Updated on Wednesday, 15 September 2021 – 19:45
Deputy Roberto Uriarte pressures the Ministry of Finance after the resolution that sanctioned them with 6.3 million for amalgamation of public awards
The deputy for Bizkaia Roberto Uriarte intervenes in a political act of Podemos with, at that time, Secretary General Pablo Iglesias.Patxi CorralARABA PRESS
The deputy of Podemos Roberto Uriarte has claimed the Minister of Finance Mara Jess Monteror to clarify the criteria to use the Public Procurement Advisory Board with the 22 consultants sanctioned by amaar public awards, the majority with institutions of the Basque Country. Uriarte, very critical of him “brutal volume” of consulting contracts by the Basque administrations, claims that the Montero ministry “must decide as soon as possible on the scope and duration of the prohibition to contract“with which consultants such as Deloitte, PWC, KPGM or the Basques Idom, 97 S&F or BMASI, among other.
The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) resolved on May 11 that 22 consulting firms had formed two cartels with which they had distributed reports for public organizations from 2008 to 2018. The consultants of the so-called ‘North Network’ concentrated in the Basque Country and, more specifically, in Bizkaia and used privileged information obtained by businessmen close to the PNV as Leandro Ardanza (97 S&F) and Sabin Azua (BMASI) who together with Ana Andueza (Deloitte) they agreed to present ‘coverage proposals’ in restricted public contracting processes without publicity. The Competition control body also acted against 7 consulting firms from the “National Network”, including the Vizcana 97 S&F.
According to the CNMC resolution, the plot with Ardanza, Azua and Andueza also benefited other consulting firms based in the Basque Country such as Idom, KPMG and Prices Waterhouse Coopers (PWC), the consultancy that in 2018 signed up to Asier Atutxa and in 2019 I appointed him as its top manager in the Basque Country. PWC, as Roberto Uriarte underlines in his parliamentary initiatives, was the company commissioned by the Urkullu Government in August 2019 the first report on Basque strategic projects that aspire to aid for the reactivation of the European Union and that were later included in the so-called Next Euskadi.
The CNMC sanctioned 12 of the Basque consulting firms and their top executives in a resolution plagued by juicy emails in which it is found that Ardanza and Azua had confidential information from the contracting administrations, especially from the Provincial Council of Bizkaia and dependent public companies and the Basque Government. The Competition control body closed an investigation initiated by the Basque Competition Authority (AVC) although the current president Alba Urrusola -appointed by the nationalist advisor Pedro Azpiazu– He ruled out similar investigations in a parliamentary appearance on the grounds that he lacks the necessary personnel to carry them out.
In addition to a global sanction of 6.3 million euros, the CNMC included the “prohibition of contracting” when applying article 71 of the Law on Public Sector Contracts. “It has been found in this resolution that the duration of the illicit conduct has been extended beyond October 22, 2015, so it is applicable to apply it without prejudice to the different participation of each of the companies in said infringement. “includes the resolution of the CNMC that does not fix “neither the scope nor the duration” of this part of the sanction but sent the resolution to the Board of Public Contracting of the State, a body dependent on the Ministry of Finance.
Four months later, the sanctioned consulting firms continue to contract with the Basque administrations without neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Contracting Board clarifying the “scope and duration” of the sanction imposed. Uriarte requested Minister Montero through a battery of questions last June 8 to clarify what was happening and the Minister of Finance argued that the Board had not determined the sanction since the consulting firms had the possibility of challenging the resolution of the CNMC before the National High Court. According to this criterion, the resource of the consultants in contentious-administrative matters will guarantee them to continue contracting with the administrations when there is more demand for their services for the processing of the reports that require European aid.
In addition, the Basque administrations commission all kinds of strategic and technical reports from related consultancies. “Institutions should have the ability to make their own decisions, with officials and advisers, without systematically resorting to consultants“, denounces Uriarte who, in the face of Minister Montero’s initial argument, has contributed to his initiatives documentation prepared by the State Attorney in preceding cases. According to the State Attorney, the Contracting Board must determine the prohibition of hiring applied to each offender without waiting for the resolution of the resources that are interposed in the judicial way. “We believe that the criterion of the State Attorney is more reasonable because even to act against a ban on hiring it is necessary to know the scope of the sanction,” says Uriarte.
According to the criteria of
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