Non-transparent purchases by ministry’s hospital confirmed

The Public Procurement Office has confirmed the flaws in competitions, but the Interior Ministry fights back.

St Michael’s Hospital in BratislavaSt Michael’s Hospital in Bratislava (Source: TASR)

St Michael’s Hospital violated the law when purchasing medical equipment, the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO) confirmed. The hospital, situated in downtown Bratislava, comes under the auspices of the Interior Ministry led by Robert Kaliňák (Smer).

The ÚVO was checking the motion submitted by the Let’s Stop Corruption Foundation think tank. The hospital, however, refuses to accept the findings and submitted an administrative action against it, the TASR newswire reported.

St Michael’s Hospital violated three public procurement principles, while in one case the flaws could have affected the final results of the competition, said the foundation’s head Pavel Sibyla. The result of this competition is an agreement worth €23 million signed with the company E-BA tpz.

The ÚVO now claims that the hospital violated the law when it was procuring medical equipment, furniture and information technologies in one package, the Sme daily reported.

“The facility limited the competition this way, so fewer potential bidders could have showed interest in attending the public procurement,” the ÚVO wrote, as quoted by Sme.

Sibyla meanwhile said that if the hospital did not procure everything in one go, it could save millions of euros.

Read also:Non-transparent claims surround hospital Read more 

Moreover, the hospital could not explain why it called on two out of three bidders to attend the electronic auction. By this step, it violated the transparency principles of public procurement. The facility also concealed the information about how much it has already paid to E-BA tpz.

“The hospital’s actions are at odds with the economy principle,” said the ÚVO’s spokesperson Ján Mažgút, as quoted by Sme.

Sibyla opines that the ÚVO’s revelations are serious enough to bring consequences for the hospital’s management. The Let’s Stop Corruption Foundation informed that via one competition the facility procured 900 items altogether, including benches, medical devices and IT. It objected to the price of some items, saying it was exaggerated.

The hospital, however, keeps denying the claims. It explained it had to procure the items in one package due to time constraints. Moreover, the hospital’s head Marián Križko said that some equipment is of top quality, so the price cannot be compared, as reported by Sme.

It has also submitted an administrative action against the inspection and its results as it considers them “incorrectly evaluated”, Interior Ministry spokesperson Peter Lazarov confirmed to TASR.

The purchase has been recently scrutinised by the Institute of Health Policy, which runs under the Health Ministry. It claimed the purchase was not overpriced and confirmed the top quality of the equipment. There is however a question as to whether such equipment is necessary, Sme wrote.

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