis Ben Kaifala in his remarks noted that the decisions around procurement activities has brought the country to its knees in the past years and that their colleagues in the profession has taken very bad decisions, leaked documents and information, made corrections to biding documents hence providing undue advantaged for foreign businessmen to rip off the country.
He continued that Sierra Leone has lost and has continued to loss hugely around the procurement process and agreed that curbing corruption in the sector will contribute to reducing corruption by 50%.
The ACC Commissioner cited the recent amendment to the ACC Act of 2008 and stated that it was very challenging for them who meant well for this country to get the amendment through parliament.
Francis Ben Kaifala continued that addressing the issues around the award of contract was critical in addressing corruption in the public procurement process and this explains why people were determined to create a wedge between him and his brother the NPPA to ensure that the clause relating to contracts in the amendment does not go through.
The ACC boss indicated that there was a time in this country when there was massive corruption in the sector to the disappointment of our donors who at the time had nobody to refer to but that the passing of the amendment would make corruption around public procurement very expensive.
The official launching of the reviewed tender documents and the integrity packs by the ACC and NPPA bosses was the climax of the ceremony.
The new NPPA Chief is continuously introducing reforms at the NPPA to resurrect the once battered public sector procurement process in the country. His increasingly collaboration with the anti-graft body was to send the correct message that things will no longer be as usual.
The test of the puddings in terms of the viability of these massive reforms will be tested by the Auditor General report of 2018.