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Decision on how the EU Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP) in Somalia dealt with a procurement procedure for the provision of private security services (case 717/2022/LM)

Wednesday | 30 November 2022

The case concerned a procurement procedure organised by the EU Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP) in Somalia. The complainant submitted an ‘expression of interest’ to participate in the procurement procedure, and subsequently followed up with e-mails, but did not receive a reply from EUCAP Somalia.

From the documentation provided in the complaint, it would seem that the complainant sent its expression of interest and subsequent e-mails to the e-mail address indicated in the notice for the procedure. However, EUCAP Somalia claims that it never received the expression of interest, even after subsequent verification. It therefore appears that the electronic system used for submitting documents, via a functional mailbox, was not fit-for-purpose, as it failed to ensure that the complainant’s application was correctly received and stored.

It is not possible for the Ombudsman at this remove to assess what kind of technical problem occurred in this case. However, the Ombudsman urges EUCAP Somalia to carefully review the matter to identify the issue and, if it finds a problem with its current system, to put in place an electronic system for future procurement procedures that complies with the requirements in the EU Financial Regulation, concerning the authentication of bidders and the receipt of documents.

Decision on the European Commission's refusal to give public access to documents concerning an audit of pelagic and tuna fisheries in Ireland (case 757/2022/MIG)

Friday | 16 September 2022

The case concerned the refusal of the European Commission to grant the complainant public access to documents concerning a Commission audit and an administrative inquiry by the Irish authorities, which prompted the Commission to revoke the Irish control plan for the weighing of fishery products. The Commission argued that the follow-up to the audit was still ongoing and that disclosing the documents would undermine the protection of the purpose of inspections, investigations and audits.

The Ombudsman verified that the Irish authorities have not yet implemented the recommendations made by the Commission and, thus, have not yet resolved the shortcomings it identified. This means that the follow-up to the audit is still ongoing. Given that the Commission might open infringement proceedings against Ireland if these shortcomings are not sufficiently addressed, the Ombudsman considered it reasonable for the Commission to rely on a general presumption of non-disclosure. The Ombudsman also found that the complainant’s arguments were not such as to establish that there is an overriding public interest in disclosure.

In view of this, the Ombudsman concluded that the Commission’s refusal to give public access to the documents at issue was justified and closed her inquiry finding no maladministration.