Public Procurement Oversight Authority : an assessment of its effectiveness in fighting corruption and promoting ethical practices in public procurement in Kenya
The debate on corruption and financial impropriety has been raging in Kenya for the past 20 years. Procurement processes by public institutions has been identified as the main conduit for loss of public funds in the various reports by both the Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission and the Public Procurement Oversight Authority. As part of the reform process to address this problem, the Public Procurement Oversight Authority was established. This study focused primarily on an in-depth assessment of the PPOA and its effectiveness in fighting corruption and promoting ethical practices in public procurement in Kenya. It makes recommendations aimed at strengthening the institution. This study adopted a descriptive study design. Purposive sampling was used to select the study subjects and a total of 84 respondents were interviewed. Descriptive statistics was used to generate data on study variables and inferences made on the performance of the PPOA.Content and thematic analysis was used to analyze qualitative data on views and perceptions of the respondents. The findings show that the number of cases on corruption in Public procurement has increased since the establishment of PPOA.This may not necessarily mean that PPOA had failed with regard to promoting ethical practices. In fact,the study revealed that PPOA’s performance was good and had achieved majority of targets set for the year especially on conducting Audits and assessment. The increasing trend could be as a result of expanded democratic space in Kenya since the enactment of the Constitution 2010 and the growth of the media which has made dissemination of information easy and the effect of the economic growth within the same period, which may have translated to more procurement. In addition, the findings revealed a well-defined institutional framework and elaborate structures put in place by PPOA. The PPOA has the capacity and strategies to fight corruption and promote ethical behavior in the procurement process. However, there is need to strengthen it by increasing the human capacity and resources, improve communication, intensify follow-ups on audits done and enhance collaboration with other institutions like EACC and DPP for strict law enforcement. In addition, this research recommends collaboration with educational institutions to specifically incorporate ethics in the learning curriculum in order to mould individuals at an early stage. Also, further research should be done to assess the interaction of PPOA with the county governments and the impact on its capacity.
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