Public procurement violations in defence system ‘systematic’, president’s office says

Ministry of National Defence
DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

“The checks conducted by the Public Procurement Service in the national defence system between 2006 and 2016 have revealed systematic problems at the Defence Ministry. […] In the president’s opinion, the problem is far more serious than a systematic problem,” the adviser told journalists at the President’s Office on Friday.

She spoke after President Dalia Grybauskaitė met with Public Procurement Service chief Diana Vilytė and state auditor Arūnas Dulkys over the Defence Ministry’s procurements. They discussed immediate measures that would help prevent systematic and repeated breaches of the public procurement law in the defence system, said the President’s Office.

On Tuesday, Lithuania’s Public Procurement Service said the Armed Forces had bought various types of kitchen utensils at a price that was eight times their market value from the Nota Bene company.

In 2014, the Lithuanian army signed a €1.622 million preliminary contract for supplies for field kitchens. The sum was double the €724,000 envisaged for the purchase.

In response to the information, President Dalia Grybauskaitė said that laws “do not stipulate a possibility to steal,” calling for Defence Minister Juozas Olekas of the ruling Social Democrats to take responsibility for the deals. The latter rejected the accusations, saying that the ministry had itself detected the violations and took action.

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