The tender for procurement of a number of multi role tactical 4×4 vehicles for the Slovak Army has been suspended as the country’s anti-corruption office continues to evaluate legality of the whole competition.
The Office for Public Procurement (UVO), which controls the execution of public tenders in Slovakia, and verifies if they are carried out in accordance with the country’s law, continues to evaluate documents submitted by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in regards to the planned procurement of 424 multirole tactical 4×4 vehicles at a cost of €321 million. The programme includes an option for the procurement of 20 additional vehicles for the Ministry of Interior.
The evaluation process, which, interestingly, was launched at the request of the MoD, refers to allegations made by the political opposition in Slovakia, suggesting that tender requirements had been set in favour of a specific manufacturer, which, if confirmed, would stand in contrary to country’s internal legislations and turn the expected open competition into farce.
The initial decision to suspend the procurement procedure was announced by UVO in July. Shortly after the agency publicly complained that the documents submitted by the MoD were incomplete, therefore, their evaluation had to be halted until the ministry provided all the required documentation.
At the beginning of August UVO announced that the process can be resumed. However, it still remains uncertain how long will the whole procedure take, which only increases uncertainty over the future of the tender.
It is expected that a number of local and foreign manufacturers, some of which have a rich experience in designing of multirole tactical 4×4 vehicles, will show interest in the Slovak tender and could decide to make a bid.
However, at this time it’s hard to predict what will be the outcome of actions taken by UVO. In the most optimistic scenario, the only consequence will be a delay in the tender procedure.
But, it would not be hard to imagine, that UVO’s findings might confirm allegations made by the political opposition, and the whole tender would have to be cancelled and, eventually, re-launched. This could lead to even year’s long delay in acquisition of new tactical vehicles, leaving the Slovak army with the currently operated, legacy wheeled platforms, and deteriorating its operational capabilities.