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The Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) has recommended implementing a Chinese procurement scheme to make public procurements fraud proof. Public procurements remain a serious challenge for the anti-corruption commission, undermining efforts to ensure accountability despite land fraud had eased over the past five years.
At a press conference held on Friday, September 18, Ali Suliman, Commissioner of FEACC said public procurement is the main area prone to corruption. “We have been trying to apply clear and open procurement procedures in every public procurement carried out,” he said.
The procedure requires government institutions to state their entire procurement process on their websites. “But there are still problems in the purchases,” Ali had said.
The country’s public procurement volume is growing significantly, parallel to the nation’s economic growth and ongoing and upcoming large scale projects.
“Usually, with the procurement procedure alone, it is difficult to control illegality. Because of this, we have proposed for the government to embrace a new procurement scheme in order to make the sector free from fraud and misdemeanor,” the anti-corruption head said.
“The Public procurements, mainly huge procurements, should be made through a centralized system. For instance, the commission has proposed to the government that higher education institutions’ procurement should be handled by one center,” he added.
Time and again, the Office of the Federal Auditor General has reported that public universities often do not adhere to procurement procedures.
Public Procurement and Property Administration Agency is the central body that manages large public procurements. The commission is looking to expand centralized control over large public procurement.
FEACC sources said that the commission has observed the Chinese public procurement scheme, and intend to replicate it here. China has in recent years applied serious measures to reprimand corrupt officials, and is said to have one of the strongest mechanisms to tackle corruption on procurements.
“Even though we have made some progress in reducing corruption on public procurements, we need to work harder to make it clean,” Ali added.
He said that corruption in land administration is not fully wiped out but has significantly reduced over the last five years. Fraud in land allocation has been a major issue in the capital and in the surrounding Oromia Region. “The illegal act declined significantly but we have to work hard to close it for once and for all,” he said.
Tax evasion is also another area of illegality the corruption commission focused efforts on in the past GTP period. “Corruption that involves tax is still a major challenge. We have taken measures that help slow down such fraud,” the commissioner said.
Court decisions that were given in favor of FEACC have reached 86 percent in the past budget year, according to the commissioner.
The Addis Ababa branch of FEACC, formed this year, will investigate corruption allegations in the private sector. The commissioner said the newly opened office is investigating cases after the public blow the whistle on companies’ corrupt activities.
FEACC was given additional power last year, when parliament amended anti-corruption laws, giving it the power to investigate corruption cases in the private sector.