At a parliamentary session on Wednesday, June 2, MPs gave the go-ahead to the Cabinet's draft amendment aimed at restoring the functioning of the Slovak Land Fund (SPF). The draft amendment introduces a two-level management for the SPF, the SITA newswire wrote. A council, on which nominees of the opposition will also sit, will oversee every contract. Pavol Frešo, a deputy for the opposition SDKÚ party, criticised the fact that the council was only supposed to act collectively. He stated that council members will become "pawns and will again be under the control of the government." The council will not approve contracts; it will only be authorised to recommend their adoption or rejection. The final decision will rest with the fund's statutory bodies – the director-general and his or her deputy. The current SPF director-general, Miloslav Šebek (a nominee of the governing Smer party), could keep his post because officials appointed prior to September 1, 2008, are considered legitimate according to the revision.
The Cabinet will appoint the director-general and his or her deputy based on a proposal from the Agriculture Minister. Oversight of the fund's activities and performance would be the main task of the eleven-strong council. The parliament will elect and recall members of the council; the cabinet will nominate six of them and five will be chosen based on proportional representation of political parties. They will serve on the council for a three-year stint. All contracts made by the fund are to be released on the internet within five days of their conclusion.
After the Cabinet approved the draft, PM Robert Fico promised that all contracts concluded by the fund since the early 1990s will also be disclosed. Preparatory work on the revision have taken several months because two partners in the governing coalition, Smer and the HZDS, were unable to agree on its terms. A scandal over land plots in Veľký Slavkov caused a crisis in the government and cost HZDS nominee Miroslav Jureňa his job as Agriculture Minister. In January, the Cabinet dismissed the SPF's management and supervisory board. Only SPF director Miloslav Šebek remained in his post. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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2. Jul 2008 at 17:00