Municipality led by failed leftist PM candidate fined tens of millions of forints

Municipality led by failed leftist PM candidate fined tens of millions of forints

According to the decision, the municipality did not carry out a proper public procurement procedure for the launch of local bus services.

POLITICS JUNE 25. 2022 13:57

The Hungarian Public Procurement Authority’s arbitration committee has imposed a total fine of 32 million forints (more than 66,000 euros) on the municipality of Hodmezovasarhely, led by Peter Marki-Zay, the former PM candidate of the Hungarian Left, the Hungarian Origo news portal reports. The authority says,

the municipality did not carry out a proper public procurement procedure for the launch of local bus services, and when the case was investigated, the requested documentation for the projects was not received.

According to the decision of the Public Procurement Authority’s (KH) arbitration committee on Thursday, the contracts between the municipality of Hodmezovasarhely led by Marki-Zay and Volanbusz Zrt. and Jovany Busz Kft. for the operation of local bus services are annulled, and the KH also fined the municipality a total of 32 million forints for violating the rules of public procurement.

Hodmezovasarhely Mayor Peter Marki-Zay was the prime ministerial candidate of the Hungarian Left in the spring parliamentary elections. At the time, all the parties on the Left ran with a joint list and joint candidates, but were soundly defeated.

The background to the current case is that Mr Marki-Zay promised during his mayoral election campaign to provide free public transport in Hodmezovasarhely.

This project was launched, but the city administration has not managed to overcome the obstacles smoothly: in November 2020, the contract was awarded to Jovany Busz Kft but

the transport company utilised buses that it was not licensed to operate.

As a result, the Szeged Government Office suspended the operating licence of Jovany Bus for months. The KH’s investigation also revealed that the company had won in an irregular public procurement.

The situation was further complicated by the fact that Jovany Busz and Volanbusz were providing services at the same time, as Volanbusz claims that the municipality did not terminate the contract signed with them in 2019. The KH explained the complex legal situation and the background to the decision in two separate documents totalling more than 50 pages.

A public interest report on the case was received by the KH in January 2022 and examined in detail by a public procurement arbitration committee. The authority fined the municipality for “failing to provide a factual explanation for avoiding the tendering procedure and for not being supportive in the fact-finding work, despite two requests for information,” the document reads.

The authority therefore fined the municipality of Hodmezovasarhely for failing to submit the necessary documents for the investigation and for not carrying out the public procurement procedure for passenger transport.

The decision is not subject to appeal. The decision may be challenged before the Metropolitan Court of Budapest within fifteen days of the date of service of the document, the KH said. The municipality has the same deadline for paying the amount into the KH’s account at the Hungarian Treasury, if it does not wish to contest the decision.

POLITICS

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Hungary, local government, public procurement