The Special Court found the former director of the National Agency for the Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise, Ľudovít Balco, not guilty of illegally transferring Sk1.5 billion in state money to a private account in 2005. According to members of the ANO party, which controlled the Economy Ministry while Balco was in office, this was a "trumped-up case" with which members of the former ruling coalition had tried to get rid of ANO head Pavol Rusko.
If investigators and the case prosecutor started to concern themselves with Balco, it was not at the bidding of Rusko's enemies in the former government. All politicians could do was to point out that if in six days a tender commission had managed to close a tender, evaluate the bids, choose the winner, draw up a contract and sign it, and transfer the funds to the winning company's account, then the agency's director had probably been in too much of a hurry to ensure that everything was done properly.
It was the investigators, on the other hand, who secured the evidence, and the prosecutor who evaluated it as significant, that the director had signed the contract with the "winner" of the tender in conflict with the agency's statutes, and without the approval of the board of trustees had transferred Sk1.584 billion crowns to the account of a private company.
The court's verdict claimed that it had not been proven that the crime for which Balco was prosecuted had really occurred. Given that the crime was fraud, the prosecution was required to prove that Balco had "taken possession of something that was not his". It did not. However, given that Balco broke the agency's statutes in his actions, it is curious that he was not charged with abuse of power by a public official.
The Supreme Court until now has upheld all of the Special Court's verdicts. If it does so in this case as well, it will not be proof that a crime did not occur, but that the prosecution did its work poorly.
Sme, May 29
4. Jun 2007 at 0:00 | Marián Leško