THE BRATISLAVA Self-Governing Region (BSK) paid over €11 million for about 250 emergency repairs since 2010. The Pravda daily compared that with the number of emergency repairs in other self-governing regions, none of which did more than three over the same period.
For instance, the BSK paid four invoices which altogether totalled €279,000 in August 2013, according to the data quoted by Pravda, none of which exceeded €200,000.
BSK President Pavol Frešo of the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) argued that the reason why his region had to do so many emergency repairs is that it administers 404 buildings and it is not eligible to use EU funds, Pravda wrote.
Invoices over €200,000 must be preceded by a public tender. Emergency repairs, which can be assigned directly to a company without a public tender, are done in emergency situations, for example, to deal with fires, flooding or broken pipes.
The BSK, however, spent €170,000 to repair toilets at a Bratislava secondary school, and €154,000 to replace a roof of another school, both financed as emergency repairs, according to Pravda.
Bratislava regional council member Martin Borguľa reacted to the reports by filing a criminal complaint against Frešo. Borguľa suspects Frešo might have committed the crime of machinations in public procurement.
Frešo’s regional management used the emergency repairs to avoid public tenders, thus violating the law on public procurement, Borguľa charged, as reported by Pravda, adding that the companies that were doing the work for the region are mutually interconnected through property and personnel, as well as connected to “some persons close to the SDKÚ”.
An amendment to the Penal Code in 2011 made it possible to criminally prosecute public officials who commit gross negligence, making it punishable with up to five years in prison.
Frešo called the criminal complaint an act of pre-election fighting.
He is running for re-election in the upcoming regional elections on November 9.
In response to the accusations, Frešo published invoices for the emergency repairs.
Those from the years 2007-2009 show that the regional authorities acted similarly under his predecessor, Vladimir Bajan, a nominee of Smer, the Sme daily reported.
The list of Bajan’s invoices shows that most of the emergency repairs were performed by three companies: Sanex and PJS Renova (which have the same owner), and Vemapos.