The Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) has provided clarification regarding the Ministry of Agriculture’s request for due diligence on a Romanian company. ACB spokesperson Egritta Ndala revealed that in April of this year, the ministry directly approached the bureau seeking due diligence on East Bridge SLR, with whom they had entered into a commodity exchange agreement. Ndala emphasized that the submission to the ACB did not fall under the procurement vetting process governed by the Public Procurement and Disposal of Assets (PPDA) Act.
The ACB promptly conducted its due diligence and addressed several concerns in their response to the ministry, which the ministry subsequently replied to. However, the ACB spokesperson noted that they are yet to issue a further response.
Earlier today, Kate Kujaliwa, spokesperson for the PPDA, informed reporters that the Ministry of Agriculture sought guidance from the authority to determine if the transaction with East Bridge SLR fell within the framework of the Public Procurement Legal Framework. However, the PPDA determined that the legal framework did not cover this particular scenario. Consequently, the ministry was advised to seek guidance from the Office of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Finance.
Attorney General Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda confirmed that he provided legal opinion to the ministry but refrained from disclosing further details to the press.
The revelation of the Ministry of Agriculture’s direct request for due diligence highlights the need for clarity and adherence to proper procedures within government transactions. The ACB and the PPDA’s involvement underscores the importance of transparency and accountability in procurement processes. As the situation continues to unfold, it is essential for relevant authorities to provide timely and comprehensive responses to address any potential concerns and ensure the adherence to legal frameworks.