The Supreme Court regularly receives millions of crowns in state budget money for judicial positions that are vacant, money which chief justice Stefan Harabin distributes in secret bonuses to court judges, the Pravda daily reports.
In 2001, for instance, the court received Sk52 million ($1.2 million) to cover the salaries of 92 judges, the number it is officially supposed to have, even though only 76 judges were actually on the payroll. Rather than return the unused money, Harabin distributed it in bonuses, although he has not divulged the names of the recipients or the amounts involved.
Similar use has been made of the Sk60 million the court has received in 2002, with Sk2.3 million having already been paid out in bonuses to 54 judges.
Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš has vowed to tighten control over the use of state budget funds as of 2003.
Compiled by Tom Nicholson from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.