All tenders need to go through the GeBIZ system, yet many of the small suppliers are not registered on GeBIZ. Therefore if the product depends on small suppliers, how do you open a tender on GeBIZ, and expect a reasonable response from suppliers? In the NParks case, what is the likelihood that bicycle shops will be registered on GeBIZ, and will be aware of the tender? Ultimately this will depend on some non-GeBIZ way of disseminating the tender information and hoping the suppliers will go into GeBIZ and tender. This non-GeBIZ way of information dissemination is already subjective and selective to only a limited number of suppliers. And therefore open to abuse.
Secondly, very often procurement offices already have a specific product in mind. This is not necessarily dishonest, but operational centres often have a preference for a specific product. Sometimes this is logical, but often they are not.This is not necessarily the cheapest, but is often perceived to be the most 'desired' product. What makes this product most desirable depends on many factors, most of which are not codifiable. In the laboratory for example, many researchers have preferences for certain branded products, names which they associate with reproducibility or reliability. If they open the tender for the equipment, they run the likelihood of being swamped with cheaper but less desirable products. And endless needs to justify awarding the tender to the non-cheapest tenderer. So what do they do? They word the tender in such a specific way that only one brand name matches the tender specifications. In the NParks case, the wording of the tender was so obviously directed towards a very specific product.
The above are without doubt 'bad practices' but superficially may be viewed as being procedurally 'correct'. I challenge any auditor to say that he/she is unaware of these practices but has not looked the other way in performing the audits.
Another problem contributing to this fiasco is the familiar end-of-financial year monkeying with the accounts. How many of us are unfamiliar with the regular message that comes down from senior management that there is left over money that needs to be spent? Rather than to return the money and risking a reduction of next year's budget, the instruction that comes down from senior (or very senior) management is to spend the money. It is under these circumstances that the most wasteful expenditure of public funds occur. It is under these circumstances that you see the sudden purchase of weird, expensive and poorly justifiable items. Perhaps 26 expensive Brompton foldable bikes?