Public Procurement Department Scolds Airports for Working Outside Law

By , 12 Apr 2018, 14:52 PM Politics
Public Procurement Department Scolds Airports for Working Outside Law Photo: Savo Prelević

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Vijesti have learned the Public Procurement Department did not sign off for airports to close a deal with UNDP, worth 3,9 million euro, outside the parameters of the Public Procurement Law

The government had no reason to suspend national legislature for the construction project of four terminals at airports in Tivat and Podgorica, as it is important for the deal to be transparent and completely legal, said opposition representatives in the Montenegro parliament.

The government decided in the beginning of March of this year to expand capacity at airports in Podgorica and Tivat and assigned the task worth 3,9 million euro to the United Nations Development Programme. Executive authority did not inform the public of this, as all documentation was declared internal.

The Public Procurement Department did not sign off for airports to close a deal with UNDP outside the parameters of the Public Procurement Law, nor did the executive director of that state company Danilo Orlandić even request such consent, Vijesti learned unofficially at the Public Procurement Department.

Vijesti did not receive an answer from the government why the executive authority chose to hire the UNDP to construct temporary terminals at two Montenegro airports and why the task is not in line with domestic legislature. They also sought an answer to the question why documents were declared internal and the public not informed.

The government authorized Orlandić to transfer 3,9 million euro from his company’s account to the UNDP account with the Citi Bank in New York.

The money will then be withdrawn from the UNDP account and spent according to that organisation’s procedures, in effect bypassing domestic tax laws and the Public Procurement Law. Vijesti have gained access to the agreement between the airports and UNDP. The amount in question was declared as “financial contribution,” while the state protected itself from currency risk in this deal. The deal does not include a decision by the board of directors of the state company.

DF MP Nebojša Medojević told Vijesti this is the first he has heard to any public company transferring funds to a development agency of the United Nations. He claims there was no valid reason to suspend domestic legislature, and that this generates suspicion of ulterior motives of personal nature and risk of corruption.

“The airport director has taken authority to personally communicate with UNDP which is not competent to lead a tender for contractors,” Medojević emphasized.

Independent MP Aleksandar Damjanović does not question the need to modernize Montenegro airports primarily for tourism services, but he pointed out it is essential the business be done in a transparent manner, fully respecting legally prescribed procedure.

“To-date treatment of airports as a party business, always by the smaller partner in power, has led to the situation that Podgorica and Tivat airports today do not meet needs, but also that the so-called modernization is trying to take place outside existing regulations, even behind the back of recognized international structure,” added Damjanović.

As he said, the attempt to place this “party valorisation” into the pre-election context of the coming parliamentary elections and secure petty political points is harmful for public interest and equal to the majority government partner to privatize airports or place them in a concession.

According to unofficial information of Vijesti, the government decided to choose UNDP in order to shorten procedures, as the plan is for the terminals to be complete in a year, some even by August of this year. The Montenegro Public Procurement Law does allow for emergency procurement in cases of public interest which the government can declare.

The UNDP, which will not add its own funds but only receive a provision, will open a public tender for the completion of all phases of the task, where bids can be sent by international organizations with a certificate of the European Civil Aviation Conference. Montenegro is a member of the organization.

Medojević feels this is a case of an extraction of a large sum of funds from Montenegro and a clandestine business with an institution not under the control of Montenegro institutions and public. He added the special state attorney should immediately stop the procedure, open an investigation and prevent clandestine deals with bidders from abroad who could have connections to the government and airport management.”

“The actions of airport management and government contains all elements of a risky transaction with corruption aspects. The procedure needs to be organized in line with Montenegro laws with full transparency, so that our money will not again find its way into private pockets and corrupt state officials,” concluded Medojević.

Translated from Vijesti Online, for the original click here.

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