Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš has abandoned the fine he had imposed on Supreme Court Chairman Štefan Harabin over his refusal to allow a Finance Ministry audit of the court and Harabin said on Monday, October 4, this constitutes an admission of wrongdoing, the TASR newswire wrote.
“Minister Mikloš thereby convicted himself of lies and legal and constitutional violations. A constitutional official is required to peruse regulations first before holding press conferences,” said Harabin, as quoted by TASR. “I'll bring him to court over this interference in the independence of the judiciary,” Harabin vowed. The court is currently preparing a legal complaint against Mikloš over what the court alleges is a gross violation of Slovakia's Constitution and laws.
Finance Ministry spokesman Martin Jaroš said the ministry has suspended proceedings on the €1,000 fine that was meted out on Harabin in August. According to Jaroš, Mikloš insists that Harabin has broken the law and refutes claims that, given its cancellation, the penalty was unjustified.
The feud between the Finance Ministry and the Supreme Court dates back to the end of July when a ministry auditor was first barred from conducting an audit at the nation's top appellate court. Harabin claimed that only Slovakia’s Supreme Audit Office may conduct an audit.
Mikloš then slapped fines of €33,000 and €1,000 on the court and its chairman, respectively. According to Jaroš, the action vis-á-vis the fine was suspended in order to enable another action over a criminal complaint that the ministry has lodged against Harabin over the thwarted audits.
“We believe that, as far as disciplinary proceedings go, Harabin as a judge can be penalised in a more severe manner than by a penalty of €995.81, including the dismissal from the post of Supreme Court chairman,” said Jaroš. Meanwhile, the ministry continues to pursure the €33,000 fine that was imposed on the 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.
5. Oct 2010 at 14:00