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Procurement Office to reply to ministry lawsuit

The Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) received a request from the Bratislava Regional Court last week to provide its position on the lawsuit filed by the Transport Ministry against the office, the SITA newswire wrote.

The Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) received a request from the Bratislava Regional Court last week to provide its position on the lawsuit filed by the Transport Ministry against the office, the SITA newswire wrote.

The ministry contested the decision filed by ÚVO concerning excluded participants in the first tender for the construction and operation of D1 highway sections. The office will provide its standpoint within 15 days from the receipt of the request, ÚVO Chairman Béla Angyal, a nominee of the opposition ethnic Hungarian SMK, said at a press conference.

Angyal rejected criticism that the office wanted to hamper highway construction in Slovakia. If the court overturns the decision and orders new procurement proceedings, the office will have to issue a new decision on the competition.

The exclusion of some candidates from the tender was unjustified, the ministry said. They did not provide some documents, which is why the ÚVO returned the case. The office asked the Transport Ministry to verify again whether these papers were issued in individual states, Angyal said.

On March 14, the ÚVO nullified the ministry's verdict on the exclusion of the Austrian-German consortium comprising Alpine Bau, Hochtief PPP Solutions and Western Carpathians Motorway Investors Company, and ordered its re-inclusion, together with the three other expelled candidates. In Angyal's words, the ministry alleges in the charges filed that the office should suspend the procurement and verify the terms for the issuance of documents to procurement participants. But the ÚVO chief denies that the verification falls under ministry's duties.

Angyal contends that the ministry provided little time to candidates to provide requested references. The way the ministry asked for the reference confirmation was unusual but not unlawful, Angyal added. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports

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