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Did the president break the law?

The parliamentary committee will check whether President Andrej Kiska violated the law on conflict of interests.

President Andrej Kiska(Source: Sme - G.Kuchta)

President Andrej Kiska will have to explain to the parliamentary committee for conflict of interests whether there was any debt claim between him and the company Kiska Travel Agency (KTAG). If there was, he will have to say why he did not mention it in his property disclosure.

If there was any debt claim after he was appointed the Slovak president and he did not disclose it, he will have violated the constitutional law on conflict of interests, the TASR newswire reported.

The parliamentary committee started a proceeding against Kiska based on a motion submitted by unsuccessful presidential candidate Jozef Behýľ. The committee met in a special session on September 27, initiated by coalition MPs.

Kiska should disprove the suspicions

“We ask the president to answer the question whether there is any debt claim between him and company KTAG,” said committee’s chair Martin Poliačik of Freedom and Solidarity (SaS), as quoted by TASR.

If there was some, based on the request of the coalition deputies, they will ask Kiska to provide the committee with more details. If there is not, there will be no answers, he added.

Read also:When the state can’t keep a secret

Poliačik also said that the debt claim is defined as part of the property. Thus, if someone becomes a public official and some company owes him/her €2 million, it is good to inform the public about it.

“If there was something similar and it was missing in a property disclosure, it would mean the violation of the constitutional law,” Poliačik explained, as quoted by TASR.

He expects Kiska will do everything to disprove any suspicions raised by the motion.

Opposition and coalition quarrel

The opposition members of the committee say that their colleagues from the coalition are politicising. Both the motion and the coalition MPs’ actions are politically absurd and have no sense, said Ondrej Dostál of SaS. It is inappropriate and ridiculous that the same MPs who “cover for Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, who is doing business with tax fraudster Ladislav Bašternák and Prime Minister Robert Fico, who lives in Bašternák’s flat” want to investigate Kiska, he said.

The committee should deal only with public functionaries. At the time of the presidential campaign, Kiska was not in a public position, Dostál said.

Read also:Police president files charges due to information leak on Kiska’s company

The committee’s deputy chair, Juraj Blanár (Smer), opposed the claims, saying that Dostál did not properly read the motion. He also rejected any claims about politicising. The one doing so is Dostál, as he mentions Kaliňák.

“We’re here to deal with the motion which was not sent by the coalition MPs,” Blanár said, as quoted by TASR. “We want to check what happened.”

Blanár also stressed that it is in everybody’s interest to explain the situation soon.

Kiska should submit to the committee his response to the motion, as well as accounting and tax documents from KTAG that concern the presidential campaign, documents from bank, and invoices. The sooner the committee receives the documents, the sooner the whole case will be closed, said another Smer MP Róbert Puci.

The president’s spokesperson Roman Krpelan responded that it is publicly known that Kiska is a co-owner of KTAG, to which he gave money in 2005.

Read also:President Kiska talks about transparency, hides documents

The president publishes his property disclosures and incomes in compliance with the law every year, Krpelan said. He also reiterated that Kiska received €97,151 from his public function in 2016, with lump sum allowances amounting to €15,933. His other incomes amounted to €257,048.

The incomes come from president’s shares in companies, stocks in investment fund and agreements on loans to third parties, Krpelan added, as reported by TASR.

The parliamentary committee received the motion against Kiska after several media outlets received an anonymous email informing about the investigation against KTAG concerning unpaid taxes.

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