Kiska said after a July 3 meeting with Gajdoš and Chief of General Staff of the Slovak Armed Forces Milan Maxim that the case of missing ammunition is very serious. The meeting took place following the announcement that some 300,000 cartridges disappeared from an ammunition storehouse in Sklené (in Žilina Region) last month. An unspecified amount of ammunition from stocks in Trenčín-Kubra was reported stolen in April, the TASR newswire wrote.
An ongoing problem
The ammunition seems to have been missing for longer than was believed, and it may have taken the Slovak army years before it detected that heavy arms, dozens of grenades and tens of thousands of small-calibre cartridges were missing.
Only the recent stock-taking has found precisely what was missing, Gajdoš admits, as quoted by the Sme daily. Apart form the most recent and highly publicised case, five more cases of missing ammunition are rumoured unofficially.
Gajdoš faced criticism from his predecessors last week: Ľubomír Galko of the now-opposition SaS criticised the minister for insufficiently informing the public, and Martin Glváč of the ruling Smer party said that the minister is responsible for the lost ammunition – as Gajdoš has been in the leading position for several years. “I do not believe that the ammunition has been missing for long,” Glváč said to Sme. “In November, the stocks were checked.”
Army stocks are guarded by private security companies to save money, but the minister has said he wants to change this. Gajdoš would not comment on the preliminary results of the audits, but he admits that previous audits were superficial and ineffective, with nobody likely counting the weapons and ammunition.
President Andrej Kiska asked Gajdoš to quickly find a solution. “The public has long considered the Armed Forces to be among the most trusted institutions,” he said, as cited by TASR. “So we expect them to be in order and that things there are working well. If ammunition goes missing, that raises some questions ... regarding how those who are supposed to protect the state can protect us when a problem like this can emerge in this very sector.”
The president asked Gajdos to explain what has happened, to find the culprits, to determine when exactly the ammunition was stolen and to adopt measures to make sure that this never happens again. Kiska also pointed out that hundreds of millions of euros will soon be poured into the army.
Gajdoš reiterated that he has ordered a detailed and thorough inventory of all ammunition and weapons.
4. Jul 2017 at 14:58 | Compiled by Spectator staff