Swedish Migration Board required to pay fine for illegal award of contract

Press release

The Swedish Migration Board must pay fines of SEK 5.5m, as a detention centre in Åstorp has been built without the building work being subject to competition through the publication of a contract notice. The Swedish Competition Authority has demanded this fine in an application made to the administrative court.

The Swedish Migration Board must pay fines of SEK 5.5m, as a detention centre in Åstorp has been built without the building work being subject to competition through the publication of a contract notice. The Swedish Competition Authority has demanded this fine in an application made to the administrative court.

Rebuilding work at the Swedish Migration Board’s facility for detained aliens should have been advertised to afford more companies the opportunity of submitting tenders. Instead the contract was awarded directly without the publication of a contract notice. The final sum ended up amounting to almost SEK 69 million.

“It is important that taxpayers’ money is used effectively. The means by which the procurement rules seek to achieve this objective is to make public procurement open to competition,” says Dan Sjöblom, Director-General of the Swedish Competition Authority.

The Swedish Migration Board called the contract central to this matter a ‘lease contract’. When public authorities lease premises, such contracts may be exempt from the procurement rules. However, in this case the rebuilding work that the supplier carried out for the Swedish Migration Board was so extensive that the contract must be viewed as a works contract, and thus must be procured in accordance with the rules and regulations. In this case, the Swedish Migration Board has not complied with the procurement rules and the Swedish Competition Authority is consequently asking the Administrative Court in Linköping to impose a stiff administrative fine.
Central and local government authorities that fail to comply with the procurement rules may be ordered to pay fines (administrative fines). This has been made possible since the tightening up of the procurement rules last year. This is the second matter where the Swedish Competition Authority has taken the unlawful direct award of a contract to court with a demand for such fines. The first matter related to the government-owned company Akademiska Hus, which had not complied with the procurement rules either.

"The government spends over SEK 500 billion every year on the purchase of goods and services. Failing to comply with the procurement rules means that there are no guarantees that this money is being used in the most effective way or that all tenderers have the same opportunities to compete for these assignments,” says Dan Sjöblom.

“One of our priority tasks at the Swedish Competition Authority is to ensure that public procurement is conducted efficiently and in accordance with the rules. We will continue to take matters to court where local or central government authorities fail to observe the rules,” says Dan Sjöblom.

For further information, contact:
Jimmy Dominius, Press Officer, tel. +46 (0)8-700 15 80, or 076-542 15 80
Daniel Johansson, Legal Counsellor, tel. +46 (0)8-700 15 74

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