The Ministry of Transport's informational systems cost millions of CZK: without any strategy, with delays, and public contracts without competition

PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 15/23 – June 6, 2016

The Supreme Audit Office (SAO) performed an audited of the Ministry of Transport and funds utilized for procurements of their informational systems. The Ministry of Transport has 50 informational systems, which cost over CZK 1,200 million in total. Auditors selected five most important ones, including Central Registry of Road Vehicles and Central Driver Registry. Auditors concluded that the Ministry failed to suggest a long-term strategy for development of its IT systems and the existing concept was only formally developed. As a result, there were delays in implementation of the new Central Registry of Road Vehicles as well as other two national registers, which should have been interoperable with other EU Member States’ systems. Because of the delayed interoperability, the European Commission brought two legal actions against the Czech Republic and in one case, there is still a risk of sanctions. Auditors also found violations of budgetary discipline in the amount exceeding CZK 425 million.

Auditors also scrutinized seven public contracts worth CZK 392 million in total, which were unjustly awarded by the Ministry of Transport by negotiated procedure without prior publication. The way in which these procurements were contracted could have influenced the choice of the most appropriate supplier. The Ministry also contracted an onerous contract for the development and provision of IT services. For almost two years, the Ministry paid monthly flat-rate payments in spite the agreement stipulated that the supplier should have provided services only when asked by the Ministry. In 21 months, over CZK 85 million were paid for provided services worth around CZK 52 million. Auditors concluded that excess payments in the amount of CZK 33 million were paid from 2010 to 2011.

Auditors also focused on the new registers’ development and launching stages. The Central Registry of Road Vehicles was created with delays due to non-conceptual proceedings of the Ministry of Transport. Already in 2008, the Ministry knew it would be necessary to translate the Registry from the Ministry of Interior but its development was ordered as late as half a year before its intended launching in 2012. The development of the Registry was included into the Ministry’s existing contract for IT services, which resulted in difficulties with setting of contractual terms. The Ministry failed to assess in a timely fashion the state and the quality of the data contained in the Registry. After the new registry was launched, there were 800,000 non-compatible data entries. The Registry was launched late and yet there were many problems during its operation. Nevertheless, the Ministry took it over from the supplier without reservations. The development costs of Central Registry of Road Vehicles exceeded CZK 37 million.

Delays also occurred with the development of other central registers, including Central Driver Registry and the register of road transport operators, which – as required by the EU legislation – should have been linked to national systems of other EU Member States. After several requests, the Commission brought a legal action against the Czech Republic because the Ministry of Transport failed to ensure the interoperability of the said systems. After the auditing operation, the Commission decided to withdraw its legal action regarding the default of national systems’ interoperability. However, there is still a risk of sanctions because of Central Driver Registry. The interoperability of national driver registries should prevent that holders who have been subject to a measure withdrawing a driving licence to apply for a new driving licence in another EU Member State.

Communication Department
Supreme Audit Office

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