In the Republic of Moldova, scarce public funds are largely misused through fraud and corruption in the public procurement process. Moldova’s e-procurement system MTender, launched as a pilot in 2017, changed the entire paradigm of public procurement, providing a lot of information on procurement procedures one click away. Since then, every interested citizen can find relevant data on a certain public authority and the procedures it conducts. However, only experts in public procurement can properly interpret the data and draw truthful conclusions, while ordinary citizens do not have sufficient knowledge to analyze them.
Building a Public Procurement Resource Library
That’s where the Association for Efficient and Responsible Governance (AGER) came in. We’re working to diminish cases of fraudulent public spending by empowering civil society to track and report irregularities. The AGER team has already launched the monitoring portal Revizia.md, mainly used for publishing materials on identified cases of bid-rigging or frauds in procurements. In this context, AGER developed a new page on the platform that focuses on explaining the most frequent irregularities and supporting civil society in using open data for increasing the accountability of public authorities.
We established collaborations with IT specialists from Ukraine (who were involved in developing the Moldovan e-procurement system) and a legal expert (who was responsible for the elaboration of the letter template). The joint work with all parties brought a valuable insight for developing a useful tool for Moldovan civic activists, which is also in line with the most significant national OGP commitment – ensuring access to information and promoting the use of open data.
Bringing Revizia to the People
We are actively promoting the webpage on Facebook, where several groups of monitors and civic activists were previously formed. According to the statistics, in the first few weeks of the launch, each post had reached around 10k – 15k people and received around 700 clicks, which demonstrates the interest in using this tool.
The page was launched in March of 2022. We expect that the number of users will increase continuously, due to other activities developed by the AGER team, like procurement trainings, round table discussions, and participation in the new OGP action plan process. Our team is constantly monitoring this sector, engaging the civil society in tracking corruption, and continuing to inform and support society in using the tool.
Supporting Activists and Journalists, Demanding Accountability
The library page is designed to support civic activists and investigative journalists with comprehensible information regarding the most frequent law breakages and errors in conducting procurement procedures. Consequently, this page could also be used as a source of information for contracting authorities, which are responsible for proper use of public expenditure and should be responsible and avoid any risk of fraudulence or corruption. Even if the work could not be institutionalized, the effort will be of significant importance for many stakeholders: the Public Procurement Agency (which is also responsible for monitoring procurements), the Court of Accounts (which is responsible for audits), Financial Inspection, and civil society.
We will continue to develop this civic platform and add other tools to support activists and journalists in asking for accountability of public authorities around the public budget.
This project was developed with support of the Open Government Partnership through the EU for Integrity Programme for the Eastern Partnership, funded by the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of AGER and do not necessarily reflect the views of OGP or the EU.