The Public Procurement Office has continued disqualifying several major construction companies from state tenders after they were found guilty of a cartel agreement from ten years ago, opening up the market of state orders.
The authority had already struck off two of the biggest companies Doprastav and Strabag from its list of potential contractors, with them now being followed by Inzinierske Stavby Kosice, which dominates the east of the country.
The procurement authority is acting in response to a Supreme Court ruling that the companies, along with three others, had made a cartel agreement on state tenders back in 2004 . Another of the three companies is alleged to be construction giant Skanska’s Czech subsidiary, which is also reportedly disqualified from competing for Slovak state orders, but the company claims no knowledge of this, according to daily Hospodarske Noviny.
Credit where credit is due – a good if somewhat delayed move. Having said that is banning these companies from tendering for contracts really going to punish those who profited from the cartel? I think not – it will be the ordinary workers who suffer while the fat cats continue to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Despite his election promises and his overall majority in Parliament, BnM and Co have made scant effort to enact legislation that would allow for swifter and more targeted action against such practices. I would have thought that with public opinion turning against him and his party, the potential for cross party support and a new President watching every move he would have taken the opportunity to earn some much needed Brownie points and rake some much needed cash into the State coffers. Then again – water and horses and leopards and spots.