Ministers Face Jail Time For Flouting Tender Procedures
According to the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Act (PPDPA), accounting officers in Government departments, ministers, permanent secretaries and board members now face jail time for flouting tender procedures.
In an interview with The Herald, Procurement Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (PRAZ) acting chief executive Mr Nyasha Chizu said the penalties for flouting tender procedures are outlined in Statutory Instrument 5 of 2018. He urged accounting officers not to be coerced into violating tender procedures and should request written directives from those wanting to interfere with procurement processes. Said Chizu:
The law recognises that other individuals with authority over heads of parastatals and ministries may influence procurement decisions in violation of the laws. Ministers or board members in the case of head of state enterprises may direct accounting officers to do or to omit something in respect of procurement which the accounting officers are authorised to do in terms of the Act. In such cases, the accounting officer ought to write to the authorities concerned highlighting the provisions of the law. The Minister or authority’s directive should be in writing also and if he or she refuses to put the instruction in writing, the accounting officer should not comply notwithstanding any terms or conditions of employment. He shall not be liable to any penalty for such non-compliance.
In terms of section 16(2) of the new ACT, if the accounting officer objects and the Minister insists through written communication, he or she may freely implement the directive and communicate to the line minister in the case of directives from board members, auditor general and accountant general in the case of ministries. Where the instructions are given by the Minister, the accounting officers should report to the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet.
Chizu also revealed that the prison sentences do not exceed 6 months in prison.