The antimonopoly committee turned down the fourth attempt of the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) to conduct public procurement of the products manufactured by a company that is still working in the annexed Crimea and is in favor of the early lifting of sanctions against Russia.
The National Bank of Ukraine announced a tender for the construction of the main data center with a total cost of 340 million UAH (around 12 million USD). According to the publication by “Apostrof”, the conditions of the tender are created to match “the specific manufacturers of equipment and violate the rights of other participants.”
National Bank posted the announcement of the tender for the construction of the data center on ProZorro at the end of March last year. The specialized publication “Networks and Business” noted that the tender requirements “indicated unique solutions for our market – two diesel-rotary UPSs [uninterruptible power supply] and the same economizers from Schneider Electric EcoFlair”.
The publication states that the National Bank was not able to conduct the procurement: “From the first attempt to participate in the tender, no one was allowed, and in the next three cases, the board of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine to consider complaints of violation of the public procurement legislation interfered, which canceled the tenders because of for the fact that, in their opinion, the technical task of the project is written for specific equipment manufacturers and violates the rights of other participants. ”
The company “Podolzhilbud”, which the National Bank did not allow to bid, pointed out to the Antimonopoly committee board that “the most important data center nodes – air conditioning and uninterrupted power supply systems – are prescribed in the terms of reference exclusively for the products of the French company Schneider Electric”. At the same time, market participants interviewed by “Apostrof” stated that such equipment at a lower price could be supplied by the Chinese company Huawei. According to the newspaper, “Huawei really wanted to this project, but they were not allowed”.
The NBU insists that “the technical requirements for the equipment to be used in the course of the work were drawn up exclusively on the basis of the available project documentation”. “Apostrof”, referring to sources, writes that the design documentation was developed by Schneider Electric Ukraine, the Ukrainian representative office of Schneider Electric.
Schneider Electric is a French power engineering company, a manufacturer of equipment for the energy subcomplexes of industrial enterprises, civil and housing facilities, data centers. “Apostrof” emphasizes that the Ukrainian office of Schneider Electric is directly subordinate to the Russian representative office, which manages all the company’s business in the CIS countries. In addition, Schneider Electric continues to work in the annexed Crimea, re-registering in Russia.
“The NBU openly plays along with this company. For example, in the third tender, the National Bank disqualified all other participants who entered the auction with equipment other than that of Schneider Electric,” the newspaper notes.
In February 2019, after the complaint of “Podolzhilbud”, the Antimonopoly Committee decided that the National Bank should make changes to the documentation so that other manufacturers could participate in the tender. However, the National Bank intends through the courts to obtain permission to purchase products of Schneider Electric.