An audit exercise at the East African Civil Aviation Academy in Soroti has exposed wrong procurement practises including staff members signing for billions of shillings for goods and services allegedly provided to the institution.
An October 2012 audit report by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authority on the East African Civil Aviation Academy shows that the irregularities were committed during the financial year stretching from 2011 to 2012.
The report cites wrong procurement methods, usurping the powers of the procurement and disposal committees and absence of procurement action files. The report says the audit sampled 50 procurement cases and found 48 to have been done irregularly representing 96 percent. It adds that the 50 sampled contracts had a total money value of 1.6 billion shillings while 1.1 billion shillings worth of the contracts were managed poorly without following due procedure.
A 331 million shillings insurance service that was allegedly awarded to Goldstar Insurance Company for the Academy’s aeroplanes, assets, equipment and personnel is among the irregular procurements. While an open domestic bidding was reportedly used, the audit found neither copies of the submitted bids nor procurement requisition.
The audit also faulted the institution over an alleged payment of 122 million shillings for students’ accommodation to guest houses comprising Garden Guest House, Nature Gates, Kijwala Cabanas and Tik Tik Royale. The report said the service was allegedly procured through direct procurement without justification. The audit also queried the absence of procurement initiation, bidding and evaluation documents for the accommodation service.
Other questioned procurements that were described as high risk include the supply of aircraft parts and installation by Air Care Aero Services at a cost of 64,000 US dollars (about 988 million shillings). The audit found that the procurements were done without any evidence of bidding and had no evidence of both receipt and delivery.
In its recommendations, the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Assets Authorityasked the Accounting Officer of the institution to ensure that all requisition are routed through the Procurement and Disposal Unit as required by law. It added that the head of the unit at the institution should ensure that evaluation procedures are followed and evaluation reports are prepared in accordance.
It further asked that contracts committee be involved in awarding of the contracts. In addition, the Accounting Officer was asked to ensure that payments are made direct to the supplier and not to staff members as discovered by the audit.
The 42 year old institution was established to train pilots and aircraft engineers but has recently been in the news after a series of incidents involving the crash landing of its aircrafts and threats by students to go on strike over poor management