Employee of the ministry’s agency accused of corruption

If found guilty, the employee of the Agricultural Paying Agency may spend up to eight years in prison for taking a bribe.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: Sme)

The investigator of the National Criminal Agency (NAKA) accused Peter O., a 59-year-old employee of the Agricultural Paying Agency (PPA), of accepting bribes totalling €19,000. He faces charges in two cases, the SITA newswire reported.

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The first charge concerns a case that occurred last year. Peter O. is suspected of asking for about €16,000 from a chair of an agricultural cooperative for arranging a subsidy amounting to €835,000, said Police Corps President Tibor Gašpar. At the time, the chair of the agricultural cooperative was already collaborating with the police.

The police detained Peter O. on February 17, 2017 when he came to receive the first part of the sum. The investigator proposed to prosecute him in custody, but the judge of the Specialised Criminal Court dismissed it. The prosecutor, however, appealed the decision, which means that the proposal will now be assessed by the Supreme Court, Gašpar said.

Subsequently, the police extended the charges against Peter O. on February 22, claiming that back in January he had asked for €3,000 from a company for arranging a subsidy worth €146,000. He received the sum in February. In this case, the police also laid charges against Tibor S., a representative of the company, who is accused of bribing, Gašpar said.

If Peter O. is found guilty, he may spend three to eight years in prison, SITA reported.

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PPA has meanwhile welcomed the cooperation with NAKA and calls on receivers of subsidies and employees to report corruption. The agency itself has started publishing information about applicants, the subsidy amount and the state of the deciding process on applications.

“If we want to prevent corruption, we need systems in which all information will be saved and searchable,” said Juraj Kožuch, head of PPA, as quoted by SITA.

When acting as an agent, the agency will be able to fight non-transparent use of subsidies and help with catching culprits red-handed, Kožuch added.

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