After former chief of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Valdas Tutkus expressed his doubts about the transparency of the armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) purchase tender, Seimas Speaker Loreta Graužinienė says that he should have involved relevant institutions. The politician has also asked the Public Procurement Office (VPT) to evaluate the tender. The VPT says, however, that it will not look into the purchase as it falls under an exception envisaged for military contracts.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Tutkus, who recently resigned as the head of the Lithuanian Defence and Security Industry Association (LGSPA), said that the Lithuanian army wanted to purchase Boxer AFVs from German manufacturers for considerations that were more political than economic. Other makers, he said, had made better offers.

"If there were even the slightest doubts about the transparency of this public procurement or about any increases in price, then Tutkus should have turned to the VPT for it to inspect the tender. For me, his decision to resign seems rather strange. If he was, for instance, the chief of the armed forces, then I would think that there is definitely something wrong in the system," she said on the radio Žinių Radijas.

According to Graužinienė, the institution headed by Tutkus, the Lithuanian Defence and Security Industry Association, does not take part in the purchase process and it is not Tutkus who gets to decide what equipment to buy.

"To me, in fact, it seems like some kind of means of pressure. I expect the VPT to react to this news and perform an inspection," the Seimas leader says.

As reported, Tutkus said that purchase of the German AFV Boxer would cost at least EUR 500 million for Lithuania, in addition to the cost of building a service base for the vehicles.

Moreover, Tutkus said that he knew months ago that the Boxer was going to be chosen. The outgoing LGSPA director says that the final price for these armoured vehicles will grow by up to 35 percent.

Contract subject to exemption

Meanwhile Lithuania's Public Procurement Office says it will not examine the acquisition of infantry fighting vehicles, as it is subject to exceptions in the Public Procurement Law.

The office said it had no information about the acquisition of infantry fighting machines by the Ministry of National Defence, as it was not announced, with no procedural reports submitted so far.

"In this light, we suppose that the Ministry of Defence conducted the acquisition in accordance to the exceptions envisaged in the Republic of Lithuania's law on public procurement in defence and security. The Public Procurement Office does not look into the procurement procedures carried out in line with the exceptions, as they are not subject to provisions of the law," the office told BNS.

The infantry fighting vehicles should be the biggest defence purchase in Lithuania's history. The number of vehicles and their possible price have not been named.

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