Justice Minister Štefan Harabin has defended his decision to award himself the highest special bonuses in the history of the Supreme Court, which he received as Supreme Court President in 2001 and 2002.
On top of his annual salary of around Sk400,000, he approved special bonuses for himself worth Sk400,000 in 2001 and Sk600,000 in 2002, the SITA newswire reported on June 3. The information about the bonuses was released by the Slovak Governance Institute (SGI). Harabin is running for the post of Supreme Court President again and has strongly criticised the high bonuses paid to judges serving on the Special Court.
The SGI stated that bonuses paid to Harabin in 2001 and 2002 exceeded by ten times the limit that parliament had approved for the Supreme Court president at that time. It said that Harabin exploited a temporary legal vacuum after a change in the law, when the power to determine bonuses was being transferred from parliament to a new institution, the Judicial Council. Acording to the SGI, Harabin blocked the election of the Judicial Council chairman, thus obstructing the Judicial Council in its operations and, as a result of this, was able to grant himself the bonuses.
The SGI has noted that Harabin did not then object to inequality in remuneration of judges as he does now; it said that he himself created the disproportionate remuneration.
Harabin stressed that his bonuses were subject to investigations conducted by the police, the government and the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ). He said that during the investigations, the entities concluded that his decision to grant himself special bonuses was in line with law. SITA
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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4. Jun 2009 at 10:00