Alleged Cronyism, Purchases of Fake Ink Toners and Clone Bidders Unearthed from Prison Dept Audit

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Auditor-General Datuk Nik Azman Nik Abdul Majid today revealed several instances of non-compliance within the officials at the Malaysian Prisons Department, which among them include clone bidders, purchasing fake goods, and alleged cronyism.

Nik Azman, when presenting the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 (Series 1) this afternoon, revealed how the alleged cronyism was detected after auditing the Kluang Prison.

He said the National Audit Department (NAD) identified two separate bidding processes taken on by the prison, where the final list up for review by the Acquisition Board had differed from the one recommended by the agency’s Price Review Committee (PRC).

“On two instances we found the prison’s secretariat had included names of bidders into the final list for consideration by the Acquisition Board, but those vendors were never approved by the PRC.

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“The secretariat added the names of the rejected vendors at their own will onto the final list, and that particular company ended being awarded the project; so yes, there could be some practices of alleged cronyism or price-fixing,” he said.

Nik Azman was then asked whether disciplinary or criminal action can be initiated following the discovery of such acts, said the NAD are only able to recommend to the respective agencies what is deemed as appropriate action.

“We leave for such action to be taken by the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission. We only report if there is an instance of non-compliance,” he said.

Other incidents that caught NAD’s attention listed within the report include clone bidders detected among vendors vying for supplier contracts from the federal prison department, all with identical owners and mailing addresses but bearing different company names.

The audit also unearthed how fake printing toners worth RM13,935 were supplied to the Kajang Prison but later replaced, and how the prison department had in 2018 paid in full for upgrade works at its headquarters despite the job being incomplete and not according to what was agreed on.

As part of their recommendations, the NAD suggested the Prisons Department pay more attention to its purchases to ensure they receive exactly what was ordered or requested, and that products are genuine.

NAD also recommended the Department’s briefing papers concerning acquisitions is prepared by the secretariat strictly based on the PRC’s report.

They also proposed the Department place rogue vendors or those practising price-fixing on a blacklist to bar them from taking part in any government tender, and to take action against any company or official who is found to have gone against their contractual obligations and financial regulations. – MMO