Integrity Pact case study in Berlin: bringing corruption to light
Integrity Pacts applied to the Berlin-Brandenburg (BER) airport in Germany is an example where an Integrity Pact is unable to prevent corruption, but instrumental in revealing fraud or other irregularities in the public works at issue.
In the end, the IP was terminated because confidence in the integrity of the project was lacking, as detailed by statements from Transparency International Germany in the BER case. This shows that while Integrity Pacts cannot provide a guarantee against the occurrence of corruption, they still can play an important role in shining a light on the misuse of funds.
The German federal and state governments of Berlin and Brandenburg agreed shortly after German reunification in 1990 to build a major new airport in Berlin. A company owned by the three public authorities, then known as Flughafen Berlin-Schoenefeld GmBH (FBS), was formed to take the project forward. The project was riddled with scandals and delays for over a decade.
In 2004, the Berlin mayor and the Brandenburg prime minister instructed FBS to ask Transparency International’s national chapter in Germany for advice on integrity tools. TI-Germany suggested an Integrity Pact.
Implementation of the Integrity Pact
In 2005, FBS agreed to implement an Integrity Pact to oversee procurement related to the airport project. An independent monitor was appointed by FBS from a shortlist of candidates developed by TI-Germany. The expert was a well-respected retired procurement official from Berlin. He was paid by FBS through a process that was designed to preserve his independence.
TI-Germany continued to advise on the Integrity Pact and related procurement, but did not have a formal contractual role.
TI-Germany advised on the development of the text of the Integrity Pact. Signing it was mandatory, both for the FBS as the contracting authority and for all bidders. Signature of the IP at the tender phase committed the winning bidder to continue to meet its obligations in the contract implementation phase. The text included sanctions provisions, but no specific dispute resolution mechanisms.
Withdrawal of TI-Germany
Despite some initial reluctance, FBS came to see benefits that the independent monitor brought to resolving certain claims that arose. By 2013, however, continued delays and reports of corruption and irregularities appeared. TI-Germany and the independent monitor raised questions to FBS and offered recommendations for greater transparency and resolution of the complaints. FBS failed to provide adequate responses to TI-Germany’s satisfaction.
In light of FBS’s lack of cooperation, TI-Germany issued a press release in March 2015 announcing that it would cease its collaboration. The airport has continued to experience delays and controversy and has not yet opened, almost two decades after reunification.
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