Thursday, September 17, 2009

Yet another scandal in ZUS

After a corruption scandal the state Social Insurance Company (ZUS) is on front-pages again. The daily Rzeczpospolita reveals that ZUS has allegedly fixed a tender on identity cards for pensioners.

At the beginning of 2009, ZUS put out eight million identity cards for pensioners to tender. Four companies bid for the contract, submitting tenders from 1.1 to 3.7 million zloty (260,000 to 890,000 euro). Although the main criterion was price, ZUS chose the most expensive offer.

A company with the cheapest offer appealed ZUS’s decision twice and informed Civic Platform MP Antoni Mezydlo about irregularities. “In times of financial crisis, ZUS wanted to overspend 2.5 million zloty (600,000 euro) from tax payers’ money. That’s why I took interest in the case,” Mezydlo told Rzeczpospolita. In July, the MP met with the president of ZUS, Sylwester R. – recently detained on corruption charges – and soon afterwards the decision was reversed and ZUS accepted the cheapest offer.

ZUS’s lavish spending

A fix tender on identity cards for pensioners is not the only example of the Social Insurance Company wasting tax payers’ money. ZUS spent 330 million zloty (80 million euro) on construction projects and renovations in 20 buildings, including a new headquarters in Warsaw, which cost almost 200 million zloty (48.6 million euro).