The Office of Procurement Regulation

Complaints

 What is a complaint?
A complaint is formal written statement of an allegation that bid rigging or other forms of collusion, an irregularity in procurement proceedings or a breach of the Public Procurement and Disposal of Public Property Act No.1 of 2015, as amended (“the Act”) has occurred. This is submitted to the Office of Procurement Regulation (“the Office”) in accordance with section 41 of the Act. These can be submitted via:
  • online submission,
  • mail in submission,
  • or in person through “walk-in” submissions.
 What can I complain about?
A complaint can be made in relation to:

1. Bid rigging or other forms of collusion between all or any of the interested parties to procurement proceedings. Bid rigging is defined as collusive price-fixing and anti-competitive behaviour which is designed to unfairly influence the outcome of a competitive tender process in favour of one or more bidders;

2. An irregularity in procurement proceedings; or

3. Any alleged breach of the Act, such as:
    • Splitting of Procurement (Section 31)
    • Breach of Confidentiality (Section 39)
    • Victimization (Section 40)
    • Failure to report collusion (Section 41)
    • Concealing/destroying information required for examination/investigation (Section 46)
    • Failure to comply with requirements of confidentiality in challenge proceedings (Section 52)
 Who can make a complaint?
Any Party involved in public procurement or disposal of public property or any member of the public may make a complaint to the Office through any of the available channels. These include but are not limited to contractors, suppliers, consultants, persons working in public bodies etc. It is prudent to note that the Office, pursuant to section 41(1) of the Act, may on its own initiative consider, inquire into and investigate any alleged breach of the Act.
 What do I need to submit when lodging a complaint?
A complaint can be submitted to the Office by completing an OPR Complaint Form. The Complaint Form records:
    • Personal and contact information
    • Representatives of the Complainant (if any)
    • Information on the public body or person that is subject to the complaint
    • Offences that may be applicable to the complaint
    • Details of the complaint
    • Details of supporting documents
It is important to consult the Complaint Form- Guidance Notes before completing the form.
 How will my complaint be handled?
Once a complaint is received by the Office, a Complaints Officer will conduct an intake of the Complaint Form and any supporting documents and assign a number to the Complaint. The Complainant will receive an acknowledgement of receipt of the Complaint. The Complaint is then reviewed by the Legal Department to ensure that the subject of the complaint falls under the purview of the Act. The complaint is then transmitted to the Audit and Investigations Department and assigned to an Investigator who will conduct an investigation of the allegations made. Once the investigation is concluded a report is prepared and relevant action taken. The Complainant will be notified of the result of the investigation.
 OPR's Investigative Function and Powers of Investigation
The functions of the Office are set out extensively in section 13 of the Act. For the purpose of complaints, noteworthy functions of the Office are as follows:

• 13 (1) (h) To audit and review the systems of procurement and disposal of public property in public bodies to ensure compliance with the objectives of the Act.

• 13 (1) (n) To investigate on its own initiative or upon complaint from any party involved in public procurement or disposal of public property or any member of the public, any alleged or suspected breach of the Act.

The powers outlined in section 14 (1) of the Act, ensure that the Office can adequately perform the functions outlined in section 13. In the performance of its functions, the Office may:

    • Monitor procurement activities and disposal of public property within public bodies to ensure compliance with the Act.

    • Conduct audits and periodic inspections of public bodies to ensure compliance with the Act.

    • Issue directives to public bodies to ensure compliance with the Act.

    • Carry out such other activities and perform acts as are necessary or expedient for carrying out its functions.

    Part IV of the Act deals with investigation and enforcement. In order to progress investigations, the Office is empowered to obtain information and documents from persons in the exercise of its functions, powers and duties under section 42 of the Act by serving written notice on any person and requiring them to:

    • Supply the Office with any book, record, document, or information in the manner and time specified.

    • To produce any book, record, document, information in the manner and time specified to the Office or a person specified in the notice.

    • To reproduce or assist in reproducing information recorded or stored in any book or document.

    • To appear before the Office or specified person to produce any information orally or in writing, and produce any book, record or document in the manner and time specified.

    • Require a person to give orally or in writing, information on oath or affirmation.

    • Apply to the High Court to compel a person to appear before the Office to give information.

    For the purpose of conducting an investigation into any alleged or suspected breach of the Act, an authorised officer may also do the following under section 43 of the Act:

    • Examine and enquire into the affairs of a public body or person who is the subject of an investigation.

    • Examine and make copies of or remove from premises all such books, records, documents and all other things subject to the investigation whether or not they are in the possession or control of the person in respect of whom the investigation is ordered or of any other person.

    • Enter premises of a public body during reasonable hours upon obtaining an order of the High Court.

RESOURCES:
a. Complaint Form
b. Complaint Form guidance notes
c. Checklist of documents for complainants
d. Sensitization material – link to webinars, electronic brochures, ads.

For more information or queries contact us via our Help Desk at oprhelpdesk@org.tt or call us at (868) 627-4OPR (4677) or (868) 266-4OPR (4677)”


Frequently Asked Questions

For more information or queries contact us via our Help Desk at oprhelpdesk@org.tt or call us at (868) 627-4OPR (4677) or (868) 266-4OPR (4677)