Bulgarian Watchdog Exposes Power Distributors in Public Procurement Breaches
Bulgaria's Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) has wrapped up an inspection of the three power distributors operating in the country aimed at identifying breaches of the Public Procurement Act in 2011 and 2012.
The probe of PFIA was initiated in mid-February by then-Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism Delyan Dobrev amid growing public discontent over high electricity bills.
All three companies assigned public procurement deals to related firms citing a legal exemption allowing the step under certain conditions, dnevnik.bg informs.
Power distributors E.ON (which was succeeded by Energo-Pro in end-June 2012) and CEZ did not fix a firm price of the payment in advance but accepted the expense reports for the services performed.
According to the PFIA report, E.ON and its successor Energo-Pro, failed to hold a total of ten public procurement procedures worth a total of BGN 35 463 373 during the two-year period.
Apart from that, four deals worth BGN 1.8 were assigned through negotiations, without public announcement, despite the fact that they did not meet the legal requirements allowing this type of procedure, which PFIA refers to as particularly opaque.
Power distributor EVN failed to hold public procurement procedures worth BGN 328 592.
Apart from that, the power distributor negotiated without announcement the supply of Toyota cars worth BGN 443 000 and a phone call recording system worth BGN 190 806 with Enterprise Communications Group.
Power distributor CEZ failed to hold three public procurement procedures worth BGN 352 715 for auditing, phone services by the Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (BTC), and supply of plane tickets.
According to PFIA, the company also sealed a flawed deal through an invitation to negotiate and in five cases the power distributor failed to collect the required minimum of three offers.
The PFIA report also notes that the public procurement procedures held by the three power distributors were also flawed, including problems with the methodology, deadlines, procedures, and guarantees.
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