Defence Minister explains purchasing two L-410 planes without public tender

Neither Defense Minister Martin Glváč nor Slovak Army Chief of Staff Peter Vanek considers the acquisition of two transport planes L-410 for €9.8 million a problem. Glváč insists they are actually proud to announce this transaction, which has caught negative media attention.

Neither Defense Minister Martin Glváč nor Slovak Army Chief of Staff Peter Vanek considers the acquisition of two transport planes L-410 for €9.8 million a problem. Glváč insists they are actually proud to announce this transaction, which has caught negative media attention.

"I do not perceive this exchange, the acquisition of these two planes, as a problem, and I resolutely reject any untruths I have heard in the media," Glváč told the SITA newswire on Monday, January 8. The Sme daily reported last week that the defence department is buying two smaller Turbolet L-410 transport planes without a public tender. The deal has allegedly been made based on a "contract for modernisation". The state decided to replace the two planes with new ones for which it will additionally pay. Thus, no bidding competition involving several potential suppliers could have taken place. Glváč claims he does not know Manipul, the company that mediated the deal between the ministry and the producer of the airplanes. According to the daily, Manipul was used by the ministry during the first tenure of the Smer party. Glváč, however, dismissed this information, arguing that the firm had already won the ministry's orders back when the current opposition was at the helm.

It was utterly senseless of the Defence Ministry to replace two old L-410 aircrafts in a deal totalling €9.8 million, former head of the ministry Ľubomír Galko told the TASR newswire. According to Galko (of the opposition Freedom and Solidarity [SaS]), such an investment should be at the bottom of Slovakia's Armed Forces’ list of priorities. "We're short of money for health care, education and other priorities, but we're buying planes that can barely make it from Bratislava to Košice or Prague," he said, referring to the fact that the aircrafts are short-range. He also noted that the funds could have instead been invested in purchasing armoured personnel carriers or large military transport aircrafts such as the Spartan.

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