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2020.11.17 16:00

Court allows Vilnius to proceed with national stadium project, reversing earlier decision

Ramūnas Jakubauskas, BNS2020.11.17 16:00

A court has allowed Vilnius Municipality to resume tendering for a contract to build and operate a national stadium, worth almost 100 million euros, in the Lithuanian capital. 

Povilas Poderskis, the director of administration at Vilnius Municipality, told BNS that he hoped that the city would be able to sign the contract and start work by the end of the year.

Vilnius Regional Court on Monday annulled the Public Procurement Office's (VPT) order for the city to terminate the process, saying that the authority had no grounds to state that the project did not meet the criteria for a concession.

"Therefore, this conclusion has to be declared illegal and annulled," the court ruled.

Jovita Petkuvienė, the VPT acting director, told BNS that the office was considering appealing the decision.

In March, following several years of tendering procedures and after receiving the go-ahead both from the City Council and the central government, the municipality planned to sign a concession agreement with Axis industries, the winning bidder, and BaltCap, the financial investor in the project.

Read more: Vilnius ordered to terminate national stadium contract

Under the joint contract between the municipality, the builder, the financial investor, and the government, Kauno Arena would operate the complex for more than two decades.

The construction of the 15,000-seat stadium and other facilities was estimated to cost around 93.2 million euros. However, BaltCap was to receive a total of almost 156 million euros after Vilnius' authorities opted to spread out the payments over 25 years.

The project was due to be completed by 2023.

In March, however, the PPO office ordered the city to suspend the signing of the concession agreement. The procedures were suspended at the request of the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT) and the Prosecutor General's Office.

The law-enforcement bodies wanted to look at whether the increase in the value of the concession contract after negotiations was substantiated and lawful.