The Anti–Corruption Bureau [ACB], has cancelled the procurement process of cloth face masks for Mwanza District Council, advising it to restart the procurement process.
The ACB commenced monitoring procurement of cloth masks following its circular issued on 8th February, 2021 to all District Commissioners and Chief Executive Officers of City Councils and Municipalities.
The Body says this is one of the of the measures for the prevention of corruption in accordance with ACB mandate in Section 10[a] of the Corrupt Practices Act [CPA] and also in line with the Memorandum of Understanding that the Bureau signed with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development in 2019 to collaborate efforts in the prevention of corruption.
In a letter to the District Commissioner, Mwanza, with a copy to the Director General, Office of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets Authority dated 2nd March, 2021 signed by its Deputy Director General, Elia Bodole, the ACB says on 25th February, 2021, it visited Mwanza District Council to monitor how the procurement of cloth face masks is being undertaken, saying it noted that the procurement process was marred by irregularities.
The ACB says the council did not follow requirement for supplier to have a Business License and Tax PIN Registration Certificate to participate in the procurement and the council broke the procurement of face masks into two smaller parts, supply of cloth and tailoring services, saying this is tantamount to bid splitting, compromising quality of the face masks but also create room for corruption.
…….”I wish to advise that the procurement process of cloth face masks be cancelled forthwith, the council advises to restart the procurement process,’’……reads the letter in part.
The Ministry of Health allocated 1 Billion Kwacha for procurement of face masks to be distributed in communities across the country to help prevent the further spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Ministry said in line with decentralization, it transferred the money to councils for effective and efficient utilization of the resources in consideration with urgent need of face masks in communities, saying the funds were allocated based on population and existing development partners in the Covid-19.
The ACB expressed hope that councils will provide the monitoring teams with necessary information needed and that they comply with the recommendations that it will provide in the course of the exercise, with a warning that,…..”Any person who contravenes or fails to comply with any order, direction, notice, requirement, or demand of the Bureau issued, given or made under this Act, shall be guilty of an offence.”
By Vincent Gunde