Role of E-Procurement Practices in Fighting Fraud and Corruption in Public Procurement
For a long time, the menace of corruption and fraud in public procurement in Kenya has been a major source for debate. The problem has passed on from one government to the next but no serious effort has been put in place to fighting the vice. This study sought to examine the role of e-procurement practices in fighting fraud and corruption in public procurement. Institutional theory on corruption was used to inform the study. 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 establish e-procurement practices in fighting fraud and corruption in public procurement. The study concluded that e-Procurement can be used as a gatekeeper for all bidders in ensuring that they follows the ‘rules’ as stipulated in the system. Transparent eProcurement practices is able to stop any political and economic forces from interfering with procurement processes. E-Procurement helps to safeguard many public officials through its transparent and efficient system. It can be used as a ‘barrier’ to avoid unnecessary demands and interference from people with a vested interest. e-Procurement is also useful in dealing with intertwined relationship between public and private organizations. As public procurement is governed by the Public Procurement and Disposal Act 2015 (PPDA), which make reference mainly to the manual procurement process, the study recommended that there is need to amend the Act accordingly to factor the e-procurement processes. This can be supplemented by an e-procurement manual/guide and other procurement documents in electronic form availed to the process owners for reference. The Government should implement stiff penalties for breaches to procurement requirements and capacity strengthening of procurement practitioners on adherence to procurement regulations. There is need for instituting proper records management tools for public procuring entities and more robust mechanisms should be implemented in e-procurement to enhance its functionalities at all the stages of the public procurement cycle.
Keywords: E-Procurement, Fraud, Corruption & Public Procurement.
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