Questions over BURS tender

SHARE   |   Thursday, 09 July 2020   |   By Ricardo Kanono
Bolele Bolele

A whistleblower has raised questions about procurement processes at Botswana Unified Revenue Service (BURS), alleging that an officer has been colluding with service providers to perpetuate fraud.

An anonymous caller contacted Deloitte Tip-Offs Anonymous on Wednesday, 2020-02-19 at 07:30, asking Deloitte Forensic Services to investigate procurement irregularities implicating an officer employed by BURS in Francistown, Botswana.The caller relayed that when tenders are available within the IT Department the officer would share tender information, such as pricing, budget and scope to external companies so that they are at an advantage to be awarded the tender.

The caller claimed that the officer awards tenders to preferred suppliers for an unspecified kickback, who in turn provide substandard quality of work which is the main cause of a malfunctioning IT system within BURS. The caller cited that a company by the name of Sicpa provided consulty on a Marking and Testing tender Excisable for Goods to determine the specifications of the tender. The caller alleged that Sicpa later submitted a bid for the same tender that they were involved for during the setting of specifications.

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The caller mentioned that the discrepancy pertaining to the Marking and Testing tender Excisable for Goods tender involving Sicpa was published in a local newspaper. The caller conveyed that numerous IT companies around the world cited that they would not submit their tender applications, as the tender seemed to be tailor-made for a specific company as the tender had a single component contrary to normal practice where a tender of such magnitude usually has more than one component.

The caller was of the opinion that the officer has a personal relationship with Sicpa as they are one of the companies she favours. The caller also questioned the relationship between the officer complained of and the Commissioner General, alleging that they make decisions without consulting anyone within BURS.

BURS General Manager, Communications Mable Bolele, denied the allegations saying they have not received any compliant against their Director of Information Technology regarding the alleged tender irregularities. She explained that they are still working towards awarding the tender after the process was disrupted by the lockdown imposed due to Covid -19 pandemic. The technical evaluation was completed just before lockdown kicked in, she said. “Therefore the necessary procurement procedures will follow to effect the logical conclusion of the award,” reads part of her response.

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Sources allege that this is the third time that BURS has postponed the awarding of the tender under unclear circumstances.



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