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Monday, September 04, 2006

The Simple Way to Avoid Conflicts of Interest

It is a fine balance that must be achieved when the family of leaders secure government contracts.

A son or daughter cannot be banned from obtaining such contracts as they too need to earn an honest living.

A national leader too is responsible for making sure that he is familiar with his speech material and should not place his entire trust in speech writers who may have their own agenda.

To me the easiest way to avoid such conflicts of interest is to make sure that most government projects are done via public tenders and those approving the contract are not related to who receive them.

Tender committees must also provide justification for the project approval and sometimes they need to give the reasons why the project was not awarded to the lowest contractor.

In order for the PM to be above such goings-on, tenders should be approved at minister’s level so that if there is any hanky-panky that minister has to answer and may even have to tender a resignation or hauled to court.

A few projects concerning national security will be approved with open tender but to keep everyone honest this information should be available to the public after 20 years.

We really cannot carry on business as usual with the annual horror stories from the Auditor-General if we are really serious about Vision 2020.

photo: View of window, London. Your view is different if you are looking from the outside or the inside.

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