The Competition Council has initiated an investigation into a possible public tender fraud related to Transelectrica S.A. (National Power Grid Company) for assigning some contracts for upgrading and refurbishment the power grid, reads a release of the competition authority on Thursday remitted to AGERPRES.
Transelectrica itself provided the information that started the investigation, after suspecting a possible anti-competitive behavior of the companies ELM Electromontaj Cluj, Enegobit, the Company for Maintenance to the Power Grid Smart and Energotech, following their participation in a tender for the “Refurbishment of the Domnesti 400/11-/20kV station” and the “Upgrading of the Raureni 220/110kV power station.”
According to some announcement of Transelectrica from 2016, the project on the refurbishment of the Domnesti station was estimated to be worth some 32 million euros, without the VAT, while the one related to the Raureni station was estimated to be worth more than 25 million lei, also without the VAT.
The representatives of the Competition Council explained that, during the two tenders held by Transelectrica, the bidder coming out first after the electronic bidding stage was disqualified for not answering or half answering to the request of the contracting authority, which cause the contract to be granted to the second ranked bidder, for a much higher price.
“Considering the aspects noticed by the contracting authority, we are analyzing all tenders related to the respective works, while looking for a possible understanding for sharing the contracts. It is very important to identify and correct the malfunctions in the public procurements field, so that, in the end, we will have a better spending of the public money,” stated Bogdan Chiritoiu (photo), the President of the Competition Council, quoted in the release.
The unannounced inspections represent a preliminary stage of the investigation, but they do not mean a prejudgement of the Competition Council with respect to the existence of a violation of the Competition Law.
In the event that the Competition Council will discover that the competition rules were indeed violated, the companies involved risk penalties worth up to 10 per cent of their turnover. However, the companies which cooperate with the competition authority under the clemency programme can obtain immunity to penalty or substantial cuts in their values.
Transelectrica SA says it collaborates with Competition Council inspectors, as company that notified possible anti-competitive practice
Transelectrica SA is not among the companies under investigation by the Competition Council over a possible fraud related to a public tender it organised, but it just collaborates with inspectors of this authority as the company that notified the possible anti-competitive practice, putting at the inspectors’ disposal all the documents necessary in the investigation, National Power Grid Company (CNTEE) Transelectrica mentioned on Thursday.
The Competition Council announced having started an investigation into a possible anti-competitive practice in case of two tenders organised by Transelectrica SA, for assigning some contracts for upgrading and refurbishment of two power stations.
“In respect to the investigation launched by the Competition Council, the National Power Grid Company Transelectrica SA is the contracting authority that notified the Council of a possible anticompetitive practice in the case of two tenders organized by this company. CNTEE Transelectrica is not the company under investigation in the Competition Council investigation, but, on the contrary, Transelectrica acted in the spirit of a proper administration of its own funds and the fair completion of the tenders, based on competitive principles,” a company release sent to AGERPRES underscores.
According to the abovementioned source, in 2016 CNTEE Transelectrica carried out, almost simultaneously, two tenders for the upgrade and refurbishment of two transformer stations. Namely the refurbishment of the Domnesti 400/11-/20kV station and the Raureni 220/110kV station. Both procedures stipulated that the contracts will be assigned to the company which offers the lowest price – the electronic stage.
The company underscores that it collaborates within the investigation with the Competition Council, offering all the documents necessary for the investigation.
Currently, following the completed tendering procedures, the refurbishment works of Domensti station are carried out by Energobit SA (a contract worth 24,897,000 euro), and the refurbishment works of the Raureni station are executed by Smart SA (a contract worth 16,856,207 lei).
“The two contracts are currently being carried out without any problems,” Transelectrica points out.