Texty.org.ua creates database about 30,000 tenders which took place before the launch of “ProZorro” system

Texty.org.ua presented the project “What hides behind the tenders of state procurements”. This is a database in machine-readable format about tenders that took place before the launch of “ProZorro” system.

There is data about 30 thousand protocols, with information about customers, tender participants and prices offered. This is nearly 15 per cent of all protocols of tenders in state procurements database. “We extracted and organized the data which has never been in open access. This information shows the dynamics of a tender, it allows to check whether it was fair and to track various interesting “schemes”. The main result is that now this data is published on our website in machine-readable format, and everyone can use it for his research,” said Anatolii Bondarenko, director of data journalism section at  Texty.org.ua, during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.

“We have never had information about participants of tenders before the launch of “ProZorro” in machine-readable format, only information about the winners. That’s why it was difficult to notice a complot of participants. Now we have a quality product which can be integrated into the analytical system of “ProZorro” database and significantly improve the indicators,” noted Viktor Nestulia, representative of Transperency Interantional Ukraine.

Typical schemes

The tenders with only two competing participants constitute the majority of all tenders, said Vladyslav Herasymenko, data journalist.  The experts revealed series of typical suspicious cases such as two companies always coming together to several dozens of tenders where one company always loses, while another always wins; tenders with two participants with a significant difference in prices. One interesting case was a tender for tree trimming in Dnipro city, where competing participants were a public enterprise from Dnipro and a public enterprise from Zaporizhia, and the first won. Then the same tender took place in Zaporizhia with the same participants, and there the company from Dnipro lost. According to the expert, there are nearly forty similar cases. In the database there is a filter which helps to track these patterns.

Тransparency Іnternational during their monitoring of tenders in “ProZorro” system found a number of participants who submit hundreds of proposals every month and always lose. For instance, this is oil & gas supplying company “Tsentrnaftohaspostach”.

Victor Nestulia noted that these cases with two participants are rather logical, because participation of at least two participants is a necessary requirement for the tender to be held.  “As there is no competition in several sectors yet, we can tolerate this. But in “ProZorro” there are many tenders with four and more competing suppliers where the complot of several participants is visible too. When we have opportunity to analyze data on 500 thousand tenders, we can see which companies have a kind of partnership for participation in tender procedures. If there is an indicator of a complot in a competitive environment, these cases should be reported to the Antimonopoly Committee,” he said.

The experts will also publish guidelines explaining how to use the database. They call investigation journalists to use this data for their research and then publish the results on “DoZorro” website, to collect there information about typical violations as well as best practices. In the future, this database from “DoZorro” can be used for development of risk indicators, complot indicators, suppliers’ ratings etc.