Västtrafik continued to implement an agreement for consultancy services even though the possibility of an extension was not included in the original agreement. The company thereby engaged in illegal direct award of contract. The Swedish Competition Authority is now taking the case to court and is petitioning for Västtrafik to be ordered to pay SEK 1 million in procurement fines.
“Direct award of contracts that is not preceded by advertisement is a serious violation of the procurement rules. It is vital to have control over your agreements so that they are not used in violation of the regulations,” says Rikard Jermsten, Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.
In 2008, Västtrafik AB procured framework agreements concerning consultancy services within the area of organisation and IT. The framework agreements were in effect until 31 December 2012. In November 2018, Västtrafik implemented an extension of a number of the agreements, although that option was not included in the original agreement. This meant that Västtrafik engaged in illegal direct award, as the procurement was not advertised.
“An open announcement, where several suppliers have the opportunity to submit a tender, increase the chances of the best tender with the most advantageous terms winning,” says Rikard Jermsten.
An investigation was initiated after a tip-off to the Swedish Competition Authority, indicating that Västtrafik had bought consultancy services without prior advertisement pursuant to the Procurement in the Act on Public Procurement in the Utilities Sectors (LUF).
The Swedish Competition Authority is now bringing the case before the Administrative Court in Jönköping and is petitioning the court to order Västtrafik to pay SEK 1 million in procurement fines.
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