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Agriculture Minister accused of nepotism

A DISPROPORTIONATELY large number of Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek’s relatives and people from his native village work at the ministry, according to the Sme daily.

A DISPROPORTIONATELY large number of Agriculture Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek’s relatives and people from his native village work at the ministry, according to the Sme daily.

Sme broke the story in mid-September, reporting that his sister’s children Lukáš Peško and Petra Bohunová were employed at managerial positions at the ministry Jahnátek oversees. The ministry’s phonebook, which the ministry meanwhile withdrew from its website, suggests that even more people close to the minister work there.

Sme voiced suspicions of nepotism in connection with Jahnátek after it revealed that several people from his native village of Komjatice, in the Nové Zámky district, which has a population of just 4,000, hold high positions at the Agriculture Ministry.

Marek Gocník who was appointed the head of the office dealing with eurofunds, comes from Komjatice. He also is a member of the Slovak Land Fund’s council, Sme reported. Ľudovít Koppan, who was appointed the head of the section of control and governmental audit, is a native from Komjatice too.

Both Koppan and Gocník were employed at the Economy Ministry previously, when it was led by Jahnátek under the first government of Robert Fico.

The Sme daily mentioned other names of people from Komjatice appearing in the phonebook of the ministry. When asked about the employees of the ministry from Komjatice, Jahnátek said he hasn’t lived in the village since 1978 and that he refuses to speculate about Komjatice residents having any advantages.

The ministry’s phone book until recently featured also the names of Ľudovít and Michal Gráf, the minister’s godsons, according to Sme. After the daily inquired about them, the ministry deleted their names from the phonebook, saying that they only provided short-term two-week-long help in administration and processing of documentation of operation programmes while the ministry’s regular employees were on summer holidays.

Opposition MP Miroslav Beblavý requested the minister’s explanation of the allegations of nepotism on September 27 and announced that he will also deal with the issue at the October session of the parliamentary committee on incompatibility of functions.

Source: Sme

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports
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