ICPC Moves to Strengthen Procurement Integrity with Private Sector

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has collaborated with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Centre for International private Enterprise (CIPE) to intensify the battle against corrupt practices in procurement processes and related dealings involving vendors and contractors at different levels.

The agencies jointly launched the Procurement Integrity and Transparency Training Partnership Initiative at the Abuja Trade and Convention Centre recently.

In his opening remarks, the Secretary to the ICPC, Mr. Clifford Oparaodu Esq, stated that the engagement was necessary to reorient and empower vendors and contractors on business ethics in the conduct of their businesses to mitigate procurement corruption.

In his words, “This engagement is to sensitize and reorient business leaders/owners on business ethics and integrity in the operations of their business. It is also expected to help empower businesses to mitigate corruption risks and to further strengthen their activities.”

Oparaodu emphasized the need for due diligence in procurement processes in government institutions to curb corrupt practices and other breeding grounds for illegalities.

According to him, “Procurement processes in some MDAS have created a lot of avenues and breeding ground for corruption and corrupt practices from the beginning of the process to the end. Most times these processes are manipulated by some staff of the procuring entities in collusion with contractors for pecuniary benefits.”

He went further to explain that the launch would equip the participants with the best practices in tackling procurement fraud and incidences of abuse of procurement procedures and urged them to make the best use of the training in fighting corruption.

Delivering the keynote address, the Director-General, Gombe State Due Process Bureau, Mr. Babayola Mohammed Isa noted that the procurement process was expected to be free from any undue influence or personal gain, and pointed out that procurement and supply chain management contribution was very key and central to good governance especially in achieving efficient and quality service delivery to the citizenry.

“Today, I want to emphasize the importance of integrity and transparency in Procurement. These two principles should be the guiding force behind every decision made by public organizations and vendors. When we prioritize integrity, we ensure that the procurement process is free from any undue influence or personal gain. When we prioritize transparency, we ensure that every step of the Procurement process is visible, accountable, and open to public scrutiny.” he said.

In his welcome address, the Deputy President of the ACCI, Prof. Adesoji Adesugba stated that the availability of international best practices and legal instruments does not mean that countries would implement these set guidelines to create a corruption- free environment.

He therefore proposed the continual engagement of vendors and contractors in the implementation of anti-corruption processes in procurement as solution for a corruption-free environment and the management of risk processes.

Adesugba charged private bodies to be transparent and accountable in their procurement process and show integrity in handling affairs in the private sector.

In her opening remarks, the Country Director of Center for International Private Enterprise, Mrs Lola Adekanye stated that the workshop would equip vendors and contractors with the international best practices, emphasizing that it was important for contractors and vendors to understand and protect themselves and their businesses against corrupt practices.

The formal launching of the Initiative was meant to lay foundation for nationwide awareness campaigns on integrity and transparency in procurement, and also marked the prelude to a comprehensive training on business ethics and Integrity workshop scheduled for ICPC vendors and contractors.

The event featured a robust panel discussion on procurement integrity moderated by Dr. Tinuke Temitope of ACCI. Panelists were Mr. Shintema Binga, Head of Procurement ICPC, Mr. Babayola M. Isa, Director-General Gombe Due Process Bureau, Mrs. Victoria Akai, Director-General ACCI, Friday Odey of Accountability Lab and Lola Adekanye, Country Director, CIPE.