President Roopun calls for redoubling of efforts in fight against corruption

Mauritius: It is the responsibility of each and everyone to act in a lawful, reasonable, transparent, fair and honest manner as well as redouble our efforts in fighting corruption, advocated the President of the Republic, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, this morning, in his keynote address at the opening of a one-day conference on “Corruption prevention in Public Procurement in the Post Covid Era”.

Mauritius: It is the responsibility of each and everyone to act in a lawful, reasonable, transparent, fair and honest manner as well as redouble our efforts in fighting corruption, advocated the President of the Republic, Mr Prithvirajsing Roopun, this morning, in his keynote address at the opening of a one-day conference on “Corruption prevention in Public Procurement in the Post Covid Era”.

The conference has been organised in the context of International Anti-Corruption Day (IACD) by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) in partnership with the Procurement Policy Office (PPO), at the Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.

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The central theme for the IACD 2022 is “Against Corruption: Let’s Stand Together. Resource persons for the conference have been provided by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Basel Institute of Governance.

The Director-General of the ICAC, Dr Navin Beekarry, the Director of the PPO, Mr Hirendranath Rambhojun, members of the Diplomatic Corps and other personalities were present on occasion.

President Roopun highlighted that the objective of this conference is to discuss the best practices and challenges in public procurement and propose recommendations to address such issues in the post-COVID era.

Public procurement is one of the prominent activities in every public institution, and it results in substantial public expenditure representing a significant percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in all countries.

The President recalled that in Mauritius, for the year 2019/2020, an amount of Rs 16.8 billion was approved for contracts above Rs 100 000, representing nearly 4% of GDP for that year.

According to him, wherever there are movements of goods and financial resources, curbing the high risk of malpractices/corruption remains a major challenge for governance institutions.

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Speaking about the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr Roopun stated that it has indeed taught us some valuable lessons which will henceforth allow countries to determine where they currently stand in regard to crisis procurement readiness, as well as select priority areas for procurement reform in order to address challenges specific to crisis response while at the same time ensuring that integrity, transparency and accountability prevail at all times.

He stressed that following the pandemic, both the private and public sectors are currently in the recovery phase, and thus, it is very important to act on the experiences of the COVID-19 crisis and reshape the procurement functions.

Mauritius, he said, is among the 187 states which have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Corruption and have committed itself to adopt and implement policies to prevent, combat and criminalise corruption. With the enactment of the Declaration of Assets Act 2018, the ICAC has been recently vested with additional powers to receive, disclose, and monitor the declaration of assets, he added.

For his part, Dr Beekarry emphasised that the ICAC is committed to fighting against corruption, in particular those present in the procurement sector. “It is therefore important for us to understand that we need to look into this issue seriously as it is one of the fundamentals of the strategy to combat corruption and to build integrity within the system,” he observed.

Moreover, the ICAC Director-General underlined that this conference would help in brainstorming on further actions that can be taken, be it at the level of legislation or education with regard to procurement.