Bid rigging in public procurement, is a serious offence, which carry a fine of a penalty of up to 10 per cent of business turnover for a maximum period of three years, under Section 11 of the Competition Order 2015. Bidders in public tenders must compete by submitting bids independently, without coordinating, communicating or conspiring with competitors to limit or eliminate competition in the bidding or tendering process. This was highlighted by the Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) at a Bid Rigging Dialogue Session, attended by the management and senior officers of the Department of Road at the Public Works Department (JKR), Ministry of Development, held recently.
Also in attendance was the Chairperson of CCBD, Yang Berhormat Dayang Nik Hafimi binti Abdul Haadii, Commissioner Yang Mulia Awang Mohammad Harris bin Brigadier General (B) Dato Paduka Haji Ibrahim and Acting Director General of the Public Works Department, Yang Mulia Ir. Awang Haji Md Salleh bin Haji Abd Karim.
Bid rigging is a type of collusive or cartel activity with uncompetitive business practices that unlawfully prevent or reduce competition in a marketplace. Fighting Bid Rigging in public procurement has been a priority of the CCBD work plan and will continue to be the key agenda in 2022, due to its implications, not only in the wastage of government resources but can also discourage entry by competing businesses, and erode confidence in competitive procurement processes.
The closed-door dialogue session was part of the CCBD Bid Rigging Awareness Campaign which was kicked off in December 2021, with the objective of equipping public officials with the relevant knowledge to deter, detect and report bid rigging conduct to the CCBD. This is to ensure tendering or bidding processes are competitive to achieve its intended outcome of good value for money, efficient use of government resources, and to uphold prudent government spending.
The interactive dialogue was led by Yang Mulia Dayang Heidi Farah Sia Abdul Rahman, Director of Competition and Consumer Department, Head of Executive Secretariat to the CCBD. Officer in charge of investigation, Dayang Anisah Syakirah binti Haji Anwari also shared examples from real cases to help attendees to gain understanding in detecting suspicious bid manipulation practices and when to report potential collusive behaviour to the CCBD for further assessment or investigation.
The attendees were reminded that prevention is better than cure. Hence, it is important to first adopt practical steps to prevent collusive tenders which starts with designing a pro-competition tender. If bid rigging conduct is suspected, procurement officials can file a report to the CCBD by providing relevant information and documents including tender bids, correspondences as well as record of suspicious behaviors and statements.
The CCBD welcomes any request for dialogue or briefing to fight bid rigging in public procurement which can be directed to the Executive Secretariat to the CCBD through email at email@example.com. For further information, visit CCBD's website at www.ccbd.gov.bn or contact 2233344 ext 230 / 343.