Published at euroradio.fm
The very same asphalt was urgently laid in early June amid beautification preparations for President Lukashenka's visit to Homiel. Local residents complained on social media that road works frenzy disrupted routines in a half of the city, as reported by TUT.BY and naviny.by. Finally, all the inconveniences were over and Homiel received fresh and ideal asphalt on the central street Savieskaja and Liberation Square.
However, June 10 comes (when the road works have been finished) and the Homiel City Road Works Company places a bid on the state purchases wensite icetrade.by seeking contractors to repair the already repaired asphalt in Savieckaja Street and Liberation Square. The approximate cost of the contract mentioned is Br4.9 billion or nearly $250 000). Why on earth do road worker need the public money to repair the recently repaired asphalt?
Official: "This is a mistake"
Pavel Minzer, director of the Homiel company mentioned above, is initially surprised by a phone call from Euroradio but then answers laconically:
“You can consider it a mistake. The bid will be recalled."
On the next day after this conversation (it happened on June 21), the bid was cancelled indeed. The explanation was brow-raising: "due to lack of funding." Does it mean that the already repaired road will remain unrepaired?
You ay withiout a doubt want to believe in the explanation by the Homiel road works officials about the 'mistake' but it is not so easy. The bid announcement was on the website for more than ten days.
“It is impossible to publish a bid on our website with a back date," says a representative of icetrade.by (run by the National Marketing and Pricing Center and assures that mistakes should be ruled out.
The Homiel city officials tell Euroradio that they know nothing about the doubtful tender.
Ryhor Turavets, first deputy General Director at the municipal Housing and Communcal Services company, told Euroradio when asked to clarify the situation as follows.
“I was told it was a mistake in the same way you were told."
Why does information about state purcheses get published online?
Earlier in March this year, Interior Minister Ihar Shunevich admitted that bids in Belarus was an area where wringdoings and office abuse were possible and that the problem was very well known. For example, companies ordering the services may pick more expensive contractors and get 'pay-backs' afterwards. Correspondingly, the public budget money is wasted…
The Belarusian state purchases websites icetrade.by and goszakupki.by aim to make bids public and transparent in order to mitigate corruption.
The state-owned companies must publish all intentions to purchase with the costs above 300 base rates. The companies where the state owns more than 25% of shares must announce a bid fot the goods and services above 1000 base rates. They are also bound to make their bids public.
The road was repaired ahead of Lukashenka's visit without a tender
Ideally, the road works authorities in Homiel should have conducted a tender before begining the road repairs, But according to icetrade.by, no bid weas announced.
Apparently, what happened was the so called purchase from a single bidder. It is allowed by law when no other options are available, e.g after natural calamity. In this case, the visit by the head of state was a calamity or an emergency, according to the way the local authorities acted.
It is not clear yet how much it cost to repair the road. The company that carried out the works says they will calculate the expenses after this month ends. The city administration does not know the figure either.
Photo by Belapan agency