International Regulatory Enforcement (PHIRE)
It's Only the Beginning: COVID-19, Public Procurement, and Corruption
By Nicola Bonucci
As public money is increasingly used to mitigate the damage of COVID-19 on the world economy, the
This “practical guide for public organizations on how to conduct corruption risk assessments to identify, mitigate and prevent corruption vulnerabilities in their operations” comes almost as a follow up to previous warnings by international organizations (see
In May 2020, the Coordinator of the COVID-19 emergency for Sicily was arrested together with nine other persons based on allegations of corruption on four call-for tenders worth €600 million.
At the end of June, the Minister of Health of Zimbabwe was arrested by the Zimbabwe Anti-Corruption Commission over alleged corruption related to the supply of medical materials to combat coronavirus.
In the same period, the Head of Romanian state-owned drug and medical equipment procurement and distribution company, Unifarm, was charged with corruption for allegedly demanding a bribe from a supplier of medical equipment needed to fight COVID-19.
On August 6, 2020, the South African President set up a ministerial committee to investigate alleged corruption in state tenders in the fight against COVID-19
In late August 2020, the Governor of Rio de Janeiro was temporarily removed from office after his residence was raided in a probe into accusations he stole COVID-19 emergency funds.
In an interview given to Reuters on May 12, 2020, Mrs. Laura Kovesi, European Public Prosecutor, indicated that “the promise of vast sums of European aid to countries affected by the coronavirus and less oversight over the funds is likely to lead to a surge in fraud and corruption.” Facts are proving that Mrs. Kovesi was right in her prediction and that this applies well beyond Europe.
Companies not only in the health and medical sector but also in all sectors should be extremely careful in dealing with public procurements issued on an urgent basis and/or through derogation or ad hoc procedures. They should be rigorous and transparent in their dealings with public officials and keep track of any donation they may make…..it’s only the beginning.