IN SHORT

FinMin approves treasury decision on HP

FOLLOWING REPEATED cancellations of tenders to select a supplier for the State Treasury's IT system, outgoing finance minister František Hajnovič has described the final decision to negotiate solely with Hewlett-Packard (HP) as "transparent".

In mid-September the Finance Ministry decided to hold negotiations only with HP rather than hold a fifth tender attempt, excluding bids by rivals Siemens Business Services, which had lost the four previous tenders to HP, and IBM, which attempted to join the fray last May, but whose bid had been excluded because it came in past the deadline.

"Public tenders, with bidders announcing their prices in advance, cost the state Sk3 billion to Sk5 billion a year," said Hajnovič, explaining why the ministry had not held a fifth tender. "That is a harsh tax for not trusting that the state representative will not be corrupted," he added.

Although IBM has claimed that its bid is Sk300 million lower than the cheapest offer in the cancelled fourth tender last April, Hajnovič called the offer "dumping," and said, "I would have to exclude the bid."

While Siemens had appealed the four previous tender decisions after being beaten out by HP, also requesting an investigation into the matter by the international corruption watchdog Transparency International, company officials now say they "will respect the [state] procurer's decision".

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