EFOR has launched the report ‘Money and procurement: where did the contracts for local investments end up?’ which analyses how the national funds are distributed from the National Local Development Programme (PNDL) and how public procurement are done at local level. We analysed investments from 5 counties: Giurgiu, Tulcea, Vâlcea, Dâmbovița, and Suceava, as well as the contracts signed with the Hunedoara, Bacău, Vaslui or Teleorman county councils. The scope was to see whether clientelism exists in the procurement procedures.
After we analyzed hundreds of procurement procedures and saw that the data from SEAP (the central procurement portal) and the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration (MDRAP) does not exist and is not complete we concluded:
- clientelism is not necessarily bound to the party, but rather to local affinities and to ‘center-oriented’ relationships
- the allocation and discretionary procedures are related to the lack of clarity and politization of the national program and non-transparent procurement at the level of the beneficiaries.
Some of the main problems related to the PNDL, procurement and public data that we found by analysing hundreds of procurement from SEAP, requests of public information, local media, data from the ANAP, MDRAP or the Registry of Commerce:
The functioning of PNDL:
- There are no clear numbers or statistics related to the sums spent, number of implemented projects, their stage or any post-procurement evaluation
- The criteria for the evaluation of the projects are no strong enough and there is no public information related to their evaluation
- There is no information about the sanctions/sums recovered by the MDRAP in case of failure of contractual conditions or the breaking of the law by the beneficiaries
- There are difficulties in tracking the difference between the funds engaged by MDRAP and the real payments performed to the local authorities.
- The projects span a far too long period of time. There are contracts signed in 2008-2012 that are not yet finalized and still receive financing from MDRAP.
- Out of the 4,277 projects (as of October, 2015) we don’t know how many were finalized or in which stage of implementation they actually are
- In the analysed counties there are 5-6 companies that earn 50%-70% of procurement. Many among them have criminal files (money laundering, bribe, favouring of public procurement etc.) or are politically connected, according to information stemming from the press.
- In Suceava and Dâmbovița we have identified 18 town halls that made direct procurement at sums over 100,000 euros, which is contrary to the law.
- The procurement procedures are not introduced in SEAP or data is incomplete, which may generate distrust in the correctness of the procedure. The are counties (e.g Giurgiu, Vâlcea) where we found that only half of the winners of the procurement procedures or no procurement at all have been introduced in SEAP
- Information concerning procurement are not notified to ANAP, as the law says. Out of 118 requests transmitted towards ANAP, we received a proper answer for only 9 procurement procedures; for the rest the institution has no data, from various reasons
- The names of the projects published by MDRAP can’t be faithfully found in SEAP – they differ and for this is very hard to follow the evolution of a project.
- There are significant differences between the date of the attribution of contracts and the number of attribution from SEAP – there are contracts signed in 2010 and the data about them is introduced in SEAP in 2016
- Erroneous information in the SEAP regarding the financing source: confusions between the PNDL and the PNDR (rural development fund)
Access to public information
- Response rate at commune level is at approximately 15-20% for the requests related to the winners of the procurement procedures
- The lack of a centralised, public and up-to-date list comprising contact data of the local public authorities – a very high number of institutions have their contact address hosted by Yahoo
- Documents received in scanned format, not editable, with a low quality of responses
The project Law, Economy, Competition and Administration – Developing a Multidisciplinary Approach in the fight against Public Procurement Criminality is financed by the European Commission, through DG Home Affairs. This publication reflects strictly the opinions of the authors, with the European Commission not being responsible for any way of use of the information contained therein.
The project is developed by the Freedom House România in partnership with authorities and public institutions: The Ministry of Justice, Competition Council, National Agency of Public Functionaries, NGOs: EFOR; international partners: The Center for the Study of Democracy (Bulgaria)