Faulty Public Procurement of Bulgarian Interior Ministry Reported to OLAF
The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) has been notified about a faulty public procurement process organized by the Bulgarian Interior Ministry.
After two unsuccessful attempts to finalize a public procurement deal for the supply of 42 fully equipped fire trucks, the Interior launched a third attempt in March 2011.
On June 29, Czech company SPS VKP was awarded the public procurement contract worth BGN 8 794 320, the lowest price offered.
The money for the water-foam fire-fighting trucks were to be provided under the project "Modernization of the structural units of FSRNS-MI in the capital
city agglomeration area and the agglomeration areas of six big cities – Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Pleven, Ruse and Stara Zagora" financed under the grant scheme "Support for reduction and prevention of risks and damages caused by fire in urban agglomeration areas".
The company contracted to supply the 42 fire-fighting vehicles declared that it met all criteria listed in the terms of reference prepared by the Interior Ministry.
A simple follow-up check showed that it lacked the specified equipment and had also failed to provide some of the data required about the equipment of the vehicles.
Despite that, the Interior assumed that all necessary documents had been submitted and decided to sign a contract with the Czech company.
The step was taken in breach of the instructions given to the participants in the public procurement procedure stating that all bids that are incomplete or do not meet the specifications will not be considered.
The company whose bid ranked second appealed the procedure with the Commission for Protection of Competition but in end-August the watchdog dismissed the complaint in just one session.
The case was taken to the Supreme Administrative Court (VAS) which is to hold a substantive hearing on October 19.
The problem was reported to OLAF, the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov, Interior Minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov, Regional Development Minister Lilyana Pavlova, and EU Funds Minister Tomislav Donchev.
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