Despite the fact that stricter regulations governing Czech public tenders — aimed at stamping out corrupt practices — came into force on April 1, the old rules will continue to influence “the game” for some time yet. What’s more, it appears the new regulations are not completely resistant to manipulation. Czech Position tracks what went on with public tenders just before the April 1 deadline.
We choose from five companies and that’s the end of it! This is the Central Bohemian Region’s approach to public tenders for construction contracts. Despite considerable media criticism, the region’s governor, David Rath (Social Democrats, ČSSD) has persisted in its view. Although elctronic lotteries have been replaced by selecting finalists on the basis of qualification criteria, this has failed to increase the number of firms allowed to bid in tenders.
Central Bohemia, under the direction of the region’s governor, David Rath (Social Democrats, ČSSD), is looking to “blow hundreds of millions” of crowns by using a controversial lottery system — due to be banned as of April 1 — to eliminate potential bidders on public contracts, the leadership of two opposition parties there claim.
Gordion Consulting, whose clients include most of the ministries, regional and municipal administrations, is among the leading administrators of public tenders. In an interview with Czech Position, the firm’s managing director, Pavel Robek, talks candidly about the controversial use of electronic lotteries in ‘narrowed-down tenders’ and the pros and cons of the amended Law on Public Procurement.
A controversial amendment to the public tenders law allowed for Czech authorities to narrow the field of short-listed bidders via electronic lottery devices. Critics of the system say, intentionally or not, legislators failed to make the system transparent. Now, despite allegations of rigged results, contracting authorities are rushing tenders through before the practice is scrapped on April 1, 2012.
Expert opinion requested by Czech anti-corruption police has confirmed that the software seized for electronic lottery equipment used in a public tenders with a limited number of bidders (itself in contravention to EU competition legislation) was tampered with. Yet contracting authorities, particularly in the Central Bohemian and Ústi regions, continue to use similar machines and suspect practices.