At the parliamentary session on May 20, MPs began debating the first reading of a draft amendment that aims to restore the integrity of the scandal-ridden Slovak Land Fund (SPF).
Work has been underway on the revisions for several months because two partners in the ruling coalition, SMER-SD and the ĽS-HZDS, were unable to agree on it. The draft amendment introduced a two-level management of the SPF. A council, on which nominees of the opposition will also sit, will control every contract. The council will not approve contracts; it will only be authorised to recommend their conclusion or rejection. The final decision rests upon the fund's statutory bodies - the director general and his/her deputy.
Current SPF Director General Miloslav Šebek (a nominee of SMER-SD) will keep his post because authorities appointed prior to September 1, 2008 are considered lawful according to the revision. The cabinet will appoint the director general and his/her deputy based on a proposal of the Agriculture Minister.
Control of fund's activities and performance is the main task of the 11-member council. The parliament is to appoint and dismiss members of the council; the cabinet will nominate six of them and five will be chosen on proportional representation of political parties out of those nominated by the respective committee. All contracts made by the fund are to be released on the Internet within five days after conclusion.
Once the cabinet had approved the draft, PM Robert Fico promised that all contracts concluded by the fund since the early 1990s would be disclosed.
A final version will be debated at a June session. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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