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KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 24 — Public procurement is one of the government activities most vulnerable to corruption and it is a complex problem which covers a wide range of illegal activities, says Auditor-General Tan Sri Ambrin Buang.
He said from bid rigging during the pre-contract award phase to false invoicing in the post-contract award phase, procurement fraud could be perpetrated by those inside and outside an organisation.
“The risk of fraud is inherent to any organisation. Right now, we are being exposed to seemingly endless cases of fraud and corruption in the public sector.
“Many of these cases are related to government procurement of various levels of government, federal, state and local as well as statutory bodies, despite multiple measures to prevent it,” he said in his keynote address at the Combating Procurement Fraud in the Public and Private Sectors Forum 2017, here, today.
His speech text was read out by the National Audit Department’s Corporate and International Relations Division director, Roslan Abu Bakar.
Ambrin said the public in recent weeks had witnessed what might be alarming involving government procurements, thanks to the hard work put in by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).
Last year, he said the MACC had investigated five cases involving senior government officers making false claims and committing fraud in procurement amounting to RM20 million.
“This was followed by cases of a senior officer of the Youth and Sports Ministry (RM107 million), Sabah Water Department (RM153 million) and the latest case involving a federal ministry’s secretary-general,” he said.
Ambrin said fraud in public procurement had caused losses in millions of ringgit in recent years but the government had initiated several measures to address weaknesses in public procurement management.
This, he said, included strengthening the role of internal auditors, across- the-board auditing of procurement in government departments and agencies, and having more focused training on procurement management.
“As for the internal auditors, I think they should now be more actively involved in reviewing the procurement exercises and report on any deviations from the standard operating procedure and lack of diligence in evaluating bids,” he added. — Bernama