DEALS worth €30,000 are now proving quite costly for Vladislav Borík, the deputy president of the Nitra Self-Governing Region, who has been accused of manipulating public procurement processes used to select firms to provide services for the regional government.
In addition to Borík, the director of the regional government’s office, the head of the procurement department and four businessmen are also accused of criminal activities between March and September 2011, when the public procurements occurred, according to a statement made by Slovak Police President Tibor Gašpar to the press on May 25. The individuals could face seven to 12 years in prison if found guilty.
“The crime occurred when the winner was set in advance in a coordinated way between the representative of the procurer and the competing firms,” stated Gašpar, as quoted by the SITA newswire.
Gašpar was named head of Slovakia’s Police Corps in early May.
While the police said that Borík expressed a willingness to cooperate and confirmed giving advantages to certain companies, the deputy head of the regional government told the media that he had not admitted committing a crime and had only given evidence.
“I have not acted to the benefit of any firm,” Borík stated, as quoted by the Sme daily.
When commenting on the charges against Borík, Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák told Sme that “perhaps not all Smer functionaries listened carefully enough that there will be zero tolerance in these kinds of cases”.
Borík, who was appointed deputy president of the regional government in 2010, has resigned his membership in the Smer party, citing his intention not to harm the party since charges were brought against him.
The tampered tenders
The police allege that three public procurements worth a total of €30,000 were tampered with. The first procurement dealt with choosing a contractor to oversee construction at the regional government’s building. Borík and four businessmen are also accused of tampering with the tender to choose the legal advisor for court cases involving the Nitra regional government.
“Here the competition was also influenced to the benefit of a pre-selected bidder,” Gašpar stated, as quoted by SITA, adding that the police have sufficient evidence and “even something more” and this might reveal additional criminal activities.
Sme reported that the prosecutor’s office is considering ordering pre-trial custody for the accused.
The police president also alleged that Peter Nagy, the head of the regional government office and also a member of Smer, had committed a crime. Nagy told the media that he had intentionally given preference to a certain firm based on previous positive experience with the firm, Sme wrote.
Resignation or dismissal?
Even though it was reported in local media that Borík would resign from his regional government post on May 25, he was still in his position on May 30, despite the president of the Nitra Self-Governing Region, Milan Belica, saying he no longer wanted Borík to serve as his deputy.
Sme wrote that if Borík does not voluntarily resign, Smer members of the regional parliament would propose that he be dismissed.
“The president is prepared to accept the proposal of [regional] MPs to dismiss the deputy president, on which the parliament of the Nitra Self-Governing Region will decide,” said Stanislav Katrinec, Belica’s spokesperson, as quoted by Sme on May 28.
The parliament and government of Nitra Region is in the hands of a broad coalition consisting of representatives from Smer party, the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH), the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) and the Movement for a Democratic Slovakia (HZDS), which has no representation in the national parliament. The KDH and SDKÚ have already stated that they want Borík to resign.
The SITA newswire reported that before taking up his post as deputy president in Nitra Region, Borík had previously served as head of the Labour Ministry’s office as well as state secretary (i.e. deputy minister) at the Economy Ministry.
Sme wrote that Smer party had reportedly expected 42-year-old Borík to be a candidate for the presidency of the regional self-government at the next election, scheduled for 2013.