Concerns about delayed €210 million tender by Rīga City Council

The organization of a €210 million tender for the routine maintenance of Riga's streets was one of the biggest projects under the responsibility of the Riga Outdoor and Mobility Department. The Department was raided by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) on Monday, and this might delay the process further, Latvian Television reported Tuesday.

It is not yet known whether the KNAB raid was related to the organization of the tender. However, due to the change of leadership of the Department, concerns about the delay of the procurement have increased and a plan B is being prepared. 

The contract for routine maintenance of Riga's streets expires this year, in September. On October 1, the next one should come into force, running for five years - until 2029. The maximum contract price is €210 million. But not even a tender has yet been launched for such an ambitious procurement. 

"If we call for tenders in early March, we can only afford one appeal during this tender. And I have to say, we are walking on a sharp blade," said Jānis Lange, Executive Director of the City of Riga.

"The Department of Outdoor Mobility has to work on option B and think of some smaller tenders for a certain period of time until we come to a result for the big tender," said Lange.

Meanwhile, the opposition in the Riga City Council coalition believes that the organization of the procurement has been deliberately delayed and that the delay will only benefit a few and will prevent new market entrants, for example by excluding potential foreign investors who will not be able to prepare due to the short timeframe.

"This is the most ambitious procurement in Riga that I can remember. I can only speculate why this procurement was pushed back until the last minute, because at the moment, in principle, it means that no new entrants can come to Riga," said Mārtiņš Kossovičs, chairman of the Progressives' Riga City Council faction.

The transparency organization "Delna" also points to the same risk, stressing that a tender for such a large procurement should have been organized in the summer of last year.

"Since the procurement is over 200 million, every smaller percentage is already a very significant amount of taxpayers' money, which will most probably be wasted unnecessarily, overpaid, because there will be no competition between these entrepreneurs for the best offer," Inese Tauriņa, Director of Delna, pointed out the risk.

The fact that there is so little time left to organise such a large procurement is, in the opinion of the Riga Executive Director, the responsibility of the Outdoor and Mobility Department. It was raided by the KNAB Monday. It is believed that the acting head of the department, Jānis Vaivods, has been detained. It should be noted that even Latvian Television is still unable to contact Vaivods - his mobile phone is switched off.   

The Mayor of Riga was not ready to name the person responsible. Asked who will be responsible if the contract is not signed by October 1, the mayor said, "Let's see who is responsible for what, then we will judge."


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