TILC: Decision makers and monitoring authorities may not have been aware of about one-tenth of the money spent on fighting the pandemic

Published November 25, 2020

During the first wave of COVID-19, monitoring authorities and decision-makers may not have been aware of 10% of all the money spent on fighting the pandemic. This was shown in a review by “Transparency International” Lithuania, as a result of requests for information to 12 main COVID-19 patient hospitals and biggest procuring entities. 136 contracts with 73 suppliers, worth almost 8 million Euros were additionally disclosed. 

8 out of 10 of these contracts were of small value, about half of them could have been negotiated without the publication of a contract notice. 

Most hospitals and institutions bought protective equipment and disinfectant fluids (34%), medical equipment (22%), as well as medicines and pharmaceutical products (13%).

COVID-19 related goods were allocated to 224 different institutions by 7 out of 12 contracting authorities that provided such information.

During the reporting period, almost half of all contracts had not yet been completed. According to 8 out of 12 institutions that shared this information, about 5 out 10 contracts were completed, 4 out of 10 still active or partially completed, 10 contracts were cancelled.

“This pandemic is a sort of test for the transparency of our country. It is great that we were one of the first in the world to open COVID-19 procurement data and are an example to others. I hope that in the near future we will take other important steps – we will centralize public procurement, have a list of reliable suppliers and start publishing public procurement data in one place in open data format. All of this will help make use of our taxpayers’ money in a faster, more efficient and more transparent manner,” said Sergejus Muravjovas, CEO of “Transparency International” Lithuanian chapter.

Hospitals also received at least 2 million euros in donations related to COVID-19 support. 5 hospitals disclosed such information. The lowest donation received in Euros was an air purifier-ionizer obtained for 0.01 Euros. The highest value of donation received was 213 thousand Euros worth of personal protective equipment. The value of some donations was not reported, with some hospitals only disclosing quantities of goods.

Some donors identified in the data also participated in public procurements as suppliers at the same hospitals

Through this study, TILC sought to build on the data opened up by the Lithuanian Public Procurement Office (PPO), regarding goods and services purchased to combat COVID-19 during the period from January to May, 2020. The updated information shows that the total amount of COVID-19 purchases from these organizations was at least 77 million Euros.

This study analysed information from 12 COVID-19 patient hospitals and biggest procuring authorities (Defence Materiel Agency, Health Emergency Situations Centre, Kaunas Clinical Hospital, Kaunas Clinics, Klaipeda University Hospital, Lithuanian Airports, Lithuanian Railways, Ministry of Health, Panevezys Hospital, Santaros Clinics, Siauliai Hospital, Vilnius City Municipality Administration) information was received as a result of FOIA requests sent in June, 2020. 

This initiative is part of an Open Contracting Partnership COVID-19 Action Research Program, which supported 12 research teams from various countries in the world. The objective of the research was to generate recommendations to improve efficiency, effectiveness, fairness, integrity, and equity of public contracting.

A short overview of the findings can be found here (LT), full Open Contracting Partnership report – here.  

More information: Sergejus Muravjovas, sergejus@transparency.lt, +370 5 212 69 51

Data and information was updated TI Lithuania as part of the “Integrity Pacts” project, which is funded by the European Commission.