By Innocent Anguyo
UGANDA Revenue Authority (URA) has warned suppliers against manipulating the procurement process to defeat free and open competition.
Addressing the URA Suppliers’ Integrity Forum at Golf Course Hotel in Kampala on Friday, Michael Otonga, from the office of the Commissioner General said collusion by suppliers was depriving URA of benefits of free and open competition.
Richard Kariisa, the Assistant Commissioner Administration disclosed that suppliers had resorted to operating through “cartels”, where they determine which member to front to win URA tenders.
Kariisa said, members of the “cartel” misrepresent or withhold documents such as income tax clearance in order to influence the procurement process in favour of one of their own.
On top of withholding documents, the cartels give consent to the most competent firm to escalate the price for delivering the commodities, thereby fleecing URA.
“At the end of the day, we acquire the commodity at an even higher price, at times twice the original price,” complained Kariisa.
The cartels, Kariisa said, access the Authority’s budget early before distributing the listed tenders among themselves according to their respective competencies.
According to Otonga URA spends at least sh50b on supplies each year. The URA Suppliers’ Integrity Forum, the first of its kind, attracted more than 100 participants from across Uganda.
The Forum held under the theme, “Transparency is Key to Business Growth and National Development,” was aimed cleaning business of unethical practices.
Patricia Asiimwe, Director Legal and Advisory Services at The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA) warned the suppliers against collusion which she said was antagonistic to the Code of Ethical Conduct in Business issued by PPDA in 2003.