Plug Pulled On The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry's PR Project

KIEV, Ukraine -- The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s $2.5 million project to improve the country’s image abroad has been put on indefinite hold with the dismissal of the company that was contracted to implement the project, amid continuing allegations of top-level state corruption.

Vasyl Filipchuk

Konglomerat, a little-known Kharkiv-based company that won a controversial tender conducted by the ministry last December, has now had its contract cancelled by the ministry for alleged poor performance.

“After studying the services that were proposed by the company Konglomerat, the Foreign Ministry took a decision on the need to annul the contract with this company in connection with the inappropriate quality of services that were provided,” Vasyl Filipchuk, the head of the Foreign Ministry’s press service, told journalists during a briefing on June 13.

Filipchuk said that among other violations of the contract, Konglomerat was supposed to have conducted a Ukrainian film festival in Berlin, in which five films were to be shown to large audiences, but instead, according to Filipchuk, only one film was shown to a tiny audience.

CFC Consulting, one of several Kyiv-based PR firms that competed for the ministry contract along with Konglomerat, sued the ministry on Jan. 20 through the Kyiv Economic Court, alleging that the tender was unfair and rife with violations.

Over four months later, on June 2, the Kyiv Economic Court ruled against CFC, whose allegations were supported by other state bodies.

The Economy Ministry’s Department for Coordination of State Purchases announced as early as last January that the tender committee had violated the law. Ukraine’s Tender Chamber came out with similar accusations in March.

Hennadiy Kurochka, managing partner of CFC, said his company plans to continue with its lawsuit against the ministry up to the country’s Supreme Court in order to prove that the tender had been unfair.

“Our biggest complaint is not with the company Konglomerat, but with how the tender was held,” he said.

Kurochka called it “a shame” that it took so long for the ministry to admit that Konglomerat was unqualified for the lucrative contract. “They blocked any progress for the past six months,” he said.

In late January, Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk publicly defended the way the tender had been held.

“I want to say that we held a meeting on this issue at the ministry. I was personally present when the tender was started and can testify that it was transparent and was held in accordance with all the rules and tasks presented to the tender participants,” Tarasyuk said during an interview on the national television channel One Plus One.

Since then, the chairman of the ministry’s tender committee, who oversaw the awarding of the $2.5 million contract, Volodymyr Makukha, has been appointed Ukraine’s ambassador to Japan.

The Foreign Ministry statement announcing the winner of the tender described Kongolmerat as a company that had worked on the Ukrainian market for seven years, rendering public relations services in the past to the governments of Ukraine, France, Germany, Iran and countries of the former Soviet Union.

Konglomerat’s website described the company’s main services as asset appraisal of real estate, securities, business facilities and intellectual property.

In February 2005, the National Electricity Regulation Commission fined Ukrainian state nuclear power company Energoatom Hr 85,000 ($16,700) for violating tender rules in selecting Konglomerat to audit Energoatom’s main assets.

In a Feb. 27 press conference, Konglomerat spokesman Grigory Kunitsyn said his company was planning six different contract projects – including spots in international media, international conferences and the publication of a magazine – but that thus far, only research had been done.

Kunitsyn said his firm had already received money from the ministry.

“If any violations in the tender process were found, this will come out in the court hearings … We are fully prepared to abide by the decision of the court and return all money received, except that which hasn’t been spent on work already performed,” he said.

The Foreign Ministry’s Filipchuk told journalists on June 13 that the Kharkiv Economic Court would hold a session on June 22, during which the return of the money already transferred to Konglomerat’s accounts would be discussed.

According to Kurochka, the ministry paid 100 percent of the contract up front. “Just as we lost the case against Konglomerat in court, there is no guarantee that the ministry will be able to get its money back from this company by legal means,” he said.

Konglomerat’s director, Andriy Oleksandrovych Tymchenko, refused to give any comments when contacted by the Post on June 13.

Source: Kyiv Post

Comments

Anonymous said…
Не, ну вы просто пидары. Печатаете непроверенную информацию.