Stopping the stealing in the Public Sector

Last week the media ran scathing reports confirming what many government procurement professionals have been telling, SmartProcurement in private:

” That so called public servants abuse public funds to enrich themselves, bypassing or undermining procurement processes to fund their pursuits. That, senior individuals, use their political connections or seniority to pose veiled threats to SCM individuals who are intimidated into retreat…”

SmartProcurement’s Fraudwatch section have been keeping tabs on a number of major public sector fraudulent activities:

They include:

“2000 South Africa’s civil servants have scored more than half-a-billion rand in government tenders, which were irregularly awarded to their spouses and relatives.”

“Stealing the buck by state officials must stop now ”

“Gauteng health tender shock – Winning bidder charged much more and had poorer technical score”

“Another LOC head rolls” (IT related fraud)

To deal with this ongoing fraudulent activity President Jacob Zuma even suggested last year that a return to the previous Tender Board system be considered…

How are public sector professionals supposed deal with the “ingenious efforts” of some of their colleages to bypass policy?

How can these efforts be identified before fraud on a massive scale is perpetrated?

To assist with resolving these issues, in August, Senior Supply Chain Professionals, Academics and International experts will be getting together to debate options to stop the rot at the annual Public Sector Supply Chain Summit, facilitated by SmartProcurement.

There are forensic tools that can be used to detect Fraud succesfully. These will be expanded upon in a paper by Advocate Stephen Powell when he talks about Preventing Fraud : Implications of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act on SCM Professionals

Detecting and avoiding collusion amongst suppliers in large public sector tenders is vital for creating a competitive environment for goods and services bought for the public. Mziwodumo Rubushe, Head of Department: Education & Advocacy; Strategy & Stakeholders Relations Division at the Competition Commission, will expand on the types of collusion and the mechanisms to identify them.

Recent case law will be used to illustrate collusion activities of large suppliers.

A senior panel will discuss Preventing Fraud: SCM Framework vs returning to the Tender Board system (as suggested last year by SA President Jacob Zuma)

Dealing with the procurement of High Risk Items in the context of the SCM framework and the PPPFA will be presented by Mr. Isac Smith: Director Supply Chain Management – Western Cape Department of Health

Mr Walter Johnson, an international public sector expert (UK) will be illustrating how the advanced use of information technology can identify fraudulent transactions.

Dealing with Public Sector Fraud from a procurement perspective forms a major thread of 2009’s Public Sector Procurement Summit.

The other themes are: Strategic Sourcing in Government, Legal challenges facing Public Sector Procurement Professionals, Effective tendering within the public sector and technologies for enabling World Class Public Sector Supply Chain Management.

SmartProcurement will be hosting the annual Public Sector Supply Chain Summit in Centurion from 18 to 20 August, 2009 . For details contact Erieka Santos on 0861 334 326 or email to

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