The Slovak Government will cooperate with Swiss and Slovak law enforcement to investigate bribes linked to the building of the Branisko tunnel in 2001 and 2002, Prime Minister Robert Fico said at a press conference on Monday, August 13.
Bribes worth €2.5 million were allegedly given to Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ nominees at the Slovak Road Administration (SCC) to allow a Swiss consortium to participate in the building of the Branisko tunnel (in the Prešov region). The case is being taken to a Swiss court. According to the Swiss media, Ján Godan, a Swiss of Slovak origin, represented the Erga Suisse consortium, which supplied technology for constructing the tunnel in Slovakia.
The Sme daily has reported that the SDKÚ nominees involved are former road administration director Dušan Matonka, economic director Roman Veselka and investment preparation and construction department director Valerián Horvath. "The fraud involving Branisko was done quite primitively. Invoices were issued for fictitious work, and the money ended up in Swiss bank accounts. Specific accounts of SDKÚ nominees at SCC have been found, but evidence proving corruption has never been revealed. That’s why I support international cooperation between the Swiss and Slovak police," said Fico as quoted by the TASR newswire.
According to Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, an investigation is also taking place in Slovakia, while the Swiss police have been dealing with the case in detail for four years. Fico also said that this case has made him mistrustful of the way in which former transport minister Ján Figeľ (Christian-Democratic Movement) wanted to finance highways. "The tunnel was overpriced by Sk2 billion [€66.4 million], as 76 addendums were signed. We reject Figeľ’s model of motorway construction in which the cheapest bid wins and then addendums are signed [afterwards]," said Fico.
SDKÚ will continue to not interfere in the investigation of alleged bribes that the party’s nominees in the SCC purportedly accepted for the building of the tunnel in 2001-02, TASR learned from the party’s press department. In response to the latest information that the case is headed to court in Switzerland, SDKÚ noted that there were changes in the party’s top echelons at a congress in May, hence there is currently no one in SDKÚ leadership who could be linked to the SSC nominations.
(Source: TASR, Sme)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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14. Aug 2012 at 14:00