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Law against shell companies is empty

THOUGH the government adopted the amendment to the law on public procurement, which should prevent shell companies from doing business with state, the law seems to be toothless.

(Source: SME)

The cabinet passed at its April 15 session a change with which it wants to create a public register of final beneficiaries of companies that win the state orders. The register should contain the information about the real, not formal, owners of bidders. This will be a condition for the firms to get the state order. It also means that the country will not be able to sign a contract with company which will not be listed in the register, the TASR newswire reported.

“The reason for submitting the draft law is the effort to secure that the agreements in public procurement are signed by the subjects with clear ownership structure, revealed to the natural people,” the authors of the change said, as quoted by TASR. “The identification of the final beneficiaries is important for increasing transparency, preventing the conflict of interests and fighting corruption in public competitions.”

The amendment however does not fulfil the original aim of the amendment, Marián Leško wrote in the Denník N daily .

Four days before adopting the change by the government, Prime Minister Robert Fico, the main initiator of the change, reportedly showed he does not know much about the content of the amendment when he was talking about it in the political talk show broadcast by the public-service RTVS, according to Leško.

The listeners of RTVS could get impression that the proposal should somehow improve the law which the parliament adopted in January 2015, after overriding president’s veto. The fact however is that the new law will completely substitute for the earlier piece of legislation, Leško explained.

While originally the register was to apply to all places where public money is used, the draft amendment passed by the government concerns only public procurements, according to Denník N.

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