THE ABSENCE of 12 out of 18 members of the Slovak parliament's Conflict of Interest Committee from a scheduled sitting on November 20 was no coincidence, said committee chairman Gábor Gál from the opposition Hungarian Coalition Party (SMK).
The committee was scheduled to deal with the conflict of interest case of former Deputy Agriculture Minister Marián Záhumenský from the ruling Smer party, who stepped down from his post on October 31. Záhumenský quit after it was discovered that he had ordered changes to the rules for issuing state subsidies that gave his own company Sk4.4 million in extra funding.
According to Gál, the members of the committee didn't show up for work because they didn't want to discuss Záhumenský's case. However, the deputy chairperson of the committee, Renáta Zmajkovičová from Smer, claimed that the committee members were not properly informed of the time of the session.
Gál disagreed. "I convened the session three weeks ago. The exact date was set at the last meeting, and all members received invitations on time. I don't see what can possibly be faulted here", he said.
After leaving his ministry job, Záhumenský resumed his post as a regular MP.