Branislav Bríza, the HZDS nominee at the centre of a dispute between the ruling coalition parties, stepped down as Slovak Land Fund (SPF) vice-chairman on November 15.
"It's my personal decision. I don't want to be involved in political games," he said. He added that he was not aware of having made any mistakes and he will stay on the SPF board.
According to Bríza, the land in Vysny Slavkov at the centre of the scandal is worth nothing close to Sk1.5 billion (€45.5 million), as the opposition claims. Furthermore, the fund is not responsible for what the people who request land as restitution do with the land they receive, or for what price they sell it, he said.
Bríza said he has no personal contacts with the GVM company, which bought the land in question.
Bríza said Prime Minister Robert Fico's approach – that if Agriculture Minister Miroslav Jureňa didn't withdraw Bríza from his post, Fico would try to dismiss Jureňa – to be influenced by lobby groups close to Fico’s ruling Smer party.
Bríza’s resignation was the first step towards solving this scandal, Fico said.
"Now it's the Prosecutor General's Office's turn to use any legal options to return the land in question into the hands of the state," he said.
According to opposition SDKÚ chairman Mikuláš Dzurinda, Jureňa is responsible for this area, so the opposition will focus on him.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
16. Nov 2007 at 15:36