Antitrust Office To Review Toll Tender ProcedureČTK
Prague, Aug 23 (CTK) – The antitrust office UOHS today revoked its first-instance decision made in May to cancel the Transport Ministry’s selection of consortium of firms CzechToll and SkyToll in a tender for a new toll system operator and it will review the tender procedure again, UOHS spokesman Martin Svanda said in a press release today.
The UOHS’s injunction banning the ministry from signing a contract with the selected tenderer remains valid.
Transport Minister Dan Tok as well as CzechToll have welcomed the UOHS’s decision.
“I am glad that such a decision was made and that it enables us to continue the tender as we planned,” Tok told journalists. He nevertheless declined to comment on the content of the decision, since he could not get acquainted with it more closely yet.
The ministry had previously appealed the UOHS’s original decision to cancel the tender.
According to CzechToll, the decision has confirmed that the tender was transparent and fair and that there was no reason to cancel it.
Kapsch, the current toll system operator, on the other hand said it was surprised at the UOHS’s latest decision, because in the past, the office had cancelled tenders over similar and much smaller issues.
After reviewing the decision and based on a recommendation of the appeal committee, UOHS chairman Petr Rafaj has arrived at the conclusion that even though the fact findings of the first-instance decision to cancel the tender were correct, the legal assessment of the case needs to be reviewed, Svanda said.
In its first-instance decision, the office did not take some important circumstances of the case into regard sufficiently, according to Svanda.
“The main reason for cancelling the tender on the first-instance level was the lack of transparency in providing part of the tender documentation on rewritable data carriers, namely USB flash drives, whose content was not secured against a change, so potential changes in its content could not be reviewed retroactively,” Svanda said.
The office did not take into regard the fact that the disputable part of the documentation contained information on the current toll system provided by Kapsch Telematic Services, Svanda said.
Kapsch raised objections against the lack of transparency and filed a petition to review the ministry’s procedure, claiming that it had suffered harm. No other participant in the tender disputed the documentation, Svanda noted.
“The petitioner (Kapsch) did not specify the infringement of its rights expressly in its petition. The question of infringement of the petitioner’s rights thus has not been resolved satisfactorily,” Svanda said.
The consortium of Czech company CzechToll of billionaire Petr Kellner’s PPF group and Slovak company SkyToll was selected to build and operate the electronic toll system in the Czech Republic for 10 years, starting from 2020, for Kc10.75bn.
At present, the system is operated by Kapsch, whose contract will expire at the end of 2019.