The acquisition procedure for ultramodern corvettes has been suspended by the Ministry of Defence. The acquisition procedure concerned four warships for a total of approximately EUR 1.5 billion.
The MoD has notified the Military Prosecutor’s Office, because there are “reasonable suspicions” regarding the legality of the acquisition procedure. The Ministry points out in a communique that there are suspicions liable to affect “national security interests.”
Moreover, the Constanta Shipyard, which is associated with France’s Navalgroup, has opened a case at the Constanta Court of Appeals, asking for the cancellation of the Government Decision that triggered the acquisition procedure.
Three companies entered the tender: Damen from the Netherlands, Fincantieri from Italy, and Navalgroup from France.
On Friday, the Ministry of National Defence (MApN) specified in a press release that the secretary of state for Weaponry, Andrei Ignat, in charge with the acquisition procedure related to the essential endowment programme “Multifunctional corvette,” presented to the Minister of Defence an information report regarding this topic. “Thus, the secretary of state brought to mind the fact that the Department for Weaponry, under his signature, notified the Military Prosecutor’s Office attached to the Military Court of Appeal, of some reasonable suspicions regarding the lawfulness of the procedure, likely to affect the achievement of the national interest in security in what concerns the essential endowment programme “Multifunctional corvette,” showed the same source, also specifying that “considering this aspect, as well as the fact that, at this date, there is a litigation pending with the Constanta Court of Appeal by which the Constanta SA Shipyard, as part of the “Association between the Naval Group France and the Constanta SA Shipyard” ask for the “cancellation of the Government Decision no. 48/2018,” a normative act on which the abovementioned procedure relies, secretary of state for Weaponry, Andrei Ignat, informed with respect to the suspension of the acquisition procedure, until the clarification of the signaled aspects.”
DefMin Les on suspension of procedure regarding the corvettes: I know nothing of any suspicions; I leave it to prosecutors
Minister of National Defence, Gabriel Les, on Saturday stated he knew nothing about any suspicions related to the suspension of the acquisition procedures in the case the multifunctional corvettes, underscoring that he will leave this case to prosecutors to solve.
“The contractual authority from the Ministry of National Defence is the Department for Weaponry, from which we received a notification specifying two aspects, (…) some suspicions related to the procedure and an administrative complaint filed by one of the competitors asking for the cancellation of the Government Decision regulating this acquisition. We received a notification on this, which I only read in order to have a slight idea what it’s all about, but I prefer not to comment. I leave these matter to prosecutors. Let’s just wait and see what their answer will be,” Les told Digi 24 television channel over the phone.
He specified that filling the notification with the Prosecutor’s Office was only for ensuring that this acquisition procedure is being carried out according to law.
“The stand that the Ministry of National Defence adopted yesterday was only to ensure that this procedure was carried out according to law and, of course, to see what the administrative court has to say in the case of the complaint filed by those from the maritime shipyard,” said Les.
He added that any delay is not good, but such “threats or aspects related to less serious issues” are out of question.
“We have the 2% (of the GDP for Defence – editor’s note) and this year too we will have the 2%, what’s important is that this acquisition takes place according to law, (…) for it’s easy to spend money, but it is important to also be able to make a technological transfer so that Romania will benefit from the necessary capabilities and maintenance and other things,” completed Gabriel Les.
USR’s Rodeanu: Army’s endowment programme, a national and international priority
The endowment programme of the Romanian Army represents both a national and a international priority, since we undertook to contribute to the defence of the NATO and EU borders, the USR (Save Romania Union) Deputy Bogdan Rodeanu, deputy head of the Committee for defence, public order and national security, said on Saturday.
USR also claimed in a post on Facebook that “the new scandal related to the tender organised by the Ministry of National Defence for the corvettes proved that PSD (Social Democratic Party) and Dragnea (Liviu Dragnea, the leader of PSD and Speaker of the Deputies Chamber – editor’s note) are incapable of finalizing any agreement, including the most important ones, that have to do with the Army.”
“This blockage, simultaneously with the attack against the chief of the Army, does nothing else but destabilizes the Eastern flank of NATO, while directly serving the Russian interests instead, in the context in which Russia is fighting to take control of the Black Sea,” said the abovementioned source.
Thus, the USR Deputy Bogdan Rodeanu stated that: “Dragnea’s PSD must understand that the Army’s endowment programe is not an objective from their colour book named “Governing Programme,” but a national and international priority, since we undertook to contribute to the defence of the NATO and EU borders.”
PNL’s Raetchi: Decision to suspend acquisition of corvettes, hard to understand
The decision to suspend the acquisition of corvettes is hard to understand, House Defence Committee Deputy Chairman Ovidiu Raetchi (PNL) stated for RFI.
House lawmaker Ovidiu Raetchi (PNL) says he was “astonished” to find out about this new delay in the programme to modernise the armed forces. “We are talking about a second postponement of this programme dedicated to corvettes. The PSD have cast doubt on the procedure that the previous Executive, the Ciolos Government, had bequeathed, only for the entire procedure to be thought out by them in the second stage,” he added.
“The fact that this time they have cast doubt on their own procedure, over which they had complete control, for which they had full support from the President, from the Opposition, (…) to see now that we have reached a second blockage, I find this impossible to understand and beyond a point one wonders whether this could be deliberate, so as to leave the Black Sea flank vulnerable,” the Deputy Chairman of the House Defence Committee opined.
Damen about suspension of tender for corvettes: We fully support Romanian authorities in investigating
Damen Company on Saturday specified it received no official information from the Romanian authorities regarding the suspension of the tender for the multifunctional corvettes.
“Up to now, we didn’t receive any information from the Romanian authorities regarding the suspension of the tender. This will delay even more the Romanian naval fleet endowment programme. We are waiting for the subsequent notification from the Romanian authorities regarding the tender and this suspension. We are ready to give additional clarifications and Damen will fully and transparently cooperate with the Romanian authorities in relation to this matter, if asked. we fully support the Romanian authorities in conducting the investigation regarding the information that was repeatedly published by the Romania media and that could be considered confidential. We understand the necessity of such verification procedures and we fully support the Romanian authorities, while reiterating that the Damen offer is fully compliant with the tender procedures and in force legislation,” specified the company in a release to AGERPRES.
In this context, Damen underscored “that the offer is fully complying with the entire programme of endowment of the Romanian Naval Forces fleet.” We are confident in our vast experience at the Damen Galati shipyard,” shows the release.