Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Lapses In Government Agencies

One of the most "rewarding" departments to work in any organisation is procurement. Under the euphemism of "guanxi" or other innocent sounding excuse, many palms have been greased. The art of the finesse is to make it look legit. Like the Public Utility Board (PUB) $112,400 ruse of splitting 13 higher-value purchases into 46 instances of small-value purchases to bypass the bureaucratic call for open tenders. Taken to the extreme, one can buy a Herman Miller chair with petty cash.

Our intrepid Auditor-General(AG) has discovered 12 of 35 lapses in public sector tender exercises may be attributed to "laxity in the area of procurement". The current standard operation procedures (SOP) apparently allow for:
  • waiving competitive offers based on weak grounds;
  • letting certain bidders alter their bids after the tender has closed;
  • and not disclosing the evaluation criteria upfront in tender documents.
Suddenly it's all too crystal clear how $2 companies like Action Information Management (AIM) can swing multi-million contracts in their favour.

The 5 ministries fingered by the AG are not exactly the smaller outfits likely to hide under the radar. They include:
  • Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth (c/o Lawrence Wong);
  • Ministry of Education (c/o Heng Swee Kiat);
  • Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (c/o V Balakrishnan);
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs (c/o K Shanmugam);
  • Ministry of Home Affairs (c/o Teo Chee Hean).
The ministries lay blame on human error, not the absence of rules and procedures. Hmmm, didn't someone just tell the Brits that it is the people, not the system, that is keeping Singapore clean? Quoted as example is the $322.77 million contract for the National University of Singapore's University Town that went haywire. Contract was terminated and the National Research Foundation (NRF) officers involved quickly exited to other departments, leaving no trace for accountability. One NRF chap was responsible enough to stay behind, and duly counselled. There is no mention of how many millions were lost and buried at the site.

Chairman of the Centre for Public Project Management Cedric Fool - there's no other way to spell his name after this - thinks public officers should be rewarded for good practices, not disciplined for flouting the rules. Spare the rod and spoil the child, and that's how a culture of laxity is pervading the system.

25 comments:

  1. Yeap, it is the people not the system that keep everything clean and white. When what the people at the top done is not transparent and accountable, appointment of top post smell of cronyism, nepotism, the pillar of trust collapsed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The rot starts from the top.

      When people asked me to buy something, and if it was not legal, I would say so.

      Then my boss would later screw me and force me to do it.

      So next time a similar demand comes, I just go ahead.

      My boss curses me for not following rules.

      When the shit finally hits the fan, the top say "We were not properly advised" and the matter is closed. I get a lousy report for doing the wrong things.

      This has been going on for YEARS and will NEVER change. All the corruption rankings are BULLSHIT.

      Delete
  2. Does the NRF includes the president's son who evaded NS for 12 freaking long years? Did his research lead to the eradication of soil virus? Did he win any Nobel price?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Best if one wears all white as it'll send a strong signal that one is incorruptable.

    ReplyDelete
  4. They were quick to condemn the Aljunied Town Council for its "lapses". These bloody hypocrites. Its the system that allows the individuals to exploit to leads to corruption, nepotism and cronyism. Time for change.

    ReplyDelete
  5. One of the Committee member is Teo Ho Pin. The guy behind the $2m AIM company. Is he qualified to opine on "good practices" or "governance" ? Or he really really sees perfectly nothing wrong with what he did and he's qualified to throw stones at others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Don't blame him. He is just following instructions from people at the top. When wife of PM can handle our reserves and his uncle can be our president what good governance are we talking about? Blame those sinkies who voted for this.

      Delete
    2. That NRF, I tell you, is as black a box as Temasek.
      And yes, it has the sole oversight of the President.

      Delete
    3. Yes, NRF is under the auspice of uncle tony. Did the steady pair of hands go under table?

      Delete
    4. AIM is not a ''$2m'' company. it's a $2 company. no ''m''.

      Delete
  6. There seems no end to skeletons being dug or washed up these days ! Just like the MRT train service, if a week passes by without an incident, then it is NEWS ! This Little Red Dot is riddled with so much crocks, big time and opportunists that we should count our blessings if you could honestly declared you have performed an honest day work and could still get by .

    ReplyDelete
  7. BUFFOONERY never ends, they thrown other peoples money around like confetti and we keep paying the bills.
    I support name and shame the idiots who are allowed to come up with these spending!!
    Afterall, they insulted that all retired laypersons who didnt have enough retirement funds in CPF to be incapable of managing their own money. Just look how they squandered away the very same taxpayers money which could have paid out to them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Flouting the rule is good practice?!!!! Give this man a medal.

    In China many of these type of people would get a bullet in the back of the head, and the bill for the bullet sent to their family.

    In SG many of these type of people would get a vote in the back of their constituency, and the bill for the vote sent to us.

    Clap clap

    ReplyDelete
  9. NRF is one black hole. They have lots of funds to give out for research.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn25281-stem-cell-scientists-reveal-unethical-work-pressures.html#.Uzw3bPmSyT8

      what exactly do they do with those funds?

      Delete
  10. Let's vote Opposition to convene a Committee of Inquiry.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I doubt very much the PAP buggers know how to repent , so it's best for the country they face the firing squad.

      Delete

  11. 1 waiving competitive offers based on weak grounds;
    2 letting certain bidders alter their bids after the
    tender has closed;
    3 and not disclosing the evaluation criteria upfront in tender
    documents.

    # 2 is criminal and nullifies the objective of a tender
    #3 is prevalent and a sure sign of somebody on the inside track
    #1 is subjective, without some discretion everything becomes frozen

    Everyone knows the old boy network is alive and well. Look at the number of MPs in companies doing business with the government or sitting on multiple boards. Can a guy really contribute to 10-15 boards ? I think 2 or 3 would be plenty if he is doing a real job.

    ReplyDelete
  12. When all is said & done, there is a pervasive culture within Sg govt & civil service that does not take ethics seriously. When a political party has been in power for as long as the PAP has, the lines have blurred between the executive & the legislature. A culture has been set in place where civil servants follow their political masters in operating within a system that has little accountability & ethical consideration. The civil servants & PAP politicians will swear on the Good Book till they are blue in the face that they see 'no wrong' in AIM, in the procurement lapses, as the ends justify the means. Conflict of interest, accountability, & checks & balances mean NOTHING, after having free rein in govt for 50 years.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How come LKY never commented on the AIM scandal?

      Delete
    2. AIM scandal may inadvertently lead to the public asking about the late Mrs Lee's conveyancing profits with HDB. In comparison, the profit from AIM is really small potatoes. Actually if things go well in 2016, I will gladly donate my remaining CPF $ to cover polygraph tests done on LKY and son, including their stooges if the amount is sufficient. :)

      Delete
    3. don't waste your money. they are so convinced they are right, they are not aware they are lying.

      Delete
  13. If the small fries also want to cheat on school children pocket money or pineapple tarts, I dread to think what sort of tricks those PAP cronies can do when they award multi-million dollar contracts to defence equipment suppliers?

    The latest joke about MH370 incident is that Malaysia can't even send their own submarines to search for the MAS plane, apparently they were sold dud submarines by the French?

    Are we sure we are also sold dud equipment? In the name of Official Secrets, who can really find out whether the monies are paid into Swiss accounts?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Ethic and integrity aside, it is normal for Rulers to work hand in hand with top civil servants and business folks. In combined efforts, they are to work for the interests of themselves, the People and the State. This is possible if they are able to uphold their integrity and propiety.

    patriot

    ReplyDelete
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