Rwamagana district and the Rwanda Public Procurement Authority (RPPA) officials have blamed each other over an alleged failure in the e-procurement system.
District officials accompanied Eastern province leaders; on September 14, 2022, appeared before the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to explain their failure to comply with procurement procedures in the e-procurement system.
The Auditor General’s report says that the district failed to offer tenders and documents related to various tenders awarded by the district were not found in the e-procurement system either at the district offices or in the RPPA system.
In the current procurement law Article 17 governing public procurement states that any communication relating to public procurement is made through an e-procurement system. However, other forms of communication are temporally accepted if any user encounters problems in using the e-procurement system.
In the said tenders, the report showed that during the audit it was noted that some documents mainly extended contracts and performance guarantees for tenders amounting to Rwf602.4Million were not filed in the e-procurement system.
However, these documents were provided by management outside of the e-procurement and the audit could not consider them since their authenticity is questionable.
PAC members were asked to explain why they didn’t do so, the Rwamagana District Executive Administrator (DEA) said that it is true they didn’t submit the documents in the system but it was because the system had failed and wasn’t easy to enter the papers.
PAC Chairman MP Valens Muhakwa asked if the system failed all through till now. Does it mean that the system was down all this time, or you don’t want to use the e-system and prefer the archaic one?” Muhakwa asked.
The Assistant AG, Steven Safari said they spent time discussing this issue and worked with procurement staff but in vain.
When we don’t see some things in the system we get a problem. They are supposed to put an extension of the contract if the contract is not in the system but they gave us papers signed outside the system which is not allowed because we have to know when and how it was signed.
Safari explained that Rwamagana gave them access to their system but didn’t see anything and even their technician tried and failed to find the documents in the system.
“We are thus not satisfied with any amendments when the problem of the system is not resolved,” he said.
Dr. Jeanne Nyirahabimana, the Eastern Province Executive Secretary (PES) says the issue of failure was not only in Rwamagana but in all districts and was backed by the District Chairperson that they couldn’t work with a failed system.
MP Jean d’Arc Uwimanimpaye asked who has the truth if one says the system was down and another blames the system, but both the RPPA representative, Pierre Celestin Sibomana, and the Assistant AG said this claim is not true and they are not speaking the truth.
The Ministry of Local government said it will follow up and assess the performance at the technical level, especially on planning procurement.