Slovak Ombudsman Pavel Kandráč said on Monday, August 9, that he is not sure whether his presence at a meeting between Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš and Supreme Court Chairman Štefan Harabin would be much help in settling the dispute between the two institutions over who is authorised to audit the Supreme Court, the TASR newswire wrote.
According to Kandráč, auditing the Court is “the sovereign right” of the Finance Ministry. “My office isn't against being audited either, as I view it as part of the management rules,” the ombudsman told the TASR newswire in response to Harabin's claim that both the ombudsman and Prosecutor-General Dobroslav Trnka should be present at his meeting with Mikloš.
“I have no idea what all of this is supposed to mean,” said Kandráč, adding that he would consider attending the meeting only after he is officially invited.
Harabin has been refusing to allow Finance Ministry officials to audit the court's accounts for nearly two weeks, arguing in writing to the ministry that the only body with the power to audit the Supreme Court is the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ), as the court uses funds approved in parliament. Four attempts to carry out audits have been thwarted to date.
The ministry has decided to issue fines of €33,000 to the Supreme Court and €1,000 to Harabin personally for blocking the audits. Mikloš said that checking on public spending is within the purview of his ministry, and not even the Supreme Court can choose whether the Supreme Audit Office or Finance Ministry should carry out audits. The ministry conducted similar audits at the Supreme Court in 2007 and 2009.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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10. Aug 2010 at 10:00