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Nitra regional authority denies misuse of Norwegian Funds

Nitra's regional government (NSK) on Monday, January 7, denied information that appeared in the media recently concerning the alleged misuse of the so-called Norwegian Funds in the modernisation of three residential health-care facilities for seniors under the remit of the regional authority.

Nitra's regional government (NSK) on Monday, January 7, denied information that appeared in the media recently concerning the alleged misuse of the so-called Norwegian Funds in the modernisation of three residential health-care facilities for seniors under the remit of the regional authority.

NSK said, quoted by the TASR newswire, that it requested a grant back in 2008. Both the Slovak Government Office and Norway approved the subsidy in 2009. A contract for the project involving a total of €809,737 was subsequently signed, of which €130,000 came from the Norwegian Funds. The Slovak Ministry of Labour later provided €60,000. The remaining cost was covered by NSK from its own budget.

According to the rules of the Norwegian Funds, it is not possible to finance a project with the help of several subsidies, however. NSK spokesman Stanislav Katrinec stated that this case did not involve double funding. The constructor company LEVSTAV, in 2010, requested NSK to refund additional costs related to the construction work. An inspection team declared the company's request as justified, following which the Government Office was sent a notification, along with a request for an additional subsidy, said Katrinec for TASR. The Labour Ministry subsequently sent the money (€20,000 for each of the three senior homes) to cover the unexpected cost, but this subsidy was not part of the original contract signed with the Norwegians, noted Katrinec.

"No double funding has taken place, as €130,000 from the Norwegian financial mechanism was used to remove the old boilers and buy and install new ones. The Labour Ministry provided €60,000 for the purchase of equipment for boiler rooms that were severely damaged, while it was not obvious that this equipment would be necessary before the project was carried out," said Katrinec. The story about the double funding was published by the Hospodárske Noviny daily last week. The daily reported that NSK will most likely have to return the money to the Norwegians.

(Source: TASR)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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