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Transparency International recommends scrapping tender for Košice tax office

Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) on August 5 recommended that the government scrap its current tender for rental of premises for the tax office in Košice and to announce a new competition, the TASR newswire reported.

Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) on August 5 recommended that the government scrap its current tender for rental of premises for the tax office in Košice and to announce a new competition, the TASR newswire reported.

"The reason for the recommendation is our finding that the criteria for evaluation and participation in the tender have been pointlessly strict; moreover, they have been changed during the course of the two rounds while at the same time they haven't been unequivocal," stated Gabriel Šípoš, the TIS director, to TASR.

He added that the rental project lacks an analysis of the long-term costs and benefits. "The sad fact is that despite these flaws, this tender has been the most transparent competition for providing the new premises for the tax offices in Kosice," Šípoš added.

He stated that after the current tender is scrapped, it should be followed by an impact study of the alternatives, adding that easier conditions for taking part in the tender should be introduced and the transport accessibility to the tax office should be included in the evaluation criteria. External evaluations of the cost of reconstructing or selling the current tax office premises are also recommended, along with a review of the methodology for tenders involving the rental of non-residential premises by state institutions.

The only bidder in the current round of the tender is Nitra Invest. Six companies submitted bids in the first tender in June. That round was cancelled. Nitra Invest is owned by Ondrej Ščurka, the Nitra district head of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) party whose firm had been chosen earlier this year to rent the new Tax Directorate premises.

A new tender was announced after opposition leader Robert Fico (Smer) drew attention to the fact that Nitra Invest has links to coalition party SDKÚ. This revelation led to a clash between Prime Minister Iveta Radičová (SDKÚ) and her Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš (also SDKÚ), who backed the lease going to Ščurka’s firm.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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