2021.01.11 16:36

‘Golden spoon’ scandal: company ordered to return funds to military after overcharging for cutlery

BNS2021.01.11 16:36

Lithuania’s so-called golden spoon scandal has been put to an end after the Supreme Court ordered a company to refund the military after overcharging for cutlery.

The dispute centered on the 2014 contract between the military and Nota Bene, a local company that later changed its name to Saugu LT, which supplied kitchen utensils to the military at as much as eight times the market value. The ensuing controversy, dubbed the 'golden spoon' scandal, caused a public backlash.

On Monday, the Supreme Court ordered the kitchen equipment supplier to return more than 100,000 euros to the Armed Forces and take back the goods.

After examining an appeal filed by the military, a panel of three judges upheld the Court of Appeal's finding that the 2014 contract violated public procurement principles and should be invalidated.

The deal was declared null and void on the grounds that the technical specifications did not ensure competition. The Armed Forces failed to prove that the supplier, which was then called Nota Bene, sought to deceive the military.

The court also held that the procurement process should have been split into two parts – one for spare parts for field kitchens and the other for kitchen utensils.

Two years ago, a court found the company's CEO guilty of obtaining money fraudulently in what was dubbed by the media as the "golden spoons" case.

In a related civil suit, the Court of Appeal ordered Saugu LT to pay 118,000 euros plus 5 percent annual interest to the Armed Forces.