CONSTRUCTION Minister Igor Štefanov claims that he verbally gave Prime Minister Robert Fico an overview of the financial payments made in the so-called ‘bulletin-board tender’ by “using notes he had prepared in written form”. However, Fico claimed earlier in July on public service Slovak Radio that he had received the information in written form, the SITA newswire reported.
The ministry cancelled the contract with the consortium that won the controversial tender but part of the money had already been paid to the consortium. According to the Sme daily that amount was at least €11.6 million. Fico had requested that Štefanov provide him with an analysis to show that the money paid to the consortium had been used effectively.
Štefanov said he considers the bulletin-board tender, in which the Construction Ministry asked for bids to provide €119.5 million in services in drawing down resources from EU funds, to be a closed case. He said he is only waiting for a response from the European Union, SITA wrote.
The tender has been widely criticised by the media and the opposition parties and cost Štefanov’s predecessor, Marian Janušek, his ministerial post. Appointment of the construction minister is controlled by the Slovak National Party (SNS), which has now been connected by the media with several other alleged corrupt affairs involving public finances.
In the bulletin-board tender, the ministry published the call for applications only on a bulletin board located inside the ministry building inaccessible to the general public. Several companies within the consortium which were awarded the contract have been alleged to have ties to Ján Slota, the head of the SNS.
31. Aug 2009 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff