OAG: Ministers should keep out of procurement course of

OAG: Ministers must stay out of procurement process

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(CNS): The Office of the Auditor General found no evidence of inappropriate actions by the civil service over the procurement of lateral flow tests to help manage the COVID-19 pandemic last year and that decisions made by Cabinet members were “reasonable and appropriate”. However, Auditor General Sue Winspear said clarity is needed around emergency decisions to acquire goods or services and ministers should always stay out of the procurement process once the decisions are made and documented.

In November 2021 Cabinet, including the governor and deputy governor, asked Winspear to review the issues that arose during the procurement of LFTs after two ministries each made a separate order, one of them with a local supplier that threatened to sue the government when that order was cancelled.

In the short report on her findings, Winspear set out the chain of events that led the government to pursue two separate orders, one with a UK supplier and another with a local…

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