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Defence Minister Glváč sees no reason to dismiss VS head Skuhra

Defence Minister Martin Glváč will not step down even if serious allegations of tunnelling at the erstwhile Military Intelligence Service (VSS) and Military Defence Intelligence (VOS), flagged by the Sme daily, prove to be true, the TASR newswire reported on May 17.

Defence Minister Martin Glváč will not step down even if serious allegations of tunnelling at the erstwhile Military Intelligence Service (VSS) and Military Defence Intelligence (VOS), flagged by the Sme daily, prove to be true, the TASR newswire reported on May 17.

Sme published on May 16 details from a 134-page report which alleges large-scale embezzlement of public funds by employees at the former VSS during the first government of Robert Fico (2006-2010). The daily says it received the document anonymously, and that it is probably based on an internal investigation of the VSS that began under former defence minister Ľubomír Galko.

The report includes information about the purchase and reconstruction of an expensive residential property in Bratislava, which the state sold at a loss to a former VSS officer. Both of the then heads of the two military intelligence agencies – Juraj Šebo of the VSS and Ľubomír Skuhra of the Military Defence Intelligence (VOS) counterintelligence agency – allegedly knew about the transactions. The VSS and VOS have since been merged.

Speaking after the session of the special supervisory parliamentary committee for intelligence services operations, Glváč asserted that he had no knowledge of any fishy practices at the two institutions when he appointed Skuhra as head of the office of the newly established Military Service (VS) in January 2013, TASR wrote.

At the same time, Glváč emphasised that if the allegations are proven to be true, he is ready to apply zero tolerance and take necessary action against those involved. Nevertheless, he reiterated that the suspicions pertain to the tenure of former defence minister Jaroslav Baška, who is currently head of the parliamentary committee for defence and security.

Moreover, the defence minister said there is no reason for Skuhra to resign from his post, as he believes that everything will be sorted out and explained in the end, TASR reported.

Meanwhile, Martin Fedor, the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) MP who chairs the parliamentary committee responsible for overseeing the activities of the VS, said that the public needs to know what is behind the leaked documents.

“First we have to find out and determine whether the documents on the alleged tunnelling at the VSS during Prime Minister Robert Fico’s first government are true and authentic,” Fedor said, as quoted by TASR.

Fedor added that the committee asked the minister and Skuhra to investigate the case properly. He also revealed that the verification at the Defence Ministry may consume anywhere from a couple of hours to several days.

Moreover, the committee asked Glváč to confirm or deny whether the leaked document is the same as the one that was addressed to then VSS head Roman Mikulec by former prime minister Iveta Radicova in March 2012.

Radičová, then serving as defence minister after Ľubomír Galko was dismissed from the office in 2011, wanted Mikulec to hand the document over to former interior minister Daniel Lipšic so that it could be submitted for investigation. Mikulec failed to do so and decided to remove the file from the VSS archives, TASR reported.

Radičová, in an interview with Sme, claimed that she knew about the confidential file pointing to alleged tunnelling at VSS. Since she considered the allegations serious, she filed a motion over the matter at the Office of the General Prosecutor on March 26, 2012, more than two weeks after the parliamentary election. It is not clear where the motion ended up, according to TASR.

Meanwhile, Sme reported that the alleged author of the document contacted Fedor through the email, saying he is prepared to confirm the authenticity of the report.

Source: TASR, Sme

For more information about this story please see: Sme: Military intelligence officers allegedly involved in major theft

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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