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Prosecution of former transport minister halted

THE PROSECUTION of a former transport minister for alleged corruption regarding the purchase of 35 light diesel engines for trains has been stopped.

Charges have been dismissed against former Transport Minister Jozef Macejko, his subordinate Peter Klučka (former head of the ministry's office) and Michal Balog (former state secretary), according to the TASR news agency.

The former Czechoslovak minister of foreign trade, Jozef Bakšay, also involved in the case, was prosecuted for accepting a bribe and possibly other kickbacks from the French company, Alstom.

The Anti-Corruption Bureau's investigator said Macejko and his associates were suspected of abusing confidential information in 2002 while trying to transfer a state-awarded tender to failed bidder Alstom.

Slovak-Swiss consortium DMU GTW Slovakia (consisting of two partners, ZOS Vrútky and Swiss Stadler AG) officially won the tender, but Alstom subsequently submitted a better bid.

It is alleged that Baksay, while at Traja Mušketieri (a Bratislava restaurant), mentioned that he would receive a 'reward' if Alstom took the contract from the consortium.

Former MP Peter Kresánek was in the restaurant at the time. Kresánek revealed the overheard conversation in a letter to Premier Mikuláš Dzurinda. The information became public and controversy arose over the tender.

Macejko was dismissed from his post. His successor, Ivan Mikloš, cancelled the contract. Pavol Prokopovič, who is currently the Transportation Minister, agrees with Mikloš' decision.

Compiled by Beata Balogová from press reports
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