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SNS’s Slota says media should refund funds paid in ‘bulletin-board’ scandal

The funds from the bulletin-board tender at the Slovak Environment Ministry which cost Marián Janušek his ministerial post were spent mainly for advertising in media, according to the Slovak National Party (SNS) chairman, Ján Slota. “Those media are now the first to beat around and criticise. Well, let them return the money – this should be a little problematic, I guess,” Slota said in an interview with the SITA newswire.

The funds from the bulletin-board tender at the Slovak Environment Ministry which cost Marián Janušek his ministerial post were spent mainly for advertising in media, according to the Slovak National Party (SNS) chairman, Ján Slota. “Those media are now the first to beat around and criticise. Well, let them return the money – this should be a little problematic, I guess,” Slota said in an interview with the SITA newswire.

The SNS chairman sees no problem in the fact that the money from the budget of the Construction and Regional Development Ministry will now be used for payment of the vendors under the “bulletin-board” tender.

“The money will not come in from the tender. But from the whole package from EU for this part, everything will come to Slovakia; to the last cent. We will receive the euros that were meant to come, in full amount. They will just not be used for the things designated,” Slota explained.

According to Slota, the money planned to be used within the regional development program will go forward with EU funds and the ministry will pay from its own budget the planned work to be done under the tender.

“What’s the difference? I take from two piles, I use the things from one pile for something else, and the second pile something completely different again. In the bottom line, everything is paid as if nothing happened – only it will not be paid from EU funds, but rather form the (public) budget, and the other matter will not be paid from the budget, but rather from EU funds.” he said.

The European Commission informed Slovakia that it would not cover the payments already made to vendors as part of the subsequently cancelled bulletin-board tender, the amount being about €11 million. The tender worth €120 million had just one participant, a consortium close to Slota. Very expensive logos, services and TV ads were part of the order.

Auditors of the Supreme Audit Office and the Public Procurement Office found that the tender violated the law. The tender itself was announced only on the bulletin board in the ministry building. After the new minister Igor Štefanov took over the post, he cancelled the tender. However, the ministry already paid €11.6 million to the companies in the consortium. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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