Lithuanian government to look into possible gas tender violations

  • 2000-08-03
VILNIUS (BNS) - The Lithuanian government has appointed a commission to look into possible violations in the tender to select an adviser for the privatization of the gas utility Lietuvos Dujos through a public tender, officials said July 28.

The newly appointed commission is expected to present its conclusions early next week, Economy Minister Valentinas Milaknis said in a news conference.

Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius asked Milaknis to investigate possible violations following media reports that the tender commission, headed by Deputy Economy Minister Vytenis Junevicius, began talks with two potential advisers simultaneously.

A consortium led by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the runner up in the tender, was invited for talks after negotiations with BNP Paribas, the winning consortium, were canceled. At the same time, the commission began talks with members of a consortium led by ABN Amro, which was third on the bidder list.

Milaknis said a new tender might be announced in case no other solution to the problem was found.

"But this option would be disadvantageous for our economy," Milaknis said. "In such case, the government will not be able to carry out its plan to sell Lietuvos Dujos by December 1 this year."

Richard Kent, an ABN Amro representative, has confirmed that the consortium held talks with the commission.

"We have completed talks on the deal, and now it is up to the government to choose (between the two bidders)," he said.

The tender commission, which had been expected to announce its decision July 28, has been asked to wait for the commission's conclusions, Milaknis said.