Countries within the East African Community (EAC) should join hands in fighting corruption, which is a key impediment of economic growth within the bloc.
Japanese firm EAA Company Limited, blacklisted for forging documents to win Kenya Bureau of Standards (Kebs) tenders is now bidding for similar tenders in Tanzania.
The company was blacklisted by The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) in 2021, after the Auditor General’s office found evidence that the firm forged papers to bid for Kebs tenders in 2011, 2014 and 2019.
Tanzania has since changed its regulations and policies and the firm is now looking to win a lucrative tender that will see it inspect imported motor vehicles and spare parts.
The EAA was investigated by the Auditor-General, National Assembly’s Public Investments Committee (PIC) and the Directorate of Criminal Investigations (DCI) and it was found that they used forged documents for the Kebs tenders. The EAA after the verdict, sued PPRA through the Kenyan High Court seeking to thwart the blacklisting but was denied relief.
The case is still active at the High Court even as EAA eyes the Tanzania bid, which will see it oversee inspections from countries where Tanzanians are importing vehicles and spare parts.
Legally, companies blacklisted for corrupt deals in other jurisdictions are not to participate in government dealings within Tanzania. Such companies are barred from public procurement for over 10 years.
The petition by EAA to bid for a public service tender in Tanzania while its request to be cleared by The Kenyan High Court is still pending, shows a huge lack of integrity. The EAC should protect its resources and vet all companies seeking employment within the region.