Thursday, April 25, 2024

DCEC, PPADB and CA join hands in fight against crime

The Directorate on Corruption and Economic Crime (DCEC), the Public Procurement Asset Disposal Board (PPADB) and Competition Authority (CA) have forged a link through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in their efforts to cooperate in dealing with fraud, deception, collusion and bid rigging.

DCEC Director, Rose Seretse, said at the launch of the MoU that it will allow the parties to assist each other with investigation, research and analysis of cases. She said it also seeks to enhance sharing of information and expertise in their different fields of operation. Seretse stated that the three institutions are tasked with different mandates to collectively enhance the business environment and boost investor confidence in Botswana.

“DCEC alone cannot win the war against corruption even with the best will on earth,” she said.

Seretse further said that despite good ratings by Transparency International, Botswana continues to register increasing incidences of corruption. She added that major problems are mostly in procurement and tendering, land allocations, fraudulent acquisition of driving licenses and permits as well as human resources issues in employment secured through corrupt means.

“Corruption undermines democracy, rule of law, human rights and sustainable development,” she stated.

Seretse said that the Directorate continues to receive allegations that of public officials colluding with companies by leaking inside information especially in relation to tenders. She also revealed that they are also experiencing an upsurge of reports where one person uses several companies to bid for a tender, adding that the conduct undermines fair competition and service delivery.

“Some of the issues that fuel corruption range from unnecessary delays to lack of project management skills from failure to enforce contract conditions to continuous requests for waivers and direct appointment,” said Seretse.

PPADB Executive Chairperson Bridget John echoed Seretse’s words that the aim is to make bid rigging and collusive bidding more difficult for contractors and other people as well as bring all culprits to book.┬á She said public procurement plays a pivotal role in economic development, including in job creation, wealth distribution, development of competitive entrepreneurship. John stated that there is an immediate need to deal with corruption practices and anti-competitive behaviours in public procurement.

“Public procurement promotes competition to achieve value for money. The MoU may be amended from time to time to accommodate changing circumstances,” said John.

She further stated that the launching of the MoU provides for a joint working committee consisting of representatives of the three parties.  She also revealed that the three parties have agreed to rotate the chairmanship on an annual basis.

“The DCEC, CA and PPADB have an obligation to promote corruption free and fair competition in public procurement,” said John.

For his part, CA Chief Executive Officer, Thula Kaira, also pointed out that the signing of the tripartite MoU is welcomed by the CA and has already utilized, through participating in a number of PPADB arranged public awareness seminars. He added that the Authority is clothed with powers for prevention of and redress for anti-competitive practices in the economy. He said it is also responsible for the removal of constraints on the free play of competition in the market.

RELATED STORIES

Read this week's paper