Nearly half of government ministries, departments and agencies are yet to comply with a directive to publish tender details on a designated public procurement website, undermining efforts to keep out shadowy contractors and curb corruption.
Mid-2018, Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua asked accounting officers in ministries, departments and agencies to consolidate and publish tenders’ information, on the 15th of every month.
The information on the portal should include the basis of awarding the tenders, parameters of assessment, names and details of tender committee members as well as the value of each contract.
A report by the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) – the official procurement watchdog – however shows that most State agencies snubbed the directive during the 2019/2020 financial year where tenders worth Sh232.77 billion were published on online portal.
“The authority has continued to monitor implementation of these directives through preparation of reports to Parliament and the National Treasury and Planning… Despite these, the level of compliance has continued to be poor,” the PPRA said, noting that as at June 30, 2020, only 433 procuring entities had been registered on the portal.
A review shows that an estimated 43.47 per cent of the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are yet to comply with the executive order. Under this category, 59 procuring entities have been registered on the online portal.
“Of this number, 36 have published tender notices and contracts in the portal, though fewer tender notices have resulted into contracts. The remaining 23procuring entities have not posted contracts despite some having advertised the tenders through the portal,” the PPRA said.
Constitutional commissions and independent offices have also shown only partial compliance with the order.
The PPRA said 13 procuring entities under this category posted tender opportunities and contracts in the portal, although fewer tender notices have translated to contracts. The other five, have posted tender notices only, which indicates non-compliance with the Act and the Executive Order.
The report further shows that 61 of the 196 registered parastatals failed to comply with the directive, translating to a non-compliance rate of 36 per cent.
State agencies and parastatals which have defied the order include the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), the National Youth Service (NYS), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), the Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (Kephis) and the Kenya National Examination Council (Knec).
Others are the Financial Reporting Centre (FRC), the Export Promotion Council (EPC) and the Media Council of Kenya.
Similar non-compliance was registered among the 53 public universities, colleges and technical institutions. Only 26 of the procuring entities under this category published tender notices and contracts in the portal—marking a defiance rate of about 50.94 per cent.
Among the defiant tertiary education institutions are Tom Mboya University College, the Cooperative University of Kenya, Technical University of Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga University of Science and Technology, Kisii University and Maasai Mara University.
The PPRA reports lists public water companies as the biggest laggards, with a non-compliance rate of 85.91 per cent. Only Nairobi City Water & Sewerage Company Ltd is compliant.
Rogue State employees have been accused of manipulating the procurement law to inflate tender prices and line their pockets with huge sums of money in exchange for shady deals.
Documents relating to tender disputes before the Public Procurement Administrative Review Board (PPARB) have in the past shown that some crooked government officials collude with a cabal of tenderers to funnel lucrative government contracts to a select group of connected individuals, leaving in their wake protracted legal battles.