Minister scrutinized over pricey website

An NGO set up to monitor public finances has asked the prosecution to start criminal proceedings against Environment Minister Oliver Dulić.

Source: Beta

The Coalition for Supervision of Public Finances says the minister from the ranks of the ruling Democrats (DS), and his associates, mislead the public when they spoke about the cost of putting up the portal.

The NGO says the amount of the budget money spent on making the website, "that could have been designed by any IT-talented high school student", was too high. The contract amounted to RSD 2.5mn - some EUR 25,000 according to the exchange rate at the time.

The coalition also said Dulić's associates lied when they claimed that some companies had submitted offers to put up the website worth in excess of EUR 40,000, noting that this was the type of public procurement the value of which cannot not exceed RSD 2.9mn, before VAT.

The NGO also announced that Dulić asked Belgrade-based Nacionalna Klasa, Subotica-based Manufaktura, and Niš-based Logik Internet companies to bid for a chance to design the website.

"It remains unclear what recommended those companies, among hundreds of others in that sector, for the job," said the Coalition.

In the end, it was the Niš firm that won the contract, and EUR 25,000.

The controversial portal, dedicated to a recycling campaign dubbed, "Let's clean up Serbia", was last updated on June 10, 2010.

Dulić's ministry reacted by saying that the work on the portal "has not yet been finished". But the NGO notes that the contract signed in April 22, 2010, gave Logik Internet a deadline of 30 days to finish the job.

The ministry has in the meantime denied there was any truth to the accusations, saying that internal control ascertained "the law had not been broken", and called on institutions with jurisdiction in the matter to run their own checks.

The ministry said that the website was "a highly sophisticated portal, still under construction, with two data bases".


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