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Finance Ministry drops fine imposed on Supreme Court for stymied audit

A special committee of the Finance Ministry has decided to cancel a large fine previously imposed on the Slovak Supreme Court. The fine, of over €33,000, was issued by the ministry under Ivan Mikloš (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)) on August 2, 2010, after court president Štefan Harabin repeatedly refused to allow Finance Ministry auditors to review the court’s financial affairs.

A special committee of the Finance Ministry has decided to cancel a large fine previously imposed on the Slovak Supreme Court. The fine, of over €33,000, was issued by the ministry under Ivan Mikloš (Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ)) on August 2, 2010, after court president Štefan Harabin repeatedly refused to allow Finance Ministry auditors to review the court’s financial affairs.

The current finance minister, Peter Kažimír (Smer), stated that the make-up of an appellate committee that was set up to review the fine was defined by Mikloš, the SITA newswire reported. Members of the committee were appointed as of January 16 this year. Kažimír further stated that committee members had changed their opinions concerning the fine after his predecessor had left his post as minister. The minister went on to say that he was now implementing the conclusions of the committee appointed by Mikloš, which has now unanimously recommended revoking the fine. Kažimír opined that his department should oversee the effectiveness of the usage of public funds in all state institutions. "But I want to do it in a legal and constitutional way," he added. He plans to change the legislation to eliminate doubts about when and where the Finance Ministry is authorised to carry out audits and impose penalties.

From July 2010, Harabin repeatedly blocked attempts by the Finance Ministry to carry out audits of the Supreme Court. Instead, he demanded that an audit be carried out by the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ). Former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská (SDKÚ) initiated disciplinary proceedings against Harabin over the issue. The Constitutional Court later backed her and punished Harabin for his actions by cutting his salary. Harabin has lodged a complaint at the European Court for Human Rights over the ruling.

Source: SITA

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

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