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Slovakia to return €5m to Brussels

MISCONDUCT in the public procurement process will cost Slovakia €5 million. The Education Ministry must return the money to the European Union’s operation programme Education, the SITA newswire reported on September 5.

MISCONDUCT in the public procurement process will cost Slovakia €5 million. The Education Ministry must return the money to the European Union’s operation programme Education, the SITA newswire reported on September 5.

The money was used mainly for technical equipment and computers for schools.

The misconduct was revealed by an audit of contracts signed in 2008-2010 under then-minister Ján Mikolaj of the Slovak National Party (SNS). The current minister, Dušan Čaplovič, is planning to file criminal complaints against the people who approved the public procurements in question.

“The person that approved, or confirmed in a letter or any other form that everything is all right and everything will be clear and there’ll be no problems, must bear responsibility for this,” Čaplovič said, as quoted by SITA, adding that the concerned persons are from the State Pedagogical Institute and the Institute of Information and Prognoses of Schooling.

Mikolaj blamed the Public Procurement Office for the incorrect procurements and questioned the control mechanisms in place, SITA reported. The procurement was subject to four-level control, he added, and the Monitoring Committee for a Knowledge-Based Economy, at that time presided over by Dušan Čaplovič, was involved as well.

“[Čaplovič] had all the control mechanisms and reports in his hands,” Mikolaj, said as quoted by SITA.

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