Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš confirmed that a fourth attempt by his ministry to carry out a government audit at the Supreme Court had failed, the TASR newswire reported on Wednesday, August 4. Administrative proceedings are currently underway, with Supreme Court president Štefan Harabin given till the end of the week to allow an inspection to take place.
“If we receive notification that the inspection can proceed by Friday [August 6], I’ll consider the whole situation remedied,” Mikloš said, adding that he did not expect that to happen, however. If the inspection is still blocked on Friday, the Supreme Court will have to pay a €33,000 fine, with Harabin himself fined €1,000. If Harabin chooses to cause further obstructions, Mikloš is entitled to impose another set of fines. According to Mikloš, inflicting fines on the Supreme Court is the only means at the Finance Ministry's disposal to force through an inspection.
The Finance Ministry-Supreme Court case has been going on for a week now. The ministry wants to look into whether financial resources are being used effectively and legally at the court. Similar audits took place in 2007 and 2009. On Monday, Harabin requested that the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) instead of the Finance Ministry conduct an inspection at the court. Critics have noted that the NKÚ is led by a political nominee of the same party that nominated Harabin to his previous job as justice minister.
According to Harabin, the executive power – namely the Finance Ministry – shouldn’t be allowed to carry out an audit of the Supreme Court. Mikloš responded by saying that Harabin is constantly trying to find new reasons to block ministry inspectors. He stressed that the Finance Ministry has the power to look into the spending of taxpayers’ money and that Harabin can’t choose which institution should perform this task.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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5. Aug 2010 at 10:00