State secretaries Chren and Svejna in dodgy tender

Svejna could lose State Secretary post over dubious tender (photo (c) John Boyd)

Questions have been raised over the awarding of contracts to a company that was co-owned by state secretary of the Ministry of Transport, Ivan Svejna (Most-Hid) and state secretary of the Ministry of Economy, Martin Chren (SaS).

The company Hayek Consulting won a tender worth EUR 1.4 million called by former finance minister Jan Pociatek (Smer-SD), which some claim was tailor-made to the company so that it could not lose. The conditions were so specific that the company of Svejna and Chren had no real competition.

Other tenderers claim the tender was crafted for a specific company. The tender initially had seven bidders, but the other six were all disqualified for not satisfying certain criteria, especially the clause for tenderers to demonstrate they had executed at least three similar contracts worth a minimum of EUR 200,000 in the past three years.

“I can’t remember the details now, but we certainly didn’t meet this condition. So, we didn’t place a bid,” said Juraj Rencko from the company Ecofin. “The conditions suited just one bidder. It was definitely discriminatory, but we won’t file a complaint because it would be pointless” said a representative of one of the other tenderers, who wished to remain anonymous.

Now SME daily has released information claiming that Hayek Consulting was awarded a state contract also after Martin Chren and Ivan Svejna took up their state secretary posts. Hayek Consulting signed a contract worth EUR 8,100 with National Agency for Small and Mid-sized Enterprises (NADSME – under control of the Ministry of Economy) just days after they were both appointed by the new cabinet.

Shortly afterwards in the middle of August, both Chren and Svejna got rid of their stakes in the company and terminated the contract. Now Prime Minister Iveta Radicova has called on the coalition SaS and Most-Hid parties to present their stance to their members’ involvement in the questionable deal. The two officials could have their jobs on the line because of the case.

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