Were many millions of euros of taxpayers’ money wasted due to a flawed purchasing policy for face masks? TV report “Marktcheck deckt auf: Das große Geschäft mit Masken” [“Marktcheck uncovers: The big business with masks”] investigates this allegation, because the procurement of masks by the Federal Ministry of Health during the corona pandemic has turned into a scandal. Despite the third wave, many tons of face masks remain unused and are stored in warehouses. To date, a year later, some distributors have still not been paid.
Dr. Ute Jasper, procurement law expert and Head of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s Public Sector & Public Procurement practice group, reviewed the award documents and contracts with the distributors for TV station SWR and expresses legal concerns.
“The open house procedure that was used in this case is legally questionable, because the public sector needs to be careful with taxpayers’ money. If no competition is conducted, this violates procurement law, state aid law, and budget law. The open house procedure results in an uncapped number of masks being purchased at what may be non-market prices. In view of this, there are significant legal concerns,” Jasper said.
In addition, some distributors and warehouse owners even received orders by direct award in the spring of 2020, without any bidding procedure. Ute Jasper commented: “Direct awards are problematic, especially if running longer than required for the initial emergency. One contract that I looked at is even for an indefinite term. If it was also performed that way, then there is a legal problem.”
The entire broadcast can be found in the ARD Mediathek media library.
Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek’s “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department has been one of the market leaders in public procurement law for years. Its lawyers hold top spots in German and international lawyer rankings. Since 1991, they have advised on awards, restructuring, large-scale projects, and cooperations in the public sector and have accompanied several hundred large-scale projects of federal, state, and local authorities and their subsidiaries with a total volume in excess of EUR 40 billion without any procedure having been successfully challenged to date.
Dr. Ute Jasper is one of the most renowned lawyers for procurement and infrastructure projects in the public sector. She advises federal and state ministries, municipalities, and businesses, particularly on innovative and complex projects. Ute Jasper is a Partner at the law firm of Heuking Kühn Lüer Wojtek where she heads the “Public Sector & Public Procurement” department. For years, she has been ranked number 1 in Public Procurement Law with her team in JUVE Handbook of Commercial Law Firms. According to “Law Firms in Germany,” she is the “premier contact on the market” for infrastructure. In October 2016, she received the JUVE Award for Regulated Industries with her team.