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Defence minister cancels Sk10 billion tender

DEFENCE Minister Juraj Liška has sparked the interest of various MPs by cancelling a massive army tender worth Sk10 billion (€241 million).

Before Liška took office in early October, the tender had already been awarded to Vojenský opravárenský podnik (VOP) Trenčín, which, according to a November 25 report by the Slovak daily SME, has the backing of some Israeli companies.

The daily alleged that the choice of VOP displeased some members of the ruling Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ).

The tender is called TOKOS - a tactical operation communication system.

Initially, Liška said that he cancelled the tender because of an "ongoing update of the long-term structural plan for the development of the armed forces and the process of particularizing its goals".

The minister also cited a new reform plan for the Slovak army. His ministry is working on an updated concept of the armed forces called Model 2015, which would introduce changes to the already approved Model 2010.

The minister said that a new tender could be called and that it could potentially save several billions of crowns.

Interested MPs plan to invite Liška to a meeting of the parliamentary defence committee to explain the reasons that led him to the abolition of the tender.

"I am curious how the minister will explain this," Smer MP and head of the defence committee Robert Kaliňák told SME.

Independent MP Ladislav Polka added: "The speed of the cancellation of some affairs, and especially interference in the Model 2010, is ungrounded."

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