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Official who leased car charged

THE POLICE have charged the former head of the state firm MH Development, Ladislav Košecký, for, among other things, leasing a car from a company he owned and paying fines for this conflict of interest with state money. More issues remain under investigation.

THE POLICE have charged the former head of the state firm MH Development, Ladislav Košecký, for, among other things, leasing a car from a company he owned and paying fines for this conflict of interest with state money. More issues remain under investigation.

“Ladislav Košecký is the only partner in Mertimex, therefore he signed an agreement with himself and through it made a profit from public finances,” Independent MP Miroslav Beblavý, who uncovered the case, said, as quoted by the Sme daily on October 27. He added that the monthly lease fee for the car was €1,200 excluding VAT.

“This is more than €14,000 in a year; a sum that easily buys you a car ...,” Beblavý stated, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

Košecký had to pay three fines totalling €12,786 for having a position in a state firm and simultaneously managing a private firm, which is forbidden by law. However, the fines were paid from MH Development coffers, according to Beblavý.

“This means that he paid his personal fines with state money completely without shame and hesitation,” Beblavý said, as quoted by TASR, “he even officially listed them in the firm’s accounting.”

Beblavý later revealed that Košecký is a close relative of the family of ex-president Ivan Gašparovič. Also the Nový Čas tabloid daily pointed to their close relationship claiming that Košecký was a construction supervisor at the villa of Gašparovič’s son.

“Ladislav Košecký is not a lonely fool as Smer representatives indicate,” Beblavý said, as quoted by Sme.

Moreover, Sme found in MH Development’s invoices more orders for people close to Košecký. The state paid a total of €17,000 for various landscaping, green maintenance and garden work. Michal Držík signed those contracts as a representative of the firm Stuples. Košecký is the only partner in that firm as well.

Opposition MPs led by Beblavý initiated a special session of parliament on November 5 demanding to adopt a resolution asking the Supreme Audit Office (NKÚ) to examine the financial management of MH Development from May 31, 2012 to the present. Parliament was also supposed to ask Economy Minister Pavol Pavlis to dismiss members of the supervisory board of this company and to remove them from other bodies of companies in which the Economy Ministry is a partner.

MPs however failed to approve the proposed programme as Parliament Speaker Pavol Paška considered it unnecessary. He approached NKÚ by himself and requested an investigation into MH Development on November 4 but did not inform the public or opposition MPs, doing so without providing explanations.

Pavlis said he has appointed a new head of MH Development and changed the members of its supervisory board. Currently there is an ongoing audit in the firm. The ministry also plans to merge MH Development with another state firm MH Invest and subsequently transfer the new firm under the Slovak Investment and Trade Development Agency (SARIO).

“We acted quickly, effectively, efficiently,” Pavlis said, as quoted by SITA, “and we solved the whole problem within one week.”

With press reports

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