The Construction and Regional Development Ministry said on May 13 that it has not sought to and does not intend to recover the funds already released under a €119.5-million contract that was awarded to firms close to the Slovak National Party (SNS), whose nominees have served as construction ministers, the TASR newswire reported.
The controversial contract for interpretation and other services was found to have been awarded without being put out to proper tender, thus wasting public funds that were supposed to have been covered by the European Union but may not be if the European Commission is dissatisfied with Slovakia's explanation, according to TASR.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on public service Slovak Television (STV) on Sunday, May 10, that he has ordered Minister Štefanov to cancel the contract negotiated with the firms concerned and that he will commission an analysis to see whether the already spend funds were used effectively. Štefanov told reporters after the weekly government policy session on May 13 that he acted immediately to stop the contract but it will take some time to have it cancelled following talks with the companies concerned.
Earlier on Wednesday, an NGO, the Fair-play Alliance, said that it has filed a criminal complaint against the Construction Ministry at a district court in Bratislava and demanded that the judicial authorities declare the contract from the tender invalid from the outset.
Former construction and regional development Minister Marian Janušek was ousted from his post last month amid the controversy over the tender, which had been announced only on a ministry bulletin board. TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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