The Interior Ministry says it will not now purchase PR services and advice on how to communicate with journalists through the firm Regionálna Obstarávacia Agentúra (ROA). ROA had tendered a contract worth €130 million to supply the ministry and other state bodies with PR services.
ROA is part-owned by the tiny municipality of Horné Plachtince (population c. 200) as well as several private individuals. It was granted the right to handle huge volumes of state tenders, ostensibly on the basis that it is part-owned by a public body (the municipality of Horné Plachtince). Following reports about the PR services contract published in the Slovak media last week, the ministry has been scrambling to terminate the agreement with ROA, the Sme daily reported on April 24.
Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák said that he was responding to doubts aroused by the Hospodárske Noviny financial daily that the managers of all four winning companies in the PR contract are connected. He surmised that “there is a threat the competition was not real”.
“I do not like the suspicions that not everybody had the chance to apply for this tender,” Kaliňák told Sme.
Kaliňák recommended that municipalities and state bodies check the prices of their contracts. ROA was also responsible for buying legal and auditing services, Sme reported.
Meanwhile, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) said it wants to launch a MPs’ investigation into reports of connections between the tenders and officials at the Interior Ministry. This would be initiated by Ján Hudacký, chair of the parliamentary committee for the economy. The resulting report would then be agreed by the committee, and the government, the SITA newswire reported.
Sources: Sme, SITA
For more information about this story please see: Interior Ministry halts tender
Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.