The processes reviewed amount to more than half of the amount awarded in state competitions in 2018. Breaches were found in the contracting rules. The National Public Procurement Service (Sercop) found irregularities in 1,451 contracts between January and December 2018.
The entity reviewed 7,076 processes equivalent to 6% of the 127,140 carried out last year and which generated $ 7,000 million. However, the number of contracts reviewed covers 56% ($ 3,894 million) of the entire amount awarded.
By monitoring the initiative, promoted by the Sercop, 3,110 processes valued at $ 2,571 million were supervised. Another 4,073 cases for $ 1,445 million were monitored based on claims, complaints and undue payment withholdings. The main findings have to do with reverse auctions that did not achieve savings; contracting insurance and contracts between public institutions or their subsidiaries with non-public entities.
Observations were also made on technical specifications, previous studies, referential budget, and misuse of the contracting standard, among others. The entities that incurred in these faults did not accept mandatory compliance recommendations issued by the Sercop. In this regard, the Service indicated to EL TELÉGRAFO that “insurmountable findings have been found”.
The majority, 1,401 cases, were reported to the Comptroller General of the State and include $ 289 million. The amount is equivalent to 4% of the resources allocated by public purchase. Just in February 2018, the Sercop and the Comptroller’s Office signed an anti-corruption agreement that includes the coordination of control actions, information exchange, advice and training.
A total of 33 cases valued at $ 28 million were sent to the Superintendency of Market Power Control (SCPM). The existence of collusive acts (agreement between two or more persons to harm third parties) and anticompetitive practices in the public purchase is presumed. Finally, 17 complaints of irregularities detected in the provinces of Pichincha, Azuay, Guayas, Imbabura, Sucumbíos, Chimborazo and Tungurahua were made in the State Attorney General’s Office.
For the most part, the criminal types that presumably have been committed are related to crimes against the efficiency of the Public Administration and Against the Public Faith. For concussion there are three complaints, one for embezzlement, nine for falsification and use of false document, two for usurpation and simulation of public functions, one for illicit association and another for intimidation.
In August of last year, one of those complaints was sentenced to one year of imprisonment by abbreviated procedure. It was for the crime of concussion in the province of Azuay, within the framework of the execution of purchase orders of the painting catalog of the Ministry of Education.
The illegality was revealed by the provider. The remaining 16 cases are in the preliminary investigation stage, due to the alleged illicit act of public officials. The processes by falsification and use of false document, the Sercop indicates that in their majority they have been committed by suppliers of the State inside processes of contracting.
Despite these findings, the Sercop does not have the personnel or sufficient resources to increase its control capacity. This was recognized in January by Gustavo Araujo, deputy general manager, during a public purchase workshop. He mentioned that only 20 officials are in charge of reviewing all contracts, which limits the functions of the entity because they cannot cope. (I)