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Opposition proposes changes to draft amendment on public procurement

OPPOSITION MPs have introduced their plans to change the amendment to the law on public procurement passed by the government on November 27. The new rules should prevent shell companies with unclear ownership structure from obtaining public tenders.

OPPOSITION MPs have introduced their plans to change the amendment to the law on public procurement passed by the government on November 27. The new rules should prevent shell companies with unclear ownership structure from obtaining public tenders.

If Robert Fico’s government really wants to fight the participation of shell companies in public competitions, it should incorporate into its bill a requirement to disclose the end beneficiary, independent MP Daniel Lipšic said at a joint press conference with MP Igor Matovič (Ordinary People and Independent Personalities – OĽaNO), independent MP Alojz Hlina and MEP Richard Sulík (Freedom and Solidarity – SaS) on November 24.

“The prime minister has called on the opposition to contribute towards revamping the bill on shell companies,” Lipšic said, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “His bill can be easily bypassed, however.”

He and his colleagues propose that the participants in a public tender should be obliged to present “a statutory declaration concerning who will be the end beneficiary, and in the case of success in the tender they would have to present confirmation from a bank relating to who has really received the benefits,” as reported by TASR.

At a separate press conference on the same day, Most-Híd MP Lucia Žitňanská announced that she is also preparing an amending proposal to the government’s bill along with Sieť vice-chairman Miroslav Beblavý in order to disclose the end beneficiaries whenever public money is involved, TASR wrote.

According to Fico, there are three categories of companies that should not be allowed to feature in public tenders. The first concerns firms registered in countries in which the country cannot learn about their real owners. Second concerns Slovak companies with shareholders based in the aforementioned countries, “with these companies unwilling to disclose who they are”. The third category involves Slovak firms that feature public officials as owners or co-owners.

“If they have more than 10 percent of the shares, such a company will be excluded from public tenders,” Fico claimed, as quoted by TASR

The draft amendment should allow only companies that are able to disclose their owners up to the level of private individuals to take part in public tenders. The only exception will be companies listed on stock exchanges in the European Union, the European Economic Area or the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development and their subsidiaries.

Bidders who provide false information regarding their ownership may be fined between €1,000-10,000.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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