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State contracts, illegally classified: Ford, Nokia, SIVECO

de     HotNews.ro
Miercuri, 31 octombrie 2007, 0:00


The Romanian state found a way to hide its businesses. Major contracts, like the deals signed with Nokia, Ford or Siveco, are kept secret, the state invoking "confidentiality clauses" expanding over the entire contract. Hotnews.ro reporters found out that the classifying of such documents is illegal, according to administration experts.

European Commissary Leonard Orban declared for Hotnews.ro that the contracts signed by private companies on one hand, and the State, on the other, should not be classified, except for some clauses.

Hotnews.ro requested, according to the free access to information law, the publishing of the contract signed with SIVECO and data on the terrain owned by the Daewoo Craiova car producing factory (recently bought by Ford), but face the refuse of authorities to offer any information, invoking the "classified" status of the documents.

See also:
- New Agriculture Minister trapped in IT issues
- European Commission to investigate Automobile Craiova privatization
- Nokia invests in Romania: well hidden secrets

"There are no European regulations referring to classification but, as a principle, it would be better to have no secret contracts. Of course, in case there are some sensitive clauses, those - and only those - could be kept secret", said Leonard Orban.

The Public Procurement Law allows the existence of confidentiality clauses in a contract signed with the state only in exceptional situations: when the intellectual property or the commercial secret must be protected.

The Government still in office adopted in 2006 an ordinance that re-states the conditions above: the entire acquisition file is public, except the clauses referring to intellectual property and commercial secrets. The acquisition file includes, among others, the attribution documentation, the names of all sub-contractors, the reasons for which a company won and others lost.

The contract signed by the Romanian state, through the Agriculture Payments and Interventions Agency, and IT solutions provider SIVECO is worth 5.9 million euros, all expenses from public money.

According to the contract (signed in summer 2006), SIVECO should have produced software for the integrated management and control system, (IACS), essential for farmers to be able to receive subsidies.

In October 2007, the European Commission warned that Romania is close to having the Agriculture safeguarding clause activated (which would lead to the loss of at least 100 million euros), because the IACS software doesn't work.

Still, no one may ask which were the obligations in the contract, what sanctions may be applied and who may compensate the losses caused by the activation of the safeguarding clauses.
























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