A professional Ethics and Standards Committee to develop a code of conduct to deepen integrity, transparency and efficiency in the country’s procurement system has been inaugurated by the Ministry of Public Procurement.
The code of conduct, to be formulated within three months, is intended to check conflict of interest situations and corruption in public procurement to ensure value for money.
Members of the committee include representatives from public and private institutions, including the Ministry of Public Procurement, the Attorney General’s Department, the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply Chain Management (CISCM) and the Ghana Institute of Procurement and Supply (GIPS).
Ms Sarah Adwoa Safo, the Minister of State in charge of Public Procurement, inaugurating the committee in Accra, last Wednesday, said the code of conduct would set the highest ethical standards for benchmarking procurement practitioners, suppliers, members of the evaluation panel, members of the tender review committee as well as contractors and service providers.
Apart from the above, Ms Safo, who is also the Dome-Kwabenya MP said the document would also proffer sanctions for persons who would be found guilty of breaching procurement processes.
Penalties for breaching the procurement processes would include demotion, failed promotion, blacklisting or outright dismissal, cancellation of a contract, suspension of a contract and any other appropriate remedies.
Besides, Ms Safo, Deputy Majority Leader in Parliament, said it would serve the interest of the public and public officials by maintaining and strengthening the public’s trust and confidence in public institutions.
This, Ms Safo said, would be achieved by “demonstrating the highest standards of professional competence, efficiency and effectiveness by upholding relevant international treaties or conventions, the constitution, procurement laws and regulations.”
Urging procurement practitioners to be accountable for their decisions and be prepared to justify them, Ms Safo charged members of the committee to formulate a well-researched document to guide and regulate the attitude, actions and behaviours of procurement practitioners.
Cautioning procurement officials against using or misusing their positions for private gain as part of their professional standards, Ms Safo said “this ethical standard when breached constitutes serious breach of professional integrity.”
Chief Executive Officer of the Public Procurement Authority (PPA), Mr Adjenim Boateng Adjei, said procurement was an important tool in supporting the development of a country.
Mr Adjei expressed worry about what he said was connivance between politicians and procurement officials to shortchange the country.
For example, he noted the revelation of confidential information to a prospective tenderer, favouring or discriminating against tenderers, demanding favours from prospective tenderers and destruction or changing of procurement documents as some of the procurement breaches.
Mrs Stella Aku Addo, Chairman of the Committee and Country Manager of CIPS Ghana, assured of the members’ commitment to produce a well-researched document to guide the conduct of procurement practitioners.
BY JULIUS YAO PETETSI