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25 July 2008

URGENT

Written by: Hasan PRETENI
PRISHTINA, 25 JULY 2008 - The practical ACA work experience to date has shown that the 90-95% of acts of corruption are closely related to the tendering process. Tender-mania also proves that this is a bad thing that is taking worrying proportions.
Favouritism, discrimination of economic operators, insidious agreements whether between economic operators or between economic operators and contracting authorities are just some of the forms of corruption that most often come to expression in the tendering process. During the period in which we are currently Kosovo is in the midst of great works (construction of roads, construction of school facilities, electro - energy capacity building, etc.). As a result, we now have even greater number of the announcements of tenders in various fields. But unfortunately the body which should have been very active in more attention to filter tendering processes is not working now. In fact it is an immediate need of its making it operational since it would affect essentially the objective assessment and correction of irregularities that may arise.
What is happening in reality?
Public Procurement Regulatory Commission (PPRC) was the legal body which examined complaints of economic operators (the bidders). But the mandate of this institution has been completed on 30 June 2008. The Complaints Review Body, the body promised to carry out the mission which previously PPRC had, has not been formed. As a result, the participants in the tender were closed the door to address complaints. In the situation in which we are, we express our concern about the possibility of fraud and favouritism in tendering processes. 
Anti-Corruption Agency received information that from 1 to 21 July 2008 to the address of the PPRC have gone more than 30 cases of complaints.
Who will handle those complaints? 
In the absence of authority, PPRC responds to complainants with the only sentence "We are not competent to examine such cases”. 
Starting 30 June at the entrance of the PPRC is put the note "We do not accept complaints". Now, comes the question. Where to address those who want to file their complaints? Can Kosovo institutions allow this luxury?
Willingness of ACA
Anti-Corruption Agency has demonstrated its willingness to deal with some cases of complaints, for the sole reason – to close the possible ways to abuse. Consequently, we asked from the PPRC some information about the complaints arrived. So far we have achieved to investigate some of them (those in the highest values). Values are up to 5 million euros. In all cases which the ACA took, was noted a significant lack of respect for the elements listed in the tender, and also in all cases the announced winners were those who had offered higher prices!!!
Urgently to be established CRB
Seeing as a must the functionalism of the complaints review body, ACA requests from the Government of Kosovo and the Assembly to act as quickly as possible to authorize the PPRC to continue the mission until the appointment of officials of the Complaints Review Body or as soon as possible establish this body. 
(The author is Director of Kosovo Anti-Corruption Agency)

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