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PM Fico says Slovak restituents want land, not compensation

A proposal to give only financial compensation to land restituents (i.e. people who get their property back after it had been seized by the former communist regime and made public property) in order to prevent shady transactions has met with great disapproval from restitutents, said Prime Minister Robert Fico at the session of the government on December 2, the TASR newswire wrote.

A proposal to give only financial compensation to land restituents (i.e. people who get their property back after it had been seized by the former communist regime and made public property) in order to prevent shady transactions has met with great disapproval from restitutents, said Prime Minister Robert Fico at the session of the government on December 2, the TASR newswire wrote.

Fico said, however, that he would vote in favour of such a proposal without hesitation.

Independent MP Zsolt Simon plans to submit amendments to three Restitution Acts at the upcoming parliamentary session in an attempt to resolve the current controversy over land deals. Fico responded by asking why Simon did not come up with such an amendment when he was agriculture minister, as land allocations which are more lucrative than the plots originally lost are a long-term phenomenon.

Asked whether a land mafia was involved in the case of the brewing scandal concerning land allocations in Veľká Lomnica and Stará Lesná, Fico responded that many people were involved - from 11 Slovak Land Fund (SPF) Council members to the general director and his deputy.

“I don't believe that they struck a deal but think it’s more of a case of negligence and a gross violation of political instructions,” he said to TASR. He also sent a request to the Prosecutor-General’s Office to investigate the land transfer in question.

According to the prime minister, the Prosecutor’s Office needs to consider whether it can take court action based on the public interest. Fico stressed that after personnel changes in SPF are carried out, the government will insist that land is granted to restituents only in areas where the original property was lost. TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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