Access to the whole content of the contract signed with Microsoft for the supply of 30,000 software packages for the needs of the Bulgarian public administration
Access to Information Programme, Stoicho Katsarov and Ivan Ivanov vs. the Minister of Public Administration
First instance – administrative case ¹9502/2003 SAC 5th Division
On the following day, the Minister sent a letter to the applicants, providing in the form of a summary in writing only part of the content of the contract and specifying arguments to support the selection of a supplier. The letter indicated that a copy of the contract could not be disclosed, because no consent of the third party – Microsoft- had been received. The Minister also argued, that the software company was not an obliged body in the meaning of art. 3, para. 2, item 2 of APIA, because payments under a contract did not mean “budget financing” in the sense of APIA.
However, the Minister failed to send the appeal and the whole file to the court.
Finding their right of access to information to have been infringed, the appellants sent an application to the court with a copy of the appeal and the court started proceedings by demanding the file from the Minister ex officio.
Developments at the First instance court:
The representative of the claimants requested the court to demand the file from the Minister because his reply did not provide the requested information.
The court stayed the case and instructed the Minister of Public Administration to put together and submit the whole file.
During the second court hearing in May 2004, it turned out that the Minister of state administration had not been duly summoned. He did neither send a representative to the court, nor followed the February instructions of the court to submit the whole file.
The court stayed the proceedings yet again and appointed a new hearing for October. The Minister of state administration had to be duly summoned and obliged to submit the court file in accordance to the court ruling from February.
Although the Minister had not been duly summoned to the third court hearing, he was represented by two of his legal councelors. They testified that the Ministry possessed no further documents, besides those already presented to the court in February. They didn't even keep a copy of the information request. The representatives of the plaintiff argued that the refusal, contained in the letter of the Minister was unlawful. They believed that under the hypothesis of art. 31, para. 5 of APIA the consent of Microsoft was not required for access to the agreement, because the company is covered by art. 3, para. 2, item 2 of APIA. The plaintiffs argued as well that the term “financing” also means payment to a contractor, as used in the new Public procurements act. After hearing the arguments of the parties the judges adjourned and announced that a decision would be delivered in the law-provided term.
Development before the second instance court:
HOME | ABOUT US | APIA | LEGISLATIVE BASE | LEGAL HELP | TRAININGS | PUBLICATIONS | FAQ | LINKS | SEARCH | MAP
English Version Last Update: 22.03.2006 © 1999 Copyright by Interia & AIP