E-Procurement and Corruption
Is e-Procurement system the ultimate solution to end corruption?
Procurement processes are usually vulnerable to corruption tendencies like price gouging, kickbacks, cartelism, favoritism
, bribery, funds embezzlement, fraudulent activities in bid evaluations and bid rigging. These kind of corruption activities is common in both public and private procurement processes and usually facilitated by the volume of transactions, complexity of the procurement processes, close interactions of people or procurement officials in the procurement process and finally the greed to fulfill personal financial interests or gains. All these corruption tendencies undermine the integrity of the procurement processes and negatively affect the economy at large.
Although other ways to carb corruption - like integrity, transparency, stakeholder participation, access to procurement contracts and oversight and control measures - are existing, e-Procurement systems are cited by anti-corruption proponents as a good way to reduce corruption. However, the role of the e-procurement system in compacting corruption is questionable and debatable.
Anti Corruption Roles Played by e-Procurement Systems
The following are some of the anti-corruption roles that can be played by e-procurement systems in various stages of the procurement process
- PROJECT PLANNING STAGE
- E-procurement system can assist in avoiding unnecessary projects.
- E-procurement systems can help in ensuring that there is transparency in project planning and enables procurement officials in making informed decisions in the procurement process.
- PROJECT DESIGN AND DOCUMENTATION STAGE
E-procurement can assist in eliminating unnecessary tender documents and helps to coming up with standardized, easy bidding procedures.
- TENDER PROCESS STAGE
- E-procurement system can assist in automation of the tender process
- E-procurement system can increases fairness and encourages tender competition.
- E-procurement system helps ti reduce human interaction, thereby safeguarding the integrity of the procurement process and as a result carb corruption.
- E-procurement enhances communication between procurement stakeholders and ensures easy access to real time procurement information.
- CONTRACT AWARD STAGE
E-procurement helps in enhancing accountability and monitoring of contract execution and thereby increase transparency, quality of work and performance of contracted organisations or individuals.
- ACCOUNTING AND AUDITING STAGE
E-procurement system helps in generating audit trails which are useful in auditing, investigation activities and risk analysis. This also helps to reduce corruption and strengthens risk management processes.
What is your opinion regarding the adoption of e-procurement system in public or private procurement processes? Is e-procurement so good as it sounds in carbing corruption?