City Hall Controversial over Its Cypress Tender
17 May, 2012
City Hall Controversial over Its Cypress Tender

Tbilisi City Hall accused Greenservice Ltd who had won the tender on procurement and planting 120 cypresses in Tbilisi downtown of cheating after a non-governmental watchdog questioned adequacy as well as transparency of the tender price. City Hall canceled the questioned tender contracts and promised to put the culprit company’s tender papers under investigation. Experts assure that not the accused company but the City Hall itself is responsible for the inadequately held tender.

Planting cypresses on Baratashvili Street in the

downtown of Georgian capital, which cost GEL 225 thousand to Tbilisi government was ardently discussed through social networks by the end of past April.
However, it was not the price that triggered the discussion but the discontent of Baratashvili street residents who were unhappy with the fact that, as the cypresses were being planted, the trees that they had planted themselves earlier, were being cut down. The discontented people probably did not know then about the price, which  Tbilisi government paid for procurement of the trees and service  that attracted attention of International Transparency Georgia (IT Georgia), a non-governmental organization, as inadequately high. TI Georgia researched the issue and found out that there was only one bidder at the tender for the tender technical requirements referred to a specific type of cypress -“Cupressus Pyramidalis from three plants” and Greenservice LTD founded by former City Hall top officials was the sole company in Georgia capable or willing to provide this type of plants. And consequently Greenservice’s initial bid was identical to GEL 225 thousand put by the City Hall as the tender preliminary cost and since Greenservice was the sole bidder, this amount did not change subsequently. The Tbilisi City Hall and Greenservice siged a contract in March under which the City Hall paid Greenservice GEL 990 for each plant — a total of GEL 118 800 for 120 plants.
According to the Georgian company registry, Greenservice is owned by Lasha Purtskhvanidze, former deputy mayor of Tbilisi and former head of the Old Tbilisi district administration, and Koba Kharshiladze, the former deputy head of the same district administration. According to the information that we collected from the electronic system of state procurement, Greenservice has won 17 tenders and has received over GEL 4 million from the state since 2010 (the electronic system does not contain information about the tenders conducted before 2010).
TI Georgia trailed down other similar tenders announced by the City Hall and found out that for comparison, City Hall by contract signed with another supplier on 30 January of 2012 bought 5 thousand plants of various type (cypress, tilia, maple, cedar, pine, ash) for GEL 30 as a maximum price per plant or by 33 times less than in the case of the Baratashvili Street tender.
“Had the City Hall purchased similarly-priced plants for Baratashvili street, the total cost of the purchase would have been GEL 3600 instead of GEL 118 800 and the city would have saved GEL 115 200,” TI Georgia informed. According to Erekle Urushadze, TI Georgia expert, they did not get any explanation from the City Hall what was the reason Tbilisi City Hall decided to plant such expensive trees on Baratashvili Street. Although, an expert in plants interviewed by TI Georgia said that there does not exist any sort of cypress  grown “from three plants” as the questioned tender required that makes TI Georgia presume that this special requirement was built in the tender terns to tailor them to one certain company.
To Georgian Journal City Hall explained that the 33-fold price difference between cypresses bought in January and March of this year for GEL 30 and GEL 990 respectively was quite reasonable for the GEL 30 worth cypress plant was of 2-2.5 meter in height and designed for planting forests as well as for planting spaces in residential districts under population requirement or any other planting purposes.
“Cypresses bought on the ground of tender held in 2012 for Cupressus Pyramidalis from 3 plants CL100+160 [a plant grown from 3 plants] and with the tender cost of GEL 990 was 4 meters in height and is a decorative tree sort and its planting is reasonable for improvement the city outlook, that makes certain districts more attractive to local population and tourists alike. Commensurately, similar resurfacing has economic value too. And based on the arguments that cypress is an evergreen plant, planting the questioned cypresses on Baratashvili Street have ecological importance for this certain part of the city is especially overloaded by both passengers and transport turnover, ” City Hall commented assuring that thus the price did not increase 33 times in fact.
“You have incorrect information to this end for it is obvious that the compared plants radically differ in shape, volume and height as well as age. Accordingly, it sounds logical that their price should be different,” City Hall elaborated to GJ on May 7, 2012.
However on May 9 Gigi Ugulva, Mayor of Tbilisi, having held a special counsel to probe into the trumpeted cypress issue, thanked TI Georgia for its interest,  accused Greenservice in cheating, canceled the tender results and promised to put Greenservice papers under investigation at law-enforcing body. He stressed that the tender itself was held in full compliance with the law however.  
“Based on the research of Tbilisi City Hall, although tender was held in full observation of all due tender procedures Green Service purchased the product below the objective price that was not depicted in the papers submitted at the City Hall. That means Green Service Company did not meet obligations assumed against the state,” the City Hall said in its announcement on May 9, 2012.
To avoid similar incidents in future City Hall plans to set up a special division responsible to research the market price of procurements and control it as strongly as possible. 
Davit Narmania, Executive Director of the Caucasian Institute for Economic and Social Researches, believes the blame is with the City Hall not with the allegedly culprit Greenservice. He finds creation of a new special market-price researching service redundant too.
“According to law, the City Hall procurement department is already fully responsible for the beforehand market price analysis and proper tender procedures and this possible new service cannot prevent similar incidents in future,” Narmania said. “If the accused company had no competitor at the tender why was it supposed to turn down the proposal? It is a commercial entity focused on profit and no law can punish this company for this tender, any other company would act similarly in its place. It was City Hall department for planting and resurfacing who based on the research had to exactly define what it needed and the City Hall procurement service had to research the market price afterwards.”
Irakli Lekvinadze, believes City Hall tender cancelation is just a pre-elective move as if it cares for democratic values for there are plenty of more non-transparently held tenders like the most trumpeted inbound micro-bus service and replacement old press-kiosks by new ones that still remain in force.



