THE GUARDIAN of labour and social policies in the former cabinet of Robert Fico, Viera Tomanová, will have to explain a generous contract she signed with one of the institutions operating under the Ministry of Labour – a contract that guaranteed her extra income of up to €60,000 until 2013.
But former minister Tomanová was not the only person to benefit from the EU funds that flowed to a project by the Centre of Social Dialogue which operated under the umbrella of the ministry’s Centre of Education. Emília Kršíková, the former state secretary at the ministry, also had a contract worth up to €77,000. The Sme daily wrote that the sum that was to be paid to Tomanová would be equal to an hourly wage of €37.50. The daily also said that Tomanová has already received €1,500 of the total and that Kršíková’s purse is €3,225 heavier even though both had been receiving their regular monthly government salaries at the time the payments were made.
Now the Slovak parliament’s conflict of interest committee is ready to look into Tomanová’s unorthodox job. If she is found to have had a conflict of interest, the former minister will lose 12 months of her salary as a public official.
The contracts were signed shortly before the parliamentary election in June and Tomanová and Kršíková were to provide consultancy services to the project. The Ministry of Labour’s new management has labelled the deals amoral and has suggested that Tomanová and Kršíková also violated the law on protection of public interest while performing public service. The ministry is demanding that Tomanová, who is currently sitting in parliament as an MP for the Smer party and Kršíková, her assistant, return all funds received to date.
The current State Secretary of the Labour Ministry, Lucia Nicholsonová, told Slovak Radio that Tomanová and Kršíková, as experts on social dialogue, also charged for consultations they held with each other.
“We need these funds for floods, for active labour market policies and to increase employment,” said Labour Minister Jozef Mihál, as quoted by Slovak Radio.
According to Sme, Tomanová has withdrawn from the contract while Kršíková is considering suing the ministry.
“I react this way to the absolutely unsubstantiated and senseless attacks waged by the current Ministry of Labour against me,” said Tomanová.
The Centre of Education, which is a subordinate body of the Ministry of Labour, was headed by Ivan Bernátek, a former director of the social security provider, Sociálna Poisťovňa, at the time the contract was signed.
Media reported that Bernátek has supposedly had close ties with former minister Tomanová.
20. Sep 2010 at 0:00 | Beata Balogová