Tender for public lighting finds way to the Special Prosecutor


Last week, MANS filed a criminal complaint with the Special State Prosecutor against the director of the Podgorica-based Utility Services Radoica Popovic, on suspicion that he had set up a five million worth tender for the supply and installation of lighting in suburban and rural areas of Podgorica.

Popovic is suspected of having used tender documents to set conditions that could be satisfied only by a limited number of bidders. Popovic required companies to submit bids only for the so-called LED bulbs, which save electricity, without considering other saving options, and bidders could not submit bids that did not involve the procurement LED bulbs. In addition, the tender documents favor certain suppliers even more favoring, by specifying the required color and material of which some parts of lamps, thus favoring one and excluding the other bidders.

That means the violation of the Law on Public Procurements, which provides that the contracting authority must not restrict or prevent competition among bidders, and in particular may not prevent any bidder from participating in a public procurement by using discriminatory requirements or criteria.

The accepted bid of €4.9 million was made by the consortium “Nova energija”, which consists of “Javna Razsvetljava” from Ljubljana and Niksic-based “Ramel”. The tender, which has not yet been formally completed as the contract has not been signed, was published in December last year with the estimated value €6.7 million. It provides for the removal of existing 10,750 lamps in street lighting in suburban and rural areas of Podgorica, and then installation of the same number of LED lamps.

It is interesting that the replacement of lamps is planned even in those areas where the public lighting never existed, as MANS found last month, visiting a number of locations in the rural areas of Podgorica included in the tender.

Thus, in some places there are wooden or concrete power poles without lights, though their replacement is planned, and in certain locations along roads there are no poles at all. The relevant photos, taken in Golubovci, Tuzi and Kuci have been submitted to the Special State Prosecutor as a part of the evidence.

The “Ramel” company, which is part of the consortium selected for the job in Podgorica, was engaged in installing LED lamps in Herceg Novi,  and the value of the job was €2.6 million. A year and a half ago, the tender was awarded to a Danish company called “Hese Light“, which later ceded it to “Ramel”.

The Niksic-based company later hired the company “BB Solar”, owned by Blazo Djukanovic, the son of the president of the Democratic Party of Socialists Milo Djukanovic, who, among other things, deals with wholesale of electrical equipment and LED lighting, for the job of dismantling and the installation of the LED lamps in Herceg Novi.

The job in Herceg Novi is quite controversial, because the lamps have been installed, but still do not work, many of them were blown out in the meantime, while, according to announcements from a local company from Herceg Novi, the Danish company “Hese Light” went bankrupt.

MANS expects that the Special State Prosecutor will urgently act on the complaint, not only in relation with the installation of LED lamps in Podgorica, which has not formally ended, but also with the same business in Herceg Novi, for which MANS will file a separate complaint in the coming days.

In addition are pictures of Kuci, the village where the replacement of bulbs is to take place, although there is no public lighting.

MANS Investigation Center
Ines Mrdovic, coordinator

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