Serbia’s Public Procurement Office has found irregularities in procurements worth up to 70 million euro in the first half of 2012 – three times more than in the whole of 2011.Predrag Jovanovic, head of the Procurement Office, said uncovered irregularities in urgent public procurements for first six months of 2012 were worth 8 billion dinars (about 70 million euro).
“In the whole of 2011 we found irregularities… to the value of 2.9 billion dinar (24.5 million euro),” Jovanovic said, noting that the 2011 figure was almost one-third of the size of the figure for only the first six months of 2012.He described the 2012 figure as alarming and stressed the importance of determining its cause.
The Public Procurement Office controls the process of procurements only on their completion, and then delivers its report to the State Audit Institution, DRI.
“It would be better if the [Public Procurement] Office could react before the conclusion of the contract and indicate that the contracting process is not regular and thus prevent the conclusion of the contract,” Jovanovic said.
According to Jovanovic, not one case of an irregular procurement has been penalised so far in Serbia.
Experts say that urgent public procurement process remains highly vulnerable to corruption.