How the Mayor of Dryanovo boasts that he has concluded an illegal contract for BGN 3.6 million

This photo of the contract signing was uploaded by Miroslav Semov on his personal Facebook profile.
Photo: Personal profile on Facebook

The Mayor of Dryanovo municipality Miroslav Semov signed a contract for a public procurement contractor for BGN 3.6 million in indisputable contradiction with the Public Procurement Act (PPA). The scandal in this case is not that the law has been violated but that the Mayor personally boasted on Facebook about what he did.  

“Dear Dryanovo people, I am pleased to announce that I have signed a contract for major repairs on “Shipka” Street” – that is how Miroslav Semov’s brief emotional address in his personal profile on Facebook begins. At the same time, Semov explains to his fellow citizens how they can be informed of the forthcoming repair and apologizes for the inconvenience they will suffer while the reconstruction is being carried out.

It’s about money

The contract that Semov signs on September 3 this year is the result of a procedure under the Public Procurement Law, announced in March this year and completed at the beginning of June 2019. The procurement is “Performing of construction-and-assembly works for complete repair of “Shipka” Street in Dryanovo” worth BGN 3.6 million, VAT included. According to a clause in the contract between the Municipality of Dryanovo and the selected contractor, up to 15 days after the two parties sign it the Contracting Authority (Municipality of Dryanovo, note of the editor) transfers to the contractor (Company under the Obligations and Contracts Act – COCA “Shipka 2019”, note of the editor) up to 30% of the contract value. This means that the company receives over BGN 1 million before the start of procurement works.

One detail

However, the Public Procurement Law does not entitle the contracting authorities to sign contracts if all the decisions under the procedure are not available. In this specific case, the second-ranked company appealed to the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) the selection of the first-ranked participant and the case is scheduled for October this year. This means that Miroslav Semov cannot conclude a contract with a contractor before the ruling of SAC. However, he is quick and signs. One can only guess why Semov is in a hurry, for whom there are rumors that he will be the GERB candidate for Mayor of Dryanovo for the next term.

The SAC case was opened on September 4, 2019 and scheduled for October 7, 2009, illustration: “Pro Veritas”.
One day before the case was filed, Miroslav Semov signed a contract with a contractor, without legal grounds for it, screenshot: “Pro Veriats”.

The background

We find the contract in question in the section “Buyer’s Profile” on the page of Dryanovo Municipality. It is of September 3 this year and was concluded on the grounds of Art. 112, par. 1 and par. 2 of the Public Procurement Act. In the same section the minutes of the work of the commission and the order for the selection of a contract signed by Mayor Semov are available. It is clear from them that three companies registered under the Obligations and Contracts Act, have applied for contractor of the public procurement “Performing construction-and-assembly works for complete repair of “Shipka” Street in Dryanovo”.

One of them was eliminated in the course of the procedure, which continued with two participants – COCA “Shipka 2019” with its registered office and headquarters in Sevlievo and COCA “Shipka Street – Dryanovo” registered in Sofia. The participants’ assessment Commission ranked the Sevlievo company first. And a check in the public registers of the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) shows that the participant ranked second appealed the decision of the Commission.

The CPC did not find the complaint well founded and upheld it. Its decision is not final and is subject to appeal before the Supreme Administrative Court.

On August 13 this year COCA “Shipka Street – Dryanovo” filed a complaint with SAC against the CPC’s decision requesting the court to vancel it. On September 4 this year, SAC opened a case and scheduled its first hearing on October 7 this year. A day earlier, on September 3 this year, Miroslav Semov signed a contract with the first-ranked COCA for BGN 3.6 million.

Absolute offense

It is clear that the appeal procedures have not been completed yet and so the case falls under Art. 112, par. 8 of the Public Procurement Act. The text in question reads: “The contracting authority shall not have the right to conclude a contract with the designated contractor prior to the entry into force of all decisions under the procedure, except when preliminary execution is allowed or when the procedure is initiated pursuant to Art. 79, par. 1, it. 4, Art. 138, par. 1, Art. 164, par. 1, it. 3 or 4, or Art. 182, par. 1, it. 1 “. In this case the procedure is based on Art. 73, which does not fit into the hypothesis of a more liberal regime and this proves that the Mayor of Dryanovo has concluded a contract for millions of levs in absolute offense.  

Did Semov know what he was doing

Such behavior could be considered strange if it were not for millions of BGN. Still, is it possible that Semov or the responsible staff in his team may have missed the appeal befor SAC? It turns out that this is also an option, otherwise there is really no way to explain a contract for which, as it became clear, there is indisputable proof that it is illegal.

Let’s track the dates. The complaint of the company seeking vancelation of the decision for ranking of contractors in the public procurement was filed in the CPC (the body whose decision is appealed, note of the editor ) on 13 August this year. On the following day, the administration of Dryanovo Municipality asked SAC for information on whether there was a complaint filed against the CPC decision. On August 16 this year SAC sent the requested report, which “Pro Veritas” does not have, but we assume that it states that no complaint was received within the legal timeframe. However, there was a complaint but as it became clear it was registered in CPC because that is the order. Information about this complaint may have been delayed at SAC, but that is only a guess. Dryanovo Municipality, however, makes a mistake – it does not ask CPC, where the complaints are registerd, for information, but SAC. It turns out that Semov himself is guilty.

Options from now on

According to legal experts, in the current situation it is most reasonable to cancel the contract. However, it is unclear whether BGN 1 million was transferred to the selected contractor. If the money has left the accounts of the Municipality, the case becomes quite complicated. Because it will turn out that a public document has been paid on the basis of a document for which there is irrefutable evidence that it was drafted in offense.

More extreme lawyers believe that the hypothesis of Art. 282 of the Criminal Code, exists which treats abuse of power by officials, and the penalties in various cases are imprisonment. Now it is curious how Miroslav Semov will explain to the citizens of Dryanovo that the photo from the signing of the contract, which he distributed, actually proves that someone has not done his job somewhere or really has been in a hurry.

 

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