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EC Says Stamp Tax Should Be Null, While Court Fines Higher, For Botched Public Procurement Bids

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Autor: Elena Stan 08 Iun 2009 - 00:00
The European Commission was less than pleased with alterations in March that Romanian authorities made to the laws regulating the public procurement process, which instituted a mandatory stamp tax of 2% of the contract value to be paid by the discontented parties when contesting the bidding results in court.

The Government was prompted into this action by the large number of court actions which, it said, put a halt on its investment plans.

The EC, however, said the stamp tax should be annulled, as they block the access to a court.
At the same tine, the EC said the fines courts may place on authorities responsible for botching the public procurement bidding process should rise to 15% from the current 2%, which it deemed ineffective. In fact, the EC said the courts should have lee way and set fines between 2% and 15%, which is the current norm in most EU countries.

The National Council for Solving the Contested Procurement Bids [CNSC, www.cnsc.ro] does not look happy with the changes brought forth by the EC requirements. "The result was that the number of contested bids went up, not down, given also the climate of economic crisis which makes companies fight hard for any public cent available. At the same time, the authorities putting forth public procurement contracts are also to blame for less transparent bidding processes which prompts the filing of complaints. The thing is that now two separate quarters are responsible for solving these complaints: the Council and the Court of Appeals," noted on a less than happy note the CNSC statement in a press release.

In the first four months of this year there were 1,933 complaints logged with the CNSC, which is 23.7% up from last year, when 1,562 such complaints were filed. There is no statistics available for the number of complaints logged with the Court of Appeals

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