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.
Hidden interests in camouflage uniform order? Or mere incompetence? The Ministry of Defense has ordered military uniforms that don’t meet army standards. The issuer of the tender worth over Kč 40 million failed to specify the requirements stipulated by Czech Defense Standard (ČOS) 108001, the technical specifications of which specify the shades and dimensions of military camouflage.
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.
The Czech Republic’s biggest forestry firm, state-controlled Lesy ČR, wasted money and sealed dubious contracts which damaged the public interest, the country’s spending watchdog, the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) has reported. The Farm Ministry failed to fulfill its responsibility to oversee the company, it added.
Almost a year has passed since the Prague 7 administration issued a tender for new premises. From 11 offers, two potential locations have been selected: part of PPF Group’s Argentine Star project, and Mercury Tower, belonging to the firm Argentinská 38. PPF is asking Kč 762 million; Mercury Tower’s is Kč 845 million. Regardless, Prague 7 doesn’t have the money, and controversial moves to raise it have run into trouble.
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.
A tender to build the new track between Rokycany and Plzeň in western Bohemia is being billed as the largest rail infrastructure project in 20 years. Originally forecast to cost around Kč 10 billion, the Railway Infrastructure Administration (SŽDC) says it now expects offers even lower than Kč 7.5 billion. The new track will, however, only cut the journey time between Prague and Plzeň by six minutes.
Prague City Hall and the head of its public transport company have pledged to stop at nothing to get to the bottom of the numerous scandals surrounding the bus, trams and subway company. But those seeking quick results should stock up on patience. In the meantime, new rules are promised for some of the contracts which remain on track.
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.