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Slovak cabinet sacks SPF management and board

Prime Minister Robert Fico on December 1 asked Agriculture Minister Vladimír Chovan to submit a proposal to dismiss the head of the Slovak Land Fund (SPF), Miroslav Mihálik (a nominee of Fico’s own Smer party) and his deputy Adrian Sandorčin (an appointee of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), the agriculture minister’s party).

Prime Minister Robert Fico on December 1 asked Agriculture Minister Vladimír Chovan to submit a proposal to dismiss the head of the Slovak Land Fund (SPF), Miroslav Mihálik (a nominee of Fico’s own Smer party) and his deputy Adrian Sandorčin (an appointee of the Movement for Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), the agriculture minister’s party).

The government will also propose to parliament that the cabinet's six nominees on the SPF board be recalled. The move comes in response to a scandal involving the transfer of land in Veľká Lomnica and Stará Lesná (both in Prešov Region).

Despite the sackings the prime minister insisted that the SPF's actions vis-a-vis the allocation of plots of land, which is at the heart of the scandal, were in accordance with the law. "On the other hand, not all that's legal is necessarily right," he said. According to Fico, in Slovakia there is a long-standing custom of allocating plots of land to restituents (i.e. people who got their land back after it had been seized by the former communist regime) in more lucrative areas than were the original plots. He added that he had expected SPF's board not only to pay close attention to the law, but also to bring suspicious land transfers to the attention of the relevant authorities. At the same time, Fico rejected any criticism by opposition parties.

At its session on December 2, the cabinet approved a motion to sack Mihálik and Sandorčin as of December 7, as well as a motion recalling the members of the SPF board. Parliament is yet to endorse the dismissal of the SPF board members, the SITA newswire wrote.

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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