Center for Civil Communications: High corruption risks and conflict of interests in COVID-19 procurements


The Center for Civil Communications on Wednesday released the Report on public procurement for protection against COVID-19, prepared on the basis of in-depth monitoring of procedures for public procurement of goods, services and works whose contracts were concluded in the second half of 2021.

The monitoring detected several key problems and corruption risks, as follows:

In the second half of 2021 and more than one year after the onset of the health crisis, public procurements related to COVID-19 are still plagued by problems and corruption risks.

Estimated values of procurements continue to be set in amounts higher than prices attained at tender procedures, which might indicate to risks of purposeful action to create space for awarding contracts at higher prices and to afford corruptive dealings.

Without any exceptions, in the cases marked by one bidder or one qualified bidder after elimination of other bids during the evaluation stage, bided prices match or are very close to the procurement’s estimated value that has not been published, which refers to previous illegal arrangements between institutions and bidding companies.

The monitoring continues to observe high differences in price for same products procured in the same time period, ranging up to 500%. In the case when reagents are procured, there is long-standing dependence from the company whose testing apparatus is used by the concerned institution, which implies a risk of paying higher prices for reagents and opportunity for corruption.

Poor supporting documents are available for already non-transparent negotiating procedures without previously announced call for bids, reads the Report.

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