E-procurement system a key tool in the fight against corruption

At first thought of the idea of giving parliamentary public accounts committee prosecutorial powers, I almost laughed until I realised the member of the committee raised the issue due to a deep frustration on the fight against graft and tangible results over how corruption cases are handled.

Editor,

RE: “MPs demand tougher laws on fund mismanagement” (The New Times, October 26).

At first thought of the idea of giving parliamentary public accounts committee prosecutorial powers, I almost laughed until I realised the member of the committee raised the issue due to a deep frustration on the fight against graft and tangible results over how corruption cases are handled.

The committee was instituted in 2011, and six years later, Auditor General recommendations to fight graft and public funds wastage always hover at around 50-60 per cent. There is the perennial outcry on catching the ‘big fish’ as every ombudsman/prosecutor general who comes in office always pledges but to little avail.

Corruption also has many types, ranging from petty corruption like bribes, to bureaucratic corruption, white-collar crimes and private sector corruption etc. Fighting corruption is like fighting a shadowy enemy, and no single strategy can fight it instead multi-pronged solutions have to be devised. Ultimately, however, it’s a sustained and strong political determination that drives the effort and here in Rwanda we have to appreciate this from the leadership.

I’m delighted that in the efforts to fight corruption, the Government of Rwanda is beginning to invest in ICT to fight the vice. Investment in an e-procurement system, codenamed Umucyo, will further this cause.

It would be interesting for Rwanda Public Procurement Authority to track indicators/statistics on how the system is actually reducing corruption. Secondly, this year Leadership Retreat recommendation was to set up an automated electronic platform to track and recover public funds from individuals and contractors involved in fraudulent activities.

Although it’s not clear what any public institution has ownership of this, once put in place this system would be a welcome addition to the campaign against corruption. Thirdly, the retreat recommended a ‘cashless’ (or ‘cashlite’) government policy and strategy under the Ministry of Finance. This should fight leakages, especially between the ministry and decentralised institutions like local government offices, schools, health centres etc.

Aluta Continua against corruption!

MG

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