Translation of “Who got the most public orders in 2014? We would like to be at war with Viktor Orbán in this way!” (“Na ki kapta a legtöbb közbeszerzéses megbízást 2014-ben is? Szeretnénk így háborúzni Orbán Viktorral!”) published by Hungarian investigative journalism website Átlátszó.hu on 29 December 2014
2014 was also a good year for companies close to Fidesz. Átlátszó examined public tenders totaling HUF 140 billion (USD 522 million) won by six companies. From the data it was clear that once again the most successful company was Kőzgép, which, along with its partners, got HUF 93 billion (USD 343 million) worth of state orders in 2014. The government’s favorate advertising company, I.M.G., had no reason to complain, either, having concluded contracts for nearly HUF 10 billion (USD 3.7 million). Those companies are performing well which were acquired in the middle of last year by the prime minister’s friend, István Garancsi, such as Market Épitő Zrt., which received orders totaling HUF 7.5 billion (USD 28 million).
Although allegedly Viktor Orbán and his former party treasurer are allegedly at war, this cannot really be seen in public procurement. On the basis of information that can be obtained on line from Public Procurement Informant, that company’s name also appears among the winners of a huge number of tenders in 2014. On its own, Kőzgép successfully won HUF 6 billion (USD 22.4 million) worth of orders. As part of a consortium it won an additional HUF 87 billion (USD 325 million). What we do not know is how much of the HUF 87 billion was wired to Közgép’s account and how much to its consortium partners, as this could not be ascertained on the basis of the information provided.
A significant part of Közgép’s winning tenders came from the National Infrastructural Development Zrt. (NIF) which concluded HUF 39 billion (USD 146 million) worth of contracts with Lajos Simicska’s company and “consortium partners”. The largest order came from NIF: The construction of a railway original estimated to cost HUF 27 billion (USD 10 million). In the end it cost nearly HUF 3 billion (USD 8.2 million) more, NIF having signed a contract for HUF 29.9 billion (USD 112 million) with the trio of Közgép, Swietelsky, and Strabag. The same trio also won the HUF 11.9 billion contract to integrate the Buda streetcar network as well.
Among the tenders won by Közgép we found yet another worth more than HUF 20 billion (USD 7.4 million). This tender for what is also a very large amount was issued by the Nitrochemical Environmental Consulting and Service Zrt. The task is cleaning up the Séd-Nádor canal. The contract was awarded to Közgép and TERRA-LOG Mélyépítő Kft. in the summer of 2014.
Another close friend of Viktor Orbán, Lórinc Mészáros, also had a good year. Although Mészáros and Mészáros only received state orders in 2014 totaling HUF 408 million (USD 1.5 million) — HUF 250 million (USD 932,000) of which was won as part of a consortium with others—part of the whole picture is the fact that the mayor of Felcsút signed a contract on 12 December 2013 as part of the same consortium for HUF 25.8 billion (USD 96 million) with the Chief Directorate of the National Water Works.
Originally the value of the tender was to have been HUF 3 billion (USD 11.1 million) less than the contractual amount, or HUF 22 billion (USD 82 million). The contract was signed within the framework of the Euorpean Union’s Environmental and Energy Operative Program. Lőrinc Mészáros’s company won the tender to prepare the necessary plans and perform the work on the project to improve drinking water in Békés county.
We also looked to see how companies owned by Viktor Orbán’s third friend, István Garancsi, performed, who, before acquiring a controlling interest in Market Épitő Zrt., acquired Mobil Adat Kft., one of the biggest winners of the compulsory purchase and installation of online cash registers prescribed by the National Tax and Duty Authority (NAV).
Both companies had a good year in the field of public procurement. Market Épitő Zrt. alone, that is without consortium partners, was awarded HUF 7.5 billion (USD 280,000) worth of state contracts. In addition to getting the NAV cash register business, Mobil Adat Kft. won another HUF 800 million (USD 3 million) as the member of a consortium. The tender was issued by the Hungarian Post Office for its own online cash registers. One part of the tender was for the procurement of cash registers. The other for the processing of data. Most probably Mobil Adat Kft. is to perform the latter.
The government’s favorite media broker, Inter Media Group (I.M.G.) closed an excellent year as well, receiving HUF 9.9 billion (USD 37 million) worth of state orders in 2014 without the involvement of consortium partners. The largest customer was the Hungarian National Bank under György Matolcsy, which concluded a HUF 6 billion (USD 22.4 million) framework agreement with the company to handle the central bank’s (MNB) general communications, as well as that of its Growth Credit Program.
The Office of the Prime Minister also signed two contracts with I.M.G. in 2014. The one was a framework agreement for HUF 700 million (USD 2.6 million) to handle the Office of the Prime Minister’s 2014 annual media buys. The other was a framework agreement “to book advertising areas, purchase, and need be plan, and place media ads, as well as evaluate them” in the amount of HUF 1.5 billion (USD 5.6 million). So altogether the company got HUF 2.2 billion (USD 8.2 million) from Viktor Orbán’s office related to communications. In addition, it concluded contracts with (state owned companies) Thália (performing arts theatre), MVM (state electric and gas company), MNV (state asset manager), Diákhitel Központ Zrt. (Student credit public corporatino) and FKF (Budapest public area maintenance public corporation), as well.
Members of the Századvég consortium frequently mentioned in relation to the US travel ban received orders totaling HUF 1.5 billion (USD 5.6 million), of which HUf 1.46 billion arrived from the Office of the Prime Minister. Other than Viktor Orbán’s office it also contracted with the Fidesz parliamentary delegation and the Hungarian Economic Development Center (M.G.K. Zrt.).