The Supreme Control Office, a state-funded corruption watchdog, has said after the first phase of its investigation into Slovakia's use of European Union funds that "room for corruption was created".
The EU briefly cut off new funding for Slovakia in June after doubts arose over how the money was being used.
Speaking at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister for Integration Mária Kadlečíková, Supreme Control Office head Jozef Stahl made the claim after completing an investigation of how projects which received EU taxpayer money through the PHARE and ISPA structural funding programmes had been evaluated.
Curiously, Kadlečíková then contradicted her colleague and said that corruption had not been found, that Government Office employee and EU funding contact Roland Tóth had been fired on the basis of a letter written to senior government officials by his estranged wife, and that former Deputy PM for Integration Pavol Hamžík had lost his job in turn because someone had had to take political responsibility.
The investigation continues, with further results expected in September.
13. Aug 2001 at 0:00 | From press reports of TASR and SITA