Fancy cars for Zugdidi Municipality
A staggering GEL 687,170 was spent by the Zugdidi municipality on 12 cars between 5 January 2011 and 10 September 2012. In this period they bought nine Toyota Sport Utility Vehicles (SUV); two Hyundai SUVs; and one a Mitsubishi Pajero IO. The most expensive car was a Toyota Land Cruiser 200 which set them back GEL 124,400. The tender for this car required: wooden interior, a steering wheel of combined wood and leather, a 9-inch screen attached to the roof, a 14-speaker sound system with USB connectivity and a fridge. For this money, the municipality could have bought 12 Pajeros – and still save some public funds.
It should be mentioned also, that all these tenders only attracted one bidder – a strong indication that the narrow descriptions of the cars the municipality wanted to buy excluded other bidders from participating because their models would not meet all the detailed specifications. In several of the tenders the requirement is set that the car should be bought from an official distributor or a representative of a company. In most of the tenders, the estimated value was very specific and exactly the same as the contract value, indicating a pre-arranged price. The criteria for the tenders of the cars were all so highly specific that it seems obvious the procuring entity already knew what car they wanted to buy – and from whom, and for what price.
Government expenditures should always be aimed at achieving the best value for money, and should only spent when truly necessary. An important criteria for this to happen is that the tender is written in a way that allows as many companies as possible to offer their products, while still being able satisfying the needs of the government entity.
The municipality has argued that buying new cars is a good long-term investment. Leaving aside the fact that the value of cars drops dramatically over time, the government entity has not been able to explain why they had to buy specific models, including one with excessive luxury options such as a TV and a fridge.
The specifications set out in the tenders for the cars exactly matches those set by the suppliers of the cars, so much so that they seem to be copy – pasted from the supplier’s description. We identified 8 of the 12 tender descriptions as being directly copied from the Toyota’s Tbilisi Center website. As for the remaining 4 cars, we found strong indications that the suppliers specifications were identical to the tender documents.
TI Georgia believes that the tenders for the cars has violated Article 13 of the the law on procurement, due to the very detail specification of criteria set out in the tenders:
“Requirements for qualification data must be fair and non-discriminatory and be conducive to the promotion of healthy competition.”
In 2011 to 2012, Zugdidi spent more than any other municipality on cars. In fact, vehicles was the municipalities third largest sector of procurement. One has to ask: would the citizens of Zugdidi prefer to have their money spent on municipality members driving in a luxury SUV with a fridge and a flat screen monitor, or would they have chosen a different “public good”?
Everyone interested in checking the similarities between the tender requirements and the specifications set out by the dealer, just press on the links below.
Table 1. Car Tenders Zugdidi