TyThe Executive Director of the National Procurement Authority Dr Alfred Kandeh yesterday brought together Legal Affairs Specialist and the Solicitor General at the Bank Complex to discuss the nature and functions of the Independent Procurement Review Panel with a view to reviewing the mandate of the Authority to have more powers.
Delivering the key note address Dr. Kandeh said Procurement needs powers to bark and bite defaulters of procurement procedures, so as to minimize corrupt practices and wastages in both public and private sectors involved in procurement activities.
He properly explained about Complaints procedures at the Independent Review Panel which according to Section 63 of the Act sub section 1 states that a potential or actual bidder that claims to have suffered or likely to suffer loss or injury due to a breach of a duty imposed on the procuring entity and the bidding document may seek review.
The Chairman of the Independent Procurement Review Panel Thomas Kamaraly who served as chairman of the forum said they are consulting with legal specialist so as to prepare the ground for a review of the 2004 Act and its regulations of 2006 to give more powers to the panel to enforce and punish defaulters.
He also said that application for review can be submitted in writing to the head of the procuring entity, unless a contract has already been awarded, that is if the head of the procuring entity has failed to issue a decision within ten working days of the date of receipt of the application for review.
He added that upon receipt of an application for review the head of the procuring entity shall institute an investigation which can consider where appropriate, the head of the procuring entity shall issue a written decision within five working days whether the application is upheld or rejected.
Fareed Alghali in his power point presentations properly explained about the complaints mechanism procedures on where and how to complain and recommended that the NPPA needs to review the Act to protect the interest of complainants and procuring entities.
Magistrate Adrian Fisher gave an overview of the Public Procurement Act 2004 and regulations 2006 on the nature and functions of the (IPRP) and the reform process, noting that in order for an application for review to be considered by the Independent Procurement Review Panel, the application shall be accompanied by an administrative fee of 2% of the applicants bid price up to a maximum of Le2million.
Fisher noted that the procurement proceeding shall be suspended until a decision on the complaint is issued by the Independent Procurement Review Panel unless the procuring entity certifies that urgent interest considerations such as natural disasters, medical emergencies civil strife and outbreak of war.
He also said that upon receipt of an application for review the Independent Procurement Review Panel shall institute an investigation which shall consider where appropriate and the panel shall issue a written decision within ten working days on whether the application is upheld or rejected.
Legal experts and members of the Independent Procurement Review Panel during the discussion revealed that there is a need to increase the number of representatives at the review panel who only serves for three years and also spoke about reforms on the Act itself to give more powers to enable (IPRP) punish defaulters.
They also spoke about the need to make the complaints mechanisms to be more robust and proactive in addressing complaint matters and called for the need to embark on aggressive campaign mechanism on public procurement procedures.
Meaningful contributions were made by Legal experts like Lansana Kamara, Umaru Barrie including some Representatives of Civil Society and the Media By Saidu Bah