Releasing a written statement on Monday, KİK said the two officials were removed from office while the institution commenced an administrative inquiry into the issue. “The board member has not appeared in court yet. … We are monitoring the judicial process closely,” the KİK statement read, refraining from giving the names of the officials. KİK's statement added that “people should refrain from comments and claims that would otherwise harm the authority,” referring to press reports. What KİK refers to as “claims” are, however, proven facts, according to Ankara police. The police have been conducting a comprehensive investigation at the end of which they concluded that the KİK officials helped several companies win public tenders by issuing reports that favored them and received large bribes in return.
One of the critical details that the police base the findings of their investigation on was the “surprisingly high” assets belonging to KİK officials, whose monthly salaries were TL 5,100. The police have found that personal assets belonging to Turna included five stores, seven apartments, two parcels of land, one time-share summer house, three automobiles and TL 500,000 in cash. Turna cited the gold his family received at his son’s wedding and assets he inherited from his father-in-law as the source of his belongings. The police found $46,000, 23,600 euro and TL 25,000 in cash following searches at Turna’s house last week.
Turna said two of the cars belonged to his two sons while the time-share summer house in Alanya belonged to his wife. The police are also investigating Turna’s father’s assets. Ten others, including businessmen, were arrested as part of the police investigation.
Talks of an alleged gang within Public Procurement Authority
The latest findings increased suspicions that the police might be talking about an organized crime scheme or a “gang” inside KİK. Kaya is the suspected leader of this alleged group, with Turna and Varüer as his assistants. According to claims in Monday’s news reports, “the gang” followed certain companies’ tender applications to KİK, issued reports in favor of these firms and made certain their rivals were disqualified from tenders. The number of these firms whose tender applications were “fixed” reaches 24 according to police reports. Even if a majority of the KİK board votes to grant the tender to a company, other applicants have the right to appeal. The rigging starts right at this point, when Kaya and his two friends allegedly get involved to make sure the tender goes to the “right person,” police say.
Police have prepared a comprehensive report following the investigations; they seized PCs and cell phones following searches at Kaya and Varüer’s houses. The court has asked the Finance Ministry’s Financial Crimes Investigation Board (MASAK) to prepare a report. According to the police report, Kaya also provided guidance to certain firms in public procurement tenders, contradicting his position as an independent KİK member. News reports earlier claimed that Kaya deposited bribe money into bank accounts belonging to some of his close relatives. The police have found Kaya had several bank accounts in seven separate banks. The total amount of money deposited in these accounts (both TL and foreign exchange accounts) was TL 2 million between 2009 and 2011, police have found. Kaya purchased eight pieces of real estate -- two before 2010 and six afterwards -- and later sold one of these, his bank checks revealed. Varüer also had accounts in four different banks. Between 2009 and 2011, Varüer deposited TL 285,500 in these accounts. Kaya’s older brother, Süleyman Kaya, had accounts at seven separate banks, with a total account balance of TL 48 million. Süleyman Kaya also had a business partner, M.S. -- he is not mentioned in police reports -- who deposited TL 106.3 million in 10 separate bank accounts between 2009 and 2010, the Milliyet daily reported on Monday. Süleyman Kaya and M.S. owned seven separate businesses, which had a huge difference between declared and actual income shared with the Revenues Administration (GİB), the daily’s report said. Turkey was introduced to an alleged scandal within KİK on Monday when Ankara police raided the offices of the institution and detained 22 people on charges of tender rigging. Following the examination of documents, the police said the detained officials are suspected of having rigged some 100 public tenders with an estimated value of TL 1 billion ($560 million). Police also said KİK officials and various businessmen had participated in special meetings and communicated by phone and email during the suspected tenders.
Police last Friday shared footage showing businessmen and senior officials from KİK engaging in separate meetings during which they allegedly conspired to acquire large procurement tenders. Observers had earlier drawn attention to loopholes in the laws regulating public procurements, calling on the government to revise the laws.