Prime Minister Robert Fico on November 4 stated that he will most probably commission one of the members of the government to head the Health Ministry on an interim basis following the resignation of Zuzana Zvolenská a day earlier, and that Vice Premier for Investments Ľubomír Vážny is a candidate.
“Vážny is another Government member with very vague results and whose name has been linked to various shady tenders,” the opposition Most-Híd party wrote in a statement. “In our opinion, he’s the most inappropriate candidate for the post.”
Fico called on Zvolenská to resign from the ministerial post due to a widely criticised tender for purchasing a CT scanner at a hospital in Piešťany announced shortly after parliament elections in March 2012. Zvolenská, however, is not the only top official who had to resign because of the scandal. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Renáta Zmajkovičová, who sat at the helm of the board of directors at the hospital, also resigned November 3 at Fico’s request.
Speaker of Parliament Pavol Paška will most probably face a no-confidence motion over his alleged involvement in the deal. The opposition alleges Paška is the main person behind the scandal.
“It’s well documented that Paška is involved in the health-care business,” NOVA leader Daniel Lipšic said, as quoted by TASR. “The companies that own Medical Group have their registered offices at the same addresses as companies owned by Smer’s sponsors [Juraj] Široky and [Jozef] Brhel, while representatives of the companies serve as Health Ministry nominees at state-run hospitals, and the profits of Medical Group reflect the terms in office of Prime Minister Robert Fico’s governments.”
Lipšic pointed out that Medical Group has relocated from Cyprus to Belize, while noting that Cyprus, unlike Belize, has now begun providing other countries with information on who garners profits from individual companies.
NOVA, Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (OĽaNO) and Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) will attempt to persuade fellow opposition parties Christian-Democratic Movement-KDH, Most-Híd and Slovak Democratic and Christian Union-SDKÚ to join their efforts to initiate a no-confidence motion in Paška. Smer has a majority in parliament therefore he would likely survive any such vote.
“Our colleagues from the (oppositional) People’s Platform informed us that they don’t want to recall Paška. Yesterday, they opined it is needless to recall Zvolenská,” Lišpic told the SITA newswire. “Evidently, the course of events got ahead of them, and maybe this will happen even now. We will try to persuade them. To organise only for extraordinary committees session due to such a blatant corruption is closing one’s eyes.” NOVA, SaS and OĽaNO started collecting signatures to summon an extraordinary parliamentary session.
Alexander Winter Hospital in Piešťany initially wanted to buy a CT (computerised tomography) scanning device for more than €1 million in 2012, but no deal was concluded in the end. When Smer nominees assumed control over the hospital, the original tender was scrapped and a new one for a more expensive device was announced. This device was supplied by Medical Group SK for €1.6 million. Paška was a shareholder in the company in the past, but he now claims that he abandoned his activities in the firm 13 years ago. The suspicious deal also involves hospitals in Martin and Trenčín, SITA wrote.
(Source: TASR, SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
5. Nov 2014 at 10:00