The Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) is pushing public institutions to make full disclosure of their procurement data to the public. According to the GCAA, data gathered via the Public Procurement Authority’s (PPA) website show that many public institutions were not providing the required data – while others had failed to make such disclosures for years.
Even though some of these public institutions awarded contracts for some projects, there was no information on the tender processes, owners of the contracted firms and how those contracts were awarded. The Coalition noted that this had led to issues of conflict of interest, stalling of some projects, as well as improper location of projects.
Communications Officer of GACC, Faustina Djabatey said: “Making procurement data available will enable Civil Society Organisations, the media and general public to subject such procurements to thorough scrutiny, and if there are any red flags they will be raised before the contracts are even awarded.
“For instance, if data was available, the former Public Procurement Authority’s (PPA) boss’ conflict of interest situation would have been detected much earlier and wouldn’t have gotten to where it did,” she said at a workshop organised by GACC for members of the Civil Society Organisations, media, district assemblies, PPA as well as other public institutions.
She added that data available to the coalition indicates that a number of public institutions, particularly those in the education and health sectors, continue to breach the country’s procurement regulations, saying: “This has led to massive financial losses to the state over the years”.
The workshop formed part of the Coalition’s ‘From Disclosure to Impact: Deepening and Broadening Open Contracting in Africa’ project, aimed at encouraging CSOs, media and public to demand disclosure of procurement data from public institutions to promote accountability.
Funded by the Hewlett Foundation through Africa Freedom of Information Centre, the project aims at improving delivery of health and education services through promotion of disclosure, public participation, efficiency, value for money and competition in public contracting in Ghana.
Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at GACC, Michael Djisu, also urged public institutions to adopt internationally accepted procurement standards such as the Open Contract Partnership as part of their plans in disclosing procurement data. Open Contracting is about publishing and using open, accessible and timely information on government contracting to engage citizens in identifying and fixing problems.
Head of Corporate Affairs and Facilities Management at PPA, David Damoah, called for resourcing of the authority to enable it to carry out its mandate. He said as part of efforts to ensure compliance, the authority was putting in place stringent measures that will allow it to reject any procurement without a plan by any public institution, and compel the Finance Ministry decline payment for such projects.
To reduce the challenges associated with the current procurement system, Gideon Sandinah, the Senior IT Officer-Management Information Systems at PPA, said the authority had rolled 102 public institutions onto the Ghana Electronic Procurement Systems (GhanEPS) with 41 tenders received via the platform.