THE EUROPEAN Commission has criticised Slovakia for using allegedly non-transparent methods to select legal advisors for public private partnership (PPP) projects in highway construction. The criticism refers to the fact that the Jaroslav Ružička Law Office and CMS Cameron McKenna firm were selected without a contract notice and without holding a public tender, the SITA newswire reported on October 9.
The Ministry of Transport received notification from the EC that the method of selection had violated the Treaty Establishing the European Communities, Marián Jánošík, the ministry’s spokesperson, confirmed to SITA.
The ministry is now analysing the notification and will respond to Brussels within the given two-month deadline. Jánošík declined to comment on the impact the EC's note could have on further use of services provided by the selected advisors. He did not say whether the ministry is considering terminating the contracts or announcing a new tender.
On December 21, 2007, the Transport Ministry and the advisor concluded contracts - for consulting services to select the method and conditions for funding the construction of highways and dual-carriage ways from private finances through PPP projects - worth Sk391.3 million (€13 million) without VAT. This sum relates to consulting services provided within the first and second PPP packages designed for the construction of D1 highway sections between Martin and Prešov and of the R1 section from Nitra to Tekovské Nemce. The ministry awarded the contract as a below-limit order under time pressure.
20. Oct 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by the Spectator staff from press reports