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Karacsony: BKV bus rental contract above-board

The Budapest transport company BKV is not signing a bus rental contract with a company of dubious background, Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony said on Wednesday, referring to allegations made by Fidesz politicians.

Karacsony said audits showed that public procurements had been carried out in line with the relevant regulations, and the best offer was selected in an open procedure.     

Under a law brought in by the Fidesz government, no applicant can be excluded due to an offshore background, he said, adding, however that he had instructed metropolitan companies to exclude any offshore company from public procurements. “It is right that BKV will not sign a contract with any such company.”     

“What’s even more important is that all members of my team must be incorruptible and spotless,” the mayor added. Karacsony said he couldn’t judge the relationship between Deputy Mayor Kata Tutto and the father of her children. “But I know that she has never represented … any interest other than her city’s those of the people of Budapest,” he said, adding that Tutto was among Budapest’s most upstanding public servants.     

The head of Fidesz’s group in the Budapest assembly earlier called on Karacsony to launch an investigation into transport company BKV’s bus leasing arrangements.

Zsolt Lang accused BKV of planning to rent buses from an offshore company with a single employee registered just a week before the tender was announced. Tamas Leisztinger, the former partner of Tutto, headed the company, he added.     

He called on Karacsony to take swift action, “because if the leadership of the capital goes off in this direction … the consequences would be very serious.”     

The company does not have any buses, Lang said, adding that with its offshore background, it would not qualify for a public procurement tender in Hungary. Lang added that his side was considering taking legal action.   

Meanwhile, Fidesz’s director of communications Istvan Hollik said Karacsony’s statement had still left several questions around BKV’s contract unanswered. “The affair is muddy but what we do know is that we’re talking about a company that didn’t even exist when the tender was announced,” Hollik said in a video on Facebook. “It has just one employee registered and submitted a bid without even having buses.”

He said the mayor’s statement in the matter raised further questions. Hollik said that if it was true that BKV would not be signing a contract with the company in question then it should be made clear whether or not BKV had already signed a contract with it. “Does Gergely Karacsony even know what’s going on inside BKV?” Hollik said, adding that “many are saying that this contract has been signed for weeks.”     

BKV said in a statement that although the public procurement procedure for renting six used buses had been handled lawfully, the contract had been cancelled. Having reviewed the documentation on the public procurement procedure, BKV’s supervisory board has determined that the entire procedure had been carried out in line with the relevant laws as well as the company’s own procurement regulations, BKV said.     

However, an agreement signed with the winning bidder, CR-Facilities Vagyongazdalkodo, on Oct 30 has been cancelled and BKV will not be signing further contracts with the company, it added.

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