Bulgaria’s Commission for Protection of Commission (CPC) has ruled as unlawful a public procurement by state railways BDZ for the supply and maintenance of 42 new trainsets for the railways’ passenger transport division, for a sum of 675 million leva (about 345 million euro) the commission said on November 13.
The CPC issued the ruling following an appeal by Siemens Mobility, the rail division of German conglomerate Siemens. Siemens Mobility was one of three companies to appeal against the procedure, the other two being China’s CRRC Corporation Limited and the Czech Škoda.
The commission agreed with Siemens Mobility that the contracting authority had failed to define clearly and unambiguously the clauses in the draft contract regarding possible future changes.
It noted that BDZ had only partially secured financing of the deal to the end of 2024. It remains unclear whether after that date the state will conclude a contract for the provision of public transport services with it.
According to Siemens Mobility, as a result of the non-inclusion of a new contract for public transport services, the contracting authority would have no further pecuniary obligations, and this ran counter to the fundamental principles of law.
The CPC did not uphold other objections by Siemens Mobility, among them the bid evaluation indicators.
The commission ordered BDZ to pay the costs of proceedings, 5700 leva, and 1200 leva in lawyers’ fees.
The CPC decision is subject to appeal in Bulgaria’s Supreme Administrative Court. The deadline for lodging an appeal is 14 days from the date the parties are formally notified of the decision.
On November 8, all three members of the board of directors of Bulgarian BDZ resigned, at the request of Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov. An internal audit is being conducted on the orders of Zhelyazkov.