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State companies may be able to keep contracts secret

The Justice Ministry under Lucia Žitňanská (SDKÚ) has finalised a draft revision of the Freedom of Information Act which if passed could change the obligation on state-owned companies to publish their contracts online. The government is due to discuss the bill at its session on August 17, the Sme daily reported.

The Justice Ministry under Lucia Žitňanská (SDKÚ) has finalised a draft revision of the Freedom of Information Act which if passed could change the obligation on state-owned companies to publish their contracts online. The government is due to discuss the bill at its session on August 17, the Sme daily reported.

Since January 1, 2011, all companies in which the state owns shares have been obliged to publish online all signed contracts and invoices. If the proposed change is passed, only companies fully owned by the state or municipalities will be required to publish everything. However, according to the draft wording, even they will not have to publish agreements signed as part of “normal commercial relations”.

“The expression ‘normal commercial relations’ is far too flexible and can be interpreted very widely,” said lawyer Radovan Pala, as quoted by Sme, adding that thanks to this measure state heating companies would not have to publish data about emissions quotas, and the state-owned postal operator could conceal information about purchases of expensive cars.

Žitňanská said that the amendment is merely intended to address the complaints of state companies, which claim that they are at a disadvantage against their privately-owned competitors. She added that the state-run companies would still have to publish a majority of their contracts.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.

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