Mushroom’s tunnel at the Prague City Hall? Pirate IT contracts are being investigated by the Antimonopoly Office
In nine months, the pirates distributed orders without competition to the so-called narrow circle of repeatedly requested companies. In total, these were contracts worth CZK 60 million, This follows from data obtained by Blesk Report found publicly available registers of contracts.
With some companies, for example with IT Consult Solution sro, According to their own register of meetings, pirates dealt with IT in Prague in 2015. So they met together before the Pirates came to power. In the period from 24 September 2020 to 11 May 2021, the following companies received orders from the municipality without competition:
As can be seen from the tables above, some of the companies have won contracts repeatedly. For example, Delta Advisory IT was awarded by the municipality without competition With a total value of two and a half million, the limit for small-scale public procurement is two million. All this in 12 months and without competition. These were three payments in May 2020, in November 2020 and in April 2021 920 000, 730 000 and 912 000 crowns. It follows from the register of contracts.
Officially, this is a suspicion of the division of public contracts, which is why the Office is currently investigating. All three contracts have a suitable description of the activity: the municipality spent the money on project management for the digitization of the agenda and administrative support for project management.
“Small-scale public contracts are not hand-held contracts, competitions are conducted according to precisely specified rules. The number of submitted bids applies to companies that you can transparently convince in your article of the publicly accessible Golemio.cz portal. Only one offer has never been included in the competition, “said Martina Vacková, a spokeswoman for the municipality.
What did the municipality actually buy for millions?
The examined contracts are the purchase of the services of project management experts. Prague did not buy physically – it paid an hourly rate to consultants. What exactly did they consult and what was the benefit for the people of Prague?
“For example, projects are managed with the use of external project managers electronic applications for subsidies in culture, software for more convenient handling of traffic offenses, payment gateways for card payments, the Prague Portal, and other systems for the internal processes of the municipality, “defended the progress of Prague Mayor Hřib for Blesk Zprávy.
“Unfortunately, nowadays it is practically impossible to get new qualified employees in the field of IT for table salaries, and therefore it is necessary to use external services for these activities as well. If I make maximum use of the municipal IT company OICT to implement these projects, but sometimes this has not been possible in the past. This is in contrast to the classic procedure of traditional parties, where the tender documentation is written by a private company, which then wins the contract, “ to recommend Mushroom for a problem with money for “ajťáky”.
IT orders and their division in the Office
Why order IT contracts at the ÚOHS municipality? “The Office for the Protection of Competition has received a complaint concerning, inter alia, the public contracts and suppliers you mention. We requested clarification of the complaint as well as documentation from the contracting authority, which we are currently acquainting with. The subject of the investigation is indeed the alleged public procurement department, “Said Martin Švanda, spokesman for the institution, when asked by Blesk Report.
In the event that the Office obtains indications of possible illegal conduct of the contracting authority within the framework of the investigation, administrative proceedings on the offense will be initiated in the matter, according to Švanda.
Mayor Hřib, however, believes that he is trying to refute. According to him, everything took place in accordance with the internal regulations of the municipality. They allegedly even used the conditions in the summer in order to increase transparency.
“All VZMRs have always been competitions in accordance with the internal regulations of the municipality, that is, usually by reaching three to five candidates. In the spring, however, we enforced these regulations from July 1, 2021, and now VZMR over half a million CZK will be announced at the municipality by a public open competition. Similarly, it was newly set by us in the city IT company OICT. We have thus increased the transparency of VZMR to the level of ordinary tenders above CZK 2 million, “ explained the Hřib procedure and added: “In the case of capacity drawing contracts, it is, of course, invoiced on the basis of detailed activity reports; minutes of project meetings are archived by default.”
Bartoš knows about the problem, Hřib allegedly promised cooperation
How does the head of the Pirates, Ivan Bartoš, perceive the problems with IT contracts in Prague? “As for the Office’s suggestions, I was assured that the municipality would provide full cooperation in investigating the matter,” stopped.
According to the mayor’s words, the municipality provides the Office with all co-operation in answering legal questions. “If you recommend any change in the internal regulations, we will follow the municipality. Labor law matters are solved by the employees of the municipality on the basis of the Act on the Capital City of Prague. Prague, director of the municipality. In the event of any mistake, I assume that the director of the municipality will draw the appropriate consequences, “ said Hrib.
How it all started.
The case was opened by an interpellation by the mayor of Prague 9, Tomáš Portlík (ODS), at the May council. He cited an analysis of the national register of contracts, where specific contracts are obligatorily published in full.
Another case, the Deputy Mayor of Prague 11, Ondřej Prokop (YES), also commented on the case, who updated similar cases from the register and came to the conclusion that the total amount of expenditure on contracts in IT of a similar type is 100 million crowns.
“Today I propose to discuss: – Pirate newsagents at the Prague Innovation Institute ……. strange IT contracts, which are managed by Pirate Superfractor Milan Krch, representative of Strč.kraje and at the same time director of IT in Prague,” Prokop wrote on Facebook.
“The number of CZK 109 million for VZMR for the last 12 months is untrue. It was created that Mr. Prokop, after 7 years in politics, is unable to understand how the state register of contracts and extracts from it works. Therefore, VZMR also includes partial orders from framework agreements, which were won in large open procedures, as well as orders from the municipal company OICT. It mixes pears with apples, “Hřib responded to Prokop’s statement.
Who is the mysterious Krch and how did he get to the position of IT director?
Ondřej Prokop (YES) announced that he would include the topic as one of the points to be discussed at the newer City Council. of Prague. He also informed journalists about it via e-mail.
“Strange IT contracts managed by the pirate super-designer Milan Krch, a representative of the Central Bohemian Region, who is also the director of the IT department in Prague !!! I believe that the fact that a prominent political official, who Mr. Krch is as a representative of the region without debate, is at the same time the director of the department of the municipality has no period in history! This, dear Praguers, was not even for the ODS or the CSSD! The strange non-transparent contract, which is the fault of Pirate Milan Krch, is now being investigated by the Office for the Protection of Competition, ” put on the head of Prague’s IT Prokop.
The arrival of the director was preceded by an organizational change …
The appointment of the current director of Krch as the head of the Prague IT was preceded by an organizational change in the municipality, within which the previous IT director was fired. A criminal complaint was sent from the municipality to Krch’s predecessor. In his speeches, Prokop also pointed out that the organizational change consists in the division of the department into a hardware department (infrastructure) and a software department (application). The standard in public administration and private administration is the responsibility for IT to centralize the sector at the CTO, the IT Director or the IT square.
“There are many more than two unions that have a close relationship with IT. It is, for example, the archive department, which is the guarantor of the file service, which is absolutely essential software for the office by law. In another department, process modeling takes place, which is an important input for the digitization of the municipality’s internal processes, “Hřib added.
Therefore, all these departments were part of the organizational changes of the association into a newly allocated Management and Digitization Section, which is headed by the Deputy Director of the municipality. This deputy director and at the same time the head of the mentioned section is directly the superior directors of both mentioned departments, and that is the role corresponding to the CTO in private corporations, ” added the mayor.
Boletus defended himself from the defense
The mayor left the attacks unanswered and joined the opposition. “Compared to the previous YES city management, we saved 143 million crowns a year in the field of IT. In 2018, a total of CZK 1,101 million was spent on the two IT departments you mentioned, and in 2021 only CZK 958 million. So this saving is not just one-time, but annual. In municipal IT, after all, under the previous leadership of YES, very strange things used to happen, such as the fact that companies collected money in advance, he said, adding: “I’ve never seen that anywhere in my 16 years in IT. “