According to publicly available data, "Protect security" received its first job worth almost 65,000 KM four months after its establishment. The tender did not set high conditions, so even a start-up company, like this one, could easily win it
Since it was founded at the end of February 2021, the company “Protect security” from Trebinje has done a good job. According to publicly available data, in a year and a half, this company contracted jobs worth almost half a million KM with the public sector. Some of the tenders, Direkt’s research showed, coincidentally or not, favoured the company “Protect security”.
To date, “Protect security” has contracted jobs worth about 428,000 KM excluding VAT with Hidroelektrane na Trebišnjici (Hydroelectric power plants on Trebisnjica) (HET) alone. Of the nine tenders with HET, five were concluded by direct agreement.
The company also cooperated with Elektro-Hercegovina, on a tender of 40,000 KM, Elektroprivreda Republika Srpska (ERS) and the City of Trebinje.
The owner of the company, which performs private protection activities, is Aranđel Petrović, a person who, according to “Direkt” sources, is close to Luka Petrović, the general director of Elektroprivreda Republika Srpska (ERS) and the general secretary of SNSD. Aranđel Petrović appointed his sister as director of the company.
Tender for a start-up company
According to publicly available data, “Protect security” received its first job worth almost 65,000 KM four months after its establishment. The tender did not set high conditions, so even a start-up company, like this one, could easily win it.
Namely, for the job of “physical security of the Grančarevo dam facility” from 2021, the best bidder was “Protect security”. According to the public invitation, it was sufficient, among other things, that the company was registered for the activity requested in the tender.
However, this year, in the call for “securing the Grančarevo dam facility”, HET increased the scope of work, raised the price from last year's 65,000 KM to 180,000 KM, but also tightened or adjusted the conditions.
In the call for the security of the Grančarevo dam from 2021, HET asked for one armed security worker who will be on duty every day, 24 hours a day. This year, HET will pay for two such workers and the use of the mobile patrol service, which would entail occasional interventions at the Grančarevo dam facility.
Since “Protect security” has already collected enough references, HET was no longer satisfied with the fact that the company that will secure the dam is only registered for the given activity, but also had to have one contract in the last year for similar work, with a minimum value of 60,000 KM. Thanks to the contract from 2021, “Protect security” met that condition, so this year they signed a contract for an amount that is only 100 KM lower than the estimated amount – 179,900 KM.
And the pond is ours
In a similar way as with the Grančarevo dam, the work of awarding the contract for the “maintenance and security of the Jazina pond” took place. Aranđel Petrović did well both last year and this year.
Last year, in the tender for “maintenance and security of ponds and construction laboratories”, the best bidder, Aranđel Petrović's company, concluded a deal with HET worth almost 65,000 KM.
Bidders did not have to prove themselves too extensively in this tender. In the part of the assessment of technical and professional ability, the bidders were supposed to submit a “dynamic work plan for the execution of the services in question with the dynamics of execution”, which would demonstrate the ability to perform the work with quality and on time, and the relevant contract issued by the competent Ministry of Internal Affairs (MUP).
This year's tender, worth 90,000 KM, called “security and maintenance of the Jazina pond”, unlike last year's, had more demanding conditions. In the previously mentioned part, in addition to the dynamic work plan and the decision from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the bidder was asked for a contract for similar or the same jobs with a minimum value of 60,000 KM, which he had implemented in the last year (or from the date of registration, if the bidder is registered less than a year ago). Thanks to last year's contract, “Protect security” fulfilled these conditions and concluded a deal for the amount of 89,920 KM, which is about 25,000 KM more than last year.
“Protect security” workers were also present at the concert of Šako Polumenta, which the SNSD organized in June in Trebinje, in the Malibu beach bar, which is linked to Dragan Knežević, a person well known to the police. Although we found no official traces of cooperation, the “Protect security” logo of the company was also found on the Krajiška House in Trebinje, which is managed by the Agrarian Fund of the City of Trebinje.
