“Tax officials aid contractors win jobs with fake certificates’(Tuesday, November 5, 2014) pg 55
By Seth J. Bokpe, ACCRA
The Public Procurement Authority (PPA) has stated that some tax officials prepare fake tax clearance certificates for contractors to enable them to win contracts.
The Chairman of the Governing Council of the authority, Commodore Steve Obimpeh (retd), said the malfeasance was detected through the diligence of the Central Tender Review Board.
Commodore Obimpeh did not give further details of the malfeasance but served notice that the PPA would go after the perpetrators soon.
“There are many contractors who are not paying taxes but want contracts. We shall catch them,” he said at the 2014 forum in Accra, which also marked the 10th anniversary celebration of the authority.
The occasion was also used to relaunch a new website for the PPA.
The celebration anchored on the theme “Extending the frontiers of Ghana’s Public Procurement Management: A look at the next decade,” is to commemorate 10 years of entrenching the provisions of the Public Procurement Law (Act 663) into the activities of public sector institutions across the country to guarantee value for money in all public procurement processes.
According to the PPA, public procurement accounted for the largest share of government expenditure.
Corruption in public procurement sometimes manifests as bribery, rent-seeking, contractor-client payoff and kick-backs, he said.
According to a recent study by the World Bank, corruption costs Africa about $148 billion, approximately 25 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) and usually results in the execution of shoddy contracts.
Speaking at the event, the Chief Executive of the PPA, Mr Salas Mensah, said after a decade of public procurement reforms, the issue of transparency in public procurement seemed to have taken centre stage in the nation’s quest to instil discipline in the financial management system.
“Ghanaians can testify to the several amounts of tender notices that flood our newspapers on daily basis and on PPA’s website, which promotes transparency and accountability in public procurement,” he added.
Mr Mensah touched on several initiatives, including a $2.7 million project on sustainable public procurement aimed at entrenching the principles of sustainability criteria into the procurement system in Ghana.
The project being funded by Switzerland is currently in the third phase which involves nation-wide training and roll out of public procurement personnel.
Finance Minister on procurement
The Minister of Finance, Mr Seth Terkper, observed that the promulgation of the Public Procurement Act (Act 663) had brought about immense benefit to the economy.
Notwithstanding the benefits of the Act, Mr Terkper said studies showed that the procurement system remained one of the most abused and vulnerable sectors in the economy due to its complexity, the size of financial flow it generated and the close human interface that existed between the public and private sectors.
“Stakeholders continue to complain of low approving thresholds, unfair competition and general perception of corruption surrounding the procurement process,” he added.