Every sixth COVID-19 procurement supplier discloses its anti-corruption measures

Published November 23, 2021

Every sixth company, from which public sector institutions bought supplies to fight COVID-19 in 2020, discloses how it prevents corruption in its activities. The overall level of TOP 40 suppliers’ accountability is 13 points out of 100, according to the review conducted by Transparency International Lithuania.

Based on COVID-19 procurement data published by the Public Procurement Office (PPO), TI Lithuania identified TOP 40 Lithuania-based suppliers by overall COVID-19 related contracts value in 2020 (non-preliminary contracts of medical protective equipment, COVID-19 tests, disinfectant fluids, etc. were included). Those companies won more than a half of all public procurement tenders, signing 2,302 contracts with half a thousand contracting authorities  worth approx. €97.5 million.

TI Lithuania analysed corporate websites while looking for publicly available information on the company’s anti-corruption programme, evaluating how much information they disclose about their shareholders, organisational structure and finances. A third (12 out of 40) of the companies publish at least some of the information. Two thirds of companies (28 out of 40) received a score of 0.

After the initial assessment, the results were sent to all companies. They were invited to review the information and improve their score within the period of 3 weeks. 6 companies used this opportunity. The overall companies’ score improved by 12 points (from 1 point at the start of the initiative to 13 points at the end).

Companies provide the most information about their anti-corruption measures. On average, they scored 14 out of 100 points for disclosing such information. 6 companies publish their codes of ethics, the same number of companies disclose its policy on gifts as well as the ways in which employees can report possible wrongdoings.

Every sixth company (7 out of 40) indicates which business associations they belong to.

Companies disclose the least information about their finances (average score – 8 out of 100). Only 4 companies disclose their revenues/sales in Lithuania.

AmberCell Solutions (100 points), Laborama (86 points), Medita (86 points) and Tradintek  (81 points) disclose the most information about their activities.

“Based on the public information disclosed by most companies, it is difficult to understand how they try to prevent corruption risks in their activities. It is clear that in such cases greater responsibility for corruption prevention lies primarily on the shoulders of public sector institutions. Their executives need to ensure that, for example, there is an internal reporting channel in place to report possible wrongdoings, employees know when they may have a conflict of interest and recuse themselves from making  certain decisions on time,” said Sergejus Muravjovas, the CEO of Transparency International Lithuania.

The evaluation of suppliers’ websites was carried out in July-August 2021 based on the Transparency in Corporate Reporting assessment of the largest businesses operating in Lithuania. During the assessment period, 3 companies did not have their websites. TI Lithuania notes that this information is not required to be disclosed on companies’ websites by law. 

This is the second TI Lithuania’s evaluation of COVID-19 procurement. Its aim was to understand how much information the largest COVID-19 suppliers provide about their activities and how they manage corruption related risks. A year ago, the first assessment revealed that during the first wave of COVID-19, monitoring authorities and decision-makers may not have been aware of 10% of the money spent on fighting the pandemic.

More information can be found here, a short summary of the results – here, detailed companies’ assessment – www.skaidrumas.lt/tiekejai