ZUZANA Wienk of the watchdog group the Fair Play Alliance spoke to The Slovak Spectator on April 2 about the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) funding scandal. Among other comments, she said that the fake SDKÚ donors case proved that political parties in Slovakia face little, if any, financial control.
The Slovak Spectator (TSS): Did you find inconsistencies similar to those in the SDKÚ case among the donors of other political parties?
Zuzana Wienk (ZW): By random selection we also checked the lists of donors of other parliamentary parties but made no such findings. In communication with the donors of other parties, however, we recorded unconvincing reactions of the type "I don't remember how much I donated". All of them, however, knew that they were on the [donor] lists.
TSS: When will you submit your findings to the police?
ZW: We will submit them next week [the week of April 4].
TSS: What does this case mean in a broader context?
ZW: The case shows that the control of political party financing in Slovakia is completely formal and that the rules for political parties' [financial] management are insufficient. The fact that a political party only needs a receipt with the party's signature that shows they accepted [a donation] creates a wide space for illegal financing and complicates the proper investigation of allegations.
It also shows the low level of political culture when a party that is facing such allegations is not forced by its own [member] base to carry out an internal audit and to take action [against those responsible].
TSS: Does this mean that the Slovak political parties operate on illegal income?
ZW: We cannot confirm such suspicions.
TSS: Where do you think these fake donations really came from?
ZW: The fictitious donors could also mean that someone who did not want their name to be published gave the money to the party. It does not necessarily indicate that it is illegal income.
TSS: How do you evaluate the reaction of PM Mikuláš Dzurinda to the information?
ZW: I think that a party chairman should take a much more straightforward stance in such a case. Already, seven fictitious donors [eight on April 5, Ed note] have been published and Dzurinda cannot rebuff this by saying that it is a fictitious affair.
I think that he should do all that he can to clear his party of the allegations by initiating a police investigation and internal audit, and taking action [against those responsible].
His initial reaction was very untrustworthy and did not suggest that he would be willing to have the case re-examined, although he said that he had already done so.
13. Apr 2004 at 0:00 | Martina Pisárová