Orhei: Unplanned public procurements and deviations from legislation

According to the Public Procurement Agency (PPA) website, 18 public procurement contracts have been awarded in 2018 by the Orhei City Hall as contracting authority. Contracts were awarded following the conduction of four public tenders and the issue of fourteen calls for price quotes. The total value of these procurement contracts amounts to over 15.600.000 MDL. Tatiana Djamanov and Diana Enachi, authors of the Orhei Procurement Monitoring Report, have identified a number of risk indicators concerning the transparency, efficiency, and legality of the public procurement process within the Orhei City Hall.

The report monitored the four largest public procurement contracts:

-Contract awarded to D.I.F. & W LLA for the "internal and external repair works of the sewerage network at kindergarten no. 12 of the Orhei municipality ", - 506.877,49 MDL. The identified breaches were: 1) the lack of estimation of the additional unforeseen work; 2) the contracting authority did not request a bank guarantee for participation and proper performance; 3) the Authority has selected the winning bid with an abnormally low offer, totaling -32.6% of the estimated value; 4) the City Hall did not include this purchase in the Purchase Plan for 2018 nor did it publish any notice of intent. The failure to plan public procurement or its planning in violation of existing regulations, as well as the failure to publish the invitation for participation to tenders or the notice of intent, is punished according to the Contravention Code (Article 327).

- Contract awarded to S.C. CLIMATEC LLA for "the construction of the sewerage network at the kindergarten no. 12 "- 204.804,90 MDL (canceled after 2 months). Following the procurement procedure, it has been found that the documentation necessary for the participants in the tender (The task book or the descriptive documentation, the datasheet, instructions to bidders, approximate contract model, offer blanks) was not published on the website of the contracting authority.

- Purchase contract awarded to Borintex LLA for the "service and maintenance of green spaces of the municipality in 2018" - 1.997.721 MDL. In the aftermath of the contract review, it was found that there was no information on how the procurement group assembled in the Orhei City Hall evaluated the offers for this public tender. The auction was attended only by the abovementioned entity which won the bid. It is not known whether the working group within the contracting authority has produced quarterly/semestrial or annual reports on the execution of procurement contracts, but no report has been published on the official website of the City Hall, although this is mandatory.

- Public procurement contracts for public lighting in Orhei worth more than 5.570. 000 MDL implemented for three years. In 2018, the Orhei City Hall awarded three procurement contracts for public lighting, totaling 4.333.218 MDL. For this purpose, several procurement procedures have been carried out. Following a public tender held on 13 February 2018, the contract for the "works for the extension of the public lighting in Orhei" amounting to 3.427.679,02 MDL was awarded on 6 March 2018 Electrica SA. The contract notice was published in Public Acquisitions Bulletin (BAP) no. 4 of 12 January 2018, but subsequently amended by the notice in BAP no. 10 of February 2, 2018, when the LP data was shifted by 11 days. According to data from the Public Acquisitions State Registry, the contract is at the execution stage (at the time of compiling this report), the term being of "2 months".

Following the analysis of the public procurement contracts awarded by the Orhei City Hall, the authors of the monitoring report, Diana Enachi and Tatiana Djamanov, concluded that beginning with the procurement planning stage, the preparation of the documentation, and moving on to the contract award and eventually to its execution, there is to be found a low level of transparency, as well as serious violations of the legislation. The lack of transparency and the restriction of civil society's access to the procurement process (the IDIS Viitorul monitor was barred from entering the procurement working group in violation of the existing procedures) are indicators of corruption risks and should be investigated by the supervisory and control agencies with competencies in this regard.

Among the authors' recommendations for the supervised authority, are the following: additional effort on the part of the contracting authority to enable the participation of economic agents on a larger scale so as to ensure fair and combat unfair competition in the sphere of public procurement; compliance with the legal provisions with regard to the fair process of inclusion of civil society representatives in public procurement working groups; ensuring an adequate degree of transparency at all stages of the public procurement process; reforming the "public procurement" section on the City Hall website and posting information in a structured and publicly accessible manner.

This report has been produced within the “Promoting sustainable local development through transparent use of public money” project, implemented by IDIS „Viitorul”, funded by Policy Association for an Open Society (PASOS), subgrant within the project “Partners in Empowerment”, with the assistance of the European Union and co-funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The content of this document is of the sole responsibility of the partners in the PiE project, and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union and other donors.