Corruption is rife in…….??

Two recent procurement-related corrruption stories.  Where do you think they happened?

While head of the city’s jails, this man is accused of accepting £300,000 worth of goods and services from a construction company that investigators had determined was linked to a well known local crime family. In return for the firm’s luxury renovation of his apartment, he lobbied city officials to approve contracts for the company.  And the same man, while head of police, is charged with having accepted a rent-free luxury apartment from a firm trying to secure city contracts.

Our second case; this man was actually appointed by the ex-President of the same country to be in charge of setting procurement policy for the entire government – despite the fact he had never worked in procurement before!  He has now been convicted of lying to the police about his association with a now-convicted fraudster, to whom he supplied sensitive information, and from whom he accepted various hospitality including golfing trips to Scotland (to be fair, he did pay a contribution towards the cost of these jaunts).

Are you thinking….Africa?  Former Soviet states?  Or have you guessed …it is the United States we are talking about.  Bernard Kerik is the former police chief; and David Safavian the ex head of government procurement policy.

But don’t feel too smug.  How much business is still done in the UK because of conversations between the top people over golf, Glyndebourne or Gordon Ramsey (his restaurant I mean):  with procurement then charged with putting a veneer of respectability onto the done deal?  More than we would like to believe I suspect. Perhaps the Americans are just better at getting to the truth…but it does seem remarkable that Safavian, whose background was as a lobbyist, could get appointed to such a key procurement role. At least when people who are not out and out procurement professionals come into top procurement  jobs in the UK public sector, they have to show some pretty high level and relevant experience.

Voices (2)

  1. Procurement Practitioner:

    Interesting that Safavian got 18 months in jail and Kerik, whose sentencing won’t be known until next year, could have faced up to 30 years but both prosecution and defence have recommended 27 to 33 months.

    Compare that with John and Anne Darwin (the “canoe escapists” who defrauded the insurance industry of £250k) who got more than 6 years and have to repay their ill gotten gains or face more time in prison.

    Is procurement fraud still a white collar crime that’s not taken seriously? If tax payers realised that their hard earned money was being pocketed in this way would they demand tougher sentencing?

  2. J. Riddell:

    YOu’re kidding yourself if you don’t think thsi sort of thing goes on in the UK. I have seen it in more than one local authority. Less than there used to be but still around.

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