The procurement for conducting an audit of e-declaration systems recently announced by the National Agency on Prevention of Corruption is discriminatory and non-transparent. It should be cancelled, otherwise it might lead to the irreparable destructive consequences for the e-declaration system.
On November 27, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NAPC) has announced a tender for procurement of an audit of the Unified State Register of Declarations of Persons Authorized to Perform State or Local Government Functions. At the same time, the terms of the tender significantly limit the scope of its participants, which raises questions about the independence of auditors and the impartiality of audit results.
In particular, the terms of the tender prohibit participation of foreign companies. Moreover, companies that have foreign capital or foreign founders can not participate in the tender either. In the circumstances of constant attacks on anti-corruption institutions and instruments by the national government it is only the involvement of foreign experts that can guarantee the impartiality of such audit. Apart from that such condition contradicts the NACP’s own previous intentions to conduct the independent expertise involving foreign experts.
Also, the terms of the tender require the participating companies to have access to state secrecy. In addition to the fact that the number of companies that meet this requirement in Ukraine is very limited, all of them could obtain such access only if they had previously worked or are working with state authorities and are in constant control of the state secret services.
Tender proposals are to be submitted within less than a week time frame. Given that this is a too short deadline for the preparation of a tender proposal for the audit of this kind, such a rush may indicate that the winner is already known and the procurement is carried out formally.
Such tender conditions violate the basic principles of public procurement as stipulated in the Law "On Public Procurement", including fair competition, non-discrimination of participants, impartiality.
In addition, the cost of the audit is set at UAH 199,000 — this is the maximum possible amount for conducting so-called before-threshold procurements, which are not fully covered by all the requirements of the Law "On Public Procurement". Therefore, the question arises regarding the justification of such price and whether it was installed at such a level in order to circumvent the requirements of the law on public procurement.
Let us recall that Civic Lustration Committee was calling to conduct the independent expertise from the beginning of this year, due to the standpoint of the system administrator, that the launch of the automated system for verification of declarations is impossible because the existing e-declaration system is not able to do this. As well the discrediting statements of certain MPs from the ruling coalition and law enforcement bodies that the system of e-declaration is so bad that a new one should be created.
Also, in the beginning of summer 2017, the NACP has decided to conduct an independent expert expertise of the e-declaration system with the participation of foreign experts. However, such an expertise was blocked by the State Service of Special Communication and Information Protection of Ukraine, one of the controlling structures of which, namely State Enterprise "USS" is the official administrator of the system.
Taking this into consideration, we are convinced that conducting an audit of the e-declaration system in a proposed way is intended to obtain a biased conclusion, which may not only result in termination of e-declaration system, but also lead to the loss of legitimacy of declarations already published.
We call for the NAPC to cancel the announced tender for the audit of the e-declaration system and conduct an independent and professional expertise with the participation of foreign experts.