Prosecutor Špirko found guilty of disciplinary transgression but not punished

“In light of the nature of the transgression, it is reasonable to expect that having the disciplinary committee deliberate on the matter is sufficient,” says committee chair.

Vasiľ ŠpirkoVasiľ Špirko(Source: TASR)

Prosecutor Vasiľ Špirko of the Special Prosecutor’s Office was found guilty by the disciplinary committee on June 8 but the committee chose not to impose punishment.

The committee were dealing with Špirko’s public statements on corruption allegations against ex-interior minister Robert Kaliňák and ex-finance minister Ján Počiatek (both of the ruling Smer party), the TASR newswire wrote.

In the verdict, committee chair Kristian Kuko said that Špirko violated the duties of a prosecutor and hence committed a disciplinary transgression against the law but the committee opted to forbear from imposing disciplinary measures.

Read also:Prosecutor accuses the interior minister of corruption scheme

“In light of the nature of the transgression, it is reasonable to expect that having the disciplinary committee deliberate on the matter is sufficient,” Kuko said, as cited by TASR.

Special prosecutor reacts

“Basically, it could be said that the disciplinary committee ruled almost in accordance with my motion, so I should be happy, but let me tell you honestly that I’m not,” Special Prosecutor Dušan Kováčik said, as quoted by TASR. “I can’t be happy and I don’t feel like a winner. It’s not easy for the Chief Prosecutor to lodge proposals for disciplinary proceedings against his own people, who, essentially, do their jobs well. But during the proceedings, I was under impression that even my colleague realised that he could have acted differently.”

Kováčik added that had proposed the lightest form of punishment, a cut in base salary.

Read also:Prosecutor may be punished for talking to journalists

As for the suspicions raised by Špirko, Kováčik responded that the case is still current.

“I can’t comment. It is up to the investigators to comment, not me,” he declared for TASR.

Špirko relinquished his right to appeal, thus making the verdict valid, as his line of argument was accommodated, too.

“Due to the fact that I’m a prosecutor, I’m aware that I made several legal missteps, whether concerning the duties of prosecutor or directly concerning the orders by the general prosecutor,” Špirko said, as quoted by TASR. “I won’t cowardly pretend that that didn’t happen. After all, I mentioned this in my speech as well. Because of this, I perceive this punishment and the verdict reached by the disciplinary committee as lawful.”

When asked by the newswire whether he would have done the same thing again if he could turn back the time, Špirko replied: “My conduct was guided by my inner beliefs, values, my moral integrity and the circumstances existing back then. I certainly don’t regret my conduct and wouldn’t have changed anything at all.”

What happened in March 2018?

Špirko was the prosecutor originally assigned to the investigation into the case of then-interior minister Kaliňák buying a share in a firm called B.A. Haus from suspected tax fraudster Ladislav Bašternák. In early March, Špirko stated before journalists that ex-finance minister Počiatek and ex-minister Kaliňák “siphoned off” €200 million of taxpayer's money in a shady tender on IT commissions and announced that he was going to file a criminal complaint against Kaliňák for slander.

The case also involved a criminal complaint by Ľuboš Varga filed in 2016, claiming skulduggery in public procurement and public auction. By publishing information from this – still open – case, Špirko allegedly committed a disciplinary transgression.

Read also:NAKA accuses elite prosecutor of abuse of powers

Špirko argued that he feared for his life after the murder of journalist Ján Kuciak and his fiancée Martina Kušnírová, and that was partially his motivation to summon the press conference, Košice regional newspaper Korzár wrote.

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Theme: Robert Kaliňák

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