THE ADDENDUM to the agreement over distribution of textbooks signed by the Education Minister Dušan Čaplovič might be at odds with law, according to MPs Lucia Žitňanská and Miroslav Beblavý, former members of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ). The MPs have already filed a motion with the Public Procurement Office (ÚVO). The ministry denies the allegations, the SITA newswire wrote on January 9.

The Sme daily broke the story in its January 7 issue, writing that Čaplovič prolonged the deal with company Xepap by a further three years shortly before Christmas. Xepap will store and distribute the books and get €14,570 a month (€525,000 during the whole three years) since the company will also care for the books, guard them and pay insurance. The addendum also says that the company will be able to claim for the money “regardless the amount of books stored, insured and guarded by the provider in respective month for which he gets the monthly fee”. The original agreement was signed by previous Education Minister Eugen Jurzyca in March 2011.

The Education Ministry says that it observed the law on public procurement. It stated in a press release informing about signing the addendum that “the agreement was extended in the end of last year as the Education Ministry secures much more learning books and teaching aids than in the past”, as reported by SITA. The ministry used the option which already had been part of the original competition, ministry spokesman Michal Kaliňák said.

He added the company is responsible and economically advantageous and that the ministry managed to negotiate the reduction of the original price for distribution of one book by 30 percent. He also said that Xepap stores by 20 times number of books that had been originally agreed, SITA wrote.

Sme wrote that former partners of Smer Deputy Chairman Vladimír Maňka have a stake in the company.

Source: SITA, Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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