site.btaFinancial Inspection Agency Finds Significant Violations in Sofia Municipality's Public Procurements for City Centre Renovation
Significant violations and indicators of fraud were found by the Public Financial Inspection Agency (PFIA) in half of the audited public procurements of Sofia Municipality for the period 01.01.2018 - 31.12.2021, which were for the renovation of the city's central area. The Agency was tasked to conduct the audits by the Minister of Finance, the Ministry reported here on Tuesday.
The procedures and contracts concern Sofia's central urban area.
The audits covered six procedures under the Public Procurements Act, seven contracts and the implementation of a grant contract under the Operational Programme Regions in Growth 2014-2020.
PFIA found a number of irregularities in three of the six audited procedures.
For example, in one of them, an evaluation methodology was set up which did not guarantee real competition and did not allow to assess the level of performance proposed in each tender. In this procedure, a construction contract was awarded for almost BGN 20 million. In the second procedure, which was for the selection of a construction supervisor, the committee eliminated three bidders because they had offered prices that were more favourable than the average of the prices offered by the other bidders, without giving substantive reasons for rejecting the written explanations of the eliminated bidders. In the third procedure, for the selection of the project management and implementation team, it was found that the tenders of the five out of six excluded tenderers contained proposals which were similar to those of the sole successful tenderer. However, the commission considered that there was compliance leading to disqualification. The PFIA has identified an indicator of fraud in the commission's work.
The check of the implementation of the seven contracts found irregularities in four of them.
An indicator of fraud was also detected in one of the verified contracts worth BGN 21.5 million, as the reasons for its termination contradicted the documents submitted in the course of the financial inspection. In the same contract it was found that no control was exercised by Sofia Municipality, the construction supervision and the external consultant.