What was before?
Until “Protect security” appeared on the business scene, securing the ponds and the Grančarevo dam, HET contracted with other companies on a similar principle, mostly with those where Aranđel Petrović worked or will work.
For example, in the tender from 2019 for “security of ponds and construction laboratories”, with an estimated value of 50,000 KM, the bidder was asked to submit a minimum of 20 valid contracts issued by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the performance of physical security, and for occasional engagement a minimum of 20 physical security workers who would visit the field as needed. That year, among other things, HET asked for contracts implemented in the previous year, for the same or similar jobs worth 45,000 KM. The company “Alpha security” got that job. The manager of this company's branch in Trebinje, according to our portal, was Aranđel Petrović.
The following year, in 2020, the job of “security of ponds and construction laboratories”, worth around 65,000 KM, was awarded in July to a newly founded company that was again connected to Aranđel Petrović – “AS security”.
According to information from the Official Gazette, Aranđel Petrović was officially appointed as a person authorized to represent the Business Unit “AS security” in Trebinje by the September 7, 2020, contract.
HET also changed the conditions that year. Namely, he no longer needed 20 for that job, but they were looking for a minimum of three valid contracts issued by the MUP for a minimum of three workers for the needs of occasional visits to the field. They didn't even need previously realized contracts, and why would they, when “AS security” was founded in February 2020, that is, a few months before the announcement of that open call.
In the same year, the company “AS security” also received the job of physical security of the Grančarevo dam facility, worth almost 65,000 KM.
By the way, “AS security” got its first job just after its establishment. Namely, according to the Akta portal, “AS security” was founded on February 6, 2020, just four days before Elektro-Herzegovina will call for a tender, where “AS security” will be the most favourable bidder. This company already submitted the offer for the first job to Elektro-Herzegovina on February 28, and as the best and only bidder, they concluded a contract for almost 28,000 KM.
It is evident from these tenders that for the same or similar jobs, certain conditions in the open calls were changed from year to year, depending on who the contracting authority wanted to choose.
The procurement procedures mentioned in the text were carried out in accordance with Annex II part B, which includes the conclusion of contracts related, among other things, to security activities.
Slobodan Golubović, the editor of the “Pratimo tendere” portal, explained to “Direkt” that the procedure for awarding contracts is regulated by a special Ordinance and that there are significant differences in the procedure compared to regular public procurement procedures.
“Primarily, it should be pointed out that this procedure is much less transparent than an open procedure or a competitive request, because, instead of on the Public Procurement Portal, invitations to submit bids are published on the websites of the contracting authorities, which in most cases are messy and unclear, and are delivered via postal or electronic communications to at least three addresses”, says Golubović.
Commenting on a specific case in which the contracting authority often changed the conditions in the invitations so that a certain company could respond to the invitation, and even when it comes to a newly established company, Golubović says that it is very indicative that in the year of establishment, new companies were placed on the tender the lowest possible criteria in order for the company in question to be competitive and receive a significant reference for future jobs.
“The question arises, what happened to the big players in the field of private security who missed this job opportunity? Is this about the so-called collusion, that is, a prior agreement between bidders not to interfere in each other's work, and whether the contracting authority itself participates in this”, asked Golubović and explained that, on the one hand, contracting authorities, through tender documents, usually try to prevent the participation of companies that have just been established, precisely because they would avoid risks related to the successful execution of the work, while, on the other hand, they often consciously favour the so-called “traditional bidders”.
A well-informed source of “Direkt” says that these and similar deals were often concluded with those who were ready to satisfy the personal interests of individuals by extracting public money.
“It is not about party interests, but purely personal interests”, says our source.
We also asked HET for a comment on the disputed jobs by e-mail, but we did not receive a response until the publication of this text.
We also sent an inquiry to the company “Protect security”, from which, too, we still haven't received a reply.
Autor: Nikolija Bjelica Škrivan