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Bratislava water utility cheated on tender, claims employee
23 Jun 2014 Compiled by Spectator staff Politics & Society
BRATISLAVA’s regional water utility, Bratislavská Vodárenská Spoločnosť (BVS), cheated in a tender for its information system, STV public service reported after receiving a letter from an anonymous BVS employee describing the scam. BVS responded that the employee’s claims are false and inaccurate.
BVS purchased a new corporate information system for €1.2 million, for which the tender was divided into three orders each for less than €400,000, the BVS employee told STV. Orders below that sum do not have to go through a public competition and BVS could sign a contract directly with the desired firm, according to the Sme daily. However, such an approach is illegal and some contracts published on the BVS webpage approve the purchase of a new system, according to STV.
The company already checked the tender and informed the Bratislava municipality, which is BVS’ major shareholder, about its findings. It disputes the anonymous employee’s claims, since BVS did not violate legislation and the costs for the new system are predicted to be lower than the price for maintenance of the older one, BVS spokesman Zenon Mikle told The Slovak Spectator.
“BVS runs its activities in line with the legislation and strictly rejects any anonymous claims of employees which are inaccurate, false and can be successfully questioned,” Mikle said.
Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik nevertheless asked the BVS board of supervisors for a statement on the issue, since he considers it to be serious despite the fact that it was written by anonymous person, Bratislava spokesperson Stano Ščepán told The Slovak Spectator.
The BVS board of supervisors discussed the issue and found no irregularities. However, Zuzana Dziviaková, a board member and a member of the Bratislava council, told STV that the BVS board of directors proposed a new contract for €8.5 million. Expenses for the new system should be covered by BVS and its affiliated company, Infraservices, which is allegedly partially controlled by businessman Ivan Kmotrík. Kmotrík has denied any connection with BVS in the past.
“I presume that signing this contract [means] continuing the water privatisation process in Bratislava,” Dziviaková said, as quoted by STV.
Infraservices representatives declined to comment on the allegations, according to STV.
BVS General Director Radoslav Jakab announced he was leaving the company on June 16. He denied that his departure was connected to the case, claiming that he wanted to leave in autumn 2013, but stayed as per the request of Bratislava Mayor Milan Ftáčnik, Sme reported.
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