Corruption discovered in Ankara-Konya highway construction tender

Ankara police raided the offices of the Public Procurement Authority, which has allegedly been involved in corrupt practices in 70 tenders. the interrogation of the 22 suspects continues.

February 15, 2012, Wednesday/ 18:10:00

The Ankara Prosecutor’s Office, which is conducting an investigation into claims of corruption involving the Public Procurement Authority (KİK), whose offices Ankara police raided on Monday and detained 22 people on charges of tender rigging, has found that corruption took place in the Ankara-Konya highway construction tender, which Fermak A.Ş. won in 2009.

While the interrogation of the 22 suspects continues, the Ankara Prosecutor’s Office has determined corrupt practices in 70 tenders while investigating KİK, the Taraf daily reported on Wednesday.

Upon finding out that Fermak A.Ş., which is run by Ferit Rızvanoğlu, the deputy chairman of the Kasımpaşaspor football club, allegedly bribed several KİK officials to manipulate the Ankara-Konya highway construction tender in favor of the company in 2009, the prosecutor’s office also found out that Fermak A.Ş. allegedly bribed the officials in order to win the tender of another public project, the İstanbul Pendik-Tuzla highway construction project, the daily also reported. Although a warrant was issued for Rızvanoğlu’s arrest, the police have been unable to find him. The police suspect Rızvanoğlu may have fled abroad after getting word of the warrant issued against him. Custom has been informed to take measures to prevent Rızvanoğlu’s escape abroad, the police say.

Fermak A.Ş., established in 1982 by Rızvanoğlu, has taken part in many public projects since. Among the projects it headed were the Ankara-Konya high-speed rail link construction project, the construction of the Konya railway station, the project of landscaping and constructing roads around İstanbul’s Süleymaniye Mosque, and the construction of Yüzüncü Yıl University’s research hospital in Van.

The prosecutor’s office also discovered corruption in a tender won by Nursoy Holding, another contractor. The prosecutor’s office noted corruption in a tender for the construction of a sewage system in İstanbul’s Ortaköy neighborhood. A warrant was issued for the arrest of the company’s owner, Orhan Nurdoğan. He is accused of bribing KİK officials to win the tender.

Hakan Büyükkabacı, the Ankara prosecutor conducting the investigation, has started to examine the financial assets of the detained businessmen and KİK officials, and Turkey’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) has also started to examine the financial assets of suspects and their relatives.

Meanwhile, former KİK Vice President Ali Kaya, who was detained in Monday’s raid, suffered a heart attack during his interrogation at the police station on Tuesday. Kaya was taken to the Numune Hospital in Ankara.

Among the remaining detainees were 20 well-known businessmen and three KİK officials, including former KİK Vice President Ali Kaya and two KİK officials in charge of preparing reports on companies before tenders begin, Osman T. and Şenol V. KİK officials are suspected of manipulating the regulation of public tenders in favor of businessmen in return for large sums of money. KİK officials allegedly allowed some companies banned from bidding in tenders to join them after paying a bribe. A police search of the home of one of the KİK officials detained in the raid, Osman T., yielded a large sum of money. The police found $46,000, 23,000 Euros and TL 25,350 while seizing Osman T.’s personal computer.

The Ankara Specially Authorized Prosecutor’s Office examining the financial assets of Kaya found they amounted to as much as TL 100 million. 

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