AFTER the ruling coalition’s attempts to make public procurement processes more transparent, the non-governmental sector has also come up with a tool that should reveal the links between the companies that win state orders and the actual people behind them with just a few mouse-clicks.
The newly introduced website www.znasichdani.sk (‘z našich daní’ is Slovak for ‘from our taxes’) contains a register of people who are known to be behind the companies benefiting from state orders.
The search engine works with the names of people, and after searching for a particular person, it lists the companies the name is connected to and the state orders they have won, plus the amount they have received from public funds.
The website is a result of an initiative by the Fair-Play Alliance, a political transparency watchdog, in cooperation with the Visual Business Register, an online tool that allows users to see relationships and details from Slovakia’s Business Register in context. The Visual Business Register provided technology to link people who own companies and cooperated in developing the project concept.
“We believe this service will help journalists and NGOs to control power, and thanks to its simplicity it may also raise interest among the wider public,” Zuzana Wienk of the Fair-Play Alliance said. “There are specific people and their business culture behind every company. We often hear speculation about their above-standard relations with politicians. This service turns speculation and fairytales into hard facts.”
Fair-Play Alliance cited the example of businessman Juraj Široký, two of whose companies, Chemolak and Váhostav, received €170 million in state orders between 2005 and 2011, according to data on Znasichdani.sk.
The data used for the service are drawn from Datanest.sk, a web project by Fair-Play Alliance which gathers information about the flow of public finances, for instance from the Bulletin of Public Procurement. Then Znasichdani.sk combines these data with the database of the Business Register.
For the moment only data for the years 2005-2011 are available. The website does not include information about goods and services that were procured by state institutions if the orders did not go through the Bulletin of Public Procurement. These, according to the Fair-Play Alliance, constituted about one quarter of all procurement activity in 2009, and were worth around €2.25 billion.
4. Apr 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff