Preventive measures to detect collusion in public procurement are crucial in ensuring the best goods and services at the lowest price, hence enhancing the efficient allocation of government resources.

This was highlighted by the Executive Secretariat of Competition Commission Brunei Darussalam (CCBD) during a Competition Order dialogue session at the Ministry of Defence held last week.

In a statement issued by the commission, more than 40 officials attended the event which focused on bid-rigging, one of the core anti-competitive conducts prohibited by the Competition Order.

Moreover, the session was part of CCBD’s on-going effort to enhance awareness about the benefits of competition towards sustainable economic growth in the long term, through prohibiting anti-competitive conduct by businesses.

It also emphasised on the prohibition of collusive tender and how procurement officers can play an important role in preventing and detecting collusive tender, to achieve potential savings.

CCBD officials with the officers at the Ministry of Defence. Image: Courtesy of CCBD

CCBD officials during the session underscored that bidding processes are designed to provide competitive areas to achieve better value for money in procurement activities hence, facilitate the enhancement of government saving.

The competitive process only works, however, when competitors set prices honestly and independently. Meanwhile, when competitors collude, prices are inflated and consumers are cheated.

The most frequent examples of collusion in public procurement include arrangements in which bidders decide the winner alternately or also known as bid rotation.

Other forms of bid collusion, the statement added, are when bidders strategically withdraw from tender or submit higher or less attractive bids so the pre-determined winner can be awarded the tender.

The session drew an example of a regional case that revealed a bidder preparing and submitting a tender document for its competitors to coordinate the bidding prices followed by a discussion on the Competition Order application.

It was also advised for any suspicion on a collusive tender to be forwarded to the Executive Secretariat of CCBD for further assessment before the decision to launch an investigation.

The session ended with the presentation of guidelines booklets and easy to understand leaflets entitled “Frequently Asked Questions on Competition Order” and “Understanding and Detecting Bid Rigging in Public Procurement” published by the CCBD. 

The session was led by Acting Director of the Department of Competition and Consumer Affairs as the Executive Secretariat to the CCBD Heidi Farah Sia Abdul Rahman

The Executive Secretariat of CCBD can be reached through email at brunei.competition@jpke.gov.bn or call 2233344 extensions 230 or 341 or 343 for any inquiries and requests for briefings on the Competition Order. – Analisa Amu

The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

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