A new law opens the door to corruption in government procurement

A new law opens the door to corruption in government procurement

Lawyers warn that he is evading the transparency, healthy competition and controls that LaCap already dictates.

In addition to protecting government officials from Naguib Bukili who have been questioned about purchases of public funds during the epidemic, the new health law approved by the “Buklista” association will also allow the law governing state procurement to be bypassed by evading controls and rules of transparency and healthy competition.

Attorney Jose Marinero, an administrative law specialist and president of the Foundation for Democracy, Transparency and Justice (DTJ), explained this by noting that Article 8, literally “A” of the new law permits the Ministry of Health and all members of the integrated public health system (including ISSS) to bypass Lacap (Public Administration Acquisition and Contracts Act) and they contract outside of these bylaws.

“The problem with this is that it has three dimensions: It departs from the rules of transparency, healthy competition and the controls that Lacap has. That in itself is impressive,” says the lawyer.

He also doubts that the new law does not leave alternative rules for calculating the use of public funds in state purchases, leaving the field open for acts of corruption because it would allow them to buy “a finger” for whomever they want.

Also read: The health law cannot be applied to purchases made during a pandemic, says the attorney

“What he’s doing is opening the door to his family and friends, whatever,” says Marinero.

And his assertion is due to the fact that in drafting the law that was approved by the New Ideas Authority on Wednesday and the deputies allied with it, it leaves no barriers against corruption in state purchases in the context of the epidemic.

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“There is no text in this law that has rules of transparency, which have a commitment to integrity or competence. In fact, they are direct acquisitions, finger. It is no longer in the public interest and mixed with the private interest of those who acquire these resources or those who obtain supplies for the epidemic,” The attorney notes.

He adds that, according to approval, it is sufficient for public institutions to have a “list of terms and conditions,” which do not explain how they will be implemented, how they will be delivered, or when, to give the contract.

A press investigation revealed that Alejandro Zelaya, when he held the position of Deputy Minister of Revenue in the Ministry of Finance, was a partner of Rogelio Cabrera, the legal representative of SYGM Asesores, which sold 300,000 face shields to the Buckili government for $ 750,000. Photo EDH / Francisco Rubio

“With which they can fully agree with the supplier and agree with the product they are offering, they can even define terms and conditions one minute before signing the contract. This is an internationally known practice of corruption in public procurement and in this case, with the new law, that is legitimized,” he says.

For attorney Eduardo Escobar, Executive Director of Citizen Action, the ruling party in the new law “limits, restricts, or eliminates the controls” that will be applied during the state of emergency.

Also read: New association protects appointed officials from irregular purchases

“It is a measure of apparently flexibility in decision-making, but in reality what they do is unleash so that transfers or use of public funds can be made without observing the main rules. This certainly affects the issue of correct use of funds. It can lead to corruption. “.

Protect past events
Escobar and Marinero also criticize the retroactive effect of the law, because that means protecting the persons referred to in the alleged acts of corruption that occurred prior to the approval of the new regulations, when the constitution permits this advantage only in criminal matters.

“The issue here is that public order can be to ensure the provision of medicines, and not to protect people who may be involved in these processes, because the window for corruption opens as well,” Escobar explains.

Marinero considers that the retroactive effect of the new law “is to correct the irregularities that have been made” in previous purchases of supplies related to the epidemic. “What is being entrenched is a law of impunity for acts of corruption,” he says.

Escobar adds that those who have been selected for the erratic management of public funds in the interest of the epidemic, in addition to that the imposed tax is linked to the government, and he said that he will review the CICIES case, “there is little room to investigate any act of corruption.”

Aygen Marsh

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