It seems that this purchase of 322 vehicles will also be declared a secret, just like the earlier large procurement of 710 cars from September 2017.

On 13 November, Serbian Ministry of Interior has announced the purchase of new vehicles for the Criminal Police Directorate, but has remained silent about the procedure on the basis of which the vehicles were purchased.

For this reason, BIRN asked the Ministry of Interior to confirm whether or not public procedure was applied in the case of the purchase of 322 vehicles, and to provide information as to the cost of the vehicles, from whom they were purchased, when the contract was signed, and who were the bidders and participants in the procurement.

Until the moment of publication of this text, officials of the Ministry of did not respond either to e-mails or calls and messages submitted by journalists.

No information that a tender for the procurement of vehicles was published and carried out in either 2018 or the previous year can be found on the website of the Ministry or the Public Procurement Portal.

This could mean that this is another procurement of vehicles that was declared confidential, as was the case with the previous large acquisition of 710 Skoda vehicles, which is something that BIRN already wrote about.

The secrecy of the new acquisition is particularly illogical considering that on Tuesday, 13 November 2018, during a ceremony that took place at the Teaching Center “Makiš”, both the Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Nebojša Stefanović said that these vehicles will not be used for secret and regular surveillance activities and can, therefore, be presented to the public.

The spectacular handover of the “Skoda Rapid” patrol vehicles took place in the middle of September 2017, on the plateau in front of the Serbia Palace.

At that time, representatives of the Government stated on several occasions that the cars were purchased as part of the capital project “Modernization of the Ministry of Interior fleet”, which included planned procurement of approximately 1,000 vehicles, that this was just the first group of vehicles, and that about 300 additional cars should be purchased by the end of 2017.

Citizens were able to see blue-and-white police Skodas – live, in the media, and on YouTube video footage. They were also provided with some information about the procurement by the Ministry officials but were unable to verify them.

The Serbian Government has proclaimed the public procurement involving the purchase of “Skoda” vehicles a secret, and the contract is therefore not available to the public. The Government also did not publish the Conclusion by which the above public procurement was classified as confidential.

Given the fact that the Government had disregarded BIRN’s requests to be provided with a copy of this Conclusion under the Law on Free Access to Information on two occasions, BIRN has initiated an administrative dispute and sued the Government, as the Commissioner for Information of Public Importance was not competent to act in this case.

Photo: Ministry of Interior 


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TAGS: BudgetCommentaryFinancial ManagementProcurementSerbia