Former construction minister Igor Štefanov has filed a complaint against the charges he faces over the infamous bulletin-board tender, Jana Benková, a spokesperson for his party, the Slovak National Party (SNS), said on Thursday, June 7, as reported by the TASR newswire.
The case involved the announcement of a €120-million tender for supplying various legal and advertising services co-financed by EU funds solely on an obscure bulletin-board in a corridor at the ministry where Štefanov was at the time a senior official. The tender was won by businesses linked to SNS party leader Ján Slota, and the money expended on the project later had to be repaid by the state to Brussels. Štefanov was charged with abuse of public office in the public procurement process by the Office for the Fight against Corruption and it will now be up to the Special Prosecutor’s Office to rule on his complaint.
"I’m not really sure if there’s any criminal liability whatsoever," Štefanov commented on the bulletin-board tender two years ago. In the meantime, police have also pressed charges against his predecessor as minister, Marian Janušek, and three other persons involved in the case. If found guilty, Janušek may spend up to 20 years in prison, while the other three people - described by the police only as Radoslav B., Tomáš L. and Zdenka K. – and Štefanov could face 12-year sentences.
Police wanted to prosecute Štefanov last year, but the General Prosecutor's Office rejected their request to ask parliament to strip Štefanov, an MP at the time, of his immunity. Štefanov, whose party failed to get into parliament at the March general election, is no longer an MP so police are now free to prosecute him.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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8. Jun 2012 at 10:00