Complaints over selection of e-toll system contractor rejected

Ljubljana – The National Review Commission has rejected requests for a revision of the selection of Slovakia’s Skytoll for an e-tolling system for cars in Slovenia, which had been filed by both losing bidders.

Skytoll was picked by the motorway company DARS in January over Slovenian telecoms company Iskratel, which submitted a joint offer with Hungary’s ARH Informatics, and Slovenian IT firm Marand, which had a joint bid with the state-owned postal and telecoms operators and Austrian firm Kapsch.

Skytoll’s offer, at EUR 15.7 million excluding VAT, was slightly higher than Iskratel’s and under half the offer submitted by the Marand consortium. The rival bids were deemed inadmissible.

The selection of Skytoll had been challenged by both bidders who were rejected, and the National Review Commission said on Monday that both requests had been dismissed because the applicants failed to prove that DARS had committed wrongdoing.

Under current plans, the existing toll stickers will be replaced by electronic vignettes by 1 December.

DARS chairman Valentin Hajdinjak said the decision had proved all procedures had been conducted lawfully and transparently.

And even though the revision has caused a three-month delay, he said DARS would do everything it could to make sure e-vignettes were deployed on schedule.

The public tender has been closely watched after rumours circulated in the media that DARS had changed the terms of the tender in the course of the procedure.

The matter was debated by the parliamentary Commission for Oversight of Public Finances in February, with the opposition alleging irregularities, and DARS and the Infrastructure Ministry rejecting any impropriety. The MPs asked the anti-graft commission to look into the tender.

Infrastructure Minister Jernej Vrtovec said on Twitter that the opposition wanted “to create a scandal” just because they refused to accept DARS selecting a bid that was EUR 17 million cheaper. “It has now been proved that all procedures were conducted appropriately and economically.”