Igor Štefanov, who was Slovakia's construction minister between April 2009 and March 2010 as a nominee of the Slovak National Party (SNS), will face criminal prosecution over the case of the so-called bulletin-board tender after the Special Prosecutor's Office turned down his complaint seeking to have his indictment on tender manipulation halted, the TASR newswire reported on Thursday, October 18.
The case involves a €120-million tender for supplying various legal and advertising services co-financed by EU Funds which was announced only via a printed notice posted on an obscure notice-board in a locked ministry corridor. The tender was won by associates of SNS leader Ján Slota and the money expended on the project later had to be returned to Brussels. Štefanov, who at the time of the tender was co-ordinator of the ministry's regional development agency prior to becoming minister, has been charged with abuse of public office in the public procurement process by the Anti-Corruption Office, and it was up to the Special Prosecutor’s Office to rule on his complaint.
Police have also pressed charges against his predecessor (from July 2006 to April 2009) Marián Janušek – who served as minister at the time the notice-board tender was posted – and three other people. If found guilty, Janušek may spend up to 20 years in prison, while the other three people - identified by the police only as Radoslav B., Tomáš L. and Zdenka K. – and Štefanov could face 12-year sentences.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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