Fighting Corruption and Promoting Integrity in Public Procurement: Comparative Study between Kenya and Tanzania
Public procurement has undergone various changes in Africa since independence where most parts had centralized powers, which excluded participation by other stakeholders, including the civil society. In this context, the Government operated almost as a sole player in the economy. The lack of checks-and-balances and specific capacities resulted in a culture of indifference and tolerance towards corrupt practices. There are still remnants of this culture, which still influence much of government procurement practices. The acquisition of infrastructural materials and services in African Countries threatens the viable implementation of projects due to massive corruption during procurement. Transparency International corruption in 2017 ranked Kenya 144 out of 180 countries surveyed with a score of 27 out of 100 while Tanzania was ranked 99 out of 180 countries with a score of 36 out of 100. This points that corruption is pervasive in Kenya and Tanzania society and is a serious problem across all sectors of the economy. The general objective of the study was to examine corruption in procurement and promotion of integrity in public procurement in Kenya and Tanzania. The study used a desk study review methodology where relevant empirical literature was reviewed to identify main themes. A critical review of empirical literature was conducted to examine corruption in public procurement and promotion of integrity in public procurement. The study was informed by institutional and system theories. The study concluded that Kenya and Tanzania all have a fairly comprehensive legal and institutional framework that supports integrity in public procurement. The biggest dilemma is however, the fact that stronger laws are not necessarily the best on public procurement integrity in practice. The study further concluded that while laws and institutions are important to the extent that they lay out rules and procedures that must be followed and prescribe sanctions for non-compliance with these rules, they in themselves are not sufficient. The study recommended on the need to build public confidence to report corruption to the relevant institutions. The low corruption reporting may be indicator to the general public perception on the official anti-corruption responses. The indication therefore is that the government needs to do a lot to convince the public to render their support. Government institutions should prepare and publicly display their service / client charters outlining the services available, their cost and length of time required to get the service. It should enhance public awareness on corruption, its causes and consequences and to encourage the public to report corruption. Strengthen civil society and media to ensure sustained momentum in demanding for government commitment to fight corruption in public procurement.
Keywords: Corruption, Integrity, Public Procurement, Kenya & Tanzania.
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