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Handling of a tender procedure for a supply contract

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  • Case: 1683/2011/TN
    Opened on 28 Sep 2011 - Decision on 07 Sep 2012
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Commission
  • Field(s) of law: General, financial and institutional matters
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Fairness [Article 11 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Award of tenders or grants
Primary school pupils with EU flag (the Republic of Nicaragua, Central America)
Author: EC Delegation in Central America PANAMA (headquarters in Nicaragua)
Copyright: European Union/EuropeAid

Summary of the decision on complaint 1683/2011/TN (confidential) against the European Commission

The complaint concerns the Commission's handling of a tender procedure for a supply contract under a EuropeAid external aid programme. The complainant argued that the Commission had wrongly based its decision to award the contract on the Total Cost of Ownership, instead of on the basis of the lowest tender price.

In its opinion to the Ombudsman, the Commission argued that the price calculation on the basis of the Total Cost of Ownership was economically correct. However, it recognised that the tender process was not totally transparent. It was therefore, at the time of drafting its opinion, negotiating with the complainant with a view to resolving the issue amicably.

The Ombudsman appreciated the fact that the Commission had taken responsibility for the mistake and that it was negotiating a solution with the complainant. The Ombudsman considered that the Commission should be allowed to pursue and complete such negotiations. The Ombudsman, therefore, founds no grounds to continue his inquiry.