Picture: Radio Bremen | Hauke Hirsinger
- In the summer, a corner seat was purchased for the Bremen Justice Center on the Wall.
- The sofa, lamp, carpet, chairs and tables are designer items that cost 6,600 euros.
- Alleged violation of the Public Procurement and Budget Act.
What happens when the courts themselves do not follow the law? It is a question raised by the State Court, the Higher Administrative Court and the Administrative Court in Bremen. From the summer of 2021, a designer sofa, a designer lamp, a designer carpet and various designer chairs and tables were put up in the corridor of the Justice Center am Wall. Total cost: 6,600 euros – all taxpayers’ money and a luxury edition, where the courts allegedly violated public procurement and budget laws.
During the first bute and internal research in the spring, the courts were still talking about a “communication zone”. They were set up in the hallway in front of the office of the President of the State Court to ensure a better mood and more cohesion among the workforce during the corona pandemic. In addition, they had nothing to blame themselves with regard to the budget and right to tender, it said.
The Norwegian Court of Auditors reprimands the courts
However, the National Audit Office sees it differently. Because of the lack of internal research, the case was investigated further there. The result is a charge to the courts. In the report from the state audit, which is only available to buten un binnen, it says, among other things: “The audit office criticizes the unnecessary and therefore also not economical purchase of the total furnishing ‘sofa area’.”
This complaint is especially made because right next to the designer furniture there is a seating group for four people, which shows how it should have been done in the “sofa area”. “The table with chairs is based on the usual and appropriate functional furniture found in the administration and can be used not only by employees, but also by guests and members of the courts without exceeding the threshold of rudeness.”
Courts are hardly perceptive
Instead of a “sofa area” with designer furniture, such a solution would have been “adequate and necessary in accordance with the principles of economy and economy”. To make matters worse, the courts simply bought the designer furniture without a proper procurement procedure. According to the National Audit Office, this is a violation of Section 5 of the Act on Collective Agreements and Tenders. The State Audit Office has not yet commented on the matter. The rationale: Before then, the relevant courts should be allowed to intervene in the case.
Despite the complaint, the courts can only assume limited insight. The administrative court’s spokesman, Carsten Bauer, says that they accept the test report from the state audit and will now pay for the designer furniture privately afterwards. However, there are still no violations of the Budget and Procurement Act.
“Not at all anymore, because we pay for that ourselves,” explains Bauer. When asked if “paying yourself” wasn’t actually an admission of guilt, he replies, “I don’t see it that way.”
We just want to get back to our work and not bother with this couch anymore. It has been discussed long enough now.
Carsten Bauer, court reporter for the administrative court
The Ministry of Justice will continue to review the case
The supervisory authority for the courts, the Ministry of Justice, sees it differently. “I am amazed that there is no insight,” says Bremen’s Minister of Justice Björn Tschöpe (SPD).
This is a clear breach of contract. The results of the state audit are correct.
Bremen’s Minister of Justice Björn Tschöpe (SPD)
That is why Tschöpe is now demanding opinions from the courts. Further steps can then follow. “Theoretically conceivable responses are criminal charges for household embezzlement and/or disciplinary proceedings,” he says.
This topic in the program:
buten un binnen, 11 November 2022, at 19.30