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Matovič’s fine not solved, could lose almost €12,000

The fine imposed on OĽaNO-NOVA chair Igor Matovič on June 16 has still not been solved. The fine was imposed by the Parliamentary Committee for Conflict of Functions.

Sas MP Martin Poliačik of the Parliamentary Committee for Incompatibility of Functions(Source: TASR)

Matovič, who by August 3 still has not received any decision from the committee, said he would only comment on the sanction after he receives it.

The chair of the opposition party was not present when the committee members voted on the fine.

Chair of committee Martin Poliačik (of the opposition SaS) explained for the Sme daily that the decision is ready and waiting for the MP’s signature; but he conceded that it took longer than usual to make it, allegedly due to objective factors. After Matovič receives it, he will have 30 days to appeal to the Slovak Constitutional Court. Poliaičk added he would welcome the appeal, as it would then provoke a final ruling of the Constitutional Court creating a precedence for similar decisions for he committee.

Unintentional mistake

The Committee for Conflict of Functions imposed on Matovič a fine of six months’ salaries, i.e. almost €12,000. All MPs voted for the motion, only Oto Žarnay (OĽaNO-NOVA) abstained from the vote. Matovič got the fine for missing 21 days in 2013 when his self-employment license was not suspended, even though he was an MP, in compliance with the law.

The MPs of the committee admitted that it was an unintentional administrative flaw and the fine is too high due to circumstances. “The fine is cruel but, alas, this is the law and one has to respect it,” Igor Janckulík (ruling Sieť party) commented, as quoted by Sme. Also, the committee vice-chair Juraj Blanár (Smer) admitted that the mistake was not intentional. He added, however, that in such cases, the best way was to cancel the license altogether, instead of just suspending it.

Ondrej Dostál (SaS) also deems the law too harsh if it punishes a formal, unintentional violation. Martin Poliačik agrees but says the law must be complied with.

The motion against Matovič was filed in February by Roman Ruhig of the Coalition “Together for Slovakia”. Matovič explained already in April that the self-employment license can be suspended only for three years; and he did so already in 2010 when he first became an MP. He repeatedly suspended it in 2013, until 2016, he added. However, the second suspension came only 21 days after the first one expired, and thus the committee imposed the fine. 

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