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Cyber tools to be usedto prevent corruption

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Rhondor Dowlat

In a bid to tighten on transparency, accountability and value for money, the newly-installed Procurement Board chairman, Moonilal Lalchan intends to utilise the latest cryptocurrency technology which creates a permanent digital record and even virtual money, such as Bitcoin, to stamp out corruption.

This, he explained, was the way forward as a procurement entity.

“What are some of the best practices that we can put in place and add to that are already in existence. The use of technology is going to play a big part,” he said, after receiving his instrument of appointment from President Anthony Carmona, at President’s House yesterday.

Lalchan said the Procurement Act gave the Board the authority “on a regular basis” and “as we see fit,” to go into an organisation and do reviews and audits.

“One of the things that we can do is, on a regular basis, look at reviews across the State sector or wherever money is spent. We have that power under the Act,” Lalchan said.

He said the Board will not only have powers to investigate but also to engage independent investigators when they themselves “do not have the internal capacity to do so.”

Lalchan also emphasised the importance of training and interaction with State companies, which he believes will result in “less malpractice.”

Asked if the procurement of a ferry for domestic seabridge will be one of the first issues to be reviewed by the Board, Lalchan replied: “We have to meet as a Board, first of all, to look at the composition of the Board and whatever issues come before the Board, within the Act, we will look at it.”

“However, it is too early to say…we will look at various activities of the various entities that are responsible and falls under our purview. There is a process that needs to be followed, in terms of how we go about looking at and investigating different issues,” Lalchan said.

Yesterday, only ten members were given their respective instruments of appointment by President Carmona. The eleventh member is currently out of the country and will be installed upon his/her return.

Side Bar

The Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act, 2015 was assented to and became law on January 14, 2015.

The Act seeks to reform the procurement laws of Trinidad and Tobago in keeping with principles of good governance, such as accountability, integrity, transparency, and value for money. It establishes the Office of Procurement Regulation to act as the governing body for matters relating to public procurement and the retention and disposal of public property.


Members of the Procurement Board

Moonilal Lalchan, chairman

David Charlerie

Frederick Bowen

Dr Anthony Lamb

Robin Otway

Herdis Lee Chee

Lara Quentrall-Thomas

Sandra Sammy

Nadine Bushell

Nikoli Edwards

President Anthony Carmona, centre seated, with, from left, Robin Otway, Procurement Board Chairman, Moonilal Lalchan, Nadine Bushell and Sandra Sammy. Back row, from left, are Frederick Bowen, David Charlerie, Dr Anthony Lamb, Herdis Lee Chee, Lara Quentrall-Thomas and Nikoli Edwards during a photo opp after the swearing in ceremony of the Procurement Board at the Office of the President, yesterday.
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