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Inspection of ten public procurement procedures by the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works has confirmed a signal for serious irregularities, submitted by the ACF

The auditing directorate with the ministry has decided to apply financial corrections for the contracting authority the Association of Danube Municipalities at the amount of 200 000 BGN

Topic:

Public procurement

Status:

Institutional investigation

Stage:

Results Stage I

Public procurement contract for Geographical Information System (GIS) for allocation of mosquito swarms in the region of Danube River, along with other nine procurements under the EU trans-border cooperation program with Romania, will receive financial corrections of approx. 200 000 BGN due to the findings of serious irregularities in the organized bids. The inspections have been conducted by the auditing directorate with the Ministry of Regional Development, which is the official controlling authority under the “Interreg V-A Bulgaria-Romania” trans-border cooperation program.

The inspection was initiated by the ACF in July 2017, after submitting a signal to several competent authorities (including OLAF, Romanian and Bulgarian Public Prosecution Offices). Following a specific methodology the ACF experts have identified indicators for serious irregularities of the organized tenders. The Association of Danube Municipalities, chaired by the Municipality of Russe Mayor Plamen Stoilov, was the contracting authority. The total amount of value of the procurement projects is 3.2 mln BGN (no VAT incl.).

The tender concerning the allocation of mosquito swarms, valued 797 000 BGN, has been identified with the highest number of irregularities – evaluation methodology not in conformity with regulations, lack of transparency during the evaluation, not sufficiently specified and detailed subject of the contract. This tender is sanctioned with 10% of allowed expenses, financed by the European Regional Development Fund. The Fund is principal donor to the program with 85% of all program funding.

Concerning the rest of the public procurement contracts different irregularities have been identified – evaluation methodology for the offers, confusing the selection criteria, lack of clarity of the subject of the contract. For the rest of the tenders, financial correction varies between 5 to 10 10% of the allowed expenses.

The controlling directorate with the Ministry of Regional Development states there is serious doubt of conflict of interests with respect to two of the procedures which are submitted to the competent authorities. In case, these findings are confirmed, the directorate is ready to reopen the case.