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SDKÚ accuses Interior Ministry of bypassing EP directive, ministry denies claims

In a tender to purchase hardware, the Interior Ministry is bypassing an EU directive and is creating leeway for the purchase to be rigged, cartels created and public funds to be mismanaged, according to Lucia Žitňanská, chair of the parliamentary caucus of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ).

In a tender to purchase hardware, the Interior Ministry is bypassing an EU directive and is creating leeway for the purchase to be rigged, cartels created and public funds to be mismanaged, according to Lucia Žitňanská, chair of the parliamentary caucus of the opposition Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ).

"This narrower competition was announced in the Public Procurements Bulletin and the Official Journal of the EU in December of last year," Žitňanská told a press conference on Thursday, May 2, adding that the envelopes for the tender, which involves procurement of a wide array of electronic goods for a number of state institutions from ministries to universities, are due to be opened on May 6. The contract is projected to run for five years.

"We're speaking of hundreds of millions of euros here; it may perhaps go up to a billion euros, we're not sure," said Žitňanská, as quoted by the TASR newswire, stressing that the ministry has not disclosed the sum to be contracted. She noted that both she and fellow SDKÚ MP Miroslav Beblavý were denied access by the ministry to the respective documentation despite having the right, under the law, to receive such information.

"The minister [Robert Kaliňák] offered to provide the documents to me as long as I didn't use them," said Beblavý, adding that he eventually got hold of the information concerned from one of the bidders. According to Žitňanská and Beblavý, the ministry's failure to release the extent or sum of the contract runs counter to the EU directive that deals with the issue. Beblavý also slammed as senseless signing deals on PCs for five years given rapid developments in IT.

The Interior Ministry reacted by denying the opposition's claims. "We would like to emphasise that we can guarantee high professionalism and transparency of the whole process," the ministry stated in a press release quoted by TASR. "This tender concerns a qualifying system of technical appliance suppliers. In the first phase, suppliers will be selected in a tender and in the second phase, specific assignments for individual commissions will be defined, which will lead to concluding agreements on given services," the ministry specified, adding that this would allow efficient granting of commissions without monopolising suppliers.

The Sme daily wrote that the giant tender comprised competitions for about 110 state institutions and was slated to stretch over five years.

Sources: TASR, Sme

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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