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Audit Office Reveals Biased Tenders at Interior Ministry

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, January 8
(TBILISI)—The State Audit Office (SAO) has studied tenders of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) carried out in the period of ex-minister Giorgi Mghebrishvili, and assessed the tenders were shaped in favor of concrete companies.

The SAO says that tender descriptions announced by MIAleft only certain companies eligible to apply. The fact raises questions on cases ofbias.

The study of SAO reads that out of all announced tenders only one company participated and won in 49.1% cases.

Deputy Head of SAO, Sopho Dvalishvili, explains that qualitative and qualitative characteristics included in tenders were so precise and detailed that this raises serious doubts, in most cases, the ministry negotiated in advance with the winner company.

“This problem is systematic and does not occur only at MIA, but in other state institutions as well. We gave recommendations to dismiss such an approach,” Dvalishvili added.

She also said due to such non-competitive tenders at MIA, the state experienced a loss. She believes, the winnercompanies offered higher prices than other companies would in case of having a chance to compete.

“Non-competitive tenders include high risks of ineffective spending of budgetary funds,” deputy head of SAO added.

A Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Transparency International (TI) Georgia says that this practice of state procurement significantly increases the risks of corruption.

Deputy Executive Director of TI, Giorgi Oniani, thinks that such tenders always lead to the high expenditures of the budgetary funds.

“There are also signs of corruption and proper state structures should investigate the case in order to find out the truth,” he added.

Mamuka Tuskadze, former member of the Board of Disputes of the State Procurement Agency, also thinks the facts included in the SAO report should be investigated by law enforcers.

He believes the money the population pays to the budget ends up in the hands of businessmen, who are friends or relatives of high-ranking officials.

In addition, Tuskadze says that sometimes the structures deliberately abolish tenders due to some ungrounded reasons, after which simplified procurement procedures take place and concrete companies are contracted without holding a tender.

The SAO gave recommendations to MIA and asked the ministry to provide an action plan covering how the shortcomings will be eliminated.

The next report of SAO will reveal what will be the response of current Interior Minister Giorgi Gakharia to solve the issue.