On 14 July, on Bizprotect.am website received a report on the corruption risk in the procurement process by the Ministry of Defense. The citizen wrote:
“The tender under the code ՊՆ ՆՏԱԴ-ԳՀԱՊՁԲ-7/67 provides as a professional experience for purchase of napkins, the fact of supplying napkins, paper towels, and dispenser/paper towels. Whereas it is a domestic good and a contract for the supply of similar goods was required by the contract for the supply of domestic products. We can assume that the tender was announced in such a way that there was no competition for a particular participant and no competition shall exist.”
It should be noted that on 7 July, the RA Law on Whistleblowing System was adopted.
It should be noted that on 7 July, the RA Law on Whistleblowing System was adopted. The law envisages the creation of an anonymous information platform in 2018. However, within the framework of the “Evidence-based Advocacy for Reform” project, Bizprotect.am website has already been created. This is platform to tackle any issues, risks and problems that hinder the business sector, including corruption. The website also provides opportunity to inform about a problem anonymously. Relevant steps are taken to verify the authenticity of these reports and to provide solutions.
Mariam Zadoyan, the Project Lawyer said that after receiving the report letters informing about the problem were sent to the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Defense.
The Defense Ministry replied that the professional experience for the purchase of napkins was mentioned, based on the proposal of the respondent subdivision. The process was organized in accordance with the requirements of the legislation and there was no violation.
It was also mentioned that paragraph 3.1 of the tender for the procurement procedure provides: “Each member has the right to request the Commission to clarify the tender at least five calendar days after the deadline for filing the application.” However, no such claims have been filed during that period.
In response, Karen Tamrazyan, Deputy Minister of Finance said that in order to exclude these and similar concerns, a draft decision of the current government was presented to the public discussion, “On approval of specifications of procurement items approved by the customer order and the procedure for evaluating qualification requirements for participants.”
After approval of this draft by the Government, the Ministry of Finance will be able to examine the qualification requirements for customers and the qualification requirements for the participants. The objective is s to ensure competition and exclude discrimination.
At the same time Karen Tamrazyan noted that if a person has a disagreement with the requirements of the tender he/she may lodge a complaint with the RA Procurement Appeals Board, before the expiry of the deadline for submission of bids, and after the deadline expires, may appeal through the court.
“Evidence-based Advocacy for Reform” project is implemented by the Union of Information Technology Enterprises (UITE), Armenian Lawyers’ Association (ALA) and European Business Association (EBA) with financial support of the German International Cooperation (GIZ). One of the objectives of the project is to identify corruption risks in the business sector, to evaluate the situation and develop proposals for relevant reforms.