Front page headline in the New Straits Times: Need for tighter checks
Auditor-General urges review of procurement process...
"CIVIL servants can take advantage of a loophole in the government procurement process to bypass guidelines, if the internal checking mechanism fails, says Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang..."
"Explaining the procurement process, and how it can go wrong, Ambrin said when a government agency or department wanted to buy something, a local order (LO) had to be issued.
"Before the procurement officer issues an LO, he has to know if there is enough budget. If there isn't, he would be irresponsible to buy things.
"If an LO is not issued, there will be no record of what is bought."
However, notwithstanding the lack of an LO, the purchase could still go through.
Suppliers would like to see the LO, but in the instance where they don't, it could be because of collusion..."
"The purchase was beyond the Customs Department's budget and the Treasury had to step in to foot the bill in 2010, leading to a probe into the case.
The finance minister had reportedly directed the Customs Department on Dec 22, 2010, to lodge a report against the officer.
But no action was taken then as the officer had given a 24-hour resignation notice on Feb 26, 2008.
A police report was lodged only prior to the release of the Auditor-General's Report on May 24 this year..."
Rest of the article:
After 55 years of independence, we have yet to sort out our procurement process?
The above example was proof of weaknesses in internal control. Yet, the guilty officer could escape criminal charge after his 24-hour resignation notice! A police report was lodged more than 4 years later! Shouldn't his immediate superior and head of department be held responsible for this gross negligence?
Personally, if I were in such a position, I would be ashamed if I did not seek the best price for any purchase, let alone buying unnecessarily and beyond budget limit. If I were the officer in charge of approving the procurement, I would be ashamed to do so. This smack of collusion. In other words, there was not only lack of honour in service, but no shame in being corrupt. Sadly, for taxpayers, another corrupt case yet to find the persons responsible.
Read The Sun's Nades's purported reply from Customs & Excise Department...
Sorry, the vacancy's filled