Chisinau municipality allows deviations at various stages of public procurement, monitoring

The Chisinau City Hall, some of its subdivisions, but also municipal enterprises commit multiple irregularities and allow shortcomings in ensuring access to information on public procurement, in pro-active informing through web pages and in carrying out public procurement procedures. The findings are part of a monitoring report presented by Transparency International-Moldova.

In a news conference hosted by IPN, Lilia Zaharia, director of TI-Moldova, said that the monitoring centered on the data presented by municipal institutions on their websites. They analyzed procurement plans and contracts, requested information, etc. Also, some public procurement procedures were monitored through journalistic tools.

Ianina Spinei, TI-Moldova expert, said that the contracting authorities, during the monitoring period, did not comply exactly with the legal framework in the field. Some of the requests for information addressed to the Chisinau City Hall and municipal enterprises, in this case “Autosalubritate” enterprise, were ignored. The answers received were superficial and evasive, sent after the deadline set by law. The representatives of the City Hall showed ignorance or misinterpreted the legislation on access to information and public procurement. In this connection, TI-Moldova notified the police of the violation by the Chisinau City Hall and “Autosalubritate” of the legislation on access to information. Contravention penalties were imposed following the examination of one of the notifications regarding the responsible person.

The expert said that the monitoring revealed an aspect related to pro-active communication. Thus, although the City Hall provides users, through its website, with multiple data about planned and carried out public procurement procedures, and ensures redirection to SIA MTender, the multitude of sections and portals dedicated to this subject can create confusion in the search and selection of information, as some of them are duplicated, others are incomplete and outdated. Some search engines have not facilitated the search and analysis of public procurement data.

Mariana Kalughin, TI-Moldova expert, said that many of the annual public procurement plans are excessively modified, which speaks of a defective planning process. As far as the notices of intent are concerned, not all of them could be found in the public procurement bulletin or not all the elements that a notice of intent must contain are indicated.

“As for the plans, if we go back to their content, we also see certain situations when the acquisition was not stipulated in the plan or several procedures were cumulated, the acquisition was delayed, or the acquisition was announced in a different amount than the one that was planned. There are acquisitions that, if they do not arouse perplexity, nevertheless seem not exactly suitable for a public authority after all. For example, outsourcing services such as legal advice, providing legal advice or drafting regulations. In our view, the local public authority itself has specialists and lawyers in its organizational chart to respond to these needs,” explained the expert.

The monitoring also showed cases of overestimation of the acquisition’s value, but also that errors and irregularities were frequent in the preparation of participation notices. It was also found that the contracting authorities did not always maintain correctness at the clarification stage, as the questions or suggestions of potential operators were not properly treated. At the same time, there were frequent cases when the contracting authorities did not make clear and concrete references to the reason for the cancellation of public procurement procedures.

The press conference was held within the project “Public procurement in the Chisinau City Hall under the magnifying glass of transparency”, carried out by Transparency International – Moldova, as a sub-grant beneficiary of the project “Strengthening integrity in public procurement”. The project is implemented by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) “Viitorul”, in cooperation with the Partnership for Transparency (U.S.). The project aims to support public procurement reforms in Moldova, which will increase transparency and fairness of public procurement by empowering citizens to hold relevant institutions accountable. The opinions expressed in the press release and the responsibility for its content belong to the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of IDIS “Viitorul” and the donor.

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