Dec 14, 2016 News
By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
Former Attorney General Anil Nandlall has voiced concerns over the fact that the Cabinet continues
to exercise its no objection role, even after the appointment of a Public Procurement Commission (PPC). He claims that this represents a blatant disregard for the rule of law. Nandlall based his statement upon the fact that the Procurement Act “clearly states that Cabinet’s role shall cease upon the establishment of the Public Procurement Commission.”
However, Chairman of the PPC, Carol Corbin is saying that there is no disregard for the rule of the law and that the Commission is justified in its position to allow a weaning process.
Nandlall highlighted the fact that the PPC was appointed over two months ago.
“The Procurement Act provides very clearly, that when the PPC is appointed, Cabinet loses its no objection role in respect of the award of contract.” He said that from all indications, in breach of the Procurement Act, the Cabinet continues to exercise a no objection power in relation to the award of contracts.
Additionally, Nandlall said that a new trend is now developing.
“Whenever the tender process does not deliver the desired result and produces a contractor who is not a favoured one of the Administration, the tender process is rescinded for some spurious reason, and the process is done all over again with a view to procure the desired contractor . This defeats the entire Procurement Act and indeed, is an affront to the public procurement process. It is illegal and a corrupt practice which must end now!”
The People’s Progressive Party/ Civic (PPP/C) Member of Parliament (MP) noted a case in point to be the stall in the installation of water treatment plants at Uitvulgt.
“Then there is a sheet anchor at Diamond, the first tenders were done last year and capriciously scrapped with no reason provided, although bidders enquired. They were retendered six months ago, but to date no award made. Again, inquiries have gone unanswered.”
Nandlall said that this results in massive delays in getting public works done and services rendered to the people of the country.
But, Corbin has justified Cabinet’s continued role. She told Kaieteur News that the PPC is not fully established. She said that there is no office, no secretariat and no staff in place to date.
The Chairman said that the functions of the PPC are to monitor all procurement entities to ensure that they are persons in place to carry out procurement functions in a good and proper way. She said that the Commission is to also replace Cabinet’s no objection role. But, this is following a process. Corbin said that the PPC will work with Cabinet until the government is fully weaned from the procurement process.
Her comments are in keeping with sections of the Procurement Act.
Section 54(1) of the Procurement Act says, “Cabinet shall have the right to review all procurements the value of which exceeds 15M Guyana dollars. The Cabinet shall conduct its review on the basis of a streamlined tender evaluation report to be adopted by the authority mentioned in section 17 (2). The Cabinet and, upon its establishment, the public procurement commission, shall review annually the Cabinet’s threshold for review of procurements, with the objective of increasing that threshold over time so as to promote the goal of progressively phasing out Cabinet involvement and decentralizing the procurement process.”
Then Section 54 (6), which Nandlall is relying on, says, “Cabinet’s involvement under this section shall cease upon the constitution of the Public Procurement Commission except in relation to those matters referred to in subsection (1) which are pending.”
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