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Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Slovakia's procurement "reform"?

It is hard to understand how anything that would reduce means to accountability can be considered "reform". Hopefully there's a better explanation than this article reports.

Sme reports that Slovakia’s Act on Public Procurement is amended
Slovakia’s ruling coalition, led by Prime Minister Robert Fico’s Směr party, recently passed an amendment to the Act on Public Procurement that abolished the right of the country’s Public Procurement Authority (ÚVO) to file a lawsuit in the event that the procurement law is violated, the Sme daily wrote on its website on April 19.

Sme wrote that if state ministries violate the public procurement law and sign a contract damaging the state, no public body will be able to question the contract involved and that from now on only competitors or tender participants will be able to file such a motion – but only if they cover a court fee amounting to €100,000. The fee will be returned only in case of victory in the trial, according to Sme.

Sme wrote that the only court in Slovakia where such a suit can be filed is in Malacky.

According to Transport Minister Ľubomír Vážny the amendment was proposed by Smer under pressure from private businesses. Sme reported that the minister told public-service Slovak Radio that “bank consortiums” claimed to the state that they would loan funds for planned PPP highway projects only “if this chance for the ÚVO to attack a contract will cease to exist”.

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