Public procurement procedures within the Belgian Defence – Regularity and sound management

general assembly on September 14, 2022

The Defence awarded public contracts for more than 13 billion euros (VAT excluded) between 2018 and 2020. The Belgian Court of Audit has examined a selection of these contracts against the relevant internal control activities and the regulations on public procurement. The Court has concluded that the control environment has been fairly developed and formalised despite a few weaknesses. The Defence control activities have contributed to reducing the risks that the purchasing function entails. However, the Court has noted – sometimes substantial – irregularities, such as cases of poor application of the principles of competition and equality in contracts of less than or equal to 30,000 euros. For contracts above 30,000 euros, the Court has noted shortcomings in the verification of the prices submitted by the tenderers, a lack of control of the exclusion grounds and difficulties in overseeing the modifications made during the execution of the contracts. The Court has recommended, among other things, greater transparency from the Defence towards the decision-making and control authorities about the true financial stakes of certain projects.