NGO: Only transparent firms should compete in public tenders

Public tenders should be open exclusively to companies with transparent ownership structures, stated the Slovak Fair-Play Alliance (AFP) in an appeal to the government on November 12, thereby responding to the recent scandal involving the purchase of an overpriced CT scanner by Piešťany Hospital. AFP representatives told a press conference in Bratislava that the CT scanner scandal is by no means the first case associated with the misuse of public resources by a P.O. Box firm. “We’re fed up with a situation in which politicians fail to come up with solutions to prevent such scandals," AFP’s head Zuzana Wienk said, calling for the setting up of a working group made up of experts. Wienk cited the recent CT scanner scandal in Piešťany as a prime example. This was won by Medical Group SK, “whose ownership is concealed in four countries”. “That company is owned by a Prague-based joint stock company, which is owned by another joint stock company from Banská Bystrica, which in turn currently has no owner stated in our Business Registry, even though it had two mailbox companies from Belize and Cyprus there two years ago,” said Wienk, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that this does not put the firm in a good light. “Since Belize is a tax haven that serves as a safe hiding place for business owners, this company can't be viewed as a transparent one.” The first step towards achieving the stated aim should be the introduction of a requirement asking firms vying to join public tenders to have ownership structure transparent to the point of natural persons managing them, or having profit from them.

Public tenders should be open exclusively to companies with transparent ownership structures, stated the Slovak Fair-Play Alliance (AFP) in an appeal to the government on November 12, thereby responding to the recent scandal involving the purchase of an overpriced CT scanner by Piešťany Hospital.

AFP representatives told a press conference in Bratislava that the CT scanner scandal is by no means the first case associated with the misuse of public resources by a P.O. Box firm.

“We’re fed up with a situation in which politicians fail to come up with solutions to prevent such scandals," AFP’s head Zuzana Wienk said, calling for the setting up of a working group made up of experts. Wienk cited the recent CT scanner scandal in Piešťany as a prime example. This was won by Medical Group SK, “whose ownership is concealed in four countries”.

“That company is owned by a Prague-based joint stock company, which is owned by another joint stock company from Banská Bystrica, which in turn currently has no owner stated in our Business Registry, even though it had two mailbox companies from Belize and Cyprus there two years ago,” said Wienk, as quoted by the TASR newswire, adding that this does not put the firm in a good light. “Since Belize is a tax haven that serves as a safe hiding place for business owners, this company can't be viewed as a transparent one.”

The first step towards achieving the stated aim should be the introduction of a requirement asking firms vying to join public tenders to have ownership structure transparent to the point of natural persons managing them, or having profit from them.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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