UOKiK has fined six companies approximately PLN 2 million (c. €500,000) for rigging their bids in a tender for computer equipment to be provided to schools and libraries organised by the Marshal’s Office of Lower Silesia (in SW Poland).
The six companies (comprising three consortiums) are Incom S.A., Integrit S.A., Itsumi S.A., Dreamtec sp. z o.o., KEN Solutions sp. z o.o. and Dreamtec Solutions S.A.
According to UOKiK, this is one of around 70 sets of anti-monopoly and explanatory proceedings for bid-rigging that are currently underway.
Proceedings were begun against the companies following reports in the local press that they might have colluded in the tender. UOKiK initiated dawn raids against the companies and co-operated with the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (a special governmental body set up to combat corruption, especially in public and local government institutions).
UOKIK found, amongst others, that:
- the six companies had personal and financial ties
- it is highly probable that there were direct communications between the presidents of the management boards and employees of each company when preparing the tender offers
- the same date or the same mistakes were made in some official tender documents submitted by each company
The tender offer from Itsumi and KEN Solutions was initially chosen but then the consortium was excluded (and the offer was rejected) for including a wrongly-dated certificate of non-payment of social security and health contributions by one of the consortium members. The tender offer submitted by Integrit and Dreamtec Solutions, was then chosen in its place. This tender offer had received the highest score but was more expensive.
However, during proceedings UOKiK found out that in a parallel tender organised by the same contracting entity, the consortium member then produced the correct certificate. UOKiK judged that the earlier submission of incorrect documentation was deliberate and intended to ensure that the more expensive tender offer from the linked consortium was chosen.
UOKiK’s decision is not final as the companies have the right of appeal to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection.