Now 16 months after Prague 7 called a tender to secure new headquarters for the district’s town hall comes a twist in the case: what had previously been presented as a classic public tender has been recast as mere “market research.” Could it be that the district mayor, Marek Ječmének (Civic Democrats, ODS) is looking to de facto cancel the tender without having to admit the process has failed – yet again?
Perhaps no new Czech law has been anticipated with such great hopes — both justified and idealistic — as the amended law on public tenders. The legislation aimed at cutting out corrupt practices from public contracts came into force on April 1. While the law is certainly a step in the right direction, as indicated by the rush to churn out tenders under the provisions of the old law before it expired, it is still far from ideal.
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.
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.
The American Chamber of Commerce has been lobbying Czech MPs to change the public procurement law to increase transparency and accountability; this month, it presented the new AmCham Wings Award to lawyer Daniel Weinhold and Skanska head Dan Ťok for their work on the Platform for Transparency in Public Procurement. AmCham head Weston Stacey tells Czech Position about the chamber’s work in this regard.
A number of banks, entrepreneurs and lawyers have taken issue with a proposal by Czech junior coalition government partner TOP 09 and various civic initiatives to oblige companies winning public contracts to reveal full details about the their ownership structures, those of subcontractors, and the beneficial owners.
Has there been a large public tender in the Czech Republic in recent memory after which at least one failed or excluded bidder did not cry foul and launch a legal appeal? The Kč 200 million tender for a systems integrator on the National Digital Library (NDK) project is the latest in a long line heading towards litigation, which could delay its implementation and result in the loss of European Union funding.
The Prague 7 district has already been looking for a new location for its Town Hall for an incredible 17 years now, with the moving date set for 2015. The most recent attempt was a fiasco; just ahead of signing the purchase contract, the competition was canceled. One might expect that this time around, councilors would make sure things went smoothly and prepare a “bulletproof” contract for the biggest developers in order to polish the district’s sullied reputation. Alas, the opposite is true.