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Scenario 3: Corruption in the context of Public/emergency procurement

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world hard. States have taken dramatic measures to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, including large-scale acquisition of life-saving medical equipment and supplies.

As the current global health emergency requires urgent action, corrupt actors may take advantage of emergency protocols and rapid response to collude with contractors and use shortcuts to help speed up procurement and disbursement processes. Others may make deals with domestic manufacturers in awarding millions to produce medical equipment. Some may also force hospitals to favour one supplier over another even though their products are more expensive and may not meet the safety requirements.

The COVID-19 crisis opens significant opportunities for severe corruption in the health sector and emergency procurement, which in many cases cause widespread damage.

To mitigate corruption risks such as hidden contracts, overpricing, and collusion, governments should publish all public contracts; use open and competitive bidding; and publish the names and beneficial ownership information of companies awarded contracts.

Wrongdoing can only be addressed when whistle-blowers feel safe to report a violation within their organization with assurances of protection from retaliation and reprisal. According to studies, women especially decide on whether to report corruption or not, based on the level of confidentiality and protection within an organization.

Governments need to have safe reporting systems in place to enable whistle-blowers to step forward. Whistle-blowers are key to tackle corruption and RECOVER with INTEGRITY, accountability, and transparency.

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