Other Stories
The World Digital Mining Summit to be held in Georgia
The summit is scheduled to take place between 21st-23rd September in the Hualing Hotel, Tbilisi, Georgia.
Galt and Taggart - Tourism Boom Continues in Georgia
Tourism has become one of the key drivers for the Georgian economy. Galt and Taggart has recently published research about the Georgian tourism sector in the first half of 2018.
"The worst dream for Putin is that Russians want to live in Georgia"
This year, visitors to the Adjara region would notice that there is a boom in construction in and around Batumi.
Underground gas storage facility to be built in Georgia
KfW, a German government-owned development bank signed a EUR 150 million promotional loan with the state-owned Georgian Oil and Gas Corporation (GOGC) for the construction of the first underground gas storage facility in Georgia.
New gambling rules for Georgia
Georgian lawmakers are preparing a new draft law relating to online-casinos and gambling that will seek to curb gambling addiction in Georgia.
How expensive is it to visit Georgia?
The Georgian Lari (GEL) is the official currency of Georgia and is the only legal means of payment in the entire territory of Georgia.
Trade with the EU and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) has grown significantly
Trade with the EU and the CIS has grown by 26% and 33.5 % respectively, says GeoStat, the Georgian National Statistics Office.
The unemployment rate decreases in Georgia
The unemployment rate decreased in Georgia by 1,9% and amounted to 12.1% in the 2nd quarter of 2018 compared with the previous quarter,
Memorandum of Understanding to be signed between Georgia and Malaysia
According to the Georgian Ambassador to Malaysia Nikoloz Apkhazava, Georgia plans to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysia.
“Blauenstein Georgia” due to expand in Georgia
“Blauenstein Georgia” is planning to open more shops in Georgia. It is an agriculture company that sells meat products, meat and convenience food.
The amount of Direct Foreign Investment rises in Georgia
According to the information of the National Statistics Office of Georgia, the amount of direct foreign investment in Georgia has risen
It’s going to get  harder for foreigners to get residence permit in Georgia
It’s going to get harder for foreigners to get permit of residence in Georgia.
Mziuri Park in Tbilisi to be renovated soon
It was the dream of prominent Georgian writer Nodar Dumbadze that when the original Mziuri park was constructed and opened in 1892 that it should be a park for children,
Winemakers to produce Kvanchkara in its place of origin - Racha
Khvanchakara is a semi-sweet Georgian red wine which originates from Racha, in the western part of Georgia. Kvanchkara is made of two types of grape Mujuretuli and Aleksandrouli.
The level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported has increased
The National Wine Agency of Georgia has recently published statistical information about the level of Georgian wine and Chacha exported between January and July, 2018.
New fire engines to be Manufactured in Georgia
The Acting Head of the Emergency Management Agency Shalva Khutsishvili said that the old Zili fire engines (which were made in the USSR) will be phased out and replaced with new ones, manufactured in Georgia.
Georgia witnesses a record number of tourists
The Georgian National Tourism Administration publishes statistical information about international visits to Georgia.
Canadian businessman plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro
Canadian businessman Vadim Malishev plans to build a hotel in Bakhmaro resort, Guria, in the western part of Georgia.
Coffee Factory will open in Tbilisi in October
The first coffee factory (which will be located on the Kakheti highway) in Tbilisi will open in October.
Places in Georgia where real estate is the most expensive
The real estate market in Georgia is growing annually. In Tbilisi as well as other regions of Georgia new developments are increasingly taking place.
How much does a vacation cost in Tbilisi?
It is the middle of summer and those who have not yet taken a vacation are looking for an appropriate place for sure!
The price for extreme sports in Georgia
Georgia offers a variety of options to extreme sport lovers.
The number of Georgians who own property abroad increases
The number of foreign properties owned by Georgians is increasing.
How much does Taxi cost in Tbilisi?
Stories how Taxi drivers try to deceive passengers and charge them with more money than they should pay are known for everybody all over the world.
What are the highest paid areas in Georgia
According to the data collected by the National Statistics Office of Georgia in the first quarter of 2018 the highest paid jobs in Georgia are found in the financial and insurance fields.
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Other Stories
Recently Toyota rolled out Global Campaign under this slogan that reflects the Olympic and Paralympic Spirit of Encouragement,
A couple from Switzerland combines Swiss tradition and technology with Georgian products. Their cheese is made in the Georgian mountains and sold in local stores and hotels.
It has been more than five years since the residents of Lilo village, near Tbilisi, cannot open their windows.
63 000 GEL was received by the Georgian Agro Export Group which is just a small part of the European Neighbourhood Programme for Agricultural and Rural development.
Georgian entrepreneur Guka Tavberidze, who runs his own business in the UK and does it quite well, has been invited by BBC
The grand opening of 7-star The Biltmore Hotel Tbilisi took place in Georgia’s capital on July 31.
DUSHETI, Georgia – The Georgian government and the World Bank will allocate USD 5.6 million (12 million GEL) to fund
A new Georgian clothing brand named Person has emerged in Georgian market.
Georgia is in the midst of an economic maelstrom, Euronews reports.
Situation at Georgia’s mineral water market is interesting: over the last year, the volume of export has grown by 56 percent. According to “GeoStat”, over $114 million worth of mineral water was sold
GEL Exchange