Vladimír Mečiar, the leader of the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS) party, a junior party in the current ruling coalition, will give evidence to special prosecutors concerning statements he made last week that Construction and Regional Development Ministry officials go up and down Slovakia collecting personal payments of 15-30 percent from the recipients of subsidies, Prosecutor-General Dobroslav Trnka confirmed on Wednesday, March 31.

The revelations were made by Mečiar on Friday, March 26, among other comments he made when referring to the scandal involving the sale of Slovakia's carbon-dioxide emission quotas by the Environment Ministry. Mečiar, referring to several mayors as sources, said that payments for subsidies are a long-standing practice, putting those who observe the law at a disadvantage.

Mečiar stopped short of giving names on Friday. "My party isn't involved. There are three parties making up the government. There is no such knowledge of Smer (being involved). Only one remains," he said, as quoted by the TASR newswire, referring to the third party in the ruling coalition, the Slovak National Party (SNS), which controls the Construction Ministry and used to run the Environment Ministry as well.

According to Trnka, special prosecutors have acted promptly to deal with corruption-related leads, and want Mečiar to reveal the names of the mayors he referred to in his remarks. Agriculture Minister Vladimír Chovan (HZDS), who heads a ministry that also awards subsidies, denied that his employees have collected any payments, and said that if he were aware of any such cases he would report them to the police.

Source: TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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