Sunday, 20 April 2014

Report: Corruption is rife in Czech arms purchases

30 March 2011

Prague, March 29 (CTK) - Dysfunctional bureaucracy, resigned officials and indifferent Czech Defence Ministry senior officials have opened the door to various forms of corruption in the military purchases system, the Comprehensive Report on the Reassessment of Acquisition of Military Materiel, published Tuesday, says.

The entire system of military purchases should return to its original aim, which is not squandering of the public means, but ensuring that the military fulfills its tasks and objectives, the report says.

In the course of time, the awareness of the military's real needs has totally vanished from the process of acquisition of military materiel, the report says.

"The system works without any regulatory feedbacks. Its content, implemented by a mass of civil servants who are indifferent to the result, mainly consists of an exchange of documents, minutes and information reports," the report writes, describing the situation at the Defence Ministry.

The process of processing demands is one of the weak points of the process of purchases. The people who prepare the future purchase are often exposed to the lobbyist pressure by suppliers with whom their are often connected by personal links, it adds.

"A demand is based on an 'understanding' between the user and supplier," the report says.

The technical parameters of the sought commodities are often set down so that only a single product meets them. There is a lack of competition, which results in uneconomical use of the state budget means, the report says.

Therefore, a better marketing research should be conducted and information on the situation in the market should be gained not only from manufacturers, but also from other militaries, including the prices of goods and related services, it adds.

Czech military purchasers do not consider the costs of the whole life span of the acquired commodities, the report says.

For example, in the purchase of the Spanish CASA C-295M transport planes, there are two contracts, one for the aircraft itself and one for the servicing, but only for three years.

"It has not been set down how to provide for the servicing after the three years expire. This makes the state's negotiating position very difficult," the report says.

The agreed contracts often do not include conditions for withdrawal, termination or cancellation, which is "unpractical" in the current state of affairs, the report says.

The acquisition also often materialises under the pressure of the military's urgent needs with an effort to address a specific supplier, it adds.

"One cannot accept the explanation that the military needs the commodity in question immediately. There is a mistake on the part of military planning," the report says.

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