Croatian transparency activists publish enormous database of government procurements, pointing the way to detecting corruption and fraud

Marko Rakar, leader of a kind of Croatian version of Wikileaks, has once again made a stir in Croatia. Previously, Rakar published a database showing rampant voter-fraud (this triggered a constitutional crisis and reform effort).

Now, Rakar's latest project is a database of "All the public procurement data for government spending since July 1, 2009, in easily searchable form." Though the data is all from publicly accessible government sites, Rakar's structuring of it in searchable form allows Croatians to find interconnections between elected officials and the companies they give contracts to, revealing potential fraud and corruption in the system, which is widely believed to be mired in fraud

First it is easy to use the tool to understand how much money each agency spent and where (this site covers not only government and ministries, but also agencies, municipalities, public utility companies and basically all entities which are by law obliged to follow public procurement law). Furthermore, it is easy to track and identify "winners" in the public procurement field and it is really easy to spot highly unusual contractors; for example companies which do business with a single government entity, companies with a huge amount of their turnover that only do business with government, or companies which have unusually high profit rates.

We have found a number of companies which appear to be founded only to service a single government contract. Journalists have already found a number of companies which have a number of multimillion contracts and are at the same time huge donors to the ruling party.

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