The Finance Ministry is preparing a legal motion which it intends to file against Supreme Court President Štefan Harabin. The ministry is to lodge a complaint with the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Police Presidium, Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš told the SITA newswire on Thursday, August 12. Mikloš has previously stated that Harabin might have committed a crime by abusing the powers of a public official in his repeated refusal to allow a Finance Ministry audit at the Supreme Court.
On Thursday, the finance minister also signed and thus confirmed the effectiveness of fines of €33,000 against the Supreme Court and €1,000 against Harabin personally. On Wednesday, August 11, the deadline for the court to avoid its fine expired. The court now has 15 days to appeal.
Mikloš said that until now no institution has rejected a government audit, through which the ministry monitors effective use of public funds. He added that the situation at the Supreme Court, whose president refuses to allow the ministry audit, is unprecedented. The Supreme Court has already filed a motion with the General Prosecutor in connection with the Finance Ministry’s effort to carry out what the court alleges is an unlawful audit. The Supreme Court also argues that a judge can be sanctioned only through criminal or disciplinary proceedings.
For two weeks, the Ministry of Finance has been trying to start the audit, but Harabin has repeatedly blocked it. First, he claimed that the inspectors did not have the correct date on the mandate since they came on a day other than that stated in the document – even though it was the Supreme Court itself that had asked for the date to be changed. Harabin later rejected the audit on the grounds that only the Supreme Audit Office has the authority to audit the Supreme Court.
The Finance Ministry previously audited the Supreme Court in 2007 and 2009. The chair of the Constitutional Court, Ivetta Macejková, stated that both the Finance Ministry and the Supreme Audit Office have the right to audit the Constitutional Court every year. Slovakia's Ombudsman Pavol Kandráč has averred that the Ministry of Finance has the right to audit the use of public funds by the Supreme Court.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
12. Aug 2010 at 14:00