Region Västra Götaland breached procurement regulations when a contract for a maternity centre was extended without a contract notice being publicised and competitively offered. The Swedish Competition Authority is now referring this to the courts and requesting that the region be ordered to pay over SEK 1 million in procurement fines.
The region has repeatedly extended a contract with a maternity centre supplier in Tjörn and Stenungsund without any prior publication. Thus, according to the Swedish Competition Authority, this constitutes an illegal direct award of contract. The Swedish Competition Authority is now turning to the Administrative Court of Gothenburg and requesting that the region be ordered to pay SEK 1 150 000 in procurement fines.
“If negotiations occur without competitive exposure and publication, there is a risk that a supplier who is neither best qualified nor offering the best price will be awarded the contract. The losers in this case are the taxpayers,” says Swedish Competition Authority General Director Rikard Jermsten.
Despite the fact that the contract in question expired, it has been extended several times without any prior publication of a contract notice. Moreover, the latest extension was made contrary to the advice of the region’s own legal staff who advised against extending the contract. Region Västra Götaland has previously conducted other illegal direct awards of contract. The Swedish Competition Authority views these two facts as constituting aggravating circumstances.
“Aggravating circumstances means that the Swedish Competition Authority is now requesting a larger procurement fine than we would have, if this had been a first-time violation,” says Rikard Jermsten.
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