The operator of the gas transportation system of Ukraine entrusted the supply of critical equipment for almost UAH 100 million to a company with a criminal trail, which provided controversial data – the AMCU canceled the results of the tender on the second attempt, writes StopKor
Open but non-transparent: is it possible to submit false data in the tender documentation and get a contract worth UAH 100 million? The winner of the open bidding from the operator of the gas transmission system of Ukraine was LLC Electrotechnical Company E-Next Ukraine, which appeared in the criminal case and provided false information. At the same time, the AMCU did not see any violations of the procurement at first, but subsequently canceled the results of the tender.
The procedure for the purchase of equipment for managing production processes with an expected cost of over UAH 157 million. was announced in December 2022. Tender customer UA-2022-12-14-018399-a LLC GTS Operator of Ukraine acted, and it was planned to purchase ten automatic cabinets of a gas distribution station.
Five participating companies submitted their applications for participation in the tender:
- Radiy LLC: initial offer — UAH 145.1 million, final offer — UAH 85 million;
- Communication Engineering Networks LLC: initial offer — UAH 129.6 million, final offer — UAH 84.9 million;
- E-Next Ukraine Electrotechnical Company LLC: initial offer — UAH 148.8 million, final offer — UAH 92 million;
- Ukrtechnoresurs LLC: initial offer — UAH 156.9 million, final offer — UAH 109.2 million;
- UA-Systems LLC: initial offer — UAH 147 million, final offer — UAH 121.9 million.
On March 6, 2023, the customer in the electronic procurement system published a message about the intention to conclude an agreement with the winner of the auction – Electrotechnical Company E-Next Ukraine LLC, although this participant’s offer was not the lowest.
What is known about the “favorite” of the 100 millionth tender “E-Next Ukraine” from the GTS operator?
Limited Liability Company “Electrotechnical Company “E-Next Ukraine” with an authorized capital of UAH 26.2 thousand. was registered in 2005 in the village of Svyatopetrovskoye, Kyiv region, by type of activity “Non-specialized wholesale trade”.
According to the information and analytical platform YouControl, the founders of the legal entity are Romanian citizen Alexander Lubyanko and the Bulgarian company KO. NEXT.KO LTD, and the ultimate beneficiary is another “Romanian” Nikolai Korolyuk.
Over the years of its existence, the enterprise has taken part in state tenders with a total expected cost of UAH 402 million and has received contracts for more than UAH 87 million. At the same time, by 2023, the company won less than 5% of competitive purchases and completed contracts for 55.8 million. Its key customers in recent years have been oblenergos from Poltava, Cherkassy and Khmelnytsky, as well as the executive committee of the city council of Konotop.
And all this despite the fact that the company is a defendant in an ancient criminal case. No. 757/22656/13-j. The materials refer to an offense under Part 2 of Art. 205 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. An analysis of the financial and economic relations of the enterprise with counterparties gave the investigation reason to believe that they were aimed at tax evasion and the legalization of proceeds from crime.
According to market insiders, the operator of the GTS of Ukraine actually “dragged” a dubious supplier from the winner of the 100 millionth tender.
At the same time, the customer allegedly “did not notice” significant disagreements in the tender offer of the E-Next Ukraine company and the documentation submitted by it.
The rest of the participants of the competition appealed the decision of LLC GTS Operator of Ukraine. Thus, according to DAER LLC, the technical task provided by the customer was initially discriminatory, since it did not contain complete information, which did not allow the potential manufacturer to form an accurate proposal. However, the customer rejected this complaint.
Two more players – LLC “Ukrtekhnoresurs” and LLC “Communication Engineering Networks” – filed complaints already addressed to the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. According to the bidders, the analysis of the tender proposal for compliance with the requirements of the law and tender documentation within the framework of this competitive procedure gave reason to believe that LLC GTS Operator of Ukraine reviewed the tender proposal superficially and did not ensure that competitive conditions were held among the participants in the procedure, thereby violating current legislation on public procurement.
In particular, a number of inconsistencies and facts of providing unreliable information about the technical characteristics of the equipment were revealed in the tender documentation of the winner – Electrotechnical Company E-Next Ukraine LLC.
Here are just a couple of examples: the manufacturer’s technical documentation states that the nominal efficiency (COP) of the equipment is 92.2%, while in the appendix to it – 90%. The value of the lower limit of the DC voltage range in the technical documentation is 10 V DC, and in the application it is 18 V DC. And such facts of overestimation or underestimation of technical indicators in the documents of the supplier, the complainants counted almost three dozen.
It is interesting that at first the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine did not see any violations in the choice of the favorite of GTS Operator of Ukraine LLC and left the complaint filed by the first without satisfaction.
“The winner’s proposal was made in full compliance with the requirements of the tender documentation, and the complaint is far-fetched and the information in it does not correspond to reality,” the Antimonopoly Committee said in a response dated February 2023.
However, subsequently the permanent administrative board of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine for consideration of complaints in the field of public procurement still considered the facts of violation by the customer of the current legislation on ensuring competitive conditions during the tender. Consequently, the trading results were canceled on March 23, 2023.
On the eve of March 21, GTS Operator of Ukraine LLC received a new head: Dmitry Lippa, who was elected to the position based on the results of an open selection announced by the shareholder of MSU JSC, and appointed by agreement of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine March 17, 2023.
LLC “GTS Operator of Ukraine” noted that in conducting tenders they are guided by the current legislation in the field of public procurement.
“In order to create a competitive environment in the field of procurement, openness and transparency at all stages of procurement, fair competition among bidders, ensure the rational and efficient use of funds, the Company procure goods, works and services in accordance with the current legislation in the field of public procurement”, — noted on the official website of the operator.
In addition, it is noted that the annual bidding plan and changes to it are available on the web portal of the authorized procurement body. However, the provided link to the company’s page on the ProZorro platform gives an error and actually leads nowhere. Maybe there was a technical glitch?
We will continue to monitor the further course of the scandalous purchase. New facts and details – in the following publications.
Recall that in January the Cabinet of Ministers dismissed Oleksandr Romanyuk from his post. General Director of JSC “Ukrgasdobycha”. And already in March, Romanyuk told the whole country about the inefficiency of management by Naftogaz, disagreements in views with the Chernyshev team, and underground gas production in the occupied territories during the war. Journalists sorted outwhat actually lies at the heart of the conflict, and whose interests are stubbornly defended by the top manager: the state or the oligarch Pinchuk?
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