Corruption schemes in public procurement. What does the state do to eliminate them?

Natalia Porubin
Foto: CIJM

Most fraud and irregularities in the procurement process are admitted when the procurement plan for economic units is established and the contractual obligations must be fulfilled. This conclusion was reached by the participants at the meeting of the Club of Investigative Journalists on the topic "Corruption schemes in public procurement: how do we detect them?".

Andrei Clasevici, senior investigating officer at the National Anti-Corruption Center said that most corruption schemes take place at the stage of drawing up the procurement plan when the  contracting authorities stipulate conditions which an economic unit must meet to win a tender for delivery of goods or services.

"At this stage, there are many situations when the procurement plan is drafted to suit a particular economic unit, which disadvantages other competitors. There are less violations at the next stage of the procurement, because the opponents who must not win the public procurement are eliminated from the competition from the start because they do not meet the conditions required by the procurement plant", said Clasevici.

Aurel Chiosa, state main controller at the Court stressed that infringements are detected in the final stage of procurement. The economic units often do not comply with the deadline of the works and quality norms of services.

"There is no structure to check the implementation of contracts, delivery of goods on time; either they are quality and meet contractual requirements. There were cases when the time of delivery of goods was extended groundless or its technical characteristics were changed. Some contracting authorities make payments in advance, though this is prohibited by law", said Aurel Chiosa.

Valeriu Secas, Deputy Director at Public Procurement Agency said that there are levers of control over economic units. Thus, the agency has a black list that covers the economic units that did not meet their contractual obligations. They are banned for participating in public procurement procedures for 3 years. Also, there is a mechanism by which economic units can challenge tenders, which in their opinion, were held with violations of current legislation.

Representatives of the Agency said that many irregularities in the procurement process occur because the procurement group is not aware of the relevant legislation, which is extremely complex. Each institution has one working group empowered with tendering and bid evaluation, but its members do not have the necessary training. While in many countries, these specialists benefit from special trainings, in the Republic of Moldova, these trainings are not provided for by law. According to Secas, the existence of thousands of contracting authorities and staff turnover in state institutions, make it impossible to have this kind of training.

The meeting of the Club of Investigative Journalists was organized within the Campaign "Public money is my money too!" organized by the Center for Investigative Journalism and the Association for Responsible and Efficient Governance with the support of the European Union and the National Endowment for Democracy.

Natalia Porubin

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