THE SIX companies involved in a cartel related to a tender for motorway construction in eastern Slovakia from 2004 have been banned from public tenders for three years, the Public Procurements Office (ÚVO) confirmed on July 29, but the ban for some companies has already elapsed, while others will have to wait only a few more weeks.

The ban entered into force already on May 11, 2004 but it was interrupted by a court ruling that suspended a relevant decision of the Antitrust Office (PMÚ), according to the ÚVO. Each of the companies received notice of the court injunction on a different date between December 7, 2006 and May 15, 2007. For individual companies between two years and seven months and three years had already elapsed from the ban.

The ban came into force again on March 20, 2014, meaning that the companies that are still under it will only have to wait a matter of weeks before they are able to compete for public tenders again. According to the older legislation, the ban would have lasted five years, but an amendment to the law adopted in 2008 shortened the penalty to three years, the TASR newswire wrote.

The cartel involved Strabag, Doprastav, Betamont, Inžinierske Stavby, Skanska DS and Mota-Engil. Apart from the ban on taking part in tenders, the companies received fines totalling almost €45 million.

The penalty slapped on six construction companies for entering into a cartel during a tender for the construction of a D1 motorway section in eastern Slovakia in 2004 is very mild and it’s as if it hadn’t been imposed at all, transport analysts concurred for TASR.

“It was tailor-made so as to suit the companies and inflicts no damage on them,” said head of the Transport and Economy Institute (IDH) Ondrej Matej who is a Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) member and acted as former prime minister Iveta Radičová’s advisor.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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