Prime Minister Iveta Radičová said the current government has no interest in being questioned in connection with cronyism so she has told the Tax Directorate to re-open the competition to seek less expensive bids for the building where the Košice tax office will be located, the TASR newswire reported. The prime minister responded in this way on April 13 to criticism surrounding the Košice building rental deal raised by Smer chairman Robert Fico of the opposition.
The Tax Directorate, headed by Miroslav Mikulčík, earlier this year signed a contract on rental of a building in Kosice with a company called Nitra Invest, owned Ondrej Ščurka, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) district chair and Nitra regional council member. According to the contract, the five-year rental will be €6.6 million.
Radičová met both Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš and Mikulčík over this matter on April 13. "With approval of the Finance Minister, and in order to remove any doubts or speculations, I've asked the head of Tax Directorate to re-open the competition, allowing anyone to make less expensive bids to rent a building that will meet all the required criteria. If there is such a bid, then the closed contract will be cancelled," said Radičová as quoted by TASR, adding that she considers that the end of the story.
"If someone wants to create scandals around it, away you go. For me this case is definitely closed," said Radičová. According to the Sme daily, she also asked if the 5,000 members of SDKÚ are prohibited from competing for business on anything in Slovakia.
She also said she was not even disturbed by the fact that Nitra Invest company is owned, apart from Ščurka, by a Cyprus-based mailbox company which again belongs to – according to information reported by Sme – to TarranaCee Ecquity that has an office in Bratislava.
SDKÚ in its pre-election agenda pledged to prevent mailbox companies from signing contracts with state. On Wednesday, Mikulčík failed to explain the conditions under which he chose Nitra Invest. He only claimed to have made research of the market, adding that he sees no reason to resign, Sme wrote.
Source: TASR, Sme
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
14. Apr 2011 at 10:00