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Former agriculture minister denies gag order on staff

Former agriculture minister Zsolt Simon from Most-Híd party allegedly threatened to fire ministry employees if they provided any information about a food-aid controversy, the current Agriculture Minister, Ľubomír Jahnátek, told the TASR newswire on May 16. "Simon knew very well that there was a problem and that sooner or later it would surface. We have transcripts of three recordings from the minister's meetings and they differ from the official meeting minutes," Jahnátek stated, as quoted by TASR newswire, adding that the recordings and transcripts will be passed on to investigators. Simon denied Jahnátek's allegations, saying if anyone should bear the political responsibility for the possible fraud connected with food aid delivery it should be Jahnátek and the new head of the Agriculture Payment Agency (PPA), Stanislav Grobár, Simon stated at a press briefing on May 16.

Former agriculture minister Zsolt Simon from Most-Híd party allegedly threatened to fire ministry employees if they provided any information about a food-aid controversy, the current Agriculture Minister, Ľubomír Jahnátek, told the TASR newswire on May 16.

"Simon knew very well that there was a problem and that sooner or later it would surface. We have transcripts of three recordings from the minister's meetings and they differ from the official meeting minutes," Jahnátek stated, as quoted by TASR newswire, adding that the recordings and transcripts will be passed on to investigators.

Simon denied Jahnátek's allegations, saying if anyone should bear the political responsibility for the possible fraud connected with food aid delivery it should be Jahnátek and the new head of the Agriculture Payment Agency (PPA), Stanislav Grobár, Simon stated at a press briefing on May 16.

"Minister Jahnátek told the public that I threatened to fire Agriculture Ministry employees if they provided information about the food aid problems ... I view this as completely misleading information ... I recommend that everyone read the transcript and not just pieces taken out of context," Simon told TASR, adding that "I'm not worried about a criminal complaint, because I have nothing to worry about".

TASR wrote that cabinet ministers do not enjoy the same degree of immunity from prosecution as MPs.

Source: TASR

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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