THE EUROPEAN Commission closed its infringement procedure against Slovakia in the case of the controversial bulletin-board tender at the Construction Ministry.
According to an official EC press release, the cancellation of the ministry’s contract, which had been awarded to a consortium of companies following a tender announced only on one internal bulletin board within the ministry building, “has formally eliminated the specific basis for the infringement complaint and the infringement proceedings can thus be closed”.
Following a complaint in February 2009 the EC said it considered the means of publication used in the tender procedure to have been insufficient to ensure the principle of adequate transparency. The contract was to have been EU-funded. Consequently, the EC sent a formal letter to Slovak authorities in April 2009. Slovakia responded in May that the contract had been cancelled.
“However, it should be underlined that this decision to close the infringement proceedings is without prejudice to the ongoing OLAF [European Anti-Fraud Office] investigation as well as that of the national police and judicial authorities of Slovakia into the circumstances of how this contract was awarded in the first instance,” the EC stated.
The Hospodárske Noviny daily reported on November 25 that OLAF is investigating the bulletin-board tender.