Members of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) have cautioned entities that operate on public funds that continue to flout public procurement rules, saying the newly-proposed legal framework has no room for laxity.
PAC members were yesterday meeting with officials from the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) as review of public procurement law continues.
The lawmakers observed that some public corporations flout the procurement law as they tend to be guided by their own internal procedures during procurement process.
“We want the law to cater for entities that government fully supports, these are public funds and we want a mechanism that can ensure value for money productive and public procurement procedures should be respected,” said Juvenal Nkusi, the PAC chairperson.
Nkusi cited the Water and Sanitation Corporations (WASAC), and Rwanda Energy Group (REG) among entities that are still dependent on public funds but use internal procurement rules in tendering which he said is unacceptable.
He said that while those companies have Chief Operating Officers, they have boards and they should report to the shareholder, which is the Government.
“We are yet to get a solution but we want it to be clear in the law. These corporations should respect principles such as competitiveness and transparency though they work as companies, they are yet to be independent and operate on government budget, they should, therefore, respect the public procurement law,” Nkusi added.
Former heads of WASAC and Energy Development Corporation (EDCL ), which is under Rwanda Energy Group, were arrested in September over what the Police termed as illegalities in awarding public tenders and misuse of property of public interest.
However, Augustus Seminega, RPPA director-general, explained that public entities that are registered as commercial companies were allowed to apply autonomous procurement procedures even when there is still a big amount of funds the Government injects in them for operations.
But, he said, once the law is amended, it would help the entities follow the public procurement law and become more transparent.
RPPA was established in 2007. Stakeholders say the proposed law would make it easier to apprehend and punish all those involved in procurement-related corruption.