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Coalition mayors get preferential treatment: anti-corruption NGO

Town mayors who are members of the governing-coalition parties receive much more money from the state than those who represent the opposition, Transparency International Slovakia (TIS) head Emília Sičáková-Beblavá said at a press conference on November 8.

It couldn't be assumed that the coalition mayors were more skilled in preparing projects than their opposition counterparts, she said. This obviously means that money is allocated according to party membership, which smacks of cronyism.

The Finance Ministry is poorly informed about subsidy allocations, she added, even though TIS registered 40 subsidy programs that come under the ministry's jurisdiction.

Sičáková-Beblavá also pointed to a lack of transparency when it comes to the provision of children's playgrounds under the auspices of Government Proxy for Sport Dušan Gális. The ratio between "coalition and opposition" towns in this case is also disproportionate, she said.

However, such practices were also apparent under the previous government of Mikuláš Dzurinda, she added.

The Finance Ministry denies the accusations that it has been allocating money to towns in a non-transparent manner, ministry spokesman Miroslav Šmál said on the same day. The ministry granted subsidies based on its internal rules, according to which subsidies are first allocated to towns in Eastern Slovakia, then to the central part of the country, and finally to the western part, he said.

Another rule states that subsidies should be awarded to small and less-developed towns that have limited opportunities for acquiring finances. A third rule requires the money to be allocated in such a way that it benefits the largest possible number of people.

Šmál also said that the sum of money awarded in this way this year has been approximately the same as last year.

-TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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