The Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) launched an audit of the Supreme Court on Thursday, February 2, the TASR newswire reported, citing the office of the Supreme Court president. The Finance Ministry has tried to carry out an audit six times since 2010, but has been repeatedly blocked by Supreme Court representatives who claim that only the NKÚ has the right to look into its financial affairs.
"I've been claiming from the beginning that we have nothing to hide. We don't have any [shady] tenders, and everything is [published] on the website even sooner than is required by law," said Supreme Court president Štefan Harabin, adding that he won't let Finance Minister Ivan Mikloš (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)) and his "gorillas" – a reference to the ongoing Gorilla file affair – look into his office.
The Finance Ministry fined the Supreme Court €33,000 after an attempt to carry out an audit in July 2010 was blocked. Another failed in December 2011 and Justice Minister Lucia Žitňanská (SDKÚ) has since filed a proposal for disciplinary action against Harabin in response to his obstructions.
In June 2011 the Constitutional Court ruled that Harabin should lose 70 percent of his salary for a period of one year for obstructing the work of auditors. According to Constitutional Court chairperson Ivetta Macejková, Finance Ministry audits do not violate the Supreme Court's independence as they only concern the court's financial management and not its judicial power per se. The annual budget of the Supreme Court is around €8 million.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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