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Slovak Land Fund able to decide on land transfers again

The government on Wednesday re-authorised the Slovak Land Fund (SPF) to decide on the land transfers that it administers. The government thus reversed its decision of March 2008, when land-restitution scandals at the Fund came to light. A shady contract that enabled GVM, a company said to be close to Vladimír Mečiar’s HZDS party, to acquire lucrative land in the High Tatra mountains at a fraction of its real value was signed by SPF vice-chairman Branislav Bríza (a HZDS nominee). Both Bríza and agriculture minister Miroslav Jureňa (also a HZDS-nominee) lost their posts over the scandal. "In order to ensure normal functioning and renew the public's trust in the Slovak Land Fund's activities, it is necessary to reverse the government’s decisions that have been blocking its moves. We must also take into account the fact that the setting up of new bodies at the Fund has invalidated the (former) measures adopted by the government," reads a document submitted to the government session by Agriculture Minister Stanislav Becík. In summer, parliament approved an amendment to the Slovak Land Act that stated that SPF would be run by the Fund's council, which is made up of 11 members elected by parliament. Six members are proposed by the government, and the remaining five by the political parties in parliament according to their level of representation. TASR

The government on Wednesday re-authorised the Slovak Land Fund (SPF) to decide on the land transfers that it administers. The government thus reversed its decision of March 2008, when land-restitution scandals at the Fund came to light. A shady contract that enabled GVM, a company said to be close to Vladimír Mečiar’s HZDS party, to acquire lucrative land in the High Tatra mountains at a fraction of its real value was signed by SPF vice-chairman Branislav Bríza (a HZDS nominee). Both Bríza and agriculture minister Miroslav Jureňa (also a HZDS-nominee) lost their posts over the scandal.

"In order to ensure normal functioning and renew the public's trust in the Slovak Land Fund's activities, it is necessary to reverse the government’s decisions that have been blocking its moves. We must also take into account the fact that the setting up of new bodies at the Fund has invalidated the (former) measures adopted by the government," reads a document submitted to the government session by Agriculture Minister Stanislav Becík.

In summer, parliament approved an amendment to the Slovak Land Act that stated that SPF would be run by the Fund's council, which is made up of 11 members elected by parliament. Six members are proposed by the government, and the remaining five by the political parties in parliament according to their level of representation. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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