An opposition MP and former minister has claimed that the telephones of dozens of Slovak MPs are being tapped. Forty deputies from both the coalition and opposition are having their calls intercepted, and Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic (Christian Democratic Movement (KDH)) is aware of this, opposition Slovak National Party (SNS) MP Igor Štefanov told a press conference on Thursday, March 17, citing "well-informed sources" whom he refused to identify.
"Based on the information that we've received, some journalists are being wire-taped as well," said Štefanov, who refused to provide any names but added that the list of institutions that are capable of engaging in such activities is common knowledge. Štefanov went on make further serious accusations against the interior minister.
"Lipšic is trying to gather all executive power into a single pair of hands. He doesn't baulk at eavesdropping, collecting information on his political adversaries and his coalition partners, and he puts pressure on whoever begs to differ with him," Štefanov said.
Štefanov's comments follow a press conference held by Lipšic last week in which the minister said that a certain MP would face a parliamentary motion aimed at stripping him of his MPs' immunity from prosecution for his involvement in the infamous bulletin-board tender. The tender, which was later cancelled after costing the state millions of euros, took place at the Construction and Regional Development Ministry when it came under the remit of the SNS. Lipšic didn't deny that the person concerned is Štefanov, who was serving as a senior official at the ministry when the tender was announced and later became minister after his party colleague Marián Janušek was sacked by then-premier Robert Fico.
The Interior Ministry, which flatly denied all Štefanov's claims, expressed scepticism about why he had chosen to make them just as the General Prosecutor's Office was deciding whether he should be stripped of his immunity in order to face criminal charges. "Statements made by Štefanov can't be responded to in any other way than with the well-known saying: 'a drowning man will clutch at a straw'," said Lucia Garajová from the ministry, as quoted by the TASR newswire.
She said that every case of police wire-tapping takes place according to a valid court order and is internally audited throughout.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
18. Mar 2011 at 10:00