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Data published on public officials’ incomes

IN ADDITION to their monthly salaries as public officials, some members of parliament, government ministers and other public officials have additional income that ranges from several hundreds of euros a year to hundreds of thousands of euros. Even though public officials are required to disclose their salaries, additional income and property holdings each year, the reports they must file are not very detailed.

Transport Minister Ján Počiatek(Source: SME)

IN ADDITION to their monthly salaries as public officials, some members of parliament, government ministers and other public officials have additional income that ranges from several hundreds of euros a year to hundreds of thousands of euros. Even though public officials are required to disclose their salaries, additional income and property holdings each year, the reports they must file are not very detailed.

The member of the current cabinet with the highest annual income is Transport Minister Ján Počiatek, whose earnings above his salary were nearly €900,000 in 2011, according to the disclosure information published on the Slovak Parliament’s website. Počiatek is followed by Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák who reported additional income of €334,184 and Finance Minister Peter Kažimír, who reported earning an additional €230,129 in 2011.

Prime Minister Robert Fico reported that he only had his salary as a member of parliament last year, which was €27,538.

Four current ministers did not submit a disclosure form for 2011 because they were not employed by the state last year. Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský and Health Minister Zuzana Zvolenská worked in the private sector, Justice Minister Tomáš Borec worked as a lawyer and Foreign Affairs Minister Miroslav Lajčák was a diplomat with the European Commission.

The highest additional income for a chairman of a political party belonged to Ján Figeľ of the Christian Democratic Movement, who reported an additional €120,000 in income, mostly from retirement payments he is receiving from the European Commission, the TASR newswire wrote.

According to his disclosure form filed with parliament, Most-Híd chairman Béla Bugár had additional income of €796 in 2011.

Other chairs of parties represented in the current parliament reported they had not received anything other than their MP’s or ministerial salaries in 2011. But according to the politikaopen.sk website, which publishes more detailed data voluntarily provided by public officials, Richard Sulík, the chairman of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) party and a former speaker of the parliament, earned an additional €95,463 in 2011.

Slovakia’s law governing the rules on disclosure requires that each public official file a report within 30 days of his or her appointment. The duty applies to all elected officials, state appointees to ministerial posts and political nominees serving on the boards of directors or supervisory bodies of state-owned companies.

The law states that those who do not submit their disclosures in the required period can face a penalty of one month’s salary, while officials who file incomplete or incorrect information can be penalised with a fine equivalent to three monthly salaries.

Those who hold another job that could be in conflict with their public duties can be fined an amount equal to twelve monthly salaries.

The parliament’s constitutional committee has the authority to impose the fines and the SITA newswire wrote that more than 20 current or former public officials have been sanctioned, including Pavel Kandráč, a former ombudsman, Alan Sitár, a former head of the National Highway Company (NDS), and Kristián Takáč, a former state secretary (i.e. deputy minister) at the Economy Ministry.

Reports by judges

Judges in Slovakia are obliged to submit income and property disclosure forms as well as provide information about any relatives who work at any court in Slovakia. This requirement was initiated by former justice minister Lucia Žitňanská, who stated at the time that she was responding to concerns about favouritism and cronyism in the courts, the Sme daily wrote.

Sme reported several deficiencies in the documents filed with parliament by judges after they were published on its website. The daily wrote that Ivetta Macejková, the president of the Constitutional Court, reported that she only had her court salary of €38,885 in 2011 and had no additional earnings even though she was employed as an assistant professor at Pavol Jozef Šafárik University’s Faculty of Law in Košice.

Anna Pančurová, the spokesperson for the Constitutional Court, told Sme that Macejková had reported earning nearly €2,500 from teaching at the university in an attachment to the disclosure form.

The spokesperson added that the supplemental information might be missing due to “an administrative mistake but not due [to a mistake] by the president of the Constitutional Court”, Sme wrote.

The daily also commented about the disclosure made by former justice minister Viera Petríková, a current member of Slovakia’s Judicial Council, who the daily wrote had not reported that her daughter is employed as a judicial clerk at the Supreme Court.

Žitňanská told Sme that Petríkova should face disciplinary proceedings for this failure to report her daughter’s employment. The Justice Ministry did not comment to Sme on the allegations and stated that it did not have enough information.

Politikaopen.sk

The Fair-Play Alliance, a political ethics watchdog, began a project in March 2008, called Politikaopen, to seek voluntary disclosure of additional information from public officials to provide the public with more data about income and property holdings.

Unlike the website of parliament, this website contains additional information that has been voluntarily disclosed by a public official. Information about property that an elected official owns is available on the website as well as its location, size, price and how it was acquired, if the public official disclosed that data.

Currently 24 members of parliament, primarily from opposition parties, have disclosed additional data to Politikaopen. The website states that it also has information provided by some members of regional parliaments, former MPs and some other public officials such as Jana Dubovcová, the current ombudswoman, and Bratislava mayor Milan Ftáčnik.

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