NEWS IN SHORT

Official demoted over lobbying

A SENIOR official in the Government Office, Štefan Grman, was demoted at the initiative of the prime minister after he organised a meeting for a telecommunications-firm lobbyist with the head of the Parliament Office, Michal Nižňan of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party.

A SENIOR official in the Government Office, Štefan Grman, was demoted at the initiative of the prime minister after he organised a meeting for a telecommunications-firm lobbyist with the head of the Parliament Office, Michal Nižňan of the Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party.

Grman was dismissed as secretary of the Cabinet Legislative Council on January 14, after Speaker of Parliament Richard Sulík, who is also the leader of SaS, complained directly to the prime minister about his attempt to arrange the meeting.

Nižňan first mentioned the liaison with a man from a telecoms company on his blog, saying that it only transpired when the meeting took place that “the real reason for the lunch was to mediate a meeting with Mr B, which wouldn’t have taken place under normal circumstances”.

Sulík later specified in a related online discussion that the official at the lunch was Grman and that the lobbyist – Mr B – was Štefan Kollarovits of Kapsch, an Austrian company.

He said that Nižňan was offered the company’s services for parliament, and was invited to Austria for a weekend to see a presentation of Kapsch technologies.

Grman admitted to having organised the meeting, according to the prime minister’s spokesperson, Rado Baťo, and has now been moved to a more junior position.

He has been working for the Government Office for 37 years, Sme reported.


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