The Kenys Institute of Supply Examination Board (KISEB) has come up with a new syllabus, which is expected to address corruption issues among its members in a bid to redeem the dented image of procurement professionals.
According to a a damning report by the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (EACC), public procurement is one also the most vulnerable to fraud and corruption, with bribery in procurement estimated to be adding 10-20 per cent to total contract costs, the 2015 EACC report titled: An Evaluation of Corruption in Public Procurement: A Kenyan Experience revealed.
Further, procurement related corruption cases accounted for about six (6) per cent of all corruption reports filed with EACC in the 2013/2014’s Annual Report. In that year alone, EACC received 117 reports relating to public procurement irregularities.
Among the major government corruption scandals blamed on procurement officials include the ongoing case on the Kshs.5 Billion Covid 19 pandemic protective equipment supply tenders in 2020, the Kshs.5 Billion Afya House scandal in 2016, the 2013 Kshs.26 billion Schools Laptop tender, all of which fingers pointed at the procurement professionals.
It is this scenario that has informed the recent review of the KISEB syllabus, to ensure procurement professionals maintain high standards and are registerec and licensed by a recognised professional body.
According to KISEB, those who will go through the new syllabus, will be a ‘refined lot’ aware of the dynamics around their work’s.
KISEB Chair Wasike Walubengo says so bad has the procurement professionals’ image been dented that people have a blanket condemnation whenever one introduces himself or herself as a procurement officer.
Mr Walubengo said the new syllabus will address the gaps and equip trainees with knowledge and attitude in modern trade and best practices so that in practice, “they are well aware and ethically informed to practice and change this notion that procurement is a corrupt profession.”
The curriculum includes analytical skills, which will help professionals to make sound decisions, especially in the evaluation and writing a professional opinion on collective decisions made by the evaluation team.
The KISED Chair John Karani however also pointed a finger at the top management saying that, “on many occasions, procurement officers are just executors of commands that come from the top,’’ yet when things go wrong, ‘we carry the bulk of the burden.’
“Supply chain is a teamwork effort. The corruption that happens in the supply chain starts from high up, sometimes in an organisations culture… but I can tell you by the time it comes to the supply chain person, we are just executors’’, he said.
The anti-graft agencies often net procurement officers as well as the members of procurement evaluation committees in many corruptions cases with a number being convicted. The new development will go a long way to support the government’s ant-corruption efforts.